Our Easy/Healthy Weeknight Menu

Our Easy/Healthy Weeknight Menu

How is your menu planning coming along? Last week I didn’t really menu plan. I bought a bunch of vegetables, some quality chicken and salmon, and we grilled or baked the meat and roasted vegetables each night. It was nice, until about Wednesday when I wanted something else. Thursday, I sat down and wrote out a menu. Yesterday, after my workout, I’m headed to the grocery store. I’ll be completely honest that this menu is not exactly what I want it to be. There are some items, I’m trying to get away from (processed meat), that are included here. On nights when you are busy (Mondays for us), ground meat is the easiest and quickest way to make food. The answer to this problem is better meal prepping on my part. We will keep making progress towards eating healthier. I will say that I found a brand of ground turkey that I like better than the rest. It’s Diestl. I buy it at Whole Foods. They also have a really great turkey chorizo I sometimes use in breakfast casseroles. Keep following along with our menus and let me know if you see a change!

Sunday
Thai Chicken Soup – This recipe is from my new cookbook “The Paleo Slowcooker.” It’s a little chilly here today so Thai soup is going to be good at dinnertime. And especially because it will already be done when it’s time to eat so no major prep on my end which is good because I’m planning on watching the Saints game! The recipe is below. You could also throw shrimp in the crock pot for the last 20/30 minutes if you want shrimp instead of chicken. Be sure the check out the cookbook on the right if you are interested in buying it.

Ingredients:
3 skinless chicken breasts cubed
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 can full fat coconut milk
5 cups chicken broth
1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (I’m leaving these out)
1 TBSP grated fresh ginger
2 Thai peppers, chopped (I’m only using 1/2 of a pepper)
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
2 TBSP fish sauce
Salt and Pepper just before serving
Cilantro (chopped)
Carrots (I’m adding these)
Frozen Peas (I’m adding these)

Directions:
1. Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker
2. Cook on low 5-6 hours
3. Salt and pepper to taste, garnish with cilantro, then serve
Servings: 6

Monday
Tex-Mex Turkey Tacos – Mondays are our crazy evening so I’m using my trusty crock pot again. Also, if I’m honest, we are so rushed on Mondays that I hate fighting with the kids over what they are eating so I usually make something that I know they will like. This recipe comes from the newest SkinnyTaste cookbook “One and Done.” All the recipes require one pot.

Ingredients:
Taco Filling
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 can black beans
1.5 cups chunky salsa

Guacamole: (or buy your own guacamole)
6 ounces avocado
1/3 cup finely chopped tomato (eh, up to you if you put tomato in your guacamole)
2 TB red onion
1 TB fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp kosher salt (I’m going to say you are going to need more salt)

Tacos:
16 6 inch corn tortillas (I’m getting flour because… kids).
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Sour Cream

Directions:
1. Combine all spices
2. Place the ground turkey in the slow cooker, breaking it up loosely with your hands. Add the beans, top with spice mixture, and pour the salsa over everything
3. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, until the meat is tender. Break up the meat and stir everything until well combined
4. For guacamole, combine all ingredients. Or open your store bought guacamole
5. Assemble your tacos, tell everyone to eat faster, clean the plates off the table and run off to your next activity. Ok, that may just be us.

Tuesday
Honey Mustard Chicken Bake – This is also from the Skinnytaste One and Done Book. If you can’t tell, I’m a fan.

Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 lb aspargus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1.5 cups cauliflower florets
1 medium red onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 TB olive oil

Directions
1. Adjust an oven rack in the center and another 6 inches from the boiler and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt. Transfer to a plate
3. In a small bowl, combine the honey, mustard and 1 tsp of the thyme
4. In a 9×13 baking dish, toss together the vegetables, olive oi, remaining 1/2 salt and remaining 2 tsp thyme.
5. Roast on the center rack for 10 minutes, then remove the dish from the oven. Toss the vegetables and place the chicken over the vegetables. Spoon or brush half of the honey-mustard sauce over the chicken. Return to center rack and roast for about another 30 minutes
6. Spoon the remaining honey-mustard sauce over the chicken. Switch the oven to broil, move dish to upper rack and broil until chicken begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Wednesday
Pesce Primavera – My kids love fish. They don’t love vegetables, but I will still keep trying. Actually, they each have a few vegetables they eat without complaint so I try to incorporate those when I can. Carrots and sweet potatoes for H and cucumber and broccoli for L. Bet you can guess where this recipe is from! Yes, the SkinnyTaste One and Done cookbook. It might be my favorite of hers so far for quick and healthy weeknight meals.

