Purchase With A Purpose

As we begin to switch gears into the holiday season, I wanted to touch on a subject near and dear to my heart.

PurchasewPurpose Every year, as we approach Christmas, my hubby and I have a discussion about being purposeful with our purchases and gift giving. Really, we try to do this year round, but if I’m being completely honest with you, it doesn’t always happen that way. There are those lists of reasons in my head while I SHOULD purchase with a purpose. But it all adds up, doesn’t it? Sometimes shopping wisely, isn’t so cost efficient. But if I would just make do with buying less and planned out my purchases a bit more, it really wouldn’t be a problem. Retail therapy can get the best of all of us sometimes (myself included). Cheap clothing and deal sites can be addictive. But those great prices often come at a cost – like humane treatment and fair wages of garment workers around the world. Simply by putting our money towards companies with ethical business practices, we are taking a stand.

So for the next week or so, I wanted to put my focus on highlighting some of my favorite companies that help you spend your money wisely. It might just be a couple bucks here or there, but how we spend our money can really make an impact in someone’s life. And who knows…maybe little by little it will make a difference in labor practices someday.

But really y’all…how much more meaningful is it when you receive a gift with a story, right? Those are my favorite kinds.

So stay tuned because starting on Black Friday, I will be sharing some gift giving ideas that will really make a difference! Together we can make the world a better place.

TDD_Siggy

The Perfect Tree

TDD_PerfectTree The perfect tree looks different to everyone. That’s part of what makes it so fun. To me, the perfect tree is…

  • Not too tall to put the star on top
  • No big gaping holes or spaces
  • Full and luscious, like my dream lashes
  • Fragrant and freshly cut

It is a glorious hunt every year. And thankfully it keeps getting easier, as my husband has learned what I look for and can assist me in finding the perfect one.

TDD_Tree_01 But best of all is the memories we make. Breaking out our snow pants for the first time this season. Riding the kiddie train as they bundle up our tree. Enjoying a candy cane and hot cocoa on the drive home. Warm potato soup for dinner.

TDD_Tree_03 TDD_Tree_04 What’s tradition if you don’t enjoy it, right? What are your favorite holiday traditions?

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TDD_Siggy

Comfort is Key

I’m pretty sure we all know the basic rules of what to wear (and what NOT to wear) to someone else’s wedding, right? Don’t wear white. Don’t steal the show. Nothing too flashy. Try not to match the bridesmaids. Pay attention to time and season of the wedding.

Yadda yadda yadda!

TDD_Katy_01 And yet, I don’t know about YOU, but I start sweating every time I pick out an outfit for such event. Most of my friends are already married, so weddings are becoming a little more rare and baby showers more the norm. Needless to say, I’m a little out of practice.

TDD_Katy_02 Fortunately I had the luxury of a bit of spending money this time. I snagged my bestie and my daughter for a trip to Francesca’s (and a couple dozen other stops) until we found the perfect dress.

TDD_Katy_03 TDD_Katy_04 When I first tried it on, I thought… There is no way I can wear this dress to a wedding. The neon green and golden embellishments might classify it under the “too flashy” category. And yet after trying on several dresses this was not only my favorite, but my husband’s as well. So I decided to bite the bullet and take it home.

TDD_Katy_05 TDD_Katy_06 At the end of the day, I decided if anything was going to look flashy, it was going to be my hair. And since I wasn’t going to change my hair color simply for a wedding, I decided the dress would be the least of my worries.

TDD_Katy_07 TDD_Katy_08 But you know what? I think it worked. I mean, I didn’t take a survey or anything…but I felt comfortable and to me – that is key!

Shop This Look:
Dress: Francesca’s
Earrings: Noonday Collection
Bracelets: World Market

TDD_Siggy

Calling All Katy Fans!

