Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bye Bye California! (OOTD)

We had an amazing time in Southern California, as usual, even though this was the chilliest weather we had experienced there (60-70's).  I LOVE 70 degrees so it really worked out well for me overall and I was able to pull out some more spring type styles after leaving the frigid temps of home (Cincinnati) behind!
I have tried to remember to take pics of at least most of my outfits while in California. I had to take advantage of taking self portraits in my hotel room mirrors in the spirit of saving time and not forgetting to do it later so I apologize for the lack of good quality shots! I hope you will find some inspiration in them somewhere anyway :)
 Terrible pic - sorry! This was a late dinner at Villa Blanca in Beverly Hills.
Jeans: I.N.C. black skinny jeans
Boots: Corwn Vintage via DSW
Button up shirt: via Banana Republic
(we had spent the day traveling the PCH and stopping at beach towns - Laguna, Newport, Huntington, etc) so this was a quick change in the car before heading into dinner!

I rarely get dessert - not because I am "good", but because there isn't much I like for dessert usually when we go out. Villa Blanca had a classic chocolate lava cake with ice cream - perfection!  It was perfect and I followed it up with a great cup of coffee. :)

Spent the next day shopping in Santa Monica and finished with dinner in West Hollywood at SUR. It was Oscars night so it was a fun night to be out. We spent the first hour and a half in the lounge at the bar watching the Oscars before heading in for our dinner reservations at 9pm. It
These two pics are from shopping and then our hike up to the Hollywood sign. The last pic is shows my outfit for dinner (although it looks much the same as the rest of the day - it was different!)

For shopping and hiking (below and above):
Studded Shoulder top via Forever 21 (recent)
Jeans: I.N.C. (recent)
Leather Jacket: Steve Madden (old)
Bow Flats: Rocket Dog (I did change into sneakers for the hike! ;)

And dinner below:

 For dinner I did change:
Faux Leather pants: Mango
Top: Mango
Boots: Crown Vintage via DSW
Leather Jacket: Steve Madden (old)
Studded Clutch: Steve Madden (old)

Our final morning we spent in Beverly Hills shopping before heading out to Las Vegas. 

Outfit Details (for above):
Pattern ankle pants: Old Navy (new)
White v-neck tee: Ralph Lauren (old)
Blue faux Leather Jacket: Forever 21 (recent)
Bow Flats: Rocket Dog via DSW (recent)
Bag: Francesco Biasia (new)

We are now enjoying Vegas and I am writing you this from my room in the MGM Grand. My husband is in a conference for the afternoon so I have a couple of hours before getting ready to head out to dinner and a show tonight. I need the downtime!
 I did however just attend an amazing fashion show to benefit Susan G. Komen and of course came away purchasing a new outfit (Gianni Bini - which I adore). After seeing it on the runway I had to take it back with me...look for that in a post soon! 

I hope everyone is having a great week and I look forward to reading in comments :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

California in Pictures #2

2nd morning in San Diego we got up early and took a morning run. It was so beautiful - and I loved seeing all the dozens of runners on the boardwalk - so inspiring!

After our run we headed out to breakfast at this incredible little neighborhood gem called Isabel's Catina. The food was seriously beyond incredible! They boasted all organic and natural ingredients and locally grown/farmed. I will dream about the cinnamon bread I had there for a long time, I am certain!

Above: this was my OOTD and my choice to go walking around and shopping in La Jolla after breakfast. I just loved the pop of bright blue :)
Jeans: I.N.C. (via Macy's - current)
Shoes: Mix no.6 (DSW - current clearance)
Tee: Old Navy perfect scoop neck (in stores now)
Scarf: Etsy 
Blazer: Just Ginger (via TJ Maxx - old)
Sunnies: Coach (current)
Bag: Coach (past season)

Our server snapped a quick pic of us with all our incredible food!  Oh yeah, the coffee - it was also incredible!!!  I do love a great cup of coffee :)

This croissant was incredible, as well. Inside was a tomato, spinach and onion omelet. If we had been at home I could have taken part of this "to go" and would have eaten on it for the next 2 days!  I was so sad to leave so much of it behind :(

