Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Make Ahead Meals || Breakfasts

One of my goals this Spring is to work on losing the baby weight (it's been 5 months, Lindsay... seriously, get on it!) and working on planning my meals a head of time for the week. I've been pinning recipes that are easy make ahead solutions that can be stored in the fridge for the week. 

A big part of losing weight for me is my diet. I can fall off the wagon pretty quickly with just one binge of Chinese food over the weekend. So, I like to make sure I stay on track during the week. I've been trying really hard not to eat out during the week, and that has helped a lot with not gaining back any weight.

Currently, I've been hovering at about 8-10 pounds away from my goal weight or the weight I was right before I got pregnant. Now that it's starting to warm up outside, I'm hoping to start running again and working out more. I know working out can only take me so far when it comes to losing weight, however. 

So, I've come up with a plan of action to combat my daily cravings by making sure I have healthy, easy, grab-and-go meals ready for me in the fridge during the week.

I will post some of my lunch and dinner options in another post, but this one is all about breakfasts. You see, I'm horrible at eating breakfast. It's either a huge egg, bacon, toast meal on the weekends or none at all during the week (just my typical 2 cups of coffee). That is SO bad! I need to get better!

I recently found this recipe for No Bake Energy Bites and they sounded easy enough to make. Well, I'm here to tell you they are! All you have to do is throw the ingredients together in a bowl, mix and roll into balls... Now, that sounds easy enough!

| I N G R E D I E N T S |

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats (raw)
2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted and cooled (I used crispy rice cereal instead)
1/2 cup ground golden flaxseed meal
6 Tbsp chocolate chips

| D I R E C T I O N S |

In a mixing bowl, stir together peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract. Add remaining ingredients and stir until evenly coated. Transfer mixture to refrigerator or freezer and chill until set (I actually cheated here and shaped mine before chilling with damp hands but I think chilling would make it easier to shape them).

Remove from refrigerator and shape into 1-inch balls. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

These are so easy to grab out of the fridge in the morning and better yet, they are delicious with that morning cup of coffee!


A few other make ahead options for breakfast are my favorite berry-banana protein smoothies and egg / veggie omelet muffins

For the smoothies, I like to make little freezer sandwich bags with the ingredients in them so I can just grab and throw in the blender with protein powder and almond milk. 

For this, all you have to do is half a banana and put it in a quart sized freezer bag with about a cup of frozen mixed berries and a handful of spinach. Seal and make sure to mark with the date you prepared and place in the freezer. 

(see the recipe for veggie omelet muffins here)

I'm hoping between these 3 options I can keep breakfast easy and healthy during the week!

What are your easy go-to breakfast options?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How to Clean Out Your Closet (and make some cash!)

Every season I like to clean out my closet. Mostly, in order to make room for new clothes. 

We live in a 3 bedroom ranch style home that was built in the late 60s, so there are no walk-ins. Our master closet is stuffed to the brim and I have taken over the guest room closet as well. It is important that I utilize the space I have. This means getting rid of any old or out of style clothes that I do not wear anymore to make room for new stuff. 

The first thing I do is go through all my hanging shirts and blouses. Then, I will go through my dresses and finally my folded clothes, shoes and accessories. One by one, asking myself "have I worn this in the past year?'

If the answer is no, then that means it is time to part with that item. The next question I ask myself is, can I sell this item or should I donate? If the item is in good condition, purchased in the past 2 - 3 years, then it may be worth trying to sell. Items that are brand name or designer are definitely worthy of trying to sell. Typically, I can make a good $50 - $100 (more if I'm selling designer brands) per season selling my gently used clothing, shoes and accessories.

Here's how it's done:

1 || Sort through all your clothes and make a pile of items you will not be wearing anymore. General rule is if the item has not been worn in the past year (besides special occasion items), then you should get rid of it. Also, if the item no longer or never fit correctly, it should be removed from your closet (that includes your pair of 'skinny jeans' that you've told yourself you may fit into one day...)

