Friday, September 30, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

Today I wanted to answer some frequent questions I get asked.  I get many questions via email, on instagram and my blog and I am bad sometimes about responding.  So many of the questions are the same so I thought I would answer them here.  If you guys like this kind of a post I am open to do more q&a posts in the future and y'all can email me questions!  

Has the rash on your ring finger gone away and what helped it?  
This is one of the most frequent questions I get!  It is crazy so many of y'all have this same problem too.  My rash is better but it is not gone.  I have left my rings off for almost a month now and I have been using hydrocortisone.  It is definitely better but not gone.  At first it was bright red,  the skin was peeling and it hurt so bad.  It almost felt as it was burned.  Now it is just slightly red,  but it gets re-irritated every time I put my rings on.  I tried to wear my rings last night and as soon as I put them on the skin just felt tight and hurt even though it doesn't look as bad as it previously did.  I am actually going to see my dermatologist next week to let her look at it and hopefully get a prescription cream to clear it up.  I can't believe it has lasted this long.  

Some of you wanted to know what others recommended so here are some of the tips I received
- use aloe vera
- leave rings off and use hydrocortisone 3x a day
- soak rings in a windex/hydrogen peroxide mixture and clean well with a toothbrush
- have my rings re-dipped
- Magic Egyptian cream
- do not use foam hand wash or blue dawn apparently they both irritate skin

How is my diet going?
I plan to run a full post on this soon but I am trying to take pictures so I can show you guys a 3 day diet of what I eat,  so stay tuned.  I would not call what I am doing a diet because I HATE diets.  I have a hard time sticking to anything regimented and lets be honest I love food and I also like my wine too.  What I try to do is make small changes during the week and on the weekends I honestly eat what I want.  During the week I try to avoid processed foods and carbs- this doesn't happen everyday but I just try to be mindful about it. I am trying to eat more meat and protein because that was part of my problem before.  The meat and protein help fill me up.  Before when I wasn't eating much meat I was eating lots of bread, cheese, and pasta and I was still hungry and gaining weight.    I also am really trying not to snack on the kid's dinners.  That was a big problem for me, I was eating their dinner leftovers and then my own dinner an hour or two later.  I have started trying to just go ahead and eat early with them.   I usually go to bed hungry because I eat around 6 now but it has helped me cut out that snacking.  It has been 2 months and so far I have lost 6 lbs and I have 6-8 more lbs I would ideally like to lose.   It is a slow process for sure but I am not feeling too deprived which is good.  

What types of workouts do I do?  
This Summer I was just doing barre class about 4 times a week.  The class I take is called Extreme Barre so it is harder than regular barre.  They often incorporate cardio and I leave the class exhausted and sweaty.  Now that school has started back it is harder for me to get to all the barre classes, so I try and do it twice a week then I have started a new class called Red Zone that I do once a week.  It is a cardio boot camp where the goal is to keep your heart in the red zone (similar to Orange Theory).  It burns mad calories last class we averaged burning 700 calories.  So currently I do barre twice a week and Red Zone once a week.  I want to add at least one more class to get 4 workouts in.  I am also about to start training on the side with my barre instructor to try and tone up.  Once I do I will share what we do and what works.  
Several of you asked if I am still running and I am not.  The last time I ran this Summer I really hurt my back and now I am scared to run again and mess it up.  I have really enjoyed doing more classes though.  I feel like I push myself more when I working out with others plus I have made some new gym friends too!

When I do a blog sale and clean out my closet how do I decide what items to keep or get rid of?
I try to clean out my closet quarterly that way it never really gets too out of hand.  As a blogger and someone who loves to shop I always have more clothes than I need or really wear.  Each season I try and clean out so then I can add a few new pieces for that season.   First I usually let my mom and sister look and see if they want anything.  Then I go through and if the item has not been worn in that past year it has to go.  That means I don't love it and it clearly is not something I am going to pull out to wear.  I will say most of my cheaper items from Forever 21, Loft or Banana Republic usually get cleaned out.  I like them for a season or two but they are not closet staples.   My more expensive pieces I just tend to like more and want to wear them more maybe because subconsciously I know I spent more money on them.  If there is something I really love but don't wear and it has special meaning to me I save that for Frances Moon. For example I have saved my Missoni dress I wore at our Rehearsal dinner for her and the dress I was wearing when I got engaged.   What my mom and sister don't want I usually sell on my blog.  Currently I am saving that money from my last blog sale to buy a new purse.  The off brand items and items that I don't sell I donate to Goodwill.

How do I organize my closet?  
Since we live in a smaller ranch home we have small closets.  I have taken over 3 of the closets in the house- haha.  I have a hall closet that is meant to be for coats where I store all my dresses, tall boots and clutches.  Then in our bedroom I share that closet with Matt and I keep my blouses and long maxi dresses in there.  In Frances Moon's room I share her closet and keep my jackets in there.  

I organize my blouses by sleeve type | sleeveless, short sleeve, long sleeve and then tees and sweaters.  Then I group all those categories by color.    I also group my dresses by style.  I group all my church dresses together, then Summer sleeveless dresses, long sleeve and formal/dressy dresses- which honestly I have no wear to wear these days.  
I recently found two large acrylic cases at TJMaxx that I store all my jewelry in.  I love being able to see it all and easily access it!

Two must haves for my closet are these velvet hangers and this steamer.  Since my clothes are packed in small closets they get wrinkled and I use this steamer almost everyday!  It is hand held, heats up fast and works so well.  I never use an iron anymore.
The steamer is currently 50% off too!
These velvet coat hangers are the best too.  I personally just like how they look and they don't take up much space.

Will I ever sell Frances Moon clothes?
The short answer is no.  My sister in law has a baby girl one year younger than Frances so I pass everything down to her.  Then when she gives it back I save the items in case my sister or other sister in law has a girl one day.

How often do I cook dinner?
I usually cook dinner 3 nights a week.  The other nights we eat leftovers and then on the weekends we usually order food or go out to dinner.

What do the kids do while I cook dinner?
I usually always start dinner while Frances naps.  I pick her up from school at 1 and immediately take her home to nap.  Sterling is still in school so while she naps I do prep work for dinner.  If it is an easy one dish meal like Tomato Pie or enchiladas I try to assemble the whole thing so all I have to do is bake it that night.  If it is something that requires more effort I finish it around 5.  I let the kids play in the den or if they have already had a bath and Sterling has finished his homework they are allowed to watch TV.  I usually do baths super early like 5 and then I can finish dinner by about 6 while the kids watch a show.  I try to save tv time for when I need to get something done.  They are not allowed to watch it during the day but at night or if I need to get ready in the morning I turn it on.  Sometimes they also like to sit at the dining room table and color while I cook.  

What are my favorite Roses? 
My five favorites are : AIX, Moulin De Gassac Guilhem, Houchart, Miraval, and Whispering Angel.
Locals I buy my rose at Bottles and the wine shop down near Ashley Marina. 

Is Frances potty trained and how is the big girl bed going? 
Frances Moon is not potty trained and shows zero interest in it.  It honestly scares me a bit because I feel like she is gonna be really difficult to potty train.  The only interest she shows is wanting to wear big girl panties over her diapers.  With Sterling I just waited until he was ready.  I saw friends try and push their kids too early and what a battle that was so I just waited.  A few weeks after he turned 3 he just did it one day and never stopped.  No joke he has never wet the bed once nor did he ever wear pull-ups,  he was just so easy.  That's why I fear Frances will be so hard.  Sterling is also like a camel and just doesn't pee often and Frances Moon pees all the time.  If you have any potty training tips send them my way! 

The big girl bed on the other hand has gone great.  She loves her bed and is so proud of her room.  Every time anyone comes over she immediately takes them to see her big girl bed.  We are finally assembling her headboard this weekend!  She never gets out of bed in the middle of the night and most mornings she calls for me to get her out.   She loves having the space.  

