Fun Finds Friday

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Happy Friday everyone! Another fun find coming your way today!

We have several family members and friends who have to eat a gluten free diet. I am in total awe of them.  I can’t imagine having to eliminate it from my meals. I also applaud the work that goes into special recipes and the sacrifices that are made for their health or health of their family. I’ve been told that it gets easier over time which is fantastic! The list of “gluten free” recipes, menu items at restaurants and various food products is only growing.

That’s why I was so excited to discover another gluten free bakery here in Tucson called Got2B Gluten Free. Our whole family enjoyed an assortment of cookies, coffee cake, and blueberry muffins. So to all my gluten free friends…You need to check this place out! The muffins and coffee cake were consumed within a few days but I managed to snap some pictures of the peanut butter cookies and the snicker doodles.

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The muffins were moist and the blueberries tasted fresh. Peter and James gave them a stamp of approval.

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My personal favorite was the coffee cake. The toping was sweet and crumbly! My first bite was followed by shouting to Andrew “This is amazing!” (see mouth full of cake). Peter also enjoyed the cake. Hence…the face plant into my plate. Nobody has time for forks!

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What? Doesn’t everyone consume large amounts of cookies next to goblets filled with flowers? No? Oh ok. Well to all my gluten free friends out there…This is for you! I hope you enjoy!

Chorizo Tacos With..

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Another recipe born from a random pregnancy craving… Normally chorizo is served at breakfast but I found myself really craving it one evening. I have a lot of fond memories of chorizo. Growing up we would stay at my grandma’s house overnight and then always wake up to the smell of coffee and sizzling chorizo.

In order to satisfy my craving, I thought really hard about what I could do to make it more of a “dinner”. Then the chorizo tacos with mango salsa was born! I went to my local butcher (which you should totally do too… much better than the meat at the market) and asked for a pound of chorizo. You can usually make/buy chicken, beef, or pork chorizo. Beef is my personal choice but I know my grandmother usually does a mix of beef and pork. I realize that this is really more of a thing in the Southwest. Not sure if butchers in other parts of the country are going to have chorizo…. However, there a lot of good recipes online for you to consult. I’d share my grandma’s recipe but it’s kind of a family secret…. So yeah. Sorry you’re out of luck there.

After I had my chorizo I picked out things for my mango salsa. Chorizo is a little spicy and very salty so I wanted to have something sweet to pair along side it.

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For the salsa this is what I used:

~1 Mango

~ 2 Roma Tomatos

~2 cups of chopped green onions

~1 cup of fresh cilantro

~Salt and garlic powder to taste

I chopped up all my ingredients and mixed them together. You can use more or less of any ingredient. This recipe makes enough for about 12 tacos with about a cup to spare. You can also get creative with ways to kick up the spice. This version is pretty mild but that’s how I wanted it to be along side the chorizo.

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I put the salsa in the fridge to chill and then I cooked up my chorizo. Oh the smell! Simply heavenly. You brown chorizo basically the same way you would ground beef or turkey. Once the chorizo is done you’re basically ready to plate.

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For constructing the tacos I had soft flour tortillas, cheese, and fresh avocado. On each tortilla I would put a little chorizo, followed by the cheese, then the avocado slices, and finally the salsa. The only thing missing was a cold Corona with a lime. But ya know. I’m pregnant. So that essential ingredient was left out.

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This recipe is now in my meal rotation. It satisfied my pregnancy craving perfectly. I made 12 tacos in all and I still had about half of my chorizo left (totally ate it with eggs the next morning). All in all this recipe makes about a dozen tacos. I’m also looking forward to experimenting with this recipe a little. Some of my family has dietary restrictions that would make it impossible for them to eat this meal. So I want to try chicken chorizo with a mango salsa that has cucumbers instead of tomatoes (is that even still salsa?). If you give this recipe a try let me know how it goes!

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Tutorial on the tissue flowers coming soon!

Five Easy Looks Fo..

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One of my guilty pleasures is some quiet time spent reading magazines like Glamour and Lucky. I love the inspiration that comes from their beautiful pictures and inspiring stories.

But I have to be honest.

Sometimes the stuff in those magazines is just…ugly. I know it’s high fashion but part of me wonders if that means you have to be high to like it. No seriously! Who walks around wearing that stuff? I mean shoes that look like boxes? What? And purses with the fast food logos? Seriously? New York fashion week is just finishing up and a small (unrealistic) part of me would love to go someday, but the bigger (much more realistic) part of me knows that I wouldn’t “understand” half the pieces walking down the runway.

