Valentine’s Day Outfit

oday, I am lazy. And I have no witty words or clever thoughts. So all you get is outfit inspiration. But, Valentine’s is coming up (it’s my least favorite holiday, I’m not even going to lie to you guys). And I know a lot of people actually really like this holiday—which is so beyond my understanding, but there you have it—and since a lot of people actually like this holiday and since a lot of people actually probably have plans for this holiday, a lot of people will be wanting to know what they should wear. So I’m here to help. Valentine’s Day Outfits.

(Personally, on Friday night, my Valentine’s Day outfit will probably be me in sweats. On the couch. And if we do go out, it’ll probably be to a movie with friends. In which case, I’ll stick to my trusty jeans and cardigan combo. It’s never steered me wrong before! And if we don’t go to a movie, we’ll probably just decorate cookies. Because if I have to celebrate this holiday, why not do it with mass amounts of sugar intake! That’s what I say. And I just want to also say that I’m not against love. I love love! I just don’t think we need a holiday to celebrate it. Let those of us who have love celebrate in our own way, every single day of the year. No need to rub it in the faces of people who don’t have love. Nobody wants to watch the Glen Coco’s of the world swoon and coddle over each other. It’s really just rude to the rest of people who aren’t Glen Coco. And also, I’m just not overly fond of pink…)

Anyway, even though I may not be all that thrilled to celebrate on Friday, I do love all of these outfits. I found some spectacular skirts on Asos and decided that if one needs to do a Valentine’s Day outfit, one should do it in a skirt! And all of these are perfect.

Outfit One

The shoes from this first outfit are numero uno on my shopping list once I’m off my shopping fast (a story for another time, if at all). I can’t not have them in my life! And that leather skirt, so in right now. Swooooon.

Valentine's Day Outfifit
Blouse // Necklace // Clutch // Shoes // Skirt

Outfit Two

Metallic is so huge right now, and I love the pops of pattern and color in this outfit. The bright pink earrings are perfect for Valentine’s Day. But mostly I’m dying over that skirt. It has POCKETS! Insert 6 heart-eyed emojis here.Valentine's Day Outfifit

Earrings // Blouse // Skirt // Clutch // Shoes

Outfit Three

What a cute idea, to wear heart earrings and a “love” necklace on Valentine’s Day! I’m sure I’m the first person to have thought of this…

Valentine's Day Outfifit

 

Top // Earrings // Necklace // Clutch // Shoes // Skirt

Outfit Four

Gosh, I am seriously dying over this skirt! And the sequin top. And the snakeskin shoes. Mostly, it’d just be great if I got up right now and walked into my closet and this outfit was there. Maybe if I had this, I’d actually want to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Maybe.

Valentine's Day Outfifit

 

Top // Earrings // Clutch // Skirt // Shoes

Outfit Five

I have a grey tee almost just like this and it’s one of my favorite shirts. So whenever I can incorporate it into an outfit, I’m a happy camper. Especially when I’m able to dress it up, like this outfit does. Super fancy and trendy lace skirt, with metallic heels, a sequin clutch, and a plain grey tee. Perfect.

Valentine's Day Outfifit

 

Necklace // Tee // Clutch // Skirt // Shoes

Outfit Six

And of course, I had to include at least one cardigan. My go-to. My favorite. This outfit is perfectly girly. And even though it’s heavy on the pink, I’d still wear it. And you better believe I’d rock it.

 

Cardigan // Top // Skirt // Clutch // Shoes

Is It Spring Yet? Rainboots!

Is it spring yet? Remember how last week I talked about them winter blues? Well. It’s snowing in Denver again. So I guess, really, the answer to my question is a most definite “no!” It is just not spring yet. So I decided to start counting down. I’m going to count down to blue skies and warmer temps.  Then I’m going to count down to bright colors and tulips. I’m going to countdown to all sorts of Cadbury Eggs. After that, I’m going to count down to baseball and summer vacations. And I’m going to count down to April showers, the quintessence of spring. The moment when the cold snow finally turns into oh-so-welcome, little drip-drip-droplets of soft, cool water.

