Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February Fab Finds

Hey there! Happy Wednesday! I have a couple items that I just have to share with you today! A few are life changers for sure...just like The Wet Brush that I told you about in my January favorite things post. I hope some of you have tried it since then! I just bought my 4th last Friday. I have them all over the house! Seriously LOVE that brush! My poor, knotted hair loves it as well! 

First up is Fresh's (shocker!!!! ha!) Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream with Super 7 Complex! I am in love! This stuff is seriously awesome. My face feels so soft and amazing...especially right after I apply it! I am still using the Black Tea Age-Delay Eye Cream and am still loving that as well! 
I have a new favorite color of the Sugar lip treatments per the recommendation from one of my Insta-buddies! The Passion color is seriously the perfect shade of reddish pink! I love it! I have been wearing the Rose color for years now! The Passion is so fun when you want more color than the Rose!!! I sent my sister the Coral color in a care package and she loves it, so that might be my next color to try! :)

Next up is Hesperides perfume! :) It's so fresh and clean smelling. I just love it. I have been wearing J'adore forever and I still do, but this is a nice change for certain days and reminds me of spring and summer with the grapefruit scent happening. 

Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara in Extreme Black! I love this stuff! I used to use Dior Show like it was going out of style, but when I was prego with Reagan, my lashes started to fall out.It had to be a hormone thing, but clearly, I had to try something new on my barely there eyelashes just in case. I have tried a few things since then! I used Almay Get Up & Grow Mascara for awhile before the Clinque and loved it as well! It is very budget-friendly and you get a similar look to Dior Show or Clinque's versions. 

Next up is this peplum top from Anthropologie! I love it! I am a huge fan of the peplum look, but I think there is a certain poofiness that doesn't look good on anyone! I tried one on the other day and it was sooooooo unflattering. This black lace peplum is seriously the perfect amount of poof...not too much. This is one of those key pieces that you can really piece with anything-skirts, pants, shorts! Picture quality is not great...iPhone pic! :)

Next up is this fab pink lipstick from Sephora. Bright pink lipstick is my trademark. I have worn bright pink lipstick since I first started wearing lipstick! I love it! I wore the same Chanel color for years until they discontinued it, then I moved onto to another of their colors and they discontinued that as well! So tragic! Ha! Now, I am always on the lookout for new fun pinks. This color was a random purchase because I loved the color and the name, "just dating." :) If you are looking for a bright pink that's not too bright, this is perfect for you! 

I LOVE these mini sparkle purses from Crewcuts! They are the perfect size to take out on a date night or a girls night! They fit an iPhone, lipstick/lipgloss, mini Purell(of course!), credit cards and an ID! Seriously the perfect mini bag! You can use it as a clutch if you tuck the string in. You can wear it cross-bosy or on one shoulder! Perfect! I was wishing I had this when we were in Vegas this fall! It will be perfect for a trip like that too! I have a gold glitter purse and a navy glitter purse that are not available anymore(I think I bought in December?) but I am loving the new mint and silver color that are on the website now! They are definitely going on my wish list!

Next up is Jesus Calling. This is a daily devotional that was recommended to me by a dear friend. It is amazing. I read it every morning when I wake up, before I get out of bed. It is a really amazing way to start my crazy days!  There are certain days where I feel like the book was made just for me and what I am going through in my life. It's really great! I plan on buying a couple to send to a few people as little gifts. :)

I have been waiting patiently for Anthropologie to come out with a wiener dog print in one of these Rendition Tees and they finally did!!! Love it! The weenie on the shirt that looks like our pups is even wearing a necklace! So fun! These tees run small in my opinion. While, I typically wear a small or extra small top, I do a medium in this brand/style! If you love wiener pups, you can't miss out on this tee!

Last on my list for this week is this fabulous neon pink Kate Spade ring! I am in love with it! I love big, fun statement jewelry pieces! This was the most perfect Valentine's gift for moi! :) It is a perfect addition to a fab arm party!

