Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Memories

Spring is here! The weather is warming up and I love it! Thaat means lots more Lilly and dresses! I'm hesitant to switch out my closet...what if there's another cold spell?! Maybe I'll get to it this week!

Monday we read lots of books and cuddled!
This boy likes to kiss...a lot!
The hubs had some cake leftover from the men's retreat and I took care of it!
And there were lots of puppy kisses this week!
E never gets pasta...he says yuck, well he could have eaten the whole pot of my homemade sauce and then he ate noodles! Crazy!!
A run Thursday night ended with a glass of wine...I'll take it!
Remember that you can submit a short story about your fav scent (see my Friday post) to win a natural perfume from Victoria Jess!
Sometimes we are silly :)
Sunday was a busy day, but going to the Sip and Shop at Pure Barre Athens was so fun!
Sunday night we attended a parenting event at our church with UGA coach Marck Richt and his wife Kathryn. They were super sweet and funny! 

Hope you had a great week!
Cheers to 80 degrees this week!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Faves: Victoria Jess Perfume

I really do love trying new things, so a collaboration with Victoria Jess seemed like something fun for both of us. I also love using natural products when I can, so natural perfume sounded awesome.

Victoria Jess is described as, "a boutique perfume company offering hand-blended Natural Perfumes and Spa Products. Each fragrance contains rare and precious ingredients sourced from around the world including Essential oils, Absolutes, Concretes, Tinctures, and Resins. Organic, Sustainably-derived, and Wild crafted essences are used whenever possible. Synthetic, petro chemicals and aroma chemicals are never used. All of our perfume is blended into a base of Organic Grade Alcohol, with the exception of the solid perfume which is in Organic Jojoba and Beeswax. We do not test on animals and only source ingredients from companies doing the same. Our perfumes do not contain any animal ingredients except for Beach Harvested Ambergris and Beeswax."

Victoria sent her Jasmine perfume in both spray and solid and For Always perfume (a roses and chocolate perfume) to try. She gave me the heads up that natural perfumes behave differently than commercial perfumes and don't last as long (and it has to be reapplied more often).

I will say that I had no problem with the scent smelled great all day. I also liked that it didn't have a strong scent like some perfumes that give me a headache. It was a light, natural scent that I smelled throughout the day. I've gotten lots of compliments when I've worn it..."What's that sweet smell that you have on?" I liked that the perfume left no random perfume spots on my clothes (you know you've had that happen) and I could feel comfortable knowing that I wasn't putting any chemicals into my skin through the perfume.

I had never tried a solid perfume, but I thought it was awesome how it worked. I particularly liked that you could put it in a concentrated spot (wrists, neck, etc) and not worry about it getting on your clothes if you didn't want it on there. The scent also stayed for a long time and I really enjoyed having this option. 

Victoria describes her Jasmine perfume as, "This limited edition fragrance is a blend of the worlds most precious Jasmine from India. Jasmine Grandiflorum Flower, Jasmine Sambac Flower, and Jasmine Concrete combine to form a lush floral heart, enhanced by citrus floral top notes and a powdery Sweet Indian Sandalwood finish. Une Fleur de Jasmine contains only natural essential oils and absolutes hand-blended into Organic Grape Alcohol. This is a truly feminine fragrance."

I loved switching it up to the For Always perfume. Victoria describes it on her site as "For Always is a very romantic natural perfume, combining the floral beauty of Moroccan Rose, deliciously sweet Cocoa Absolute, and the sensual warmth of Amber. Bulgarian Rose Flower, Moroccan Rose Flower, and Turkish Rose Otto infuse the heart of this perfume with the scent of love. Cocoa Absolute adds the perfect subtle compliment to rose, and the warm amber base includes rare beach harvested Ambergris. For Always contains only natural essential oils and absolutes hand-blended into Organic Grape Alcohol. This is the perfect fragrance for someone who loves romantic movies, roses, and of course chocolate!" It definitely has a fun, flirty scent...I'm pretty sure the husband liked it ;)

One thing that Victoria and I talked about with scents is thinking of our favorite scents. One of my favorite scents is fresh cut flowers. I am a girly girl when it comes to flowers and just about anything. There's nothing I love more than a warm spring day, windows open and fresh flowers on the table. 

Victoria is offering one lucky reader the opportunity to win one of her fabulous perfumes! You'll get to choose from the Jasmine or the For Always perfume and receive a 6mL spray. All you have to do is comment below or e-mail me at about what your favorite scent is. Maybe your favorite is something that reminds you of your childhood or a certain perfume your grandma wears. Get creative...I'll randomly draw a winner next Friday (April 4)!