Ingredients
Olive Oil Spray
2 cups bite sized broccoli florets
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup shredded carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 TB olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless fish fillets (I bought cod)
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
2 TB chopped fresh basil (I’m leaving this off)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with oil
2. In a large bowl, combine the brocooli, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots and garlic, 1 TB of the olive oil, 1/2 tsp of the salt, and pepper to taste. Transfer the vegetables to the prepared baking dish and roast for about 10 minutes.
3.Meanwhile, season one side of the fish with salt and pepper. Roll up the fillets and place them seam down on a plate. Season the tops with remaining salt and pepper to taste.
4. Toss the vegetables, then place the fish seam side down on top. Drizzle the fish with the remaining 1/2 TB olive oil and lemon juice.
5. Roast until the fish is cooked through in the center and the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
6. Top everything with pecorino and fresh basil and serve immediately.

Thursday
Turkey Cheeseburger Soup – Next week I’m making sure I use recipes that have online links! This again, comes from the One and Done Cookbook. I can’t recommend it enough if your weeknights are busy. And I’m sure they are because most people are dashing around during the week. I like this recipe because you add cauliflower to make it creamy and my kids won’t know! This recipe is also made in an instant pot. Do you have one? I love mine! If you don’t have an instant pot, let me know and I can send you this recipe for a dutch oven.

Ingredients
1/2 lb lean ground turkey
1 TB unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TB all purpose flour, wheat or gluten-free
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3.5 cups chicken broth
10 ounces yukon gold potatoes, peeled and finely diced
1 wedge cauliflower (about 1/4 of a large head), steam attached
1 3/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 TB chopped scallions

Directions
1. Press the saute button on an electric pressure cooker. Add the turkey and brown the meat, using a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces as it cooks, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the meat and transfer it to a small bowl
2. In the pressure cooker (still on saute), melt the butter. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the four, salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute to cook the flour. Return the turkey to the pressure cooker and add the chicken broth, potatoes, and cauliflower and stir.
3. Seal and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. Quick release, then open when the pressure subsides.
4. Transfer the cauliflower and 1 cup of liquid to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the puree into the soup and stir well. Add the cheddar and stir until melted. Serve topped with scallions.

Friday
Lavash Bread Pizzas – It’s Friday which means… pizza! And probably movie night. I buy Lavash bread from Whole Foods, jarred pizza sauce, mozzarella, and whatever veggies sound good. The kids usually just make a cheese pizza. J and I load ours up with veggies. These are so easy, just be careful to not put on too much sauce because the bread is thin. These “pizzas” only need to be in the oven at about 350, for 10 minutes. The perfect at home “pizza” for a lazy Friday night.



Advertisements

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!

Athleta Sale

How are the new year’s resolutions coming along? I’m 10 days in and so far I’ve been doing pretty well! Remember the goal: Progress, not perfection!

On the professional side, I’ve been much more disciplined in working from home, logging my hours and pre-planning the blog. On the physical side of things, I’m back to tracking my food, exercise and water intake in MyFitnessPal. I also received my first results from the dietary testing I did at the end of last year. Once I meet with the nutritionist I’ll share my results! I want to make sure I’m speaking (typing?) about them correctly. On the financial side, any purchases I’ve made have been thoughtful, not impulse purchases. Today, I went to Athleta (I had a gift card) because they are having a sale! Below are my favorite sale pieces and 2 full-priced items I couldn’t pass up!


I loved this criss cross sweatshirt! It’s lightweight and perfect for throwing over my workout tank when I have to run errands after I work out. So, like – everyday.

My friend, Erica, loves the All In Capris. They aren’t my favorite only because of where the pockets hit on my leg (it’s a hangup of mine), but these navy leggings are under $40! If you like compression tights, you should grab these!
My personal favorite Athleta legging is the Contender. These white leggings are under $50!

So, of course, I still had to check out the new arrivals while I was there. (Psst… Athleta, can we get a store in Sugar Land? Thanks.) I really loved these navy Contender leggings. I can wear white, gray, pink or really any color tank with them to work out. Plus, they’re dark, but they aren’t black. It was an easy purchase.

