Monday, October 2, 2017

Coffee + Conversation


Happy Monday, friends. It is a beautiful Monday that feels just like October should in Charlotte today. We are all excited about that over here because I'm such a lover of all things fall. Candles, pumpkin coffee, chunky cardigans, and boots.

I apologize for my little hiatus. It was unintentional but we've been pretty busy around here. Madeline was sick for an entire week, which meant no preschool. This of course coincided with Corey's travels for work so I had very few moments to get anything accomplished.

We celebrated some dear friends who got married in Asheville last weekend after Madeline was sick and then I came home with the worst allergies. It was a beautiful wedding and a fun time with many of our closest friends.

We are also nearing the end of a big months-long landscaping project at our house. I am so excited to share the finished product and even more excited to not speak to a tree removal company or landscaping installer for many, many months.

This week we are looking forward to getting back into our routine post sickness and spending some time outside (in our nearly finished backyard) soaking in the beautiful cooler weather.

Very early this morning I was lying in bed while Corey packed for a work trip watching the coverage of the shooting in Las Vegas and my heart is just broken. I am just so, so sad that these things have gotten to be such a frequent occurrence in recent years. I am sending so many prayers to the families of all of those injured or lost and am so, so thankful to wake up with all of my loved ones safe and sound this morning.

Wishes for a happy and safe Monday for all of you!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Our Struggle is Part of Our Story


It was three long months ago that my mother-in-law came over to watch Madeline so I could run a couple errands and get a mani-pedi. I had planned some much needed mama relaxation time. I was coming off of what had been at the time the biggest month of my business since I began it a year ago. I had two new ladies I was responsible for training and was just feeling good. I felt the healthiest I had since having Madeline and honestly a bit before, too, and was just really content with life.

I was stopped in traffic drinking a Le Croix, having a trivial debate with myself about whether I should get hot pink or coral polish on my toes for that pedicure when I was hit from behind at a speed of 50 mph by a driver using their phone. There were no skid marks or evidence that the driver ever attempted to brake or slow down because they were looking at their phone.

One concussion, severe whiplash, and a fractured clavicle later I found myself staring at 9-12 weeks of physical therapy, countless hours away from my daughter and business, and months of modified workouts ahead of me. I felt so defeated. When fitness is your business, an accident like that can cost your family a lot. Not to mention how I physically felt and the hours upon hours I had to leave Madeline for appointments, x rays, and physical therapy visits.

Friday, September 8, 2017

5 on Friday

Happy Friday Friends! I'm popping in to share five quick thoughts from the week.

one: beach trip

We snuck in a quick little family beach trip for Labor Day weekend. Madeline LOVED the beach. As soon as we got out of the car and she saw it she screamed "whoa" and took off running towards the waves.


Our trip was quick so we are already looking forward to next year, however she did so much better than last summer with being flexible while traveling and she just loved the sand, which we knew she would dive she loves her sandbox at home, too.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

September Goals


I cannot believe that it is September but I am so very glad to see fall approaching. Madeline had her first day of preschool yesterday and we are back to music class today. It feels good to be back into some semblance of a routine because quite honestly, we've been flying a little by the seat of our pants since she dropped to one nap back in June.

One of my biggest goals for myself for the start of the "school year" is to be a little more intentional about my goals. I try to be fairly organized because I honestly could not accomplish mom-ing, working from home, and running our household otherwise. But, sometimes things that I hope to accomplish yet aren't essential to our day-to-day functioning get pushed to the bottom of the list over and over.

This month, there are a few specific things I hope to accomplish.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Shopping Guide: Back to Preschool

Yesterday, Madeline had a very successful Meet the Teacher at her pre-school. We are sneaking in a last minute beach trip this weekend and then her first day is next Tuesday. I am so excited for her to make some new friends, learn how to be part of a class, develop a little independence from mama, and for the sweet teachers to love on her. I'm honestly excited for the few hours a week to myself as well because balancing working at home with taking care of her and running a household can be a lot at times. Yet, my mama heart knows I am going to miss her like crazy during those few (six) hours a week she is in pre-school.