Oh Bambi.

Anyway. What better way to count down to April showers than by shopping for rainboots? Rainboots are to April as April showers are to spring: the quintessence. (Too much to use that word twice in one post? Eh, I’m leavin’ it.) So, I have scoured these internets high and low for all sorts of different rainboots for you! That is, if you’re in the market. Which, you probably should be. Because, spring and April showers and rainboots and Bambi!

Our Favorite Rainboots

Is It Spring Yet?? Rainboots! #hunters #target #lace #tartan #spring #rainboots #ankle boots #leopard #floral #snakeskin #polkadots #metallic:

001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005 // 006 // 007 // 008 // 009 // 010

 

011 // 012 // 013 // 014 // 015 // 016 // 017 // 018 // 019

I want ALL these rainboots. I have included all sorts of different rainboots to choose from, you’re welcome. If you’re looking for some brand name/splurge rainboots, try #1, #2, and #19 (Hunters), #4 (Ugg), #7 (Valentino), and #9 and #10 (Sperry). If you’re looking for something a little less pricey, but still good quality, try #3 and #17 (Target), #15 (Kohl’s), and #11, #12, and #14 (DSW).

What style of rainboot should I buy?

I tried to include a variety of trends. Ankle boots are huge right now. I have a pair of knee-high Hunters, which are always practical and never go out of style. But really, ankle boot rainboots (#4, #10, #11, and #19)? I mean, seriously. I am seriously dying over #11 in particular. With the bow!! And the #10 rainboots are fur-lined! Sperry, for the win!

Anything tartan or plaid is also very trendy right now. The tartan Ralph Lauren rainboots (#13) would be the perfect way to incorporate this look into spring. Metallic is also big, so why not add some metallic to your rainboots? I submit to you that I cannot think of one good reason not to. Sperry’s got Metallic rainboots down (#9 and #10). Plus, I mentioned above, fur-lined! Helloooo! If you like the lace trend, try lace rainboots (#4, #7, and #8). And then, of course, anything printed. Printed rainboots are soo fun! We already talked about the tartan and lace. There’s also polka dots (#12), snakeskin (#16), leopard (my fav! – #17), and floral (#18).

Aaaand, I think that just about covers it for rainboots. Check back next week for the second edition in my countdown to spring… what will it be, what will it be? Oh, the suspense! 😉

OCD: Grocery List edition (free printable)

 

So this ecard perfectly describes my life. Every single Sunday evening, I plan the meals for the upcoming week. Then, I take an inventory of everything I have and everything I need and smash all the items I need onto one very unorganized grocery list. Theeeeen, on a separate, clean sheet of paper, I write out every needed item based on where it is in the store.

 

And WHAT a hassle it is. It is quite a process, let me tell ya. I swear, I waste precious moments of all my Sunday nights going through this same routine. Each and every week. Then not so long ago, Tracey and I were chatting, and I hesitantly told her about my OCD tendencies. Mostly I was hesitant because I knew she’d judge my weirdness and call me a freak. But then, oh gracious gods of grocery shopping, she said she does the same thing! As long as I’m not alone in my OCD, then it’s alll gravy, baby.

 

But still, what a hassle! So we decided we needed a list to make things easier for us. A ready-made grocery list, with the categories already separated out into line-items based on where things are located in the store. And because we are in the business of giving our opinions freely and putting them where they don’t belong, we are giving you our grocery list. And 2 different versions of it. We know.

 

And, here’s a fun disclaimer: I do my grocery shopping at Walmart. Now, I know there are lots of people who are mortally and morally and whatever else against Walmart. If you are that people, just hear me out before you go and get your panties in a bunch. I am a poor newlywed and Walmart has the cheapest groceries I’ve found anywhere, by a long shot. I personally can’t afford to buy all my groceries from Whole Foods (or as my husband calls it, Whole Paycheck. Am I right? Seriously, break my bank, why don’t ya!). Walmart is very practical for my budget. Therefore, that’s where I buy my groceries. However, I will say that produce and deli at Walmart, almost always generally sucks. So. I go elsewhere for those items, unless I’m in a colossal rush. So anyway, what I was going to say is these particular grocery lists are in an order by which most Super Walmarts abide. If you would like a customized grocery list, in the order of whichever grocery store you shop at, leave a comment with the order you’d like, and we’ll try to get it over to you just as soon as we can 🙂

My Ultimate Christmas Wishlist

If you’re anything like my husband, when you saw the word “Christmas” in the title of this post, you scoffed audibly and rolled your eyes. If you’re anything like me, when you saw the word “Christmas in the title of this post, you gasped in joy and your heart started beating with excitement.

