SOCIAL MEDIA

Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Favorites

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I feel like I have been gone forever. I also feel like I haven't written a post in forever. I scheduled so many of these posts way before I left on my work trip. I know Monday is going to be crazy when I go to write my first "live" post. Ha.

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. Before my trip, I was looking for a large tote/purse to take with me on my trip. It needed to be big enough to fit my work portfolio, my wallet, phone, an extra change of clothes and other essentials. I wanted to take it on the plane with me, but also bring it into the office. I looked at Kate Spade, Tumi, Michael Kors and Longchamp (I returned the one I got at the anniversary sale). But I ultimately went with a Michael Kors tote. While the one I bought, I can't find online, I found one similar. Mine is black while this one is blue.
Michael Kors Jet Set Large Tote

TWO. Did you get a chance to read all the Fall Bucket Lists yesterday with our Girl Chat link up? If not, you can check out my bucket list here and check out some others. It is a great way to get to know other bloggers and meet new friends.
Girl Chat

Girl Chat

THREE. On Wednesday, I had Stephanie guest post for me and her post resonates with me soooo much. My girls, mainly Avery are picky eaters. Sutton is willing to try more things, but they still like to eat the same three things over and over again....mac n cheese, chicken strips/nuggets and pizza. I have been implementing her first idea (only make one meal for everyone) for quite awhile, but I don't always follow it. I need to be better about enforcing it. Anyways, her post is awesome and something we can all learn from....specifically if you have kids.

FOUR. So I can’t remember if I told you all, but we bought a couch. Finally. The problem is that it will take some time to make one of the pieces. But that was 2 weeks ago, so hopefully we will get it soon. We went with one from West Elm in a charcoal color. It’s as long as our current one (on one side) but the other side is just a chaise lounge. I will probably sit on that chaise lounge daily. Am I the only one who has a side or a place you always sit on the couch? Anyways, this is the couch we chose, but it’s a bit different in the set up since it’s custom.

I am linking up with AprilA Little Bit of EverythingMeet @ the Barre and Cup of Tea.

Have a great weekend!
Thursday, September 20, 2018

Girl Chat - Fall Bucket List

It's time for another round of Girl Chat and once again I am not here for it, but luckily, I wrote this one in advance, again. I love this month's topic which is Fall Bucket List. This allows me to add new fun things to my list each year (I get inspiration from you all).

FALL BUCKET LIST 2018

- Apple Hill. Each year we make our trip over to Apple Hill where we visit the different orchards to pick apples, buy crafts, try apple desserts and foods, ride a train, taste some wine and beer, buy the best apple pie and donuts and have a fun Fall day. We look forward to this every year and this year is no exception.
twins dressed up as minnie mouse
 Apple Hill 2017

Apple Hill 2016

- Attend a football game and tailgate. And bring the girls to one of these. It is no secret that my husband and I are huge football fans, so we have season tickets to Nevada football. We want to bring the girls to a game and a tailgate. They have been before when they were small, but I think they will enjoy it more now.
Babies and tailgates
Babies and tailgates

- Go to a pumpkin patch.

- Bake a pie from scratch. We have tons of peaches from our peach tree and I have NEVER made a pie from scratch. Sure I have used pre-made pie dough and made a pie with store bought apples, but I want to do it all from scratch.

- Attend a Fall Festival.

- Take the girls Trick or Treating. Last year was the first year that we took the girls trick or treating. They had a blast and lasted a lot longer than I thought they would. So we are going for it again this year. The girls have expressed interest in wearing their Minnie costumes again, but then keep saying they want to be Anna and Elsa. So I am on the hunt for Anna and Elsa costumes.
Minnie Mouse toddler costumes

- Decorate for Fall and Halloween. I have been so so on this each year. I want to decorate a lot more than I have in the past and really usher in Fall and Halloween.

- Carve pumpkins. Again, this has been something we do some years and others we do not. We even grow pumpkins in our garden each year and only manage to sometimes carve pumpkins.

- Eat an apple cider donut. We usually get these from Apple Hill, but sometimes it just doesn't work out. But believe me, they are soooo good and so worth it.
Apple Cider donut

- Take family photos.

