Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekending {Finally}

Well, here it is almost 2 p.m. and I'm just now linking up with Biana and Meghan for Weekending! To say it has been a crazy few weeks in work land would be quite the understatement, so I'm finally getting around to writing this post and reading about your weekends! 

After the stressful week I had, Brandon and I came home and split a bottle of Dark Horse Cabernet {which was amazing!} and enjoyed some of Brandon's homemade pizza. He attempted to make his own dough this time, and it was awesome. I've told him he has to make it again! We watched "12 Years a Slave" {well, he watched and I fell asleep}. 

And a certain little man found his way into the pantry and poured out the Halloween candy when Mommy wasn't looking! 

We watched Baylor lose terribly to unranked West Virginia. It was awful. I still can't get over the ridiculousness of that game. Even Walker was yelling at the TV! Ha! 

Mummy jammies from Gymboree

Walker and Oliver curiously "played" with each other while Brandon and I did a few things around the house.

After the game, we went to my niece, Ellie Kate's, first birthday party! My sister-in-law had everything decked out and the birthday girl was as cute {and sweet} as ever! 

Ellie Kate excited as we all sang "Happy Birthday" to her...

Our family at the birthday party

Walker and his cousin, Brayden, testing out Ellie Kate's new car gift 

Walker and his Mimi at the party {Brandon's mom}

Walker's outfit: Baby Gap; Shoes: Sperry

Walker decided he wanted to have a party at 11 p.m., 3 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. {which he never does so we were super confused and finally realized he's cutting the top two teeth}, so we were super lazy bums all day.  I managed to make my way out of the house and get a pedicure, as well as make some of Walker's food, so at least I was somewhat productive! 

Brandon and Walker put on their Cowboys gear to watch the game {Yay, Cowboys!} and then we all hit the hay super early. 

Clearly it was a riveting weekend! ;) Hope y'all have a great week!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! 

I'm linking up with Christina, Darci, April and Natasha for "Five on Friday"; Lauren for "High Five for Friday"; and Amy and Karli for "Oh Hey, Friday!" 

Have I shared with y'all how obsessed I am with this lipstick {in Viva Glam II} and this lipgloss {in Love Nectar}? 

Liz got me super obsessed with it, and I have received so many compliments on the color. I wear both together at the same time and it's the perfect pink-y neutral. I buy mine online from Nordstrom {hi, free shipping}, but you could also get it at any MAC store near you.

Brandon and I have been on a wine detox since our trip to Fredricksburg. I haven't had a sip of it since Saturday afternoon on our wine tour, and coming from this wine-o {with an insanely stressful job}, that's a huge deal! Ha! 

We have been drinking this detox tea every night and drinking more water than I know what to do with. I also have been making really yummy salads for dinner every night this week {more to come on that next week!} and I can already see the bloating in my face and lower belly starting to go away. Amazing how that works, right!? ;) 

And of course, I'm going to ruin it all tonight with a Mexican Martini and fajitas at our local Tex-Mex restaurant. 

My niece's first birthday is today, and I can't quite believe it has been a year since sweet Ellie Kate was born. We are excited to celebrate with her tomorrow! {And can't quite believe that our Walker will be one in three short months!} 

I'm over Ebola. OVER. IT. Living in Dallas and working in a school system has me basically needing all the chocolate in the world at this point. 

Of course, I have to close out this post with Walker's #babyselfie. I can't even with this adorableness. 

Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas for Teachers

Yep, you read that title correctly! 

I know it's only mid-October, but I get started on my Christmas gift purchasing pretty early around here, and I have already been thinking about Christmas gift ideas for Walker's teachers that aren't food. Not that there's anything wrong with cookies, peppermint bark or a bundt cake; but those gifts are just another set of sweet treats that pile up on their counter and, let's be honest, make that number on the scale tick up just a smidge. 

Plus, I feel that someone who watches my child for 7.5 hours a day deserves a bit more than Williams-Sonoma peppermint bark. {Though that stuff is amazing.}

Here are of my favorite non-food Christmas gift ideas for teachers: 

-Hand Soaps-
I personally love a good hand soap and often splurge on great ones to gift people. Bath & Body Works has my absolute favorite ones! They smell great and come in a variety of types: deep cleaning, specialty {read: spa-like} and foaming. Plus, they're nicely priced and are often on sale if you buy two or three at a time. 