How do I stay organized?  
We have a set schedule most days.  I need to do another Day in Our Life Post, I will work on that and share our day to day schedule.  The main way I stay organized is with my planner.  I am old fashioned and love to write things down.  I am a huge list maker.  I write a to-do list every single day.  This year I switched to the Emily Ley Simplified Planner and I have really love it.   The 2017 one was just released and I already have mine!   I like the layout of her planner because I can write my appointments and to-do list for that day on the same page.  It also has a monthly overview that I love.  It really helps me stay organized.  I also love May Designs notebooks.  I keep a few around for grocery lists and I just got a new one I use for keeping track of expenses.

Have a great weekend!  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

10 | Fall Favorites for The Men

Today I am teaming with Nordstrom to focus on men's fashion.  I wanted to share a few Fall favorites  that I personally love for the men.  Christmas is only 3 months away so if you are like me and like to get started early these would make great gifts too.  Everything is under $200.
Pictured below are a few personal favorites that my Dad, Matt and my brother all love.

I don't know what it is but I love a man in a puffy vest.  This North Face one is super light weight yet still offers some warmth.  I love the olive color too.
I also really like this Peter Milar version for a bit dressier vest. It also comes in red. 

A plaid button-up is always classic and always in style.  I am partial to the Vineyards Vines ones.  They fit really well and are good quality.

This is something all men probably own and love.  I especially these solid color ones with no logo or anything.  This one is only $30, so a great price point for a gift and it comes in 5 colors.
This Nordstrom brand men's pullover is perfection and under $60.  It comes in so many great masculine colors for Fall and it's part Cashmere!

Driving shoes are my favorite.  They just look effortlessly cool.  These are under $100.
I also like this classic Sperry version.

I like that some of these Fitness watches actually look like watches.  This one has great reviews and I like the sleek look.

I love straight leg pants for the men.  These are the perfect fit, not too slim fitting and not too wide leg.  They come in several different color options as well.  They can be worn casually or dressed up.

I am a huge fan of the Barbour line and love this quilted jacket for the guys.  It comes in black and navy and I like both colors for Fall.

Matt lives in these during the cooler days here.  He wears them to work for his more casual days and out on the weekends too.  This shade of green is really pretty.  

Crewnecks never go out of style.  I like both the plain and stripe version and both are under $70.

Lastly this is something I saw when I was researching the men's fashion, a digital Polaroid Camera!!  I so want this for myself ! It has three color modes: color, black and white and vintage septia.  It also has a built in printer so you can print the photos immediately.  This would make a great gift and it is under $100!
You can shop all my Men's Fall Favorites here.  Nordstrom always offers free shipping and returns.

Thanks to Nordstrom for partnering on this post.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Antipasto Pasta Salad + Recent Fall Buys Sizing + Roberta Roller Rabbit Event

So many of you asked for the recipe for this pasta salad so here you go!  This pasta salad is one of my favorites and you can really use any ingredients you have on hand.  Sometimes I use sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, bell pepper, and pine nuts for a different combo.  I swear by the Italian dressing seasoning in the packet that you mix up yourself.  It is so much better than the bottled kinds. This will save well in the fridge for several days and I like it best served room temperature. 

|| A N T I P A S T O   P A S T A  S A L A D ||

- 1 box pasta, really any shape will work.  I prefer spirals or half moons
- 1 small can sliced green olives
- 1/3 red onion thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 container small mozzarella balls
- 1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
- 5 pepperoncinis sliced
- handful pepperoni or salmi sliced thinly
- 2 baby cucumbers diced
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 package Good Seasonings Italian Dressing (mix per instructions on packet)

Cook pasta according box.  Drain and let sit for a few minutes before mixing.   Place in a bowl and add all veggies and cheeses.  Then pour Italian dressing over the top and mix well!  


