Stilettos and Diapers: March 2013


Happy Easter, Love Us.

I really don't miss an opportunity to dress my kids up in adorable matching clothes and take their pictures. When A Personal Thing sent me these shirts, I started itching to bribe my boys to sit with some Easter eggs and take their pictures. 

Case in point. 
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As you can imagine, it turned into more of a giggle fest and a "Mommy blow this pinwheel because I'm going to laugh hysterically" party. 
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And then there's Cooper. My ham. I think the pictures he begs me to take are going to be serious ammunition for good behavior in high school. 
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This one is a tiny poser. Quite literally. He isn't nearly as well behaved as he's letting on here. 
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The boys will be wearing these shirts today for our annual neighborhood Easter egg hunt. I always host it and although it's 17 kids and lots of work, it's always a blast. 

If you're looking for personalized clothing for your kids, you MUST check out A Personal Thing! Holiday, big brother/sister, special event, you name it, you're covered. The prices are extremely reasonable and Jenny was a pleasure to work with. I already placed an order for special pieces for summer! 

You can find my easy tutorial for the Easter centerpiece used in the pictures, here

Happy Easter, everyone! 

All opinions are my own. I was sent 2 shirts as shown above. I was in no other way compensated.  

Pink Petals and Mint {A Fashion Post}

Y'all are all blah, blah, blah, enough about Blissdom. What did you wear? Well, lets get started. I wore 6 outfits there and you'll get them all over the next 2 weeks! First up, my favorite shirt EVER
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Top: Hazel and Olive, Jeans: Target (similar), Shoes: Target (similar - with jewel studs!), Necklace and Bracelets: Molly Suzanne
[I use affiliate links]

I love the sleeves of this shirt. They look flower petal-y. The buttons down the back and on the bottoms of the sleeve add cute detail, too. Of course, what's any outfit without a pop of mint these days? I'm obsessed. It's borderline crazy. 


Blissdom: Things learned, Friends made.

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If you missed my initial brain dump, you can find it here. But now we're on to the really good stuff. 

This was the view from our balcony. Which, is reason enough to have an amazing weekend, right? 
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It was actually my first time to go to the Newcomers meet up on Thursday night. It's a chance for new people to connect with others as well as the community leaders and it ended up being right up there with my favorite times of the conference. I had the opportunity to talk to so many fabulous people! 
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Some of the sessions I went to were a perfect fit for me. 

Scott Stratten kicked off the weekend on Friday morning. The thing that stood out the most for me, was him saying "you shouldn't do anything for your business (or blog) because someone said you should." Why do I do the things I do? To do what everyone else is doing? Each post I write, each review I say yes to should be because I want to do it, not because I feel like I have to. 

Anna Epp is an amazing photographer that did a Rock your camera session. Last year, during one of the evening events, I handed her my point a click and asked her to take a picture. She just looked like a nice lady, but I had no clue who she was. Of course she said yes and my roommate was gasping and poking me in the ribs the whole time. That event led to a twitter conversation, me getting a DSLR, then to me taking her session this year. I can't believe all the things I learned from that session! 

Megan Jordan spoke right to my heart. As she talked about multi tasking being a myth and the power of focusing on doing one thing well, I felt like I had a wake up call. She talked about time wasted scrolling the internet and "just one second-ing" your child's childhood away. My favorite quote of hers was "The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." Wow. 

Jon Acuff is an incredibly talented speaker who told us that honesty is the most powerful tool in blogging. I could quote him all day, but "Fear only gets loud when you do things that matter" is still ringing in my head. He also said "The starting line is the only line you can control". So often we fear starting because we can't plan the finish. But we don't have to. The finish line shouldn't be in stone. 