2 || From the pile of clothes you are getting rid of, make 3 piles: 1 - items that can be sold; 2 - items to be donated; 3 - items to be thrown out (items with damage that can not be mended, stains that can not be cleaned or generally just too worn). 

Items to be sold should be in good condition with no tears/holes, stains, pilling (sweater material / t-shirt material looks new). Items that are good candidates for selling are designer/brand name items that cost more than $30 and are in good condition. 

Items to be donated should be in good condition with no holes/tears/stains. Underwear, bras, swim suits should not be donated. These should be thrown out unless they have never been worn and are NWT (new with tags).

Items to be trashed are those that are in bad condition/worn that can not be mended.

Here is a chart I put together that will help you sort trough your clothing items:

3 || Once you have gone through your wardrobe and have your 4 piles complete (keep, sell, donate and trash), put the clothes to donate in a large trash bag and label with "donate" and drop off at your local Goodwill or donation drop off site. Don't forget to pick up your donation receipt for your taxes!

The items to trash can go right in your trash bag (this part feels great, we are clearing the clutter!).

You may hang, fold and put back all your items you are keeping.

Go through the items you are hoping to sell and make sure they are cleaned, pressed and mended appropriately.

4 || Selling your items can be done in a few different ways. You may take them to your local second hand store to sell. I typically go this route because it's easy. However, you may not get as much as you think for your gently used clothing. I will take in 2 - 3 trash bags full of clothes and only make about $25 - $50 if I'm lucky. And they don't always take everything you are offering.

I have also had some success with some local buy/sell pages on facebook. It may be worth your while to search on facebook for your neighborhood/city's buy sell page. Here you can post photos of the items and list the specifics and asking price. These pages are great because you do not have to pay shipping to sell the item online. Kind of the same mindset as Craigslist.

You can go the ebay route, but don't forget to factor in shipping to your asking price. There are other fees associated with ebay as well you should be aware of.

If you have a good amount of followers on instagram or twitter, it may be worth your while to try to sell the items on your feed or set up a separate account and post photos of all your items with the price and encourage your followers to visit your "shop". 

Whatever items I am not able to sell, I usually end up donating. I try to resist putting them back in my closet. 

And now you can look at your freshly edited closet and start scheming on what new items to add to it! :)

I'm linking up with Natalie and Annie for Thoughts for Thursday!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Our Days Together

Some of my favorite posts to read on other blogs are the 'typical day' posts. I just love to see how other people schedule their days and prioritize their lives (call me nosey). I posted a typical day with Camden a few months ago when he was around 2 months old. Wow, how things can change in just a few months! That schedule at 2 months exhausts me just reading it! And it feels like a lifetime ago! 

We are in such a happy stage right now with him. He is sleeping through the night (insert praise hands emoji) and I am officially off the pump (insert double praise hands emoji). Currently, I spend 2 days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) home with Cam. I absolutely LOVE our days together!

Here's what our days consist of:

7am | I get up, make coffee, prepare Cam's bottle.
7:30 | I go into Cam's room, wake him and feed him. He is not a morning person like the rest of the family. Sometimes I wonder how long he would sleep if I let him go (I know I should not be bragging about this... knock on wood we don't have any regression!!)?? But, I like to start our days at the same time everyday so we are on a schedule and he goes down at the same time every night. After I feed him, I change him and we are ready to play!

8am - 9am | Cam will sit in his bouncy chair with some toys for a bit while I clean his bottles and do the dishes. Then, I'll play with him on his activity mat or we will walk around and bounce/dance, read books, do some tummy time, etc.

9am - 10:30 | Cam will nap for a little over an hour before his next feeding time at 10:30. Sometimes he sleeps well in the swing and sometimes I put him back in the crib if he is fussy. During this nap, I will catch up on blogs, schedule out my day, start the laundry, prepare bottles, get ready for the day, etc.