The rest of the day we spent in La Jolla shopping and on La Jolla beach (and Seal Beach).  It was absolutely beautiful. We look forward to going back again some time. 
 (Shopping in La Jolla) I picked up this great bag in La Jolla on Prospect Avenue. It's Italian designer Francesco Biasia.  I have been carrying it this week and have gotten so many compliments and women stopping me to ask where I got it. I am not really a fan of yellow in general, but I like the pop of color and it just feels so "spring like"right now :)

(Seal Beach)

The following morning we headed up the coast. We stopped in Dana Point, lunch in Laguna and then shopping and massages in Huntington Beach before heading inland for dinner at Villa Blanca in Beverly Hills. After dinner we headed to Riverside to my husband's sister's house and to start "wave 2" of our So Cal/Vegas trip.  Everything has been so perfect thus far and we are now 6 days into our 10 day vacation. I will fill you in with some outfit posts, shopping hauls and fun dinners out in the next few posts when I get time.  As I am typing this we are on the 15 North heading into Vegas for "wave 3" (the final part) or our fantastic trip!  
I miss my kids so much, but my husband and I are really having such a great time together and just being able to connect as Derek and Jessica and husband and wife instead of our typical "mom" and "dad" alter egos has been so nice ;)


Saturday, February 23, 2013

San Diego in Pictures!

So my husband and I are enjoying a beautiful getaway in California right now. We started in San Diego staying in La Jolla and Pacific Beach before driving north to visit our family and orange county area. 

We started off by picking up our convertible for the next 2 weeks at the airport and then heading out to Phil's BBQ for lunch (we were told on good authority that this was the BBQ place to eat around here). 

 I still can't believe we ate all that food (okay well alot of it anyway! ;)  10 hrs in and out of flights and airports had us work up quite an appetite!

From there we headed out to some gorgeous San Diego beaches........

 My gorgeous husband :)

 Our beautiful San Diego sunset on the first night in CA :)

 Our beautiful rooftop deck at our hotel, Tower23. Our 2nd floor room's outdoor patio walked out onto this rooftop deck overlooking the ocean/beach.  

Roof top deck during the daytime hours (pic taken from our private patio)

More pics to follow! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

{OOTD} Target

We had a quick warm-up here this past week (yes, with snow still on the ground!) we hit 50 degrees - even if we did start out at 30 something (hence the wool coat in the a.m.) - and I took advantage by wearing a lightweight and fun skirt! You may have last seen it in this post.

So this entire outfit is really largely for Target - totally unplanned! 
Skirt (Target - recent)
Shoes (Target - last fall)
Cami (Target - old)
T-shirt (Express - old)
Blazer (TJ Maxx - old)
Sunnies (Coach)
Wool Tie Waist Coat (Target - this season)
Scarf (Target - old)
Watch (Michael Kors)
Bracelet (made by a friend of mine as a gift for me)
Earrings (Stella & Dot Pippa Stone Earrings)
Bag (Steve Madden)


Wednesday, February 13, 2013's just that simple!

Today my new bedroom furniture came...not my bed, but the order has been placed and it will be here in about a month! In the meantime I a totally in love with all my new "girlie" bedroom furniture (and my husband even said he likes it :) - even if it surrounds my mattresses on the floor - ha!

I also completely adore my new dress form mannequin that I picked up to go with my beautiful new bedroom! In preparation for my fun Valentine's Day I "dressed up" my mannequin with the cute sweater I bought last week from Target. I will wear it to the school for my kid's Valentine's parties and then out to see Safe Haven with my mom-in-love before heading home for dinner with my family and then off to my oldest son's Valentine basketball scrimmage. What a fun day indeed spent with all my "loves"!  

The roses on my nightstand were the ones that my husband gave me at my birthday dinner the other night :)

I haven't been able to move this gorgeous door chest to it's final resting spot in my room, but I still wanted to get a pic of it included here! Along with this piece we have the matching dresser and night stands...just can't wait to see the finished room when my custom made tufted upholstered bed makes it into the picture :) 

Soooo do you have any plans to celebrate love today?  What does your Valentine's day look like?