Good stuff, right?! And that wasn't the half of it! I also have the pleasure of seeing old friends and meeting new ones. My roomies were, Heather, Rachel and Natalie. They are precious and I'm grateful for the friendships that the internet has brought me! 
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It was my first time meeting Heather and I want her to be my neighbor. She is a blast. 
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This is my travel buddy, Kelly. Who we found out after following each others blogs for awhile, that we live 2 miles apart. She has an insane wardrobe.  
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I got to chat with AP and Jennifer on a couple occasions. Sweet as they can be and such wonderful mommies. 
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The folks at Bissell did my eyelashes. Because you know, vacuums and beauty go hand in hand. Hehe. They were over-the-top, dramatic awesomeness. 
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I'll call these the ones with the hearts of gold. Mandy and Mandy are always such uplifting and encouraging women on their blogs and I was so happy to hug their necks! 
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Then there was this guy. And although the coffee he represents was delish, he made me giggle. But obviously, a picture was needed. 
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And who thought I would break my tradition and NOT get a pic with this studly man? Chris Mann is always so nice wandering around the conference chatting with us and not just popping in for his performance. 
Chris Mann Blissdom
And to top it all off, I got a super professional headshot taken while at Blissdom. 

There were so many wonderful women I met for the first that I wished I had thought to get a pic with! Natalie, Lindsey, Ashleigh, Meredith, Megan, Katie, Heather, RaechelLindsey and Leah - just to name a few! I highly recommend heading over to all the ladies I linked here. They are sweet as they can be! 

That wraps it up for me. Will I attend Blissdom next year? You bet. Well, provided a bump or a baby don't conflict with the schedule!

Now head on over and check out Jon Acuff's new book. No seriously. The hubs and I can win a trip to go to dinner with him and Dave Ramsey. The hubs just may cry if I don't beg you to click over! 
Start by Jon Acuff


An initial Blissdom brain dump.

I got home late Sunday night from Blissdom. There are so many thoughts swirling in my head about things I want to write, but I didn't get started writing post until now. Actually, I just stayed in my pj's all day today and hung out with the boys. I missed them incredibly! 

Shout out to the most amazing hubs, who not only kept my children alive, but totally rocked the single parent weekend. The house was even clean, with cookies and wine on the counter when I got home. All the sliced veggies were eaten and all the antibiotics given. He didn't want to work today because he said he felt closer to the boys and wanted to just keep hanging out with them. 

I'm pretty much amazed at his awesomeness. 

Back to Blissdom. I think the word to best describe what I got out of this year is connectionI talked to way more people than I have in previous years. I spent much more time talking to the wonderful sponsors. I spent time talking blog strategy and bouncing ideas off bloggers that I respect. 

I did learn things as well. I went to some of the Life Development sessions and have been giving my priorities some deep thought. I learned legal things that I need to implement on my blog. I even learned what all those buttons are on my camera! I will say that I feel more convicted this year as opposed hyped and ready to take over the world like last year. Not a bad thing at all. I spend way too much time scrolling through social media, being completely unproductive. I needed a pop on my hand to let me know I needed to straighten my act up. 

I'm going to share some things soon that I learned while I was there. Megan Jordan and Jon Acuff (who wrote this book you need to check out!) were a couple that really inspired me and I want to share what they taught with you. And of course, you have about a week of Blissdom fashion post coming at you. Beautiful scenery and a convention center of people who don't think twice about me posing in a public place? WIN! 

I have seen complaints about blogger cliques and mean girls at Blissdom. Yes, there are groups of bloggers everywhere you go. Do they come off clique-y? Sometimes, yes. Have I ever felt inferior around groups of them? Yes. 

I know I'm guilty of being more comfortable with my people. The ones that have seen me without makeup and still like me. I'm an introvert. I really struggle around new people. You may see me out there chatting, but I really have to push myself. The hubs friends say they hardly heard me talk for the first 2 years we were dating. I'm not shy once I really know people, but putting myself out there is a huge step for me. I like being behind the computer. I won the chance to play the Maytag Spin Cycle Relay and before going on stage, I literally thought I would throw up. I'm panicked in front of people. 

If my insecurities have ever made people feel like I was mean or unapproachable, I sincerely apologize. That is an impression I never want to put off. 