I am a sucker for candles, and I feel like people always love receiving a "fancy," good-smelling candle. I really love Anthropologie's candles {so much so that I always ask for them for Christmas!} and again, Bath & Body Works'. Both companies have candles that don't just smell a small area - they smell the entire house, and I love that. 

I love Anthropologie's Pumpkin Soufflé Boulangerie Jar, Anthropologie's Capri Blue Jar Candle and basically all of Bath & Body Works' candles...but the Eucalyptus Mint 3-Wick Candle is so soothing. 

-Nail Polishes-
These are such a cute, fun gift to receive. Before you buy, take a look at the lady's nails and see what colors she typically wears {darks, nudes, pinks, reds, glitter} and purchase something in that color family. You can even pair it with a cute printable from Pinterest that says, "For Your Mistle Toes" to jazz it up a bit! 

My favorite nail polishes - especially to gift or to include as a stocking stuffer - are Essie polishes. You could also include a nail file, cute bag to put polishes in and/or a gift certificate to get a manicure or pedicure here, too! Get creative with it. 

-A cozy blanket, hot cocoa mix and a manicure/pedicure gift certificate- 
This gift screams "Relax on us, please!" After a long semester or holiday season, this gift is always a welcome one. 

You can get a cozy blanket anywhere, but my absolute favorite blanket in the world is Restoration Hardware's Ultimate Plush Throw. You can almost always find it on sale! Pair it with an easy peppermint hot chocolate mix {find any variation on Pinterest} and a gift certificate for a manicure and/or pedicure, and you're set! 

-Gift Cards- (Not pictured) 
Gift cards seem impersonal - and perhaps they are - but they are always a welcome gift no matter who you are {if it's somewhere you enjoy going or frequent often}. Think about places the teacher talks about visiting often {e.g. Target, Sephora}; likes to eat {e.g. Mi Cocina, Chili's}; or likes to do {e.g. read, so buy an Amazon gift card}. 

None of these Christmas gifts have to cost a lot of money, but the recipient will feel so good knowing you spent a little time, thought and effort on their gift. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Baby Registry Tips + Tricks

Registering for a baby is a completely different ballgame than registering for a wedding. 

When you get engaged, you saunter into Bed, Bath and Beyond; grab one of those registry guns; and start scanning everything your little heart desires. Towels? Yup, you know you need towels! Onto the registry it goes. Plates? Yup, gonna need those! You pick out a pattern and pray you get all 12 place settings. 

But when you see those two little lines come up on that pregnancy test, your world is rocked. Or at least mine was. What the heck do tiny humans really need? Yes, they need towels. But what kind? Cotton? Bamboo? What in the world does he/she need to sleep in? You're bombarded with about 5,001 different choices from a cradle to a bassinet to co-sleeping to basically nothing because you really don't sleep at all. Bottles? Oh, there are only 200 different brands of those, and about 15 different ounce sizes. 

I don't know about you, but I was overwhelmed. There is so much to register for, because again, I don't know about you, but I don't have a spare baby monitor laying around my house. {And yes, there's about 100 versions of those floating around Babies 'R' Us, too.} 

So here are some tips and tricks for registering for baby. Keep in mind that all of these tips are completely my own opinion and what worked well for us may not work or have not worked for you. So here we go...

1. Do your research. 
Like I said, I knew very little about what babies needed and what I wanted. I did a ton of research: scoured mommy blogs, Googled, asked friends, talked to my name it, I did it. Through my research, I decided I wanted to swaddle Walker {so I registered for swaddles}; I found that Wubbanubs were good pacifiers {so onto the registry those went to try}; and that swing A had better safety ratings than swing B. 

Yes, it was a process, but it was worth it in the end. Did I have stuff that didn't work at all? Yup. {More on that below}. Did I have stuff I became obsessed with and would recommend a million times over? Yup. 

Also, I registered at Pottery Barn Kids and Babies 'R' Us. Personally, I wasn't too thrilled with Babies 'R' Us and would instead register somewhere like Buy Buy Baby if I had it all to do over again. I also would register on Amazon! Prices there are sometimes much cheaper than at the store and frankly, it's a kind gesture for your shower guests or people who want to buy you a gift. 

