Sunday, November 19, 2017

Ultimate Toddler Gift Guide

TA-DA! Toddler gift guide...just in time for Black Friday & Cyber Monday!

Favorite Toddler Toys (ages 2+)
A list of my kids' tried and true favorite (and most played with) toys! At first I was going to sort the list by girl and boy toys but both of my kids love both boy and girl toys so really any of these would work for any 2+ toddler!
Favorite Toddler Toys
$15 & Under

$25 & Under   

Over $25

Outdoor Toys
My favorite toys for the kids are the ones that I'm not going to trip over 30 times a day in the family room. If they can be played with outside it's a double win in my opinion -- keeps them out of my way and gets the kids outside! Here are some of our most favorite outdoor gifts that our kids looooooove to play with.  
Outdoor Toddler Toys
$20 & Under

$35 & Under

 Big Gifts

My kids loooooooove books and even though we have piles and piles of them I am always looking for more! We own some of these books or check them out often from the library, and Santa is also bringing a few too.
Toddler Books!

Looking for more meaningful gifts? Check out this post!

***And PLEASE do not forget to use ebates for all your online shopping this year!!! It's FREE cash back just for doing your shopping online! Sign up here if you need a referral.***

Friday, November 17, 2017

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday! Yes or this weekend too early to bring home our Christmas tree? 
one. Last week I ran to Ikea to make some returns and while I was there I stumbled upon these adorable little Christmas trees. I grabbed two for our fireplace mantel and scooped up some pots to go with them. We have not busted out our boxes of Christmas decor yet but I am loving these first signs of Christmas in our home!
two. Last Friday, we joined two of our favorite couples for an epic triple date night. We started with dinner and drinks at Dandelion Market and then walked to the arena for the Jim Gaffigan show. The show was unbelievably hilarious and we all laughed our faces off. Afterwards we were all so wound up that we decided to hit the bars for a bit (who ARE we?!) and then finished the night off at an 80's night club (I'm sorry, WHAT?). That club has never seen such amazing mom moves. And the kids could not have been more excited to find a trail of glow sticks throughout the house when they woke up.
three. Earlier this week Matt broke out his custom suit from Ole Mason Jar for a photo shoot he had for an impressive legal award he won. Is this suit not amazing?! It truly turned out so gorgeous. #notsponsored just obsessed.
four. After a recent cold & ear infection for Thomas plus the threat of hand foot mouth going around Caroline's class, I primed Zarbee's Elderberry Immune Support Gummies a few weeks ago and have been giving one to both kids every night. These vitamins are loaded with vitamin C, zinc and elderberry to boost the immune system. Fingers crossed, so far they seem to be working to keep any additional colds and viruses at bay! Of course, now that I said that...
five. [GIVEAWAY] I know I'm super late to the Beauty Counter party but I recently received the Multi-Masker Set to review and am super impressed with my first experience using these products! I use a face mask almost every night before bed and am always on the hunt for new ones to try. Lucky for me, this set came with THREE masks: #1 Brightening Facial Mask (creates an illuminated and more even-toned complexion with vitamin C.), #2 Plumping Facial Mask (gives skin a firm, toned, more youthful appearance with plumping peony root), and #3 Balancing Facial Mask (absorbs excess oil and draws out impurities with activated charcoal). You can use one mask at a time or all three at once! This would be such a fun Christmas gift to give the beauty product lover in your life.
[GIVEAWAY] Lyndsey generously offered to give away a multi-masker set to one lucky reader! Enter using the Rafflecopter! The contest will run through Nov. 21 and the winner will be picked at random and announced back here on Nov. 22! Good luck!

About Lyndsey: Mom of 2 - Franklin (almost 4) and Anna (almost 1).  Fun fact: they were both born on 12/13. She's a CPA, spent five years in the Raleigh area working for NC State before moving to Northern Virginia about two weeks ago.  Her husband is the head wrestling coach at George Mason University and his job dictates where they live.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things...

Stumped on what to ask Santa for this year? Me too. However, today I'm sharing a few of my faaaaavorite things that I'd recommend adding to your wish list. All items are tried and true favorites that I own, love and have blogged about (sometimes over-blogged about). Let me know if you need a little elf to shoot this over to your Santa. Happy wish list making!

