Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015

John and I have been talking lots about what we want our Christmas celebration to look like over the coming years.

Chats include . . .

How do we do Advent?
Should we do Santa?
When do we hang decorations?
How many presents?
What kinds of presents?

Etc., etc.

While we still haven't made up our minds about everything, we've had some great discussions and are looking forward to Christmases yet to come, to put all our new family traditions to the test.

But this year, since John Paul is still super young and basically just wants to play with all the boxes and wrapping paper, we kept things simple. We traveled to Rhode Island to celebrate Christmas with my family this year, and it was wonderful.

We spent Christmas Eve introducing John Paul to the ocean.

His Auntie M came along for the adventure too!

And then we proceeded to party the night away with all my aunts and uncles and cousins, the yearly tradition. No pictures, since we were all wrapped up in the fun of it.

On Christmas morning, my mom snapped pics of us on the top of the stairs before being allowed to walk down and see the tree.

The tree in all her glory! This was the first year my parents got a fake tree! *SHOCKED FACE!*

John Paul loved opening gifts. Playing with boxes is his favorite!

Christmas morning Mass was lovely!

Followed by a day of relaxation, lots of eating, and playing board games with the family.

'Twas a perfect Christmas day.

We flew home the next morning, and John Paul got to open his one gift from us.

A Fisher Price little people Nativity. :)

And we're gonna keep on celebrating until the Epiphany arrives. We'll be blasting all the Christmas music (which we tried to avoid all through Advent!), eating more yummies, admiring Christmas decorations, and keeping the Christ Child alive in our hearts for a full 12 days. Oh, won't you join us? :)

Merry Christmas, friends!

When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.
Titus 3: 4-7

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Chopped Challenge: Husband vs. Wife Edition

Remember that time OVER A YEAR AGO when I said I'd post a video of our John vs. Stephanie Chopped challenge?!

Time sure flies when your husband takes his time editing the video. ;)

John and I competed against each other in a Chopped-style competition back in August last year. His sister and brother-in-law chose 5 secret ingredients that were revealed to us seconds before starting the competition timer. We had 30 minutes to make an appetizer dish that incorporated all 5 secret ingredients, which we then shared with the judges, John's family members. At the end of our food battle, the judges revealed the winning dish, much to our shock and surprise!

Who will win this marriage-testing cooking match-up? Watch to find out!

By the way, we call our version of this competition "Schopped", which is a play on the name of the actual show, Chopped, and our last name, which starts with Sch. 

Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mama's MilkBox: A Nursing-Friendly Fashion Subscription Box

You guys, we just hit the 6-month nursing mark . . . can you believe it?!

6 months felt SO FAR AWAY when we were going through all of our early nursing issues. But now, nursing is easy breezy and so, so wonderful. I love it and am thanking my past self for persevering. YOU GO, girl!

To celebrate 6 months of breastfeeding my big boy, I signed up for a mama treat. :)

A few weeks ago, a fellow nursing mama sent me a link to Mama's MilkBox, and I was instantly interested. It's basically Stitch Fix, but for nursing moms. Of course, it's not exactly like Stitch Fix. There are definitely a few differences in how they run things. But the overall idea is the same. You fill out a style profile, a stylist picks out several items for you, they ship them to your home, you try them on, keep what you like, send back what you don't.

Some of the bigger differences include . . .

Your first box is a mega-box. They send you several items (I got 9!) to bulk up your breastfeeding wardrobe.

After that, you receive a regular sized box (3-5 items) every 6 weeks until you decide to cancel. Canceling is easy and can be done at any time. Stitch Fix, on the other hand, always sends 5 items and you can pick how often you get a box.

There's no discount for buying all the items, which I interpret as . . . they don't mark up the cost of the items to account for a possible discount. :)

It costs $39 to purchase a box, but that $39 goes toward any items you purchase. If you send all your items back, the $39 will apply to your next box. Stitch Fix is only $20, but if you send all your items back, you lose that $20 forever.

With Mama's, you have to pay the shipping cost to send the items back, which is around $8. Stitch Fix covers the cost of shipping both ways.

You can't gain referral credits by getting friends to sign up, which again I interpret as . . . they don't mark up the cost of the items to account for referral discounts.

Since Mama's MilkBox is sending nursing friendly items, they only send tops and dresses. Who ever heard of nursing friendly pants, amiright?

