Friday, April 21, 2017

Five On Friday

Five on Friday...

1. The Unicorn Frappuccino

Those Starbucks peeps are genius. I'm convinced this bright and colorful limited edition drink was invented with the sole purpose of social media photos in mind. Of course it worked on me, and Parker and I swung by Starbucks on Wednesday to get one (I used my free reward drink, so I don't feel as duped). The flavor? Cotton candy rolled in funfetti frosting. I can probably count on one hand the number of sips we took - not even my four-year-old was a fan! Next time, I'll stick with the Vanilla Bean (though it's not nearly as pretty ;)


2. This Book 
 

Y'all, this is a book you can pick up and read cover to cover. In fact, I almost read it all in one go until I realized it was the middle of the night (Max was snoring next to me) and I still had mom duties in the morning. I ended up finishing it the next day when I was supposed to be making dinner (breakfast burritos for the win that night!). The book isn't super long and the writing is pretty simple, so it's easy to get through but the twisted storyline will have you captivated, I promise!  I just couldn't put it down!! Best read with rainbow roses, a cup of coffee, and while wearing this Old Navy dress (on sale for just $14!).


3. Nana & Papa!

Nana and Papa flew in to Huntsville  this month to give Parker all the love :) They were too sweet to take Parker out on a special date night, and sent Max and me out on a date night as well!


Husby and I headed to The Bottle downtown, a tiny place that we've decided has the best food and service in town. 


4. Our Garden...

Is up and running! Pictures to come :) I made it to the Botanical Garden Spring Plant Sale earlier this month, despite the fact that sale day was rainy with temperatures in the forties. I powered through anyway because it's my favorite event of the year. I stocked up on flowers, veggies, and herbs (which lived in our garage for a few nights while we waited out the random cold spell) and then warmed up with a cappuccino + my favorite new pastry, this vegan/gluten free pop tart! Both were from the Honest Coffee Shop pop up downtown. How excited am I to have another walkable coffee spot? Very



5. Easter Love








Happy Weekend!



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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

3 Ways to Help the Planet this Earth Day



Earth Day is coming up this April 22! While this is a lovely time to celebrate the Earth and all its beauty, it's also a perfect opportunity to reflect on our impact on the Earth and its resources. This Earth Day, our little family will be focusing on what we can do to take care of the planet - specifically, reducing our carbon footprint. Here are three ways to help the planet this Earth Day (and every day!):

1. Give Your Car a Break


Ask my husband - my very favorite thing to do is walk into downtown for lunch. It's great exercise (especially if I'm the one pushing the stroller!) and by not driving, we cut down out the emissions our vehicle would have been letting out (and save gas money, too!). In the summer, this is how we roll to the neighborhood community pool:


While we don't own bikes yet, I think biking is an awesome option once little man gets older. If you're not close to any stores or parks, try planning a way to car pool with neighbors or friends to events or activities! And don't forget to take advantage of public transportation when you're in big cities :)




2. Eat Local

Eating locally grown fruits and veggies cuts down on the fuel used to ship produce via trucks and planes, generating less greenhouse gases. Local produce is fresher, tastes better, likely contains more nutrients, and supports the local community as well. Farmers Markets, nearby farms, and CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture programs) are all great ways to find amazing local food items.


You-Pick fields and farms go one step closer and allow little hands to connect physically to local produce. 

Eating local also means eating seasonal!

And you literally can't get any more local than your own yard.

Find a spot to plant some veggies and herbs this spring, or go all out and do a raised bed garden!

I guarantee my face is this excited when I pick a radish from the garden, as well!


3. Reduce Trash & Recyclables

True story - when we moved into our house here in Alabama, I noticed this blue recycle bin and I told Max "Oh, that's so cute - so we use this small one to fill up the big one. Where's the big recycle bin?" Having only ever lived in California and Arizona, I was used to ginormous recycle bins - like bigger than the trash bins. I realized this teeny, tiny recycle bin was all the the city was going to pick up! I've since realized that not all cities even have recycling programs - so while reducing trash/waste is amazing, reducing things that can be recycled is important as well. Here's what you can do:


-Purchase items like spices, nuts and pasta from bulk bins and reuse the same containers (bonus - they are usually much less expensive this way, too!)

-Fill your own reusable water bottles or tumblers instead of using plastic ones

-Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones

-Bring your own reusable bags when grocery shopping (big, sturdy bags allow you to hold more, as well)

- (My newest find) Purchase tube-free toilet paper rolls!


I was shocked to discover that, every year, the United States throws away enough used toilet paper tubes to fill the Empire State Building twiceScott® Brand figured out a way around this with their Tube-Free Bath TissueFor us, buying it leaves more room in our already cramped recycle bin (and for those who don't have programs or who don't recycle on their own, it eliminates the need to toss the tubes in the trash!). 


Click here to purchase Scott® Tube-Free Bath Tissue discounted via Amazon! 


Thank you to Scott® Brand for sponsoring this post! 

How are you celebrating Earth Day?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What's Up Wednesday



Joining in today for What's Up Wednesday...