1. State to State Coffee Mug: This adorable mug perfectly captures my heart in my two favorite states and is hands down my mug of choice each morning! This is also the perfect gift for your long distance bestie.

2. Hearthside Slippers:  An annual wish list item, my mom gets everyone in the family a new set of hearthside slippers every Christmas. They are fleece-lined and so cozy!

3. Iluminage Beauty Eye Mask: This rejuvenating silky sleep mask is embedded with copper, a well-known essential mineral with skin-enhancing properties to help minimize the appearance of wrinkles while you sleep! This would be a good mom, mother-in-law or sister gift too!

4. NARS Mini Blush & Bronzer Duo: This is the most perfect (and best-selling) combination from NARS ever -- my favorite blush (color: Orgasm) and favorite bronzer (color: Laguna) in one mini compact!!

5. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau De Parfum Spray: Another annual staple for my list! I'll never wear any other scent and I always happen to spray my last few drops right around Christmas.

6. Capri Blue Volcano Candle: Both my and Matt's favorite candle (scent: volcano). Matt even asked for the diffuser for his office.

7. Ball Drop Earrings: I wear these ALL the time and always receive so many compliments on them. They pair well with so many outfits -- dressy or casual!

8. 50mm Camera Lens: This is really the only lens I use on my camera and I always get a lot of questions from readers inquiring about my camera lens. Highly recommend!

9. Swig Wine Tumbler: Comes in one billion colors (two of which I own), keeps beverages cold for 9 hours and hot for 3 hours. Oh, and it's dishwasher safe and shatter resistant, making this the perfect stemless wine cup!

10. Revision Black Mask: I use this mask 3x a week! It's so so so good.

11. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: This concealer (color vanilla) works miracles! It's creamy, smooth and can cover even the darkest under eye circles. 

12. Kiehl's Avocado Eye Cream: A little goes a loooong way. I've been using mine every night for 6 months and it still doesn't look like I've ever used it. This eye cream is very soothing and creamy.

13. Bath Caddy: Conveniently holds a book/iPad, a candle, glass of wine and more. I use my caddy every single night while relaxing in the bath. Oh, and make sure to get this super inexpensive ($5) Epsom salt bath soap too. It's my absolute favorite and smells heavenly (made with essential oils)!

14. NeuLash: I have seen insane results in my eye lash growth since using this lash enhancing serum. It is incredible and works to strengthen your lashes so they can grow longer and thicker!
Stocking Stuffers under $15

15. Mario Badescu Facial Sprays: I use this cooling and refreshing facial mist to hydrate my skin after getting out of the shower and I also use it as a makeup setting spray each morning.

16. Neutragena Hydro Boost: If you suffer from dry skin like me, you must must must try this gel cream out. I've also read this product is a major dupe for the Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion Moisturizer ($58).

17. L'Oreal Lash ParadiseAn incredible $7 dupe for Too Face Better Than Sex mascara ($23)! I've never been married to a specific mascara (I swear I've tried them all and they are all the same) until I used this one. I am now on my third tube and not only does this mascara make my eye lashes look fuller, they are drastically longer since I started using it. If you don't believe me, just read the Amazon reviews for yourself.

18. Seche Vite: The absolute best top coat ever. For a girl who pants her nails in bed and wakes up with tons of creases, this polish has been revolutionary. Not only does this seal your polish for a professional look, it fully dries in less than a minute and my manicures now lasts up to a week without chipping!

19. PopSocket: Pop, tilt, wrap, prop, collapse, grip! PopSockets help secure your grip and hold your phone more comfortably so you drop your phone less. It also allows you to securely prop your phone up at an angle for watching videos, etc.

20. MAC Lipstick: (color Twig). My favorite color since my wedding day! Twig is one of those colors that looks good on anyone which is probably why it's a makeup artist's go-to lip color. It truly is an amazing lipstick in every category - color, quality, long-lasting, etc. Here is my favorite $3 dupe for this lipstick too. It's not as amazing as the MAC version but close enough!

21. Sunglasses // My favorite sunglasses! I get a lot of questions about them. They are super cute and are only $12!

Now tell me what's on YOUR wish list. So far this makeup palette is the only thing on mine!