AND since the company is a lot smaller than Stitch Fix, I've already found that they're much better at taking my suggestions and sending specific items I ask for. Both Stitch Fix and Mama's MilkBox have Instagram accounts where they post items they sell. Stitch Fix has never once sent me an item I liked, or commented on, or pinned to my fashion Pinterest board. On the other hand, Mama's MilkBox sent me probably 5 items that I commented on or pinned. That's some top-notch service right there, folks.

Curious to see what they sent?

Can you spot what makes them nursing friendly? :)

I've already worn one of them out and about, and let me tell you, nursing-friendly tops and dresses make breastfeeding soooo much easier! I mean, we were doing just fine with me wearing normal tops and just pulling them up to access the milky makers. But these items made just for nursing mamas make it easier to keep nursing more discrete in public. AND I can finally wear dresses again! Most of my old dress wardrobe just doesn't work anymore, since nursing in them means basically taking them completely off to get up to the girls. Not a problem at all with nursing-friendly dresses. Woohoo!

And some of them even double as maternity clothing! God-willing, there'll be another pregnancy in my future, so I can add these gems to my maternity stash as well.

Alright. Let's do a quick piece-by-piece review and I'll show ya how they work.

Mothers En Vogue - $89

This dress is what made me fall in love with Mama's MilkBox. I commented on their Instagram pic of this one and said, "Signing up now and would LOVE this dress." They heard me loud and clear. Actually, I like this one so much, I'm wearing it as I type. I wore it yesterday too. I nursed in public at John Paul's well-check appointment this morning and it was so easy! There are little hidden zippers near my underarm that zip down for nursing. Love it! Plus, it has these over-sized pockets on the sides which fit my cellphone perfectly. A mother's dream!  KEPT.

Mama's MilkBox - $49

It seems like Mama's MilkBox has their own brand! I love the simplicity of this top. The navy blue color is one of my faves. There's a panel on the front that lifts up for easy nursing. So cool! And it'll be a great piece for the fall, especially with a thick cardigan over top. KEPT.

Dote - $89

I definitely pinned this dress on Pinterest. :) Thanks for getting the memo, Mama's MilkBox! This one works similarly to the one above, where there's a panel on the front that lifts for easy nursing. It's super cute in general, but I just wasn't feeling it once I tried it on. Also, you can't tell from the picture above, but space was kind of limited for the girls in this one. Too tight in the bust. Plus, I think the pale pink doesn't really work with my skin tone. Oh well! RETURNED.

Boob - $89

Another one that I pinned and love the look of! And another panel top. But the fit wasn't working for me. Overall, it's too baggy and probably a little too long. The color combo and polka dots have me swooning though. Sigh. RETURNED.

Milk Nursingwear - $45

Actually, I pinned this one too! You probably can't make it out in the picture, but it has a lovely lace detail up top. And I love the length of the sleeves. But it felt just a bit baggy on me. And I'm starting to think I don't like dresses made of the jersey knit material, unless they're really something special. Otherwise, they all start to seem like the same ol' dress to me.  RETURNED.

Bun Maternity - $39 

You can't tell from the picture, but this top has snaps up on the shoulder that make the straps of the shirt easy to pull down for nursing. Actually, each side has two shoulder straps, so even while you're pulling one down to nurse, the other stays up, making nursing super discrete.This tank top would be a great piece for layering, and I love the stripes! But it was wayyyy too tight around my bust and too small overall. RETURNED.

Milk Nursingwear - $55

Another jersey knit dress that makes me go, "meh." RETURNED.

Boob - $59

A plain, teal top with a lacey v-neck and a panel style for nursing. Again, "meh." It would be great for layering and is a lovely staple piece, but I was kinda bored by it. Also, I wasn't digging the lace detail on this one. RETURNED.

Loyal Hana - $79

I pinned this top on my Pinterest board too because . . . SWOON! Isn't it lovely?  I would have never imagined such a fun, fashion-forward nursing-friendly top! At first I wasn't sure since it's a little baggy, but I'm thinking the bagginess totally works with this look. For nursing, there are little zippers hiding near my underarms that zip down the v-shape on the front of the shirt. Sneaky, right? And a huge bonus with this one is that John Paul has some red and black flannel pants that match it perfectly. Mom and baby in matching outfits? Super win! KEPT.


And there you have it! Nursing fashion for the win!