- Watch Hocus Pocus with the girls. I am not sure if they are technically old enough for this movie, but it was a favorite growing up, so I hope we can watch it together.

- Make spiced apple cider.

- Eat caramel apples.

- Roast pumpkin seeds. This will be easy to do if we carve our pumpkins.

Fall Bucket List

To link up - just grab our graphic, link up, and let's getting to chatting!  Make sure to stop by a few others linked up for an extra bit of girl chat!  
Girl chat monthly link up



Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Guest Post - Picky Eaters

Today I have a guest post coming at you from Stephanie. Stephanie is a mom to three tiny humans. When she isn't at home mommying, she is at work as a nurse. An oncology nurse. She wrote a day in the life post of an oncology nurse that was amazing. Seriously, those are my favorite posts and to read one from an oncology nurse is even better. Go check it out.

When I asked if anyone was interested in writing a guest post for me while I am traveling for work, Stephanie emailed me right away and I loved her ideas. And the one that jumped out to me was getting picky eaters to actually eat. This one is dear to my heart since Miss Avery is a very picky eater. Sutton can be, but she will try almost anything we put in front of her. And she is a pretty good eater. I definitely needed ideas to implement that could help with Avery. Once I am back from my work trip, we are implementing these. 

Take it away Stephanie.

Every night at dinner time, I wish that I had a time machine. If I did, I would use said machine to go back in time and hug my sweet Nana. I would hold her and thank her for the hundreds of dinners that she prepared for me as a child and I would apologize for being a little jerk and not eating any of them. I would stuff my face with all of the delicious food that she made and I would be sure to go on and on about its tastiness and her amazing-ness. I would oooh and aaah over her macaroni pie and I would squeal with delight at the site of her spaghetti with meatballs. I would basically grovel at her feet and beg for forgiveness for my unappreciative ways.

Before becoming a mom, I would hear stories about kids that would only eat bread or chicken nuggets for every meal and I thought "Wow, get control of your kid." or "Not my kid. My kid will be an eclectic eater." Yea. Famous last words. 

Fast forward 4 years and I am yelling at my 4 year old to please eat a dang bite of chicken or bartering with my 3 year old to taste the littlest piece of broccoli in exchange for a cookie. They refused. I yelled. Dinner time was miserable and the cycle continued day after day.

Screen Shot 2018-08-29 at 8.47.33 PM.png
It's amazing how Disney was able to capture my likeness in this scene. (via)

About 1 year ago, I decided that I could't do it anymore. My picky eaters would eat if it was the last thing I would do and the frustrating dinners would come to an end. With that in mind, I made changes that I feel turned dinner time into a somewhat....dare I say it....enjoyable time? Not only do my kids now eat their food but they also seem to enjoy what I make (including vegetables). Praise hands. Today, I wanted to share what I did to get us to this point. It took time, consistency and patience (a real struggle of mine) and it's not perfect every night but it is miles from where we used to be.

1 //  PREPARE ONE MEAL

Since about 1 year ago, I make ONE meal for dinner with very rare exceptions. When I first initiated this one meal "policy', the kids fussed and complained and just down right would not eat. "I want chicken nuggets!" they whined! "This looks gross!" they wailed!

Instead of losing my cool about them not eating the pricey piece of fish that I so lovingly prepared, they were simply told that this is our dinner and if they do not want to eat it, that is their choice but they get nothing else for the night. Zip. Nada. I don't slide them a piece of bread on the down low or slip them a banana when no one is looking. It is the dinner I have made or nothing. I firmly believe that kids will eat when they are hungry and they will not starve if they miss one meal. My oldest is probably my pickiest eater so she was the most resistant to this new rule but by day 3-4, she stopped refusing her meals and actually started eating!

2 // INCLUDE YOUR KIDS IN GROCERY SHOPPING/MEAL PLANNING

Taking my kids to the grocery store used to be an epic nightmare. The handful of times that I have taken all 3, I left the store sweating. All of the "can I have this?" or "I want this!" requests are enough to make the most patient person want to scream. I did realize one day that my oldest would come home from the store and would only want to eat the grapes that she chose at the store. So, I took that and ran with it. Now, when we go to the store I have them help choose a lot of the food items on our list. They learn how to choose fruit/veggies, which eggs looks the best or to check the expiration date on the milk. They are super excited to grocery shop now and have started requesting us try new foods that they think look pretty or interesting. 

