Tuesday, November 27, 2012

cold weather + rosy cheeks

My morning routine as a mom and full-time NP has me craving short-cuts.
I'm thinking the "flushed cheek" look may be just the ticket.

With pink + crimson cheeks,
you need only apply mascara and chapstick to complete your daily look!
And that, my friends, is quick.

My favorite?  
NARS blush in Mata Hari

(Save the shimmery pink + bronze for sunny summer days.)

What are your favorite, classy, quick make-up tricks?

~images via Cup of Jo & Amazon.com~

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Random acts of kindness.

Today is   Thanksgiving   (Happy Turkey to you!!),
and the holidays only a few short weeks away.
What better way to get in the spirit by performing a few random acts of kindness?

My mom always used to tell us to do at least one R.A.O.K. per day. 
Not a bad theory, right?
After all, kindness begets kindness.

Need some inspiration? Don't worry, I have plenty,
(35, in fact!)
from simply remembering common courtesy
to performing more elaborate niceties...

35 Random Acts of Kindness
  1. When going through the Starbucks drive-through, pay for the coffee of the person behind you.
  2. If you're in a long line, and the person behind you only has a couple items, invite them to go in front of you.
  3. Shower the pediatric wing of a hospital with coloring books and boxes of new crayons from the dollar store.
  4. Leave your neighbors a note that tells them how much joy you find in admiring their garden, Christmas decor, etc.
  5. Hold doors open for others with a flourish.
  6. Put a sticky note with a positive message (e.g. "You look gorgeous!") on a restroom mirror.
  7. Pick up trash on your evening stroll.
  8. Ask the grocery clerk to apply your unused coupons to another customer's items.
  9. Arrange to pay anonymously for a soldier's breakfast when you see him or her dining alone.
  10. Donate your old professional clothes to an organization (e.g. "Dress for Success") that helps women jump-start their careers...and confidence!
  11. Be the bigger person:  Cede that parking space at the mall.
  12. Check "yes" when asked if you wish to become an organ donor.  (I sincerely pray nothing happens to you, but this single altruistic choice can literally save a dozen lives!)
  13. Give an elderly person or pregnant lady your seat on public transportation.
  14. Don't forget to give your mail carrier a little holiday treat (e.g. $5 gift card) for braving Mother Nature's elements...without them, how would you successfully send/receive your own holiday cheer?
  15. Participate in a holiday gift program for low-income children/families (e.g. Toys for Tots).
  16. Send a thank you note to the brave officers at your local police and/or fire station...it's important to acknowledge the daily risks taken by these men and women to keep your neighborhood safe!
  17. You don't have to wait for Teacher Appreciate Day to thank/compliment your children's teachers/caregivers!
  18. Send "real", heartfelt birthday cards to your friends and family.  Bonus points for being on time!
  19. Fold your husband's laundry and/or make him lunch.  Top it off with a sticky note that says "I love you!"
  20. Bring him coffee in bed while you're at it.
  21. Sing a co-worker's praises to their manager or on a comment card - a little recognition goes a long way.
  22. Donate old cell phones to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
  23. Volunteer at your church.
  24. Forgive someone.  Repeat as necessary.
  25. Leave a copy of a book you love, with a note for the next reader, in a waiting room.
  26. Load extra change into the vending machine or parking meter for the next person.
  27. Send somebody an e-card, just because.  The funnier, the better!
  28. Share happy memories.  Stick an old photo in the mail to a friend with a nice note about the day it was taken.
  29. Relay an overheard compliment.  
  30. On trash day, wheel your neighbor's can to the curb.
  31. Dedicate a song on the radio to someone you know is listening during his or her long commute.
  32. Pause and give people the benefit of the doubt...think before you speak (or type) to avoid unnecessary feather ruffling.
  33. Go ahead and shovel your neighbor's portion of the sidewalk while you're hard at it.
  34. Ask others, sincerely, what you can do to help them in their time of need.
  35. Pray.  Pray for everyone...and never stop!

Performing spontaneous, random acts of kindness gives you a buzz, a rush of goodwill!  It also may release oxytocin - the same brain chemical that surges when you hold your baby or snuggle a puppy - which also temporarily lowers blood pressure.  (Who doesn't need that during the stressful, bustling holiday season?!)
So in a sense, kindness is truly good for your heart.

Look closely and you'll see the generosity of everyday people everywhere.
All we have to do to change our own lives
is pass that kindness on.
So pay it forward, m'loves!

And Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!
I am so thankful for all of you,
and hope you are able to spend the holiday
eating delicious food with the people who matter the most.


~images via pinterest~

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Possibly one of the best things about the weather changing?
Loving ALL of these boot looks.

Particularly in the market for a new pair of black boots, but I'm having the worst time finding a pair that isn't too loose through the calf!  Zappo's and Piperlime, my standby's have, so far, turned up with no good options.  Boooooo.  

Guess I will continue to drool over all the great "boot" looks on pinterest!

~images via copygr.am., themannequinmd.tumblr.com, & pinterest~

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cranberry bourbon cocktail

Your Thanksgiving libation inspiration.

Original recipe via The Southern Peach

1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 c fresh cranberries
1 oz bourbon
1 oz cranberry juice (I used low sugar)
1 oz ginger ale
Crushed ice

*Note: Due to a flavorful profile, I wouldn't splurge on the Maker's Mark for this recipe.
Kesslers, Buffalo Trace, or Jim Beam should do the trick!

Muddle brown sugar and berries in bottom of cocktail shaker.
Add ice and remaining liquid ingredients.
Shake vigorously.
Pour over rocks glass full of ice.

Perfect, perhaps, with this lovely little appetizer, no?...

...apple, brie, walnut, and honey bruschetta.

Enjoy with family and friends!

~image via the southern peach & pinterest~

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Friday Five

It's  FRIDAY!!
Holla atcha girl.
I legitimately didn't think I'd make it this week.

Top 5 things I'm digging....ready, GO!

Feel good beats.
It is the start of the weekend, after all, and Miike Snow hits the spot.

More layers.
(Sorry, I just can't seem to help myself.)

Josephsbrau Dunkelweizen
An amber, unfiltered wheat beer.
The Blue Moon of fall/winter, if you will.
Buy it at Trader Joe's!

10-Minute Intense Full Body Crossfit Workout
About all I can muster in the realm of exercise these days,
but it at least it makes me sweat!

Making Your Baby Laugh
Always a goal, but even more so when your little one is feeling sick or fussy!
Peek-a-boo, smiling, funny faces, & his favorite songs are sure-fire methods for us.
What are your secret to make your baby squeal with glee?

And a few more links, just for f-u-n...

150 stocking stuffers...in case you're an early planner like me!

Dark red lipstick looks great on everyone - proof {HERE}.

Free printable banners.  I'd like to make one for every occasion.

One of my favorite pics of B.O. - how cute are they?!

Another cookbook that's making me hungry.

Thinking about make this pumpkin crunch cake on Thanksgiving.

10 travel websites worth bookmarking.

Have a fantastic weekend, m'dears!

~images via refinery29.com, tumblr, athleta / photo by b~

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The name game

Reese Witherspoon recently named her baby boy Tennessee James.
Is that kinda rad?  Or kinda sad?
I can't decide.

Here were the top names for boys and girls in 2011...

I've heard great things about the book Baby Names Now.
Perhaps I'll have to check it out before we start working on baby numero dos! 

I'm always curious to hear others' favorite baby names as mine are often changing. 
Would you name your child an off-beat name?
Or, one that is on the "popular" list?
Or, after a family member?

I personally wouldn't want my child to go through school with 5 other Isabella's in their class, but that's just me.  I also like names that sound phonetically perfect with their last names.  (Must be the perfectionist in me!)

What do you think?

~image via social security & king royal design~

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Welcome to my "hood".

Are these kitchens, namely those gorgeous hoods, amazing or what?!

I love big, open kitchens that are not cookie-cutter oak and that are conducive to cooking and entertaining alike.  Future home "musts"!

~images via pinterest~

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sick day.

The baby's been battling an ear infection, cold, and
antibiotic-induced diarrhea for a couple of weeks now.
Last night, I guess it was my turn.
I finally succumbed to a bug.
We're talking major VOMITUS.
And I may or may not have even pooped on the floor.

Spending the day in bed, only breaking to drink Gatorade and pump.
Trying not to be discouraged that it is only Tuesday and the week is young.

~image via pinterest~

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pomegranate Balsamic Beef

While {THIS} will forever remain "the" go-to pot roast,
this unique twist on a classic is really worth trying.

Original recipe {HERE} and featured on Oprah.
The warmly spiced and slightly sweet sauce is seriously scrumptious.
I wanted to drink it.

My only adaptations were the substitutions of pearl onions (fancy!) for yellow,
and dried cranberries for golden raisins.
To each his own! 

It is also gluten-free.

Oh, did I forget to mention that it's all done in the slow-cooker?