I have to say, I'm pumped to get my next Mama's MilkBox in 6 weeks. Sorry, Stitch Fix, but you're on hold for a while.

Unrelated to this, I also backed a nursing dress kickstarter a few months ago, so I'll be adding those to my nursing wardrobe soon too. :)

You probably noticed that nursing friendly clothes are kinda pricey. Eek! I wasn't exactly expecting that. But I'll probably just keep one or two pieces from each box in the future, and that'll keep things a little more affordable overall.

Now, if someone could point me in the direction of some nursing bras that hold up the girls as high as my favorite non-nursing bras do ... well, that would be a HOME RUN!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Naming John Paul Fulton

When you're out and about with a baby, you get lots of attention. One of the first questions most folks ask is, "What's his name?" To which we reply "John Paul", and to which they reply with a variety of fun reactions.

Some folks say, "How beautiful!"

Others say, "Is that biblical or something?"

And others, "Like the Pope?!"

We sure are wearing our Catholicness on our sleeve with a name like that.

While we were pregnant, we decided to not decide on a name for baby. We had a (long) list of names for a boy and another (long) list for a girl and we'd make our name decision once we saw our little one's face for the first time.

In order to make "the list", the names had to be a saint's name, a future saint's name, a derivative of a saint or future saint's name, or a family name. Extra points for saints or to-be saints with cool stories. Also, the name couldn't be too popular. I tend to like traditional names that are a little off the beaten path, but not too far off (i.e. St. Sexburga . . . what?!). And I really like nicknames, so if the name had a good one, I liked it even more. Sometimes I'd even think of the nickname first and try to find a saint's name that matched the nickname. Naming really is a fun game!

You'd think that with all those requirements, we would be able to narrow things down a bit, but GOSH there are a lot of saints and to-be saints out there with wonderfully classy nicknameable names!

I spent a lot of time sorting through names on this alphabetical catalog of all the saints and once I found ones I liked, I'd head on over to the Social Security website to check the popularity of the name in the US over the past 10 years. In order to make the cut, it couldn't be in the top 20, especially if it was a girl's name. I like for girl's names to be even less popular . . . out of the top 100. I was serious about names, folks!

Once a name made my list, I'd bounce it off John and try to imagine calling our child by that name throughout his or her life. I'd occasionally run names by friends or family members, but I found it was best to decide on names just between the two of us, since everyone has naming opinions, and they differ wildly!

Once a name made our list, we worked on pairing it with the perfect middle name, which was typically where the family names came in.

After all that searching, we were hoping the perfect name would become obvious once we laid eyes on our newborn, but were also prepared for our baby to go nameless for a few days if we couldn't decide. :P

All that being said, we were pretty sure if baby was a boy, he'd end up being named for his father: John. The name "John" goes pretty far back on his side of the family. All the first born sons have been named John for at least the past 3 generations, with all the men having different middle names (so there's no Sr., Jr., III). My husband, John, was open to going with a different name on the list if baby didn't look or feel to us like a John, but I could tell he really wanted to honor his family by continuing the family tradition. And I was all for making that happen.

However, I really didn't want two guys going by the same first name in our house, like my husband experienced when he lived under his parents' roof. (When we go over there, there's still confusion whenever someone says "John"!) So that's where more creativity came into play.

Since our baby boy's first name was going to honor John's side of the fam, we figured his middle name should honor my side. As luck would have it, guess what my dad's name is . . . Paul!

So, while at first glance it appears we named John Paul for St. Pope John Paul II, we also named him for both his grandfathers -- John and Paul. How cool is that?

And though his first name is just John, we enjoy calling him John Paul so there's no confusion as to who I'm talking to or about at any given moment. We also like that if he decides he'd rather just go by John some day, he has the option, hence "Paul" as a middle name.

For whatever reason, we also decided he needed a second middle name. I think part of it was because we just like so many names, so we wanted to throw another one in there. And as a former infertile, you have no idea if you'll be able to have more in the future, so I sorta felt like . . . gotta use 'em while we can!

Because we were pretty certain about the name John Paul, it was really the second middle name that we left undecided until after he was born. The two we were deciding between were Fulton, for Blessed Fulton Sheen, who is so awesome and we've both loved for a long time, and Peregrine, patron saint of illness, but more importantly the saint that Pippin from Lord of the Rings was named for. ;) We also toyed with Benedict and Francis, but then we'd be double-Pope-ing our kid, Pio, for St. Padre Pio, and Patrick, because John liked that name at the last second and it sounds good with John Paul.