That's just a few of my favorite things! Hope your week is going great! The good news it that it's Wednesday! Just a couple more days and the weekend will be here! I have been under the weather this week, I think the funk that has been going through my house finally took me down! Hoping I am feeling better in a day or two! Hope you are all healthy and happy!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Happy Hearts

Hello there lovelies! I hope everyone had a very happy and love-filled Valentine's day! We sure did! I have never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day or Heart Day, as I like to call it! I just feel like it is a day dedicated to people in love and if you don't have a special someone in your life, it is not the happiest of days, as you watch others receive flowers, gifts, etc. I still love getting into all the holidays for our kids' sakes...and this year was, in true Ashley style, over-the-top! The past two heart days, the kid(s) have been really sick leading up to it, so I never was able to get as into to it as I wanted too! Last year I was at Children's hospital with baby Reagan due to a horrible case of RSV the Saturday before heart day. :( The kids had been sick for two weeks at this point, with no answers. We came home from the hospital and I realized I didn't have Valentine's for Teddy's classmates. He had asked me to make cake pops for his friends and those are cute and delish so we did just that...sick baby and all (after what they did in the ER and a few days of the Nebulizer and some antibiotics, we were on the road to recovery. Thank God!) That being said, had he not have requested that I make the cake pops (he seems to love to share my baking with his friends), I would have just done a box of Valentine cards. That is what we grew up doing and think they are just adorable as well. My favorite were Suzy's Zoo Valentine's cards. We had to go to a special pharmacy to get them and I loved them!!!! 

I'm going to do a quick re-cap of what we did last year because I LOVE how they turned out!

I had Teddy go to town painting a bunch of different sheets of paper with red and pink and then we added all the other colors, green especially...why not?!

He was finally feeling better, but you can tell he had been so sick too, by looking at his eyes! He had RSV as well, but the inhaler helped him a ton! It's over a year later and I am still not over how sick they were and how helpless I felt! :( He looks so young! My babies are growing up too fast!

I used my Cricut machine and cut a bunch of hearts and then stamped them. I think they turned out so stinkin' cute. I am biased of course! Ha! 

Anywho, onto this year! Teddy requested that I "make cookies for his friends." How can I say no to that?! I have been purging like crazy the past couple weeks (6 huge black trash bags from the kitchen alone!)...more to come on that...but, I found these cute robot bags that I purchased from the Target "dollar section" last year and didn't use. I am trying to simplify our lives, our house, etc, so these needed to be used this year or tossed. I decided to use them. I had originally wanted to go in a different direction for Teddy's Valentines (before I found the bags) but decided to use what I had. I am thrilled that I did, because they turned out great and most importantly, Teddy LOVED them! 

I already had the 2 inch Avery labels and the red card stock and the punches. So, again, I just used what I had. That felt really great! I didn't have to buy a thing to make Teddy's valentines. I downloaded a few robot fonts from and played around with them until I got the look that I wanted. My printer was being it's usual difficult these tags were almost scrapped at the last minute! But, it all worked out and they ended up printing! I used my circle punch from none other than my precious, Paper Source. When I bought this, I knew this would come in handy, time and time again! I have had the mini hole punch forever. I think I bought it at Michael's a LONG time ago! I used a basic robot-themed statement, "You Make My Heart Go Beep Beep, " meant to be said in a robot voice of course! 

Here is the finished product. I put a heart shaped sugar cookie in each bag and tied it with baker's twine. I have an endless supply of red/white twine that I purchased at Crate and Barrel, two Decembers ago. It has come in handy in SOOOOO many occasions! Really one of the best purchases. You can see it on the cake pops from last year's project as well!

Here they are, all packaged up and ready to go to school! Really, they were such a simple concept since I already had everything but the cookies (I had m&ms to add to the bags, just in case I ran out of time for making the cookies, but luckily, I was able to fulfill Teddy's cookie wish! ha!)! Teddy loved the bags and was so excited to give them to his friends! As much as I enjoy doing this stuff, I am looking forward to Teddy getting more into doing his Valentines in the next few years! He may not ever be into it...but I think he will. It will be fun to see what ideas he has and what he wants to do for his friends! :)

Since moving here, I have made a few really great girlfriends. I wanted to give each of my sweet friends a little token of my love for them on this special day! I decided to give them mini daffodils. They are not very Valentine's Day related, but they are adorable and spring related!  I made homemade cards with my adorable lip stamp and my mini letter stamps. I LOVE how they turned out. I purchased the white hang tags from Office Depot! I now have a huge box of 500 of them! I was getting sick of buying a package of 10, each time from Paper Source. I love that place, but when you use certain things, like I do these, a bunch, you need to look for more economical options! My hubs would be so proud!  Haha!!!! 

Here are my sweet little flowers, ready to be delivered! I used burlap to wrap them and some buffalo check fabric for bows. Again, both things that I already had! :) Reagan and I drove around most of the morning of Valentine's Day, delivering these. It brought me such joy! I love to give gifts!

