getting older, Jimmy Fallon, and my favorite love story

I haven’t posted in some time. It’s definitely from lack of motivation as opposed to not enough material to write about. Perhaps that lack of motivation is because I turned THIRTY this month!

Thirty doesn’t seem much different than 29, with the exception that I have this overwhelming feeling I need to get my sh** together. Sure, I have a home and a family and goals. That’s pushing it, I have a home and a family. But in your 20’s you feel as though your sort of invincible. You can get away with making really stupid decisions because your just a dumb 22 year old. But giving someone in traffic the middle finger when you have your two young children in the car? Just doesn’t seem acceptable anymore.  Or eating those 4 extra slices of cake. You want to believe you have this youthful metabolism, and then two days later your pants don’t fit. While time is still very much on my side, I might work a little harder at achieving some things I mentioned earlier, goals.

I have spectacular friends and family who have celebrated with me all month. A husband who sent me flowers and chocolates on my birthday since he wasn’t home to celebrate. Dinner and drinks with my ladies during the week and the absolute BEST surprise party ever.

Any one who knows me, understands my love for Jimmy Fallon. So a Tonight Show party was the greatest idea ever and my friends and family pulled it off beautifully. It was a night for the books.


I am very lucky to have a group of people around that are so hilarious. They all dressed up and played ridiculous games with me and made me feel incredible.


The weekend after I took my first solo trip ever since having kids to visit my best friend/sister in law, who is getting married this spring. We had a quick weekend planned to go dress shopping and squeeze in as much as we could in the 72 hours we had together. I got to see my favorite familiar faces. Meet new tiny ones. Dance and drink the night away at old stomping grounds and see one of my favorite peeps play music live. I ate my heart out at my favorite restaurants and was honored to take some pictures and capture a little piece of a love story that’s dear to my heart. These guys are really special to me.

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It’s been an eventful and exciting month and has made me realize that there isn’t anything else I need in this world. Except maybe a few more beach days.

When I imagined turning thirty when I was, say 20, I thought I would feel distinguished. Refined. Sophisticated. While I have moments when I feel those things, one thing getting older has taught me has been to really hone in what makes you a human being. A being that feels like you are complete and at peace with your existence. Which is a lot harder than one would think. I spent years trying to make aspects of my life like someone else’s. Small details, like how I dressed or talked. What music I listened to. Etc.  Then I got married. And even when you don’t notice it, you attempt to make small details of your spouse more in tune with what you picture to be this ideal relationship. I started a family and those subtleties crept into the daily lives of my children. Buying every trendy outfit I saw on Instagram. Documenting and hashtagging their every move. Do you know how many You Tube videos you need to watch on how to pencil in your eyebrows before you feel like an idiot? For me, it was around 10. Then it all comes full circle when you spent $60 on an outfit for your toddler, that they have worn one time because it was so expensive you don’t want to ruin it, and let’s face it, that kid ruins everything he touches. And your husband you can tell really wants to strangle you but doesn’t because, well the obvious reasons. I hold nothing against those that choose to do such things but for me personally it made me realize, I’m doing things for all the wrong reasons. I love supporting small businesses and local, but it was deeper than that. Do I really care how cute my kids look? Sure, but what really matters is, do they know how much I love them? Do they know that it’s okay to be unique and silly and independent? It’s easy to live a cookie cutter lifestyle and buy everything you need to have this picturesque family and home life. What’s hard? Building it from the inside out. Being strong and fearless and not giving in to peoples expectations and living your life like you want. Putting yourself in the drivers seat and taking the road less traveled is scary, and a lot of work and forces you to think outside the box. But in doing so, I’ve learned it pushes me to be creative in the best way possible. When I compare myself to no one, it’s so much simpler to deal with letdowns. There is no mold for me, so when I make mistakes, I grow and learn and move on. I’ve realized I need to step back from social media and acknowledge it’s only there for my entertainment and inspiration. Because it’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that when I let it consume my day, it chokes out everything that makes me who I am as a person. That might seem dramatic but it’s true. I start to compare my clothing, my makeup, my house, how smart my kids are, and every other stupid detail that no one should care about. I want to see what my friends are up to, what adventure my sister in on, the amazing pictures my brother in law takes, where in the country my brother is. The silly things my husband posts at work and the hilarious videos my sister in law finds that I can laugh cry myself to sleep at night with. It’s taken thirty years to discover that when you take off the rose colored glasses, life is raw and beautiful. You’ll appreciate what makes your life real and meaningful and you’ll see it’s so much easier to just be yourself instead of what you think you should be. Own it. Embrace it. Respect it. I have a snaggle tooth because I didn’t wear my retainer after I had braces and most mornings my hair makes me look like Earl McCracken. I still have to count on my fingers and am REALLY bad at keeping my car cleaned out. I let my children be wild and destructive at times because I’m tired and don’t want to deal with it. I’m notorious for leaving clothes in the dryer for days before folding it, and more often than not I get defensive before I’ll admit I’m wrong. But you know what? I’m a pretty good cook, am rather crafty and give really good back rubs. I’m good at finding awesome scores when thrift store shopping and can make a mean mango margarita.  I’m an amateur photographer and have a decent green thumb. I am far from perfect but am perfectly okay with that.





up your soup game: tomato style

I love once it gets cold enough to make soups. It’s a simple plan for dinner and most of my favorite recipes are one pot wonders. One that my family really loves is the classic tomato soup with grilled cheese. What makes it even better is when the tomato soup is homemade. This recipe is so simple and tasty I make it every time and we rarely, if ever, eat it from the can anymore. It’s ingredients are ones I always have on hand so when we get the hankering for a hot bowl of soup, I whip this one up.

