Friday Finds

Friday Finds

Hey, it’s the first Friday I’m blogging in the new year and so I decided to bring back Friday Finds!

Slow Burn Podcast
I am late to the game on podcasts. I hear people talk about podcasts, but I never looked into them. It seemed like something the “young kids” do these days. Then I came across an article that listed the best podcasts of 2018 and my interest was piqued. On our way to Louisiana for the Sugar Bowl (hook ’em!) J and I put on the first season on Slow Burn which chronicles the Watergate scandal. Not having lived during that time period we were blown away by the details. It was CRAZY! We realized the two paragraphs in our high school history books really watered down (pun intended) the scandal. On our way home, we listened to season 2 which covers the Clinton Impeachment. We enjoyed this season, but in a different way. We lived through the impeachment and it was interesting to discuss what we remember about that time. If you are at compelled by history or politics I highly recommend Slow Burn.

The Paleo Slow Cooker Cookbook

I’m not necessarily a huge proponent of paleo, but paleo recipes omit ingredients I tend to eat in small amounts… mainly dairy and grains. An easy slow cooker recipe is always my go-to on busy school nights. Tomorrow, you’ll see one of the recipes I pulled from this book in my menu planning post. Click on the picture to the right if you want to shop this cookbook.

The Boardroom
Ok, so I haven’t been there, but I’ve heard several men mention they really enjoy this place. There is one in Sugar Land in Town Square and I’m hoping Jordan tries it out soon! If not, I may get him a gift card for Valentine’s Day! J, act surprised!

Ekhouaer Pajamas
Every time I search for “nice” pajamas a $200 sets pop up. That’s a non-starter. But then I found these pajamas on Amazon with a really great rating! These are the softest, most comfortable pajamas under $50! They come in so many colors and patterns. I think they make a great gift (Valentine’s Day is coming up!) which is why they went on my Christmas gift list. So excited I got them! Check out my LikeitKnow.it feed to the right and click on the picture to shop them.

Do you have fun plans this Friday? We are going out to dinner as a family. I think we will hit up some place close to Town Square so the kids can run around after dinner. That should make them tired and easy to put to bed, right? Fingers crossed!

Enjoy your Friday!

It’s That Time of Year… Holiday Card Shopping!

It’s That Time of Year… Holiday Card Shopping!

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

I know, I know. It’s only mid-October. Purists are going to stop reading because I’m talking about Christmas too early, but hear me out! The last several years my husband’s family has done a Thanksmas… where we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas at the same time. We did this mainly because we all lived in different states, but I started to really enjoy it because it forced me to get my Christmas shopping done early. This meant  I had a little breathing room in December to actually enjoy the holiday season. Or, you know, just be crazy with all the school parties, work parties and other activities without having to worry about getting all my shopping done.

This year, since I’m back in the Houston area, I am taking advantage of the Houston Holiday Shopping Card. The card, which you purchase for $75, benefits the American Cancer Society and gets you 20% off at various retailers for 11 days around town. You save money and you can help raise money for cancer research. A win win.

There are so many stores that participate that you should look them up, but I wanted to highlight a few that I’ll be stopping by over the next week and a half to make some gift purchases.

a bientot
I adore this place. The first time I walked in I was 2 days away from giving birth to H and couldn’t buy any clothes, but I did purchase a gold coin necklace I wear to this day. They have great gifts (I got my O key ring there) and even a little area for baby gifts.

Anthropologie
I always find fun things to buy people here. Whether it’s a coffee mug, book, candle or clothes.

AG Jeans
OK, this is just for me. I love AG jeans and they aren’t cheap so if I can get 20% off of them I am!

Berings
I think Berings is like a high end Target. I always find myself wandering around there finding things to buy I didn’t know I needed! J came back recently going on and on about their new men’s store, so I’m going to have to go check it out!

Bonobos
This is for the guys in your life! I always buy J a little something outside his comfort zone to wear. Not too far or he just won’t wear it, but I’m sure I can find something here that will look great.

The Container Store
Y’all know about their fabulous selection of holiday wrapping paper, right? It is THE BEST! Plus, they have cute, quirky and useful stocking stuffers!

Cornelius
I need mums for my front porch! And maybe a few more pumpkins!