A couple random facts about moi, I have always been an little entrepreneur. I used to make these wooden heart pins for Valentine's Day and I sold them to my teachers, recess teachers, nurses that my mom worked with, etc.  I also used to make and sell stationary that I made with stamps! Both in elementary school! So, the embossing gun has been something I have loved for years! I purchased glitter embossing powder for this project and it was fabulous of course! Love my sparkles! :) I mainly use a clear ink pad and colored embossing powder. But I also sometimes do colored ink and clear embossing powder some too! Just depends on the project!

 Teddy's school had a lunch swap on Valentine's Day and since he doesn't usually go to school on Thursdays, they asked if we wanted to pay for the extra day and send him! Of course! He loves a celebration! I made lunch bags for he and his buddy for the swap. I also made tags for a few of our packages that we were going to give and I made tags for the Little Presidents and I decorated the 
hubs' card envelope! His was my fav thing that I did! I had too much fun with all of this stuff last week. Definitely kept me busy at night this past week! I loved it! 

I wanted to do a little something for Teddy's teacher. We are going on our second year with her and just love her so much. She has been so amazing. Tulips are so pretty and potted are just so great, so that's what I decided to do. Teddy loves to give me flowers as well, so I figured that he would love the idea of giving his teacher, flowers and he did! Random side note: he gave me my own potted tulips for
 heart day! :)

I didn't want to do big gifts for the kids because they are blessed beyond belief with toys, but I wanted each person to have a little something special to wake up to! :) The hubs ended up getting home late the night before/early morning of heart day. I was happy he was here. It was a nice surprise to have him change his schedule! :)

Reagan got a small bag of m&ms, which I hid almost immediately after she saw them and wanted to eat them right then and there. Ha! She also got a set of Chewbeads Bangles. I figured these would be perfect for her because she loves jewelry so much and these are pretty much indestructible! I bought myself this one to add to my daily arm party. I thought it was too cute and fun to pass up! It's so fun to wear. I might be adding a few more colors to our collection. I say our collection because Reagan helps herself to anything that is mine! :)

The last thing Teddy needs is more Legos, but this set was pretty small and neat. It can be three different things! Pretty cool! He and the hubs had fun putting it together! :) He got m&ms as well. I figured both kiddos had to get a tiny bit of chocolate on heart day! 

Here is the cookie package that we delivered to a couple of our friends! Again, the baker's twine!

There is something so sweet about a heart shaped sugar cookie. REally any sugar cookie! I LOVE them and have eaten my weight in these things! Ha!

The morning of heart day, I had to get Teddy and his friends' lunches made. Here are the finished products. 

I did heart shaped sandwiches, pirates booty, freeze dried raspberries, heart shaped fruit strips and chocolate milk. I also added disposable gingham napkins to use as a napkin and a placemat. Teddy's school requires the kids to eat on a placemat since they eat outside.The germaphobe in me loves this! I wanted them to have a red one to go with the theme of the day and luckily, again, I had these napkins from the Backyard Baby-Q that I threw in July!

I used a mini heart shaped cookie cutter to cut hearts out of Trader Joe's fruit strips! Both kids loved these!

I use reusable containers from Pottery Barn Kids for Teddy's lunch on a regular basis but I needed      different shapes for this lunch, so I bought some Ziploc reusable containers. They worked perfectly to put little Valentine's cupcake wrappers in.

I used two different shape heart cookie cutters for the sandwiches to minimize waste. The mini hearts were such a cute addition!

Last but certainly not least, here are two of my sweet Valentines and Abbey, the wiener photobomber!! They are too funny and grabbed these balloons(still from Teddy's party, floating all over my house!!!) to pose with for the picture. Not my idea at all, but I love how the pic turned out! Ha! 

I hope you had the best week and the best Valentines day yet and a very blessed weekend! Monday is on the horizon and I am ready!!! Much love to all of you! 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies...Oh my!

I was sitting here this morning, relaxing as I typically do on Thursday's our one day that we don't have to be anywhere. So nice. Reagan cannot stand staying home all morning so this is tough for her...but I love to be home on Thursdays and let's face it, I typically need to clean, fold laundry, you know the drill, clean up the chaos that has occurred during the week to get ready for more chaos during the weekend! My house is extra chaotic and messy this week. I have mountains of laundry to do and mountains to fold. There is not enough hours in the day for me this week. Anywho, I was sitting(when I should be cleaning or folding! ha!) here thinking I wish I had some sort of baked good to go with my coffee and remembered that I pinned this recipe. I had bananas that were ripe, almost going to go bad and was not in the mood for banana bread. Bananas and peanut butter and chocolate is a winning combo...for me at least and sounded good, so I added them to the above recipe.