Whatever you do tomorrow or don't do I hope that you it is a day full of love for each one of you! 
Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sweet Dreams.....

I have been shopping for new bedroom furniture for the last month and it has been so much harder than I thought to find what I really want (or think I want!).

I have known from the beginning that I want an upholstered bed and light wood or painted furniture. Maybe it's influenced by having 3 son's and my husband in the home - everything seems so masculine! I decided my bedroom will be feminine, soft and fresh.....a place for sweet dreams :)

Here are a few pieces that I have been drooling over for the last few weeks:

Okay, so you get the idea. I think I have literally looked at every furniture store within an hour drive of my house in any direction and have even checked out on line options (although that scares me too much since I can't see it in person and know that I love it, it's the right scale, feel, etc.). 

Looking forward to eventually having furniture in my room so I can get my mattresses up off the floor (sold my previous furniture about a month ago) and my sweaters and jeans back into drawers! 

What about your bedrooms? Any dream furniture? I would love to hear about it!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Birthday to.....Me! :)

Last night my husband took me out for a surprise birthday dinner with our incredible friends Angie and Gary at one of my favorite places, The Melting Pot. It's an incredible fondue place that also boasts my favorite cocktail - "Love Martini". It's like dessert in a glass. He also took me out shopping for "whatever I wanted". Can you believe I only bought myself one thing?  We were at one of the premier malls in the country and I just didn't really feel like shopping after all - really??!!  
It was such a fun night anyway.I really enjoyed jut walking around with my husband and being out together. Here are some shots from last night from the "what I wore" point of view :)

 I took this one while in the dressing room at "Hot Mamma".....have you ever been in there before? Loved the designers they had in there and it was set up so cute. I ended up purchasing this great top below - loved the color and it is the softest thing ever!  
Above: Splendid Thermal Cowl Neck top in Persimmon via Hot Mamma

My Outfit info:
Leather Jacket - Bagatelle via TJ Maxx (old) 
Blouse - Daniel Rainn via TJ Maxx (see it worn here as well)
Black Skinny Jeans - I.N.C. via Macy's
Madden Girl Boots (old)
Stella & Dot  accessories - Rebel Pendant & Renegade necklace(no longer available) & Renegade  bracelet & Vintage Twist Bracelet & Luna Wrap Bracelet (my fav piece ever!) & Soiree Stud Earrings
Michael Kors watch

Here is our fun shot from dinner - I think Gary got caught in the flash - he looks like a ghost! 

 Wow!  What a year this past one has been .  I was in the doctor's office at this time last year (on my birthday even!) seeing my daughter on the ultrasound and being told that she could arrive any day - she was actually born on Feb. 19th. Those were the most incredible and anxious 9 days of my life. It has been so incredible seeing our growing family becoming so close over this last year. My boys - we have 3 ages 11 to 6 years old - are just crazy about their baby sister and she is totally in love with them!

In addition to the incredible blessing of our baby girl, my mother in law also got married and 2 of my 4 little brothers got married. With all the blessings this was also the most difficult year of my life as we unexpectantly lost my dad in a tragic accident. he was only 56 years old.  It has understandably affected me greatly....emotionally and physically  I am heavier than I have been probably in my entire life as I think I just became overwhelmed with everything for several months and just didn't have the drive to follow my normal routine and healthy eating habits. Having an infant made it more difficult and easier for me to make excuses for myself, I guess.  Emotionally I have fallen into days of depressed feelings that would leave me crying at the drop of a hat. 
I am taking steps to change things - I rejoined the marathon training group that I was in last year with the intention of finishing the training this time and actually running in "The Flying Pig" - Cincinnati's infamous marathon (I am training for the half)! I have also slowly gone back to my healthier eating habits and not making excuses for eating the stuff I know is not good for me or my family - the biggest change is deciding that I care about what I am putting into my body again. I have also submersed myself into bible study groups with girlfriend's that have really been helping me heal and the running is really a therapeutic thing for me as well - I have had more than a few runs where my face is wet from all tears (and occasionally frozen as the temps have been less than ideal around here lately! ;) It's incredible how healing that can be though......
I also started this blog as a way to help me share my passion for fashion with others in the blog community and give me a little personal time and escape. It has been such a wonderful thing for me and I have been inspired and encouraged by so many of you!