One of the reasons I applied to be a Community Leader this year was to break out of my shell. I wanted to have to MAKE myself talk to people. I had a job to do. I'm so grateful for that opportunity because I talked to so many more people than I ever have. And it was amazing. This community is amazing. I want to do everything I can to prevent any negativity that runs in it. 

Blissdom was an amazing experience for me, as it has been the past 2 years. I can't wait to share more of the great things with you! 

The Band Perry at Merriweather Post Pavilion {GIVEAWAY}

Updated: Congratulations, Brandi! You've won! 

I know I'm not the only one that has a slight major love of Country music. I've loved it since I was little. You just can't take the Georgia out of the girl. 

One of my favorite bands, The Band Perry, is going to be coming to the DC area on May 18th and playing at the fab Merriweather Post Pavilion. I don't know about you, but I can't think of much better for a good time than a spring day, live country music and an outdoor arena. 

Merriweather is located in Columbia, MD on 40 wooded acres. They have hosted Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead along with the best in pop, hip hop, classical and more. It's a venue you need to check out! Head over here to see their summer line up and start planning for your favorite concert!

The kind folks at Merriweather Post Pavilion are giving one reader 2 lawn tickets to see The Band Perry with special guest Easton Corbin on May 18th! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below

If you love The Band Perry as much as I do, head over now and buy yourself tickets before they sell out!  

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was provided 2 tickets to give away to a reader. I was in no other way compensated. 


Easter Egg Cake Pops

With all my prep for Blissdom, I've have to think extra hard about the fact that Easter is just 1 week from when I get home. Along with all my planning, I've filled Easter baskets, prepped menus and gotten the stuff to make these Easter Egg Cake Pops again! Since I'm already off in Texas, I decided to share this easy and oh, so fun Easter treat with you again! 

You still have time to make these adorable treats for Easter!
I am completely in love with Bakerella's cake pops. Go check her out and get inspired!
They are actually pretty easy. Bake 1 box of cake in a 9x13. (I went with funfetti, because seriously, how cute is it?)
When it cools, crumble it up in a big bowl.
Mix in almost 1 container of frosting.
Then it will be nice and gooey.
Shape into eggs and chill, chill, chill.
I used the little candy melts in different colors from Michaels. I melted them in the micro in a tall glass and dipped the eggs on a stick in. (Tip: only take a few out of the fridge at a time. When they soften, they tend to slide down the stick.) The quickly put on your sprinkles because it dries fast! Push the sticks into Styrofoam to let them cool completely and refrigerate until set.
If they don't get eaten before they cool...
And your house is full of springy goodness!
These suckers are seriously good. I served them at our neighborhood Easter egg hunt and they were a huge hit!


5 steps to successfully leave your kids for the weekend.

I'm leaving my boys with the hubs for 4 nights today. He is fully capable of taking care of them, but I want to come home to a happy husband. One that didn't want to pull his hair out every time he went to serve lunch and it got thrown on the floor. I also want to enable them to just have fun. Not to spend 20 minutes looking for matching clothes, only to find the things in the back of the closet are a size too small and are ready to be packed up. I also want to be realized while I'm gone, knowing they have everything that they need all ready for them. 

Here are 5 things I'm doing to make the time easier on us all: 

Plan a Menu
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There's nothing more confusing to a Dad who doesn't normally prep meals for kids, than to stare blankly into a refrigerator. Clueless.

You don't have to make a set menu, but a list of possibilities is really helpful. Make sure you have all the ingredients to make the easy dishes you suggest and even prep some in advance. 

Prep Food
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Just because there is a menu, doesn't mean it will necessarily be followed. That's okay. But, the likelihood of your kids eating veggies instead of potato chips is much better if things are all prepped and ready to be served quickly. 

Lay Out Clothes
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One thing the hubs tells me, is that he never knows what to dress the kids in. Their sizes change so quickly, I don't switch over their closets as often as I should and it can be confusing. And let's face it. We pretty much live out of laundry baskets. I hardly have time to fold clothes and I hate it. Problem is, that makes it really hard to find the match to your sons favorite Hulk sock that he is begging to wear. 