To help with meal prep, I let them each chose a meal that they would like to help make for the week (no "kids" meals). Knowing that they helped pick the meal that they are eating has also been a great way to get them to eat because they are excited it being "their" dinner night.
weekly meal planner
Meal Planner (that I use)

3 // HAVE YOUR KIDS HELP MAKE DINNER

Depending on the age of your child, the amount of help they can be with this step will vary. My middle child loves to help in the kitchen but he is only 4 so he does a lot of the mixing and pouring of ingredients. My 6 year old is allowed to chop (with a special knife) so she gets to help prep veggies and meats. My kids take a lot of pride in their meals and get so excited to see the look on their dad's and my face when we taste their masterpieces. (We make sure to be very dramatic with our amazed facial expressions). 


They don't help every single night due to my work schedule, but 3 nights a week is a goal that I personally try to hit for helping in the kitchen. Side Note: This will require an insane amount of patience and probably wine. This part is messy and the type A person in me has to back myself off the ledge at times due to the mess they make.)

4 // BUY FUN PLATES AND UTENSILS

Who doesn't love eating from a cute plate or with a fun fork?! Even as an adult, I am more inclined to drink water from my pretty water bottle than from an ugly cup. I find that my kids eat better when they have their fun character plates and utensils. We will say that they need to eat to find whichever character is on their plate that night. It is an easy way to infuse a little bit of fun into dinner time. Amazon, Target and Walmart all have tons of fun options to choose from!

5 // USE A REWARD CHART

We have a reward chart for our kids that we use all through the school year. On the chart, there are 5 things that my kids have to do on a daily basis to get a star. One of them is to eat dinner without fighting/complaining. If they eat everything on their plate without complaining, they get a star. As soon as they eat their dinner, they put their plate in the sink and run over to their chart to place a star. A full chart of stars = an ice cream date or an hour at chuckie cheese or whatever fun activity that I can think of for that week. When they fill their chart and get to do a fun activity, we verbally remind them that this activity is due to them doing an awesome job with eating dinner, waking up nicely in the morning etc.
Kids reward chart

6 // QUIET DINNER 

My daughter is loud. As in, I'm pretty sure that her mouth is actually a megaphone in disguise, loud. She also likes to talk. A lot. As a result, the first 10 minutes of dinner time is silent dinner. My kids are 6, 4 and 1 1/2 so they lose focus very easily. Quite dinner helps them to focus on eating their meal without distraction, once 10 minutes, or so, is up we start talking about our day. By that time, they have usually eaten a good portion of their dinner! I expect that we will be able to move on from quiet dinners as they get older but for now, I see it as a necessity to help them focus on their meals without too much distraction. 

7 // GET TO DIPPIN'

Dipping sauces are a great way to encourage kids to try new food. When I am introducing my kids to a new veggie, I will put together little cups of 3 different sauces or ketchup or what not so they can "sample" the new food. I think it makes them feel a little bit fancy and it almost tricks them into trying the food because they have to dip and bite at least 3 times before they decided whether they love or hate it. A lot of times they find a dip that they love and end up eating the whole thing! 

8 // BE CONSISTENT

Consistency is key when it comes to trying to implement any new strategy when it comes to kids. They must see that whatever is happening is the new normal and that no amount of whining or complaining will change it. Make sure that your partner or babysitter or whoever is helping with dinner time is sending the same message as well. Be consistent in offering foods even if they have not wanted them the 10 times before. For example, my 6 year old never liked strawberries, I continued to offer them to her and now she decided that she loves them. On the flip side, my son used to love eggs and now he doesn't. I continue to make them for myself and offer him a bite because he could very well change his mind. 

I hope that these tips will help you to find new ways to encourage your picky eater to eat! I don't want this post to give the impression that my kids are always super awesome, sushi and eggplant eating, food stars and that I am over here rocking life. There are more days that I am a hot mess than not. However, the food struggle has decreased significantly since I started to implement the ideas listed in this post and I hope that it will be helpful in your house too!

Thank you Danielle for giving me the opportunity to guest post today!

