Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Tips

So I've decided to pretend I'm some sort of advice columnist, aren't we all? Every Tuesday [only because that's what sounds best with the alliteration of 't's], I plan to give some tips on a wide array of topics. Whether it be fitness, mommy life, wifey life, beauty, cleaning & organization, you name it. Some days might be a short and simple bullet point post, while others might be in depth. Whatever it is, my intentions are to provide others with information that has definitely helped me. I certainly hope you find them helpful and informative, but you can take it or leave it. As always, feel free to ask questions and of course share your tips as well.(:

So to kick things off, I'll post a bit of many topics...

1. Beauty: When applying mascara, place a business card you don't need behind your lashes, between them and your eye lids. This prevents mascara from getting on your lids, it also allows you to really wriggle the wand through your lashes and get them from all angles without worrying about a smudge fest, because there are few things more irritating than getting mascara on your face after you've just finished perfecting your makeup. 

2. Diet & Exercise: Go for a fifteen minute or more walk after eating a meal. it kicks your metabolism into gear and says "Hey, we're moving and we need to burn that food for fuel" as opposed to "Hey, let's kick back and make ourselves at home as extra pounds while we watch some Real Housewives." I certainly hope you can hear the same voices I did when imagining my metabolism could talk. Anyway. Set your shows to record and go walk. We especially enjoy it after dinner, B loves going for rides in her stroller and taking in all of the scenery, while Travis and I love watching her and catching up on our day. Fresh air, bonding, and exercise are incredible for both your mental and physical health. 

3. Cleaning & Organization: When dusting off surfaces in your house, follow it up with a swipe of a dryer sheet. I don't know what it is about those bad boys, but they scare away dust from landing for at least a few extra days. Don't believe me? Try it. 

4. Random: When taking photos of yourself or being in a photo, try posing with your left side to the camera. Your left side shows more emotion in your face, and you generally get more genuine and flattering photos. 

5. Mommies: The left over Lanolin or Mustela from your first few weeks of breastfeeding [I ended up with several extra bottles.] make for great relief on chapped lips. Now, you might not want to bust out the tube that says nipple cream in front of everyone, or maybe you do, but if not use it as your at home lip balm, and save your Burt's Bees for public use. 

6. Random: As a lover of candles, I do anything I can to help make them last longer. One trick is to cover them instead of blowing them out. Using their lid if they have one or a candle stopper. This prevents the wick from being blow to ash, thus shortening it's life. As well as preventing wax splatter and that awful burned out smell. It's one of my least favorite smells when a candle goes out. 

7. Beauty: Apply deodorant to any areas you're prone to get razor burn immediately following a shave. I know, I know... It sounds silly, but try it. I suggest something mild in scent, as well as the dry kind instead of gel. I use Dove Cool Melon. It doesn't build up a residue or leave any white streaks. I always apply lotion on top as well to moisturize. It's a trick used by models wearing swimwear and lingerie all the time, yes those lovely Victoria's Secret Models have swiped some good ole antiperspirant on their bikini lines to prevent those annoying little razor bumps that always seem to happen at the worst times. Luckily, I don't have this issue often, but when I do, this works like a charm. 

8. Wifey: (you can use this in general, I just happen to do it for my hubby.) When shopping for cologne or perfume, especially as a gift for others [usually Travis in my case] check the store for those sample size containers. They usually have a tub of empty ones with lids to attach. You take one of those and then use the tester to spray directly down the bitty tube to create yourself a sample.  I know Neiman's and Nordstrom have them in their fragrance department for sure, but if wherever you are, always feel free to ask. So this makes for a great way to see if my hubby likes a scent before I spend an arm and a leg a decent amount of money on a whole bottle as a gift. I mean, I'm the one who has to smell him, but figure I'd let him have some input on it too.(; I suppose you could try a few for yourself as well to see if you like something on you at home, when you're not in a zone of a thousand scents. 

