Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Amazon Prime Day Sale Picks

Although I wasn't up all hours of the night, I did get up early to click around the items on my wish list to see if there are any good deals. (I keep a wish list loaded and go do a price check every couple of weeks to see if anything has dropped.)

Side note: I had no idea my Prime membership came with unlimited photo storage! That solves my overflowing icloud issue!

Click on photos below to see items on Amazon.


I preordered Harper Lee's new book, Go Set a Watchman, a few months ago and it arrived today. I have a feeling it's going to drop to 40% off since that was Barnes and Noble pricing. If you haven't ordered, this will be a great time to.




I'm in desperate need of a new blowdryer and keep waiting for a nice price on a good one like this BaByliss Pro.


Our whole family will have a blast with Magnatiles, and it's a fight to get a good deal on them at Christmas.
I may finally spring for some La Mer since Amazon is giving a free beauty gift bag with $50 purchase in the high end beauty department (code LUXSAMPLES). This gift pack looks like a good value.


I've been eyeing fitbits forever, so maybe I will finally spring for one.

I will definitely buy some Amazon gift cards to get the free $10 since I know we will spend the gift cards.

Happy shopping!

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Weekend Shopping

Georgia and I hit up a couple of sales over the weekend. I was in desperate need of summer workout wear. I've been working up a huge sweat just walking through the gym parking lot because all of my Lululemon bottoms are pants and capris.

Target is having a great deal on shorts - buy one get one 50% off. I really only found one I love, so I opted to pass up the discount and get a top and sports bra instead.

 

 
The top is a dry wicking racerback that fits kind of loose. It's in stripes of grey and black, but there were several brighter colors available.

 
I love the grey and black holographic fabric of these shorts! They have a wide waistband so they don't cut into your tummy or feel too tight when you get sweaty.
 

We did Georgia's photos after a day at the pool, so she wasn't incredibly enthusiastic. We picked up this sweater at Janie & Jack. It's a size 5 so she probably won't wear it until next winter.
I stop in Janie & Jack about every week. They keep a rack in the back of the store that always holds just a few off-season sale items. The manager told me that they have boxes of it in the back but only put out a few new items each week. This sweater was originally $56 and we picked it up for about $20

 
The jeans are from Gymboree (dark wash super skinny style) and they fit her perfectly. She's very petite so an adjustable waist is a must on any jeans we buy.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Whitney English Day Designer for Blue Sky / Target Review

I was lucky enough to get my hands on several of these pretties a couple of weeks ago, and I have been planning a vlog so you all could see the features as I describe them. Unfortunately, the same day I cleared out my Target of all Whitney English - oops! I mean picked up a few extras for friends! - I came down with a sinus infection. It quickly turned into bronchitis and I haven't had a voice since the first week of July. Probably nice for David and Georgia, but not so great for vlogging.

These babies are on sale at Target now, but the three I've gone to were completely sold out. Before July 12, which is the date they were supposed to be put on the shelves. So you may want to grab one online before they're gone for real! (Full honestly disclosure: I did buy seven planners before my Target put them out, kept one and sold the rest to friends at my cost. My Target had at most five of each design.)

If you've ever owned or lusted after the somewhat pricey (but from what I've heard, completely worth it) Day Designer by Whitney English, you will love these. Prices start at around $10. I'm currently using the "most expensive" $19 version and it has the exact same calendar features as Whitney's original design at a third of the price.

I am incredibly impressed with the paper quality and sturdiness of the gold binding, especially for this price point. I've been using my fine tip Bics and Sharpies with no bleed through.

 
Each planner includes a mini version of the original Day Designer's Design Your Life pages. They're helpful for goal setting and keeping your priorities on track. You can buy the original version as well as a how-to webcast on etsy.


This is the medium sized planner which several of my friends love. It has a thick plastic cover similar to the one on Plum Paper planners.

 
All planners are tabbed and include a monthly view, with a notes page on front of the monthly view.