But once our little man arrived, it was clear he was meant to be John Paul Fulton.

So there you have it . . . the long version of where our little man got such a big name from. :)

And in case you were curious, I'll share all the other names we were considering. Don't be too surprised if we use them (God willing) in the future, but since John Paul's birth, I've already discovered a few more names that I love. I'll keep those newer ones a secret for now. ;)

PS - If you're as name obsessed as I am, check out this Catholic naming blog, Sancta Nomina. She even does naming consultations! Be warned, you can easily get lost in her old posts for hours. :)

Friday, October 9, 2015

That Time the Internet Helped Me Answer 7 Questions

I have the best internet friends ever!

Three weeks ago, I threw a post out there, asking for help with 7 things I just couldn't figure out on my own. And you answered. It was AWESOME!

So now, I give you a follow-up post, in which I reveal how I solved my 7 problems using the help of a bunch of great internet friends.

(For reference, here's the original post.)


Question: What are your favorite easy recipes?


Ok, so as it turns out, there are a ton of delicious, easy recipes out there. Thanks for sharing them with me. Here are some of my favorites:
(Recipes without a link can be found in the comment section of the original post.)

 Lauren suggested eMeals, which I haven't checked out yet but may be interested in if I get in a serious food rut sometime soon.

And Danielle recommended checking out America's Test Kitchen: 30 Minute Meals from the library, which I attempted to do, but someone got fussy in the time it took me to get a library card and I didn't end up with time for book hunting. Next time, library. Next time. 

I've also recently discovered a site called I Am That Lady, which features very easy crockpot meals with ingredients all purchased at Aldi. Easy meals with very affordable ingredients? Yes please!


Question: Do you know of anyone interested in learning the Creighton Model of natural family planning?



A handful of internet friends have reached out to say they're spreading the word for me. And since that post, I've picked up two new clients! So now I only need four more by December. YAY!


Question: What's an easy way to style wet hair?


I got lots of great suggestions here too! For example:

Unfortunately, most are a bit more complicated than I have time for. :\ Though, they'll be great when I have some extra time preparing for special occasions, like date night.

HOWEVER! I recently got a haircut. I took off a few inches which has made bunning and braiding even easier! So at least there's that. :)


Question: Why does my baby fight sleep at night? Help!


Babies are weird. lololol

No, but seriously, many friends mentioned the dreaded four-month sleep regression, which was likely causing some of our issues. Thanks for reminding me of that lovely milestone. :P

Actually, two days after posting, I realized that if John Paul got a quick cat nap between 8 and 9pm, he fell asleep suuuuper easy when it was time to go down for the overnight. So, solved that one, kinda on accident. Major win!

Letting John Paul play with a shirt I've worn, as suggested by Madeline, has also been a huge help!

And giving him a small dose of Tylenol when he's in pain from teething has helped with a few naps too. Thanks, Anne!

BTW, there are a ton of other great sleep tips in the comment section of the original post if you're needing more sleep wisdom!


Question: What can I do to make grocery shopping with a 4-month-old easier?


I got so many great suggestions here.
  • Several encouraged me to wear John Paul if he's up for it. Check!
  • There's also this awesome baby hammock that Erin shared with me. 
  • Madeline suggested propping John Paul up in the cart seat until he can sit on his own OR putting grocery baskets under the cart and filling those while baby sits in the car seat in the cart.
  • If your cart has hooks under the baby seat, Justine suggested hanging bags there and putting your groceries directly into the bags. 
  • Stephanie recommended, which, in her brother's words, is and Costco's love child. I could shop for dry goods and non-perishables from the comfort of my own home.
  • Danielle shared a link to this cart seat thingy, which includes a pillow to prop up babies that need extra support.  

After reading Danielle's suggestion, I realized we already own something exactly like that! My aunt and uncle bought it off our registry for us before John Paul arrived, but it was being stored until he was ready for it. Turns out, he's ready for it! I promptly brought it out of storage and took John Paul to the grocery store with it later that day. It worked perfectly!! Problem solved. :)

And look at how happy it made him!


Question: What are daily prayer/Bible readings/reflection resources you use?


All wonderful resources, friends! 


Question: How do you remember to drink water throughout the day?

