a little splurge here and there

every now and then, i give in to something i have had my eye on.  at that point, i am fully aware that i am spending money on something that most definitely falls under the want category,  but sometimes, it's those little things that give us motivation to propel us forward.  they bring happiness to our lives and put a smile on our face.  

a few days ago i walked down to anthropologie and bought this capri blue candle.  not only have i had my eye on it for the past few years, i've had my nose on it as well.  every time i walk in the store i run over to smell it and seem to linger there for...too long.  

then i meander away rationalizing the price tag and the fact that one of those candles equates a pack of diapers for baby girl.  and so goes the rest of my shopping adventure.  

but not a few days ago.  i marched down to the plaza with the sole intent to buy that candle with no shame.  if someone were to ask, "why are you buying a $28 candle?!"  i reasoned with myself that i could say, "well, it's my early birthday present....er....to myself.."  

every now and then, little splurges are ok.  no, they are more than ok.  they are perfectly wonderful in moderation.  as soon as i got home i lit my new candle and soaked in the scent that tickles my happy button.  it was awesome you guys.  and every single time i light that expensive blue candle i cannot help but feel giddy all over with excitement and glee.  and a little rebellious, too.  

often times, i think to myself, "what a perfect time to light my candle."  and when i do, i feel like a rockstar.  some of you might think this whole thing sounds silly, but i, in fact, think it's pretty neat that one little item can bring me that much joy.

here are a few more little splurges that make me one happy camper:

- drinking whole coffee milk that comes in pricy but beautiful glass bottles 
- red and white striped paper straws
- soap purchasing based on irresistible packaging  
- upping a count on my sheets
- using heavy cream when making velveta mac n'cheese 
- using my "good" perfume on a special occasions
- opening up that expensive bottle of wine, just because 
- putting in an extra dryer sheet that smells like lavender
- a random macaron treat for myself when taking my babes for a walk on the plaza
- adding that extra shot of espresso to my morning brew
- ordering an extra side of guacamole at chipotle
- and finally, buying good shampoo {like, over 4 dollars, good} as opposed to our usual suave coconut breeze for $1.99.  

these little things make me happy.  what about you?  what little splurges do you make?


an update with some light-headed rambling // beautiful pics of baby girl

hello friends!  i am writing to you with a back-to-work cold that seems to be worsening by the hour.  i am so over dayquil and kleenexes.  eh.  sad to say, it was expected as sort of a back to work ritual that inconveniently takes place every fall and there's not a whole lot i can do about it.  but i digress.  here are some of the things this little family has been up to lately, outside of work, i might add.

- we took lots of walks in loose park paired with the most perfect swing session under a family of over-grown oak trees.
- to go along with those perfect park days, there was precious hand holding down curvy pathways aaaaand...
- one adorable wee one who knows how to rock the baby mullet :)
- the little miss and i had a bedroom playdate with the occasional appearance made by madeline, stella's current fav, whilst pulling on mama's necklaces, stella's other fav. 
- hugging.  lots and lots go hugging.  especially for mister leon who adores them from his big sis.
- and, the totally awesome wearing of our new fall kicks.  you dig?

so what's on the agenda for the rest of this weekend?  sleep.  and lots of it.  i'll be back next week with a clear head {fingers crossed} and lots of stories about my first weeks back teaching crazy middle schoolers.....you know it's gonna be good! 


"nothing gold can stay"

the other night, my little family and i, plus my brother-in-law, found ourselves dining under the most beautiful blue sky.  it became a rich, concentrated, sapphire as darkness set in and covered the midwest in a way that gave us no choice but smile.  it was brisk outside, too.  beautiful, beautiful, brisk.

brisk, is one of my favorite words by the way.  brisk translated to me = mustard scarfs, leather boots, thick socks at bedtime, my favorite cashmere sweater, and patio dining under a simple string of lights.  it's perfect and magical and my favorite time of the year.

brisk starts to happen as the leaves start to turn.  not when they reach that crunchy brown stage where they blow back and forth and swirl around trees, no.  brisk is right before that time.  and when brisk creeps in, it does so in such a clever way.  many times, it shows up to the party a little early or a little late, never on time.  but i love the way brisk does this, because it never fails to add an element of surprise to those it graces it's presence with.  and then when brisk gives you that familiar hug that you've been craving and longing for throughout that hot summer and cold winter, you find yourself wishing you could freeze time and savor that moment forever.

to me, brisk is perfection, and perhaps because it is so short-lived.  mr. frost did say, "nothing gold can stay," and to me, brisk is the goldest shade of gold.  


miss stella's latest "thing"

"hi.  i'm stella.  and i am a diaperaholic."