Doodles
If you have a baby or mom to be on your gift list go check out Doodles in Rice Village. So many things for H’s nursery came from here.

Emerson Sloan
I have been wanting to check out this party goods store for a while and now I have the perfect opportunity since L’s birthday is just around the corner and I have the Holiday card to save 20%!

Hamilton Shirts
Another one for the guys! I’d love to get J a custom fitted shirt!

Itsy Bitsy Boutique
I usually buy my kids’ Christmas clothes in October so I’m taking advantage and saving a little money while I do. Also, L needs shoes in a bad way so going to scoop some up while I’m there, too. Did you see in my IG stories what we purchased yesterday! She is going to be so cute!

Kuhl – Linscomb
What can you not get a Kuhl Linscomb?! I already purchased some stocking stuffers for the kids, but I plan to go back when I can look around sans kids.

Lucchese Boots
Ok, this is just for me, too. I’m not really planning on buying a pair, but I want to go look! And if you need boots for rodeo season, why not get them now and save 20%?

Magpies
My friends in Sugar Land keep rave to me about this gift shop, but I haven’t stopped by yet. They also have locations in Cypress and Bellaire.

Orvis
We can’t forget about our furry friends! Our little dog, Maisie, is going to get her own personalized collar for Christmas!

Saint Lo
I’ve been wanting to check this Heights boutique out! Have you been yet?

Sur La Table
For the foodie or chef on your list!

Toys to Love I love this Toy Store! I’m getting some of L’s birthday presents here.

Tres Chic
This mother/daughter owned boutique was one of my favorite places to stop by when I lived in Houston years ago. I haven’t been back yet, but I plan to with my holiday card!

Here are some Sugar Land specific stores that are participating this year: Coach, Enchanted Forest, Escalante’s, Kendra Scott, Luggage & Leather, Magpies, Pottery Barn, Relax the Back, Sheri’s at Riverstone, Soft Surroundings, Sur la Table, Twenty Two Fifty Interiors and Gifts, Williams Sonoma.

Happy Shopping! Tomorrow… a menu plan for the week that is going to look a little different!

 

 

 

 

Kindness in Politics? I think it’s possible.

Kindness in Politics? I think it’s possible.

It’s October! I love October. It’s the start of such a fun time of the year for me. Not only do we have Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, but my dad’s, brother’s, daughter’s and mom’s birthday are during this time of year! Basically I am about to start a three-month long celebration.

It’s also heating up politically. The mid-term elections are around the corner. (Side note – are you registered to vote? If not, do it TODAY. No, really like TODAY! Here is a site you can find more information about your voter registration status).  I am, by nature, a non-confrontational person which makes politics a little hard for me to navigate. The only thing I don’t find hard to navigate is what to wear to the polls. I always wear red, white and blue. You should be patriotic on a day you get to have a say in your leaders!

For the first time since 2002 I put a political sticker on my car. This was a really big deal for me. I think this is an important election and I’m fired up about several issues. I mean, really fired up, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about what people would think about me when they saw the sticker on the back of my Pilot. I’m in a relatively new place, dropping my kids off at new schools, and we are continuing to try churches in the area. I kept thinking “What assumptions on these people going to make about me because of the sticker on my car? How dare they make assumptions about me! They don’t know me!” But then, I turned the question on myself. What assumptions am I making because someone has the opponent’s sticker on their car? And believe me, I was making a LOT of assumptions. Not nice ones either. Turns out I still need to remind myself of the golden rule “treat others as you would like to be treated.” Or maybe for this blog post it should be “don’t make assumptions about people you don’t want them making about you.” It’s a really great way to live life, isn’t it?

All of this to say, let’s be careful about making negative assumptions about the person that is sporting a Cruz sticker or a Beto sticker. It would be such an easier world if all circumstances were black and white, but sometimes they just aren’t. Politics is complicated. Everyone comes to the table with a different background, story, and belief structure than you do. Instead of automatically assuming they are bad, wrong, or immoral, maybe we should LISTEN to one another. Give each other space and grace to talk about these things without our assumptions clouding what they are saying knowing there are some issues on which we will not agree.  Also, remember that our kids are watching us. Yes, this may be politics, but they are taking their ques on how to treat people and how to talk about people from us all the time. Just be kind to one another. Even that person with a Cruz sticker on their car. Oh yeah, or Beto.

p.s. I’m making an assumption about how many friends and family get upset with me over this post. Ha! Kindness, y’all. Kindness.