2. Wipe warmers are a crock. 
No, but seriously. Yes, they're a nice spa-like experience for your baby. AT HOME. Do you think they use wipe warmers in the hospital? Nope! Welcome to the cold, cold world, baby. {Literally.} But honestly, when that baby gets here, you are going to change it whenever and wherever, and if that means on your bed at 2 a.m. with the travel pack of Huggies Wipes you got at a baby shower, so be it. Also? When we travel, Walker's wipes aren't warm unless the diaper bag has been sitting in the hot car. So, there you go. {More on what didn't work for us below.} 

3. Don't register for clothes. 
This drives me bananas when I see these on registries {sorry, just being honest}. You will get a ton of clothes - that you love and loathe - at your showers...especially if you're having a girl! Tutu skirts are too cute for some people to pass up and they'd rather buy that than the pacifiers you desperately need or want. So, if you don't like the clothing item, take it back and ask for the money to go on a gift card and buy what you need. 

4. Wait until the very end to take everything back. 
I tried to save myself some time - or so I thought - by taking things back to Babies 'R' Us after each shower or as I got them. This just led me to being very confused and I made about 31.5 trips up to Babies 'R' Us before Walker got here. 

My advice? Once your showers are over, have someone go with you and take everything back at once. Once it has all been either exchanged or returned, get the money on a gift card and get what you need. If you already have everything you need, buy extras! You will always, always need extra pacifiers {if you choose to use them}, burp rags, bibs, diapers and wipes. 

I've alluded to it above, but I'll say it again: it is just a fact that you will get things you don't need or want at your showers. Some of those things you'll be able to return and some you won't. Also, if you register at multiple places {and for the same things at multiple places}, be prepared to receive doubles. I know that seems obvious, but I just want you to be prepared. 

5. Diaper showers are your best friend. 
I had two baby showers: one in my hometown and one where we live. My boss wanted to throw me another baby shower, and I kindly requested that it be a diaper shower. As not fun as diapers are to receive {or to write thank you notes for, for that matter}, they are the best gift. Ever. I don't think we bought a box of diapers until right before I returned to work when Walker was three months old. And let me tell you, those things are expensive! In fact, my friend Liz is still using diapers she received at the shower...8.5 months later. 

Of course, if you're cloth diapering, you could ask that the shower be tailored to that and give the guests a heads up on where you're registered for those accessories. My boss made it a point to ask which diapers we were planning to use {Pampers Swaddlers, if you're interested...again, figured that out through research!} and told the guests about that. But, be prepared to receive other brands you didn't request or think you'll use. Say someone gets you a CVS store brand pack of diapers. Guess what? You can take those suckers back - unopened - and use the money for diaper rash cram or heck, even a lip gloss for you!  

At the diaper shower, I also received great, necessary stuff like baby shampoo, baby body wash, baby lotion and diaper rash cream. Personally, I don't even feel it's necessary to put this stuff on your registry because you'll very likely get some of it even if you don't have a diaper shower. And if you don't get it? Stock up on it at bulk stores like Sam's or Costco {along with the baby detergent you'll be using; we personally love Dreft, but you can also use a Free & Clear type}. You'll be using that for a while, so might as well buy in bulk! 

6. Register for bigger-size items. 
Of course, everyone loves to register for the tiny newborn items {which, I admit, are precious!}, but remember to register for a few "big{ger} baby" items, too. For example, the bibs I registered for with Walker got too tight around his neck around three months, so I had to go out and buy bigger bibs specifically made for older babies. Also? They are only bathed in the sink for a short amount of time and you'll want a bigger bathtub sooner than you realize. 

7. Register for big- and small-ticket items. 
Register for things on both ends of the price-point spectrum: from the $5 pack of baby washcloths to the big ol' stroller. Not everyone can afford to buy something expensive for you, and some people just don't want to spend the money. 