So there you have it, some random, but hopefully useful tips on this terrific Tuesday!(:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The HEALTHY foodie: Baby Edition

I'm writing this following the dinner I just enjoyed with Travis and Brooklynn at our favorite little Greek spot. To start, we shared an appetizer of charbroiled octopus, and it was DELICIOUS. More importantly, Brooke thought so too. That's right, our one year old liked octopus and by "liked" I mean kept reaching for more, and pretty much ate a third of our whole plate. She followed it up by sharing in our meals that consisted of lamb, hummus, green beans, tomato, lima beans, and gyro. Of course, revisiting her eight tenticled friend between each bite. Does this sound like the typical diet of a baby to you? Probably not, but it should. 

Travis and I feel strongly about raising Brooklynn with healthy eating habits, by giving her nutritious and real meals from an eclectic variety of foods. We're not afraid to let her try and enjoy all of the things we do, well, excluding a few things that might be too spicy or choking hazards. So when the octopus came to the table, we were ecstatic to share it with her. As we have been with everything we've given to her. We've yet to come across a food that she won't eat, well except mangoes, but I think the enzyme in them that numbs your mouth might be a bit weird for her. They're one of my favorites though, so surely she'll come around. Are we just blessed with a foodie like ourselves? Perhaps that's a part of it, but I believe the majority of it falls into the fact that we've opened up her palette by giving her such a vast array of foods since she's been old enough to have them. I will add, that I still breast feed her regularly; every two or so hours and that is where she gets her main source of nutrients from. We definitely incorporate all of the food though, to get her accommodated with it and the extra goodness that it provides her growing brain and body. 

You know it might offend some when I say this, but I'd be damned if I had the kid that insisted they'd only eat chicken nuggets and soda. Not happening Jack. You can call your child a "picky eater', but who fed them that way? We are given the incredible opportunity to set the example for our kids, starting the day they are born, with everything, not just eating. Take advantage of that, and fill them with the best possible things you can. It really breaks my heart to see toddlers chomping away on Happy Meals, then we wonder why kids can't run a mile in P.E., and that we're the most obese country in the world. Not only is it cause for unhealthy weight, but it all leads to a scary list of diseases and injury. I know I don't want that for my child, or anyone. So, let's raise our children right from the start, so that when they're old enough to make meal choices on their own, they reach for the papaya or kale, not the bag of chips and candy bar. I choose not to let myself or my family be a part of the unhealthy epidemic. We pride ourselves on living a healthy lifestyle, and most definitely raising Brooklynn, and future children the same way.
Here is a list of foods Brooklynn has tried and loved...
This is about 98% accuracy of the order she tried them in, before they all became a regular part of her diet. Some of these things obviously started in puree or really mashed forms, but she now eats them all in bitty bite sizes perfect for her little fingers to pick up, or she drinks the beverages out of her sippy cup with a straw, she hasn't taken to the level 1 kind with the "spout". Sure, there were a few "what... is... this...?" faces along the way, she pulled some of it out of her mouth to inspect it, but usually put it right back in and screamed [politely asked] for more. Some of these items were even seasoned with salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, and she takes to the spice well, just like her mama. So here it is...