BUT… I already have a white, gray and pink tank! But guess what color I don’t have? GREEN! How fun is this bright tank top below? I love green and navy together. Y’all should really check out Athleta’s new stuff because there are so many bright colors. Perfect to get you amped up about your next workout and make headway on your goals!

Remember you can shop these looks, by clicking on the images to the right or by following me on the LikeitKnow.it app! If you have any questions about that app, let me know! I love it!

I hope your first full week back to your routine has been great!

Progress, not Perfection: First Quarter Goals

I mentioned in my last post that I’m making quarterly goals/resolutions this year. A full year’s resolution hasn’t worked for me in the past, and if something isn’t working you should try something new. Below is a little about each of my goals and how it will affect State of Sarah.

Financial
J and I have some big financial goals we are aiming for this year. We have broken them down into quarterly goals and it feels so much more attainable. Because of my family’s financial goals, I am going to have to be more thoughtful about the purchases I make – especially clothing purchases. If you’ve followed me for a while you know I really love clothes. And I really love nice clothes. But I am a mom who works part-time and to pretend I’m not a budget would be disingenuous. I can’t have it all and I need to make choices. With that in mind, I won’t be buying a lot of clothes the month of January, with the exception of using my Athleta gift card! I have plenty of new stuff from Christmas and my birthday that can tide me over. What does this mean for State of Sarah? How am I going to show you all the fun stuff in stores? I’m starting a series called Dressing Room Diaries. I’ll pick a store, go try stuff on, take photos in the terrible lighting, and then let you know what I eventually decided to buy, if anything. Dressing Room Diaries will be a heading soon on the blog. Stay tuned!

Physical
Isn’t this where most of us land when making resolutions? I know I do! Have they worked in the past? Sometimes, but those resolutions have also not worked enough that I’m trying something different. I am attempting to feel good from the inside out. This fall I met with a GI doctor because for years, YEARS, I have had stomach discomfort and pain. I had a CT Scan which led to a colonoscopy. They couldn’t determine what was causing my pain, but I’m so thankful for that procedure because they found poylps! In case you were wondering the risk factors for having polyps are: 50 years or older; Overweight; have Type 2 Diabetes or are a smoker. I don’t fit any of these demographics. I will now have a colonoscopy every five years and my children will need to start getting them at age 40 instead of 50. All of this to say, if something is bothering you, go get it checked out. While it’s true the GI Doctor didn’t find the cause of my discomfort, I’m thankful I started looking in to why I wasn’t feeling great that led to the discovery of these polyps. Can you imagine if I had waited 12 years to get my first colonoscopy?

Wow. I got sidetracked. So, since the GI doctor couldn’t figure out why I was having tummy troubles someone suggested I look for nutrition advice. I found Nicole, with Chews Food Wisely. She’s a functional dietitian. I’ve met with her once and will continue to meet with her. We are testing for food intolerances and also checking the bacteria levels in my gut. From there Nicole will work with me on how to eat properly for my body. I am so anxious to start feeling better from the inside out! What does this mean for State of Sarah? I am updating my headings to include a Nutrition/Food tab. All my posts that pertain to my journey with Nicole, recipes I find along the way, and tips I learn or find about how to eat better will live there.

And of course, I am taking up a physical challenge. In November, I joined Orange Theory Sugar Land. I’m obsessed. I walk in; don’t have to think about what I’m doing that day, have a killer workout, and an hour later I’m out the door and on with my day. They are doing a Transformation Challenge and I just signed up. It’s from January – March which is perfect for my quarterly mindset this year. I’d love to win the cash prize (hello, spring clothes), but I’m really doing it for the accountability.

Professional
When I was in elementary school I distinctly remember once report card coming home. On the back, where the teacher writes comments, she said that I was a great student, had wonderful behavior, but that I had no organizational skills. It’s true. I could easily be one of the most disorganized people you know. I have to work hard (really really hard!) to have any semblance of organization. I sometimes think that I use what little organizational skills I have to keep “the trains running” in my family and let’s be real, those trains aren’t always on time. I use all that energy and when it comes to my professional life – my part-time job and my blog – everything is reactionary. And, if I’m honest, this little blog falls down the list of priorities pretty quickly when the “to-do” list gets long. I don’t like that so I’m making small changes. What does this mean for State of Sarah? I will pre-plan more of my blog and my work schedule so that I’m more consistent with both. I also have some specific layout and design changes to State of Sarah that will happen before the end of March.