Monday, November 13, 2017

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Last night I whipped up some Asian Chicken Noodle Soup. 
Before we get into the details I have to mention that if you don't often cook Asian dishes this one may be a bit of an "investment" for your first batch. I didn't own many of these ingredients and was a little sticker shocked as I was throwing items into my cart and adding it all up in my head ($6 mirin, $10 Sriracha, $6 napa cabbage, $6 rice vinegar, $12 organic chicken, etc.). I'm sure you can find these ingredients at a lower price but I was already at my Harris Teeter and committed to the recipe. Anyway, the soup was totally worth $60 (kidding, it wasn't that much) and I'll be making it often now that I own all of the ingredients.
Asian Chicken Noodle Soup 
Adapted from Food Network & Cooking Classy


    2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    2 cups diced carrots
    6 green onions, thinly slicing scallions and keeping onions separated
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    2 Tbsp minced peeled ginger
    1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
    Salt and pepper
    8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    4 Tbsp soy sauce
    2 Tbsp mirin
    4 Tbsp rice vinegar
    1 Tbsp Sriracha
    1 Tbsp sesame oil
    1 Tbsp granulated sugar
    4 cups slightly packed chopped Napa cabbage
    8 oz crimini mushrooms , sliced
    2 (4.3 oz) packages dry ramen, seasoning packets discarded
    1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Dice chicken into cubes and season with salt and pepper. Saute until browned on both sides. In a soup pot or dutch oven add carrots and saute 3 minutes then add green onions, garlic and ginger and saute 2 minutes longer. Add chicken in. Pour in chicken broth, soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, Sriracha and sesame oil. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer about 5-7 minutes. Stir in sugar, cabbage and mushrooms and return soup to a boil. Add noodles and cook 3-5 minutes longer until noodles are tender. Serve warm sprinkled with cilantro and scallions.

Print Recipe for Asian Chicken Noodle Soup


Friday, November 10, 2017

Five on Friday!

Haaaaaaaappppyyyyyyy Friddayyyyyyyyy!

one. A few weeks ago I saw my friend Corey wearing the most amazing pair of shoes and begged her to tell me where she purchased them. She laughed and said she's been asked that question at least ten times and then shared her secret...they are the Royale Pointy Toed Flat from Free People...but the DUPE (she is the best bargain hunter so I shouldn't be surprised)!!!!!!!!! I tried to order the dupe right away but found they were out of stock...for forever. Finally they came back in stock and I purchased them. Since they've arrived I have also received at least 10 compliments on them. I am so obsessed. In fact, I think I would even splurge on the Free People version I love them so much. Anyway, my grainy mirror selfie does not do these shoes justice. They are amazing. And you deserve a pair at whichever price point you want to spend!
  Shoes // Top (on sale!)

two. If you read my Holiday Gift Guide for Men than you already know how obsessed Matt is with his Fulton & Roark products. Anyway, if you didn't see the gift guide than you need to check it out! And if you want to snag some luxury grooming products for the man in your life (which I highly recommend), use code CHARM at checkout to save 15% on your order through 12/31! Whoop!
three. Earlier this week I came home to the best surprise at my door from my bestie Lisa -- the  Pressing Pause devotional. I've only completed a few days so far and LOVE this book. It's designed for busy mamas and is the EXACT length in a devotional (2 pages) I need to not skip it for the day! If you are a busy mama trying to carve out a few minutes each day for Jesus, this is the book for you!
four. So I stocked up on a TON of leggings for fall/winter for Caroline recently. And then she informed me this week that she absolutely would not wear ANY sort of pants without pockets. I didn't have any jeans for her so she helped herself to Tom's 2T high waters and dressed herself in a sweater...backwards.
five. Last night I met my friend Caroline for a mani followed by a bottle of Pinot Noir at Bond Street Wines. Even though I spend at least 3 lunches a week with her we had the absolute best night together -- the kind that's good for the soul.
Hope y'all have a great weekend. We have some awesome triple date night plans for tonight! xo


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide + Stocking Stuffers for Him

I cannot believe it's time to start shopping for the holidays. I like to get my shopping done as early as possible and the hardest boxes to check off my list are always the guys in my family. If you struggle with man gifts too, I've got just the guide for you...
GIfts for Him

1.  Modern Bluetooth Turntable with Speakers. Definitely among the top 5 gifts I've ever surprised Matt with. He has been dying for a Harvey Specter style record player for his new office and is absolutely obsessed with this one. To top off the gift I included The Ultimate Frank Sinatra vinyl to start his record collection.