Be realistic in things that you register for, and keep the purchasers in mind when you do it. Unless it's a family member or very close friend, I typically spend about $20 on a baby gift for someone. Think about how much you spend on a baby shower gift when you go online to purchase it. Also? People oftentimes go in on big-ticket items like the swing, stroller, highchair or car seat. So, it's okay to keep those things on your registry for that purpose or for people like your mom or grandmother who will almost always fork over the money for those things. :)

8. Write timely thank-you notes. 
I know this isn't exactly a registry tip, but it's one that I think needs to be given. Write timely thank-you notes for your gifts! I will say that one thing that helped me out tremendously was to write the notes after each shower and also if I received a gift in the mail. That way, I didn't have a ton to write at a time. Also? I had Brandon help me! This baby is just as much his as it is mine, so if it was a person he knew better than me {for example, his boss or a family friend of his parents}, I'd have him write the thank-yous. 

If you want a list of things we registered for with Walker, click here. Click the "Favorite Products" button to the left of this blog to see which products we have loved through Walker's almost nine months. And if you want a frank list of stuff to and not to register for, just let me know and I'll be happy to oblige. 

Happy Registering! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekending + Fredricksburg Trip Recap

Happy Monday! It's an extra great day because I'm off work and home with Walker after a great weekend away for our anniversary. {I'm linking up with Biana and Meghan today.} 

Brandon and I decided this summer to spend our fourth wedding anniversary in Fredricksburg - a cute, quaint little town outside of Austin in the Texas Hill Country. Thankfully, my mother-in-law and aunt watched Walker at our house while we were gone for the weekend. 

We both took off work, took Walker to school and drove the beautiful four-hour trip to Fredricksburg. 

Our first stop was Becker Vineyards, which was absolutely gorgeous! 

The trick is going early in the afternoon on a weekday, because we got there around 2:30 p.m. and didn't have to wait at all to do a tasting. In fact, we were able to visit with the staff - who were so friendly - and gave us a few more samples than they probably should have. 

One of the sweet ladies even gave us a tour of The Library, which was such a neat experience! 

We ended the event at Becker with a glass of wine on the porch enjoying this gorgeous view. I absolutely love living in Texas! 

Brandon surprised me with an hour-long massage at The Spa at the Inn on Barons Creek. It was wonderful! The spa is set up in an old house, which has been updated into a quaint little spa that smelled of lavender the second you walked in the door. 

After our massage, we checked into our bed and breakfast, Cameron Inn. While the inn was cute and comfy, I would not stay there again. It was very loud, since it was right off Main Street, and there was a bright streetlight that shone into our bedroom. {The second night, we rigged beach towels over the windows so that we could sleep better.} The breakfast wasn't served until 9 a.m., and after a few glasses of wine - and being used to waking up at 5 a.m. every day! - we were ready to eat by about 8 a.m. 

We had dinner at Otto's, a German bistro whose menu changes weekly. This restaurant was also a converted house and was teeny tiny. The wait was an hour and a half, and we actually ended up sitting at the bar after a while...which actually was a great choice because we were by locals who gave us great ordering tips. We each had a glass of wine and started with the Flammkuchen, then I had the pan-roasted grouper and Brandon ordered the duck schnitzel. It was a good restaurant, but I actually liked our appetizer better than our entrees. The atmosphere, however, was spectacular. 

Brandon walked right across the street to Mahaley's Café and brought breakfast {breakfast tacos, cinnamon rolls and coffee} back to our room. The breakfast tacos were awesome, but I felt like the cinnamon rolls were commercialized. 

We had scheduled a wine tour with George's 290 Wine Tours, and I cannot say enough great things about George or the tour! If you are in Fredricksburg, you have to use George! He was so personable, knowledgeable and nice. You definitely get what you pay for. 

Our tour started at William Chris Vineyards. The atmosphere was soothing, calm and the wine was wonderful. I personally liked their reds and their port, and the man serving us our tasting was about 65 and the cutest man I have ever seen. 

It was overcast and chilly, but the vineyard was still beautiful. I can only imagine what it looks like on a gorgeous, sunny day! 

We then went to Lewis Wines - our absolute favorite of the day. This was a very new vineyard started by two guys who are my age! The entire set-up: production, tasting, bottling, etc. was all in one, 1,500-ish-square-foot tin roof building...and we loved it. 

I'm almost hesitant to put the little hidden gem of Lewis Wines out there! Ha! 