We chose a church-based preschool close to our house upon the recommendation of other moms in our neighborhood and community and were so fortunate to be accepted into our first choice. I toured many places last winter and loved this school so much that we only applied here and just crossed our fingers that it would work out.

We, of course, had to do a little shopping to prepare for the start of school. I will go ahead and clarify that I am aware that she will get her cute little clothes dirty. That she will spill food, get play ground mulch, play-doh, and paint all over them. We have a number of hand-me-down outfits that I purchased for pennies on our local mom re-sale page but of course we had to get a few special outfits and pieces, too, because she is only little once after all and the days of her wearing precious outfits like these are limited.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Skinny Grapefruit Mojitos (+ fun end of summer cocktails)


I am a big fan of a refreshing cocktail and mojitos are one of my absolute favorites. The only thing about mojitos, though, is that they can be so sugary. Having more than one can make me feel gross and they certainly aren't good for the waist line. But, they are so yummy.

One day recently, I was feeling the need for a cocktail and had a nice, fresh grapefruit staring at me from our fruit bowl in the kitchen and fresh mint from our herb garden. So, I decided to try out a skinnier version of a mojito with grapefruit. I really enjoyed it and Corey requested one of his own after taking a sip of mine, despite the fact that he thought it looked "girly."

Monday, August 21, 2017

Coffee + Conversation


Happy Monday! If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that I have absolutely no idea where the month of August has gone. It has totally flown by. It has been hot and steamy here in Charlotte, though, so I'm not totally hating to be a little closer to fall, though.

Corey and I celebrated our 5th anniversary last weekend. We traveled to St. John earlier in the summer for our "big" celebration and then enjoyed a nice dinner in Charlotte on the actual night.

We started with drinks at the Ritz Uptown and then headed to Bentley's on 27 for dinner. We had never had dinner there before and it was amazing.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Five Years



Today Corey and I celebrate our fifth anniversary. It is kind of surreal that we have been married that long, well past the newlywed stage at this point. That day five years ago was absolutely perfect in every way. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect wedding day but what's more important is that it symbolized the start of a life together and I feel so fortunate that Corey and I are able to do life together. Without a doubt, there is no one better suited to be my partner.


It has definitely not always been easy and some days, months, and even years have been better than others. But, that is what you sign up for when you choose to spend your life with someone - to walk by their side through all life throws your way and I'm happy to say that even five years later, I feel like I chose wisely.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Kale and Peach Summer Salad


Last summer we hosted our favorite neighbors from our previous neighborhood to grill out at our new house. One of our neighbors is a professional chef and he brought this incredible kale and peach salad along for the evening. I'm not usually a fan of kale but this salad totally transformed my thinking on that. It is seriously so good and nutritious, too! This is the perfect summer salad so I set out to recreate it this summer and it has been on repeat in our household. I can't promise this is exactly how our chef neighbor made it but it is pretty darn close and totally delicious. This is by far my husband's favorite salad and that really says something when he's constantly asking for it!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Coffee + Conversation


Happy Monday. If we were having coffee this morning, I would say that I want to go back and do the weekend all over again. We basically did a whole lot of nothing and I can't say that I hated it. Just lots of family time. 

On Friday night, we made steak, a great big salad, and shared a baked potato at home. Then, relaxed int he hammock in our back yard with a big glass (er couple glasses) of red wine and unwound from the week after baby girl went to bed.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Coffee + Conversation


Happy Monday! If we were having coffee, I'd probably ramble off a whole lot of randomness to you this morning. First up, did you know it is National Avocado Day? What is your favorite avocado recipe? Mine is an avocado halved, filled with organic salsa, and topped with a sprinkle of taco-blend cheese. Bake just until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes) and enjoy. Yum! I'm also trying desperately to like avocado toast. I know, I know. Everyone says its so good. I'm working on finding the right combo, but doesn't this one look amazing?


We had such a busy weekend today. Bridal showers, birthday parties, girls' nights, trunk shows, oh my. I love this picture of Madeline at her little friend's birthday party. She is such a water baby. She looks so concerned that her sweet little jelly shoe is falling off.