Serve over mashed potatoes.
I also roasted brussel sprouts and baby portabellas for a side - delicious pairings!
As was the pinot noir.
Fruity, spicy, melt-in-your-mouth, yummy.

Try this tomorrow.
You won't regret it!

~photos by b~

Saturday, November 10, 2012

7 months old!

Again, nearly 3 weeks late.
I'm terrible!
But better late than never, right?

Here is what's new and good in the life of Baby A...

Weighing in on 7 months at...
17lb 8 oz!
(We sadly only know this because within the past 2 weeks he has become a frequent flier at the pediatrician's office with his first and very persistent ear infection  We are currently on round 3 (THREE!!!) of antibiotics.  Boooo day care germs!  Hopefully they will mount an indestructible immunity in his school years to come!)

Likes & Accomplishments:

Super smiley and gurgly...making more and more noises each day.
Latest favorite?  "Bubba bubba!"

LOVES Curious George and music.
Enjoys his time in the Exersaucer...the rest of the world doesn't exist!

And rolling balls back and forth.

Seems to enjoy all the activity and interaction at day care.
Expert at tummy time, rolling, holding up his chest.

Eating well - new favorites  are spinach-pear and chicken-veggie soup!
(Still homemade!)
Goes crazy with the kicking and splashing in the "big boy" tub.

Sitting up with no assist.

LOVES books...especially turning the pages (and chewing on them!)

He was a hamburger and skeleton for his first Halloween!

Pops was Green Bay Packer Clay Matthews.

I cannot believe how fast time is flying.
Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here and gone before we can say "boo"!
God Bless you, baby boy.  
You are an amazing miracle I am grateful for each and every day!

~photos by b~

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Friday Five

Holy hot tamale.
Apologies for the incomplete post.
Let's reeeewind!

Here we go...

Bon Iver
I know, I know.
Not new to the blog.
The huzz, after all my praise, has finally succumbed to Bon Iver.
And thus, my love for Holocene has been rekindled!

Two-sided Fireplaces
No words needed.
Coveting this one from Lonny pretty badly.

J. Lohr Petite Sirah
Reasonably priced and deliciously smooth!
Perfect for a chilly weekend evening (if you know what I'm sayin').

Giant scarves.
So cozy!

20 [Surprising] Parenting Tips

I just love some of these!

And a few more fun links to end the week...

Some pretty spiffy baby/kid clothes.

I would like to make eat these sweet potatoes.

How to blow up photos for your walls.

And one funny for the road.


~images via Lonny, winespotter, pinterest / photo by b~

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Timeline of a breastfed baby

As the stress of a new job/career path and life and trying to the be the best mom and wife (and daughter and sister and friend) that I can be is taking its toll on me, combined with a lack of ample time to pump while at work,  I have sadly noticed a little decrease in my breastmilk supply.
What a sucky feeling!!

Needless to say (I'm sure other breastfeeding mamas out there will empathize), I have been beating myself up about this and feeling seriously distraught.  Especially after reading this great article!  


Thankfully he's eating 3 solid meals per day.
Yet, I'm so hoping to make it to that one year mark,
praying to make it at least to 9 months!

Any tips out there to get us through?

~image via

mustard + leopard

Loving this combo for the fall.
(Throw in some aubergine and I may love it even more.)

Case in point?

Ankle length mustard cords + leopard slippers

(I even love the pattern-mixing of the floral scarf!)

I actually broke down and ordered the slippers at the end of September and they are sadly back ordered until New Year's!!  Nooooooo!  But I got them at a sweet sale price, so I will withhold complaints.

Check out the array of colors their bootcut and ankle-length cords come in...

...the quintessential fall pant!

Get yourself to a Lands' End or Lands' End Canvas today.

~images via Lands' End~

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mid-week humor

First up? Suri's Burn Book.
"Her" snide wit still gets me.  What a snotty little brat!

(Those poor Jolie-Pitt's and Garner-Affleck's really have it comin'!)

Next?  Pintrosity.
A blog where people submit Pinterest projects that didn't turn out as planned.
This blog is hilarious and nearly as addictive as Pinterest!

(This, of course has never  happened to me.)

Happy Hump Day, m'loves.
Only a couple more days 'til Friday!

~images via Pintrosity & the daily beast~

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Political stance.