What exactly do you wear to a Katy Perry concert? Honestly, until recently I had never put a whole lot of thought into it. But a couple weeks ago now, my bestie and I had the opportunity of a lifetime! A local mom (whom I had never even met) was selling some Katy Perry concert tickets just a week before the show at face value. That alone was exciting. But to call my best friend and casually mention it to her and have her practically scream in the phone “I have that day off!” was exhilarating! The two of us had been wanting to have some girl time for quite a while now and boy, did we score big time!

TDD_Katycat_02 We took the opportunity to turn ourselves into “Katycats” (self-proclaimed Katy fanatics) even if just for the weekend. (Admittedly, we love Katy all the time. But we surely don’t fit into the “fanatic” category, if I do say so myself.) We decked out in bright colors, animal print, and purple hair. And don’t forget the dramatic makeup and fake eyelases to boot!

TDD_Katycat_06 TDD_Katycat_07

TDD_Katycat_08 TDD_Katycat_09 I don’t know if you have ever been to a Katy Perry concert, but it is quite the event. Like her, love her, hate her…you can’t deny that she is a talented vocalist and puts on a very entertaining show. She had costume after costume change (I read somewhere online it was about 13 of them?!? I didn’t count.) and dance after dance and her vocals were still strong! We had an amazing time dancing, singing, and screaming!

TDD_Katycat_03 I may or may not have had a voice the next day.

Nights like this make me wonder why I don’t go to concerts more often. What’s the best concert you’ve ever seen?

TDD_Siggy

 

(Kid Friendly) Coconut Curry Soup

TDD_CoconutCurry To anyone who knows me, it is clear that I have an affinity for Thai food. My hubby and I shied away from it for a while. We were introduced to it by Phad Thai lovers. Not that we have anything against Phad Thai…it’s just not the most impressive Thai dish (in my humble opinion).

We kept trying it over the years and, I have to say, it has become a favorite of mine! I’m just not sure that there is a dish I don’t like. Now it is one of our favorite date night destinations (when it comes to food).

However, Thai food in general is pretty tricky to duplicate at home. I have a bazillion dishes pinned that I just don’t make simply because it requires unique ingredients that I don’t keep stocked in my house (maybe you do…maybe you’re cooler than me).

One particular summer evening, however, I had quite the hankering for a coconut curry flavoring. Knowing that my hubby probably wouldn’t be a fan of driving across town to pick it up after work, I decided to just go for it.

This recipe is based on several recipes that I combined, simply based off what I had on hand.

Note: This might be picture overload, but that’s who I roll…so roll with me, ok? ;)

TDD_CoconutCurry_01 To start, heat up some olive oil in a wok.  Add the ginger and garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant. Mmmm…

TDD_CoconutCurry_02 Cut your veggies according to your preference. I prefer them in long slices, but my kids would rather they be in bite size pieces. This was our happy medium.

TDD_CoconutCurry_03 Add in the remainder of your veggies and saute until soft, about five minutes on my cooktop.

TDD_CoconutCurry_05 TDD_CoconutCurry_06 While that is cooking, I prepare my “chicken broth”. You can of course use a store bought one, it is just easier to keep my Better Than Bouillon on hand and make it as needed.

TDD_CoconutCurry_07 Leftover rotisserie is my favorite in soups. This is what I had leftover from dinner a couple nights ago, so I just decided to use this. Of course, if you don’t happen to have rotisserie in your house, you could cut up a chicken breast or shred it or even skip the meat all together and make a vegetarian version (it is equally delicious, I just add more veggies to maintain consistency).

TDD_CoconutCurry_08 Once I have added the chicken to the wok, I season it with salt and pepper.

TDD_CoconutCurry_09 We buy our red curry sauce from Trader Joes and we have been really happy with it. You can adjust the spice in your soup by adding more or less of this stuff. Sometimes I add a little more and just give the kids an extra cup of milk at the dinner table. Now that they know they like it they don’t question it :)

TDD_CoconutCurry_10 TDD_CoconutCurry_11 Add the sugar…

TDD_CoconutCurry_12 And soy sauce (gluten free if needed)…

TDD_CoconutCurry_13 Mix in the coconut milk and broth. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.