If you’re like my husband, you won’t even think about Christmas until after November 29 this year. But if you’re like me, you’ve already been listening to Christmas music for several weeks. You’ve already bought your first bag of Christmas candy (Butterfinger jingle bells, for the win!). You’ve already accepted that Christmas lights are going up and the most stores that have started selling Christmas trees. You may have started decorating (unless you live with someone like my husband who won’t let you). And if you’re anything like me, you have definitely already thought about what you’re going to be asking the fat man in red for.

But, if you’re like my husband, you haven’t started thinking about what’s going to go on your Christmas wishlist yet. And, in my Christmas-loving mind, that’s quite the tragedy. So, I’m here today to help you out. You may think it’s a little early to be thinking about this stuff, but I’m a planner (remember my post on being organized?), so this post is coming at the perfect time.

This is my Ultimate Christmas Wishlist. If money was no object, these are the items I would except under my tree this year from Santa Clause himself. Hopefully this will get your creative juices flowin’ so you can start putting items on your own lists. Santa is going to be so pleased with you for starting early!

Clothes

1) Michael Kors watch 2) Phillip Lim bag 3) H&M sweater 4) ASOS swing dress

5) ASOS kitten heels 6) Urban Outfitters hat 7) H&M peacoat

8) Ray Ban Erika sunnies (see what I did there? ha!) 9) Tilly’s boots

 

Gadgets

1) MacBook Pro 2) Sewing machine 3) Bluetooth music-playing showerhead

4) Kate Spade iPhone 5 case 5) Dyson DC50 vacuum

(yeah, I’d ask for a vacuum for Christmas; that’s the sign of an official adult, you know.)

Home

1) Reclaimed wood chalkboard 2) Pillow 1 Pillow 2 Pillow 3 3) Rug

4) Blanket 5) Silpat silicone cookie sheet 6) Non-stick mini loaf pan

7) KitchenAid cordless immersion blender 8) Hurom slow juicer

Entertainment

1) The Longest Ride 2) Giada’s Feel Good Food 3) I Am Malala 4) Gatsby

Stay tuned for Tracey’s wishlist next week! And we may even have a Christmas Wishlist for Men and a Christmas Wishlist for the kiddos comin’ atcha too ; )

Produce 101: 5 Tips for Perfect Fruits & Veggies

Produce 101

One trip to the grocery store reveals it: we’re in prime produce season. Right now is a great time to fill your cart up with fresh, nourishing food on the cheap. Should you find yourself a little lost in the produce aisle, here’s a fast and simple introduction to getting the best rabbit food.

1. Buy seasonally
You’ve heard it a million times, but there’s no way around it: learn what’s in season when, and you’ll be happier for it.  Right now, stone fruits like peaches, plums, cherries, and nectarines are going strong, as are most melon varieties and summer berries like raspberries and blueberries. Tomatoes are hitting their peak,  and zucchini have been delicious and plentiful for a while. Eat as much as you can of something at its best, then move on to the bounty of the next season.

2. Look at your food
Once you know what’s in season, picking out produce is all sensory, so start with your eyes.  If the kale looks particularly appealing that week, then it probably is. What should you be looking for, you ask? For one, trust your instincts. Even if you can’t put your finger on why that eggplant is catching your eye, head on over and investigate further. Keep an eye our for leaves that look crisp, not wilted, and flesh that looks firm, not bruised.  Check for suspicious dark spots or a shriveled appearance. There are exceptions to this, of course: Ataulfo mangos, for example, are best when their skin has a slight wrinkle to it – but overall, spotting a grape cluster that belongs in a still life will serve you well.