 

Your Fall Wardrobe Step 3: Making Purchases

Your Fall Wardrobe Step 3: Making Purchases

Did you know there are some people who don’t like to shop? Seriously, there are. I don’t understand these people, because I think I could shop all day, every day. So for me, step 3 of prepping your fall wardrobe – making purchases – is my favorite step of all, but for some people it’s daunting and not enjoyable. I’m going to try and lay out some guidelines to help make this step a little easier for those of you who don’t like to shop. Or, you know, you can just call me and I’ll go shopping for you.

  1. Take the pressure off. You don’t have to buy everything at once.
  2. Set a budget that makes sense for you and your family. Then decide what you are willing to spend more on. For me, that is denim. Good denim lasts. I have a nine-year old pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans that I still wear.
  3. Make it fun! Grab a girlfriend who will give you honest feedback and make a day of it!

We are going to continue using my list as an example. I’ve crossed out all the things I’ve found in my closet.

Cropped Denim
Floral
Polka Dots
Marigold color
White Shoes
Mules
Black/White
Lavendar/Pink
Stripes
Moto Jacket

When you look at your list, think about what makes the most sense for you to buy.  Don’t walk into a store and buy the first floral item that catches your eye. I really want a high-end floral dress like this one, but… I have no place to wear this dress and it doesn’t fit my lifestyle. Plus, slightly out of my price range. So, a floral top to wear with my cropped denim makes so much sense for my day to day life. Here is my first floral top pick.
floraltop

But, I’m not sure how this would fit in my overall budget, so this Old Navy top is a contender, too.
ONfloral

It’s kind of like a game of tetris. If I buy the white shoes, I’ll get the Old Navy top. If I decide I don’t really need the white shoes (spoiler alert – I already bought them!), then maybe I can get the $100 top.

Below are my other picks for the remaining items on my list.

Marigold Colormarigold
I love this sweater! It’s casual, comfy and such a great color!
Other picks: This Forever 21 Sweater looks like a great bargain buy!
F21sweater

White Shoes
white mules
This was a trend last year, but I was hesitant. This year, I’m all in. Get ready to see these shoes a lot!
Other picks: I’ve always had good luck with Sbicca shoes.
sbicca

Mules
bowmules
I’m a sucker for a bow. This blue color is great to use as a neutral, too!
Other picks: I like this mule for an edgier look!
studded mule

Lavender/Pink

I’m still on the hunt, for the perfect lavender piece, but I adore this pink sweater. It looks more like a fall pink to me
halogenruffle

 

Stripes

I’ve had my eye on this sweater for a while now. I might be putting it on my Christmas/Birthday list.
StripedSweaters
Other picks: This Loft sweater looks like a great, easy and affordable striped sweater to add to your wardrobe.
loftsweater

Moto Jacket 
motojacket

I am so excited about this moto jacket! I plan to wear it a lot when the weather gets cooler. Over white t-shirts (I wear white t-shirts a lot), over dresses, over everything!
Other picks: I guess I like BLANKNYC jackets! This suede moto jacket in the bank roll is really pretty.
suedemoto
Happy Shopping!

p.s. Next year we are going to go through this exercise BEFORE the big Nordstrom sale so you can take advantage of the sale prices for great fall items!

xoxo –

SarahSignature-Pink

Your Fall Wardrobe Step 1: Girl, clean out your closet!

Your Fall Wardrobe Step 1:  Girl, clean out your closet!

School is about to start. Sweaters and booties are appearing in stores. Fall is coming. But, for us in Texas that means pretty much nothing. It will be hot through September. If we are lucky, we will have cool mornings in October, followed by warm afternoons. It’s hard to get excited about fall clothes when it is literally 100 degrees outside. I am here to help you get excited though! I want to show you how you can follow fall trends without spending tons of cash. I am not the blogger who is going to be showing you $500 booties. I love the $500 booties. I stare at the $500 booties. I pick them up and lust after them in the Nordstrom shoe section, but the $500 booties are not conducive to my lifestyle. Or my budget.  Or my marriage. I’m getting off track. Shoes will do that to me.