Anyway… I still love flipping the pages of these magazines with a cup of coffee in hand. I basically have to put all the images I see through the “mom filter”. What’s the “mom filter” you ask? Well basically it’s me saying to myself “I see a lot of potential here. How can I capture this look and not look like a freak? Also, how do I make this look affordable?”. So I took five fall trends from my favorite mags and put them through the “mom filter” just for you. Some items probably still belong on the wish list but I can promise not one piece of clothing is over $100. I added an accessory or two to each look just for a little more color inspiration. Ok here we go!

1) Houndstooth

MoodBoard3 copyHoundstooth seems to be the trend that’s never gone away. It just comes in different forms. In one of the magazines they showcased a very tiny houndstooth skirt. No thanks. So I found one that was more of a tea length (which I think is just so classy). Paired with a comfy tee-shirt and a dark red lip, you’re all set. I don’t know about you, but I really love houndstooth with a little bit of red!

Get this look: Shirt//Madwell, Skirt//Chic Wish, Glasses//Modcloth, Shoes//DSW, Lip Tar//Sephora

2) Flannel w/ Statement Necklace

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This trend is hanging around from last fall but that’s totally ok. That whole “lumber jack chic” is still a thing. You see a lot of flannel with jeans but I decided to pair it with a soft tulle skirt. Flannel is really easy to come by and is quite affordable. Tulle skirts tend to be a little pricey but if you’re crafty enough, you could totally make one yourself! Or if you’re like me and the idea of that horrifies you…then you can find some reasonably priced at Oh Sweet Joy!

Get this look: Skirt//House of Fraser, Shirt//Old Navy, Shoes//Sole Society, Necklace//Jeweliq, Satchel//ASOS, Phone Case//Ban.do

3) Peter Pan Dress

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The Peter Pan collared dress (or blouse) is a go-to piece for this fall. Depending where you are, the dress above might need a sweater. Here in Arizona you could totally get away with this through October. Adding a little gold to your outfit is also an idea for this fall. It takes the outfit up a couple of notches. I don’t know about you, but I often find myself wishing for some of the clothing items I had as a child (in a bigger size obviously). The shoes above are perfect for that. Pretty pretty princess forever!!!

Get This Look: Dress//ModCloth, Shoes//J. Crew (Similar), Earrings//Bauble Bar, Eye Shadow//Urban Decay, Thermal Mug//Ban.do

4) Sweatshirt and Full Skirt

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This trend might be more of a leap for some people. The cozy casual sweatshirt with the fancy skirt. Personally? I’d LOVE to try this look out. Unfortunately I’m not sure how it would look with a giant baby bump but we’ll see. One of the magazines had the causal sweater with a completely sheer maxi. Like I can see your underwear sheer. Why? I just don’t even get that. So I decided the look could be easily accomplished with a little more coverage and class. Also, animal print is still in this fall but it’s all about subtlety sneaking it into your outfit. These flats above do the trick!

Get This Look: Sweater//J. Crew, Skirt//SheInside, Flats//(Similar), Bracelet//Bauble Bar, Journal//Evelyn Henson

5) Neutral Shift Dress

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One thing I’m super guilty of is a colorful closet. I read an article that basically described my color/print addiction. I often find myself standing in my closet taking way too long deciding what to wear. My problem was diagnosed as not having enough “neutrals”. It’s so true! I hardly own anything black, white, or tan! Neutral pieces are good to have because you can build off of them with your other colorful pieces. For this fall, the simple shift dress is very popular. Old Navy has a pretty good selection with reasonable prices. For this outfit I found a simple black shift dress and then built off of that.

Get This Look: Dress//New Look, Scarf//ModCloth, Shoes//Seychelles, Bag//Ruche, Earrings//Kate Spade, Pencils//B is for Bonnie Designs

You could certainly accomplish these looks for even less! Hopefully this is just a good starting point. If you use any of these boards for outfit inspiration take a picture! Post it on Instagram and use the hashtag #baristamommy!

Slow Down Mommy..

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I’m not a huge fan of my plans falling apart.

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Allow me to illustrate…. In my mind I knew exactly how I wanted the weekend to go. A little crafting, reading, Jesus time, church, donuts, family time and a productive meeting. That was not quite what happened. This weekend was a busy one and everything I had planned went out the door. Both nights ended with chocolate chip cookies and The Mindy Project (ok so that part was perfect). I just laugh at myself sometimes. I do all this planning and dreaming and then I crumble at the first sight of things going differently then I’d pictured.

