May 12, 2015

Smart Coffee Review & Giveaway



Today I get to talk about one of my favorite subjects... Coffee! You can probably tell by the name of my blog, but I really love coffee. I started drinking it my junior year of college when my roommate convinced me to give it a try (Thanks, Hanna). I think I essentially drank my cup half full of coffee and half full of vanilla creamer. Ick. At the time I felt just so... COLLEGE walking into a lecture hall with my hot cup of coffee/creamer and my huge textbooks and my layered tank top outfit circa 2005. But, I digress.





I also only let myself drink coffee twice a week so I "wouldn't get addicted." I'm sure you can see where this is going... yeah, I'm addicted. And now I like my coffee strong. I cut back a lot when I was pregnant, but once Piglet was born the caffeine came back in full force.




I was fortunate enough to get to try out a new coffee concept recently called "Smart Coffee." Created by specialty coffee pioneer Paul Katzeff, the Smart Coffee App allows you to choose the mouth feel, acidity and flavor notes that you prefer and then recommends a certain blend based on your preferences. You can order a bag right from the app and you can also get recommendations for blends you can make for yourself from your local grocery store.

Find the app for SmartCoffee iOS or use it on your browser!

It was honestly pretty fun to answer all of the questions about my coffee preferences... it made me feel like such a fancy coffee drinker :)  Even if you're not super "into coffee" the app is great because it explains a lot of things about different flavors and how coffee is made and all that business. So you can impress your coffee snob friends.

Smart Coffee has offered one of my readers a free bag of yummy coffee! Enter via the Rafflecoptor below. Because, why not?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. Mug from this awesome Etsy shop.

May 6, 2015

Style: Spotted & Dotted

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dress: old navy (similar) // blazer: banana republic (similar) // 
necklace: walk-mart (similar) // shoes: clark's (similar
 
 
I wore this to a baby shower a couple of weeks ago (no baby means a non-nursing friendly dress!). The pictures are kind of terrible (it was way too bright to take these, but you do what you gotta do) but the outfit was definitely a favorite. I actually bought this blazer when I was pregnant so this was the first time I wore it (it was priced at $150 and I got it for $20 at Banana Republic. Score.). I figured I would go all out and cover myself with dots because why not?
 
Also, we moved this weekend!  I am currently coming at ya from the new master bedroom (we have a master bedroom! I can't believe it!), with new internet (it got set up the second day we lived here. Priorities), on my phone (who knows when I'll actually get my computer set up). The house is really wonderful and even though moving is awful (moving with a baby is a special kind of awful) I am so happy to be here. Pictures to come soon! 

Apr 29, 2015

7 Maternity Style Tips



First of all, I am so excited to share this post. Why? Because I learned SO much and I am really excited to share it with you. Even though I have a lot of friends who had kids before me, no one told me most of this stuff. So if you have any pregnant friends - feel free to share this post with them :)

You DO NOT have to spend a lot of money to look good while pregnant. In fact, even though I didn't spend that much on maternity clothes, I honestly think I could have spent less. I'll share my purchase mistakes with you so you can hopefully learn from them.

Here are my seven tips for Saving Money on Maternity Clothing:



                    borrowed dress                              borrowed sweater                        borrowed tee

1. BORROW, BORROW, BORROW
This is the best tip I can give anyone. If you have friends that have been pregnant before you, ask to borrow their clothes. Chances are, their maternity clothes are sitting in a box in the attic collecting dust until they decide to have another kid. I had three friends lend me clothes, which I am so grateful for. My pregnancy was in a different season than most of them, and we all have different tastes in clothes, BUT just getting a few pieces to wear was great.