I’m going to revisit these resolutions in March and give an honest assessment of how I’m doing. Will I be perfect? No way! But the goal is progress, not perfection!

What are you making progress towards the first few months of 2019?

take care of yourself and each other!



A Different Kind of Resolution

January 1. Everyone is making resolutions for the year. People are picking words to define their 2019 and setting grandiose goals. I love it! I love the optimism, the passion, the drive. But we all know that stats, right? 80% of resolutions “fail” by February.

At church the other day, we were talking about how making big statements – I am going to be morally good forever – always end in disappointment and defeat. The answer really is taking your faith and your relationship with God day by day. Asking God for help and provision for the moment you are presently in. I think the same can be applied to New Year’s Resolutions. When I set a big new year’s resolution and fail… ugh, the word itself makes me want to crawl into a hole… I feel shameful, defeated, unworthy. Oftentimes my resolutions in the past, like most people, involve my body – losing weight, gaining muscle, leaning out – and when those resolutions fail I dislike my own body a little more. It’s a nasty cycle. And I have a precious four year-old girl who is looking at me to show her how to have a healthy relationship with her own body. No pressure, right?

Goals and resolutions are important, but my resolutions are going to be a little different this year. I’m setting quarterly resolutions. From now until March 31 I have specific financial, personal, and professional goals. Towards the end of March, I’ll reevaluate and amend those goals for the second quarter. For me, this feels more doable. More attainable. Less defeat.

I’ll be posting more about these goals over the next week. I’m excited to share them and have some accountability!

Do you think quarterly goals are something you would do? How do you handle New Year’s resolutions?

Happy New Year! Start 2019 off right by having a great day!

Winter Break and Bored Kids… not this year!

Winter Break and Bored Kids… not this year!

Isn’t it funny how you can hear a song many times, but never really pay attention to some of the words? That happened to me the other day. We were in the car listening to Christmas music when “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” came on. Perry Como sang “… and Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.” I died laughing. So, it turns out winter break has been an issue for parents for quite some time. H & L had no idea what I thought was so funny.

I am looking forward to my kids’ school breaks. We can get up and be a little lazy. No fights over brushing L’s hair, not saying”put your shoes on!” 15 y, no making school lunches or trying to remember all the forms/donations I’m supposed to send in. I can’t wait. The flip side… constant sibling squabbles, a really messy house, and bored kids who ask for a snack every 10 minutes. I don’t want to plan every minute of our Christmas break, but I know we are going to need some activities to look forward to and stave away the cabin fever. Below are some ideas I have for my own family.

George Ranch Historical Park
This 20,000 acre working ranch isn’t far from us, and there are four separate home sites you can tour. You can also see a blacksmith working, cowboys roping and sorting cattle, hands-on activities and costumed staff!

Discovery Green Ice Skating Rink
I love Discovery Green. I think Houston did such a great job with this park and really all the parks around the city. We have never taken advantage of the ice skating rink, but recently the kids have been asking about ice skating so I think this is the year we are going to try it out.

Loop
While we are downtown, we also plan to check out Loop, a new art installation, near the George R Brown Convention center. I don’t think I can accurately describe this, so just check out the link and plan to check it out for yourself!

Sugar Land Holiday Lights
There is something magical about Christmas Lights and in Sugar Land they have over 2.5 million lights set up at Constellation Field. This is definitely on our list to check out this year.

Kemah Boardwalk
While this may not be my most favorite item on the list, I know my kids would love the rides and being by the ocean. The Boardwalk has TONS of things to do in December (check out their events page), but we might go check it out after the first of the year.

Christmas Village at Buffalo Bayou

This looks amazing! My mom sent this information to me and I’m hoping we can find a night to take the kids!

Do you have any plans for Winter Break? I am excited that we are not traveling this year and can take advantage of the fun, exciting things to do around our city! I love Houston!

xoxo –

Hostess Gift Guide

Do you like to throw parties? I do! There’s something about my home being filled with people, having a good time, making new friends, enjoying food and drink that just makes me happy! However, throwing parties can be a lot of work, even if it is enjoyable work which is why often people bring a gift to the host or hostess.