We celebrated one of my sweet friends in a bridal shower on Saturday. There are so many weddings in our friend group this year and I am so happy for all of them. Such a joyful time.


Today, I am planning to grocery shop and meal prep for the new fitness program I am starting today and take baby girl to the doctor for a little check up. And I have lots of work to catch up on during nap time. How was your weekend?

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Friday, July 28, 2017

5 on Friday

Happy Friday! This has been such a busy week for us, with Corey out of town and various of appointments and such, but still so fun. Madeline is just the cutest age right now. I am loving it. 

one. 




This week we have enjoyed lots of park time. We tried to get out early in the morning because it has been just so hot but it is hard to keep a toddler inside all day. We enjoyed some sliding, swinging, and sandbox time. Her little sweet and silly personality shines through a little more every day and I just love watching it emerge. 

two.



I did one last #nsale order and purchased another pair of my favorite workout crops (I posted about them earlier in the week) and then ordered a new pair of sneakers. I went completely out of my comfort zone with these white and rose gold sneakers. They're mush flashier than I am accustomed to so we will see if I like them when they come in.

three.


I am excited to begin a new workout program next week. It is a three week rapid rebuild program where the workouts get a little more intense week by week and the meal plan dials in gradually. I've been able to work out almost every day since about three days after my accident but they have been very restricted, however both my doctor and physical therapist have cleared me for this program so I am super excited to get back into something a little more rigorous.

four.


This was dinner last night - super easy, healthy, and a great way to use vegetables from your garden if you are growing one this year. This was a one-pan bruschetta chicken over noodles. They key is super fresh garden tomatoes and high-quality balsamic.

five.

So, I am pretty sure Prime Now is the best invention ever. Corey was out of town this week and I realized after Madeline was in bed that not only had I just used the last night time diaper but that we didn't have enough milk for her whole cup in the morning. So, an hour an fifteen minutes later, a 120 pack of diapers, a half gallon of organic whole milk, and two pints of Halo Top arrived at my door. There is no delivery fee - just a tip for your driver. 


We are looking forward to a low-key night tonight before a super busy rest of the weekend. Do you have anything fun planned?
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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cajun Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple Cucumber Salsa


These tacos are so, so good for summer and pretty healthy, too. These were such a winner in our house for Taco Tuesday and are truly the perfect taco for hot summer weather.

To bring this delicious recipe to your house, you will need:  
  • 1 lb of fresh shrimp, de-veined
  • Corn tortillas

Homemade Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1  teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper



Monday, July 24, 2017

Coffee + Conversation

Happy Monday. Today my to-do list is a mile long. Projects for work to finish, projects at home, prepping to host an event this weekend, meal prep, SO much laundry, and loving on my sweet girl are all on the agenda today. Good thing I slept right through my alarm, right?

We ended last week with a bang by ripping out all of the previous owner's landscaping at our house and really opening up our backyard. It is such an improvement but now we have to wait for grass to grow and make a few final decisions before it will have kind of "finished" look. I'm learning that with landscaping, and most home projects actually, I'm kind of an immediate gratification kind of girl. I'm having to channel my patience here but am excited to see what it all looks like in the spring.

The new blog design is basically finished but I'm still undecided what I want to do about the name, as I mentioned in last week's post. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

On Changing Your Mind


If you're viewing this on a web browser, I'd like to apologize that the design is currently half finished. I learned earlier this week that some of the elements of my old design were no longer supported so I decided that was a sign that my blog needed a little refresh.

Well, before I decided that, actually, I really found myself wondering if I even wanted to blog anymore. It really feels like I have a hard time keeping up with it these days and blogging is so, so different than it was when I first started over six years ago. 

I thought really hard about taking this opportunity to just close this door, removing the guilt I feel when I realize I have written in way too long.

Yet, I do find blogging so therapeutic. I always loved to write and really wanted to be a novelist when I was younger. Who knows, maybe I will pursue that one day. This seems like the perfect segue in to what this is all really about. 