2. Become familiar with stores that sell affordable maternity clothes
It's important to be aware that most shops don't carry much in their in-store maternity sections. I figured most of my maternity wardrobe would come from Target because I was familiar with their Liz Lange line (how many times had I found a cute shirt in the sale section, tried it on, and then figured out it was maternity by the masses of fabric in the belly?), but they hardly ever had anything I wanted in-store. Same with Old Navy and GAP. So be willing to shop online. Most stores listed have cheap/free shipping and great return policies. Here is where I found the best deals:

  • Target Maternity
    When is Target not a winner? The best maternity dress I bought was from Target (seen here and here) for $10. Target had lots and lots of options and while I didn't end up with as much as I thought I would from the store, their stock changes enough that I browsed it constantly.
  • A Pea in the Pod Maternity
    So, the largest chunk of my maternity purchases came from a Pea in the Pod. Which is kind of crazy considering that most people would hardly list them in the "affordable" category (especially a cheap-o like me). But here's the deal: they have awesome sales. They have a BOGO deal on their sale items once every 2-3 months or so and that is when I bought everything I have from the store. I got some amazing deals - for example this sweater had $128 on the price tag (what!?) but I got it for $20.
  • H&M Maternity
    h&m is amazing for basics, though some of their stores carry maternity clothes and some don't. I'm not really comfortable ordering from h&m online, so I stocked up when I was in NYC this summer. Their clothes are super soft (a pregnancy must!) and very affordable so if you are lucky enough to live close to one, feel lucky :)
  • ASOS Maternity
    I had never tried ASOS before I was pregnant, but I was really happy with my purchases. Their clothes fit true to size (at least in maternity styles) and they have some of the best selection of maternity dresses and work wear that I have seen. They also have great sales.
  • GAP Maternity 
    I have two items from gap maternity that I love, but I tried some others were terrible. Make sure you read the reviews if you order online. Also, I recommend only buying on sale (I personally think GAP is overpriced).
  • Honorable mentions: old navy, loft, thrift stores, motherhood maternity
    All of these places have good maternity clothes, I just didn't really utilize them in my pregnancy. None of my local thrift stores had maternity sections, which was annoying. I have also heard that some people have had good luck with ThreadUp (essentially an on-line thrift store).


                       not a single item of clothing in these pictures is maternity, except black pants                                        

3.  Wear non-maternity clothes
I got completely different advice from most people on this. I had friends that said things like "I only bought 2 maternity items the whole time and just made do with my regular clothes." I heard other things like "it's not worth being uncomfortable in your clothes - spend a little money on some nice things you feel good in."

My philosophy falls somewhere in the middle. First of all, comfort is so important in pregnancy. Your body is growing/changing rapidly which is uncomfortable in itself, so wearing things that feel good is important. In that respect, I think it's worth it to spend money on things that make you feel comfortable. I also did not want to wear any of my normal clothes that I felt could stretch out and not fit well later.

On the other hand, there were plenty of "normal" items that I could wear for the nearly the entire pregnancy. They included:
  • cardigans
  • jackets
  • stretchy maxi dresses
  • elastic waist skirts
  • leggings
  • t-shirts
  • long tunics
  • vests


4. Accessorize!
People will not notice that you are wearing the same clothes over and over again if you accessorize and layer strategically. There is lots of hype out there right now about building a french wardrobe or a capsule wardrobe (essentially you invest in basics and change it up with accessories). That's essentially what I did when I was dressing the bump, and honestly it was kind of fun. I liked the challenge of making the same pieces look different every time I wore them.




               with jeans                                    with pencil skirt                              with black pants

5. Focus on your personal staple items
I spent most of my maternity budget on clothing items that I wear often in everyday life. It was pretty easy for me to figure out because of the blog (I referred back to my "one piece many ways" posts) but if you are unsure, ask your significant other or just look at what clothing items you have to wash the most. For me it was:

black pants
chambray shirt
black dress
striped shirt
dark rinse skinny jeans
jean shorts

               with pencil skirt                              with black pants                            with jean shorts

These items definitely got the most wear in my maternity wardrobe and made me feel like I was dressing like myself everyday. Plus, most of them are "classic pieces" that I hope to get use out of in subsequent pregnancies.


