Fashion
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Fashion Over 40: Daily Mom Style 08.19.15

Happy Wednesday! This week is flying by, it’s crazy. I cannot BELIEVE that school starts for us in less than two weeks. I know some of you have already gone back to school, but I simply can’t wrap my mind around that.

Fashion Over 40: Summer Outfit Ideas

This is my weekly post where I share some of my daily outfits, but I have to confess, I’m getting really tired of summer clothes. I’m not tired of summer, mind you. I will take the warm and the sun as long as I can get it, but I’m feeling very uninspired in the outfit department this week. A lot of what I’ve been wearing is repeats because, well, my closet is only so big, and I only have so many clothes. I mean, I have plenty, I KNOW, but there’s not much new to show you until we get to our 26 Days of Fall Outfits series, which is launching on September 1st. That should be a ton of fun.

26 Days of Fall Fashion Outfit Ideas

Meanwhile, here are a few outfits I wore this week. My goal is to feel good and look put together without being fussy, and I post my outfits here to inspire other moms out there to take a little extra time for yourself in the mornings so you will look and feel your best all day. Nothing I wear is particularly fancy, but adding a few accessories and putting on some makeup helps keep the dreaded mom frump at bay. At least, I hope so!!

I wore this embellished tee and jeans one day last week to get my hair cut and colored. My hair salon is always cold, so I wore jeans. These are my favorite skinny jeans because they’re not super duper skinny. I don’t like it when jeans hug my ankles; I feel like it makes me look like an ice-cream cone. I have them in this Topeka wash and as well as the Milk (NOW ON SALE!) Continue reading “Fashion Over 40: Daily Mom Style 08.19.15”

Fashion
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Because Every Girl Needs a Great Pair of Jeans #AEOStyle

This year my daughter starts middle school, and to say that she has some first day of school jitters is putting it mildly. This is a huge transition for her. She has been in the same elementary school for the past 7 years, and now she will be funneled into the middle school with kids from all 5 elementary schools in our district.

She's too cool for middle school in her new jeans from @americaneagle. AD #aeostyle

My son sailed effortlessly through this transition, but my mom friends tell me that middle school can be really rough on girls, so I have to admit that I’m holding my breath and waiting to see how it goes. My son also had the benefit of being part of the marching band, which practiced for a month before school started, so he started middle school already knowing some of the kids from the other schools and he had his tribe established early. C isn’t involved in any sports or music activities that meet before school begins, so she’ll be starting out cold.

She has some nerves, but she’s also excited about this next step. I keep telling her that this is a great time to shed her old skin and start fresh. All the classroom dynamics of the past few years will be a thing of the past, and she will meet SO many new kids this year. I’m both anxious and excited to see how that goes for her. I met one of my best friends in the whole world during middle school, and I hope the same will be true for her.

We’ve spent most of this month preparing for this new venture in her young life, shopping for clothes, buying school supplies, and talking about the importance of a good routine so she can get started off on the right foot. This is a period of transition in more ways than one. Not only is she graduating to middle school, she’s also graduating to the women’s clothing department.

I don’t know why this is so unbelievable to me. She’s been wearing women’s shoes for two years. But something about moving out of the kids’ stores and into the teen and adult departments is making me a wee bit weepy. Continue reading “Because Every Girl Needs a Great Pair of Jeans #AEOStyle”

Breakfast Recipes
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Paleo-Friendly Muffins {Apple Cinnamon}

These Paleo-Friendly Muffins with cinnamon and real apples are easy to make, and they don't stay around for long! Get the recipe!

Ever since I got back from our Maine vacation, I’ve been trying to get back onto the paleo/primal/real food bandwagon. It’s been one step forward, two steps back. I feel like I’m always on the go between PT appointments, my son’s band practices, and all the errands associated with back-to-school season, and I haven’t carved out the time to make the healthy meals that I need to stay on track.

Oh, and did I mention that there’s a Chick-Fil-A right NEXT DOOR to my PT’s office?? I might be able to ignore the temptation, but my kids LOVE it when I bring lunch home from Chick-Fil-A, and who am I go to through the Chick-Fil-A drive-through without picking up a kid’s meal for myself?? At least it’s only a kid’s meal, right???

This week, I feel like I’m finally getting my mojo back. I’ve had a few good days, and I’m feeling good, so I want to keep it going. I get really tired of eating eggs for breakfast, though. I need some other options.

