July 22, 2016

Bestie Baby Shower

This past weekend I had the opportunity to host a baby shower for my bestie, Sarah, in my hometown and absolutely had a blast. I met Sarah all the way back in 3rd grade when she transferred into my elementary school and along with my other bestie and shower hostess, Paige, we've been inseparable ever since.

When we found out that Sarah was expecting here first kiddo, a sweet baby boy named Eli, Paige and I knew we wanted to throw an extra special celebration. Inspired by Eli's black and white striped nursery with gold accents, we had a blast putting together ideas for the big bash.

We booked Love of Character, an adorable new boutique party store in Wichita, Kansas that doubles as a darling event venue, and loved how everything turned out! The owner, Mary, is an absolute doll and made our whole party so wonderful. Unfortunately I forgot my nice camera, by these photos will still do the trick... take a look! 

The 3 amigos!
Paige (left - who is also expecting), Sarah, and yours truly!


We decided on very simple white table with black and white striped plates, blue accessories, gold silverware, and of course some mini flower arrangements for a pop of color.


For the mid-afternoon shower we wanted to to feel playful and also have some tasty snacks! 

For food items, we did cheese and crackers, fruit and marshmallow fruit dip (so good), chicken salad, chocolate dipped pretzels, and the world's cutest cookies and cupcakes from by local pastry chef, Pastries by Calli Leigh. The cookies turned out SO cute!



We didn't want to do too many silly games, so we had a little side station where people could write fun messages on diapers, fill out a cute Wishes for Baby card, and then take a clothespin for a care-free shower game where you try to avoid saying the word baby. If anyone says "baby", you steal their pin, and the person with the most at the end won a fun prize!

After that, we moved into the good stuff... baby presents and photo taking!



Mom-to be, Sarah (she looked SO cute) and her mom, Janice.

My hometown besties! It was SO good to see them!

On the way out of the party, guests were welcome to shop the insanely cute party gifts and stationary at the front of the store. Personal favorites included Rifle Paper Co. products, balloons with confetti in them, a giant gold swan pool float, and adorable party plates!


For the invitation to guests and other party stationary items, like the Wishes for Baby card, we used DigiBudha Papperie on Etsy and loved how everything turned out! Cute online, but gorgeous in person and so easy to work with to get our desired look!



So all in all it was a wonderful shower where we made great memories and my dear friend Sarah felt very special. Woo hoo! It was so fun to not only get to be creative and have lots of fun projects, but also talk to my bestie Paige everyday in preparation. 

I am back in Kansas City now and am already missing those girls, but can't wait to be Auntie Meg this summer/fall! I'm ready to smooch some babies! :)




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July 19, 2016

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Balls

Some weeks I feel like Martha Stewart and am on top of the world.
The house is deep cleaned and organized, meal plans are fully prepped and perfectly balance, my life feels in order, and I have a perfect manicure that is color coordinated to my outfit (jk... who has time for that?).

And then there are weeks like basically the last 6 months where I am lucky if I don't have to re-fluff our laundry in the dryer for the 4th day in a row, as I am scrounging to make a meal out of string cheese and a cup of applesauce because our pantry has been neglected.

Can anyone relate to my hot mess express?
Please say yes.

So over time I've started to learn how to find the right amount of balance. I figured out how cleaning one area of our house a day means I get to avoid the 4 hour marathon cleaning on a Saturday morning. How when I schedule workouts in my planner, I am able to make it to the gym and manage my stress better. And how meal planning once a week saves me so much time finding healthy meals to fuel the busy days ahead.

And this is where the peanut butter chocolate chip energy bites enter.


Is life-changing an appropriate description for a snack?

I discovered these gems while reading Gimme Some Oven, one of my favorite cooking blogs, and decided to tinker with the recipe a bit so they wouldn't be as high in calories. With the taste of cookie-like goodness disguised in nutrient dense miniature bites is a total home run!

I was working with a nutritionist when I first showed her the recipe, and she loved the combo of a touch of protein in the protein, chia and oats to provide fiber, omega 3's from the flax, and a little sweetness from honey instead of processed sugar. The best part if you can keep tinkering with them to sub out ingredients and change them up a bit.

Each Sunday, I prep these little no bake energy balls when I do the rest of my meal prep. It takes no longer than 5 minutes to stir everything together, and then I let the mixture chill for 20 before rolling into balls. And then voila! Easy, delicious snacks to give a boost of energy before the gym or in the middle of a busy work day. Adam loves having one after dinner as a little sweet treat (goodbye huge bowls of ice cream!). I also love to make these when we bring meals to friends - and they loved them! Especially great for new breastfeeding moms!


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Balls


Ingredients:

1 cup dry oats 
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 
1/3 cup honey (you can get by with less if you want lower sugar!)
1 tablespoon chia seeds 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions:


  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Cover your bowl with saran wrap and place in fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes, or until mixture is firm enough to roll into balls.
  2. Once chilled, roll into compact balls. You can make them into any size you'd like - mine are typically about 3/4 - 1" in diameter). Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  3. Makes about 20-25 energy balls.

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Bon Appetit!


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July 8, 2016

Gratitude Lately

Oh my dear goodness... life has been too busy!
Between holidays, traveling, planning a baby shower, and general life/work craziness, I have so much to be thankful for. 

Here's your fair warning... SO MANY PICTURES!

Lately I'm grateful for...

How handsome my hubs looks in shades and plaid, and a sister who made it to big girl world.

For friends who like to craft and mornings with no make-up.

For weddings that look like they are straight out of a fairytale.

And lifelong best friends who simply feel like you're coming home everytime you see them.

For plumb juicy blueberries that stain your fingers.

