Thursday, August 28, 2014

it's time for fall y'all

i've lived in the south for six and a half years. that's right. this former nomad has lived in one location for that many years. with the exception of my childhood home, i have never lived this long anywhere. ever. 

i have to admit, the move to the south has taken some adjustment. i'm a born and raised california girl. i grew up in the amazing wine country of northern california and then moved to the picturesque san diego county. after a brief stint in the middle of the desert, i moved to the caribbean coast of south america and lived for five plus years in colombia and venezuela. is it any wonder that hitting the carolinas caused a bit of whiplash? the fall and winter weather alone are enough to throw me into a whirl. sweaters and boots? i literally didn't own any. seriously. my idea of winter wear was throwing on a hoodie paired with some flip flops.

after six years in the south, i'm finally learning to embrace my new southern home. i now recognize seasons and appreciate all of them, from our one day of snow each winter to the ridiculous humidity of the summer. i've come to appreciate mac & cheese, fried pickles and shrimp and grits. i say "yes, ma'am" more often than i ever dreamed i would. i wave to my neighbors whenever they drive by and provide casseroles for anyone who is sick. i have a deep love for southern bar-b-que and i sleep in a giant nascar t-shirt most nights. i'm officially becoming a southern girl.

until last week, there was one southern trademark i could not claim. i did not own a pair of cowgirl boots. last week, i crossed the final hurdle and am now the proud owner of an absolutely beautiful pair of cowboy boots. 

still, there was a huge dilemma in front of me. i have given birth five times. there are no daisy dukes in my future. i needed to find some outfits that i could wear that suit of five...almost 40...former california girl. i may never pair my boots with flannel or short shorts, but i'm pretty sure there are outfits that will suit me just fine. they just might be what i was missing to marry all the places i've lived into outfits that are comfortably me. 

here are the outfits i found for myself:

what are you waiting for? cowboy boots scared me for a long time. i couldn't imagine how i would wear them. now that i have them, i can't imagine how i lived so long without them, especially when paired with fall fashion. come and join me on the country side. maybe these crazy southerners have been right all along.

the boots shown are from they are the addie butterfly boot by 8 second angel. they retail for $179.95 with free shipping.

disclosure: this is a sponsored post with acornInfluence. country outfitter graciously sent me a pair of the most fabulous 8 second angel boots. the opinions are all my own.

tags: #countryoutfitter #fallyall #fallfashion @countryoutfittr 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

countdown to 40

40. wow. the idea of it takes my breath away a little bit. i actually vividly remember my dad's 40th birthday party when I was a kid. he was showered in gifts of geritol, walking canes, stool softeners and other old people stuff. black balloons filled the room where the party was and "over the hill" banners were everywhere......and now I am finding myself inching closer to 40 as every day goes by. the funny thing is....i don't feel old. 

at all. 

do i need a reality check? 

am i losing my mind? 

or, is the reality that, 40 really is the new 30? i don't know if that catch phrase is true for me. i don't really want to be 30 again, even though 30 seemed pretty  darn great. the reality for me is that 40, although scary on one hand, is also quite exciting on the other hand. 

i feel like, having gone through the weeds with my recent divorce, i am starting a whole new chapter of my life. one where i actually love the person i am for the for the first time in my adult life. i have earned the little lines that are starting to form in the creases where i smile from all the laughter and joy, and earned the lines in the corners of my eyes from every struggle. i have earned the snow white hairs that are starting to magically appear on my head....they come with the years. with all the joy......and all the struggle......and all the resolve....i am in a weird way a bit fond of them...(even though i will not give a second thought to making an appointment with a colorist, if they continue to be fruitful and multiply).   

genelle and i, as well as being the best of friends and running this blog together, also happen to be the same age and share birthdays in the same month. because our birthdays are in december, the start of a new year of life also means the upcoming start of a new calendar year. this means that new birthday wishes for ourselves often happen to go hand in hand with everyone else's new years resolutions. this past december, upon celebrating our joint 39th years of life, genelle and I also talked a lot about the "countdown to 40" and what that means to each of us. we made lists of wishes for ourselves in this 40th year of life....things that we could improve on or can take on, not just things to give up. here are the cliff notes of my "countdown to 40" list:

•i will start taking care of my skin. i haven't done anything other than wash it, when i remember to for my entire life. not smart. this changes now. i will go on the hunt for my favorite skin care products. 

•i will be gentle with myself and treat me with the same kindness and respect that i show to others. 

•i will start being more conscious of what i put into my body and make a more concerted effort to feed myself with things that are good for me. 