3. Hold it in your hand
Does it feel slightly heavy for its size, indicating juicy ripeness? Does it feel too squishy or too hard? Going back to instinct, if touching it makes you recoil, then it’s time to move on. Also, though it is very, very tempting, do your best not to squeeze! Squeezing breaks down the flesh, causing premature bruises. A little bit of gentle pressure is all you need to determine texture on soft-skinned fruits and vegetables.

4. Follow your nose
This tip is exclusively for fruit, but it’s still very helpful. Take a whiff of that cantaloupe – it should have a light, pleasantly sweet scent that smells, well, cantaloupe-y. If the fruit smells strong or a little too sweet to you, it’s probably on its way out. If you can’t detect anything, you’re likely looking at a flavor dud.

5. Store properly!
Keep tomatoes out of the fridge. Put fresh herbs in a glass of water and cover with a plastic bag. Trim your celery and wrap it in foil (or a paper towel and plastic bag). Keep all of your fruits and veggies as accessible as possible so that you want to eat them.  The best produce is just as unappealing as the stuff you passed over when not stored correctly or when left too long.  Treat it right and eat it up!

What to do if you get overripe produce

Sometimes, even after our best efforts, we end up with fruit or veggies past their prime. But there are still things you can do! Overripe fruit is actually ideal for frozen treats, as the cold subdues sweetness. Make a batch of cherry sherbet, or some peach popsicles. Freeze the fruit in chunks and throw it in your morning smoothies.  Another good way to use up overripe fruit is to make fruit leather; Our Best Bites has a nice recipe here.  Be sure to remove any badly bruised parts!  For older vegetables, a great vegetable stock is a thrifty solution. You can also steam or gently simmer the vegetable until soft, then puree it.  You can then add these purees to spaghetti sauce, mac-n-cheese, smoothies, and more to get a little extra veggie boost in your meals. For example, carrot, cauliflower, and sweet potato puree work great in mac-n-cheese, and spinach puree is perfect in fruit smoothies.

And underripe?

There’s options here, too! Roasting, slow-cooking, or stewing produce can help to bring out its natural sugars, plus an addition of sugar in the cooking process can help things along. Strawberry rhubarb dumplings from The Kitchn are a good example.  If you don’t want to heat things up, try embracing the underripeness! Slightly sour, crisp or crunchy produce works great in a slaw. Cut up your not-so-juicy mango or way-too-tart apple into strips, add some carrots, cabbage, broccoli stalks, bell pepper, or whatever sounds good, and dress it with some sweet chili sauce or cilantro-lime dressing.

Hope this was helpful! Got any good tips or more questions? We’d love to hear from you!

Extra! Extra! H&M Opens US Online Store!

Something amazing happened yesterday. Something I’ve been waiting for a very a long time.

I wasn’t always a lover of clothes and fashion. Growing up, my mom always picked out my outfits for me. If they were cute, great. If not, whatever. And for my first couple years of high school, my family was living in South Africa and I still didn’t give a hoot about fashion. I mean, I lived in Africa. I had more important things on my mind, like my family’s next safari vacation. Hellooooo! Then, between my sophomore and junior year, my family had to move back to the States. I was devastated to be leaving Africa, but that’s a story for another day.

We found ourselves in Northern Virginia, and I was so intensely bitter about that move, that I tried everything I could think of to make myself happy. And that is when I really discovered clothes. I discovered that, in my new high school, if you weren’t wearing American Eagle or Hollister or Abercrombie, you might as well have just eaten in the bathroom by yourself at lunch. (Yeah, my high school experience was eerily similar to Cady Heron’s. OMG Karen, you can’t just ask people why they’re white!)

So, anyway, back to… South Africa. Virginia. Clothes. And more specifically, H&M. What a discovery H&M was! I lived 10 minutes from it, and I didn’t even realize that some people didn’t have H&M in their lives until 2 years later when my family again moved… this time to Utah. And lo and behold, there was NO H&M in Utah. Say whaaaaaa? But it’s ok, I can just shop online. Except, uhm, nope. There was no such thing as shopping at H&M online. For the next 6 years, I managed to get by on just a few H&M shopping trips: every time I passed through Vegas, every time I was in Scottsdale, one time when I was in Seattle.