Interested in trying natural perfume? You can purchase Victoria Jess on etsy!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday Thoughtfulness: Mommyhood Isn't Glamorous, Part II

I love when I find a blog post that relates so well to my life that I could have written it myself. This is that article:

Like I have been doing, I like to share a post with you and then give you my perspective on that. What parts of this holds true to my life? Well, I blogged about how my life wasn't super glamorous and this writer just confirms that I'm not the only one. On days that I'm not working, I try to sleep in as long as I can, but I do wake up to E who is ready to get up, eat breakfast and have my undivided attention. 

Doesn't this quote sound just like what I wrote a couple of weeks ago?

"She’s barely wiped the sleep from her eyes and has yet to pour a cup of coffee before diapers need to be changed and the dog must be let out."

I just told someone today that I come to the office 2.5 days a week to relax. I don't mean that I'm not doing work at the office...I sure as heck am. But it's a different kind of work. Work work is less physically draining than staying home with E. "Her job, nay her calling, begins before her feet even hit the floor. There is no commute to the office, no clocking in for motherhood."
I swear I hadn't read this when I wrote my other post, but these are basically my words "This isn’t a glamorous role, and no one is applauding her this morning." No one really applauds motherhood. I know my husband acknowledges how hard it is and E is grateful to me, but there's no award that really shows you how greatly appreciated you are. There are no words that can express how hard you have worked on something and there is no physical outcome (like a booklet or publication) that you can see. I think moms applaud other moms which is great. I often tell my friends what a great mom they are, simply because I know how much it means to me when they tell me that. My most proud moment was when my own mom told me what a great mom was (she does this all the time, but I'll never forget the first time). My mom is an incredible mother and for her to tell me that I'm a great mom...boy did that make me feel good.

I know my husband notices things most of the time, but don't all of us wish that things were noticed more? What about the fact that I was on my hands and knees scrubbing my kitchen floor before my in-laws came?! Did that get, probably not. What about the fact that there isn't a huge pile of laundry...did that get noticed...not really. "She does the hard work, the mundane tasks, and most of the time, she does it all without an eye to see. And sometimes she wonders if anyone notices."

My favorite paragraph in the entire post is this one, "This calling of motherhood is a service unlike anything else, where the privilege of giving life is tempered by a daily dying to self. It’s the very nature of motherhood. Sometimes I do it well, and sometimes I do it poorly. Sometimes I meet my children’s needs with grace and humility, and then other times I look in the mirror and see ugly, selfish pride staring right back. Sometimes this laying down of self is affirmed by slobbery kisses, vice-like hugs and countless “I-love-you-to-the-moon-and-back” sentiments, and other times I feel as though it’s all in vain."

When you think that no one sees or no one else cares, you can remember that God does see and he does care. And that should be what matters most. If I can honor God in my mothering to E, then I feel like I have accomplished everything in the world. God has given us the incredible privilege to be mothers to our kids. Sometimes I think to myself "how in the world did I get so lucky?" It's not luck, it's the blessing that the good Lord has bestowed upon us. Just remember as you lay your life down for your you are exhausted and weary...Jesus also did that for us. That puts things in perspective, huh?!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Workout Wednesday Pure Barre Athens

This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to try a Pure Barre class at Pure Barre Athens for free. I am always open to new exercise and fitness programs so I was happy that the opportunity came my way. I'm going to be honest, I consider myself to be in pretty good shape. I mean I did run 10 miles last weekend and I am running a half marathon in a week. I also take Pilates regularly (and have for many years) and I grew up dancing and I'm still pretty flexible. I thought Pure Barre wouldn't kick my butt, but boy was I wrong!

It was HARD. And by hard, I mean HARD. It's not cardio, which my body is currently trained for and it's not stretching like Pilates. It's exhausting your muscles by doing very small movements. You lift, tone and burn in 55 minutes.

So what did I like best? I liked that there was upbeat music (sometimes that part of Pilates makes me want to go to sleep afterwards) and that everyone was really friendly. There was a certain comradery that came with the class...we weren't high-fiving each other, but you could feel support from the others in the class (and the teacher)...this reminded me of my dancing days. I also found it helpful that the teacher would come and position you properly (heck, I didn't know what I was doing half the time, so that was uber helpful). The teacher would even reposition students that had been there many times...make them tuck more, plie deeper, lift their heels higher, etc.