7. And A Few Random Pieces of Advice:

  • Belt your shirts/dresses over the top of the bump. I actually did not utilize this tip as much as I should have, but so many ladies look great with a belt over the top of the bump (examples here and here). 
  • Invest in pants/shorts with a full panel maternity belly. After about 20weeks, the short panel bottoms starting digging in after sitting for a short amount of time. You can also roll the full-panel down easily until you are ready to wear it all the way up. 
  • Men's button-downs are a great thing for a growing belly. I wore my husband's plaid shirts a few times when I was desperate for something different. 
  • Maternity skirts are really hard to find. Everyone sells pants... skirts... not so much. I tried soooo many, and I finally found a favorite pencil skirt from GAP. So moral of the story - if you find a great maternity skirt, snatch it up!  
  • Don't let other people make you feel guilty for spending money on maternity clothes. I had a few people say things like "Oh, I just essentially wore leggings and stretchy tunics the whole time - it's not worth it to spend money on maternity clothes." That's great... if you aren't working. If you work in an office, you're probably going to have to spend money on maternity clothes. That's just the way it is. 



Now it's your turn! I would love to hear anything that you learned about styling the bump or any maternity style tips you might have!


Apr 23, 2015

When Life Hands You... Pineapples

I figured lemons were too negative here - life is good, so good! It's just a little crazy right now. Crazy like pineapples (because pineapples are so craaaazy). I'm not sure if anything I have written lately has seemed vague, but there have been a lot of changes happening behind the scenes in my life and I wanted to share them on the blog at the right time!



First of all, I had a baby. Duh. That is obviously a huge life change. I posted about the first few weeks and the first 3 months already, so I won't go into that a ton. In summary - a HUGE change in the BEST kind of way.

Then, there is the whole "work thing." Pretty quickly after Piglet was born, I knew I did not want to go back to work full-time. Just thinking about it stressed me out and made me sad, so I knew that it was definitely not for me. Ideally, I wanted to work two days a week - I love working in the university environment and have had such a great experience so I knew it was something I still wanted to do. In my current job, I knew that a part-time position wouldn't work, mostly because it's a tiny office and they need someone full-time. So, even though it was so so hard, I gave my resignation mid-way through my maternity leave.


Just a few weeks ago, a job became available in a different department on campus - one that I was familiar with and had worked with in the past. And it was part-time! It almost seemed too good to be true, honestly. I applied and... I got it! I started a week after I interviewed so it has definitely been a fast life-change. I have only been in the position for a few weeks, but I already love it. It's suuuuuch a great fit for me. And being away from Piglet twice a week is completely fine. My mom is actually watching him while I'm at work, which is AMAZING. I don't worry at all and they have the best time together. It's seriously such an ideal situation. God truly answered my prayers in a way I didn't know was possible.

Next, the house. Eric started a new job in January in OKC, which means that he has been spending a significant amount of time commuting. Because of traffic, it takes him about 45min both ways to get to work. He really loves his job, but the constant driving in crazy traffic has been annoying. Combine that with the fact that our house is starting to feel cramped (2 beds, 1 bath, huge dog) - we decided to move. We actually sold our house in February, kind of by accident. Short story: we listed on the "make me move" option on Zillow and it had a full price offer the next day. Suuuuuch a huge blessing since cleaning and showing the house over and over with a newborn sounded pretty miserable.

We thought we would find our next house relatively quickly and we had over two months before closing so we weren't worried. BUT it ended up being a pretty intense ordeal. The market is good... so good that the houses we wanted to see would go off the market after one day of listing them (which is what happened to us... we should have known). Anyway, after looking at over 30 houses with our INCREDIBLE realtor (if you're local, I would be happy to recommend her) we finally found one. We put in an offer 2 days after it went on the market and even though it had multiple other offers, we got it!