Before you start planning for your fall wardrobe, you need to clean our your closet! Not like “Ho-hum, I’m getting rid of a shirt or two,” I mean, go through EVERYTHING in your closet. This is a good habit to get into twice a year. You will be amazed at what you will find. For example, when I was cleaning out my closet I found this dress. I bought it in the fall of 1998 as a Homecoming dress. That was twenty years ago. And by the way,  I never even got asked to Homecoming that year. I’m not bitter about that at all. It was just my senior year homecoming… no big deal. This dress has never been worn. It is 20 years old and has been moved more times than I can count. Why do I have this dress? It doesn’t even fit me right anymore. This needs to go!

homecomingdress1

homecomingdress2

Another dress. This white dress was purchased in the summer of 1999 at Saks for rush at UT. Ugh… that is a story for another time! Anyway, the day of formal night (or whatever it is called – I’ve seriously blocked it from my memory) I got a call from an older friend who had gone through rush. She told me “I heard you have a white dress. Don’t wear a white dress. Go to Emeralds and find something else.” So I did. And this white dress sat in my closet for TEN years unworn. I finally had a chance to wear it to one of my bridal showers nine years ago. I haven’t worn it since. I’m probably not going to wear it again.  Why do I have this dress? It needs to go. (ps – can those of us who lived in Austin have a moment of silence for Emeralds? Miss that place!)

rushdress.jpg

(Can we also pause to talk about how I obviously don’t know what to do with my hands in these photos?) (Perhaps, we should also talk about how I use too many parantheses.)

Ok, one last “can you believe I found this in my closet?” story. My friend in Mandeville asked me to help her clean out her closet. We went through every piece of clothing and I kid you not she had this hat. A real-live Britney Spears wannabe hat. I think hers was corduroy though. We died laughing when it was unearthed. Why was she hanging on to this? She wasn’t about to put it on and head to the Mandeville PTA meeting! I told her to either put it in her costume bin and do a couples Halloween costume with her husband (Britney and JT forever!) or get rid of it!

britneyhat

Do you see what I’m getting at? You have stuff in your closet that you haven’t worn in years and will never wear again. It’s taking up space in your closet and it’s hard to know what you have and how to put an outfit together when it is so cluttered. So how do you start making headway in your closet to prep for your fall wardrobe? Put on whatever music gets you going (I usually gravitate to 2000s hip hop) and just start pulling items out.  Take a look and ask yourself when the last time you wore it. Ask yourself where you would you wear it in the future. Be honest. Don’t hold on to something because you feel bad getting rid of it. My suggestion is to make four piles. A resale pile, a donation pile, a keep pile, and an unsure pile. Your resale pile can make you money! That’s a win! Keep in mind that resale stores really only like to buy clothes that are less than two years old. If you bought something in the past year and it didn’t fit quite right or it served it’s purpose, but you aren’t going to wear it again put it in the resale pile. The donation pile is anything you don’t want, but that is older than two years old. The keep pile and the unsure pile are self-explanatory.

Once you’ve sorted ALL your clothes (this will take a while), take the keep items and organize them into your closet. Different people like to organize their clothes in different ways. Some like to do it by color. I like to do it more by occasion. Casual shirts go together. Casual Dresses, Cocktail dresses, jeans – you get the idea. Once you have put all the keep items back and organized them, go through your unsure pile. You’ll have a better idea if you want to keep it or not once the clothes you know you are keeping are hanging in your closet. Also, take stock. Do you have four black maxi dresses? Maybe pare that down to two and don’t buy another black maxi for a while.

When you’re done I can guarantee you will feel lighter. Your closet will seem bigger. You will actually be able to see the clothes you own. Check out this photo of my friends closet before and after. So much better!closet

And sometimes, when you clean out your closet, you will find an eight-year-old $15 Forever 21 top that you think… yeah… I can make this work for fall. And that leads us to step two which will drop Monday. Until then… have fun cleaning out your closet!

Forever21top.jpg

SarahSignature-Pink

Moving is hard.

Moving is hard.