I hope this post helps you all out as much as it has helped me out. I am definitely ordering some new plates for the girls, going to take them grocery shopping with me (eek!) and even let them help me prep/cook dinner. Thank you Stephanie!!!

Don't forget tomorrow is our Girl Chat link up. The topic is your Fall Bucket List!
Monday, September 17, 2018

My Fears and Worst Habits

A couple weeks ago, Kait blogged about her biggest fears and her worst habits. She said she did this blogging challenge as a way to spice up her blogging as she was feeling uninspired. I hear you friend. So I thought I would share with you some of my fears and my worst habits. Enjoy. Hopefully I don't scare you off.

FEARS

Sharks. I am sooooo afraid of sharks. I have dreams about them and being eaten by them. But I definitely fear my fear when I watch Shark Week or shark attack videos. Yep, I mentioned it awhile ago, but I have a fascination with shark attack videos. They are such powerful creatures that I want to know everything about them.

Dying alone. I always get so choked up when I learn that someone has physically died alone. I would hate to take my last breath and know that no one was around me when I went. I want to see my loved ones faces before I go. I feel like I would feel more at peace that way.

My dog dying. I can't even type that out without tearing up. I love Walter so much. He is our little companion and my heart. He is my first "child" and I can't imagine life without him. When my childhood cat passed away (at 19 years), I had the hardest time. I went to my parents house to say goodbye to him just in case they needed to put him down (he was having trouble going to the bathroom, sitting and losing weight) and when my mom left to go to the vet, I cried in their driveway. I was laying in their driveway until my mom came back with his body.

I was so sad that she didn't let me go with her, but she said she wanted me to have happy memories of him and not see him like that. I get that now, but not then.

I just fear the day when my pup goes.

Losing my family. Enough said.

Flying. This one may seem weird since I fly all the time, but I get a little stomach twist, close my eyes and say a little prayer every time I fly. I just read too many stories and that fuels my fear.

Burglary/Home invasion. Our house was burglarized in 2011. I know I have wrote about this before on my blog, but if you are new or forgot, I will summarize it. It was a Monday morning and I had a bad feeling while I got ready in the morning, but I brushed it off and went on with my day. One thing that stands out to me was thinking I should hide my laptop.

Anyways, we went to work and came home and Rory went over to our neighbors house for something, so I went to the back of our house to go through another door (our front door swells and is hard to get open sometimes). This was normal for us. When I went in backyard, a few of our boards to our fence were missing between my neighbors house and ours. I didn't think much of it, but when I rounded the corner, I saw marks all over the back door. Like a crowbar tried to open it. Then I saw our bathroom window on the ground. And then I knew. I didn't even think and I unlocked the door and ran inside.

Our house was thrashed. They went through our garage, our kitchen, our living room, bedrooms, etc. They took so many things from our house. So many valuable things. It breaks my heart thinking about it. I ran out to Rory told him to come in and started to process it all. We called the police but it took them 4 hours to come over since no one was in the house. Ugh.

And then we started the process of filling out police reports, calling our homeowners insurance, etc. I hope no one ever goes through this.

So I definitely fear something like that happening again or even worse when we are home.

WORST HABITS

I bite/chew on my nails. I am definitely getting better about it, but when I get nervous or bored, I tend to bite or chew on my nails.

I am neurotic about cleaning. I took this one from Kait since I am definitely overly neurotic about cleaning. I need a clean house. I like a clean house and it probably drives my family crazy with how often I clean.

I am a worrier. I worry about everything. It is something that I constantly try to work on, but I worry. I worry about the what-ifs more than anything. I know this is dumb because most of the time those what-ifs never happen or they are so far fetched that they NEVER happen.

I am judgy. I hate being judgmental, but I often find I judge way more than I should. I hate admitting that I am judgy. Ha.

Over researching. When it comes to life, I research and google the shit out of everything. Case in point, before my septorhinoplasty, I googled what to expect, recovery, the actual procedure (even watched some Youtube videos) and real life accounts of it. I over research until I am either scared, satisfied or figured it out.

I am sure I have way more bad habits and fears, but these are the ones that came to mind right away.
Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday Favorites

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

Greetings from London! I am heading into the weekend and I soooo miss my family. I love having the opportunity to travel for work, but the evenings and weekends are tough. You really miss your family and wonder what they are doing, seeing their bright faces in the morning and just missing out.