2. Amazon Echo Dot. A voice-controlled device for playing music, making calls, ordering pizza, texting and more!

3. Amazon Fire TV. Enjoy over 15,000 apps, games, and Alexa skills including access to over 300,000 TV episodes and movies on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO NOW, Hulu, and more. We use our fire stick every day!

4. Nest Thermostat. Want to control your thermostat from your phone or tablet? You need one of these! We have two for our home (upstairs and downstairs) and no longer have to play rock, paper, scissors to decide who has to get out of bed to adjust the thermostat. Nest automatically turns itself down when nobody’s home to help save energy too!

5. Tile Mate Key Finder. For the man in your life who constantly loses his keys, wallet, phone, etc. This magical Bluetooth tracker easily loops onto keychains or attaches to anything you don’t want to lose so you can find it fast.

6. Bluetooth Headphones. Sweatproof tangle-free ear buds that last up to 8 hours on full battery charge. Great for running, hiking, biking, gym etc.

7. Sound Bar. We loooooove our sound bar and use it daily for our TV and for streaming music from our phones.

8. TV Projector. Watch movies or stream TV in your backyard under the stars with this mini projector. We love streaming football games in our backyard with our projector!

9. Fire Pit. And don't forget the marshmallow roaster set too!

10. Grilling Tools Set. This deluxe steel grill set is also a great housewarming gift!

11. Moccasin Slippers. These are seriously the coziest slippers ever. Matt gets a new pair every Christmas!

12. Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls.

13. Wireless Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker. One of Matt's all time favorite golf accessories, this speaker is perfect for clipping to your golf bag -- rain or shine!

14. Laser Rangefinder. Not just for golfers but for hunters too!

15. Fulton & Roark Grooming Products. The best, and I mean the best high quality grooming products designed specifically for men. Matt keeps the wax-based and shatterproof solid cologne in his gym bag (Ltd Reserve: Sterling), a bottle of luxury face wash by his sink and the shampoo + body wash in the shower. Use code CHARM at checkout to save 15% on your order through 12/31!

16. American Crew Pomade. The secret to Matt's perfectly styled hair. Also a good stocking stuffer.

17. Dolce & Gabana Light Blue Cologne. Ahhh, my favorite man fragrance!

18. BurgaBox of The Month Club. A monthly subscription box shipped to you with simple instructions and fresh ingredients to cook right in your own kitchen! 

19. Yeti Tumbler.

20.  Sipping Stones. Chill your drink without diluting it!

**BONUS ITEM** Matt insisted that I couldn't publish this guide until I included the Minimalist Wallet -- "the ultimate man gift." You can frequently find Matt showing off this super compact wallet to his friends. He is so picky about his wallets and finally found one that he is truly obsessed with. He claims you cannot feel this wallet in your pocket at all when you're sitting down, it fits 8 cards plus cash and comes with 12 built in tools (bottle opener, tool driver, wrenches and flathead screw driver).

Monday, November 6, 2017

Weekend Rewind

We had an incredible weekend of celebration! Not only did we celebrate six years of marriage, we celebrated my goddaughter Millie's baptism and first birthday!
Friday night Matt and I went to Foxcroft Wine for our anniversary dinner. I love this place so much and it was nice to sit outside under the twinkle lights with a bottle of Cloudy Bay and tons of delicious small plates.
When we arrived home from our date night we didn't hesitate to dive right in to our anniversary cake.
Saturday we ate breakfast at IHOP, Caroline got her first haircut and we ran all the usual errands and did all the usual chores. 
Saturday afternoon we had a baptism rehearsal followed by dinner at Lisa's sister's house.
Sunday we celebrated sweet Millie! I am so honored and blessed to be Millie's godmother and her special day was perfect and beautiful!
And that's a wrap on a celebratory weekend!

Blogging tips