1. Baby oatmeal: You know the good ole Gerber Baby Oatmeal the dr. recommends you try them on first. She ate it up. We quit using it as soon as as we started with other foods though. 
2. Avocado: Man, was this a messy and fun first. Professing my love and ability to survive on this food alone, we thought it'd be a great first one to try. Oh yeah, the health benefits were a major factor too.
3. Cantaloupe: She actually leaned forward and just gummed a bite out of a piece I was holding, and loved it. She had like 1/8 of a bottom tooth at this point, so she had some powerful gums.
4. Beets: I won't lie, it took a few attempts on this one, but she now likes them, especially in hummus form.
5. Blueberries: I swear she can eat a whole Costco sized container in a week, a day if I'd let her, but I'm trying to avoid the scene from Willy Wonka.
6. Carrots: She didn't like them warm and pureed, but loves them raw to chomp on.
7. Sweet potato: favorite from the start and remains to be, just like her mama.
8. Oranges: Oh the sour faces, but she likes them.
9. Peaches: Huge fan, especially baked with cinnamon.
10. Asparagus: Luckily, haven't noticed the stench in her pee either.
11. Bananas: I wasn't the one to give her these first... ugh. We've also noticed they constipate her, so only every once in a while she has a tiny bit.
12. Strawberries: She scarfs these bad boys down. She may have eaten the leaves of a whole one, once.
13. Kiwi: The kid loves her some kiwi, skin and all. That's where most of the nutrients are btw.
14. Spinach: She's not a fan of leafy things... when they're leafy. She'll eat it steamed or sautéed, so that it's soft bites or pureed. I think the leaf texture sticks to the roof of her mouth and makes her feel as though she'll choke.
15. Pumpkin: Oh how I love the holiday season, Costco sold canned All Organic Pumpkin Puree, with NOTHING but pumpkin in it. We added cinnamon and nutmeg too. Brooklynn ate a ton of this. We actually planted a pumpkin patch with her diapers. Kidding. That was so gross. Sorry.
16. Apple sauce: By which I mean, I sliced, steamed, then threw some apples in the food processor. Would you look at that, apple sauce without sugar or a bunch of crap to make up for lack of sugar.
17. So she tried cheerios... She's had them once, I wasn't ready for her to try them, long story I was sort of pressured into it. I know they're not horrible, but I wanted to avoid packaged stuff like that for as long as possible. Oh well, as far as cereal goes, it wasn't worth crying more than I did over.
18. Pears: She goes to town on them, I cut them in long strips, kind of like a carrot stick, and remove the seedy part, and poof they're gone. She likes to eat them whole too, but tends to drop them before finishing, and well we don't like to waste food. It is adorable to see her grip it with her bitty hands and face plant like a dog does a good bone though.
19: Lettuce: She played with a few pieces from my salad, before nibbling on a few. It isn't a major staple though.
20: Squash: She thinks it squashes a lot of other foods. haha. I can't help myself with puns.
21. Watermelon: Because, I mean, who doesn't love watermelon?
22. Blackberries: I tend to cut these up to avoid the harder center, and then she chows down. Warning: Your child will be purple, I highly recommend a bib or clothing you don't worry about. Even with top notch stain remover, I find it still leaves a tint.
23: Raspberries: She throws them back like there's no tomorrow. Side note: Has anyone every dissected a raspberry and eaten it one little "ball" at a time? Just me then?...
24: Brussels sprouts: The dreaded by every kid food? Not for our little one, she loves them. Then again her Daddy also cooks them like a boss.(:
25. Green beans: Not only did she like them, she knew to pull the little beans out of the pod. I'm telling you, vegetables make for smart kids.
26: Parsnip: Basically, she loves all root vegetables. A lot.
27: Turkey: What better day than Thanksgiving to have tried her first meat, which was obviously turkey prepared by her Daddy. Once she tried meat, everything else was chopped liver. Well, we haven't given her chopped liver, so scratch that, but you get it. The kid loves turkey.
28. Sweet peppers: Yes, peppers. Picks them up whole and chomps her way through them. Of course, they're mild and sweet. I wouldn't give her a jalepeno... yet. God forbid I get reported. haha. 
29. Cucumber: Be sure to pick the seeds out, they cause gas. Other than that, great for a cool crunchy bite for the teething baby.
30. Celery: Just like cucumber, except for watch for stringy bits instead of seeds.
31. Pineapple: BIG HIT. Also, it's Mama's favorite fruit, so we fight over the pieces  share them.(;