BUT I am taking the opportunity to have this time and enjoy it.

Onto Friday Favorites and happenings.

ONE. A long time ago, I mentioned that I was going to buy the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream that everyone was talking about. I wanted to see if it lived up to its hype. Well I just finished my first tub of it and I loved it. It smells heavenly, goes on smoothly and it really did make my thighs and bum smoother. I was VERY skeptical, but after using it for the last many months, I feel like it really has firmed up my thighs and bum. So I ordered a new tub of it last week and even bought the mini version to take with me to London. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself! You won't regret it.
Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

TWO. Last week during the surprise Sephora sale, I also picked up the Becca Hydra-Mist Set and Refresh Powder. I have been using It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Powder for about a year now and while I like it, I feel like I need a little more lasting powder. It is a good option, but everyone says Becca is even better. So I bought it with my 15% off coupon and I am using it on this trip. I will report back, but if it is like everyone raves, you should scoop one up.
Becca Hydra-Mist Set and Refresh Powder

THREE. A few weeks back Kait listed her favorite travel items and she mentioned Tide Travel Sink Packs and I was very interested in it. Since I travel for work, I think it would be easier to wash some of my items in the sink instead of sending them out in the laundry or waiting until I get home. Especially when you are on a two week work trip. You can easily wash a t-shirt that smells like cigarettes from a bar that you were in or wash your undergarments and not have to bring as many. So I bought said Tide Travel Packs and they are amazing. They are small, concentrated and really work.
Tide Travel Sink Packs


FOUR. Girl Chat reminder. Next Thursday is our monthly Girl Chat link up and the topic is Fall Bucket List. I can't wait to hear what is on everyone's list. Grab the images below and be sure to come back next Thursday to link up.
Girl Chat reminder

Girl Chat reminder

I am linking up with AprilA Little Bit of EverythingMeet @ the Barre and Cup of Tea.

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Fall Fashion

I am linking up with Emily again for Fall Favorites and this week's prompt is Fall fashion. I love Fall and everything it brings. When it comes to Fall fashion, I am pretty simple and basic. I love jeans, boots or booties, a tee/tank and a comfy cardigan over it. Or jeans, boots/booties and a sweater. The cozier the better.

So I went to Pinterest and found my inspirations of what I wear the most during Fall. Most of this is during the weekend. During the week, it is pretty much slacks or leggings with sweaters and flats or boots.
Fall Fashion - sweaters and vests

I love the sweater and vest combo. I have puffy vests and utility vests. I love the combo above.

Fall Fashion - jeans, flannel and boots

Another classic combo you will see me wearing is jeans, tank, flannel and boots. I have worn this combo countless times and I am always searching for a cute flannel. I buy a lot of mine from local stores and J Crew.

Fall Fashion - wool  hat, sweater and jeans

I have a hat almost exactly like the one above. I have slouchy sweaters similar to the one above, but now that I see this color combo, I need to find a wine colored soft sweater. That bag is cute too!

Fall Fashion - dress with cardigan and boots

I love the dress, cardigan and boots combo. I definitely need to find a few more flowy dresses like the one above to complete this look. Isn't it the cutest?

What are your Fall fashion go-tos?
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

9/11

I wanted to pop in since today is the anniversary of 9/11. This day had such a huge impact on everyone. I remember the day so vividly.

I was in college as a freshman and I had an early Macro Economics class. I went to class as usual, but as soon as I walked in, the tv was on, my professor was watching with his mouth hanging open and I learned what happened that morning. We didn't have a real class that morning. We all just sat there in silence watching the towers explode. We were all crying and in complete shock. Several of my new friends were from NYC and were scrambling to make sure their families were ok. Most of them couldn't get ahold of their families. I can't even imagine how that felt. I didn't know anyone personally, but it still impacted me. That was the day that America changed FOREVER.

I sit back and think about this day each year and how it changed me, society and the world. And today I sit in an office in London and it has even more of a different meaning to me. I can't even explain it, but even here in London, people know what today is, how it affected everyone and the fear that it brings.

So remember to hug your family, say I love you and think of all those men and women fighting for our country to keep it safe. To keep you safe.