 
I really loved this mini version of the original Day Designer's pages, including inspirational, get-to-business quotes. You can see that July 1 is torn out of this. I had planned on using this planner only to find that I'm busier than I thought. I needed more space for my to do list (bummer) and space for notes.
 
This version is medium sized (larger than the black and white) with a sturdy board cover, and the corners are reinforced. It's my favorite cover!

 
This planner has a weekly view that is perfect for moms or those of you who work a job that's pretty calm - not too many meetings - since it doesn't have a lot of room for notes or to do lists.

 
I'm posting from my iPad and can't get this annoying photo to rotate, so I'll make note (in my Day Designer!) to do that later. It has the same sturdy cover as the gold stripe version, but it's quite a bit bigger. I'd use this as a desk version, but it's too big for a purse for my liking.

 

 
This is a column version that a lot of us Erin Condren and Plum Paper addicts are used to. Rather than sections, it has hourly slots, which is very nice.

 
This is the version I ended up keeping for my desk calendar. I love the gold stripes, but it does have the plastic cover rather than a hard binding. Since it's a daily view and thicker than the others, this is OK by me. I think I'd eventually get annoyed by the bulkiness when flipping pages back and forth.

 
This is the daily view in the gold stripe planner. It's so similar to the original Day Designer! I have ample room to pour all the information from my brain into one page so I don't forget anything. I do still use this in conjunction with my Plum Paper weekly, and I have a post coming up to show you how I keep my busy days manageable.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

First Dance Recital Photos








Photos are by Nesossi Photography. I think I am just going to order the first one since the rest are at bad angles. I do love the last one, where Georgia and Emmy are looking at one another.


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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Starbucks App Feature - Faster Free Drinks!

Free Starbucks
Photo borrowed from Coupon Mamacita.

I have earned seven - yep seven! - drinks since my post about how to earn a ton of free Starbucks "stars" for free drinks. The more you use the app, the more offers they send. So while I may really want a frappucino, if buying an iced macchiato will earn two extra stars, I get that drink instead. They also occasionally send a survey about your last visit (one star) or dashes, like making three purchases in five days (six extra stars). See below on earning double stars with only one drink!

The best thing Starbucks has done for my life, other than the obvious: making me a better mommy in the mornings, is their development of a mobile ordering app. Yep! Before I hop in my car, when leaving the grocery store, or while I wait in line at the bank drive through, I can have my Starbucks order already going.

The app pulls up surrounding stores, gives you the drive time, and the time estimated for your drink to be finished. For example, if I check in while checking out at the grocery store the app tells me "seven minute drive time, 5-6 minutes for drink". I pay on my app then hop out at Starbucks and my drink is waiting on the counter, just as if I'd ordered from the regular line.

I've also found that I can customize my drinks way more, without sounding like a medium maintenance frappe snob. At least in person.

And I sometimes order two drinks on two separate transactions. My drink and either a hot chocolate or chocolate milk for Georgia. I actually emailed Starbucks customer care, and they told me that you can only earn one star per transaction and to make separate purchases. Which can be a tad bit annoying when ordering in person.

This month, Starbucks is giving double stars!!! for every mobile app order!!! So my frappucino + chocolate milk three times = one free drink! Make sure to go here and sign up for the mobile app.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Independence Day 2015 with Video



I was going to write about the spectacular fireworks show that my neighborhood put on, but then this happened.

We live right across the street from an amazing park. Three beautiful picnic pavilions, playground, lots of space for the dogs to run, and gorgeous old pecan trees. But the pavilions and playground are no more - at least for the next....I'm not sure how long.



Apparently some kids were setting off fireworks way too close to the pavilions. I read on our Facebook page that used fireworks were left in a trash can and caught fire. The picture of the flames was taken around 6 a.m. It took awhile because we didn't hear any fireworks after around midnight.

I'm so sad! You can see the melted slide in the background. I'm also pretty mad. I'm guessing this will increase our homeowner's association dues unless some kind of property insurance covers this. The kind of funny part is that they left all sorts of trash, and the man who went over early Sunday morning to clean it up said they also left some identifying information. He turned it in, so I hope the authorities are able to use it.