First off, I would like to discuss Trader Joe's gluten free, dairy free, wheat free Rolled Oats! They are amazing! We use them all the time! If you haven't tried these, you should! We do Steel Cut Oats a lot as well, but I love this stuff for using in recipes and for the kiddos' breakfast! Trader Joe's might need to hire me as their spokeswoman! When I find products I love, I can't stop telling people about them! :)

I had 3 almost rotten bananas, so I threw those in (I hate throwing bananas away~ I freeze them a lot to keep for breads and recipes), rolled oats, peanut butter and chocolate chips.  The "dough" alone was awesome!

I just lined my baking sheet with parchment paper instead of greasing it. Such an easy clean-up. At this point, the last thing I need is more to clean today! Ha!

This is the finished product!

It was seriously perfect with a cup of coffee. There is something so amazing about coffee mixed with peanut butter and chocolate. 

The Little Presidents seemed to enjoy them as well. I told them they were cookies and they were thrilled that I was baking cookies at 9am! Ha!

I can't seem to get a straight face out of this guy lately...he's so goofy. He wanted to see all of his "silly pictures" after I took them. :)

 I have only given this little lady peanut butter about 3-4 times. Our pedi has us wait until 2...however, I finally gave in a few times because the tantrum was NOT worth it, if I said she couldn't have what Teddy and I were having. She seemed to enjoy the cookie as well. 

Here is my adapted recipe (from this recipe)

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

3 ripe bananas 
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips

mix all together (I just threw the oats, pb and bananas in the kitchen aid mixer and threw the choc chips in for a sec at the end)
put on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or so. (I baked the second batch for 12 min)

Anywho, these are easy and for the most part healthy...(you could omit the choc chips, but why would you do such a thing?!) So glad I found this recipe on Pinterest that inspired this delish breakfast treat! Hope ya'll (I decided I am going to start saying "ya'll" when I type. It's so much faster than typing "you all" and I did leave in Texas for awhile, after all! Ha!) are having a great Thursday! It is almost the weekend!!!! Woohooo!!!!!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life For Me!

Hey there lovelies! We have had a busy week! My "baby" turned four last Thursday! I can't even believe how quickly four years flew by. I'm sure I'll be saying that every single year from here on out. I feel like life is flying by. It's so hard to grasp how quickly my newborn babies became toddlers and now I have a four year old and a nineteen month old! Just crazy to me!
Teddy is always into something new but has been into pirates for awhile now. I figured that would be the type of party that he would want, so I began to mentally prepare myself. Then with how January began for us, I put party planning on the back burner and wasn't really feeling up to it but I knew we would have to have a party because he had been asking for one for months! So, I woke up one morning realizing I needed to get a move on and start planning. I planned this party in a 2 week period and I am happy to say that it was great and just as I'd hoped it would be. All Teddy asked for was a "jumpy, Chick Fil A and goody bags for his friends." Easy enough, right? I told myself that I wouldn't go overboard this year and for the most part I didn't and it was such an enjoyable day for me as well. I feel like most of the parties, Sean and I are cooking the whole time and we don't get to enjoy anything and by the time it's over, we are just like "Thank God it's over!" Having this party catered was the best idea! Thank you Teddy! We paid extra and had CFA deliver as well and that was even better. Since the party began at 11:30am, our morning was jam-packed and delivery eased a lot of stress! I was exhausted at the end of the day and still am, but it was a great day and fun was had by all! I have gotten emails and texts from some parents saying how much fun they had. Really makes my heart happy to hear this!

We based the theme off of this Teddy lookalike. :) I purchased this pirate wrapping paper at my beloved Paper Source to add to the invitations.

I downloaded a pirate font and went to work! I printed the invites on paper bag colored cover paper.   
Then I stamped and embossed this skull and crossbones stamp on top of each invite. I LOVE how it turned out!!! I burned the edges of each invite to make it look like an old map. I had a couple issues...burnt my toe, got in trouble from Sean for burning in the house, etc! Haha! But, again I LOVE how they turned out, so it was worth it!

I added these little gold stickers that said to dress like a pirate and for parents to plan to stay with their kids. We invited a couple kids from school that I didn't know and I hadn't met their parents so I figured it was better to address that it was NOT a drop off party, just in case anyone thought it was! :) I have heard some crazy stories about people just dropping their kids off and leaving...