TDD_CoconutCurry_14 Fresh cilantro totally makes this recipe (along with many other things). But seriously, don’t skip it. Mmmm…

TDD_CoconutCurry_15 Once you mix in that cilantro, it is ready to serve!!! I love it over brown rice with a little lime squeezed into it. Sooo delish!

TDD_CoconutCurry_16 Coconut Curry Soup

Ingredients:
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs garlic, minced
1 knob ginger, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
6 mushrooms, sliced
handful snap peas, cut in 3rds
leftover rotisserie chicken, in thin pieces
3 tsp red curry sauce (more or less to control spice)
1 Tbs sugar
3 tbs soy sauce
1 cup coconut milk
3 cups chicken broth
fresh cilantro
salt and pepper
lime, squeezed (optional)

Directions:
In a wok, add olive oil, ginger, and garlic until fragrant. Then add in the remainder of veggies. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Add red curry, sugar, and soy sauce. Mix well. Stir in coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir in fresh cilantro and serve over brown rice. Squeeze in some fresh lime, if preferred.

Now let me  be honest for a moment here…I kind of cringed when I added “kid friendly” to the title. What my kid will eat is not necessarily what your kid will eat and vice versa. And yet, I kept it just to make it clear that you can adjust the amount of spice in this recipe to suit your family. You could also adjust the veggies to your family’s tastes if you wish.

TDD_CoconutCurry_17 Is this something you think you might try? It is seriously one of our family favorites now (not to mention what’s for dinner tonight). It was a regular all summer long and now has also become a fall staple. I hope you enjoy it too!

TDD_Siggy

Six

I can hardly believe six years has passed since God brought this little man into my life and made me a mama. What a blessing it is to watch this little guy grow up!

CVBphotography-22 It is amazing how much you can change in one year. I have seen him overcome obstacles and push past his fear and try a LOT of new things. I am so proud of the little man he has become and so blessed to be called his mama.

CVBphotography-113 Every year in celebration of my little Hollywood, I ask him the same 20 questions. It is so fun to look back and compare his answers year to year.

20 QUESTIONS

CVBphotography-23 Happy Birthday Hollywood!!!

TDD_Siggy

 

Top Three Tuesday: Fall Fashion

It’s that time again! I am brimming with excitement and yet dreading it with my entire being. I know. I just completely contradicted myself. But now you know how I feel about Fall.

On the fashion spectrum it is probably my favorite season. The layers of texture just make my heart feel cozy. But thinking of the nine months of grey and rain ahead of me has me wanting to pull out my hair and scream! I seriously thank the Lord that Fall fashion is so awesome, otherwise I would be in true misery. If you think I’m kidding, then you don’t know how severely the weather affects me…

On to the happy stuff!

Top3Tuesday

OversizedTops Now I’m not talking baggy and frumpy. Please don’t go pull your hubby’s tshirt out of his closet for your next trip to Target. That’s not the look we are going for. Drapey and romantic fabrics are more what I have in mind.

TDD_Oversized Tops one / two / three / four

Wow – what a great season to hide a pregnancy, right?!? Now don’t get any ideas. I’m not hinting. We are perfectly content with two at the moment. I’m still mourning my baby boy heading off to Kindergarten.

Vests I have been pinning vests in all shapes and sizes lately. You can find everything from denim, to sheers, to sweaters. There is a little something, no matter what your personal taste is! This is such a perfect way to transition into cooler weather! Just try layering a vest over a summery dress and add a killer pair of boots. POOF! Instant style!

TDD_Vests one / two / three / four / five / six

WesternInfluence

From wide brimmed hats to fringed kimonos to aztec prints…we are seeing Western influence in many fall fashions! And it is perfect for anyone wanting to take the jeans and tshirt to the next level.

TDD_Western Influence one / two / three / four

So what do you think of my top three? Do you see yourself incorporating any of these into your wardrobe this fall? Let me know in the comments below!