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So while I wanted to spend time sketching out ideas for our little rental and diving into my other new books, I’m not ashamed to say that there was some time spent shedding tears. Can I blame the hormones? Sure. But in all honesty….I know that they were rooted deeper. I was just feeling overwhelmed, too much on my plate and too many things to keep track of.

I have big plans and dreams and I have a hard time saying “no” to new projects and adventures. However, I think this weekend was God calling me to reevaluate all the plates I have spinning in the air. My husband and family are top priority of course. Everything else just needs a good hard look. I’m currently brainstorming out something big and praying about whether God is calling me to move forward or not. But before I can even begin to put it together, I have to look at everything else…. Some will things have to go. That leaves me asking the questions, “What am I still passionate about? What would be impossible to give up? What am I willing to give up?”. The need to simplify is overwhelming but in a good way.

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Especially with baby number three just a few months away (?!?!) it’s time to slow down. It’s time to quiet my heart and just listen. So while yesterday I really wanted to end my day with a glass of wine, I settled for a root beer and enjoyed some quiet family time…

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God is telling me to take a deep breath and slow down.

Which is exactly what I’m going to do.

Naked Champagne Ca..

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If you’re on Pinterest I’m sure you’ve seen these “Naked Cakes”. I was personally drawn to them because I was like “What? I don’t have to frost the whole thing?! Sold!” I also love the rustic and simple look of these cakes.

For my cake I decided to play around with a little champagne that we had in our fridge (not like anyone was going to be drinking it anytime soon.) Perhaps putting champagne in a cake would satisfy my craving for a glass of bubbly (it didn’t).

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So this is what I did….

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I picked up some ordinary white cake mix (you can do a mix from scratch but this mom ain’t got time for that). When it came time to add the water I just substituted about one cup of it with champagne. I did two batches (boxes) for my three layer cake. There was leftover batter and I used it to make some small cupcakes. After the cakes were done I let them cool and popped in my (6) cupcakes to cook.

While the cakes were cooling I worked on the frosting.

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I made a simple buttercream frosting and incorporated some champagne while it was mixing. It took a little bit of taste testing to get the consistency and taste just right. I didn’t want the frosting to be too sweet but I also didn’t want it to be bitter either. After I had finally gotten it right, I put it in the refrigerator to set. Chilled frosting is much easier to work with.

By this time my cakes had cooled. I carefully transferred them to plates and then flipped them back over so that their tops were up. Taking a butter knife, I carefully sliced off the rounded part of the first two cake layers. By taking of the rounded tops, it would allow the cakes to stack more evenly.

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I frosted layer by layer (secretly rejoicing that I didn’t have to do the whole thing) and then went back and added a little extra in-between each layer. You could probably do a little messy piping in-between as well. I think that’s why I love this whole naked cake trend, it’s seriously so hard to mess up. It’s just…whatever. It’s a hipster cake if you will. Someday my grandkids will see this cake and be like “Grandma, why didn’t you finish the cake?”. To which I’ll respond “It was just another crazy trend… like my fake glasses and chunky headbands”.

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And my little cupcakes… I left these unfrosted for Peter and James.

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If you decide to give the recipe a try here is what you’ll need:

~Two boxes of white cake mix

~A bottle of dry champagne

~6 eggs

~Vegetable oil (or coconut oil)

~Powdered sugar

~1 stick of butter

~Vanilla extract

Simple Instructions:

~Bake the cakes like the box directs but substitute one cup of water for champagne.

~In a mixer, combine the butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar with one table spoon of champagne. Alternate adding a splash of champagne with powdered sugar until you have the consistency/taste you are looking for. (Some people may prefer more or less of a boozy frosting). If you need liquid but don’t want to use anymore champagne, you can add a splash or two of milk.

~Let the frosting chill for at least 30 minutes.

~Slice off rounded tops of your two bottom layers of cake with a butter knife.

~Frost the tops and layer your cake. Then touch up the sides.

~Add flowers or berries to the top and you’re done!

If you give this recipe a try I’d love to see your results! Also… I have a champagne cake in my fridge that needs to be eaten… let me know if you can help! :)

Five Favorites Vol..

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Last week I mentioned that we had some of my siblings staying with us while my parents were out of town. We we had a great time! Then the stomach bug hit. So not only was I getting a taste of taking care of 7 kids (Aria included!) but I got to experience the plague with 7 kids as well! Not everyone was hit but Andrew was, and not having him to help me out was ROUGH. The night after the sickness hit, I made sure I was ready for whatever was headed my way. I was doing air kicks and punches to get myself pumped. All the kids slept on towels (for easy vomit clean up) and I lined up my go to cleaning products on the kitchen counter. Of course no one else got sick that night. Of course. The night I was prepared…. Isn’t that always how it goes though?