One of my plans was the put each rolled up invite into a plastic bottle, but I could only find glass at our local craft store and was out of time to order plastic. I really loved how they turned out, so I'm glad the bottle thing didn't work out! :) We had to hand deliver each invite so it took me a few days to get them to all the places they needed to go! I tied an eye patch (to start off each kid's costume) and a Pirate Teddy to each invite and wrapped with baker's twine.

Next up was the goody bags. I decided to keep it simple and just give each child, gold dablooms(chocolate) and telescopes (Teddy's request). I hate when my kids come home from parties with a bunch of toys that we just end up throwing away, so I try to typically give something that is food (cookies, mouse ears are what I have done in the past) or not junk toys. These telescopes might be considered kids have had the best time with them though!

 I stamped each bag with my skull stamp or my anchor stamp. I thought they turned out so cute! I thought cotton bags would be perfect for a pirate party and purchased them here. Love how they turned out!

I displayed them in a mini treasure chest that I already had. I have a lot of these little trunks/chests that worked perfectly for this party theme! Teddy handed one goody bag to each of his friends as they left!

 As each child walked in, I had pirate hats for them. I had planned on monogramming each hat with the child's name on it, but we had a lot of people cancel due to sickness, so I decided to scrap that idea at the last minute and not spend the extra time doing it! I had done the little presidents' hats to start with to see if monogramming was even possible, so their hats had their names on them! Reagan's even had a bow!

Here is my cute little pirate all dressed and ready! Love how his outfit turned out! I ordered the shirt and bought black yoga pants in the toddler girls section at Target and just cut them and they turned out perfect! He was so excited about how he looked! Love that! :)

 I made the cupcake toppers. I was planning to use my cricut machine to cut the circles, but it was not working and I didn't have time to figure out the issue, so I ran out and purchased a circle punch and I love it! So fast and easy! Will be using this a ton I am sure! I stamped the toppers with my anchor and skull stamp and embossed them and then hot glued toothpicks to them. Simple! I also ordered the cupcakes from our favorite bakery, which was another huge time saver. I have made them myself for a few parties and this was just easier and less stress than baking and frosting myself!

Besides nuggets, chicken minis(the best things ever! I think I ate 6!) and wraps from CFA, we also had fruit, Pirate's Booty (Of course! We are addicted to this stuff!) and fruit squeezees! Again, I just displayed them in the little chests that I already had!

 I used plain red plates, red and white stripe and black and white napkins and white plastic silverware. Simple and cute! Love these tin buckets! I use them all the time! Red is a common theme around here. I sneak it into a lot of parties! I am pretty positive that I bought them in the dollar bins at Target a few years back...

We set up two long tables outside and I had planned to use cloth tablecloths but saw these striped skull clothes at my precious Target, at the last minute and grabbed them! So easy and cute and all I had to do was wad them up, with all the food and drinks still on them and toss them in the trash! Such an easy clean up and I loved the stripes and skulls!

At the last minute I decided to scrap my idea of decorating with treasure chests and just use the balloon bouquets and gold dablooms, necklackes and extra telescopes! It looked perfect!  Sometimes the best ideas are the one you come up at the last minute! 

Then there was the jumpy! My favorite part! I am obsessed with these things! This size was perfect and I plan to order this exact one for all future parties! Even my own birthday if we have a party! :) Everyone enjoyed it so much! I wish I had it in my yard, every day! I got a horrible burn on my arm from the slide! Teddy got a thumb to the face but other than that it was a crazy blast in that thing! We jumped until it got dark!

We love our stripes! :)

Me with the birthday boy! I forgot to take pictures of our drink buckets, but I served beer, Sofia (I am obsessed with these fabulous little pink cans of deliciousness!), water and juice pouches. You need a little beer and champs to get through a kids party. :)

Me with my other pirate! She had the time of her life! :)

Teddy was full of so much joy during the whole party! It was just so sweet! 

I bought a piƱata and we ended up not doing it! The jumpy was enough, so I know for next time! :)

 I couldn't be happier with how the party turned out. It is so fun to have a vision and watch it come to life! Seeing the joy in my own kids' and the other kids faces was seriously the best thing ever. My heart is so full from this past week and weekend. Four has been a special birthday. Teddy really understood the concept and we had so much fun celebrating him, for days! :) More to come on how we spent his actual birthday! Hope you all had an amazing weekend! We are so blessed and I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to celebrate these precious birthdays. :)