TDD_Siggy

Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Okay

Other titles I contemplated for this post:

The Day I’ve Dreaded My Entire Life
Today Starts The Next 12 Years of My Life
Slave To The School Schedule
My Eye Are Puffy and The Day Hasn’t Even Started
Kindy, Here We Come!
Do I Have To Wake Up This Early Every Day?
Baby Bird Leaves The Nest
Stop Crying, Mom!
Can You Just Pretend To Miss Me?
So…Do I Just Walk Home Now?
Barely Holding It Together
Hunny, You’re Gonna Have To Carry Me
I Left My Heart At Kindergarten
What Do You Do With a 3 Year Old All Day?
Is It Three O’ Clock Yet?

Today was harder than I thought it would be. Not really. In fact, it was way WAY worse in my head. But it was still really hard. I cried myself to sleep, and my husband didn’t even laugh at me. I mean, he laughed WITH me, but not at me. But mostly he just held me and  reminded me how ready our boy is. How excited our boy is.

TDD_SCHOOL_01 And boy, is he! At 8:30pm I had to remind him that air horn noises weren’t an appropriate form of singing ourselves to sleep, not to mention it might wake up his sister. His mind was “spinning” he said. He was too excited to sleep. I reminded him that the sun can’t come out until he goes to sleep. Eventually he stopped spinning enough to sleep.

TDD_SCHOOL_02 This morning, I couldn’t get more than a bowl of cereal into his tummy. I even offered pancakes, which he refused because cereal was “quicker”. He probably would have ran to school if I hadn’t insisted on holding his hand the whole way.

TDD_SCHOOL_03 I was even that mom when dropping him off at his classroom. His teacher kindly said “I’ve got him, you can go now!” and took him by the hand. I still snapped a couple more pictures and even followed him to his desk before backing out of the room blowing kisses that were never returned.

TDD_SCHOOL_04 Now my heart is walking around outside of my body and far beyond my view. And I somehow have to learn to live with it this way. Some say I will even grow to like it. I can’t even imagine. But I’m trying.

TDD_SCHOOL_05

TDD_Siggy

Back To School: Gap

Whether you have been following along for a while or this is your first time here, I just wanted to say WELCOME! I’m glad you are here.

This week I have been sharing my favorite back to school shopping spots. As I mentioned before, this is the first year I’m sending a kid off from school. So while I am posting my favorite fashions, I would love to hear from you veterans how different brands have held up during the school year for your family! So please don’t forget to chime in in the comments below!

Today’s top picks come from Gap Kids. I know, right? The classics. For the most part, Gap is a little over my budget. I mean, who likes to drop a lot of money on kids that are sprouting up and outgrowing their clothes in a matter of months?!? Not me, that’s for sure. I’d rather spend that money on my own clothes that I will wear until they have holes (and often far beyond that), thank you very much.

That being said, I chose to share some picks from here ANYWAY simply because…there are certain things I am willing to spend a little more on.

GAPBOYS 1. Boys Beanie / 2.  Boys Convertible Plaid Shirt / 3. Boys Camo Backpack
4. Boys Skinny Jeans / 5. Boys Lace-Up Sneakers

For one – their skinny jeans! Both my kids are beanpoles (skinny and tall) and I have a hard time finding jeans that fit them. We can always find a true fit with Gap’s skinny jeans. Always. Plus…they hold up far better than any other jeans I can find locally. Even when the knees get holes, they wear out in that trendy distressed way (you know, rather than ripping seam to seam and looking awful).

Shoes are another thing I’m willing to spend a little more on. I don’t buy every pair here (in fact if you’ve been following along, I’m sure you saw me mention my love of H&M shoes). But nothing is more frustrating than a pair of shoes wearing out before they even outgrow them, right? With an exception of a couple cheap pairs for running around and being wild, I try to always have at least one pair of GOOD shoes that can take a beating and still look nice. Hollywood’s boots, being a prime example.