While last week was hard, it was so worth it. I loved the time with my siblings and we created some fun memories together. It was also a good reminder that motherhood is in the little things too. I don’t feel like super mom when I’m cleaning vomit off of the floors at 3 a.m. I feel like super mom when we have adventures and everyone is in bed by 8:00. But the truth of the matter is that being super mom is in the big things AND the little things. Like Momma T (Mother Theresa) said “Do small things with great love”. Even though I want to hide under the table when one of my kids has a blowout diaper at a restaurant…I don’t. I take a deep breath and do it with all the love I can muster. Motherhood is in the details…The small, lovely little details.

Here are my current Five Favorite things that help remind me to love the details.

1) Honest Bug Spray

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Poor Peter. He was a mosquito feast on Sunday. The monsoon season here in Tucson is wonderful but it sets up those little blood suckers pretty well. I picked up this bug spray from Honest Co. I’ve heard some good reviews about it so I’m really hoping it makes a difference! You can find this stuff at Target, Buy Buy Baby and online.

2) Thank You Cards

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Peter and James were blessed with many wonderful gifts on their birthday. Since they can’t write out thank you notes yet….That job falls on me. I found these cute golden whale cards at Target. Once the boys are old enough to write out their own cards they can pick their own cards. In the meantime? Mommy picks :) ALL THE GOLD!

3) Magnet Letters

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I love seeing Peter’s world open up before him. I love seeing him “read” books by himself, “counting” his toys, and even doing his best to pray the rosary with me. I got him these wooden magnet letters to play with on the fridge. I can’t wait of the day when it all finally clicks and I start seeing his words on the refrigerator! These are from the Melissa and Doug toy company.

4) Baby Wipes

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Earlier I mentioned a blow-out diaper at the restaurant… Really wish these were around then! Huggies now makes this cute little wipes clutch. Genius! Just wrap around the wrist and suddenly you’re actually able to wrestle your baby onto the changing station! Also those changing stations are so small. Now I can hang the wipes from the purse hook in the stall and I can avoid the constant juggle of wipes, clean diaper, dirty diaper and sanity. You can pretty much find these wherever wipes are sold! Thanks Huggies.

5) “Pork chops and Applesauce!”

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Ok no pork chops but applesauce for sure. Sometimes getting the boys to eat something is like the hardest thing in the world. That’s why I love these little applesauce packets. Both Peter and James will down these guys in seconds and I’ll instantly feel like a halfway decent mom. Fruit! I’ll take it! Most grocery stores carry these little guys.

Well that’s it folks! Go do small things with great love!

Dressing The Bump

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So happy that I can finally say it’s September! We are closer to meeting baby Aria, the weather (in theory) should be getting cooler, football is starting and pumpkin things are happening! Summer is my favorite season by far but fall is a close second.

Much to my dismay, it is already getting harder to dress the bump. Getting excited about fall trends helps ease some of my frustrations. During the weekend it was well over 100 but I busted out a little bit of fall anyway.

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I’m a huge fan of loose and flowy tops. Since that is hard to accomplish during pregnancy I just have to make do. This high low top drapes on both sides giving it a very relaxed look. It’s also super comfy and breathable.

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Then I added my favorite fake glasses, fall-ish earrings and some red lips.

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Then because I just couldn’t wait any longer… I put on some ankle boots. This outfit is basically my transition from summer to fall.

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24 weeks!

photo 3 copyShirt//Caralase (on sale!), Glasses//Thrifted, Earring//Gifted (Similar), Jeans//Old Navy, Boots//Target

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My lovely photographer Gabi Helms. Photos edited by Barista Mommy.

Hope everyone has a great short week!

5 Tips For Prenata..

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Waiting in the doctors office can be a pain. The magazines are old, the room smells funny, and the elevator music is most certainly from one of Dante’s Circles of Hell. However, for some reason all of that doesn’t matter to me when I’m pregnant. I love my prenatal appointments. It’s a little bit of “me” time that I don’t get very often. I do my best to make the most of my time and just focus on myself and the little baby in my womb. So for those prego mamas that find your appointments to be a drag, here are some tips that will hopefully help make the time a little more enjoyable.