Set out matching outfits, pajamas, socks and underwear. This will also save you embarrassment of your neighbors seeing your children playing outside in their pajamas.  

Leave Gifts
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I leave the gifts scavenger hunt style. A text each morning will give them their clue and help them remember that I'm thinking of them. 

Why yes, that is gifts hidden in the guest shower. 
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Leave Activities

A movie and popcorn, a new coloring book and crayons, or a gift card for ice cream are things that are a fun novelty that will give them something to do. 

Now this may all be completely overboard/showing my complete need for organization, but I think it makes things run around here a bit easier. It also takes away some of the stress from your hubs and allows him to focus on having fun with the kids! 

Aunt Jemima Lil Griddles

Aunt Jemima's new Lil Griddles are a way to make your mornings easier. With every batch made from scratch, your off to a healthy start of your day.

Read more here...


More elbow grease, with less work.

Feeling like you'd rather do just about anything than tackle that filthy shower? How about those countertops that have hairspray and toothpaste caked on them? You may need the power of a Quickie. 

Continue reading here...

The shape of me.

Last week, I posted this pic on Instagram and y'all wanted to know what I do as far as working out and eating. I've been working on getting in shape, training for my second half marathon and clean eating. I'm happy with the direction my body is going. It's not exactly want I want it to be, but I'm feeling more comfortable in my skin. Isn't that the goal?
Clean Eating, Fit Mom, Half Marathon Training
Motherhood has changed my body. I'm lucky, though. I didn't get much in the line of stretch marks, and my hips never expanded, (hence the 2 c-sections) so I still wear all my pre-baby pants. One things for sure. Body after pregnancy is just different. Stuff is looser, bumpier and sadly, saggier. 

Running, for me, is the best. It makes my legs look better, my tush move just a smidge higher and my waistline slim out. It's also a stress relief. I can pound the pavement for 30 minutes and it feels like the weight of the world was just taken off my shoulders. It also helps my back pain. After spinal surgery at 15, I do struggle to keep the back pain away. For some reason, the running helps so much. I think it simply strengthens the muscles. 

My workouts:

I run 3-4 days a week. I'm currently using this half marathon training schedule. I've been going to the gym early 2-3 days a week before the boys wake up. It's brutal. But I'm getting used to it and it's awesome to be done with my workout and showered before they get up. 

1-2 days a week, I try to do some type of cross training. Typically, that's a p90x DVD workout, like Plyometrics or Kempo, or Jillian Michael's 30 day shred. I LOVE Zumba and try to get to those classes at the gym, but it's just easier to do the workout at home. 

I do lots of random workout stuff. On the days I don't run, I do 50 squats and 50 lunges. I've also been doing bicep curls, overhead presses, and deltoid raises with 3 lb weights. I don't want bulk, just definition. From what I know, light weight, high repetition is the way to do that. I also love to do p90x ab ripper video. I try to do that a couple times a week. If I ever find myself on the floor (which happens often with my boys), I throw in some crunches. Or leg raises. I just try to do a little as often as I think of it. 

What I eat:

I think this has had the biggest impact on my body as of late. They say being fit is based 85% on your eating habits. We've been eating clean. Which basically means eliminated processed foods and avoiding sugar. It really isn't that hard and I feel great. What do we eat?

Whole foods. As in real food. Vegetables, fruits, beans, lean meats, whole grains, nuts and seeds. I try to stick to things with less than 5 ingredients. 

5-6 smaller meals a day. This keeps your metabolism revved up. My in-between meal "meals" are a handful of nuts and a couple pieces of dried fruit, veggies and hummus, or a Lara bar (which are delish, btw.) It's essential for me to have this stuff available or I will snack on goldfish or everything else that I see. 

