Friday Favorites: St. Patrick’s Day Green

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Don’t forget to enter my Play Foam Giveaway!

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Happy Friday!

I had plans to do a more ‘muted green’ for this St. Patrick’s Day inspired post, for those that want to represent the holiday, but not be so in your face BUT I’m an Irish girl {maiden name – McDermott! Ha!} and I saw a few of these cute tops and leggings and had to share!

I’ll save the muted green St. Patrick’s Day inspired post for next week! Until then, cheers to all things Irish!

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one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine

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Do you wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?

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The Boys Favorite Toys – at 3 and 1 Years Old + a PlayFoam Giveaway

Since Easter is around the corner, I know my mama friends are looking for fun, new {educational} toys for the littles to enjoy! I know I always get asked questions about what my boys are loving, so I thought I would put together a list of a few of the boy’s favorite things. Brooks just turned 3 in January and Graham just turned 1.5 – so they have a little bit of an age gap, but let’s be honest – whatever one little is into, the other wants to play with as well!

Here are some of our favorite picks, let me know what you think! 

First up, is PlayFoam Go! 

PlayFoam GO! is a travel-sized container that’s perfect for shaping and sculpting in the car, on the plane, or anywhere you choose! It features a translucent plastic carrying case includes 8 bricks of Playfoam, 9 separate storage compartments, and 4 built-in shape molds – it supports sensory and tactile development. 

Brooks LOVES to play with this at the kitchen table while I’m making a meal. He loves to create and build, and especially mix the colors all together! I love how compact this toy is, but how endless the play can be with it. It’s also great because it can easily be packed up to take to grandma’s house, the beach or just played with in the car.

It’s non-toxic, which is awesome and never dries out. We’ve been playing with this for weeks and it’s still as good as new. Also, the colors that Brooks has mixed haven’t changed color at all – still fresh as new and the white is bright! Love it!

We’ve had a ton of fun with this – so much that I will be giving one away! Check the bottom of this post for more details on that!

While the PlayFoam is more Brooks’ speed {as much as Graham wants to play with it, he usually ends up trying to eat it} so I’ve got a little something special for my 1.5 year old. Currently, Graham is all about the Count and Build TotBot.

This little bot is really cute. I love robots – we sort of have a bit of a theme in the boys room, so in my opinion, the more bots, the better! The  Count and Build TotBot is great for learning numbers, shapes, and colors while working on the fine motor skills necessary to twist and turn the bolts.

Graham is obsessed with twisting and turning, and Brooks loves to play this with him too because he’s currently all about counting, colors and shapes! A little something for everyone in this cute little toy!

Now something both my boys have and love are these reusable Drink in the Box! It is BPA and Phthalate free, we haven’t had any issues with squirts or leak, and I think it’s awesome at steering the littles away from the sugary drinks in the disposable juice boxes out there. I have to say, it’s also very durable – Graham’s favorite thing to do is toss his! Still good though!

Both my boys seriously love these and anytime we are with any of their little friends, everyone is always trying to drink out of them – the littles are drawn to them! So cute!

Next up is a fun game that I think is perfect for Easter, if you are in the market for something cute. This is something defiantly for the older littles but it’s really cute for the whole family too – Rabbit Rally!

This is a really cute game that is made in Germany. I love the Rabbit theme for this time of year too. It’s a guessing and building game where you have to get your rabbit from one side of the island to the other – making bridges on rocks!

I love that it’s a fun game Brooks and I can play together while Graham takes his nap. It’s fun to have solo time with Brooks and do something fun we can both enjoy!

So there are a few of our favorite things at the moment! Also, it’s worth mentioning both my boys are really into their Micro Mini scooters, even Graham {he has the 2-Go version}! Another perfect little treat as the weather starts to warm and a great excuse to get the kids outside and moving!

Now, up for grabs is a little PlayFoam!

Want to win a PlayFoam Go for the little in your life?

Leave a comment letting me know his/her favorite toy at the moment!

On Stopping Brooks’ Nap at 3 Years Old

So, I guess you can tell by this post’s title – we officially have a non-napper, at 3 years old.

<sniff sniff>

I posted on Instagram a while ago and I got a very mixed response about littles around this age that nap and that don’t nap. When we went to Brooks’ doctor appointment at 3 years old, she was a little surprised that he was still napping at that time – I guess Brooks got word that it might be ok to stop, and stop he did!

We’ve been struggling with nap issues for a while now and decided yesterday that having him not nap might be the best thing for everyone, so I figured it might be worth sharing on the blog incase anyone else is in a similar situation.

So at the end of January, right before Brooks turned 3, we put Brooks and Graham in the same room. Graham was no longer nursing, both boys go to bed at 7pm and everyone was sleeping through the night. We have a large bedroom where Brooks was sleeping and always planned on putting the boys together. We figured it might as well be sooner than later since they would be room sharing this summer at the beach.

Sharing the room at night as been perfect. No issues, all good.

Thank goodness.

The issue has been the nap. 

Graham, at 17 months old now, still REALLY needs a nap. He goes down between 12:30-1:30 everyday for 2-3 hours or so. He needs it and its a nice little break for me.

Brooks wasn’t really napping well in his crib – he was moving around, playing, reading – not being a bother, but just being enough of a noise-maker to cause Graham to not be able to sleep well.

I decided to put Brooks down for a nap in his sleeping bag, on the futon in my office. I set up a monitor there to keep an eye on him, but he’s never gotten off the couch without me, so I trusted him to stay put.

This sort of worked but sort of didn’t. Brooks would be in there, reading books, usually not napping. I’m all for a little quiet time in the afternoon, which I think he needs, but on the days where he would actually fall asleep, the rest of the day would be a disaster.

Brooks would be ‘off’ all afternoon, sort of in the way where you didn’t get a good enough rest. He would be tired, cranky, moody – not good. And every day where he actually took a nap when I gave him quiet time, bedtime would be awful as well. He would be hysterically crying, very clingy and upset – not like Brooks at all. 

I started noticing this pattern of rough bedtimes and naps/non-naps and last night, when we had a tough bedtime put down, which I believe to be resulting from taking a ‘bad nap’ I decided to make the switch officially.

On days when he doesn’t nap, he’s READY for his 7pm bedtime {and so is Graham} – and obviously I am too! And since both boys are sleeping to 7am and beyond, I love it! With our life and me staying home with the littles, I’m done by bedtime. They need their sleep and I need a break – plus I need time to get my stuff done after they go to bed too!

With keeping our 7pm bedtime as the most important thing, I’m happy to let Brooks have some special solo time with me while Graham naps.

Brooks is happier without his nap. He’s fun during the day, has quiet time with books while I get things done around the house, but then we can also play games and do things we just can’t do with Graham toddling around. Brooks isn’t dreading bedtime and I’m so happy about that – no one wants to put your kids down to bed for the night upset.

So that’s where we are with that. I will let you know if anything changes! Wish me luck with my non-napper!

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Does your little one still nap?

If not – when did he/she stop?

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Mama’s Night Out + Embracing the Chaos

Some weeks, I’m out and about with the littles all day – staying in for dinner, bedtime for the boys and I’m laying on the couch {usually with a glass of wine – or two} catching up on my DVR. Not a bad night, if you ask me. I enjoy my chill time after a busy day!

BUT Some weeks – like last week – I’m out and about SOLO living it UP!

<IN HEELS!>

Boom!

Outfit Details: 

Leather Jacket {similar} / Tailored Tee / Denim {c/o} /

 Block HeelsIris Tassel Earrings / B.Ruby LipSense

I don’t know what it was, but last week was CRAZY. I had a local photo shoot one day {more on that later!}, a super yummy sushi dinner catching up with my girlfriend another night, followed by a bloggers night out in Philadelphia the next night.

And don’t even get me started on the weekend {high tea out with my girlfriends!} which was also crazy busy, not to mention super fun. 

It was just one of those crazy weeks, with SO MUCH going on. Don’t get me wrong, I loved each and every busy moment, but it was a lot for this mama who doesn’t go out back to back weeknights!

Ha!

And you can guess that this week is very laid back – not much going on, which is awesome because I can play catch up before another busy week that seems to be shaping up starting next Monday!

It all works out, because I would much rather be busy than not!

I enjoy the chaos, sometimes I think it even fuels me a bit, but it would be nice if everything would just spread itself out, so I could enjoy nights out a little more, without having to run around like a crazy person getting myself together and the littles in bed before rushing out the door.

But I guess the universe doesn’t work like that.

And at least I have the time to curl my hair, can’t complain about that!

Since I did get all gussied up for a blogger event, I would love to share a little bit about my “Blogger Professional” uniform. I think there is a fine line between being over and under dressed for a night out. And obviously the weather plays a huge part in any look.

For this night out I decided to go with a pair of ankle skinny jeans in a darker wash, paired with a tailored tee that has a little additional coverage in the back to cover up the skinny jean bum situation.

Side Note: If you have the chance to get your hands on these tailored tees, you won’t regret it! I think I have 5 colors and it is just the perfect top to casually dress up any look. The material is majestic and it’s super flattering. Not to mention any necklace looks amazing with it.

Also, these block heels! I got them on super sale and have been waiting for the perfect excuse to bust them out. They are 4″ and I was never uncomfortable in them – at all. I’m kicking myself for not getting them in the black as well because they are so pretty with all the straps!

Love.

Back to the look – I enjoy the blue pop of color in the top, which I believe to be muted a bit by the darker wash jeans and the grey leather jacket – which if you don’t have one in your life, you definitely need one. Nordstrom Rack always has amazing ones on sale!

So there you have it, my outfit for a fun night out in the city. I was invited to the Cheesecake Factory with a bunch of other Philadelphia local bloggers to try out their ENTIRE new menu.

Yes, you read that right – the ENTIRE new menu.

I’m still stuffed talking about it days later, but it was SO GOOD.

I get fun opportunities like this fairly frequently and I don’t always get the chance to take advantage of them. But living in the city and being able to hop in a quick Uber downtown is amazing at this point in my life, so I’m glad I was able to participate! It was fun to connect with local bloggers in the area and did I mention the food? Yum!

There were so many amazing food + drink creations that I got to try, I’m not sure I could pick a favorite! BUT I did really enjoy the Chicken, Mango and Avocado Salad – they chef put on a little demo for us so we got to see exactly how it all goes down, and how easy it is to make something delicious and ‘Skinnylicious!’ I have a copy of the exact recipe, so I hope to give that a try and share on the blog with you soon!


I’m excited to share more of my crazy week with you in the coming days as I try to unwind from it and gear up for another busy week ahead!

Embrace the chaos folks, and put on a cute outfit while you do it!

You’ll feel fabulous, I promise!

Friday Favorites: Tie Tops

Today, is all about the tie-tops!

Tops that tie? Not really sure the ‘official’ word for them, but I just know that they are everywhere AND I want them all!

outfit details: tie top / distressed jeans / green vest / Emmeline necklace Violette LipSense 

I love how easy and casual the tie top is, but the top itself is structured and material is great. I got it in 2 other colors {grey and black/white stripes!} I love it so much! It was fun to layer with a vest, over distressed jeans, but I can’t wait to style it in other ways as well.

I also think because of the cute bow in the front and the fit you can size up or down for a different look. I got a large in this for a more ‘oversized’ fit – I wanted it loose and flowy, but I could have gone down a size too for a more ‘put together’ look!

And yes, green vest twinning with my boys is my favorite!

Here are some other fun tip tops I found – such a fun trend! Check them out and let me know what you think! I think they just scream spring – can’t wait to wear mine in the warmer weather! Are you a tie-top fan?

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one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine

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Are you into the tie-top trend?

Seen any good ones at any stores? Would love to hear about it!

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I’ve got a special treat for March! This month, Stella & Dot is giving me an UNLIMITED number of these super cool Setta necklaces {that can also be worn as a bracelet} to give away for FREE!! Who wants one? Send me a message!

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A.Mano Philadelphia – A Seasonal Italian BYO

This past weekend as a part of a Christmas treat for Charles {I got us tickets to the Game of Thrones Experience in Philadelphia – more on that next week!} we were able to sneak away for a few hours, prior to the live Game of Thrones event, for a little date night dinner! 

outfit details: cold shoulder top {under $20} / Pegasus Necklace / OTK Boots {on sale!}

We live in the Fairmount area of Philadelphia, and there has been one restaurant on our list we’ve been dying to try {without the kids} so when we knew we would be able to squeeze in a dinner before the show, we know A.Mano would be the perfect spot!

We even brought one of our special bottles of wine from our recent trip to San Francisco!

Also, I love a good BYO in the city! Can’t beat that!

We were overwhelmed by all the amazing options on the menu, so we decided to go with the tasting menu! For $65 each, we got 3 appetizers, 3 pasta dishes, 2 main entrees, 1 side and two desserts! It was SO.MUCH.FOOD! And it was delicious!

And can I take a minute to share my love for the bread and butter?! This homemade sourdough was incredible. Soft, moist and amazing – I’d go back again just for the bread, and the rest of the meal knocked my socks off, so that’s saying something!

Roasted Cauliflower | Golden Raisins | Pine Nut | Mint Calabrian Chili Vinaigrette

This was my pick for the appetizers, so I’m glad we got it in the tasting menu. So delicious, with a little kick! And I love raisins, pine nuts and cauliflower all together – a great combo!

Seared Spanish Octopus|  Cockles | Chorizo | White Bean | Gremolata

I only had a bite of the octopus, because I’m a big baby, but Charles really enjoyed this dish. I was in love with the chorizo and the delicious sauce! A little out of my comfort zone, but the little that I had was really good!

Veal Carpaccio | Caper | Parmigiano | Pickled Mustard Seed

This is not so much my jam. I did have a taste, but couldn’t really get on board with this one. But if you are a veal fan, then I’m sure you would love it!

Cauliflower Mezzaluna | Balsamic Brown Butter | Toasted Almond | Amaretti

This dish is EVERYTHING. The balsamic brown butter, toasted almond, it was ridiculously good. I might go back next time and just try all the pasta dishes on the menu – the three we had were amazing! This was my favorite – savory and sweet!

Lumachelle all’Amatriciana | Guanciale | Fiore Sardo | Marjoram

Ok, I LOVED this one too. Really hard to pick a favorite! This had a little kick to it, which I loved. It was so tasty and full of flavor, would definitely order this again!

Gnocchi Ossolani | Toasted Hazelnut | Fontina Fonduta | Sage

I love a good gnocchi dish, and this one did not disappoint! Really yummy – but as you can imagine, at this point in the meal, I was getting a little full! But looking at these pictures again, I’m getting hungry! Ha!

Brussels Sprouts | Pecorino | Chili | Lemon

A side of Brussels for the table. I think I ate all of these myself – sorry Charles!

Chicken Milanese | Salsa Rosa | Cipollini | Roasted Potato

I told the waitress I wasn’t as big of a seafood fan, so I believe she helped steer our tasting menu away from most of that, which was awesome for me. Charles would have been more adventurous, but I wanted to get food I knew I would love! This chicken was delicious and crispy – I think the salsa was my favorite part!

Braised Short Rib | Chanterelle Mushroom | Castelvetrano Olive | Carrot Puree

And another entree we got to try was the short rib, one of my favorite things! This did not disappoint – tender and juicy, the carrot puree was incredible!

Barely had room for dessert, but once donuts were brought into the equation, it was all over. These were stuffed with apples and had a caramel dipping sauce. Serious yum.

And I have absolutely no idea what this was called, but it was delicious – and it had figs, yum!

So if you’ve learned anything from this post, I hope it’s to always get the tasting menu, because it will not disappoint and you will leave having enjoyed SO.MUCH.FOOD!

Yum! I can’t wait to go back again soon!

Do you have a favorite restaurant or one that’s on your list you’ve been dying to try? Would love to hear about it!

outfit details: cold shoulder top {under $20} / Pegasus Necklace / OTK Boots {on sale!}

DIY Juice Cleanse Recipes

I loved sharing my experience with the 3-day BluePrint Juice Cleanse yesterday. It’s fun to step out of my comfort zone and try something different to share on the blog. A juice cleanse is no joke, but I survived and feel pretty good about it.

Since I shared with you the ingredients for the BluePrint Cleanse, I wanted to do a little round-up from my DIY version incase you wanted to try out any of the juices or even do a little cleanse yourself! If you are thinking about cleansing, you don’t have to do 3 days – you could do whatever you want! A day, a week, or even just replacing a meal or a snack with a juice, I think you will feel fantastic!

Everything’s better with a little juice!

Green Juice – An alkalizing juice mixture meant to get the body started & bring balance to our acidic systems. I used these ingredients to make a 24 oz green juice: 1/2 cucumber, 5 celery stalks, 3 small apples, small bunch of parsley, 2 handfuls of spinach, 2-3 stalks of kale, 1 lemon, 1 lime, a small nugget of ginger.

//  all throw into my juicer 

Spicy Lemonade – Juice mix focused on giving the metabolism a boost/jump start. For this You can use 2-3 lemons if you are using a juicer, or 3-4 lemons if you plan to juice them by hand. Once you have the juice from the lemons, add it to 14 oz of water. Then add about 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper & 1 tbsp of agave – those are the measurements I used, but you could add more or less of each to your taste. Definitely start with less of the cayenne if you aren’t into the spiciness of it, because it definitely gives the lemonade a kick

//  all throw into my juicer 

Carrot Juice – Full of healthy beta keratin. I used a 3-4 large carrots, 1 lemon, 1 lime & 3 small apples  along with about 5 celery stalks. Quick and easy, but full of flavor!

//  all throw into my juicer 

Beet Juice – Ingredients meant to keep energy/sugar levels up. This recipe calls for 1 beet, 2-3 carrots, 3 small apples, 1 lemon, 1 lime, ginger slice. Some cleanses do not use carrots for this juice, but others do –  Since beets aren’t my favorite, I added in the carrots to downplay the beet-iness of the juice. I also added a 1/2 cucumber at the end, to again, mask some of the beet flavor.

//  all throw into my juicer 

Cashew Milk – Dessert! Cashews are a great source of protein, but this milk/juice is a fantastic sweet treat to end the day. Here are the ingredients for the milk – 4 oz. raw cashews, 1 tbsp agave, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon, 16 oz water. This juice milk recipe is the first one that doesn’t call for an actual juicer. Al thrown into my my Vitamix and it comes out beautifully. Love this one!

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Do you have a favorite juice?

Would love to hear about it! 

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