Sidenote: I went down a rabbit hole of trying to understand where the tradition of hostess gifts originated from. Admittedly, I didn’t spend all that much time on google, but I did find these interesting articles on hostess gifts. If you are a little nerdy like me, you should read them! 

Emily Post – Should I Bring a Hostess Gift?
The 7 Most Elegant Hostesses in Literature

Ok, here are my top picks for a hostess gift! Some of these are on the pricey side, but you can use them as examples and find similar items at HomeGoods.

monogram cheese board.jpg
Anthropologie has the cutest home stuff! And I love a good monogram!

christmashandtowel.jpg
A fun, whimsical holiday dish towel could be something different to give!

candleset
Candles are a popular hostess gift, but instead of giving one, why not give a set of three? Then your hostess can make multiple rooms in her home smell great!

soaps
Aren’t these soaps adorable? Perfect for a fun, holiday hostess gift!

beejar.jpg
This adorable honey jar set also helps funds classroom observation hives in 1,000 schools across the nation to support education and generate awareness about vulnerable honeybee populations.

cocktailbook.jpg
Three ingredients? I think I can even handle that! The perfect at-home cocktail guide!

linencocktailnapkins
This is one of my favorites! Linen cocktail napkins on a roll that can be torn off and used as needed!? Cool! And you can wash them up to 6 times. Or just toss them when you are done! Perfect for parties!

 

champagnestopper.jpg
The most ubiquitous hostess gift is wine – and that’s great! But why not change things up a bit and bring some champagne with a stopper that can keep champagne fresh?

Happy hostessing and party-going, friends!

SarahSignature-Pink

My Favorite Things

French fries with champagne and football on TV
Dark Chocolate almonds and freshly brewed coffee
Athleta leggings and dresses in spring
These are a few of my favorite things…

So, I’m relatively new to this blogging thing and now that it is December 1 I realize I should have started curating a gift guide in September! Yikes… I didn’t do that. Next year I’ll aim to have one of those bright shiny gift guides other bloggers provide you. This year though… you’re going to get a list of my favorite things. Maybe this will help you buy gifts for others or maybe you’ll find a few things on here to add to your own list.

threethigns

The O Key Ring
I love this key ring so much more than I thought I was going to! I am usually carrying at least two bags and two water bottles out the door (not to mention my coffee!)  every morning and this key ring allows my hands to be free to carry all that stuff!

Apple Watch
I don’t know what I did without my apple watch and heaven forbid anything happen to it!

Yeti Rambler
As moms it can take us three hours to drink our cup of coffee, but my Yeti helps keeps it warm whenever I can get around to drinking it! And I have one that is personalized!

lashtopia
Bare Minerals Mascara
My friend, Erica, and I are always on the lookout for the best mascara. My go to used to be Lash Paradise by L’Oreal, but now I’m loving Lashtopia by BareMinerals. Another good stocking stuffer!

athleta.jpg

Athleta Leggings
I had such a mish mash of work out clothes that I decided I really wanted to find a pair of pants that felt good and held up well. I tried several, but ultimately Athleta Run Free and Contender leggings did it for me! They are pricey so I’m slowly adding to my collection. Hoping a pair or two show up under the tree this year.

whitetee.jpg

White T Shirt
I think I have made my love for white t shirts abundantly clear on this blog. These are a few of my favorites! Yes, you’re asking yourself – am I really spending $39 on a white tee? It’s held up well for me so far, but I’ll be honest that I waited for a sale to come along before I purchased. I’ll keep you posted on any deals that pop up with this one. Or, you could just get the $8 Target t shirt!

sunglasses

Goodr Sunglasses
I have a pair of “nice” sunglasses, but sometimes there are occasions where you need functional, but not expensive sunglasses. These are them! They are $25. Polarized. And come in so many fun colors! I don’t mind wearing these to the pool with the kids, on the lake or to the beach!

emilyley

Emily Ley Planner
In elementary school, my report card would come home and while my teachers would praise my academics, they would always comment on my lack of organizational skills. Being naturally unorganized is a tough thing when you are a mom of 2. In a perfect world, I would always have it together. I don’t, but I am much more prepared when I use my Emily Ley Planner. I get one every year and I love that it becomes a little diary of our family.

champagnesplit.png

Bubbly Splits
I would say that champagne is my favorite adult beverage. Sure, I go on a craft beer kick or decide to make moscow mules at home, but I always come back to the bubbly. The thing is… I can’t drink a whole bottle in a sitting. I guess I could, but I’d be pretty worthless the next day. So, I opt for these splits! I’m hoping to get a set of “less fancy” flutes to use for everyday.