  • Amanda suggested leaving several water bottles throughout the house and asking your husband to keep an eye on them (and fill them) for you. She uses nalgene water bottles with the drink insert.
  • Lucky uses infuser water bottles to make drinking water more desirable. 
  • Justine like the water reminder app called Plant Nanny.
  • Kate shared Motivational Bottle with me, which has motivating messages along the side to encourage you to drink more.
  • Lauren uses this Thermos water bottle and a Contigo water bottle that's similar to a Camelbak, but the spout is contained and hopefully less germy.
  • And Cryptic Star recommended this bkr glass water bottle.

In the end, I sorta combined a bunch of these recs and ended up purchasing this glass Contigo water bottle from amazon. I like that it's glass with a stainless steel top, easy to drink from, and has a  carrying loop, which comes in handy when I'm carrying an 17-pound baby around all the time. Oh, and it was also $13. Score.

I'm happy to report that, since my new bottle arrived, my water intake is WAY up and I haven't felt faint (aka dehydrated) ever since. Yay!



Thank you so, so much! It was a blast reading through all your answers. And I'm thrilled that within a week, I had answers to all my big issues. What great support! You guys rock!


Friday, September 25, 2015

7 Things I Could Use Your Help With Right Now

Hi, friends.

For the most part, I'm starting to get my new life as mom-with-infant-living-in-new-town in order. 

But there are still a handfulla things I could use some help with. Since it's Friday, I'll list my top seven . . .


Easy recipes, please! 

We're talking . . . 
  • ready in 30 minutes or less OR easy to prepare in pieces throughout the day
  • minimal chopping/prepping
  • moderately healthy
  • crock pot recipes are great too
Any suggestions? 

Some of our all-time favorites are Tortellini Salad, Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, and Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup, for reference, and because I like to share. :)


In order to finish my Creighton Model training on time, I need 6 more clients by December. Yikes! Do you know of anyone interested in learning the Creighton Model? If they don't mind long-distance learning (via Skype or Google Hangout), I'd love it if you could send 'em my way. Email me at stephaniecrms {at} gmail {dot} com.


What are some quick ways to make your hair look nice when it's still wet and you don't have time to dry it? (Or you have a baby who's scared of blow-dryers.) 

So far, my go-tos are buns, headbands, and braids. Is there anything else that makes wet hair look better?


John Paul is really weird about sleep. Like, really weird.

I probably already have an answer for this one: Read a sleep book. BUT if any of you have experience with a sleep-fighting four-month-old and have had success with making bedtime more pleasant, I'm all ears.

Some nights, John Paul goes to bed so easily. We put him in his bassinet, he wiggles around for a little while, then drifts off peacefully. But other nights, like the past two, he cries and shrieks A LOT. Sometimes he'll eventually drift off, other times he'll cry and scream for 15 minutes straight, and the only thing that works is picking him up and starting his sleep routine over again. We sit by his bassinet and try to help, but eventually his crying gets him so worked up, he's wide awake. It took us TWO hours to put him to sleep last night. Eek! He fought us until 11pm. We've tried putting him down earlier, starting at 7pm or 8pm, but he fights that even worse. We can tell he's exhausted because he falls asleep and stays asleep while I nurse him, and he's rubbing his eye and yawning a ton, but as soon as he's in his bassinet, if it's a night he's decided to fight, it's really pretty rough. 

Is this just a normal phase that babies go through?



When you're out and about, shopping with a 4-month-old who can't sit up on his own yet and therefore can't sit in the cart, what do you do? 
So far, my solutions are:
  • wear him, but sometimes he doesn't want to be worn.
  • keep him in his car seat and put him in the basket of the cart, but then I have hardly anywhere to put my groceries.
  • wait til John has time off and go grocery shopping together. I like this one. :)
  • carry him in my arms, but then I'm shopping one-handed and that slows me down a fair bit. I also worry he'll wiggle out of my arms.

Is this just a phase that gets way easier once he can sit up in the cart? What do you do before cart-sitting is a possibility?

(PS - Putting the car seat up on the front of the cart is a big no-no for me. I've heard stories of babies falling that way.)


While I LOVE the idea behind Blessed is She and the daily reflections they send straight to my inbox, I'm just not connecting with most of their reflections lately. 

What other daily prayer/Bible readings/reflection resources do you use?


Is there a special water bottle out there that makes you want to drink more water throughout the day?

I find that I forget to drink water verrrry easily and end up shaky, overheated, and faint before I remember to fill up a glass and drink some more. Eek!