•water. i will drink more. lots more. 

•sun. i love the sun and a sun-kissed glow makes me simply feel better about myself....but it can come at a high price that i am not willing to risk. i have already lost so much to melanoma. i will get my spray-tan on and start hunting for the best self tanner.

•i will make fitness a lifestyle choice and start incorporating it into my life wholly.

•i will say "yes". i can talk myself out of almost anything with my self-doubt. when someone includes me in something i will try my hardest to say "yes". adventures await. 

although both of our lists are different, they both recognize that this is an important, point in our lives and it calls for change. we are looking forward to sharing with you our adventures in #countdownto40 which will culminate with us meeting in houston, texas in december to celebrate our birthdays together. looking forward to sharing the journey with you all!

how about you? did you do something special for your 40th? is that year more significant than others? 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

monthly must haves: heather's august picks

both genelle and myself love trying out new products. we have decided to start this monthly compilation of a few of our favorite must have items. this month i am taking the lead with my current obsessions i have already been telling all of my friends about and am excited to share with you.

i am a health and fitness gadget junkie and i *love* fitness trackers. if there is a fitness tracker made, i probably own it. the problem with most fitness trackers is that they look great when at the gym or running around town in your yoga pants, but are so unfashionable when you are not. one of the things i love most about my misfit shine is that the small, circular device can be worn a multitude of ways; this includes being able to pop it out and inserted it into a leather watch band (as seen above). the shine is functional and fashionable and can be worn in the water. i also love that it uses a watch battery so you don't have to remember to keep charging it every couple of days as you do with most fitness trackers. my favorite feature though is the free app that the shine syncs with on my phone----it includes a sleep tracker and it has been a major eye-opener to my sleep patterns. the misfit shine is awesome. if you end up getting one, let us know and we can link up to compete and encourage each other in our fitness goals.

i am a sucker for the splendid brand. i own way more of their clothing than i should admit....but my current obsession is the asymmetrical dress. i am not a person that wears dresses all the time and i now own this dress in every color. that is how wonderful it is. it is comfortable, fashionable and the fabric is such that i can wear it around town with flip flips and then add some jewelry and heels and it transitions seamlessly to night. it's perfection. 

i love jewelry and when you own a lot of it, like i do, it is hard to find a great box to store it in that is not only fashionable but also functional. glamboxes are truly swoon-worthy and now all of my jewelry is perfectly organized, stored and displayed in a beautiful, custom acrylic masterpiece. they make make-up boxes also that are on my wish list for sure!

i am not even sure how to begin describing this, because it is so unique and revolutionary that its really one of those things you have to see with your own eyes. loreal makeup genius is a *free* app that allows you to virtually try on make-up onto your own reflection in real-time. i've tried to explain it to countless people and it's impossible to do it justice---you just need to trust me and download it now and see with your own eyes. you can try on specific products as well as test out amazing looks that have already been put together by beauty experts. not only is this app completely changing the way that i shop for make-up, and a valuable tool for is also a blast to use with my nieces and the neighborhood kids (okay, okay....i admit that i have now also have some hilarious photos and videos of my boys in make-up too.....can we say future wedding slide show?!). 

your iron is going to beg you not to try this product, because it will be out of a job when this comes home from the store with you. truth. i now even bring it with me when i travel, because it is quickly becoming something that i can't live without. downy wrinkle releaser is a simple spray that, when spritzed over fabric, magically releases all of the wrinkles. no joke. it even works on curtains, throw pillows, sheets...anything. as a busy, single mama this is a 100% must have.

now that i have found these, i am certain to be a devoted customer for years to come. packit is a freezable lunch bag that not only keeps my boys lunches cool for hours, but it is big enough to fit a good-sized lunch and a drink and it stays securely closed, even with the way my littles swing their bags around on the way to school. it's a must-have for school, summer camps and even as an adult for the office. 

are you tired? stressed? dark circles under your eyes? (sounds like me and just about every mommy i know). you need these. eyes are collagen gel pads that are packed with moisture, tons of vitamins and other good things that give you a mini-spa moment in the comfort of your own home. i tried them first after a workout (as you can see above) and, after 20 minutes i not only felt more relaxed and refreshed, but the area under my eyes was noticeably improved. i'm hooked. my current favorite is coconut, but they also carry green tea and ice water, which are fantastic, too.

disclaimer: although we received some products for free, many are purchased on our own dime and *all* are products that we love and the opinions are all our own.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

summer hiatus

summer is officially over. heather's two boys are back in school and my three oldest have started this week. come labor day weekend, the two littles will be in school too and for the first time in eleven years (yes, you read that, e - l - e - v - e - n years) i will have three hours, two days a week to myself. i won't know what to do with myself.