32. Honeydew melon: It's a green cantaloupe, same reaction from her anyway.
33. Radish: They're a peppery bitter veggie, but she digs them. In paper thin slices.
34. Venison: No chicken nuggets here, she wolfed down some venison. I hope my "wolf" term made someone laugh. PETA hates me now.
35: Tomato: In tiny little chunks, she likes them. I tend to give her the fleshy part, as the seedy guts get everywhere.
36. Pinto beans: Beans beans, the magical fruit... You know I haven't actually noticed an increase in gas when she has beans. Yay! She does love them, a lot!
37. Chicken: I eat some variety of chicken breast with a lot of meals, she was bound to hop on the wagon and love it too. We give her grilled and baked, no fried food for baby. Or Mama for that matter.
38. Salmon: YES! SCORE! I could live off of salmon. I love it! It's benefits outweigh pretty much, a lot of friggin stuff. It's amazing for you, and incredible for baby. So I'm ecstatic can you tell that Brooklynn eats as much of it as I do. Even seasoned with salt, pepper, lime, and cayenne.
39. Steak: She had filet mignon before she was one. Lucky kid. We went to our favorite Brazilian Steakhouse, and we let her try all of the cuts we had. Garlic Pichana was her favorite. Just be sure to make super tiny bites, and semi mash them, as steak is a harder thing for babies to chew.
40. Lemon: Okay, she actually stole it out of my water once and we let her nibble only long enough to get an entertaining video of her "Warhead face". Tooth enamel, I know.
41. Hummus: I have on obsession with hummus, and clearly passed it onto her. All sorts of flavors; garlic, spicy red pepper, beet, and carrot. She doesn't even know about pita bread yet...
42. Onion: Raw or cooked, she likes them. I'm excited for her, as many people don't enjoy them. The breath is another story. haha.
43. Zucchini: Since she likes squash and cucumbers, this is a no brainer.
44. Prime rib: She tried this at a family event, I'm not too fond of giving her such fatty cuts, but we avoided as much of the fat part as we could, and she ate it like a beast.
45. Peas: Perfect finger sized and easily chewed little balls of goodness.
46. Fruit & Veggie juices: NOT store bought, but straight from the juicer made with real fruits and vegetables only. I've given her several recipes including all of the foods on this list. Well, fruit and veggies on this list. I wouldn't suggest throwing chicken in there.
47. Black beans: The kid LOVES beans!
48. Limes: She's licked like two. No enamel comments please.
49. Mushroom (grilled): She nibbled a bit, but was way more into some hummus, so didn't go for a lot. I've only tried it once.
50. Oatmeal: Quaker Plain Old Fashioned Oats. No added nothing, well I add cinnamon and dash of almond milk to it for her. She'll eat it warm or cold. Also, she finds it's great as hair product, generally requires a bath.
51. Lamb: She's definitely a meat-eater. She LOVES lamb.
52. Lima beans: I mean they're beans, SUPER SIZED, what's not to love?!
53. Almond milk: I gave this to her in a sippy cup with a straw and she guzzles it. Almond milk is what we drink in the house, just by preference, and it's what we're raising her with. Once she's older she's free to have dairy milk if she wants, but for now this is what we're giving her. We use Silk Almond Milk Original. It doesn't have a bunch of added flavors and crap.
54. Almond butter: Seeing that she had no reaction to almond milk, we knew she wouldn't have the nut allergy so we tried it. I dip just the tip of my pinky in the jar to let her have a little taste, I don't do it too often though. We use Maranatha All-Natural Roasted Almond Butter. It has NOTHING in it, but almonds.
55. Mangoes: As I mentioned above, she seems to spit them out. I'm assuming it's the numbing feeling they sometimes cause your mouth.
56. Kale: It was actually kale chips, home made with a drizzle of olive oil and some spices and she thought they were bomb.
57. Greek yogurt: I've only let her lick a tidbit off my spoon once or twice, only because she was staring me down with her adorable "share with me" face.
58. Gyro meat: We love Greek food, as you know from the intro to this. So does she.
59. Octopus: Yes, octopus. Yes, the eight-tenticled sea creature. She LOVED it. We had it charbroiled and drizzled with olive oil and lemon.
60. Potatoes: We've given her some rosemary baked fingerling potatoes once, but I don't plan to carb/starch her up a lot with them.
61. Baby back ribs: Travis made them at home, trimmed all fat, and glazed them with a home made hot mustard vinaigrette sauce, that had zero sugar and crap in it. She chowed down on it. Needless to say, pull the meat off the bone first.