Now, onto the more fun stuff! The Mullins invited us over to watch their neighborhood parade, spend some time grilling, and float in the pool. The parade was a small town type with the mayor and fire marshals riding in convertibles, floats made by the Cub Scouts and decorated bikes. I loved it! It reminds me of home, and I so want to organize one in our neighborhood next year.


These two fight like an old married couple. Which is great because Georgia already tells everyone that she's "gonna marry Cooper Mawlins".




Little brother Graham gets a ride.


I bought this linen dress last year at Old Navy. Similar and cuter here, here (also in plus sizes) and here.

I got diagnosed Thursday with a sinus infection. My eyes are so swollen! 


Not sure if this is American or Hitler.




I love this one!


 And here is just one of the floats.

After swimming for quite awhile at the Mullins, we came home and all took naps. I took some allergy medicine then a nap. I probably shouldn't have spent all day outside.

But it wouldn't be Fourth of July without a live fireworks show, and I had heard the one in our neighborhood was pretty amazing. We've never gone before because we usually spend the Fourth with my aunt and uncle. The news said more than 10,000 people attended our show! Mind you, this is not our town's show or the baseball team's extravaganza - but one done by our little subdivision! Parts of it were as good as the Magic Kingdom firework show, I'm not kidding!

Before the fireworks, there was a band. David caught Georgia dancing her way around the playground and got a quick video. If you watch to the end, you will see her slap a little boy on the rear end! What? I don't know where she got that! I'm not sure what we're gonna do with this girl.




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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sesame Noodles / Quick Healthy Recipe


There was no filtering or editing done to this photo. At all. That's how pretty the peppers are right now!


A recipe for Spicy Sesame Noodles was in the first cookbook I ever owned, my last semester of college. This was probably the first Asian-inspired dish I ever attempted, too.

Over the years I've added, taken out and changed amounts of ingredients to make this easy to throw together without a measuring cup. The sauce is literally finished before the water for the noodles starts boiling, so as long as you have a couple of staples in your pantry and fridge, this is a super quick lunch. Georgia will eat it - if I pick all of the vegetables out.

I love this because the sesame paste (butter?) is a nice change from the simple peanut sauce that is also easy to make. And you really can add any veggies, just make a little more sauce to make sure everything gets covered. The original recipe calls for celery and mushrooms.

I typically use Ronzoni brand pasta in the purple box since it has higher fiber and more protein than regular pasta. Soba noodles are really good, too! This recipe makes two servings. I always eat one right away and put the other in the fridge for later since this tastes even better cold after the flavors have had time to blend.

Spicy Sesame Noodles

4 oz spaghetti
2 tbsp water from the pasta pot
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari (I use the low sodium version)
1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste, sold in a jar by the Indian food at my grocery)
1 tbsp rice vinegar (I've used regular distilled vinegar and it works just fine, too)
red pepper flakes to your liking
1/3 to 1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1/4 cup diced onion
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger (I actually use this ginger paste by Gourmet Garden, sold in the cold produce section. I just squirt in the required amount and don't have to worry about chopping anything up. It always tastes incredibly fresh.)

Cook the spaghetti in unsalted water.

Whisk the soy sauce, tahini, vinegar and pepper flakes, then add the water right before draining the pasta. If using ginger paste add it in here. Whisk until it's smooth and blended.

After draining the pasta, add a little bit of oil (sesame is good!) to the cooking pot and sauté all of the veggies, ginger and garlic. Return noodles and mix with veggies. Pour in sauce and mix to coat pasta. Leave on the burner for a minute or two, but don't let it get too hot! The tahini will burn pretty easily.

Eat a serving then put the rest in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. Easy peasy! It's also great topped with grilled chicken or baked honey chicken. Make enough sauce to mix in the chicken if you'd like a heartier meal.

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