Instantpot

Instant Pot
Do you have one yet? If not, put it on your list! This week alone I used it to make spaghetti, General Tso’s Chicken and Honey Mustard Chicken. All were a hit with my family.

virtueearrings

Virtue Jewelry
I know I say I wear Virtue Jewelry everyday and it’s true!

Things that I *think* could be my favorites and are on my wish list!

oneandone

Skinnytaste Cookbook
I have the other 2 skinnytaste cookbooks, and I am hoping to get her new one as well. One pot meals are my favorite to make… less dishes to clean up!

4things.jpg

Espwa 4 Things Tote
These “4 Things” tote are fun because while they are personalized, it’s not with a monogram – it’s your four favorite things! You have to move fast though to get these before Christmas and put a “rush order” on it. Otherwise, keep it in mind for a fun birthday gift! I would put “Coffee, Champagne, French Fries, Football” on mine! What would you put on yours?

convertible-crossbody-1-o

Mark & Graham Convertible Crossbody Bag
Crossbody bags are my favorite because my hands are free, but I feel like I’m always on the hunt for a good clutch. Well, here you go – the Mark & Graham convertible clutch! So many colors to choose from (I’d probably pick black or camel. Or red.) and the monogram is understated which I like.

recipeteatowel

Recipe Tea Towel
Aren’t these recipe towels are so sweet? They would make great gifts! I have a couple of recipes I’d love to get made.

Remember that you can shop most of my favorites on the sidebar AND… follow me on the likeitknow.it app! Download it and follow me! It would mean the world to me!

Have a fun, festive weekend!

SarahSignature-Pink

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas… in my closet!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas… in my closet!

I  love December! The lights, the music, the joy, the bubby that is at every party (that might have something to do with all the joy) and… the clothes! Ha! Really though, it’s a full month of holiday wear and it can be like a little daunting. No fear, I pulled some holiday-inspired clothes from my own closet to help you out. Most of these items I already owned, but a few are new pieces. I linked similar items to the clothes I purchased in previous years so you can buy the look now.

Psst…check out the sidebar. Now you can shop my looks straight from the blog! Also, you can follow me on the LiketoKnow.it app. Remember though… shop your closet first!

vest

This may not scream holiday, but I love the colors and it has some metallic thread that goes through it which makes it more festive. Vests for our southern fall/winter are perfect and while this is one I found last year (you ready for this… at Sams. Yes, the wholesale club!), I linked another one that would work. Ideally I would have worn this to go get our Christmas tree. Instead, I never changed after my workout and wore lululemon leggings and a white tee shirt!

flurryskirt

Anthropologie has my number. I’d pretty much buy anything in that store. I went in for this gorgeous Christmas plaid skirt, but it didn’t look quite right on me. I tried this snow flurry skirt on and loved it! Paired it with a red sweater (it is SO soft) and voila… looked like I was out of an 50’s holiday movie. Ok, maybe not, but I wore it the Nutcracker and may pull it out for some parties later in the season. I can see wearing this skirt all winter. with a white top. And the red sweater will make a repeat appearance in this post.

redsweater

Well, here it is again! I bought these velvet pants from Loft last year. I’ve linked similar ones they currently have in stock. How easy and classic is this outfit? I’m totally wearing this to one of my kid’s school parties. Here’s a tip when you wear red… if you are wearing red lipstick it needs to match exactly. If it doesn’t, opt for a pinky nude color. I learned this from Lauren at About Face in Mandeville. Miss that place!

fancyblouse

There was a time when I thought I would die before I wore faux leather leggings. Ha! Well, this is my second year owning these Spanx leather leggings and I adore them. I love pairing them with a pretty blouse for either a holiday happy hour or dinner. This banana republic shirt is from last year, but I linked one I had my eye on at Anthropologie. Pardon my door in the shot… I’m trying to get better at this!

madewellplaid

Christmas Plaid is my jam. I have Christmas plaid place mats, Christmas plaid ribbon for our tree and a Christmas plaid blouse! I bought this top from Madewell last year, but there is TONS of Christmas plaid out there this season. I’ve linked a few of my favorites! And… my velvet pants. These are going to show up a lot.