These paleo-friendly muffins are a little bit labor intensive because you have to peel and dice the apples, sauté them in butter and cinnamon, and let them cool before mixing them into the batter. Then they take 40 minutes to cook. But if I can be patient, they are a GREAT alternative to my usual omelette or fried eggs.  Continue reading “Paleo-Friendly Muffins {Apple Cinnamon}”

Diary
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Saturday Morning Coffee Talk

coffee-talk-2015

Today I get to pick up my baby from sleepaway camp! I am so excited. I have to admit, this week has been so busy, I haven’t really had time to miss her, and I hope she has had the same experience. She was nervous to go away for the first time, but she really wanted to do it, and she’s with a good friend so I’m sure she did fine. I just can’t wait to hear all about it.

I feel like I should have a lot to share with you since I haven’t written one of those posts in a while, but I can’t even remember what I’ve done this week, it’s been such a blur. I’m kind of feeling burned out, to be honest. I’ve been debating some ideas and different directions to take my blog, but at the end of the day, I think I’m just burned out and need a break — which is crazy because I just had a long vacation when I didn’t work much at all. And we are headed into the busiest time of year, so I think I’m just going to have to buck up.

I have had some fun this week, though. I went to the mall with a friend for the first time in ages. I like the ease of online shopping, but there’s nothing like going to the mall and getting into the stores to get a tab on the latest trends and how people are wearing things, and there’s just something about the cool tranquility of the shopping mall on a weekday that makes me happy. That probably doesn’t say a lot for my character, but there you have it. Continue reading “Saturday Morning Coffee Talk”

Fall/Winter Fashion
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Dressing for Transition Season

As much as I love summer, I always get excited to dress for fall. The transition season is a bit of a challenge, though, isn’t it? The kids are getting ready to go back to school, Labor Day will soon be upon us, and the stores are filling up with fall styles and warm, vibrant colors, but the weather won’t catch up for a while yet. Depending on where you are located, you can expect some hot days well into September.

Transition Season: How to transition your wardrobe from summer to fall featuring Payless ShoeSource

This is a great time to put together new outfit combinations and try new trends. I tend to put away my lighter fabrics and and white sandals after Labor Day, but I keep out my white jeans (a fun transition piece, now that the white-after-Labor-Day rules are passé) and denim shorts, which can carry me well into fall. I’ll also start to bring in some deeper, richer colors that remind me of fall, and I find myself opting for ballet flats or ankle boots rather than sandals.

Payless invited me to check out their new fall shoes and put together a couple of outfits to show you how I transition my style from summer to fall, and I needed no more encouragement! I headed over to my neighborhood Payless to see what they have in their fall lineup. Suffice it to say, if you’re looking for affordable styles to transition your wardrobe from summer to fall, Payless has you covered. At one point, I had about 5 pairs of shoes I was trying to decide between, but I came home with these Charm Skimmers in grey and these C Ballet Flats in cognac.

For those early fall days when the weather is still quite warm, I’ll still be wearing shorts and t-shirts, but I’ll opt for bolder colors and heavier fabrics. These skimmers are the perfect casual shoe to carry those summer outfits into fall. They are lightweight and comfortable with a sporty vibe, and the padded insole is like walking on clouds. Continue reading “Dressing for Transition Season”

Food
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Because It’s 5:00 Somewhere…

I use to love entertaining, but somewhere along the way, it got put on the back burner. In the early days of my marriage, I would host an annual Christmas brunch for my lady friends where I’d bring out all of my grandmother’s serving dishes and my fine china and create a festive holiday event where everyone could come, relax, and visit without having any responsibility. When my son was little, we hosted regular events for our church. It just seemed easier back then.

Nowadays, we hardly ever host a proper dinner party. With three kids, an unconventional job, and all of the things I’m juggling these days, entertaining usually seems like too much work. I guess I’ve gotten lazy. We do end up getting together with friends spontaneously, but it’s never fancy. In fact, I usually throw some cheese and crackers on a tray and call it a day. I really need to up my game and get out of this rut, so when HSN invited me to try out a few pieces of their new Margaritaville line, I was all in.

Outdoor Entertaining: Margaritaville for HSN

HSN’s Margaritaville brand offers an extensive lifestyle collection of island-inspired fashion, beauty, electronics, home décor, and culinary products that are designed with the Margaritaville state of mind. I immediately loved the kitchen collection… modern with a touch of vintage. Just envision yourself on a tropical island with a margarita in hand.