62 & 63. Broccoli and Apples: I forgot to add those, but she eats both with pleasure. I have to cut the apple pieces super tiny now, otherwise she attempts to put the whole apple in her mouth. 
We've done our best to provide all sorts of tastes, textures, and temperatures in all of these and hope to encourage this kind of eating all of her life. You probably noticed there weren't very many, if any examples of starches, dairy, or sugar... Exactly. Now, there will come a time when we'll incorporate whole grain pasta, brown rice, healthful breads and throw in some cheese and nutritious yogurt, but we don't want her to be obsessed with those, and be the "I only eat grilled cheese" kid. Or corn, because well, diapers are gross enough without identifiable things in them. As for sugar, we plan to avoid her consuming this for as long as possible, using plenty of natural substitutes along the way; such as coconut sugar, agave nectar, dried fruits and REAL juice from fruits, but never processed sugar and obviously not artificial sweeteners. Sure, the inevitable time will come when she's exposed to it as she's older, but we're going to prevent it while we can and of course limit and avoid it once she's come across it. We will never be the house with the box of Twinkies, I warrant you that.

ps. Mamas, it makes it a lot easier to feed your child healthy, if you're eating healthy yourself and keep yourself eating healthy, if you're feeding your child healthy. Hard to over indulge on your kid's fruit snacks or cheesy puffs, if you're not buying them.
I'll try to post some fun and healthy recipes or meals we eat, but if you have any questions until then, please ask ask ask!(:

and naturally a few photos of our little piglet...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Let's get the party started; Brooklynn's 1st Birthday!

We celebrated Brooklynn's first birthday this past Sunday evening, and it was

If we're being honest, I started planning my daughter's first birthday way in
advance before we ever even knew we were having a child. Thank
you Pinterest. I know I'm not alone here, where my pinaholics at?Anyway, I had
been collecting ideas and brainstorming on the party for a... while. However, I
did wait to see what matched Miss B's personality before setting anything in
pink to gold ombre glittered stone. There's a bit of foreshadowing for you. The
theme we rocked? You guessed it. Pink to gold ombre with woodland
creatures, and plenty of glitter. Side note: There should always be glitter.
Watch me convince my hubs that our future son's basketball super hero party
requires shine. Anyway, back to this party. The three of us are social
butterflies, and rather enjoy the night time, so we went with a dinner party. This
will be my blog's first mention of the incredible chef talents of Travis. I'm sure to
make you drool wth many more posts in the future. So Travis created a
delicious array of hors d'ouvres for our guests to enjoy, followed by B getting
spoiled with a plethora of presents, and the daintiest of cake smashings.
Every bit of the party was amazing. The decor, food, and presents were
awesome, but the best of it, the part that really mattered was all of the love
surrounding Brooklynn. Our family and closest friends, all in one place, to
celebrate Brooklynn's first birthday. It was incredibly heart warming, and we
made sure to soak it all in. So many magical moments that we get to cherish forever!<3
ps. Don't mind my new headbandbeltaccessory, B refused to wear it. OR that Travis got so busy cooking everything, he didn't have time to change before everyone got there. woops.

Brooklynn was being her normal Mama's girl self, and though not bothered by the crowd, wasn't up for playing pass the baby, thus leaving me empty-handed with pictures of her with each guest. Which if you know me and my serious condition of havingamillionpictures-itus, I was kinda bummed. We did, however, capture a million pictures of her doing everything else. One thing, I'm extra happy that I did was her time capsule. I wanted there to be something uniquely special for her birthday, and this was it. I found the cutest little pink mailbox with adorable gold cards for everyone to stop and write B a little something, whether it be a sweet sentiment, advice, prediction for her future, or even a stick figure drawing. To be sealed up, or read first by Mommy and Daddy to bring on laughter and tears first, then sealed up in her mailbox to be opened by her on her eighteenth birthday. I guess this totally makes up for the missed photos with everyone.
One year stats: 27.75 in. 19lbs. 6 teeth. Loves baths, reading, swimming, giving kisses, and basketball games. I can wave, high five, and point. I am crawling, standing, and cruising. I can say mama, dada, dogdog, baby, and many other sounds. I love to watch the Disney Classic movies, Bubble Guppies, Doc McStuffins, and Baby Einstein. I love listening to music and dancing. I eat everything mama and daddy do, probably more so. My favorite toys are Sophie, Monkey, Lellaphant, Pooh Bear, and anything that lights up or makes noises.
The invitations...
If you're one of those really weird observant people like me, you may have noticed the date on the invite wasn't when we partied. Long story short, the flu got half our guest list, so we rescheduled.
Pink to gold ombre with plenty of glitter and woodland creatures...
I can't even explain the fun I had getting way too giddy artsycraftsy glitter spraying those bad boys. Oh, and check out the AWESOME banner Brooklynn's "Gaga" [my M-I-L] created. THANK YOU!(:
            Now for some grub...
Thank you to my wonderful hubby Travis for being such an awesome chef and making all of these delicious birthday bites. He even incorporated our ombre theme and our healthy lifestyle, especially with the 100% natural, sugar-free, healthy smash cake he made for B.
Unfortunately, hands being occupied as Mama, I missed the op to photograph the awesome dessert Travis made for the adults, just know that it was amazing!(;
And of course, I'll leave you with a few precious moments...
Starting with how pleased she was with the fact that this Radio Flyer was NOT a Mercedes G Wagon, I feel ya kid, I feel ya.
Can we please appreciate her dainty "pick one berry off at a time" approach, hey to each her own definition of "smash" cake...
Thanks for reading! It was definitely a joy filled day that we'll cherish forever.<3
If you have any questions or comments regarding any of it, fire away!(:

Monday, January 6, 2014

How quickly the time has come, our sweet baby girl is ONE!

Brooklynn Rose,
You're ONE year old! I keep saying it out loud, yet still find it hard to believe. It feels like I just held you in my arms for the first time yesterday, time truly does fly. I haven't blinked once though, so that I could cherish every single moment of this year. It has been the absolute best year of mine and your Daddy's life. You have amazed us with everything about you. Your bubbly personality is adored by all, we know you'll always make friends wherever you go. Your intelligence blows us away, we're fascinated by watching you learn and know it will take you so far in life. Your beauty captivates us all, as you always hear "she's the prettiest baby ever!", carry confidence with that, but always be humble. I know you have enjoyed all of the time we spend together, and I want you to know how happy it made us. From every minute of playing with your toys, to reading all of your books for story time, to flying you like an airplane and getting you with tickles and raspberries, to going for walks and teaching you about your surroundings, to having your help with daily chores and activities, to sharing meals together, to watching your favorite cartoons and movies, to your hugs and kisses and sweet snuggles, and even to the fits and diapers in between it all; we wouldn't trade a single moment with you for the world. While part of us wishes we could relive this incredible year over and over, we're also ecstatic for what's to come. You're asleep in my arms as I write this, and I'm just staring in awe. You have filled our hearts with so much joy and happiness, there truly aren't enough words to express how wonderful you've made our lives. It is an honor for us to be your Mama and Daddy, and you are the most precious gift God could ever bless us with. Happy 1st birthday Brooklynn Rose, we love you with all of our heart!<333
We've spent the day just making every moment count. With hours spent playing with a plethora of toys and stories on stories on stories from her books, to sweet snuggly naps with her in my arms, I've embraced every moment of today. It has been so heart-warming and happy. I will admit as it neared 3:38 this morning, the exact time she was born, I began to cry. I knew I would miss this year, as it has been the best year of my life. As every moment of her life flashed through my head like a home movie, it brought me back to smiles instead of tears, because even though her first year was complete, the rest of her life is going to be just as amazing, and I look forward to cherishing every bit of the future too. I may have had to repeat the process of "tears to smiles" again when I was organizing her momentos to create a shadow box, and picked up the clothes she wore in the hospital, and the itty bitty beanie still smelled just as sweet as her head did the first time I held her.

I thank God eternally for blessing us with Brooklynn Rose,
I thank my amazing hubby Travis for being the most incredible father and husband this past year, and I can't wait for the rest of our lives.

Happy Birthday Brooklynn Rose,
I love you forever and always.<3

Saturday, January 4, 2014

And so it begins, my first blog...

Well hello,

I've officially been 'blog-spired'. [Side note: I might have a slight tendency to make up words like so.] I've always wanted to write my own blog, and decided that with the New Year I was going to cross it off my list. I plan to write about anything and everything I feel, that's the point right? With most focus on Mommy/Wifey life, with plenty of arts, crafts, recipes, fitness, and fashion posts. Of course, with a nice random dash of ramblings here and there. So here we are, with my first blog post. I feel like there should be fireworks, or at least a good glass of bubbly. Cheers to all my new BFFS [blog friends forever]!(:

<3 Amanda Blakeley

ps. I use a lot of these smiling bad boys.(: