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

It’s the 3 Little Things: Cheesy Popcorn, Probiotics, & Fizzy Water

Friday, June 27th, 2014

It's The 3 Little Things

Happy Friday! It’s a good Friday for us, indeed, because we are taking our first family vacation since last Spring. The Ohio Visitor’s Bureau offered to host our family for a weekend visit and show off all of the fabulous things we can do in Ohio to share with you all this coming month. Today we are exploring Columbus and I am so happy that this is a trip that we all get to do together instead of me traveling alone. I can’t wait to share what we discover in Ohio. I have a feeling that our vacation will be on my happy list next week so you have been warned! :)

Let’s chat about what’s making me happy this week!

Bio-Kult Probiotic

Probiotics That Actually Work

I have to tell you that if you aren’t taking a probiotic, it can be such a game-changer especially if you have digestive issues. My dietician recommended this Bio-Kult Probiotic to help heal my gut when I was so sick this past winter. I started feeling so much better after a week, but when I ran out, I headed to the store and got a cheaper brand of probiotics that I thought looked roughly the same. It did not work the same and once again, my stomach was a mess. I learned a lesson that this multi-strain formula works the best for me and, if I am eating what I am supposed to, that I feel like a normal person with a normal digestive system. Having a working digestive system, indeed, makes me happy.

La Croix Berry Water

A Great Substitution For My Soda Cravings

I gave up Diet Coke two years ago and I am so proud of myself for doing that. Other than the occasional one at the movies, I am completely soda-free. In the summer months though, I crave something bubbly, but since I quit soda, even flavored waters can taste artificially sweet to me.  I had seen the La Croix Sodas  pop up in my IG feed one day and when my girlfriend let me try one at her house, I was hooked. These have no artificial flavors, coloring, sodium, or calories. Or as my husband says, “Or taste.” If you like soda, these might not be your favorite.

This has been my midday treat and I prefer a hint of flavor and all the bubbles now that I kicked the soda can to the curb. I would say if you like sparkling water or even prefer drier alcoholic drinks, this might be a great substitution. The Berry and the Cherry-Lime have been my favorites so far! I’m anxious to hit Target and snag some of their exclusive flavors that they are carrying on shelves this summer!

All the bubbles, none of the junk. Who wouldn’t be happy about that?

Smartfood Popcorn

A Guilt-Free Snack (Unless They Catch You Licking the Bowl)

For Easter, my mother-in-law gave me a bag of this popcorn to enjoy while everyone snacked on her famously delicious and oh-so-amazing sugar cookies. If anyone chooses to eat gluten-free for a fad diet, I pity you. Why in the world would you choose this?  I can’t stand that I have to miss out on the treat table for holidays and this was pure torture… until I started munching on this popcorn. And I proceeded to eat the whole dang bag, licked my fingers, and raided my children’s bags for more popcorn, and may have licked the bottom of those bags too. Don’t judge.

If you like cheesy popcorn, let me introduce you to my little friend called Smartfood Popcorn.  White cheddar is dusted on every heavenly little piece and it goes great with that bottle of Chianti and whatever your latest Netflix binge obsession is this week. Snacks that feel like a guilty-pleasure are definitely a fun addition to any happy list!  Don’t believe me? Serious Eats conducted their own little taste-test and this popcorn won hands-down. So boom! ENJOY!

*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 makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s The 3 Little Things: Beach Waves, Ladies Who Lunch, & Chocolate Covered Cherry Coffee

Friday, June 20th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Thing

 

Happy, happy Friday, friends! I am so excited that we have another weekend ahead of us and thrilled that we have ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE TO BE. Hello, giant chair and book! We are going to be great friends this weekend. I hope you are still enjoying this feature and I love hearing about the success stories of things you have been trying from this list! Share those success stories in the comments below and let me know if you have tried something that made me happy that, in turn, made you happy. I love full circle moments.

Without further adieu!

Beach Waves

Beach Waves

You know when people essentially curl their hair and look like Shirley Temple instead of that pretty tousled beach wave hair?  Yup. That would be me. Instead of continuing to suffer, I found this amazing loose waves tutorial from my friend Sarah, over at Whoorl, and it changed my life. Have you heard of the Whoorl Curl? It’s a game-changer.  After following her directions, I FINALLY successfully pulled off a loose wave and I couldn’t be prouder. She offers advice on using a curling iron with a clamp and one without so you can use the advice with what you already have.

My Conair curling iron from HIGH SCHOOL finally bit the bullet after being dropped for the five thousandth time.  Since it was held together with one screw and had to balance without the stand, I decided to replace it with the exact same one because, hello? What lasts that long and only costs less than $20.  I use that and this Nexxus Touchable Hold Hair Spray for holding my beach waves (while still allowing for softness & movement). I highly recommend both, especially if you are on a budget.

We hit a beautiful wedding (dress from Luxe Wagon, designer Voom by Joy Han) and my beach waves made it until dancing the robot in the photo booth. That’s way strong, yo.

I have often thought of buying an expensive curling iron, but I would be this girl. I just know it. Why? Because I turn that heat UP to eleventy. I’ll stick with the cheap stuff.

Feedly

Feedly

Is it bad to be a blogger and share that you don’t read blogs? My own blog had taken over my life and I started to feel separated from my own community.  I decided to get back to blog reading and I started using Feedly as my reader. I absolutely love it and I think it has been so good to get back to blog reading again. While I eat lunch, I bookmark items to save for later that I think would fit well with our weekly notebook and I also have started bookmarking them for our Facebook community. Each day at 2:30 (eastern time), I post things to talk about. I think it has added so much more to both my life and our community and I am proud to be supporting people that make me think differently about life. We won’t always agree on these pieces, but I love the conversations that flow from these shares. It has been pretty dead over there so this is how I am working to restore that sense of community.

I can read all my blogs from my phone, my iPad, or from my computer.  Instead of scrolling endlessly through Facebook at piano lessons, for example, I am reading, learning, and bookmarking things to share with you. It’s a much better use of my time.

Although I don’t want to plug myself here, you can also subscribe to our site through Feedly. We need to change the title because it is listed under The MotherLoad, but you can find me over here.

Cacao Powder

Chocolate Covered Cherry Coffee

What better way to wake up than a cup of coffee that tastes like a Chocolate Covered Cherry?  For the last year or so, every morning I add a scoop of Cacao Powder to my coffee.  I had given up my coffee creamer, but I felt that the almond milk was too thin and bland compared to the creamer I had been using, so I started adding a scoop of this superfood to my coffee.  Here are some of the health reasons I recommend trying this in your coffee cup. One bag typically lasts me a month since I only add it to my first cup of the day. Once you try it, I doubt you will ever want your coffee any other way…that is, until I introduce you to Michigan Cherry Coffee Beans.

I am a Midwest girl who loves her Meijer Supermarket and Meijer has a whole bean (and ground coffee) in the Michigan Cherry flavor that is absolutely heavenly. They just price dropped their gourmet bags of coffee to $3.99 for WHOLE BEANS which is incredible so I buy a bag of this and brew a pot of it for myself every morning. It has great cherry flavor, but does not taste synthetically cherry-filled. Couple that with a spoonful of cacao, a little almond milk, and stevia and bring on that happy!

If you don’t have a Meijer, you could substitute with something from your own coffee house or buy a bag online. Regardless of where you get it, give it a try!

That’s my happy list for the week!

*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 makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s The 3 Little Things: Summer Lips, Red, Red Wine, & Comfy Sandals

Friday, June 13th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

I love it when Friday rolls around, don’t you?  I’m excited to showcase the 3 things that are making me happy this week with a bonus happy or two for your day!

I have been getting asked lately if I am going to run out of things for this feature. I really hope not because I have heard from many that this is their favorite day of the week on here. I have a running list that I jot things down on to include each week, but it definitely starts to become more challenging as the weeks go by. I promise to try to do a good job though and not recommend things I am not completely nuts about because…hello? How would that benefit you at all? I am now looking for little things at the stores to share with you. I call this “business research.” Often conducted at CVS and through online shopping. I hope I can write it off for my taxes.

 

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

Great Summer Lips

I love a fresh summer lip and this year my new favorite is an oldie, but goodie called Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey.  If you haven’t tried this lip color it is universally flattering and beautiful and I promise does not look anything like what is in its tube. You can pick it up at your favorite Clinique counter in the department store or they have it at Sephora. I absolutely love this shade for summer and I think you will too. It goes on like a gloss and moisturizes the lip. It’s the one you will want to buy extra tubes of so you can grab it and keep in your purse so you can touch them up while you are out and about.

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

I like when people show me what lip color looks like on so here is a terrible selfie I took of the lip color for you so you can see why I love it so much. Isn’t it perfect for summer? Between that and my favorite BB Cream with the built in sunscreen, I feel set! This retails for $15 a tube so it is a splurge, but I promise you that you will love it and get your use out of it this summer. If you have a universally flattering shade you love, please share it with me and I will see about making it a part of my happy list and featuring it here too. I am always on the lookout for a fresh shade!

Santa Bacelli Chianti from ALDI

My Favorite Red Wine + Orange is the New Black

Red wine is my favorite and in the evenings we have been watching the second season of Orange is the New Black while we enjoy a glass of red wine. My new favorite red might surprise you, but I promise if you are a red wine drinker that you will absolutely love the Santa Bachelli Chianti from ALDI. The bottle retails for $4.99 so you might overlook it as a good wine option, but this bottle is on par with bottles I have bought in the $12-15 range. It’s one of their award winners and I try to buy a few bottles to keep in our wine rack for entertaining. It’s rich, dry (but not too dry), with a rich black cherry and plum flavor. It’s best paired with the new season of Orange is the New Black.

We are only a couple of episodes into Orange is the New Black, but it’s already my guilty summer pleasure. If the show is too racy for you, I totally get that. I highly recommend picking up the book which is more G-rated and just as fascinating as the show.

If you are as into the show as me though, you might enjoy taking this quiz to find out which character you are. As if you didn’t find me boring enough, the quiz says I am Piper. Lucky for me, it seems she is getting tough this season so watch out.  I was really hoping for Crazy Eyes though.

Payless Dexflex Sandals

Comfy Summer Sandals

I bought two pairs of these Dexflex Comfort Vicki Low Wedges for summer and I can’t rave enough about them. The true test of a good sandal is if you can go on a trip, walk through the airport, and put in a 12-hour workday standing the entire time and not have back pain, go to the airport again,  hop off the plane, and then dance the entire night until 2AM to celebrate the world’s greatest person at a party. These sandals did that for me on my last trip and people kept stopping me in the airport to ask me where I got them. They happen to be on clearance right now (lucky you!) so the pink are for sale for $12 and the black are on sale for $17. That is a lot less than I had paid for them. I got these when I bought my favorite nude pumps- it was a great shoe day, I tell you.

There are no buckles, the elastic hugs your foot, but they don’t squeeze them too tight (important if you have a wide foot like me). The heel is low and the shoe is well supported in the heel. I I bought a pair in pink and in taupe at the beginning of summer and have been wearing them nonstop.

 

Fleetwood Mac Rumours T-Shirt

Luxe Wagon

Here is the pair that I am wearing non-stop in taupe. I don’t know if your store might have them, but I absolutely love them. These look great with my Fleetwood Mac t-shirt that I scored from our Luxe Wagon in town. Seriously, fashion on wheels? Be still my beating heart. You gotta check it out! I got the cutest things from there and the Fleetwood Mac Rumours album happens to be my absolute favorite record so I had to have this t-shirt.  I would call that a bonus happy to pair with these shoes.

Last Day of School

Dress: site sponsor, Flourish Boutique

 

My other bonus happy this week is that we are FINALLY done with school. I may have been toasting myself with that Chianti because I survived my first year with two kiddos at two schools AND my first year of middle school.

I can honestly say that this was one of the hardest years I have ever experienced as a parent. The transition to middle school was a tough one for my son and for me. I am so proud that we made it through and that he did so well with his grades. I wouldn’t torture him by posting a picture, but know that I am so proud of him. He worked very hard this year and we had excellent teachers and volunteer tutors from IUSB that donated their time after the school hours to help him succeed. It took a village this year, but we did it and I am so, so proud.

My Emily also had a fantastic year.  She got an Outstanding Student award and I can’t say I helped her too much with that because I was so preoccupied with middle school homework. She’s a hard worker and makes my job so easy. Her happiness is contagious and when I volunteer at school, she always says, “That’s MY mom,” and hugs me. At eight, my days are numbered so I am savoring it while they last.

What could make you happier than being a proud mama?

Chris-Bohjalian

Now that the kids are done with school, I am excited to tackle my summer reads at the pool. I happened to post about my latest NetGalley releases (remember that post about advanced readers?) and LOOK WHO WAS ALL LIKE, ” Happy reading, Amy,” on my personal Facebook status. Are you kidding me? Chris Bohjalian, well-played. Your book, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands has moved to the top of my book stack. I haven’t even read it, but I am going to recommend it for his comment. He is one of the greatest writers of our time so I already know it will be amazing.  Between that and our Scribd freebie membership this week, I won’t have to go to the library for awhile. Oh, who are we kidding, I already went yesterday.

 

*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 makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate or share in our comments below!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s The 3 Little Things: Tiny Keyboards, Snacks on Flight, & a Claire’s Experience

Friday, June 6th, 2014

It's The 3 Little Things

 

As you are reading this, I am likely on a plane returning from a trip to the Walmart headquarters. I had a feeling you might be disappointed if I dropped the ball on this week’s feature so I am writing this all up for you on a Monday, sweetly awaiting the weekend already! Since I am traveling today, I thought I would share a few of my favorite things that that make me happy when I travel.

Logitech iPad Keyboard

Turning My iPad Into a Laptop

I used to carry around my laptop, 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.

Aldi Cranberry Almond Bars

Inexpensive Gluten-Free Portable Snacks

I told you a few weeks ago that I stocked up on the ALDI gluten-free offerings and was so excited to try them. The hits for us were the brownie mix, the frozen pizzas, and the brown rice pasta was, “the best gluten-free pasta ever,”  according to my family. They did lose us on the pizza dough mix which my husband likened to eating a graham cracker…Hey, you can’t win over everyone!

That said, they had some gluten-free bars, but before they launched their line, they had these Cranberry Almond Bars that were a knockoff of those expensive Kind Bars, but these come in at $1 each and do not break your teeth. And you do not want to go on a plane with a messed up grill because EMBARRASSING. I pack a box of these in my suitcase because anything that is gluten-free and is sold at an airport will cost you ONE MILLION DOLLARS. I would say saving one million dollars makes me very happy, indeed.

Groopdealz Finds

 

Inexpensive Additions to My Suitcase

When I was a kid the ultimate, ultimate, ultimate best thing in the whole world was getting to go to Claire’s and spend my allowance. I would spend hours, if my mom would let me, just browsing those clearance racks to find something new and sparkly that would, for sure,  move me up on the totem pole of popularity. I may have picked the wrong earrings  though (*ahem*), but I still tried to wow my school friends.

That being said, my new email obsession that gives me almost that same thrill of swinging those earring displays around is my Groopdealz email.  I wanted to show off a few of my my finds this month- I got this sparkly necklace, a J-Crew knockoff t-shirt (priced for $44 on their site- what?!?) that I scored for $10.99 on Groopdealz, and this cute bird shirt.  The stuff goes fast and sometimes I put things in my cart and they have disappeared so if you really love something, I wouldn’t stew on it for too long because they have limited quantities. Nothing cost over $19.99 here and these are all traveling my suitcase with me this week!

 

And because I am absolutely TERRIFIED of birds, but love everything with birds on it (my cups, my shirts (see above!), my shelves, almost my entire house, etc…),  if you haven’t seen this bird skit from Portlandia, please ENJOY and laugh hysterically at me because my family does. All the time.

Fake birds make me happy.

Real birds make me scream and cry.

 

*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 makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s The 3 Little Things: It’s All About the Hair (or Not) & Happy Hour

Friday, May 30th, 2014

3_little_things

I have had such great feedback from you all on this feature and nothing makes me happier than getting your comments sharing what you have been trying from my happy list each week. So far I have heard that people have tried my favorite sleep-inducing tea, that you have been rocking tan legs, that you got some beautiful new-to-you clothes, and that you are having a blast with the Waterlogue app. What could make me happier than that?

Let’s get started with today’s list.

clairol-nice-n-easy-permanent-hair-colour-natural-medium-golden-brown.

Coloring My Hair At Home

I have only had my hair professionally colored a couple of times because I am 1) Too Cheap 2) Too Type-A about roots and feeling like I look trashy if my color grows out and 3) Too dang busy.  Unfortunately, I am advancing in age (*ahem*) which means that my gray is pulling through at lightning speed and requires real coverage, unlike my 8th grade hair color experimentation of my youth.

This is the color I swear by, if you are dark brunette like me. It is the Nice ‘N Easy Natural Medium Golden Brown and I can usually catch a sale on it for between $4-6 per box.  The coverage is good for disguising my gray roots and it doesn’t look flat and one dimensional like the other boxes of color I have tried. It adds a hint of red, it has a nice shimmer, and every time I tell someone that I color my hair at home, they do not believe me.  My color typically lasts about four to five weeks.

If you don’t want to forget to order your hair color when you need it, you can have Amazon auto-ship it to you every four weeks. When it arrives on your doorstep, you know it’s time to do a little touching up for the month.

The best part is that you can do lots of multitasking while coloring your hair. You know, reading a good book, sipping wine, eating chocolate. REALLY important stuff.  I mean, how would you do all of that at a busy salon?

Nads_Wax_Strips

Keeping Things in Check

Look, I’m not going to get into this kind of discussion because some of you barely know me.  I, personally,  don’t have weird body or facial hair at all, but this gal that I know has to keep things in check and she told me these Nad’s Body Wax Strips & Nad’s Facial Wax Strips might work really good to help resolve some issues you might be having.  She said that the best way to use these is to warm the strip a bit with a hair dryer and then follow the directions from there. If the strips leave behind any residue, a little baby oil does the trick to remove it.  If you need to keep things in check too, take some advice from my hairy friend. My hairy friend is super happy she doesn’t have to pay someone else to work this out for her.

 

 

Pop_Culture_Happy_Hour

 

Happy Hour + Yard Work

I really loathe yard work. My whole thing is, you have to make a choice. There is no way that I can have a beautiful lawn and a clean home. If I am working on the lawn, my house looks like a tornado hit it. If I work on the house, people have no clue if the house was abandoned or not.  How do people have pretty lawns and pretty houses? That just baffles my mind. I think we should all just make choices and not judge each other on which one is more important.

My cardio routine on Fridays is to mow our enormous lawn and work on tidying up the sad beds. I started listening to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and (as if my neighbors weren’t already less than thrilled with us), I find myself busting up laughing randomly while listening to this show in the yard.

It is everything you might want to know about books, movies, the arts, and celebrities, but SMART. This not a junky entertainment blog, this is well-curated and thoughtful discussion on what is happening in pop culture with a lot of humor. I finally feel a little more with it about what is happening in the world and I am getting my terrible yard shaped up in the process.

And since I know you guys like happy lists, at the end of every episode they share what is making them happy each week and you want to have a notepad out to jot it all down to go out and find everything they are talking about.

Did I mention the NPR app is FREE? Seriously, you have nothing to lose!

retirement

And for a bonus happy, our grandma retired! We are so happy for her. And let’s keep it real here, we are so happy for US because we get more time with our grandma after all of her years of serving in the school system. We got to go to her retirement party and I got to walk down the hallways of my old elementary school. Isn’t it funny how it is so much smaller than we remember it as children?  As my kids ran like wild banshees down the hallway, you can’t help but feel like life is coming full circle.

And, just to make you smile, I hope you have seen this baby dancing because this will make you happy. If you don’t laugh, then you should get that checked out. I have this sad friend  who can help you with that… :)

*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 makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s The 3 Little Things: Carting Around Town, Pool Days, & Cheap Drinks

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

It's The 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you are having a fabulous week and are looking forward to this long holiday weekend! I know I am!  This weekend starts the beginning of our community pool membership so I thought I would share a few of our favorite things about our summers at the pool!

Pool Membership

Opening Weekend At the Community Pool

After lots of swim lessons, I finally have two kids that can swim which is a total win for me this year and is making me enormously happy.  For the last couple of years, we have joined this community pool for the summer and I absolutely love it. We are the type of family that try to get every dollar out of our pool membership so we are there every day that we can be there and pack enough snacks & books to stay all day.  The kids love having a destination to go to each day, they burn off a ton of energy, and I enjoy some summer reading while I am there.  Dreaming of warm days at the pool are making me very happy and we are looking forward to the pool’s opening weekend this week!

My favorite part about this pool- the giant shaded area where really white people like me can sit. I pretty much park myself in a chair under there and if there are no chairs under there, I scoot a chair under there next to someone else sitting there and sit uncomfortably close to them.

Collapsible Rolling Cart

My Favorite Pool Accessory EVER

My best friend got these collapsible rolling carts one year when they were on sale at a local hardware store.  You may not have thought of a Rolling Cart as the world’s best pool accessory, but it really is. I load our entire cart up with our lunches (still in love with my favorite to-go salad containers), towels, pool toys, reading materials, sunblock, hats, and snacks. I throw them all in this cart and we wheel all of our stuff out to the pool, saving my back from breaking trying to lug all of our stuff out there.

The best part is that this cart is great in the off-seasons for library visits.  And, yes, we do horde that many library books when we go that we need a rolling cart to bring everything home. If you are looking for a book at our library and can’t find it, chances are it ended up in this cart.

Coleman Drink Dispenser

Cheap Drinks

You know I am all about the drinks since I have to feature something to drink for you each week! One of the best investments I made for our summer was buying one of these little half gallon containers for our drinks. My kids were looking for constant refills and buying tiny juice boxes for them was expensive. I can fill this up with lemonade, or some of our favorite fruit-infused waters, or just plain water and they can refill if they want to. I bought a stack of cheap cups that are for the pool and a quick name written on them with a Sharpie or having everyone pick a color helps cut down on throwing out packaging too.

 

Wedding Anniversary

My bonus happy this week was celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary with the love of my life.  On Instagram I posted this little Throwback Thursday image of the day we got married. These two kids had no idea what they were getting into.  My caption speaks to what marriage has really been like for us…

“There were hard years and easy ones. There were lean years and fruitful ones. Some years felt like longer than years and others felt like days. But they were always together and for that I’m thankful. 14 married years with my best friend this week!”

Wedding Anniversary

Flourish Boutique Dress

Zing! Sushi

It’s very a special occasion when I get to go out on a date with this guy too. We are so lucky that grandma and grandpa offer us the gift of a night out for our anniversary each year. I love getting to dress up and hit the town with this guy!

I found this beautiful dress & necklace from our site sponsor, Flourish Boutique, for the occasion. I went to the store and was overwhelmed with the dress choices. If you are looking for a special occasion dress, I highly recommend checking there- you can use WEB25 as a coupon code towards your dress.  I found a gold clutch at Old Navy and put my nude heels and fake tan legs to work for a night on the town.

A power outage hit our downtown that weekend though and our plans for all of our favorite places was derailed. After a lot of FB input and a long visit on Yelp, we settled on Zing! for a sushi night and it was absolute perfection! If sushi makes you as happy as it makes me, check out this documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi and tell me if you don’t love sushi even more!

Lastly, if you are a Michael Jackson fan, please enjoy this talent show performance of Billie Jean with a flawless moonwalk (starts at minute 1:11, if it doesn’t start at the right spot)! Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

*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 makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s The 3 Little Things: The Perfect T-Shirt, Popcorn Popping Heaven, & My Passion Drink

Friday, May 16th, 2014

It's The 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends!  I enjoyed a much quieter week than usual and I am so excited to end our week on a high note with another happiness list!  Let’s go ahead and get started since I am excited to share!

Perfect White T-Shirt

The Perfect T-Shirt

Can I just say that it is so hard to find a good quality t-shirt that fits properly and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Over the Fall I found these Old Navy Vintage Wash T-Shirts and promptly took home a gray v-neck to wear with all the things in my closet. I loved it so much that I was wearing it almost every day. It is one of those staple pieces you can dress up or down. When summer rolled around, I was thrilled to find that these also come in white and black so I stocked up for the summer to wear with all of my maxi skirts, summer skirts, and shorts this year.

Perfect Grey T-Shirt

Perfect Grey T-Shirt

You might remember spying that v-neck when I did our coverage of our site sponsor, Flourish Boutique. Honestly, I wear these t-shirts almost every day and they are under $10 each. The white is a little on the thin size, but with nude undergarments (like my favorite ones) or a full-coverage tank that covers your bra straps (these are my favorite), they are perfectly modest.  They are long, v-neck (but not too v-neck), and they fit true to size. This one shown here is an X-Small as I am a very wee woman on top. Not to be fooled, I am very Sir-Mix-A-Lot-Y on the bottom.

I wouldn’t pay full price for these- do a little hunting and you are bound to find some coupon codes or catch them on sale. I wouldn’t wait too long though-the best stuff always goes quick! ($8.50 each)

Nooch Popcorn from Gimme Some Oven

 Addictive Butter-Free Popcorn 

I happened upon this corn popping technique from Gimme Some Oven and it has now become our families favorite popcorn ever. The kernels are popped in coconut oil and then receive a liberal shaking of nutritional yeast. In our family, it also receives a generous handful of sea salt to top it all off. My kids now call it my homemade popcorn and beg for it on our weekends while we are tackling an evening of board games or Just Dance. You must try it- it’s a popcorn game-changer and healthy too!

TAZO Passion Fruit Tea Bags

Iced Passion Fruit Tea

I think we should just start a section of the site called, “Things Amy Drinks.” I am pretty sure every edition of this feature I have done so far included something to drink. I am so addicted to Passion Fruit Tea and was so thrilled to find that they have these iced tea bags at our local supermarket. For less than the price of one drink at Starbucks, I can make these at home and sweeten it just like I like to sweeten it. You can also mix in lemonade for a Passion Fruit Tea Lemonade, although I love it on its own.

I’ve priced these babies out all around town, in our town the best price is at Walmart, but buy them wherever the price is best around you. For $3.48, you can get SIX PITCHERS of tea. Holy heaven!

This drink helped me break my Diet Coke cravings and is the perfect thing to sip outside while enjoying the warmer temperatures!

 

Bonus Happy

And this week’s bonus happy, courtesy of my Instagram feed.  “You always bring a sun over my rainy cloud.”  To be loved like this? It’s the stuff that dreams are made of!

I also am excited my favorite band, Nickel Creek, has come out with a new album. This song is everything I love about that group! It’s been stuck in my head all week and oh-so-worthy of it.

*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 makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s the 3 Little Things: Advanced Readers, Gluten-Free Deals, & Fancy Dresses

Friday, May 9th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends, and a happy Mother’s Day to each of you!  I always look forward to sharing my happy list with you and I can’t wait to see your lists too! Today’s happiness list involves advanced readers, gluten-free deals, and fancy dresses. I also have a pretty cute bonus happy for you!

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Advanced Readers from NetGalley

When I started reviewing books for our site, I had no idea that NetGalley existed and everyone kept telling me I should sign up, especially when I first launched our book club.  NetGalley is a site that if you are a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or in the media, you can use NetGalley for FREE to request, read and provide feedback about forthcoming titles.  If you are any of these people, I can’t tell you how fun it is to get to preview books before their release date. I have them sent directly to my iPad, using my Kindle app, and get to sneak peek books from some really amazing authors.

That is how I got to sneak peek, “One Plus One,” by Jojo Moyes. If you haven’t read The Girl You Left Behind or Me Before You, you must reserve them at your library because they are amazing. I don’t know how she does it, but this book made me laugh, cry, and connect with every character in this book. She weaves an endearing story of a mother who is down on her luck and can barely make ends meet when her daughter is offered the chance of a lifetime to receive a scholarship for her excellence in mathematics that will cover 90% of her daughter’s education. Coming up with the other ten percent seems impossible, but she is determined to make this happen for her daughter. When she hears of a math contest happening in Scotland that offers a cash prize, she must do everything she can to get her there… including hitching a ride with the most unlikely man who could ultimately change their entire world. 

Anyone who has ever struggled financially or who would sacrifice it all to give their kids everything they need will appreciate this extraordinary book that, I hope, will be adapted to movie one day. It is that good!

Spending my evenings with this book made me oh-so-happy! It truly was a treat from start to finish.  If you can sign up for NetGalley, it’s a lot of fun to sneak peek these books before they hit the shelves.

 

Live G Free ALDI

Gluten-Free Deals

I was so excited to see that ALDI is offering this week their own line of gluten-free products called Live G Free. I hit my store this week and stocked up on brownie mixes, gluten-free sandwich wraps, frozen pizzas (to take with me when I have the dreaded pizza parties), crackers, pizza dough mixes, and brown rice pastas. I chatted with our cashier and she said they had some trouble keeping the shelves stocked which she said is always a good sign if ALDI decides to carry these items regularly in their store.

I was getting a little sweaty when they started ringing everything up though because I definitely stocked up on items and I brought cash. Luckily, I had just enough cash for everything so you could say that made me extra happy to not be outed for enthusiasm for gluten-free foods.

If any of these items are a big hit or if I hear anything about them keeping these on their store shelves, I will let you guys know. In the meantime, I left them feedback on their FB page begging for them to keep this stuff. It never hurts.

Twice Clothing

Fancy Dresses With Pockets

It is no secret that I have become addicted to Twice. If you missed my past posts about it, it is a site that has extremely discounted mint condition brand name stuff and it is marked to half or less than its retail price.  I always keep my eyes glued to the dresses page because… can a person have too many dresses? I think not.  I saw this dress pop up and I had to have it so I used my referral credit (thank you, friends!) and treated myself to this Anthropologie shirt-dress and HOLY HEAVENS, it is perfect in every way. The sleeves are just right, the print is even prettier in person, it has a built in petticoat that makes it full and pretty on the bottom, but (as if it couldn’t get better) it has pockets. So I sashayed around in this and graciously accepted the compliments on it. I mean…wouldn’t you?

I don’t know if anything else they sell will ever top this beauty.

Engledow

And here is one last bonus happy for you.  This amazing photographer, Dave Engledow,  has his first book out, “Confessions of the World’s Best Father,” with some of the most hilarious pictures with his daughter that you just have to see and belly laugh over how cute they are.   There is a great round-up of some of the images over here and you can also get a little hilarity on your Facebook feed by liking his page.

Happiest of Mother’s Day, friends!  We are planning to spend the day visiting our local botanical garden and walking all the nature trails together in honor of the the holiday! I hope you have lots of fun in store too!

*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 makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s The 3 Little Things: Retro Swimwear, Beach-Scented Products, & Free Eyewear

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

3_little_things

 

Happy Friday, friends! It’s time for our list of the 3 little things that are making me happy this week!  I hope you guys are enjoying these as much as I enjoy sharing them with you!  Let me know in the comments what is making you happy this week!

Rey_Swimwear

Modest Retro Swimwear

Each year our family gets a community pool membership for the summer so, in order to get our money’s worth, we spend a lot of time at the pool. I should rephrase that and say that I spend a lot of time *by* a pool in a shady spot reading my library books. Each year I try to get one modest swimsuit that I can wear and I have had luck finding them at places like Sears & Target. This year I just couldn’t find anything, but I remembered this speech I saw on Rey Swimwear, their company tagline being “who says it has to be itsy-bitsy?”  and decided that I would check there.

Although the pricing is on the higher end for me, I just received this swimsuit that I had ordered and  I am in HEAVEN. It looks like one piece, but the bottom is separate and it is a full bottom so no worries about bits and pieces hanging out that is better left tucked in.  They have beautiful stuff and I will probably order one suit from there each year.

If you have little girls, they are also starting a kids line.

method_beach_sage

Beachy Cleaning Products

I somehow ended up on a mailing list for Method cleaning products and for the last couple of years I have been enjoying trying out their new stuff as they come out with it.  This month’s shipment was unbelievably awesome.  For their Spring line they launched Lime + Sea Salt Dish Soap, Beach Sage Cleaning Spray, & Sunset Breeze Laundry Detergent.

I hate cleaning up the kitchen at the end of the day, but I hate waking up to a mess of dirty counters and dishes. It actually feels like more of a treat when I use this dish soap and cleaning spray. The Beach Sage, in particular, is heavenly. I still hate cleaning and doing laundry, but at least everything smells beachy while I am doing it.  You also can’t beat that it is priced at around $3  for the soap/cleaners, which is a lot cheaper than a flight to the beach!

Sadly, it’s limited edition so I am going to have to stock up on a few extras before they take it off the shelves. Which makes me wonder why everything I love always limited edition?

Sundays_With_Writers-1_Final

Free Glasses

I’m really sorry if you are tired of this picture of me, but you are going to be seeing it every time I can score an interview with an author on here. I kept getting questions about these frames and I just want to tell you that these glasses make me SO happy and they were FREE. It was my first time ordering through Coastal so I was a little nervous that they were going to be cheap and poor quality.

They offer their first pair of glasses to you for free and I picked out these frames after reading through all the reviews and sizing. The frames came and the company included a really nice case and a little eyeglass kit to care for them. I almost never take them off anymore and just had them adjusted at the eye clinic because I wear them so much that I sometimes fall asleep in them.

I can’t rave enough about how much I love these glasses, in fact, my brother ordered a geeky pair himself and now we feel like hipsters with our cold brew coffee, spinning our vinyl, and rocking our free geek frames!

Lastly, if you want to make your kids happy this Friday, show them this video- guaranteed belly laughs for everyone! Bonus mom points, if you show them these cute sloth pictures. My kids loved the sloths that were celebrating their birthdays!

WHAT DOES THE SLOTH SAY? :)

Sloth Squeak! from Lucy Cooke on Vimeo.

*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 makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!

It’s the 3 Little Things: Green Smoothies, Nude Heels, & Tan Legs

Friday, April 25th, 2014

It's The 3 Little Things

As I write this, I am picturing myself in a conference room making a million new friends at the SNAP Conference in Salt Lake City!  Conferences can be so expensive and I am so grateful to Walmart for sponsoring me this weekend so I can grow, learn, & hopefully come back renewed & inspired for this website (and for you!)  I am also very thankful to our site sponsor, Flourish Boutique, for their assistance with my wardrobe for these events.

Even though I am off, I still wanted to make sure I made my happy list of three for you and can’t wait to see your lists this week!

Comfortable Nude Heels

Comfortable Nude Heels

I have a hard time finding affordable shoes that are comfortable and so each year, I treat myself to one really good pair of Naturalizer shoes. I had treated myself in the fall though and as Spring rolled around, I really needed a basic heel to wear for church and conferences. I went to Payless and found these super comfortable nude heels and the best part, for me, is that they come in a wide size.  Doesn’t everyone have as wide of feet as long? Maybe that is just me. The heel is just the right height, they don’t feel like an inexpensive shoe, and they come in a few great basic colors. Since I am the size of a child, they also make me feel like I have long legs and they go with everything in my closet.  When I went to our store, they had them on sale for $14.99. If they aren’t on sale for you though, I find their email newsletter and mailers usually offer some great coupons.  ($24.99)

 

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs

I don’t want to brag, but when I was a kid the kids at school used to call me Casper. Well, who is laughing now, friends? This girl. Because I am TAN…on my legs… with make-up. So.

In all honesty, this stuff is heaven-sent for a really white girl like me. It comes in an aerosol can and, yes, it can make a big mess if you are not careful. You shake the can and then spray it on your lightly moisturized (but dry) legs. Then just use your hands to spread the make-up on your legs and it all air dries in one minute. It is truly an airbrushed leg experience and, provided you blend well and pick the right shade for your own coloring, it gives a beautiful finish to your legs. It has a little shimmer to it too, but not overly noticeable.

I love this stuff so much that when I travel, I spray it into a baggie (I don’t check in luggage so the ounces are too high on this) and take it with me when I have events that I am headed to.  Between this and my nude heels, I am feeling very confident about wearing dresses this year!

The best part is that it is waterproof so if you are even at the beach, you will be fine. You need soap to get it off, otherwise it stays right where you put it. Since it has good staying power, one bottle usually gets me through the entire summer!

Life's Basics Plant Protein Mix

Life’s Basics Plant Protein Mix (in Vanilla)

Since I gave up dairy, I thought I would have to give up my favorite green smoothies. Fortunately, I discovered there are lots of vegan protein powders on the market and after reading a ton of Amazon reviews (both comparing price & taste), I decided to give this Life’s Basic Plant Protein Mix a try in the blender. It took me a week or so to get used to the texture, but now that I have finally perfected the ratios on this smoothie, it tastes just like a yummy milkshake to me.

Here is my green smoothie recipe that I used before with dairy. With this protein powder, I do one cup of almond milk, 1/2 cup mixed frozen berries, 1 banana, 1 scoop of this protein powder, 4 ice cubes, and I fill the rest of the blender up with spinach. When I first was getting used to the taste, I also added a drizzle of honey, but now I don’t need it. My daughter and I split this smoothie and it leaves me feeling full minus the dairy belly-ache I used to get.

*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 makes you happy this week? Feel free to share in our link up below and link back to this post to participate!

Share 3 things that are making you happy today!