They sent me a set of 2 margarita glasses, a set of 4 melamine dessert plates, and this large melamine platter. As soon as I saw this gorgeous platter, I knew I wanted to do more than throw my usual cheese and crackers on top, so I put it out to my Instagram friends and asked what they would put on it. I got lots of great ideas, and I decided to go with a seafood antipasto.

Seafood Antipasto Platter | Outdoor Entertaining: Margaritaville for HSN

I bought smoked salmon, frozen shrimp, cocktail sauce, salmon pâté, lump crab meat, cream cheese, capers, an assortment of crackers, and yes, a package of my favorite soft cheese. What can I say, I like cheese! I also got the ingredients to make this delicious margarita recipe.

Homemade Margaritas | Outdoor Entertaining: Margaritaville for HSN

I invited some friends over last Friday night, and here is where I have to make a confession. I asked my neighbor, who is much more talented with food presentation than I, if he wouldn’t mind putting the platter together while I made margaritas. I know, I’m shameless. But take a look!

Seafood Antipasto Platter | Outdoor Entertaining: Margaritaville for HSN

Not only was everything gorgeous, but it was also delicious. I cooked the shrimp in boiling water with lemon and a bay leaf for about 3 minutes, then chilled and peeled them so they were easy to eat. They were delicious dipped in cocktail sauce. The cream cheese and capers were perfect with the smoked salmon or crab meat.

And yes, I did enjoy some cheese and gluten-free crackers as well, but I love that they weren’t the center of attention, for once… not that I’m giving up my cheese and crackers, but it’s always good to expand one’s horizons, yes??

Outdoor Entertaining

I love the melamine plates and platter for outdoor entertaining. It’s awesome not to have to worry about breakage. They’re also lightweight and easy to carry back and forth, plus the small plates are top rack dishwasher safe.

The glasses are made of glass, but it’s a nice heavy glassware that won’t easily break, and I definitely prefer my drinks in glass. The margarita glasses remind me of the ones I was served in Costa Rica last fall — definitely authentic.

Homemade Margaritas | Outdoor Entertaining: Margaritaville for HSN

I hope this helps inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and flex your entertaining muscle a bit.

There is a lot to the Margaritaville collection besides the pieces I chose, such as drink mixes, fashion, electronics, bedding, and more. You can see the entire line on HSN.com

Thank you HSN for sponsoring this post. All content and opinions are my own.

Fashion
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Daily Mom Style 08.12.15

Welcome back to my weekly post where I share what I wore this week and link up with other fashion bloggers around the web!

daily-mom-style

But first, I wanted to tell you about the fall fashion series I’m starting in September — 26 Days of Fall Outfits. I’ll be teaming up with Cyndi over at Grace & Beauty, and we will each share 26 fall outfits, one a day for the entire month, excluding Sundays, so stay tuned for that!

Meanwhile, we still have a few weeks of warmth and sunshine left, so I hope you find some summer style inspiration here today. It’s been pretty crazy around here since we got back from Maine. Between PT, my workouts, my son’s band camp, my kids’ doctor appointments, and my doctor appointments, my life feels like one long string of appointments with a few minutes of work shoved in between. Every time I manage to get myself back into work mode, it’s time to run out again. Anyone else feeling this way this summer?? Isn’t summer supposed to be relaxing??

Anyway, here’s what I wore this week. Despite all the hustle and bustle, I think I might have photographed an outfit every day this week. Yay, me! Continue reading “Daily Mom Style 08.12.15”

Drink Recipes
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Watermelon Mojito Recipe

Everyone loves a mojito. A classic mint mojito is still my favorite summertime drink, but sometimes it’s fun to change it up.

Want a twist on the popular mint mojito? Try this Watermelon Mojito Recipe -- it's the perfect summertime cocktail!

Colleen came up with this Watermelon Mojito Recipe, and you guys, I cannot WAIT ’til the weekend to give this a try. Doesn’t it just scream SUMMER!??

To make this watermelon mojito, you want to start with a fresh watermelon. Cut it in half, scoop out two heaping cups of watermelon, and add it to your blender. Then measure 1/2 cup of watermelon juice from the remaining watermelon into the blender. Puree until smooth.

At this point, you can add 2-3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice to the blender and give it a quick pulse. Every watermelon is different, so you’ll want to give it a taste. If it’s not sweet enough, add some simple syrup.