no no no.  no poo in this post.  whew!  but there are diapers, indeed. stella's latest "thing" {besides shaking her head no...but that's another story} is throwing away her clean diapers.  all of them.  all day long.  and wearing them on her head because apparently that's what all the cool kids are doing these days.  the other day i was in the living room reading and i heard that oh so familiar squeak of the trash can open up and close.  "what are you doing miss stella?"  was followed up with me curiously peeking around the corner and witnessing this...  i think my kiddo falls into the weird category for habits.  but god i love her. 


my 25th birthday ABC's + guest posting

it's been a few days but i'm back!  i am in school mode like a crazy woman over here running in about 5 million directions.  and i had a birthday.  whoop whoop!  it was smack dab in the middle of the week full of meetings, lesson planning, and yawns (i am not liking this whole getting up early thing!).  so, in light of my school obsessed mind that is racing with everything english, here are my 25th birthday ABC's, and what happened on that glorious day...

A: august 14th, 1987 = the day i was born 
B: books on canning from my husband...he knows me so well 
C: cupcakes sent from my mama & dada
D: dancing in the morning, because birthday dancing is quite fun
E: eating an endless bowl of guacamole 
F: five hundred hugs from miss stella vivienne 
G: getting to ichat with my mama & dada who live in iowa
H: happy birthday song sung to moi! 
I: insanely lovely birthday shout outs all day long
J: juicy steak tacos 
K: kansas city is one fun place to celebrate
L: lime sucking by one well behaved baby girl 
M: mexican food dinner for a little family of three
N: netflix after dinner
O: outfit compliments of anthropologie (my gift to myself, hehe)
P: parking lot fun with a sugar-high baby girl 
Q: questioning whether or not to take that shot (see T)
R: raspberry lemonade: the flavor of my first cupcake 
S: smiles all around  
T: tequila shot given to me by my ever so *kind* husband
U: umbrella not needed, it was sunny and 75 degrees
V: very, very blessed to spend my day with my loves 
W: waking up to a sunrise more beautiful than any painting i ever did see
X: xxxx = kisses from husband 
Y: your's truly is now a quarter of a century old...eeeek!
Z: zero complaints :)

and guess what?!  i am over here on a fellow teacher's blog talking about a book i read over the summer.  hop on over and check it out! 


a recipe // roasted red pepper & white balsamic pasta sauce

the other day my eyes lit up in the produce aisle at the market because one of my favorite things was "on sale."  red peppers!  so i bought like 8.  at the time, i didn't really think about what i was going to make with all of these peppers, but  a few hours passed and idea clicked...pasta sauce...but with peppers and sans tomatoes.  and it turned out beautifully if i do say so myself.  

while we were waiting for dada to come home from work, we whipped up this sauce and made one mean pasta dish with penne and blanched asparagus. my sous chef stirs like a pro, by the way. 

roasted red pepper + white balsamic pasta sauce 

you will need the following ingredients to make one batch of sauce: {i made 3}

- 3 red peppers
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup fresh basil 
- 1/4 cup olive oil 
- 1/4 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar 
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes {optional but recommended!} 

1. the first thing you will need to do it roast your peppers.  turn on your broiler and put the peppers on a baking sheet lined with foil.  
2. put them under the broiler turning them when the sides are browned to your liking.  this takes about 5 minutes per side. this is the trick to getting that smoky flavor.  do not leave the kitchen or take your eyes off that oven, ok!
3. after they are done roasting and are brown all over, put them in a plastic ziplock bag for at least 5 minutes.  this steams them and creates the juice that will make your sauce extra saucy.  
4. once your peppers are steamed, remove the stem and the seeds but do not drain.  you will want that juice to flavor your sauce.  
5.  add the peppers and all other ingredients into a food processor except for the oil and water.6
6. blend the sauce to your liking and thickness while adding the oil and water as you pulse.  this will help create a creamy texture.  
7. you can use this sauce for all sorts of things, like soup, on top of chicken, to dip veggies in, etc.  it's so yummy i hope you try it out.

*this sauce will keep refrigerated for about 2 weeks!  if you can it, it will keep longer. 

 oh, and it's mama tested, baby girl approved.  :)


on being thankful

this is the quote i just put up on the chalkboard in our kitchen.  our summer is coming to an end, and we are ever so thankful.  emerson hit all of the high points here, but i would like to add a few of my own...