It starts with your basics. Carrot, celery, onion and garlic.


Next up are a few pantry items, like canned tomatoes and chicken broth. Half and half is always in the fridge since we are coffee drinkers. And it’s rarely expired unlike the one in the picture.

Drain a can of tomatoes, reserving the juice. You are going to add this to the soup later. Throw your drained tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. It will be a mushy mess. That’s ok, it’s all going to get blended up anyway. These get roasted for about 15 minutes in a 450 degree oven.


While your toms are roasting away, saute your chopped veggies in olive oil. Add your broth, bay leaf and butter and reserved juices. You’ll pull out your pan of tomatoes and throw those in as well. Cook until your veggies are tender. Mix in chopped basil ( fresh if you have it, if not, dried works great) and cream. CAREFULLY pour into a blender, when it splatters it’s extremely hot so take care. Or maybe you have an immulsion blender and can save yourself the trouble. I like to blend mine until it’s just smooth, but leave some some chunks. I like my tomato soup a bit rustic. Pour it back into your pot and add the second can of tomatoes, juice and all. Heat and serve to your starving guests. If you wish to blend it all together, not leaving any tomatoes whole, you can certainly add that second can in before you blend it.

It’s hands down one of my favorite soup recipes because it’s so easy to throw together yet seems like you’ve slaved on it for hours. It’s fresh and filling and I’m sure will please any crowd you serve it up to!


tomato soup

not your average chicken salad

Everyone has their easy go to recipe. Whether it’s because it’s simple to throw together or because your family loves it, you have that ace in your pocket you know is a crowd pleaser. For us, it’s chicken salad. We often buy rotisserie chickens and keep the shredded meat on hand for quick meals or snacks. A little prep goes a long way, especially with busy schedules. When we start to get down to bits and pieces I love to make chicken salad for sandwiches or wraps.

But sometimes it’s fun to change it up. I saw this idea in a magazine and incorporated it into my usual recipe.


They are a great substitute for any one not liking chicken or perhaps you have a vegetarian in the mix. And if I do say so myself, this is up there with one of my favorite trade outs for a recipe. And it’s incredibly easy.


All you need is one can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), grapes, apples, celery, and walnuts. By all means if you have a different recipe you like better, just change out your chicken for beans and give it a try! I used about 15 grapes, one small apple, 2 celery stalks and approx 1/2 cup walnuts.

Slice up all your fruits and veggies.


I’ve made this two ways. One not smashing the beans and one with. It’s much better and easier to eat with them smashed up. Just an easy smash with a fork. Be sure you rinse and drain them first. No likes syrupy beans.


Toast your walnuts, if they are raw, like mine were. Untoasted ones just taste really bitter to me. Just a few minutes in a hot pan. Let them cool and chop up to add at the end.


Now onto the dressing. This makes more than what I choose to dress my salad with, but I tend to like a drier salad. Some like it really coated, this gives you room to play with it.


1/2 c mayo ( I like doing half mayo, half greek yogurt)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp sugar

s & p, and a pinch of granulated garlic

Mix up all your dressing ingredients. Often I just use greek yogurt all together in place of mayo, I like the tartness it gives the salad. Coat your salad as preferred and add the walnuts in last. This made 8 small wraps.


It was a delicious change to a favorite recipe and I’m hoping you’ll try it out and see for yourself!


 We’ve always celebrated Halloween. Costumes, trick or treating, pumpkin carving, the works. But either Andy has been home to take Hayden or we spend it at my in-laws and all the kids go together while I hand out candy. Last year they moved, to a neighborhood that gets no trick or treaters, literally. I stayed behind at their house with baby Reid and it was a silent night.

This year, I went all out. We decorated the house and Hayden helped make costumes. We had two parties we attended in which Hayden wore a different costume each time. And tonight the kids and I ventured out to meet up with my brother and sister-in-law and their three girls. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN.


Hayden struggled all week figuring out what to go as when we went to trick or treat, and decided on Minnie Mouse. She went as Minnie two years ago and we still had the ears. In one piece and in her bedroom. Sheer luck.

By Halloween, it’s winter. Usually we have snow by now and a couple of years we’ve had some nasty wind and cold temps. This year couldn’t have been nicer. While it was chilly (35 degrees), it was a beautiful sunset and clear skies, and no snow.

Reid was under the weather and I didn’t want him out in the cold, so he and I stayed in the warm car and tagged along with the kids. The neighborhood we went to was fantastic. Tons of kids and houses close together, with most of them handing out candy.


Hayden was hilarious. She literally bounced up to each house, holding her ears because they kept falling down. She got to be the designated door knocker and was beyond excited no matter what she got. I sat in the car and just laughed, as she would make them all stop in the driveway so she could show them what she got. Every time. Her cousins are simply the sweetest and catered to her all night.

After an hour and a half and a near full bucket, we called it quits. We made a pit stop at grandma and grandpa’s where the kids got last handfuls of candy.


After wrangling my two sugared up children, we needed to head home and get cleaned up. Know what you need to balance out all the sugar? Some good ol grease and salt, kitchen floor picnic style.


The kids loved it. Reid found it hilarious to steal Hayden’s cheeseburger and take a huge bite, and then sit on her, all while Hayden laughed hysterically. They finished up eating and headed for the bath. Which gave me plenty of time to raid her stash for the good stuff.


Faces and little bodies washed, pajamas on and snuggled up, we’re finishing the night with Corpse Bride. Hoping you all had a safe and happy Halloween, this bunch sure did!