Now if I am going to be completely honest with you, I will say that for the most part, little girl’s clothes at Gap are a little to plain Jane for me. Everybody needs some neutrals and classic pieces in their wardrobe, and that’s what I find here. But for the truly “fun” stuff there are other stops I will make first.

GAPGIRLS 1. Girls Wide Brim Fedora / 2. Girls Boxy Zip Sweater / 3. Girls Denim Jacket
4. Girls Moto Skinnies / 5. Girls Starry Messenger Bag (sold out since creating this post)
6. Girls Caramel Ballet Flats

Denim jackets, jeans, and sweaters are all things that will stay in style season after season. I try to buy them with a little room (without looking too baggy) so that my little lady can wear them for several months (sometimes years…she is a peanut after all) before retiring them to the “too small” bin.

I can’t forget to mention backpacks! Besides my pure disdain of character school supplies and clothing, (sorry – I said it!) I have heard from so many moms how they don’t hold up through the school year. I happily spend a little more on backpacks from places like Gap in hopes we can get more than a year out of it (maybe…I hear how crazy those Kindy kids are too)!

TDD_Siggy

Be sure to also check out my picks from H&M and Target!

Back To School: Target

This week I am touching on my favorite stops for back to school shopping.

I think for most of us, Target is a no brainer. I mean, you can find everything at Target, right?!? Since I’m already there picking up school supplies (and having my weekly sanity run) I might as well take a peek at the clothes.

Now a couple warnings (for the few who weren’t already aware) about Target clothes. If you have a small Kindy student (like I do) they might be a bit in between sizes. Since Hollywood is tall and skinny, anything I get in the toddler section is too small after one wash (or fits perfect very briefly as he is sprouting constantly). But clothes in the boys section are still a bit big. Now…I haven’t washed any of them yet, so I’m hoping that helps. But there were a few things I have to return because after trying them on at home I decided it was gigantic. Thankfully boys look pretty darn cute in baggy clothes. Girls clothes isn’t as forgiving.

Second, finding the best deal can be a little tricky. I have a really hard time paying full price for kids clothes. And yet, when I wait too long then once they go on sale my size is sold out. I haven’t found the perfect balance yet. There may be someone out there who has mastered this…if that is you! Would you please help a girl out? I would love your secrets!

Alright, on to the goodies. My Cocoa doesn’t fit in little girls clothes yet, so it was a bit dreamy putting together my favorites. That being said, I was also shocked at how much of the selection looked way too grown up for the age group it was intended for! I’m all for dressing my daughter like a mini-me, but I don’t see the need for styles that make them appear to have a cinched waist?!? She is a little girl for crying out loud! Last thing I need is body image issues starting in Kindergarten.

Okay, rant over. :)

TARGETGIRLS

1. Girls Double Flower Headband / 2. Girls Anorak Jacket / 3. Girls HiLow Tunic
4. Girls Overalls / 5. Girls Kimono

The kimono in particular I tried on Cocoa in a size small. Super big on her tiny frame, but I’m hoping if they restock it in extra-small I will have better luck. It’s just too darn adorable! And those overalls??? Swoon. I could see them paired with leggings and boots.

TDDatTarget Being that this was my first time actually shopping in the boys’ department, I was pretty excited. There are a lot more styles to choose from, that’s for sure! Hollywood was a huge fan of the colors and style of the Shaun White collection, so we brought home a lot of it. (Okay, some. I mean how many tshirts does a kid need, right?)

TARGETBOYS

1. Boys Hooded Jean Jacket / 2. Boys Sweatshirt / 3. Boys Baseball Tee
4. Boys Shaun White Tees / 5. Boys Striped Beanie / 6. Boys Skinny Denim

This beanie is a favorite of mine. I have a little boy who lives in hats so I sure hope that he can continue wearing them at school.

TDDTarget I would love to hear from YOU, my readers! What are your favorites from my Target picks? And where else do you love to do your school shopping for your kiddos? Let me know in the comments below.

TDD_Siggy