We actually became wine club members at this place. Their Viognier was by far my favorite wine I have ever tasted. One of the two owners, Doug Lewis, did our tasting. He talked to us as long as we wanted, gave us extra samples, and even climbed up on a few barrels and brought us down an actual barrel sample...that won't be ready for bottling for another two or so years! 

From there, we went to Texas Hills Vineyard for a tasting and lunch on their covered portico. I liked two of their wines, but the tasting felt very rushed. {Granted, it was Saturday and busy.} 

Our last stop of the day was Grape Creek Vineyards. This place was gorgeous, but it was insanely commercialized. The lady doing our tasting was not very nice and didn't have many answers to questions we had. This place would be nice to come on a Saturday with a group of friends to have a drink, snack on some cheese and crackers and enjoy the weather on their patio. 

After our tour, we came back to the B&B and watched the amazing Baylor vs. TCU game! I still can't get over it. Sic 'Em, Bears! 

We had dinner at The Nest, and I can't say enough good things about that place. Again, it was a converted old house and the service was great. We ordered the fried oysters on sautéed spinach with roasted bell pepper Hollandaise to start; then I had the filet {served with a Bordelaise sauce and turnip mashed potatoes}; and Brandon had the shrimp-stuffed salmon special. We finished with coffee and the chocolate walnut tart. 

We "slept in" until 8:30 a.m. and then had brunch at Rathskeller Restaurant, located in the basement of the old Keidel Hospital. It was a neat atmosphere, but the food was so-so. I ordered the Texas French Toast and Brandon had the Eggs Benedict. 

After brunch, we walked around Main Street and got Walker a few souvenirs from the local toy store and then left for the four-hour drive home. 

Of course, it was absolutely wonderful to see my sweet baby and love all over him! I spent the evening doing laundry, going to the grocery store and picking up around the house. 

Overall, it was a wonderful trip and was so nice to get away and spend one-on-one time with Brandon. If we had more time this trip, I definitely would have spent more time on Main Street itself. You can walk around with a glass of wine or a beer on the street, and the shops there were absolutely precious. It is seriously the most charming little town! We have already decided that we're going back next summer and talking Walker with us. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! 

Per usual, I'm linking up with Christina, Darci, April and Natasha for "Five on Friday" {and their amazing giveaway!}; Lauren for "High Five for Friday"; and Amy and Karli for "Oh Hey, Friday!" 

Here we go...

As you read this, Brandon and I are currently on our way to celebrate our anniversary! I'm a little nervous since it's the first time we've left Walker longer than eight hours, but I know he will do great and we'll have a great time. I'm so thankful to my mother-in-law and aunt for keeping him at our house so he can be in his environment! 

I'll write a full recap when we get back. :)

I saw this and couldn't stop laughing. How true is this?! I wish I could say this to some people sometimes. 

Walker got his first boo-boo at school Wednesday. I felt so sorry for him, but I couldn't help but think how precious he looked with that giant Band-Aid on his head! {Although taking it off? Yeah, that was not fun.} 

I admit it, I watch KUWTK. And I also admit they're ridiculously ridiculous. I saw this on someone's Facebook feed and was crying I was laughing so hard. I just love Scott! 

My personal favorite? 

I really want to know what y'all want to read here. I feel like I get so busy that sometimes I only write my weekend recap and my Five on Friday post, and then nothing Tuesday-Thursday. So, honestly? What do you want to see here? Recipes? Favorite products? Favorite baby products? Tips/tricks? 

I will say I'm not all that fashionable and definitely don't consider this a fashion blog in the least. So if you want that, I'm just letting you know that you'll be seeing the Ann Taylor Loft, TJ Maxx, Target or J.Crew special every day. ;) 

Let me know; I want to hear from you! 

I hope y'all have a great weekend! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Four Years

Brandon and I are celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary today! 

It's hard to believe everything that has happened in four short years: new life {Walker}, deaths {my grandfather and great-grandmother}, new jobs for both of us, buying our first house...and the list goes on and on. 

In some ways, it feels like it has been forever since we've been married, and in some I feel like I am that 23-year-old again about to walk down the aisle to my husband. 

I'm so thankful to God for the gift of marriage and for the love, support and care of Brandon - that he provides not only to me, but to Walker, as well.