Archive for the ‘It’s the 3 Little Things’ Category

It’s the 3 Little Things: Hitchcock Good, Damn That’s Delicious, & Up the Water Game

Friday, February 6th, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

What a great week it has been for this family!  Not only is my bathroom renovation done (by the fantastic team at All Pro Renovations), but I had my house deep cleaned this week by the amazing My Best Friend Services team to freshen everything back up after the construction job.  It’s amazing what a deep clean to the house can do for a girl’s spirits, especially when that girl has a bit of OCD. And did I mention I have a new shower! Two showers in one house- happy, happy day! I can’t wait to share some pictures with you of our new space and the transformation.

Here are a few other things that are making me happy this week!

The One I Love

Hitchcock Good

It’s been a month since I watched this film, but I am still thinking about it. If you are looking for a great flick for a movie night at home on  Netflix, I can’t recommend THE ONE I LOVE (also available to stream on Amazon Instant) enough. The first 15 minutes you’re like… boring and typical. And then, everything just changes.  The twists and turns are so good in this and explores the good & the bad of marriage. Don’t read any reviews, just settle in with this intriguing film that reminds me of a good Hitchcock flick with some really superb acting. These two actors do an incredible job and my husband & I couldn’t stop talking about this one after we finished it on one of our day dates at home with filets (the usual for dates around here!)

Here is a trailer that will tell you nothing, but set the scene for this one.

Now run to your televisions and watch it then come back and tell me what you think! GOOD STUFF!

Damn Delicious

Damn, That’s Delicious

I lost my cooking mojo after the holidays. I’m not sure what happened, but I just haven’t been in the mood to cook or be creative. These past couple of weeks I have been enjoying some new recipes from Damn Delicious that have just been outstanding. We tried the Sweet Lemon Shrimp first which was really good (I would keep the marinade to no more than 30 minutes though since our shrimp started to cook a bit in the acid), but then we discovered her chicken thigh recipes and we are all like, high-fiving each other and the kids were lifting me up on their shoulders and saying how awesome I was…well, maybe not, BUT it felt like that.

I highly recommend this Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken recipe (here’s my execution) and her Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce recipe. I served them both with roasted asparagus and the creamy tomato had an accompaniment of gluten-free noodles to soak up the sauce.

Thanks to that, I’m trying new classes at the gym too. Ahem.  It’s all about balance!

Bubba Envy Mug

The Perfect Water Mug With Straw Action

After our old fridge bit the dust (RIP), we were so excited to discover all the new features fridges offer like ice cubes and water out of the door- oh-la-la!  The water & ice cube in the door has really upped my water game this year and since I am drinking so much of it, I wanted to get a cup that would really work for me for sipping water while I am working and while I am at the gym (working off my chicken thighs, yo!). I found this Bubba Envy Mug and it is sheer perfection. It has a straw, it’s double insulated, has a handle, and it holds 32 ounces of water. I am trying to drink three of these daily and it is easy to do now that I am toting this around. It is so big it doesn’t fit in my drink holder in my car, but I work around that!

Bonus Happy Day

Just a couple other things that are making me happy for you!

Harper Lee

Bookworms rejoice hearing the news that one of the world’s greatest books will now have a sequel 50 whole years later. I hope there is a midnight release party- a sequel to my favorite classic was announced! “Go Set a Watchman” is essentially a sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” although it was finished earlier. The 304-page book will be Lee’s second, and the first new work in more than 50 years.

If you haven’t read it, discover what the fuss is all about and then watch the movie. It’s unbelievable!

Lastly. THIS. The Uptown Funk is strong with this one.

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

It’s the 3 Little Things: A New Podcast to Love, Mad for Laura, & Moving Documentaries

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! This week has been a little crazy as our little ’60’s home is being renovated…I know…again. I have always grown up in a one bathroom home and to have an extra half bath in our house has been a delightful luxury. Things are about to get a bit more luxurious though thanks to All-Pro Renovations as they add a shower in our guest bathroom this week. You can’t even imagine my excitement that we will have TWO showers. I also am remembering how hard it was to juggle a family and one bathroom and have come to appreciate the luxuries of multiple bathrooms all the more.

On a superficial note, I am also quite excited about the pretty subway tiled walls, hex tiled flooring, and pretty painted planks that are going on the ceiling. I can’t wait to show you soon since I have NO DOUBT this will be on the happy list in just a couple of short weeks!

A couple of fun housekeeping things on MomAdvice. First, Sundays With Writers is back for the new year on Sunday with a VERY special writer who is sharing a little of her heart and the story behind her book with us. In all honesty, I can’t believe she answered my email so this is a really special one for me. Secondly, our Wheat Belly discussion is on my schedule for Monday and I’m very excited to be sharing my thoughts on that book with you. Third, it was requested that I continue sharing my book reviews with you here so on the last Friday of each month, plan to meet me here for a monthly recap of what I’m reading each month instead of the happy list. Yay! 

Here’s the happy for this week!

Invisibilia

A New Podcast Addiction

Although I have had to say farewell to my Serial podcast addiction, I am able to handle it so much better than I expected thanks to the new Invisibilia podcast.  Invisibilia (Latin for “all the invisible things”) explores the intangible forces that shape human behavior – things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Although, I have to say, that description sounds quite drier than what it actually is.

Each week there is a subject of exploration and real people who struggle with it.  I listened to, “The Secret History of Thoughts,” and “Fearless,” which shared the story of people who struggled with things like thoughts or fears (or lack thereof)  and then the show shares the scientific & psychological research behind each topic. It kind of reminds me of Oprah meets This American Life. I really have enjoyed the first two episodes immensely and can’t wait to listen in on the next one today!

Little House: The First Five Novels

Little House: The First Five Novels (IN ONE!)

I had a bit of a Laura obsession when I was younger and I am thrilled to be seeing the Laura gleam in my daughter’s eyes now that we are reading these books together. For Christmas, I asked her grandparents to get her this Little House reissued classic from Barnes & Noble. The book costs a mere $18 and has the first five novels in one book. The inside has a calico print, it has a ribbon bookmark, and the pages have golden edges. It is just a treat for your bookshelf and a treat to read with your child.

Emily & I finished Little House in the Big Woods this week and we just started Little House on the Prairie a couple of nights ago.

I can really tell she caught the Laura bug when I was making her dinner last night and she said, “Oh, I wish we had our own pig so we could slaughter him like Laura’s family does.”

Ummmmm….

No.

After we finished reading it, I nestled the book with all of the other pretty classics I have been collecting and she pointed out the fact that 1. This was not a book for MY bookshelf and 2. Was I enjoying this book that was not my gift as much as I was enjoying the Taylor Swift CD that was not my gift in our car? I had to explain that I thought it might be easier to find the book on my shelf and we have to keep the CD ready for her so that I can play it right when she gets in the car off her bus.

I’m not sure she’s buying it- but I sure am loving her gifts this year! :)

Living On One Dollar

A Documentary for the Whole Family

Our family is still doing our Docu-Pizza nights and last week I stumbled upon this film, “Living on One Dollar,” that is currently on Netflix.  Four people take on the challenge of living on less than $1 a day in Guatemala. This challenge is something that 1.1 billion people face in our world every single day and they attempt to do just what they do on this amount of money. They show what it would be like to try to get a loan if this is your income, what it would be like to give up your schooling to keep your family fed, and the real issues that those in poverty face every single day.  This movie is so beautifully told and shot that it really brings perspective on just how lucky we are to live such a privileged life. I wouldn’t say it made me HAPPY (except the sweet, sweet ending), but it made me THINK A LOT about how we could do and be better. And that, of course, makes me happy.

We talked a lot about this one after it was done and  how we could be better stewards of all that God has given us.  After clearing out my pantry and fridge just days before,  it brought to light how much better we could be doing with eating at home and wasting less food.  This is a small switch that we all could do to free up more funds to give to those in need- what a wonderful thing.

It really is a good one for the whole family and I definitely recommend it over your next homemade pizza night!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

37 Things That Make Me Happy #thisis37

Friday, January 16th, 2015

this-is-37-1

It’s my BIRTHDAY today! I know you are just so excited for me. In all honesty,  I  can’t believe that I am turning 37 this year. I remember thinking how old that was when I was a youngster and now when I hear about people who are turning sixty, I’m like, “She’s so young! She’s got a lifetime ahead of her!”

It’s funny how perspective changes as we age.

I  feel happier and more self-assured than I ever did in my twenties. How lovely to stop caring so much about what everyone thinks about you. How freeing to let things go a little easier. How refreshing  to not feel like you have to keep up anymore because we are all just trying to play the game of life together.   I hear that I have even more to look forward to as I get older.

Truly though, I don’t feel a day over 20. Unless it is past ten o’clock. Then I feel like the oldest person in the room and I think about my bed and how it needs me a lot. I guess in some ways, I do feel every bit my age.

Maybe it is just age that finally lets you say “uncle,” and not feel like the best things happen after ten.

In honor of my 37 years of life, here are 37 things that are making me happy!

1. Coffee and lots of it.

2. NPR every day. All day. I feel like I’m finally aware of world issues and it makes me feel passionately about things I thought I would never care about. I’m proud to be able to participate in conversations about those issues too. Well, unless the conversation is political. Then I shall let you have the floor and I will go get a drink while you share it.

3. Sponsoring our first child from World Vision and receiving her updates in the mail.

4. Siblings for friends. What a rarity in life to say that your best friends are your siblings. I try to never take it for granted.

our-q-and-a

5. Journaling with my husband. I look forward to his hilarious and heartfelt responses every morning.

6. Being a mom to two awesome kids. Nothing made me beam more this year than to hear from our teachers things like, “Your child…she/he is just GOOD PEOPLE.” Good people and being the one who raised  ‘em- that’s some happy stuff right there.

7.  Volunteering and reading to my kids at school every week. I want everyone to be a reader and love books as much as me. Seeing kids struggle with that and then feeling the triumph of them discovering a love for books makes my heart unbelievably happy.

8. Real and true friendships. The lifelong kind.  No BS and drama-drama-drama. I am thankful I have those kinds of friends.

9. Finding my dancing feet again. I hope I never lose them.

10. Saying no. A lot.

12. Making my little home into the kind of place that I can be proud of. 11 years ago I would have never dreamed of all that we could do in our 60’s fixer upper. I’m still dreaming.

13. Ditching the Facebook addiction and the happiness and peace that came from that decision.

14. Books, books and more books. The Sundays With Writers has been food for my book-loving soul and a dream come true for this reader. Reaching my reading goal of 50 books (and surpassing it) is something  I am really proud I accomplished this year.

15. The absence of so much “stuff” in our home and the joy & peace that comes from clutter-free spaces. It’s always a work in progress and I’m trying to make a commitment to bring in only the stuff I really love.

16. My minimized wardrobe. Raise your hand if you didn’t think I could do it (raises a hand for her very own self).  How lovely to wake up and know just what to wear. And to give to others all that I don’t need.

17. Getting my passport. The first step towards seeing the world with my best friend.

18. Finding two new sources for secondhand goodness for my closet. Consignment shopping from the comforts of my own home is quite lovely!

19. Finally have glasses confidence. Four eyes ARE better than one!

20. Friends finally coming to Netflix.

how-to-make-a-blanket-scarf-21

21.  Learning to embrace and appreciate the beauty of a scarf to my slimmer wardrobe. The transformation is a delight.

22. Beauty products that keep a girl trucking along in her late thirties. I’d love to get a shout out to this BB cream, this skin cleanser, this at-home hair color, and this exfoliator for making me feel young and happy as I age.

23. ePantry, for not only helping me become a huge fan of so many new green products for the home and saving me trips to the grocery store, but even more for the fact that they made a HUGE donation with my affiliate credit to two amazing organizations in our town on my behalf. Blessing our local women & children shelter and our church’s food pantry for those in need was such a great way to pay it forward this year.

how-to-paint-laminate-furniture-5

24. Having a fireplace in our home- what a treat this spot has become this year. Picture my husband with a pipe and smoking jacket, me with my knitting, and This American Life on the radio by our roaring faux fire.

25. My growing vinyl collection. There is just so much nostalgia in getting and playing records…especially the ones I loved as a kid.

26. Mastering the filet. It is the one life skill I wish I could gift everyone.  Our date nights have gotten much more economical now that I know how to make the one thing I was always after when I went out.

27. Boxed wine. Thank you for your easy-to-pour spout after not-so-easy days.

laura-ingalls

28. Reading my favorite childhood books with my children. It’s been a Little House year with my daughter and rereading the words as an adult make me just as happy (if not happier) than when I read them as a child.

29. Having the pride of parents. My job is weird and hard to explain, yet they still try to share about it with everyone they know. What are we without our parents?

30. Giving, giving, giving- my heart, my time, my talents, my belongings, my funds. How lucky to be in a position that I can share?

31.  The joy I feel when cooking for people I love- my happy place is definitely in the kitchen cooking and creating for them.

nutcracker-1

32. Seeing my daughter dance her first Nutcracker this year- it was truly magical.

crazy-8-holiday-line-6

33. Every moment that I get to be with this kid, knowing that these years with him are passing me by, far quicker than I would like.

34. The joy I feel every time I see my book at a store. I take a picture EVERY TIME.

35. Finally having red lipstick confidence.

36. Our little shelter cat who has become my third child. I am embracing the crazy cat lady that I never knew I was.

37. This corner of the internet. What a boring life I would lead without you.  I am thankful for anyone who would take the time to read my words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 

xoxo

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: Marriage Boost, Family Games, and Vinyl Perfection

Friday, January 9th, 2015

3_little_things

It is so good to be back with you this week! I am so excited about our m challenge focus on the site and I loved reading your enthusiasm about this too. I hope you enjoyed the first week of posts as we explore our health and fitness topic.  As promised, I also wanted to continue our regular features that you love so this will be the first 3 Little Things for 2015 since I know you love it so much.

As a confession, I did have to tweak my fashion capsule so I rebooted it after a month of fumbling along and then getting some key pieces as holiday gifts, so I am restarting my Project 333 officially on December 22nd pushing me out to March, which will be great for timing anyway with my Spring wardrobe.  I will update the photos in my fashion capsule so you can follow along, but have a need to be honest about all of that since this was my first winter wardrobe and I am still learning right along with you.

Here is what is making me happy this week!

our-q-and-a

Our Q & A a Day: 3 Year Journal for Two People

After being married for almost 15 years,  you would think that I would know all there is to know about my husband. Turns out, not the case.  I happened upon this Our Q&A a Day 3 Year Journal and thought it might be a fun way to tackle two important things to me- communicating with my spouse and keeping a journal.  Each day there is a writing prompt like, “What feels vitally important right now,” or “Do you have enough independence,” for example. On one page, there is room for three years that gives each person the opportunity to write a line or two to answer the question. Each year, you answer the same question so you begin to see how your answers have changed each year.

We have this on our bed and I move it to his side after I fill it out. I look forward so much to reading his responses and it has been a good way to begin talking about things that we didn’t even know were important to each other.

This is going to be my new go-to present for weddings because I can’t imagine what my answers would have been in those first three years of marriage versus where I am in my (almost) 15th year. I HIGHLY recommend this for relationship building.

tapple

Tapple

Each year the grandparents send a little spending money for us to purchase Christmas gifts. This year we used the money to get a couple of games for the kids to play over their holiday break.  Tapple was a game that our whole family loved and every family member could play.  The object of the game is very simple and there aren’t a lot of rules.  There are a set of cards that tell you a topic like, “Pizza Toppings” or “Animals at the Zoo.” You start the timer and then you try to think of a word that starts with each available letter on the game board that fits under that category. If you can’t get it under the allotted time, you are out, and play continues with the remaining players.

The kids absolutely loved this and really loved making up their own categories (an option available on the cards) to create their own game like, “Words to Describe Our Cat Lulu,” or “What Mom Is Like Before Her Coffee” (hardy-har-har!)  We all LOVED this game and it is going to be one of those things we can do together on family nights. If you are looking for a new game for the collection, I recommend this one for a really fun time!

ella-and-louis-vinyl

Ella & Louis On Vinyl

I only asked for one record this year for Christmas and it was this reissued Ella & Louis on vinyl.  My in-laws gave me this album for Christmas and I am pretty sure it is going to be a permanent fixture on our turntable.  The two of these voices together is absolutely magical and the song selections are sheer perfection.  I wish everyone could experience this and at a mere $22, it can be had for a steal! It’s a must for vinyl collectors simply for that adorable cover alone.

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: Holiday Shopping, a Ghostly Tale, & a Tired Eye Cure

Friday, December 12th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! I can’t believe that I am taking a real vacation from the blog! I really need to get back to center with my people so I will be out of the office December 13th-28th! I have a date with this book (have you read it? I can’t put it down!!) and an ambitious stack of library books that I checked out for the week. I hope you caught my annual list of the best books of 2014- it was a good year of reading!  I can’t wait to have a little quiet time before we ramp up for the holidays.

Before I check out of the social media world though, here is my happy list for the week!

Flourish Boutique Holiday Shopping

Stocking Stuffers Galore

I love a good statement necklace and last night I got the VIP treatment at Flourish Boutique to take a peek at their holiday offerings this year. Since I have some special ladies in my life, I I got some really pretty statement pieces for them that I can’t wait to give them for Christmas. If you are as big of a fan of costume jewelry as I am, you really should check out their store (online or in-person!) They had a ton of fun new arrivals, but my eye always gravitates towards their cozy leggings and shapewear offerings that I wear so much in my fashion capsule.  You can always use our web code MOMADVICE  to take 25% off of your purchases when doing your own holiday shopping!

Don’t worry- I was good! Although I had hoped to take a few photos this week for you, I am seriously in crazy mode for the holidays so you will have to trust me that I am absolutely loving my capsule wardrobe and continuing to learn so much from it about my purchasing habits. I will get back to sharing from it after the holidays although I am sure you can catch a picture or two on Instagram!

The Dead Files

The Dead Files on Netflix

I am just going to say it. Netflix has really been rocking lately. My husband and I picked up The Blacklist (did you know Netflix paid $2 million per episode just to secure that show? CRAZY!), The Mind of a Chef (craving noodles all day, everyday after watching this), and now The Dead Files which originally aired on the Travel Channel.

My sister-in-law shared this gem with us and I think we have watched ten episodes already because it is so fascinating. They send a private investigator into a home that is haunted and they send a medium in to the same scene, but each of them doesn’t get to meet with each other or share evidence until the end of the show. The detective spends time gathering the real fact about the house (meeting with town historians and local folks) while the medium runs around and talks to ghosts and works with a sketch artist to draw one of the ghosts that she sees that is bothering the family. Then they sit down and share their evidence and it is crazy awesome.

I’m not sure if you are into the ghost-hunting thing or not or believe in it, but just finding the true history of the homes is some seriously fascinating stuff. The show isn’t scary, just super interesting. I find the editing to be a little too tightly perfect and I’m not sure I believe all of it (she is never wrong!?), BUT I LOVE IT.  If you have a marathon of present-wrapping and need a little escape, this is a pretty good one.

If you have any other Netflix recommendations for me, let me know in the comments because I am going to have lots of stuff to wrap this week with a birthday and Christmas in one week!

L'Oreal Visible Lift Eye Concealer

L’Oreal Visible Lift Eye Concealer

I have terrible circles under my eyes that seem to be getting worse as I age. I haven’t been able to find a concealer that really does a good job covering these up until I got this gem at the drugstore. It is like a little deodorant roller that you just roll right under your eye and then pat in. It covers everything and makes you look well-rested when you are exhausted from yarn-bombing your home for the holidays. If you want to look five years younger, this stuff is amazing and super affordable.

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland

Happy Birthday, Emily!

Bonus Happy

Happy 9th birthday, my beautiful and fabulous daughter! You forever changed our world for the better. I couldn’t be prouder to be your mama! I can’t wait to eat snickerdoodle cake with you-xoxo

Bonus Happy Two- the happiest of the happy!

Happy Holidays from The Clarks

Happy Holidays, friends! Thank you for your love and support this year! See you in two weeks!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

It’s the 3 Little Things: Easy Bun Makers, Perfectly Airbrushed, & Blueberry Happiness

Friday, December 5th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! It was another busy week of crafting and decking the halls at our house. I also stayed up far too late watching Peter Pan Live last night. I thought the cast and the sets were simply phenomenal. What did you think?

We had new furniture delivered for our kids rooms last night so I am in a frenzy of cleaning out their rooms and drawers to make room for furniture that offers a little more small space function. Drawers are tucked underneath beds and bookcases tucked in headboards- the kind of furniture you really need when your bedrooms are shoebox size. I even cleared out an entire closet in my son’s room and have dreams of how I can make that a smart functional space for him.

Just as a heads up, I want to let you know that I am putting the blog on hiatus from December 13th-28th. I am VERY MUCH looking forward to a little peace and quiet after such a busy year with the site.   I am also putting myself on a social media hiatus and try to get back to center for the holidays and be present with my family.  I know you understand.  

I just snagged an ambitious amount of library books that I plan to read over my time off. I am looking forward to being creative just for the sake of being creative and not documenting anything for awhile. I’m so thankful for my job, but I am very run down.  That said, I have a VERY exciting reveal for 2015 that I am hoping you will love as much as me. Stay tuned for that as we take the site in a new direction!

 

Let’s talk about the happy  this week. This one is  a few new beauty tools I discovered!

Perfect Bun Maker

Finally a Perfect Bun Maker

I know everyone is crazy about the sock bun, but I have discovered a bun making tool that has saved us many a headache from bobby pins for my daughter’s ballet class. These foam bun makers are amazing and I actually paid $5 for  a single one at Target, but found this set of four for less than $5 on Amazon. All you do is throw your hair up in a ponytail, open the bun maker and slide it up so the end of your pony tail is sticking out, and roll upwards to the top of your ponytail, and bend into a bun shape. We secure it with just a couple of pins and it holds her heavy glossy hair all day long. It was so easy that I think my daughter could even do it herself.

This little tool came in handy this past weekend as she danced in her first Nutcracker which was so incredibly special to see. Here is a little shot I took of her backstage peeking at herself in the mirror at her dress rehearsal.

Nutcracker

Perfect buns and a perfect mom moment all rolled into one- that definitely is at the top of this week’s happy list!

Revlon Photoready Skinlights

Perfectly Airbrushed Skin

I picked up some Revlon Photoready Skinlights this past week. I have heard so many good things about this product and now I can see what the fuss is all about. You can mix this right into your foundation and it adds that airbrushed quality to your face and a little glimmer and dewiness that you see all the celebrities rocking.  As my skin is aging, I find that it gets more and more dry, and this being mixed into my foundation helps add that dewiness that I have been trying to achieve. You can also just add a touch to places you want to highlight like your cheekbones.   You only need a touch of it so a bottle will last a long time. I am really loving this stuff and highly recommend you pick some up to try it!

Yes to Blueberry Wipes

Yes To Blueberries Brightening Facial Wipes

I am big on washing my face every night, but since we have been running around like crazy, I have gotten out of the habit of a good facial routine. I purchased these Yes to Blueberries Brightening Facial Wipes from ePantry last month and I absolutely love them to get my make-up off before I head to bed. I love the smell of these and they do a great job getting my make-up off without drying out my skin. I am not sure if you saw or not, but we are running a deal with ePantry this week giving you $10 to shop, free shipping, a free Method Soap & they are giving $15 for each sign-up to my local food pantry for Giving Tuesday.  You could try this product out for free this week and help a great cause in the process! I hope you like these as much as I do!

Three Things I Wore From My Fashion Capsule. Get inspiration and earn money cleaning out your closet with my tips! You must!  Grab more inspiration on my Fashion Capsule Pin Board and minimize that wardrobe!

 

camel tunic + burgundy leggings + brown & black accessories

Camel Colored Cowl Tunic Top Sweatshirt (Target)/Burgundy Knit Leggings (Ann Taylor Loft)/Naturalizer Boots- (6PM)/Brown Belt (owned- Maurices)

felt & wool sweater + burgundy tank + skinny jeans + boots

Last minute switch in the capsule because this shipped- pulled my emerald green shirt out. Anthropologie Wool Sweater (purchased second-hand from Thredup)/Burgundy Tank Top (Flourish Boutique)/Seven Skinny Jeans (owned- Flourish Boutique)/Naturalizer Boots- (6PM)

black dress + gray seamless shirt + black boots & tights + red belt + tassel necklace

Sushi Day Date With My Hubby- swoon! I even borrowed that bun maker from my daughter! Seamless Perfection Long Sleeve Tunic in Gray (Flourish Boutique)/ White House Black Market Knit Black Dress  (purchased second-hand on Twice)/ Red Skinny Belt (Target)/ Black Fleece Tights (Walmart)/Naturalizer Boots- (6PM)/Gray Tassel Necklace (Ali Oesch Jewelry)

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

Make Money Organizing Your Closet

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland

 

Bonus Happy

Christmas Tree

 Our first real Christmas Tree. I’m in love!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

The MomAdvice Unique Holiday Gift Guide

Friday, November 28th, 2014

The MomAdvice Unique Holiday Gift Guide

 

I have been jotting down ideas for this holiday gift guide over the year since each year I aim to create a really useful gift guide that you really will use and love when selecting your gifts. This list is a compilation of my favorite things that have made me very happy and I believe they are the perfect gifts to share with someone you love.

I did not set a dollar limit this year on the gifts because I don’t get the opportunity to share some of the pricier things that I really have used and loved, but the list will offer a range of ideas for your own Christmas budget. I also try to share if I have found them somewhere cheaper or where to snag a coupon to make these gifts more affordable.

Magicbox Speaker

Magicbox Speaker ($29.99)

I absolutely love my Magicbox Speaker for listening to podcasts and music through my iPhone or iPad. This little guy is Bluetooth-enabled so it can connect with your device and charges with a little USB cable that it comes with. The sound is really good- not Sonos quality, but really perfect for my laundry/making dinner/cleaning house needs. I am one happy girl now that I don’t have to hold my phone to my ear to keep up with all my stories and to hear my music.  I really think this is a sweet little gift and I love the price tag.

Blanket Scarves

Blanket Scarves ($15 or less)

Blanket scarves are very trendy this year and are the perfect gift to give for the holiday season. These are also an ideal gift for someone who travels a lot since they fit perfectly in your carry-on luggage and can be wrapped around you when you get cold on the plane or at the airport.  I have an easy tutorial to create a blanket scarf  for gift-giving this year for the crafty and the not-so-crafty.  Head over here and check to see if flannel fabrics are on sale. If not, that same link will provide you a 40% off coupon. You will DEFINITELY want to use this because it makes these scarves budget-friendly for the holidays.

UGG Slippers

UGG Slippers ($55 on eBay)

I wish I could give everyone in the world a pair of UGG slippers because these make me that happy. Every year I buy a cheap pair of slippers from Target that I trash and then have to buy another pair, usually mid-season. I discovered that UGG makes slippers (I know, I am so behind on the times!) and I decided to hunt on eBay to see if I could find a pair of slippers for myself.  I wanted something that looked like a shoe and not yo grandma’s slippers. I found these Gray Suede Driving Moccasins that were brand-new (just missing their box) and bought them for $55. Considering I am probably spending that much on two cheap pairs every year, this is a worthy investment. The best part is that they have leather inserts for warm days and then they have that delightful furry insert for freezing days. UGG Slippers bought from UGG might be out of the budget, but checking eBay might be a great option for brand new slippers at a fraction of the price for someone you love!

Fitbit Flex

Fitbit Flex ($74.89)

I am one of those people that is slow to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to technology and gadgets. Before the Fitbit Flex even launched, my husband knew about it and wanted to buy it for me. Now that it has been enough time for the trend to pass, I figured I would look into getting one and I absolutely love it for motivating me to stay fit and hit the gym.

Several of my girlfriends have these and I tend to have an annoyingly competitive streak so being in a competition for the most steps has been pushing me to hit the gym and go on an evening walk so I can compete against my athletic friends.

The other thing that I love, not fitness related, is the silent alarm feature on the Fitbit Flex. I have to be the first one up in our house and when my alarm goes off, it triggers my husband to wake up and our cat to start the annoying meowing baby cry reserved for the morning alarm. You can set a silent alarm on the app and the bracelet vibrates to wake you in the morning.  I wake up happier,  my husband continues to sleep, and the cat doesn’t start her annoying meowing baby cry until she realizes I am up. Winning all around!

If you are gifting this, consider making a little DIY Fitbit Flex Leather Cuff to go with it- this has been one of my favorite things this year!

Logitech Keyboard

Logitech iPad Keyboard ($49.46)

I used to carry around my laptop when I traveled, but when I got my iPad, I knew that I wouldn’t need to carry that around with me anymore because HELLO…BROKEN BACK. How many pounds is a laptop? Ouch!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stand trying to type on the touch screen, particularly when sending lengthy emails or trying to conduct anything for my business. I found this Logitech iPad Keyboard and it has been one of the best tech investments I have ever made. It instantly turns your iPad into a mini-laptop that you can carry in your purse. The battery life lasts forever before it requires a charge with a small cord, making it perfect for me to take to my conferences. The outside of it is metal and durable, helping protect your iPad screen and it latches together magnetically, as though they weren’t meant to be together from the start.

The best part is that it holds my iPad up for me while I am laying in my hotel bed watching Parenthood episodes so that I can hold my Kleenex and cry without having to hold the screen at the same time. Can you just imagine how hard that would be?

But it is also very important for business. Yes, for business.

This American Life

This American Life App ($2.99)

An iTunes gift card makes the perfect little stocking stuffer for the holidays and may I offer a suggestion on how to spend it?  I am an NPR junkie and if  you haven’t discovered it yet  This American Life is mostly true stories of everyday people, and the best way I can describe it is that the show is like listening to a movie about these people.  It is typically told in three acts that all interact around the same theme. It is the best kind of storytelling and usually leads to a beautiful discussion about your own viewpoints after the show. The app is wonderful for listening to all of the Staff Picks and the best of the best in This American Life offerings.

My husband and I sit in our respective chairs and hang on every word. Every. Word. It’s become one of our favorite things to do in the evenings, further solidifying the exciting type of senior life you might expect from us in the future.  If you aren’t listening to NPR, you are missing the boat. And I can say this because I missed the boat for years and now I can’t imagine my life without it.

Faux Fur Throws

Faux Fur Blankets ($15.88)

I was hoping these blankets would be back from Better Homes & Gardens and spotted these faux fur throws back on the shelves this week at Walmart. This is MY FAVORITE blanket and a great gift to give for the holidays.  It is cozy fleece on one side and then the other side is a glorious faux fur.  They even had a free Better Homes & Gardens Magazine subscription attached to it which made the deal even sweeter.  Who wouldn’t love a cozy throw with a gift card to select a few favorite books to read.

Barnes & Noble Collectible Edition Books

Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions ($18 or less)

Every year I ask for one Barnes & Noble Collectible Edition to read.  These books are so beautifully bound and I try to read one classic each year so these beautiful books add a lot of motivation to read them since they are such a treat to page through. This year I have my eye on this Ernest Hemingway collection or to dig into this Laura Ingalls Wilder collection to read with my favorite little girl in the evenings. You will never regret these purchases for our bookshelf. I love all of the Barnes & Noble Collectible editions and even treated myself to The Giver collection this year (which I can’t wait to read!) that I found in my local store. (PS- Check here for coupons!)

Sorel Boots

Sorel Boots ($110 or more)

Five years ago I got my first (and only) pair of Sorel Boots and they still look just like the day that I got them. They have a cozy layer of Thinsulate inside of them that keep my feet toasty and each year a little polishing and waterproof spraying helps them to go strong from year to year. I have never spent a lot on shoes, but after the fifth year of these going strong, I can honestly say that they are a worthwhile investment especially if you live in the Midwest. I am planning to ask for Sorel gift cards to put towards my next pair of boots from my family members so I can pool them together to get another pair.

Royal Fox Print

Royal Fox Print

Royal Fox Print ($45)

My brother is an artist in NOLA and when I came to visit we had the best time checking out all of the art that the street vendors offered as well as the galleries full of unique art. I only brought home one souvenir from my trip and it was this sweet little Royal Fox print that I found  at the Gallery Burguieres in NOLA. The artist was as sweet as could be and has recently had a little drama going on with this fox that has made him rather famous in the Taylor Swift world. This shop is a little NOLA treasure and was one of my favorite galleries we visited and this print makes me smile every time I see it.

Janet Hill Studios

Janet Hill Studios

Janet Hill Prints ($26 or more)

My home is filling quickly with Janet Hill prints and every single piece just speaks to my soul in a way no other artist has ever spoken to me. Each print tells such a beautiful and unique story that I think would resonate with just about anyone. These beautiful prints would be lovely to share with someone you love particularly if you frame them with an inexpensive frame. I took mine to Hobby Lobby to get a matte that would make each one stand out. Of course, Janet Hill is just one of many talented artists that share their wares on Etsy so you if you are unsure of your recipient’s taste, consider a gift card to Etsy to make gift-giving easy and unique.

Knitted Boot Cuffs

Knitted Boot Cuffs ($5)

Our most popular project on the site right now are these knitted boot cuffs that you can whip it up in a mere two hours. I gave these to my best friend Christmas last year and you can make them for about $5 in materials. These are such fun toppers to your boots and would also make a sweet little stocking stuffer. If you are new to cabling, this is an easy project to tackle to master cabling and you can’t beat that these can be created in such a short amount of time.

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things for more happiness givers.

 

I hope this little list helps as you plan your holiday shopping. You can also find a great list of 54 handmade gifts you can make for those special people in your life!  What are your favorite gifts you have given or received?

 

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Magicbox, Chipotle Really Fast, & Blanket Scarf Heaven

Friday, November 21st, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you are having a good week!  I am so excited for tomorrow because I get to dig into my new fashion capsule. I have so many cozy sweaters for this one and, boy, does a girl need a cozy sweater in the Midwest.  I am just finishing up this lovely book (I can’t put it down!!! Have you read it?), listening to this book on audio, and this book with my husband over vino in the evenings. This is the first time I have tried working on three books simultaneously. It’s not confusing at all. Nope.

Here is my happiest of lists this week!

Magicbox Magicbox Speaker

Can you believe I had never purchased a speaker for my iPad/iPhone listening? I can be quite the cheapskate. Since I am getting addicted to audio books while I tidy the house/tackle my laundry piles and my latest obsession with Serial (did you hear episode 9?! Any thoughts on who did it?)  I decided it was time to get a speaker. I bought the Magicbox Speaker after reading all of the reviews and I love this little guy so much. It is Bluetooth-enabled so it can connect with your device and charges with a little USB cable that it comes with. The sound is really good- not Sonos quality, but really perfect for my laundry needs. I am one happy girl now that I don’t have to hold my phone to my ear to keep up with all my stories.

Blanket Scarf

Blanket Scarf Heaven

Since the temperatures have been so brutally cold here, I am really loving my blanket scarfs I made for myself this week. It feels weird to not be knitting scarves this year, but also a little liberating. I started a new poncho and I think that is going to be occupying my knitting time for awhile. I have been wearing these around the house as wraps when I get chilly and am so addicted to making these, I just might have to make a few more. No-sew crafting definitely makes this girl happy.

Chipotle Fast Food

Chipotle FAST & a Runner

I have been really busy here behind-the-scenes working on our bedroom reveal. My project ran into a snafu this week that I don’t want to talk about (this is a happy list, after all!) so it has been a busy week with me and a couple of paint brushes. Since I am gluten-free it is hard to find really good food that I can eat that doesn’t cost a fortune when I can’t make dinner. I have become a big fan of Chipotle for our family for those busy nights and discovering their online ordering process has made my week. We have our whole family set up with each of their orders in our account and it saves it for us. This makes it easy on my husband when I say, “Can you help me tonight and pick up dinner?” DONE.  The best part? SKIPPING THE LINE. Just go right to the front and grab it. If that doesn’t change your life, I don’t know what will.  I also am a proud owner of one tween boy who is a fantastic runner for me and runs in to pick up my order when it is ready. I love this kid to pieces especially when he brings me an orange soda.

Three Things I Wore From My Fashion Capsule (last week in my Fall capsule- aren’t you proud of me?).  Did you read what I am learning from this project? You must!  Grab more inspiration on my Fashion Capsule Pin Board and minimize that wardrobe!

all black + blanket scarf

Seamless Perfection Long Sleeve Tunic Dress in Black (purchased- Flourish Boutique)/The Essential Leggings in Black (owned- Flourish Boutique)/ Plaid Blanket Scarf (make one here!)/Brown Boots (6PM- Naturalizer)/Frames (Coastal)

stripes + chambray + black jeans + black boots

H&M Black & White Striped Top (owned- Goodwill)/Chambray Shirt (owned- Flourish Boutique)/Old Navy Rock Star Skinny Jeans in Black (owned- Old Navy)/Black Boots (6PM- Naturalizer)/Chevron Necklace (Charming Charlie)

LBD styling

Girl’s Night Out: Little Black Dress (owned- Flourish Boutique)/ Rosette Belt  (owned- Flourish Boutique)/Black Tights/ Heeled Black Boots (6PM- Naturalizer)/ Red Clutch (Francesca’s)/Gold & Black Bracelet (Forever 21)

LBD Styling 2 Ways

See this? SAME DRESS! I just wanted to show you how far I have come with my first capsule wardrobe. I felt like the woman on this one!

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

9 Ways to Spice Up a Goodwill Lamp

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken

Easy 4-Row Snowflake Scarf

Bonus Happy! Anybody else half as excited as me?!?

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

It’s the 3 Little Things: Podcast Binge, A Classic, & Friendsgiving

Friday, November 14th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

I’m sorry I am coming out with this a little late today. I was at my real-life book club discussing this amazing book this morning. I hope your weekend is off to a lovely start over there too!

Here is what is making me happy this week!

A Charlie Brown Christmas Record

A Charlie Brown Christmas Album

Yes, I am one THOSE people that listens to Christmas music waayyy too early and I don’t care what you think about it. We purchased  A Charlie Brown Christmas Album at Urban Outfitters in the collector’s edition red for our Christmas vinyl collection. I was preparing a holiday feast this week (more about that in a few) and listened to this while I got ready. I openly admit that I was pretty teary-eyed while listening to it over my coffee. There is something magical about hearing this album and hearing it on vinyl is like the twinkle lights on the whole affair.  I may have listened to it six times over the course of the day and I loved every moment of it.

Serial Podcast

Serial Podcast

Have you heard of Serial? My girlfriend shared it with me and I started listening in and I quickly became a Serial addict. This podcast, from the producers of This American Life (another addiction of mine) is about the murder of Hae Min Lee, who disappeared in 1999 when she was a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland. She was found strangled to death in a city park about a month later. Her ex-boyfriend, a fellow Woodlawn student named Adnan Syed, was convicted of killing her and sentenced to life in prison. He says he didn’t do it and Sarah Koenig is trying to figure out if he did it or not by interviewing the previous witnesses and piecing together all of the clues from the case that was established against Adnan. You can even view all of the evidence online- it is really incredible.

When I was a kid my parents watched Unsolved Mysteries and it reminds me of that except you get to feel like a detective as you analyze the clues on the site and listen to the interviews with a convicted murderer who says that he did not do it. There is a bit of controversy surrounding this podcast, but I hope it doesn’t overshadow the brilliance of this show and the idea behind it. I am hooked and I think you will be too.

Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving

Truth be told, I am a little late to the 3 Little Things game because of all the fun I had last night with my girlfriends. Did you see that I hosted my first Friendsgiving Feast? It was so much fun that I plan to do it every year for my girlfriends. I couldn’t have been happier to open my home to such a great group and writing that check today to provide 187 people a turkey dinner too is the icing on the cake. I feel so blessed to know these women and to share a meal with them, when our lives have become so busy, is a precious gift.

Three Things I Wore From My Fashion Capsule.  It’s my last week in my first capsule- I am SO PROUD. Did you catch my next capsule reveal? I hope you can join in on the fun!

pinstripes + big belt + rolled black jeans + driving moccasins

 

White House Black Market Blue Striped Collared Top (purchased second hand on Twice)/Old Navy Rock Star Skinny Jeans in Black (owned- Old Navy)/Belt (FOUND when I cleaned out my closet!)/Leather Driving Moccasins (owned- Target)

maxi skirt + tassel necklace + jean jacket + booties

The Must-Have Maxi in Burgundy (purchased- Flourish Boutique)/Not Afraid of the Dark Denim Jacket (purchased- Flourish Boutique)/Suede Booties (Old Navy)/ Tassel Necklace (owned- Groopdealz)

white shirt + rolled black jeans + camel booties + statement necklace

Converse White Collared Shirt (purchased- Target) (owned- Target)/ Old Navy Rock Star Skinny Jeans in Black (owned- Old Navy)/ Fitbit Cuff (handmade- read here!)/Mustard Beads (owned- Goodwill)/ Camel Suede Booties (Madden Girl- DSW Shoes)

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

Quick & Easy Knitted Boot Cuffs

Homemade Peppermint Mocha Recipe

How to Make Quinoa in the Rice Cooker

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

It’s the 3 Little Things: Free eBooks, Netflix Binge, & Audio Books

Friday, November 7th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you are having a wonderful week. I have big plans this weekend to paint my bedroom and bedroom furniture this weekend. I think I have been watching too many home improvement shows, to be honest.

Mattress Shopping

We spent a day yesterday ordering and purchasing new mattresses and bedroom furniture for everyone in the family. My son has outgrown his loft bed, my daughter has had the cast-off furniture that we purchased before we had kids, and we haven’t had a new mattress in almost 15 years. Of course, we have put all of this off for years because the idea of breaking down all of this furniture, finding new homes for it, the expense, and ridding ourselves of old mattresses sounds a bit torturous. The time has come so we are pressing forward. Did I mention I decided to do this the week I host all of my friends for a Friendsgiving dinner? Sure! Why not?

Here is what is making me happy this week!

Overdrive

Instant Reads

I never thought I would be the type of person that could read a book regularly on electronic format, but Overdrive through our library is transforming how I consume books. There is something so lovely about searching and instantaneously enjoying your book without leaving the comforts of your home… all for free. The best part, for me, is how many books are available that I want to read and that I can take them with me on my phone while waiting for my kids to get out of their lessons.

We decided that Santa will be bringing Kindle Fires this year for the kids so that they can take advantage of free books through the library too. It’s a big deal to get an electronic in our house, but the parental controls on it will help us manage how long they are on it for purposes other than reading. Since they each have their own library cards, they can check these books out on their own accounts and will save us some hassle wrangling books each week to drag back to the library.

I will still always love a good old-fashioned book, but electronic books are helping me consume more and saving me some time running back and forth to the library!

I read this book and this book this week through it and absolutely loved them both!

Rehab Addict

Netflix Binge Sessions

I have been binging on Netflix these days thanks to a huge release of Food Network, HGTV shows, TLC, and DIY Network offerings that have found their way on Netflix. If you haven’t been indulging,  you may be missing out on wasting a ton of time like me.

Here is what I am indulging in this week:

Rehab Addict- This is seriously my new favorite show. This woman is amazing and refurbishes old homes back into their former glory. Both my husband & I have learned a ton on restoring your home and furnishings. It’s my new favorite thing and I’m sad that I am almost through all of the offerings on Netflix already.

The American Scream- Fantastic documentary about a neighborhood that decks their houses out for Halloween. They make their own homemade haunts and have such passion for their creations that they spend all year preparing for this one evening of fun for their neighborhood. Not for the kiddos due to a couple of language moments, but I absolutely loved this one.

Restaurant Impossible & Cupcake Wars- Need I say more?

The Caller- One of the best psychological thrillers I have seen in a long time and reminded me of some of my very favorite Hitchcock films. The ending is open to interpretation and sent me on a hunt on IMDB to see what people thought about it. Seriously, it’s a can’t miss if you enjoy a good thriller.

Audio Books

Knitting & Audio Book Sessions

I took a little knitting hiatus because I have been so busy with other projects. Tackling my felted knitted pumpkins has me back in the mood again though. I feel rather ambitious to be tackling my first knitted poncho. I purchased this pattern and am currently working on the front of the poncho right now.

Knitting in silence isn’t my thing and this pattern requires a bit of concentration so I decided to try my first audio book on Overdrive (again- love it!!).  I am listening to this one and enjoying it so much. I always have felt like I have to make a choice between knitting and reading so not choosing is making me very happy. I like that I can crank up the speed on the book too. I’m a fast talker and a speed reader. This helps me to keep my usual pace while tackling a big project at the same time.

In fact, I will probably be doing that while I paint this weekend!

Three Things I Wore From My Fashion Capsule.  Did you read what I am learning from this project? You must!  Grab more inspiration on my Fashion Capsule Pin Board and minimize that wardrobe!

Winter-2014-Fashion-Capsule-Wardrobe

 I was too busy preparing this for you to snap any selfies this week. I hope you enjoy taking a peek into the next collection!

 

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

Rainbow Cake in a Jar With Cloud Frosting

Knitted Snowflake Scarf Pattern

How to Make a Homeless Care Package

Bonus Happy! This made me laugh until I cried. So true, so true…

 

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

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