Isn't it crazy how we're willing to
complain about the state of education, the economy, and health care,
discuss in detail with our friends the risque pages of Fifty Shades of Grey,
get in heated debates over who's sports team is best,
or post to the social networking world how far we ran today
and/or what we're eating for dinner tonight...
yet many of us hesitate to speak our minds about our stance on particular POTUS candidates or other elected officials?   I think people should step up to the plate and at least be able to get the ball rolling with close friends and family.  It's this kind of back-and-forth that helps us form and share opinions.  

(With that being said, I'm pretty sure it is no secret whom I favor in this election...President Obama.  I think he better represents all  of Americans (especially "the 47%"...and certainly women!), not just the upper crust.  And I think we -- the middle class -- are  better off than we were 4 years ago.  Job reports continue to be on the rise.  Is there more progress to be made?  Absolutely.  But let's give the man another four years to realistically accomplish his (and our) goals!)
After all, an economy has to heal before it can be expected to grow.)

If you're still undecided as a voter,
don't make that an excuse not to vote in today's election.
Now is not the time to be apathetic!
Create a personal political profile at electnext.com and make an informed choice.

Today is one of the  biggest elections of our time.
And it is "the" year for women to step up, be heard, and get more involved!
So get out there and rock the vote, fellow Americans.
And God Bless the U.S.A.!

~image via ats~

Monday, November 5, 2012

Brown ale braised chicken

Brown ale is a hearty beer, a natural for cool-weather soups and braises!
It has a nutty flavor that can border on bitter,
along with a sweetness that can range
from caramel toffee to rich molasses.
And I think it is what makes this take on chicken stew so delightful!

Something about the smell and look of this comforting dish brings me back to Ireland.  After getting lost in the hills of Killarney, the huzz and I finally made it safely back to town and devoured some delicious chicken stews inside a warm roadside diner.
So, perhaps it's the dark beer.
Perhaps it's just the idea of braised meat & stew in general.
Or, perhaps it's the fact that I want to enjoy it on a cold, rainy day.  
Whatever the reason, it reminds me why I love cooking - it brings back memories!
And, it makes my tummy happy.
And will surely make your "meat ant potatoes" (and beer!) guy happy, too.

If you're not familiar with brown ales,  let me suggest a few:
Sam Adams Hazel
Newcastle Brown Ale
Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale
Abita Turbodog
Lost Coast Downtown Brown
New Glarus Fat Squirrel OR Sour Brown Ale

If you're not big into "darker" beers, have no fear.
Most grocers nowadays offer a "build your own 6-pack"...select 5 of your favorite brews and snag one brown ale for the recipe.  Win win!

This recipe will make roughly 4 servings at ~300 calories per serving.
A light and delicious stew!
I will raise my beer to that.


1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp fresh or dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

4-8 chicken thighs (skinless, skin-on, bone-in or bone-out)*
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery (reserve and chop the leaves), roughly sliced
~8 small carrots, roughly chopped
1 handful of fresh green beans, trimmed and halved (optional)
~3 small potatoes, cut into chunks (optional)
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 12-oz bottle of brown ale (see suggestions above)
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth**
Coarsely chopped celery leaves and/or fresh thyme (or parsley)

*I used 4 chicken thighs and the potatoes.   If you used 8, perhaps cut down on the veg OR add more chicken broth.
**If you don't have a big box of chicken broth in your fridge and don't want to crack open a can for just 1/2 cup, simply dissolve one chicken bouillon cube in 1/2 cup of boiling hot water.

Note:  You can substitute whatever veggies you and your family like.  I think mushrooms would be fantastic. Select anything that tastes good with chicken and you can't go wrong!


Preheat oven to 350.
In a small bowl, combine the spices; rub onto chicken and let stand 10 minutes.
In an extra-large oven-proof skillet OR dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken; cook until well-browned on both sides (or when skin is crispy).  Remove the chicken to a plate and drain all but 1 Tbsp of fat.

In the same skillet, saute all of the veggies for about 7 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Stir in flour and cook for one minute.  Stir in beer and broth.  Bring to a simmer.  
Return the chicken (and it's juices!) to the skillet.  Cover and bake for ~45 minutes.  

Spoon a ladle full of broth and veggies into a wide bowl.
Top with a chicken thigh...and behold it's glorious fork tenderness.
Sprinkle with celery leaves and/or fresh herbs.
Serve with a cold beer and a lovely piece of buttered cracked wheat bread (or two) to soak up all that delicious broth.  (This is a must!)

Then snuggle up with your love and reap the compliments.
And relish the fact that you won't have to wear stretchy pants in the morning.

And enjoy instilling lunch envy with your leftovers!

~photos by b~