I have really been struggling with my identity over the past year and a half. When I was teaching I loved my job for many years. Then, all of a sudden I didn't anymore. What just one year before was something I looked forward to every day, hours spent loving on and pouring into a population who really needed someone to invest in them, creativity poured in to lessons and activities, and just a whole lot of passion for what I was doing quickly turned into something completely different.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Coffee + Conversation


Happy Monday! After a busy couple weeks, I'm taking a minute with my coffee this morning to pop in and document what we've been up to this summer. We are in such a busy stage of life right now but it is really fun.


Madeline is loving playing in the pool this summer. It is one of her words. "Pooooooool," she says every morning when she wakes up. Sometimes, we'll fill up this little plastic $4 baby pool and let her splash around on the back deck. Sometimes we'll go to our neighborhood pool our the pool at our country club. She is definitely a water baby. So much joy when she's playing outside.


We have lots of cute matching outfits that we've been sporting this summer. I have a serious baby clothes problem. Whenever I buy us something that matches, I always get it for her in two sizes so this matching little set is from last year and I love seeing how much she has changed since she was swimming in the 3-6 month version last summer. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Skinny Cauliflower Nachos



I originally tested out this recipe to share it with the ladies in my monthly bootcamps who might be nacho lovers like me but when I posted it to my Instastories, I got a lot of questions about it. It turns out I'm not the only one who loves all the cheesy goodness and delicious flavors of nachos but doesn't want the guilt. 


Cauliflower is a super vegetable. If you have not tried substituting it for rice or potatoes yet, you definitely need to. It can really lighten up a meal without sacrificing flavor. I am a big fan of chicken fried cauliflower rice or parmesan mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes. Yum.
Our company blog shared this recipe for cauliflower nachos last year. I am such a nacho lover but we all know they are not the healthiest so I decided to give the recipe a try and tweak it with all my favorite toppings and a little extra protein so that it could be a true "meal." This recipe really cleans up nachos without sacrificing all of the great flavors.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • Cooked shredded chicken or protein of choice
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup each chopped red onion and tomato
  • diced jalapeno to taste
  • diced fresh cilantro to taste

To begin, slice your cauliflower florets into thin slices. Toss with olive oil and season with cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Then, roast at 425 for about 20 minutes.

While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare your toppings. You can top with any shredded chicken and this is a great recipe to use up left over chicken, pork, or steak from another meal. For my nachos, I tossed a chicken breast in the crockpot with a little salsa and shredded once it was cooked through and tender.
Remove your roasted cauliflower from the oven and top with shredded chicken or protein of choice, black beans, diced onion, tomato, and jalapeƱo, and shredded mexican-blend cheese. Then, return to the oven for about 10 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden.
Once you remove your nachos from the oven, add a little freshly diced cilantro and serve. These aren’t grab a chip and eat with your fingers nachos – you will need a fork. But I think you will be pleasantly surprised with all the flavor packed into this cleaned-up dish.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Brunch and Bubbly for the Bride

Last month I had the honor of hosting a bridal shower for a girlfriend leading up to her wedding. I went with a Brunch and Bubbly theme and it was a hit.


I hosted the shower in my home on a Sunday morning. I love hostessing but one thing I have learned since Madeline was born is how important it is to prep everything ahead of time. So, the night before, I poured myself a glass of wine and then set out all the serving pieces I planned to use and put together my flower arrangements. 

I kept the flowers very simple by picking up a mixed bouquet and some blue hydrangeas from Trader Joe's and then cutting some knockout roses from my yard. I arranged them in mason jars and tied a little navy ribbon and burlap twine around each.


For the menu, I chose a cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes and added flowers to the top myself. I took Madeline with me and let her taste the flavors and we decided on white chocolate raspberry. 

I set up a biscuit bar with tea biscuits and my mom's homemade pear preserves, apple butter, and pimiento cheese. I also prepared a few ham biscuits with a dill spread. My mom always makes these for showers and they are always a hit. They didn't disappoint this time, either.


I used the same homemade dill dip to serve with fresh vegetables and prepared a fruit tray with cream cheese yogurt dip. 

I served mini frozen quiches from Costco and mini chicken n' waffles. These were for sure the highlight and were so easy to prepare. Simply order some Chick-fil-A nuggets and place them atop mini Eggo waffles. I mixed red pepper jelly with maple syrup to drizzle on top. These will definitely be served at any future morning showers.