I also liked that I felt it...sometimes I feel like we do workouts and we don't necessarily feel them. I want to feel sore, I want my abs to hurt...I want to know that I did something! I definitely felt this (while I was doing it and afterwards). I also liked that you can't ever become an expert at every part of it...there's always something you're working towards (I'm very goal-oriented and I like this aspect).

Overall, it was a wonderful experience...something I definitely want to do again (perhaps after the half marathon).

So let me tell you about the Pure Barre Athens studio.

When you enter Pure Barre Athens, you are greeted by a friendly face...and the instructors do a great job of remembering the students names so that the atmosphere is one you feel comfortable in.

On the wall you can write your goals on a Pure Barre circle and "Set Your Barre" for what you want to accomplish. It's a great way to check on your goals and hold yourself accountable.

Pure Barre Athens is the only retailer of high-end workout apparel. They have beautiful, bright-colored clothes that are well-made and super flattering. Some people just come in to shop!

Connie Popwell is the owner of Pure Barre Athens. She's super sweet and enthusiastic about what she's doing. She really believes in Pure Barre!

These sweet girls from Dr. Kaye Sweeter's Public Relations Campaigns class greeted me and showed me around the facility.

Let's be one loves looking at pictures of her butt, but below are several of mine ;) This shows you what the barre work looks like (though mine ain't pretty).

According to the Pure Barre website, "In just 55 minutes, you will achieve a total body workout targeted at the areas of the body women struggle with most: seat, hips, thighs, abs, and arms. Each strength section of the workout is followed by a stretch section, which will help you achieve a long, lean, and strong physique. Pure Barre is truly the fastest, most effective way to change the shape of your body, producing results in as few as 10 classes! Check out our class schedule and find a time that works for you to come and lift, tone, burn with us. We look forward to seeing you at the barre!"

Pure Barre, "Offers a daily escape where you can recharge and allow everyday worries to fade away, allows you to invest back into yourself after working hard for others all day, inspires you to become your best self and gives you a feminine strength to show the world."

Pure Barre Athens was recently voted Flagpole Magazine's Reader Picks Favorite Place to Get Fit, Favorite Adult Classes: Movement and Favorite Fitness Instructor.

Below is a short YouTube clip by founder of Pure Barre, Carrie Dorr which I found really helpful in explaining Pure Barre.

If you're looking for a great workout, this is definitely it! You'll feel better about yourself even after just one class...after you're soreness has ceased! 

To learn more about Pure Barre Athens, visit their website, Facebook page or Instagram. You can also search for the closest Pure Barre studio to you in the upper right-hand corner!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie

Truth: If you haven't figured this out about me by now, I love easy recipes. I don't have a ton of time to fix dinner with a 2 (almost 3) year old running around. Life is crazy...some days I'm home with E (busy), some days I'm working (busy) there's never any time to cook fancy. I've been making chicken pot pie for what seems like 100 years. It's hearty, semi-healthy and super easy. I've made chicken pot pie with fresh veggies and everything from scratch...but this one is super easy.

Boil chicken breasts (I use three) for 30 minutes to an hour (until tender and falling apart).

Remove from water, cut chicken into small pieces (cubes).

Mix your can of peas/onions/mushrooms, carrots and potatoes together.
Add in your cream of (whatever) soup, chicken and some seasoning salt, pepper, Italian seasonings and garlic salt.
Press your pie crust (store bought) into the bottom of a round dish and put fork marks in the bottom (this pie crust was such a pain to work with for some reason so it is not pretty).
Spoon in your vegetable and chicken mixture.
Top it off with the other pie crust, pressing together with the bottom crust. Put fork marks in the outside of the crust (once again, this crust was not cooperating and tore in a not super pretty).
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
3 chicken breasts (boiled and cut into cubes)
1 can carrots
1 can peas, pearl onions and mushrooms mixed
1 can of sliced potatoes
1 can cream of chicken/celery/mushroom (you choose)
Seasoning salt, pepper, garlic salt, Italian seasonings (about a tsp of each, but really just to taste)
2 pie crusts
1 tablespoon of butter

Boil 3 chicken breasts for 30 minutes to an hour (until tender). Remove from water and cut into small pieces (cubes). Mix your can of peas/onions/mushrooms, carrots and potatoes together.
Add in your cream of (whatever) soup, chicken and some seasoning salt, pepper, Italian seasonings and garlic salt.
Press your pie crust (store bought) into the bottom of a round dish and put fork marks in the bottom (this pie crust was such a pain to work with for some reason so it is not pretty).

Spoon in your vegetable and chicken mixture.
Top it off with the other pie crust, pressing together with the bottom crust. Put fork marks in the outside of the crust (once again, this crust was not cooperating and tore in a not super pretty).