And the friends who make picking them an extra fun adventure.

For friends fostering kittens so I can get my furry fix.

For family night out and hometown pride.

For long hot days by the pool, and nights sipping bubbly in my PJs.

For my mom's incredible pie skills and that she gave me her creative genes.


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Here's to gratitude and how it makes life fuller, and the smallest things more than enough. As always, thanks for the inspiration, Today's Letters.


  //  What are you thankful for today? //

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June 27, 2016

Chicago Bound - Any Recommendations?


I'm movin' and shakin', party people!

That's right, in August I am being sent to a 4-day work conference in Chicagoland and I couldn't be more excited to get out of dodge with my co-workers. And due to working for such a great organization, they're letting me stick around for several days so Adam can join me for a mini vacay.

We've spent the last 6 month or so adulting (aka: saving that moola), so this will be a fun getaway to let loose and indulge in a little urban adventure. I've had such a travel bug lately, so I couldn't be more thankful to have the time to explore.


The last time I was in Chicago was about 5 years ago before we were married. We took the train from KC to meet up with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law for a fun long weekend, and it was such a blast. Just look... we were babies.






So anyway, I am thrilled to go see the best of what Chicago has to offer. I'd like to revisit some of my favorite places from last trip - Millenium Park, Bucktown, Navy Pier, etc. - as well as discover some new hidden gems.

Luckily, my good blog friend Jess at 26 and Not Counting just spent the last weekend in Chicago, and judging by her Instagram photos I know she will have some incredible suggestions. That girl knows how to find the best of the best, and maybe you do too!

So I'd love to ask for any fun recommendations for...

Fun things to do? 
Places to stay (preferably any hotel, since we have points)? 
Restaurants? 
Rooftop drink spots?
Shops? 
Day trips? 
Seasonal activities? 

As always, I have already started my Chicago Trip board over on my Pinterest page... my favorite way to plan a trip. Can't wait to add your suggestions!


Thanks in advance!

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May 24, 2016

My Dream Master Bathroom

Last July, the hubs and I were seriously tossing around the idea of selling our home. Adam purchased our 1970s split level 6 years ago, put so much heart into this house, and we thought we were ready to move on to purchasing our first house together.

We were getting excited to dream of new possibilities, but the more we were fixing up our house to prepare for selling, a funny thing happened. We kind of fell in love with our little fixer upper after remodeling the kitchen, getting brand new gorgeous flooring, painting wood paneling, and so many other little projects.

Of course now that we've decided to stay and put more soul into our home, we're dreaming of the next few projects. And after squeezing to get by each other while we both try to get ready in our tiny "on suite" (I saw this with a laugh, as it's a dinky mini bathroom attached to our room), I'm dreaming about the idea of these gorgeous master bathrooms. A glimpse inside my inspiration...

Sophisticated master bathroom features polished nickel mirrors over blue vanities with laser cut doors and turned legs topped with white marble countertops atop calacatta michaelangelo marble floor flanking doorway to walk-in shower and water closet.:

Modern Rustic Bathroom Design - Vessel Sink in Open Shelf Wood Vanity:

Vanity Chandeliers

The bathroom is one of the few rooms in the house where many people are willing to spend huge sums of money to renovate. Inspired by dream magazine bathrooms, homeowners want to create a bathroom t…:


Walk In Marble Shower with Built In Marble Shelf Ledge


Weekend Wonderings - At The Picket Fence:

Bathroom design brings two spaces together..bathtub in the shower??!! Wonderful!:

With chic tiling (I love the wide variety at PlumbTile!), like herringbone flooring and gorgeous glass mosaics, I am dreaming about a spa like master bath full of cool grays and crisp whites. Where fluffy white towels are rolled up in baskets, fancy bathroom sinks adorn marble counter tops, and a vase of fresh flowers brighten the whole room.

There are so many different looks that I love. How on earth would I choose between rustic chic style with reclaimed wood and nature elements, and the ultra spa-like chic look of gorgeous marble surfaces and sparkly chandelier lighting?

And those huge walk-in showers! I can't even imagine a world where I don't have to wedge my leg halfway up the side of our 3ft by 3ft shower to shave - ha! With all this daydreaming, the Haskins House may be getting a face lift sooner than later!

What does your dream master bath look like?
Are you ready for a home reno project?

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May 20, 2016

5 Summer Blockbusters I Am Dying to See

With summer approaching quickly, there is one thing I can't wait for aside from lazy pool days... good movies. The countdown is on for these 7 movies, and don't you worry, I linked each movie title to their official trailers. #overachiever


1) Ghost Busters - July 15th

The funny ladies are in the house! Can't wait to see this cast reinvent a cinema classic!




2) Finding Dory - June 17th

I absolutely fell in love with Finding Nemo when it came out 13 years ago (has it been that long?!) and I can't wait to see what magical adventure Pixar takes us on this time around.



3) Me Before You - June 3rd

This looks both heartwarming and completely ugly cry prompting... Can't wait.



4) Secret Life of Pets - July 8th

I saw this preview in theaters last Christmas and have been counting down ever since. I'm a huge animated movie fan, and this looks hilarious. Think I can sneak in my dog?



5) Captain America: Civil War - May 6th

I know, I know. I'm not typically a huge fan of this genre, but Adam got me hooked on the Avengers and all of the movies. Great date night compromise! #wifepoints




And because another great wave of movies are always released in the fall, I couldn't bear to leave these few out! ;)


1) Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them - November 18th



2) Sully (no trailer released yet) - September 9th



3) The Girl on the Train (reading this right now!) - October 7th


4)  Moana - November 23rd


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So, how did I do?
Anything I need to add to my list?

I can already smell the buttery popcorn and junior mints...


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