jcrewplaid

Did you think I was going to forget about my cropped Paige denim in the winter? No way! And look – more Christmas plaid! I bought this shirt several years ago from J Crew (remember y’all… shop your closet first!), and I still wear it. It’s flannel and so comfy. At some point we will take the kids to the Holiday Lights at Constellation Field and I plan on throwing this on to wear assuming it isn’t 80 degrees outside!

bomber

A sequined bomber. This is one my most favorite things I purchased when I worked at a darling boutique in Mandeville. Here I have paired with my black flares and some glitzy shoes, but it would just as cute with some skinny jeans and tennis shoes for a casual NYE celebration! I’ve linked a beautiful sequined blazer from Nordstrom so you can get the same look.

onearmtop

Ok. Now this is one of my all-time favorite tops! It’s Crosby by Mollie Burch. If you haven’t checked out this line, you should. It’s pricey, but for a few statement pieces, I think it’s worth it. There is something about a pretty black top. I’ve worn this top more times than I can count in the past year. For the holidays I paired it with my velvet pants, glitzy shoes and some shiny earrings. Also, funny story, every time I wear all black I think of Tiffany at We Five Kings (are you following her? you should!). She posted a funny meme about how she doesn’t usually wear all black so every time I do I think of her!

blazer

You didn’t think I’d leave this post without styling my favorite white tee for the holidays, did you? Really though this is all about the velvet blazer! I bought this last year at Nordstrom (linked a similar one!) and I wore it over my cocktail dresses to holiday parties and over white tees for a girls night out!

So, maybe you don’t have ALL of this in your closet, and you aren’t about to go spend a ton for an entire holiday wardrobe so what should you get? I’d vote for the velvet pants or velvet blazer. Both of these items can be worn in a casual or dressy setting and you can find both at a decent price point. If you are really feeling it also maybe get a Christmas plaid shirt. You’ll wear it year after year!

Next post… the two cocktail dresses I’ll be wearing to all my holiday parties!

Have a holly jolly day friends!

SarahSignature-Pink

p.s. Do you like the OFF can on my front porch in the first picture? ha! It’s obvious we live in Texas!

 

Child Advocates Santa Wish List Program

Child Advocates Santa Wish List Program

A quick post on something that has been burdening me lately – gratitude. I mentioned that we are trying to work on gratitude in our house. Not just for the kids, but for the adults, too! I would give our family a C for hitting our “gratitude goals” leading up to Thanksgiving. Now, we enter a fun, but also sometimes tough, season – Christmas! The focus is always on what we want, especially for the kids.  While I think that is fine (children SHOULD enjoy the holiday season!) I’m hoping to elevate Christmas for my children a little this year.

Sidenote: I always thought we would be the family serving Thanksgiving to the homeless and doing all sorts of good deeds during the Christmas season. That hasn’t happened. Maybe the kids are too young. In the six years we’ve had children, we have donated a few items to Toys for Tots and brought some cans to a food drive. I’m not knocking those things. They are great! But I’m ready to do a little more to make these acts of generosity more personal for my kids.

My neighbor posted on FaceBook about the Child Advocates Santa Wish List Program. You can easily purchase items for children in Child Protective Services custody through Amazon or Target.  You can also host a toy drive or sponsor an individual child.  The drop off for the gifts for individuals are December 4 – 6 which is why I wanted to post this information sooner rather than later. This year, our family decided to sponsor an individual child. Her name is Zoey and she is 10 years old. We received her wish list via email and we plan to shop for her as a family on Friday evening. H & L have been pretending to be elves all week so I’m planning on telling them we are going to be Zoey’s elves. My hope is that we can bring some joy to Zoey’s holiday season. All children deserve that. I also hope that having a specific name and age will make an impact on my children and will spark conversation so they can begin to understand how privileged they are; not to feel guilty, but to feel a sense of responsibility that comes with privilege.

I’m not posting this for anyone to congratulate us on being “good” people (see above… a few toys and cans are all we have done so far!) I’m posting this to help keep me and my family accountable as we enter a season of “more, more, more.” What do you do during this season to keep gratitude in check?

I had to post a photo of my cute elves and I’ll  will post our shopping trip on my IG stories!

Stay Merry!

SarahSignature-Pink