i'm not going to lie, i'm happy to get back into the normalcy of routine. everyone in my family seems to function a little bit better with places to go and things to do. still, i'm a little nostalgic about the start of one more year in school. i have a middle schooler. i still don't know how that happened. with two in elementary and two in preschool, i know my days with this little crew of people are slipping away one year at a time. they are growing up and with each school year that starts, i'm more and more aware of how few years i really have with them under my roof. the days are long and the years are so, so very short.

with that realization playing in my mind, heather and i have been working on prioritizing our lives. we are trying to keep the important things in their rightful place as important things. we are giving ourselves permission to take time with our kids and enjoy them. if that means that we don't do as many blog posts over the summer then so be it. we're working on embracing our priorities and our choices...guilt free. does that mean that our summer blog posts have been few and far between? absolutely. does it also mean that we got to create amazing memories with our kids and actually be present in their lives this summer like we haven't in the past. it does indeed.

the best part of this process (let's just call the process "growing wiser with age") is that we are learning to brush off self criticism in the process. when my now middle schooler leaves the house in seven years, am i going to look back and say, "i really wish i had written two posts a week that summer instead of one?" probably not. so we are wiping the slate clean for ourselves and erasing the self guilt of not doing "everything" that we could be doing in during the day, many times at the expense of our kids or (and here's the hardest one to value) at the expense of ourselves. we are learning not just to prioritize our families but also ourselves. that is truly revolutionary for us.

so, here we are. we are officially back to routine. our blog posts will increase. our lives will get back into a rhythm. there will be less than 200 "mommy" yells a day. and that is both wonderful and sad at the same time. we have missed writing. we've missed our own blogging routine. we are glad to be back....but we are also so very glad we took time this summer to do some guilt free prioritizing. it was necessary and for us, it was the best decision we could have made.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

mmmmm: smoky glazed maple salmon supper

  • this is a sponsored post by nutrish for cats. while they have provided us with the recipe, the anxiety, pictures,
     and opinions are all our own.

    i am not going to lie. when i first saw this fabulous recipe by rachael ray, i was a little nervous. i was worried i wouldn't be able to make it as beautifully as the recipe showed. still, i was feeling adventurous and gave it a try. i'm so glad i did. this is delicious and it looks fantastic to serve for guests or just to serve for dinner. i am always looking for healthy and tasty dinners for the family. this one is perfect.

  • the other great thing about this recipe? it has the same ingredients as *rachael ray nutrish for cats*. my aging cat loves this food made with all natural ingredients. his coat is beautiful and he is such a happy little animal. the food would be fantastic for your cat as well. if you would like to make the switch to nutrish, here is a coupon for you to get started on the switch over for your cats: nutrish coupon.

we are so sure you will love it that we are even offering a prize to one winner. simply comment on our blog or our facebook post and you can win a bag of nutish dry food as well as some samples of the wet cat food. you'll have this amazing salmon dinner for two, you and your cat. 

you'll also be helping animals everywhere. since it launched, proceeds from rachael ray nutrish have raised more than $6 million for rachael's rescue, which helps animals in need. it's a win, win, win. for more information on nutrish, please click here.

  • smoky maple-glazed salmon and brown rice supper

  • 1 cup brown or white rice
  • 1 bundle watercress or upland cress (2 cups), stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • 4 medium to large carrots or multi-colored farmer's market carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon all-natural liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup dark amber maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 4 salmon fillets, skin removed (8 ounces each)
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seafood seasoning
  • 2 cups frozen sweet peas
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped

Prepare the brown or white rice, according to the package directions. When the rice is done, fluff with a fork and combine with the watercress leaves.
When the rice has been cooking for 5 minutes, pre-heat the broiler and heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon EVOO, a turn of the pan. Add the carrots to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Sauté to tender-crisp, 6-7 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small pot, bring the liquid smoke, maple syrup and vinegar to a boil and reduce over high heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Season the salmon with salt, pepper and Old Bay seafood seasoning. Heat the remaining tablespoon EVOO, a turn of the pan, in a large, ovensafe, nonstick skillet and cook the salmon top-side down, 3-4 minutes. Flip and pour the maple syrup glaze over the top of the fish and place under the broiler for 3 minutes to caramelize the glaze.
Add the peas to the carrots and heat through while the fish is under the broiler. Add the butter and chives to the veggies. When the butter has melted, turn off the heat.
Serve the salmon with the peas and carrots and rice with watercress alongside.