1. What we're eating this week:


I'm on a hiatus from Smoothie Bowls (gasp, right?) and I've been doing breakfast bowls using greek yogurt and tons of toppings. They're actually smoothie bowls in disguise, basically the same ingredients, just not blended and frozen. The one above has greek yogurt, granola, strawberries, banana, almond butter, chia seeds, honey and cacao nibs (I stopped short of the kitchen sink). The breakfast bowl below I call my Caramel Apple Breakfast Bowl (I need the heart eyes emoji here). It's a base of greek yogurt topped with chopped green apple, granola, and (wait for it) homemade caramel (I use this recipe from The Pioneer Woman and it tastes like heaven). Seriously, if you haven't tried making your own caramel sauce, it's so easy and a must-do. 


2. What I'm reminiscing about:


Parker just had a visit from his Gigi, in from Dallas - all the smiles!

3. What I'm loving:


Spring tulips! I can't get enough of them! If we don't already have a bundle on the kitchen table, I just can't help but popping a bunch into my cart when I see them for sale (and sometimes, even if we already do, ha!). 

4. What we've been up to:


With Max's mom in town, he and I were able to sneak away for a day date! We hit up our neighborhood 1892 East for Sunday brunch. Enjoying my husband's company and not having to cut up all the food on the plate next to me? Delightful! As were the sweet potato donuts with Mexican chocolate sauce... yum. It was our first time dining here for a meal other than dinner; we found the Sunday Brunch atmosphere lively and fun, the service excellent, and the food spot-on.


5. What I'm dreading:


Tornado season. This California Girl just cannot take it! 

6. What I'm working on:


Oh, you know, just working on my fitness ;) Pure Barre is still a favorite - especially the Platform class! This is a breakdown of a one-hour Pure Barre Platform class on my Apple Watch - I've been having so much fun tracking my activity on it :)



7. What I'm excited about:


We have a spring beach trip planned! We'll be headed to the Gulf Coast this year once again with our sweet Nashville family friends. Being a West Coast gal, the Gulf of Mexico is so new and novel to me. It's awesome that these white sand beaches are the ones within driving distance of Northern Alabama!

8. What I'm watching/reading: 


I've said it before - if Parker is napping and I'm by myself doing laundry or cooking, I love to have something streaming while I work around the house. I'm a few episodes into Big Little Lies, the HBO miniseries based on the book (read me book review here). One of my mom friends watched an episode or two before I started it, and she shared that she had trouble matching the actors to the characters after reading the book. At first this made no sense to me, as movies will most always show someone different compared to what a reader was imagining while reading the story. After watching it, however, I totally concur. Shailine Woodley (though I love her) is completely unbelievable as a mother. Like, not convincing at all. And the incredible Nicole Kidman and amazing Reese Witherspoon just do not (in my mind) fit their characters. They are so fantastic as actresses that it doesn't really matter, I just thought the casting was a little zany. Some of the episodes have been a bit graphic and disturbing - it's odd how you can read something and not be nearly as affected as watching a depiction of it. Overall, I adored the book so I know I'm going to enjoy every bit of the series :)

My sit-down-and watch right now? Homeland. Husby and I have been watching this together since the beginning. Way back then, we both had full time jobs and would binge watch the show in our Scottsdale theatre room into the wee hours of a weekend morning ("Just one more episode" we would say over and over). Now, we're lucky to get one episode in on random weekday after we get Parker down for the night, cozied up in bed watching on a laptop, trying as we might to stay awake until 10pm. 


If you haven't seen Homeland, stop what you're doing and download the first five seasons now. It's currently in Season Six, and each season has followed CIA operative Carrie (Claire Danes) in different locations. The spy stuff is accurate enough to satisfy Max, and the shows are always action-filled and clever. It's one of our very favorites. 


9. What I'm listening to:


Y'all, I just discovered podcasts. I know, I'm slow. I kept thinking there would be something tricky to getting them - turns out, nope. There's a built-in app on iPhones so it couldn't have been easier. My first order of business - listening to the YHL podcasts from the last year. This was the first blog I ever read, and I just about cried when they ended. The couple is quirky and funny - plus they have tons of amazing ideas. I have a bit of car time to myself every day after I drop P off at preschool and on the way to pick him up, and it's been so much fun doing the podcast thing while I'm in the car by myself! 

10. What I'm wearing:

Layers, because spring.



11. What I'm doing this weekend:


We have our last Huntsville Havoc (our minor league hockey team) game of the season. Parker is all about hockey these days, insisting on being called "goalie" and hitting around a ping pong ball in the house with his hockey stick any chance he can get #boymom #momlife

12. What I'm looking forward to next month:


This will be my third year attending our botanical garden's Spring Plant Sale (the largest in North Alabama - it's a bit crazy) . The first year, I had no idea what I was in for, but luckily I had my mom in from California to help. 


How tiny was little man in that photo? I cannot believe that was two whole years ago, and that we're in our third year living in Alabama! This year, I think I finally have the whole Spring Plant Sale thing down, which is good because husby expanded my garden area and I have a ton of room to plant! 


13. What else is new:


We had our final cold front come in this month - this was us at the St. Patrick's Day Parade downtown! But our "last frost" date is April 3rd, and we are expecting temperatures nearing eighty this week, so I think it's safe to pack up the cold-weather gear! 

Happy Wednesday!

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