I wanted to share this gray top I posted on instagram over the weekend and how it fits.    I am wearing a size XS.  It seems to run on the large side.  Looks like the gray is still sold out in most sizes but the navy is in stock in all sizes!  It is a super light weight sweater and so comfy.
I actually really like the navy too.

Another outfit I recently posted on instagram.  Ya'll may remember this sweater from my post Friday.   I ended up ordering the green cold shoulder one and LOVE it.  I can't wait til it gets a little cooler here so I can wear it.  It runs TTS, I am in a small.  It is not too thick or too thin it is kind of the perfect sweater weight.
My scarf is only $25!  It comes in 3 other color options too but I liked how bright this one was.   Great quality for the price and super soft.  

The sweater just came out in this pretty oatmeal color too.

Shopbop just did a bunch of new markdowns.  
This Off Shoulder Top is one I wear often.  I own it in 3 colors I like it so much.  The pink version is now on sale.  I included a picture of me in the green one so you could see how it fits.  I am wearing an XS.

Scroll through to see my top picks.  I have these sunglasses and love them.

Lastly, I am helping to host an event at Roberta Roller Rabbit on Thursday night from 6-8!  Any locals please stop by there will be light nibbles (Callie's Biscuits) and cocktails and you can take 15% off any purchase! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Obsessions | 10 Fall Staples to Add to Your Closet

Today is all Fall Staples you should add to your closet.   If the item was on the more expensive side I tried to find a cheaper option and include that as well.

This first dress is a personal favorite because I own it:)  As soon as I saw it I knew it had my name written all over it.  I love the boho feel of it.   I have been wearing it now with wedges and booties and then once it gets cooler I will pair it with black tights.  It comes fully lined with a cotton slip.  I am in a size small. 

Similar looks for less.

I just bought a shearling vest almost identical to this and can't wait to wear it!   I love to toss a vest on over any outfit wheter it be jeans and a tee or a dress.  

I love scarves in the fall because they are an easy way to dress up a boring outfit.    
I especially like this Cashmere Travel Wrap Scarf.  It is on sale and under $100 right now.  I like that you can wear it as a scarf or wrap.  It comes in 4 color options. 

I love this one so much I ordered it.  You can't beat the price it is under $60!  Black dresses are the best because they are versatile.  I love the idea of this paired with booties or knee high boots.  You could also toss a vest on over it for another look. 

I love a long cardigan for tossing on over a tee shirt and jeans or leggings.  I like the fringe detail on these two.  I actually own this first in the short version from last year.  I wore my short one all the time so I am definitely considering ordering the long one. 

Similar look for less money.

These are my new favorite Fall jeans.  If you have not tried McGuire jeans yet they are a must.  The fit is perfection. 

Same look for less.

Everyone needs a good pair of leggings.  I swear by my Spanx leggings.
This particular pair is high waisted and super slimming.  Any new moms these are great for after the baby.  I bought mine while I was pregnant with Frances and wore them almost everyday afterwards.  They help suck it all in.  They run TTS, I have a size small.
I also really like these leggings that I shared recently.   They are cheaper but they don't suck you in quite like the spanx.  I love that they look like pants and are so comfortable!  They run TTS I have a size small.

I love a cross body these days.  Especially one that is big enough to use during the day and at night.
This one is one I have been carrying non-stop.  It is the perfect size and comes in several other color options.

Similar look for less.
You can't wrong with any Rag and Bone booties.  They are my all time favorite.  An investment yes, but worth every penny.  I am wearing the Harrow style in my photos above and they are a favorite.  Size up a 1/2 size as Rag and Bone booties run on the small side.
I also really love these booties with the cut out detail.  They are a cheaper option.

Leopard is always a good idea.   I just came across this purse and love it- best part it is under $80! 
A leopard scarf is an easy way to incorporate a fun animal print into your outfit.  This scarf is so pretty and only $29.
You can shop all my Fall Staple favorites below:

Photos | Athena Crofts