I used to drink lots when I was using my Camelback water bottle, but then the spout grew mold several times (SO GROSS) and I've been against it ever since.

How do you remember to drink water throughout the day?


Thanks, friends!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fashion Box #11

I took a bit of a break from Stitch Fix after they sent me three boxes in a row of overpriced maternity items. The final straw was a fix that I disliked so much, I didn't keep a single item. Several dresses at around $100 a piece and items that definitely did not fit my style profile . . . not my idea of fashion fun. And when I wrote to them expressing my dissatisfaction, in as polite a manner as I could fashion, I heard nothing back. Nada, nil, zilch.

After that fix, I decided to give up on Stitch Fix forever. But of course, several months later, the itch returned. An itch caused by two things. First, two people had used my referral link, so I had $50 in credit to spend. (Darn you, Stitch Fix, and your all-too-sneaky referral program!) And second, I haven't bought many clothing items for myself post-pregnancy. So I was ready to give them one more chance to get it right. One more chance.

Well, thanks to a stylist named Justin (my first fix styled by a man!), my relationship with Stitch Fix may be on the mend.

I asked for nursing friendly dresses, a patterned maxi skirt, and a purse that could be used as a diaper bag. Here's what I got in fix #11 . . .

Maxi dress, teal dress, gray top, blue and pink maxi skirt, and tote bag.

Let's chat about each, piece-by-piece.

Maxi Dress - $88

This dress checks a lot of the right boxes. The fit was flattering. The colors are totally my colors. I love the design along the bottom. It was definitely nursing friendly, as I had requested. And I felt pretty good in it. BUT. There are a few big buts here. It was too long, meaning I'd have to pay more to have it hemmed. My bra was in plain view under my arms, tisk tisk. And, worst of all, I felt I wasn't going to get a lot of wear out of this maxi dress this season. The weather's starting to change here, so I'd probably get, tops, 4 more weeks out of it. Not worth it to me. RETURNED.


Teal Dress - $64

This dress did not check any of the right boxes. Ok, so part of it is that I'm not wearing the most supportive bra. But that's kind of unavoidable right now. I'm actually wearing one of my must sturdy nursing bras in this picture, so it ain't gonna get much better than this. Anyway, I also wasn't able to pull down the cowl drape front low enough for nursing, meaning I'd have to pull the dress up from the bottom to nurse. Big no-no. And finally, I already own 2 dresses in this color, including one I purchased from Stitch Fix about a year ago. So my wardrobe, plain and simple, didn't need this dress. RETURNED.

Gray Top - $44

While there's nothing special about the look of this top, I love it. I love how lightweight and stretchy it is. I love the feel of the material. I love the hi-lo hem along the bottom. I love the neutral color. And I love how I can wear this under cardigans or blazers throughout the fall. While I wouldn't normally spend $44 for a top, I had those credits to spend, so I went for it. Plus, I couldn't wait to cut the tags off and wear it. That doesn't happen often for me, so I knew it was worth holding on to. KEPT.

Blue and Pink Maxi Skirt - $58

Here's an example of "you get what you ask for." I asked for a patterned maxi skirt and I sure did get it. Unfortunately, I felt the pattern was a bit loud. And just like with the maxi dress, I felt I wasn't going to get much wear out of it through the fall. On top of that, I also didn't love the flow of the skirt along the bottom. AND they sent me a nearly identical maxi skirt  in a fix about a year ago, which I didn't keep. So, it was very easy for me to send this one back too. RETURNED. 


Reversible Brown/Black Tote - $48

When I requested a purse that could be used as a diaper bag, I actually requested this specific tote. I follow Stitch Fix on instagram and when I saw it in a recent pic of theirs, I wanted it stat. We have this diaper bag and it works quite fine, but it's pretty cumbersome when I'm just going on quick trips out and about with John Paul. I wanted something more feminine and versatile. So I requested the tote I saw on instagram and hoped they'd send it along. I was a little bummed when my stylist said he couldn't get it for me, but the tote he did send made me forget about it real fast. This reversible tote was love at first sight. It's the perfect size, I'm digging the easy magnetic closure, and it even came with a small pouch for smaller items. Just what this momma ordered. KEPT. (And already using the heck outta it.)


So, whatcha think?