Moving is hard. There’s no way around it. It just is. You take your world, put it in a box, move it to a new house and try to figure out how your life is going to fit in this new space. Add small children on top of that…and well, it’s even harder.

I knew this move back to Texas was going to be challenging. We had lived in Mandeville for five years. Hudson was 15-months old when we moved there. Lucy was hope and a dream. In some ways, Mandeville was so easy for us. Everything, including J’s job, was 10-15 minutes away. You saw someone you knew everywhere you went. People knew your children. The cashiers at the Whole Foods had a nickname for me. Then we moved to Texas and everything became hard.

Truth be told, I am having a difficult time reconciling why this move is as hard as it is.  This is what I wanted for years… to be back in Texas. I begged to be back in Texas. I wanted to come “home.” And now I’m here and I’m struggling. Nothing is easy right now. I don’t know where the nearest gas station is. J’s commute is almost an hour home everyday. I don’t have a pediatrician for the kids. My prescription is out and I need to see a doctor before they will refill it. We all need haircuts, but I’m not sure where to go. One lady I called about trimming L’s hair doesn’t have availability until September. It’s July. I’m living in a house I spent 15 minutes in before deciding to buy it and I’m desperately trying to make it feel like home. Our house in Mandeville is still for sale (seriously, anyone looking to buy in Mandeville? Anyone?) and the money I thought I was going to have to get a new rug, bedroom furniture, and TV is tied up in that house. Not to mention, we are paying for two houses. In case you haven’t caught on, we are not on a two-home family income. On top of all that, my two kids are sick of playing with only each other which leads to fights that I am tired of breaking up. All I want to do is get the house in order, but it’s summer and getting any kind of job done without being interrupted is nearly impossible. I’m spiraling. You see it, too, right?

Last week, I took a step back and thought “I’ve done this before. I moved to a new place and created a life there. I can do it again. What did I do in those early days when I didn’t know anyone?”

1. Find People. When I moved to Mandeville I joined a meet-up for moms. It was a playgroup. It saved me. I didn’t become best friends with all the moms in that group, but I’m so thankful for each one of them! I did make some life-long friendships from that group, but in the early days I was just happy I had somewhere to go and something to do. Now that my kids are a bit older, I wasn’t sure a playgroup would be the best fit, but our neighborhood does have a Facebook page. I posted about H meeting up with other first-grade boys and last Friday we met up with moms and kids at a pool and a park! Social media does have benefits! You have to take the initiative to find people. People aren’t going to come looking for a new family in the neighborhood they don’t know about. For those of us who are a little self-conscious this can be a little unnerving, but push through the uncomfortable. It’s worth it.

2. Take care of yourself. It’s cliché, but true – you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. I’m not sure how your self-care takes shape. For me, it’s going to the gym. Working out burns off my nervous energy and let’s be real… two hours of free childcare. I also like to read. I get so engrossed in whatever book I’m reading that I forget about the stresses of life for thirty minutes. It’s like a break from the real world. I come back refreshed. What’s your self-care?

3. Be patient. This is the hardest one for me. Be patient in meeting people and finding your community. Be patient in getting your house unpacked and decorated. Be patient when your kids are terrors because they are having a hard time, too. Be patient when you get asked for the 756th time if you are settling in OK and all you want to do is say “Nope. I’m not.” Be patient when you are learning your area. Be patient with yourself. Be patient when your house isn’t selling in Louisiana. Ok, that was just for me.

4. Routine. Kids like routine. So do I. I just function better on a routine. I wish I was a little more “go with the flow,” but I’m not. Routine is hard in the summer anyway and it’s been even harder for us in new town and new house. We have four weeks of summer left before H starts school and I’m going to try to find the balance of routine vs. enjoy the last days of summer. I do know that we all need a little more structure to our days so I’m working on that.

I obviously don’t have all the answers regarding moving and how to make it easier. Everyone’s situation is different. Every move is different. These are just some my takeaways you might find helpful if you have recently moved or about to move. I have every confidence that Sugar Land and Greatwood will become as dear to us as Mandeville. That is one reason why we chose to live here. But, it takes time. And a whole lot of patience.

And now, I’m off to the gym…

SarahSignature-Pink