I am looking forward to this year being an incredible year and I am excited to see what God has in store for me personally and my incredible family. Good bye "34" and welcome "35"!  I am looking forward to my BEST YEAR EVER :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Target Buys & OOTD

So today I had a ton of errands to run and going to Target for a vacuum cleaner was one of them. Let me start by saying that I really try to completely avoid Target because I have a really hard getting out of there without an absolute cart FULL of things....usually things I have no idea that I even "needed". It just so happens that we needed a new vacuum and my husband found the one that he thought we should get in the Consumer Reports mag. It just happened to be at Target - sigh.

I have not been in Target in weeks - actually probably closer to a couple months...on purpose!  Well, wouldn't you know they have all these super cute spring clothes out and I just so happen to be heading to Cali and Vegas in a week and a half. So many cute things jumped out at me as things that would be great to take with me for the transitional temps.  Okay, so here is what I came home with (pics via Target's website):
You can find all of the above inside the Target stores today!  
I also came away with a super cute animal print peplum top with back zip that was only $22! It is super cute and I am so excited to pair it with a skirt and pumps or some black skinnies and boots with my leather moto jacket :)
Here is my little peplum find (matches the jacket I wore there today!)...they have this top online in other colors, but not the leopard. You can see by the mirror behind me that I left the top unzipped - ha!  It does zip up the back with an exposed zipper which I thought was a really fun edgy touch. 

And for the OOTD - It was perfectly comfortable and lightweight for our 56 degrees (yes, 56 with snow melting in the background - I was running in snow, ice and freezing temps just 2 short days ago!) here today while I ran around town. 

With my big fluffy poodle (best running partner in the world btw! :)

  Inside the Target dressing room since I neglected to get one outside with the fun leopard coat on (which I purchased at Target last spring :)

 Outfit of the Day details:
Michael Kors Hamilton Tote - purchased last year, but it is still available everywhere!
Zara Riding Boots - sold out
Hue Jeggings via Macy's (past season)
Cardigan sweater via TJ Maxx (past season)
Victoria's Secret Cotton Tunic (similar here)
And I seriously can NOT remember where I got that scarf! LOL - it's old anyway, I know that!

Hope you all are having fantastic weeks so far! 
 I am so looking forward to this weekend as it is my birthday on Sunday.  My sweet husband is taking me out on Saturday, even though we agreed we would do plenty of celebrating in Vegas and So Cal next week and that I didn't really need anything "special" done while we are in town this weekend.  I look forward to a super fun night with him and my birthday is a great excuse to have some fun anyway....anytime I get to go out with Derek is a good night! :)


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Simply Smoothies

With all the talk about "getting healthy" in the new year I wanted to give my readers some tips for making a super yummy and nutritious smoothie that even your kids would drink - no kidding!

Juicing vs Smoothie: which is better and why?  Well, I actually think that there is a place for both. I do believe whole heartily that smoothies are the most nutritious and I think that for most people there is no need to specifically juice over a smoothie and I think if you are starting out and not sure what machine to get or how to start I would have to say that smoothies would be the way to go. I am not a doctor and I have not been formerly educated in nutrition, but let me explain to you why I think the way I do from the perspective of an every day gal who has been experimenting for years with this type of plant based nutrition.