1. Leave early! I always try to drop the boys off with my mom about 10 minutes ahead of schedule so that I have time to stop for coffee or tea. At my first prenatal appointment (this time around) the lady handed me my pee cup right next to my iced coffee. A funny moment that made me laugh inside. Oh, pregnant life! It’s really nice to have a little something to sip on while driving in the car and waiting for my name to be called. I hardly ever stop for coffee or tea with the boys (too much effort) so this is a special something I always look forward to. I also hate being late but as a mom it is sometimes unavoidable. If I have some motivation to leave early then I never stress about being late!

2. Take that baby bump selfie! If selfies offend you then skip over this one…. I love documenting a growing belly. I like to snap a picture of my bump in the bathroom while I’m waiting for my pee test. How else am I supposed to pass those 60 seconds? Anyway… When I have appointments that means I actually get to leave the house so I plan out an outfit. That also needs documentation.

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3. Bring something to pass the time! I know most of us have our cell phones to keep us busy and that’s fine. However, when I go to the doctor’s I bring my current book and at least two notebooks. I swear I get more reading/list-making/blog-planning done in my 30-minute wait than I do all day at home.

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4. Treat yourself! After your appointment…celebrate! Last month after I finished my appointment, I grabbed some lunch for my husband and I. I brought it to his office and we had a little date! Thankfully his work isn’t too far from the doctor’s office. Obviously since my weight gain is right on track, I had to blow it on some deliciousness.

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5. Wear comfy clothes! Kinda piggybacking off of number two…. Wear something you feel good in, wear your favorite shoes, or add some color to your lips. I chose to wear some peach leggings and an XL top (that I actually think is a dress?) from Forever 21. My baby bump had room to breath and I felt like myself. Add some red lips and boom! Done.

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I hope these tips help you like they help me! Moms always need a little alone time and it’s important to get it whenever/wherever we can. For all you pregnant mommies out there…what are your tips and tricks for making prenatal visits more enjoyable?

Five Favorites Vol..

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Well the Starbuck house is full this week! While my parents take Marisa to college (Ave Maria University), the rest of my siblings are staying with us. We went from three kids to seven in a matter of hours! Peter and James love having their aunts and uncles at their house. We are so excited for Marisa and this wonderful adventure she is beginning but we are still going to miss her A LOT. Yesterday morning when I came to pick the kids up I brought over donuts. That’s how we deal with our feelings. We eat them.

While we are doing our best to stay busy, I thought I’d put together some of my favorites for this week.

1. Emily Ley

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I discovered Emily Ley about a year ago. I absolutely love her products. So fresh, clean and simple. She designs them with the busy mom in mind which is perfect for me. The pages of her home base binder do everything from finances to meal planning. I’m really looking forward to her Simplified Life Planner (daily) which will be available soon! I also really like her evening journal, “I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.” It is a great way to reflect on my day and basically do a giant brain dump. I sleep so much better if I’ve illegibly poured my heart and soul onto a piece of paper before bed.

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About a month before we knew what we were having, my mom bought a few little girl things at a boutique in Scottsdale. It was a risk for sure but I felt really confident that it was girl. Now that we know, it’s just so fun seeing cute girl things and knowing that I can actually get them. Last pink tutu on the rack? 6-9 months? $6? Done. I was picking up bigger shorts for James when it dawned on me that I could actually venture to the “girl side” of the store. Aria totally scored a “Little Sister” onesie that day.

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One day as I went down the rabbit hole of bloggers on Instagram, I found this little shop on Etsy called “The Object Enthusiast”. I was immediately drawn to all her work. The details were incredible and I couldn’t get enough of the gold. I ordered one ring plate as a gift and I needed it by a certain date. She assured me it would get there in time. Then a few days before the event, I noticed it still hadn’t shipped. I soon received a very apologetic message from the shop owner telling me she was overnighting it and that she was including a little something extra to make up for the delay. She included a second plate! So so sweet.

4. Arrow and Bark

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Shocker. More headbands. I found Arrow and Bark a couple weeks back and was super excited about their pretty selection and great prices. These headbands are soft, snug and fit my big head. I can wear them with my hair down, up, in braid etc. I can’t seem to stress enough how amazing headbands (especially these nice wide ones) are on the “didn’t get to shower days”. So you can add this to my ever growing list of headband love.

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My sweet friend Danielle is getting married in just a few months! Over the weekend I attended her bridal shower (styled by Brianna Rose Photography). It was so lovely! The colors and decorations were just perfect. If ever there was a party to capture who Danielle is…this was it.

Ok. The noise level in my house has now tripled. Time for more coffee.