Increase the protein and fiber. The hubs laughs at how many flax seeds I eat. They're so good for you! I put them on salads, pancakes and parfaits. I use greek yogurt in the place of sour cream, ranch dressing and in lots of recipes. I also use a lot of egg whites. 

I do eat carbs. I just do 100% whole wheat ones. You don't want processed, bleached flour. We eat whole grain pastas, brown rice and quinoa. Ezekiel bread is a great choice that has tons of fiber, too. I use honey and no sugar added maple syrup to sweeten things like oatmeal and pancakes. They are both naturally sweetened without being processed. 

My biggest tip? Shop the perimeter of the store. That's where I get most of my foods. And yes, I do buy some frozen veggies and fruits. I eat dairy. (Some clean eaters don't) I'm a busy mom, after all, and I have to be practical. 

And speaking of being a mom, I drink wine. But working out so hard makes me not want to splurge on that quite as much as I used to. It's all about moderation. And while we're talking moderation, I'm not about to skip a treat every now and then. Vacation? Birthdays? Give me cake. If I completely deprive myself, I know I'll never keep this up.

I know a lot of y'all have asked for recipes of the things I post to Instagram. I'm pretty much the worse recipe follower in the world and never remember what I happened to throw in. Every time I go to measure my ingredients to write it down for y'all, I mess it up! I'm working on my protein pancakes and clean crab cakes and will have those posted for you soon.

I've been inspired by so many of you runners, clean eaters and fit moms. Twitter, Instagram and blogs are such a wonderful way to stay motivated, connect with others doing what you're doing and find tips and recipes along the way. Thanks so much for all your encouragement. Y'all are amaze! 

I am not a trained fitness instructor or nutritionist. I have no idea what I'm talking about, really. This is simply what is working for me. Don't sue me if what I do doesn't work for you!


Grab Bag Group Giveaway!

So, I have these awesome Blissdom roomies, of the past and present, that wanted to get together to hook you up with sweet goodies! I happen to think anyone would be pretty freakin happy to get this grab bag! So go, meet my wonderful bloggy friends and enter to win! 

Everyone knows one of the perks of attending a blog conference is all of the swag you collect.
--it's also about networking, making new friends and spending time with old ones, but the stuff is pretty great too.

While we're all in Dallas having an awesome time with the Bliss Chicks, we didn't want you- our lovely readers- to feel left out so we've pooled our resources to offer one AMAZING goody bag.

Who's the we, you ask? Let us introduce ourselves:

Heather & Jessica of Saving Money, Living Life
Ashley of Ashley,Lately

And the super, awesome prizes that one lucky ready will win are:

  1. Bracelet from E McGarrah Designs
  2. $25 gift card for Erika Holmes Designs
  3. Premier bracelets sponsored by Ramblings of a Little Wife
  4. 4 ELF Make Up brushes sponsored by The Vintage Modern Wife
  5. Molly Suzanne gift card for $30
  6. Free 6 months subscription to EMeals
  7. The "I Love You More" Necklace from The Vintage Pearl
  8. Custom Embroidery Hoop from Ten Feet Off Beale
  9. Green Chevron Scarf from SweetTee Designs
It's super easy for you to win too. Just enter with one of the MANY easy options below.   The giveaway runs from today through Sunday at midnight. One winner will be announced on Monday.

The optional tweet can be done at least once a day for extra entries. Don't forget to come back and keep tweeting for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Feeling spring-y {A Fashion Post}

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I can't get over how miserable cold it still is in March. I just want to go to the park and run outside! As of yesterday, Coop and I are both on antibiotics. Him for bronchitis and me for the sinus crap that won't stop. We need some warmth around here! 

My friend from NY sent me this headband and it makes me feel even more springy. She has a store where she sells the most adorable handmade beauties. Hair bows, headbands, tutus and BOWTIES! Boys in bowties may be a weakness of mine. Like Two Sparrows on Facebook to keep up with her new products. She's always creating gorgeous new pieces! 

What's that? It's FRIDAY? And St. Patricks weekend? Holla!! 
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