But yesterday, you guys! Yesterday, H&M finally opened the very long-awaited (at least by me) U.S. online store! And I already am coveting about 89% of the things I’ve seen on there. I managed to pick a few of my favorites for you gals and your guys, and I have included them below. (Getting it down to just these few items was rough, trust me.)

But honestly — wallets be warned — if you haven’t been to the website yet, just go now!

And if you want to thank me for the heads up on your new wardrobes, my wish list is below. I kid, I kid.  Oh, and also, my birthday is next month ; ) Jokes.

HMwomen HMmen

Daily Deal Sites: The reason I check the mail without my husband.

I would say over all I’m a pretty good person. I’m kind to others. I’m loyal to my spouse. I support the community. I use reusable bags at the grocery store (because the city of Austin makes me.) I love small animals and children, which I guess are kind of the same thing.  Yeah, I have some really good qualities. However, I have one big character flaw. It’s big.

I struggle with self-control. I have a hard time resisting a baked good. If I’m reading a book, I will stay up late to finish despite the fact that my alarm clock – my daughter – goes off at 6:15 am. Every. Single. Morning.

And worst of all, I cannot pass up a good Daily Deal site. It’s an obsession. It takes every ounce of willpower that I have not to buy something once a day. I’ve gotten better. Mostly because Ben takes care of our finances so he sees almost everything I buy. But let me tell you, those ruffle capris I bought for Little Miss the other day? Totally worth explaining. Ben rarely complains. He just shakes his head. However, that alone is usually enough to make me feel guilty and curb my spending. Usually. If not, I just check the mail when he’s at work so it isn’t super apparent that I’ve ordered something else. It works for a minute but the man has a nose for undisclosed purchases. He always finds out.

Because I’m a giver (another one a my GOOD qualities) and because misery loves company, Erika helped me put together this little guide, sharing all of our favorite deal sites. We included descriptions below. Check them out. And when your spouse asks you where you found these sites, don’t mention our names. We have enough annoyed husbands on our hands as it is.

Daily Deal Sites

A Side of Peaches — My 15-year-old niece Riley turned me on to this site. They sell one item a day until it is sold out. I’ve picked up a lot of costume jewelry on this site. My very favorite necklace came from this site. Ben is still cursing Riley over this introduction.

Babysteals — My first foray into the land of daily deals. I’ve bought clothes, diaper bags, toys and books from this site. They sell two items a day until they are sold out. Get up early to check out their offering of the day because sometimes they go quick! Their network also includes a kids site and a scrapbooking site. All three feature tons of fun products.

Buffalo Brickyard — They showcase multiple items by individual companies for a couple of days at a time. Their offerings include everything from personalized lunchboxes to straws to jewelry.  As of this morning they are selling pink lion shirts that say “rawr” which I’m pretty sure will be coming to live at my house.

GroopDealz — Oh, goodness.  Where to begin. Each day they offer multiple items. Their women’s clothing is usually darling and I love their accessories. I have also bought some ridiculously cute clothes for Little Miss on this site. I follow their Facebook so I usually catch the items I want early on.

Pick Your Plum — I have been a fan of Pick Your Plum since they started. They feature great craft supplies, finished decor, and personalized items. It is always fun, bright and on trend. While we in Utah, I was talking to a cousin who lives next to the founder. She said that they are very particular about the items that they sell and they test everything.

The Plaid Barn — Craft supplies, jewelry and DIY. Oh my! Check out their past items and you will know exactly what I’m talking about. I get sucked in every time they sell new blank paper tag. Every time. Just be quick because it is one deal a day and then they are gone.

Very Jane — This is my latest discovery. Like Groupdealz and Buffalo Brickyard, they sell multiple items at once. Jewelry, home decor, and clothing are just some of their offerings. They recently featured a little girl’s fairy dress that just about killed me not to buy. The things I do for the sake of a happy marriage.