I'm thinking I'm glad I decided to give Stitch Fix a second try (ok, technically 11th try :P). While they still haven't sent me a MUST KEEP ALL THE ITEMS fix (which, btw, gets discounted: 25% off), I feel like they're back on track again. I loved most of the items, felt they were all pretty much in line with my style, and the prices weren't that outrageous.

If you're interested in trying out Stitch Fix for yourself, feel free to use my referral link. I get $25 toward my next fix when yours ships. No pressure, just throwing it out there in case you're interested.

By the way, not pictured in the photographs above . . . my little fashion critic, who was hanging out by my feet through the whole fashion photo shoot. :)

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Quick Takes


I am currently obsessed with homemade cold brew iced coffee. I blame Kat

It's super easy to make and oh-so-delicious. I like to mix in 2% milk with 1 tsp of Stevia and 2 pumps of syrup (currently using Irish Creme syrup). Oh my word.

Extra points for serving it up in a mason jar.

Yum yum yum yum yum!

To summarize: Yum.


Am I crazy for wanting to brew Kombucha next? 



My husband does not like watermelon. He says it tastes "sickly sweet." WHAT IS THIS?!

FINE. More for me.


John Paul gives me this weird look while he's pooping. He smiles at me like he's only feigning interest in the sport of social smiling, while simultaneously staring daggers into my soul with his big blue eyes, occasionally with a squint. Then: poop.

Hilarious. Every time. 

This recipe --> Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili

. . . is really really really really really good.


(Also, easy.)

John Paul is 4 months old today. 




We have recently become obsessed with the show Parks and Recreation. Like, obsessed. We watch at least 3 episodes a day and quote it approximately non-stop. We're about halfway through season 6 and I'm already SO SAD there's only one season left. Whhhhhhyyyyy? (That was my best Tom Haverford impersonation, obvi.)

Any recommendations for a similarly awesome show?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Welcome to Our Apartment! A Tour of Our New Home

Welcome, welcome!

Now that we're finally starting to feel settled in our new home (glad that only took 3 months. . . sheesh!), I'm ready to show off pics of the new digs. 

We're still working on a few things, like hanging more stuff on the walls and finishing the nursery, but for now, it's perfect. 

Won't you come in?

(Here are some pics of the model apartment I posted way back before we moved, for reference if you're interested.)

Upon entering the front door, you walk right into our wonderfully spacious kitchen. 

Behind the opened double doors you see above is our little laundry room.

And next to our laundry room, our happy hour station. :)

Loving this poster and drink cart combo.

We bought the poster during our 2nd anniversary trip to Nashville and the cart was a Christmas gift from John's sister.

The kitchen leads right into the living room and dining room.

We just hung that wooden wall art a few days ago. It's so lovely, it makes me feel the happies inside whenever I see it. Which is, like, all the time, because I live here. Cool.

See our overflowing shelf of board games hiding behind the table? And that beautiful, framed print of Madonna and Child?

Through the arched doorway you see above is a guest bathroom and . . . 

The nursery!

We finally have the bare bone pieces all put together, so now it's time to work on decorating the walls and bringing some FUN and COLOR to John Paul's room. Lucky for us, John Paul doesn't sleep in here yet, so we still have time. We're probably going to kick him out of the pack n' play in our room around 6 months, so I've got 2 months left to find some more nesting urges and jazz this room up a bit more.

This is back out in the main room, facing the other direction. On the left is the kitchen, on the right is our sunroom (which we opted for over a patio), and through that door straight ahead is our master bedroom.

While we miss our patio space, we love the extra indoor space this sunroom gives us. I have no idea where we would have fit the desk and office stuff otherwise.

Also, look at all that gorgeous sunlight! LOVE.

We're using this sunroom closet for all our kitchen gadgets and gizmos.

Ladies and gentlemen, the desk from which I am typing this post . . .

A view of the main room from the sunroom . . .

And some neat/funky/weird wall decor we bought recently at Target . . .

Finally, some pictures of our master, which were taken later at night because someone was napping in his pack n' play while the other photos were being taken.

Diaper changing central. A bit of a mess. Eep! Any suggestions for organizing?

And this is how we organize John Paul's wardrobe. Eep! Another mess.

The master bathroom is a bit more spacious than in our last apartment.

Bathroom mirror selfie!

And that's a wrap!

Hope you enjoyed your stay! It's too bad you can't hang out a tiny bit longer. I was just about to throw some cookies in the oven. Perhaps next time. ;P

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