...i am thankful for babies sucking on strawberries,

and for yellow saltwaters paired with the perfect polka dot skirt,

and for a silly sweet heart wearing a swim diaper as a hat, 

and for this glorious wall of ours, 

and for aunties cowboy boots, 

and for afternoons spent reading with little fingers pointing at the pages, 

and lastly, for sharing smoothies with this precious little nugget of ours. 

what have you been thankful for as of late?


a little change

notice anything?  it's official.  i am 100% brunette!  every time the school year rolls around i have this little ritual i do, and a session to the hair salon is on the top of that list.  i decided to go a bit darker than i usually go, and am still getting used to the change.  ...but it's growing on me, and the compliments from my loving hubby can't hurt either.  ;)

on another note, i am so elated it's friday because we have lots of family in town to celebrate my in-law's 40th anniversary.  party it up, we shall.  

happy weekend to you!


the first time stella got sh*t faced

disclaimer: if you do not like poop don't read this post.  it will make you throw up in your mouth a little bit.  and furthermore, if you were on the fence about having kids, this might make you want to reconsider...to have them, of course.  because moments like this will make you laugh so hard that your belly hurts.  

it all started on the day i dedicated baby girl's wardrobe to one item: le diaper.  i mean, who doesn't love a baby in a diaper?  it's easy and adorable.  a total win-win when it comes to lunch time too, because of the easy clean up and all.  so miss stella was in her high chair and i was in the kitchen, fixing up my lunch. she already had hers, giving me a few minutes of freedom to chop my own lettuce without pause to distract her from getting in leon's dog water yet again.  there she sat in her yellow chair with blueberries, cheese, and her favorite, green beans.  

while assembling my salad, i happened to glance over at my hungry little babe to notice there was something black all over her cheeks.  i paused.  gave her a disconcerting look, because after all, nothing on her tray was black.  what the hell could that be, i innocently thought to myself.  little did i know. 

and then it hit me full force like a train at full speed racing down the tracks.  i felt like i wanted to vomit and pass out all the the same time.  stella had opened her diaper and was getting sh*t faced.  literally.  she was eating her poo.  

oh my god.  kids do this?  i thought this was a dog thing!  .....it's on the tray, too!?  and on the floor?!  and on her cheeks?!  what the hell...and under her fingernails...........

jesus.  my kid ate her poop. 

she obviously did not like the taste {thank god}, hence the stink eye she was giving me.  but dear lord, how in the world could my sweet baby girl eat her own poop.  you guys.  have your kids done this?? is this a normal part of growing up?  why have i never heard about this before?  please, lie to me and tell me your kids have done this too! 

so off to the soapy tub we went...poopy cheeks and all.  it was all i could to from not throwing up my breakfast shake all over the dining room floor, let alone cry from disgust.  but i didn't, because then we would have one fine mess on our hands and more nasty crap to clean up.  

why am i documenting this lovely story you might add?  blackmail.  nahhh...  well, maybe.  perhaps someday i will break it out to stella's future boyfriend to give him a little chuckle.  or now that i think about it i will hold this story near and dear, waiting for the time i can tell her husband about the that one time when.....


i can just hear her now, "uuhhhhh moooom.  not again!  i have heard that story, like, 1,000,000 times!" oh, i can't wait for that.

but for real, i am writing this all down in our little blog because it's important to remember that life is all about moments like this one.  those i cannot believe that just happened moments that really wake you up and make you laugh till you pee your pants.  

oh, the little things in life.  sorry stella, i just had to. 

ps.  baby girl will be wearing clothes during all of her meals from here on out. 

iowa in the summer. have you been?

i can recall a time in my life when i did not appreciate this sweet little state called iowa.  everything else, on the other side of that fence, seemed better.  i had big eyes for NYC and LA and all those other cool acronym cities that i loved seeing in movies or on TV.  but only upon spending time away from this state have i been able to truly appreciate it's magic upon return.  

let me tell you a little about this little slice of heaven:

...tomatoes taste like real tomatoes there.  they are really, really red and just need a little salt and fresh cracked pepper to put you on cloud nine.
...old, splintered, ruby red barns make their home in backyards...and they're beautiful.
...it's not strange to run into someone you knew way, way back when so and so introduced you to that girl you met when...you get the idea...it's one small world indeed.
...grant wood paintings come to life as rows of green corn roll over the countryside, resembling that familiar and cozy patchwork quilt you used to snuggle up on the couch with at your grandmas house.
...people make pies there and they are absolutely dusted with sugar. 
...smiles are genuine and tractor rides are always on the menu.
...bob dylan and tom petty just sound better on that old radio amidst that country air. 
...scenes of an over-loaded clothes line bustling in the breeze can be found near highways, side roads, cul-de-sacs, farms, subdivisions, and you name it locations.

you see?  it's kind of wonderful, this little state.  have any of you been there, live there, or know someone from there?  if so, you know exactly what i'm talking about.  we will forever be smitten with iowa. :)