Done! Quick and easy! Perfect for a family dinner or to bring to a friend. Easy meal...pair it with a salad and bread!


Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Memories

Such a great week, but I seriously haven't been home a single evening. Lots of time with friends that I love spending time with and lots of sunny days!!

My friend Maegan came into town after her trip to Thailand and while most of the time was spent working, we found time to check out Cinco y diez (a Hugh Acheson restaurant). It was delicious! I had the hen of the woods (mushroom) tacos, a margarita and we split chips and dip. Definitely a fun, new spot!
We always have a good time :)
Wednesday during E's naptime, I snuggled up and watched the Pretty Little Liars finale...oh my! (Necklace by Bent by Courtney, top from Alta moda and cup from Ashley Brooke Designs)
Hello first day of spring!! Beautiful weather on Thursday and lots of Lilly Pulitzer! (Bangles by Bourbon and Boweties)
Thank goodness for Friday mornings! E loved his PBK lion chair that I found at our Junior League thrift sale for $5!
And another gorgeous day! E and I sat on the porch and read tons of Easter books. The hubs had a men's retreat (in which he broke his Big Green Egg while loading it for the retreat...if y'all have any GE connections, send them my way!) so E and I spent lots of mommy/son time together.
Saturday am was one of my taper runs...6 miles! Taper runs are hard because my legs want to keep going but my body says "thank you for giving me a break!" It seemed super appropriate that I was running next to cows since it's a Chick Fil A race!

And another gorgeous day in Lilly and Jacks!
E got a Ninja Turtle (thanks mom) and we had pizza with my mom...E's fav!
Sunday I had the opportunity to tryout a Pure Barre class for free...a review will be on the blog soon, but let me just say, it ain't easy.
And I finished off Sunday with pedicures with a great friend (both in Lilly). So nice to relax and chat after getting our workout on!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Fave: LMitchell Art

I was thrilled when Lori told me she'd be interested in collaborating. I had admired her paintings on Etsy and just thought how much my readers would love her work. There's something so special about these angel paintings and if I'm being honest, when I got mine in the mail and opened the box...I literally cried. It was the sweetest, most precious angel I'd ever seen. It was my sweet E as an angel. I thank God every day for E and tell God that he has sent me the most wonderful angel he ever could. 

It only seems fitting to have an angel painting of your dear child. Even when they aren't acting like an angel, you can remember that they are your angel. It took me awhile to figure out where I wanted to hang my painting. I knew I wanted it to be somewhere that I walked past everyday. Somewhere where the sun hit it perfectly and I could smile when I saw it. I decided to put it across from E's bedroom, in the hallway next to the playroom. I like walking past it on my way to E's room as I put him to bed or we grab a book. It's a constant reminder of the sweetest gift I've ever been given.

Lori's artwork is amazing. Below are a few of her other paintings. You can customize as much as you want. You can have pink angels for your daughters, blue angels for your sons or gold angels to have a monochromatic look. Lori can add as many angels as you want. She can make them for parents, grandparents, great-grandparents (she's done up to 14 angels on one canvas!!). 

What better gift than this to receive on Mother's Day?! I know my mom would love one...and if I didn't have one already, this would be the ultimate gift. Send your husband the link to my blog...tell him how much you like it. Dream about the perfect spot in your home. Cherish your children in angel form. 

LMitchell Art got its start in 2013. After numerous requests from friends and family Lori revisited her love of art and began painting. Lori strives to create designs that are both beautiful and simple by identifying and emphasizing the key elements. Thus far the majority of Lori’s work centers around Christian themes and her angels have become increasingly popular. Lori loved to draw and her interest led her to the University of Georgia where she earned a bachelors degree in Landscape Architecture. After college she practiced Landscape Architecture in Atlanta and received her MBA in personal finance. In 2007 she and her husband chose to move back to Macon to raise their family. Lori Mitchell is a stay-at-home mother of three girls.

Pieces start at 4"x4" and go up to large gallery pieces of any size. All paintings are acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas with a 1.5 inch edge unless otherwise specified.

Lori Mitchell works out of her studio in Macon, Georgia. She sells pieces directly through Etsy, in multiple boutiques and also offers custom and made-to-order services. Please message through the store with questions or custom order inquiries.

She now sells her pieces in boutiques across the southeast and online through her Facebook page, LMitchell Art. Lori is also portrait artists’ broker with Portraits South representing artists across the country.

If you're interested in her pieces, you can contact her via Facebook or Etsy.

I promise you will LOVE her paintings and they will be something cherish everyday :)