Simple syrup is easy to make. Just heat 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it cool ’til you’re ready to assemble your mojitos. Continue reading “Watermelon Mojito Recipe”

Lifestyle
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Exploring Cooperstown, New York

My husband has talked about wanting to take our son to Cooperstown, New York for years. For those who are not informed on all things baseball, his desire to visit was not just because Cooperstown is located in beautiful upstate New York and has tons of outdoor activities to offer during the summer. Cooperstown, New York is also the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and it has become the destination for baseball aficionados everywhere.

My boys finally got their wish, and we stopped in Cooperstown on our way to Maine last month.

paul and david in hall of fame

In addition to the popular Museum, the entire town is taken up with shops and restaurants dedicated to baseball. It is about as close as baseball fans can get to heaven here on earth. Continue reading “Exploring Cooperstown, New York”

Fashion
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Back-To-School Style with Justice

August has arrived, and back-to-school season is in full swing. Around here we have a few more weeks before school starts, so we’re starting to stock up on school clothes and shoes, and soon we’ll be shopping for school supplies.

Back to School Shopping at Justice

My girls and I were invited to visit our local Justice to do some back-to-school shopping and check out their new and improved shopping experience. Yes, Justice just got a huge makeover, including a transition to simpler pricing and more classic styles.

A copy of the latest Justice catazine (catalog + magazine) arrived in the mail before our store visit, and the girls had fun looking through it and picking out some things they wanted to try. I was curious to visit and see what had changed, so we headed over to our local Justice earlier this week to check it out. Continue reading “Back-To-School Style with Justice”

Fashion
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How to Accessorize a LBD for Summer #FashionFriday

A little black dress is one of the most versatile pieces you can have in your wardrobe. Every lady has one, or she should. Black can feel a bit heavy in the summertime, but styling a LBD for summer is fun and easier than you might think. HINT: It’s all about the accessories. Sometimes I like to style a LBD for summer with metallics. Pastels are always a good option, or a bright color palette is fun too.

My husband and I went out to dinner last night to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, and I wore this simple black dress. I had just treated myself to a mani/pedi (thank you, Mom, for giving me a spa G.C. for my birthday last month!!) and I painted my nails a bright orangey-red, so I decided to go with accessories in those tones and my new leopard wedge sandals. I love leopard with orange or red. It creates such a great contrast.

How to Accessorize a LBD for Summer Continue reading “How to Accessorize a LBD for Summer #FashionFriday”

Lifestyle
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Experience The Inn at Manchester: a Vermont B&B and Carriage House

When we decided to take a detour on our way to Maine by way of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, we knew we would need to make another stop before getting to our final destination. We could have stayed in Cooperstown a second night, but we decided to drive on down the road a few hours to make the final day of travel a bit shorter. After consulting our good friend, The Google, we honed in on the sleepy town of Manchester, Vermont. Two hours from Cooperstown and about six hours from our camp in Maine, it seemed like the perfect place to stop over.

I rely on Trip Advisor for recommendations on restaurants and lodging when we’re traveling to new places, and I was immediately drawn to the charming Inn at Manchester. Usually we travel as a family of 5, and I wouldn’t consider a B&B, but this time we were planning for our 2 daughters to travel to Maine separately with my mom, so we would be a party of 3 for a change. The Inn at Manchester was calling my name.

the Inn at Manchester

I love how every room is different with different amenities, and they’re priced accordingly. They have an excellent website that allows you to see multiple images of each room and choose the one that best suits your needs.We selected a small room, Wood Lily, with a king bed and a pull out sofabed. We were able to make reservations online, and the process was as easy as pie.

A few weeks before our trip, we found out that we would need to bring our 2 daughters along after all. I panicked, as we had already paid for our room, and I knew the Inn was almost fully occupied the night of our visit. But my husband made a phone call and spoke with Julie, who graciously offered us a room in thecarriage house with 2 queen beds, a sitting area with a fireplace, and space for an extra mattress on the floor for our 3rd child. We were thrilled.

When we arrived at the Inn at Manchester after a long day of touring the Baseball Hall of Fame and driving over the country roads of Upstate New York and Vermont, we were greeted by a gorgeous restored Victorian with a gracious wrap-around porch flanked by beautiful summer flowers and a lush green lawn. It was like a scene out of Better Homes and Gardens. Continue reading “Experience The Inn at Manchester: a Vermont B&B and Carriage House”