We dined on vintage china that was passed down to me by a close family friend who had no daughters. The pink floral scalloped design was so perfect for a shower.

For beverages, I made a very simple mimosa bar of champagne, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grapefruit juice and set it up next to the framed invitation and a pitcher of lemon water.

Aside from the flowers, I kept the decorations to a minimum and just hung a Bride to Be banner from the fireplace that matched the invitation. We showered the bride with so many fun gifts to celebrate her upcoming marriage. 


We had a great morning sipping champagne and celebrating our bride. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Avocado Chicken Parmesan


I am so excited to share this recipe with you today because it is one of my family's favorites year round. In the winter, we enjoy this over zoodles (zucchini noodles) or a bed of spaghetti squash. In the summer, I ditch the noodles and opt for a fresh salad on the side.

Something about adding avocado to the top of this lightened up chicken parmesan recipe gives it a really fresh flavor. Its also a great way to get in those blue containers or healthy fats. Or just fulfill your avocado craving.

Unlike most chicken parmesan recipes, this recipe bakes the chicken as opposed to pan frying it. The cutlet remains moist and flavorful though so you won't feel like you are missing a thing.

I use thinly-sliced cutlets when I make this dish but you could also use regular chicken breasts and pound them thin. When cooking an Italian chicken dish like chicken parmesan or chicken marsala the key is to work with a thin piece of meat.

Ingredients
  • 4 thinly sliced chicken cutlets
  • 3/4 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs (don't be afraid to make your own)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp lite Italian dressing
  • 1/2 cup no-sugar added marinara
  • 1/4 cup part-skim mozzarella
  • 1/2 ripe avocado (I wrap the rest in plastic to make toast for lunch)
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 and lightly spraying a glass baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray. Then, combine bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl.

Add your Italian dressing to another bowl and lightly brush onto chicken. If you have the time you can even let your chicken marinate in the dressing for a few hours. Dip your chicken cutlet into the breadcrumb mixture next.

Place in the baking dish and add about 1 Tbsp marinara to each cutlet. Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven, add avocado and 1 Tbsp mozzarella to each cutlet. Return to the oven just until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).

You can finish under the broiler for a couple minutes if you really want to brown and crispen your cheese.

I use my paderno spiralizer to make zoodles. For this recipe, I used three good sized zucchini to feed our family of three and have a little leftover for later in the week. Spiralizing zucchini is not hard but many grocery stores sell pre-spiralized if you would like to skip that step. To cook my zoodles, I simply saute them in a skillet with a little extra virgin olive oil just until they are al dente.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Coffee + Conversation


Happy Monday. If we were having coffee this morning, this is what I would tell you.

This girl has hit separation anxiety big time. Combined with beginning the transition to one nap, this has made our days over the last week pretty long. This sweet little thing just wants her mama day and night. I don't totally hate it because I know one day she won't want anything to do with me, but I still wouldn't mind getting a little more sleep. The last week has been pretty tough around here.


Corey and I had a great trip to St. John a couple weeks ago. I'll get around to recapping it soon but it was absolutely gorgeous and such a low-key relaxing trip. Very different from Hawaii, which was our last big vacation. 

For Memorial Day weekend, we enjoyed a little lakeside picnic and this sweet girl had so much fun waving at the boats. She is fifteen months old now and had her checkup last week. She weighed in at 21 pounds and 29 inches and is in the 20-25th percentile for both height and weight with a 95th percentile head circumference. Haha! She is perfectly healthy and was even such a big girl getting her two shots this visit.

This is my favorite view ever. Corey playing on the floor with Madeline and Riley before heading off to work. And giving me a moment to sit under the blanket and drink a big cup of coffee.

We went to a friend's wedding on Friday and I finally popped the tags off of this cute Lauren James dress that I bought right before learning I was pregnant with Madeline. It was much too small last summer when I was newly postpartum. Since the wedding was a day time wedding, I thought it was perfect. A blue seersucker with an open back and the largest, most dramatic bow at the waist. It is one of their staple designs so it is still available in multiple colors here.