We are so stinking excited about the new house. Since our house was small, there will be so many things that are new to us that might seem normal to other people - two bathrooms! a garage! a separate bathtub! We can't wait. We are moving in a couple of weeks and I haven't done much packing at all but I'm relatively un-stressed about it.

I'm sure blogging will fall on the back burner for a little while once we move (which made me just now think about the fact that we need to get internet set-up at the new house...). But I'm around! And I am so excited to share the house with you soon!




Apr 22, 2015

Reviews: Express Portofino Blouse & Old Navy Pixie Pants

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blouse: express portofino // pants: old navy pixie  // jacket: target (similar)
// necklace: wal-mart (similar) // shoes: anne taylor (similar)

I hardly ever write clothing reviews, but I realize that this outfit contains a couple of pieces that I wondered about before I purchased them, so I thought I'd share my experience!

First, the Express Portofino Blouse. A few of my blog friends LOVE these blouses, so when I recently saw them on super-sale, I bought two (this one and a mint color). The blouse is really great - I can see why it is rated 5-stars after over 2000 reviews(!). They are simple and go with everything - such a great work shirt. the material is really nice and stays relatively wrinkle free. Plus, there are SO many patterns and colors to choose from. I will definitely getting more. Downside: they do not come in tall which I find sooooo annoying. I have a really long torso and I feel like the length is just about inch short for me. Also, you do have to wear a tank underneath, which isn't a huge deal, but something to be aware of.

Next, the Old Navy Pixie Pants. I actually already have black cigarette pants (see them here and here) but... they don't fit (story of my post-baby life). I'm fully convinced they will fit again, but since I started back at work, I knew I needed black pants because they are so easy to wear. My current pair is from Banana Republic, but I didn't want to spend much money on a (hopefully) temporary pair so I got these for $25 at Old Navy. I actually really like them. I prefer to wear dress pants that have a thicker material because I have some curves (like most people) and I need a little support. The only thing I dislike about these pants is the way lint clings to them. It's crazy! My dog hardly sheds at all, but when I wear these pants I'm covered in his fur. I keep a lint roller in my car, but stillllll.

Have you ever tried the Express Portofino Shirts or Old Nacy Pixie Pants? Thoughts?

Linking up:

Apr 15, 2015

Style: Floral al Pants That Don't Fit

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chambray: loft // pants: target (similar) // shoes: dolce vita (similar) // earrings: ks

This is actually what I wore Easter Sunday this year (yes, yes, I'm always behind on blog posts). Dresses aren't an option since I'm nursing and it ended up being a cold and dreary day so I didn't want to mess with a skirt... floral pants for the win. Of course these pants don't actually fit... I'm using the old rubber band maternity trick which obviously needs to be advertised as an option for those of us hanging on to a little extra post-baby extra as I like to call it. Don't worry Piglet, you were totally worth it.

But don't know what you can't see, right? Well, unless I just told the whole internet. Whoops. 


Linking up:

Apr 13, 2015

Style: Green Heels & Gold Necklaces

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blouse: f21 (similar) // jeans: target // heels: dsw (similar)
// necklace: wal-mart (similar

I wore this outfit to my cousin's wedding shower - it was a Friday night casual sort of thing. Is it bad that I just created the outfit around the green heels? I hardly ever wear heels and for some reason I just needed to feel like the sort of person who isn't embarrassed to be taller than nearly every man in the room (I'm 5'10" so most heels put me at 6ft). It probably helps that my husband was there and he is always taller than me, heels or not. 

Oh and I have been wearing this necklace non-stop. I still can't believe I found it for $5 at wal-mart. I mean, crazy. When I factor in the fact that I have been to walk-mart one time in the last 10 months, well it seems I have seriously good luck. 

Happy Monday, friends. I hope your day is less dreary than ours - I have a cold, it hasn't stopped raining and poor Piglet got lots of shots today :(


Let it Shine via Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons

Manic Monday with   More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express
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