I actually have a few reasons:
  • smoothies use the whole fruit/veggie and include both soluble and insoluble fiber. Don't think you need the insoluble fiber (juicing does still give you the soluble fiber, of course)? Wrong! Insoluble fiber is what slow down sugar's absorption into your bloodstream regulating your blood glucose levels. 
  • smoothies offer a much higher fiber content which is good for many reasons including keeping you fuller longer which actually brings me to my next point....
  • you can effectively use a smoothie as a meal replacement - a good truly nutritious meal replacement as you do get the fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and protein, etc. You can also do many "add ins" that you may want for different nutritional reasons. 
  • You can use the entire fruit and veggie (seeds, skin, leaves, etc - this is where you will find the majority of your nutrients and it is a shame not to use these parts to the fullest extent possible!)
  • smoothies are much less expensive and quicker to make as they require much less fruit/vegetables and less preparation since the entire fruit or vegetable is being used so it takes so much less produce to make one. 
I have a smoothie every single day (I miss one very rarely!). I love to have it after a run/workout and/or as a quick on the go lunch. I have to say that my husband and I have been making our daily smoothies for about 5 or 6 years now and we have never been healthier in our lives! We are almost never sick....really - and we have 4 children so you know the amount of germs that are coming in and out of our house daily from school, play dates, sports, etc. ;)

Okay, enough about is how I do it (with some slight variations). 

Here is an example of some of the items that I put into my smoothies: blueberries, grapes, pomegranates seeds, strawberries, spinach, kale, celery, carrots, dates, cucumbers and much much more. (Keep in mind that what is pictured is NOT the actual amounts of these items that I would put into a smoothie)

I have also been known to add in a squeeze of honey - just a bit. Honey is full of polyphenols (antioxidants) that have been proven to help boost immunity, as well as, protect against heart disease and cancer! It has been proven to help with allergies and coughs. I regularly add a table spoon to our smoothies during this time of year to help with immunity.  It's a great substitute for a sweet fruit that I might typically add for flavor. 

Today this is what I put in our "Superbowl Smoothie" (yes, we drank our smoothies today while watching :)
* remember this was for 2 people

3 or 4 kale stems with leaves on
1/2 cucumber
2 celery stalks
2 medium whole carrots
3 large handfuls of spinach
1 medjol date (pitted)
handful of blueberries
small stem of grapes (vine/stem included)
1/2 pear (stem, seeds and all included)
1-2 cups of ice

Keep in mind a few things when choosing how to make your smoothie:

  1. Get a good blender!  I have the Vitamix (mine is about 6 years old and I think today's equivalent is the "200") and let me tell you that it is worth every penny. If you can afford it than go for it - you will not regret it! If you try to make a smoothie using whole produce in an everyday type blender you will not enjoy it nearly enough to stick with it. They are just not powerful enough and your smoothie will be anything but smooth!
  2. Make your smoothies "Green" meaning use more vegetables than fruit and specifically green leafy can always work up to this. Using a very ripe banana in your smoothie will make for a very sweet taste that will cut the kale and spinach considerably. Once you get used to the taste (believe me you will actually begin to really like it) you can cut down and or out the sweetness for a more nutritious drink overall. 
  3. Buy organic (with the exception of a few). With leafy greens and fruits that you will not be removing the outer skin this is extremely important as you do not want all those pesticides in your health drink .  Think blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears, grapes, kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, etc. 
  4. You can not drink (or eat!) too many veggies!  You would not physically be able to eat too many so go ahead and throw them in there, but let me caution you to buildup slowly. If your body is not used to eating vegetables (especially greens) you can experience bloating, gas and more. Add a little more every other day if you are feeling comfortable. Greens fill you up so your body should let you know when you have had your fill.
  5. Did you know that dark green leafy greens offer more protein than a steak per calorie?  No kidding - so load up! Especially if you are doing a smoothie for meal replacement or after a workout. Your body needs all those antioxidants and nutrients, too. Just keep the sugary fruit intake lower and you will have a winning smoothie no matter what combo(s) you come up with that you like to drink.
  6. Finally, keep it fun! If you have kids, take them with you to purchase produce at the local farmer's market or your grocery store that you will put in smoothies. This is a great motivator for getting kids to want to drink them, too. Let them help wash the produce at home and assemble the ingredients. It will certainly make them appreciate what they are eating/drinking more. And change up the ingredients often. I almost never make the same smoothie twice. There are SO many great fruits and veggies out there that you can use in a green smoothie and the combinations are endless! 
I hope this info was helpful to you and helps you to feel more confident about trying your hand at making smoothies for you and/or your family.