11:00am - 1:30pm | After the 10:30 feeding, I will play with him for a bit more until his 11:30 nap. This kid loves his naps and will take a good 1.5 - 2 hour nap 2 - 3 times a day and he may take a 30 min cat nap in the evening. If he doesn't get good naps throughout the day he gets really cranky at night, so I try to make sure he gets some solid sleep in his crib for at least 1 of his naps. During the second nap, I will finish some house chores, follow up on emails, finish laundry, catch up on tv shows, make lunch, etc.

1:30 - 3pm | Cam eats again at 1:30 and then it's time to play some more! I really try to be very interactive with him while he's awake. I love spending time in his nursery too and away from the tv and computer so my attention is 100% on him.

If I need to go anywhere during the day, this is when we typically leave the house. If I go to the grocery or Target, Cam will just sleep or chill the entire time. He's a great little shopping buddy :)

3pm - 4:30pm | Naptime again! I will start dinner or at least plan for it during this time. Sometimes I will run errands with him during this nap time as well.

4:30 - 7pm | Cam eats at 4:30, then it's more play time. If Bill is home, he may play with him while I prepare dinner or if I go to the gym. We may go on a family walk if the weather is nice. Sometimes Cam will take a 30 min cat nap in the swing, but I mostly like to keep him awake until bedtime after his 4:30 bottle.

7 - 8pm | Our bedtime routine starts. If it's a bath night (he only gets baths 2 - 3 times per week bc of his eczema), Bill will start the bath while I get him ready. We love to give him baths together as a team. He's a wiggly little thing! He's gotten so much better at baths and does not cry anymore thank goodness. After his bath, I will give him a little baby oil massage and get him dressed for bed. We may read a book to calm him down, but he is usually anxious for his bedtime bottle.

For his last bottle, I turn off the lights in his room and leave the hall light on for some light. I turn on the sound machine for this feeding to get him into his sleeping mode. After the bottle, I burp him and rock him for a little bit (like 2 - 5 mins). Then, I put him in the crib in his Halo Sleepsack, give him his binky and he will drift off.

Once babe is asleep, Bill and I will watch tv and hang out for a while until we go to bed around 10pm. 

I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into our days together. I cherish these days and am so happy I get to spend quality time with him while he is growing and learning so rapidly! Time can slow down now!!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Clearing the Clutter

I've taken some time away from the blog to reflect on it and life in general. Maybe it's the Spring season, maybe it's my new routine and responsibility of being a mom, maybe I'm just ready for a change, but I think it's time for me to clean out alllll the clutter in my life. 

When I was little, my mom would ask me to clean my room at least once a week. I was a messy little thing. My toys and clothes were scattered all over the floor on any given day. On the days she would ask me to 'clean my room for the cleaning lady' (which always confused me) I would typically just shove everything in the closet and under the bed. There. Done!

Well, one day my mom asked me to clean out my closet and get everything out from under my bed. Now what do I do?? Well, I sorted through everything. Yes, my 10 year old self cleared out my closet. How? I stuffed everything in large sized plastic garbage bags. I only kept the items I really wanted and needed (barbies, stuffed animals, you know... the essentials). Everything else went in the bags. I hauled the heavy bags (that were about the same size as my body) down the stairs and to the garage to be taken out with the trash.

My dad decided it may be best for him to go through the bags before taking them to the curb. After he surveyed about 4 big bags, he looked at me and said, "Lindsay, this is all good stuff in here. We just bought you these shoes a month ago?!" 

I just looked at him and said, "Yea, but I don't need any of it."


That's the truth. We don't need any of it! But, everywhere I look there is stuff.

I am currently working on a post to document how I clean out my closet every season. Part of a 'Spring Cleaning' series, if you will. Sometimes you just need to clear out all the clutter to feel refreshed and to focus on what's important.

I also feel this way about the blog. There has been a lot of clutter recently. I feel as though I have to throw something up everyday to stay relevant and some of the content I am not 100% proud of. That is not why I started blogging. I started blogging as a creative outlet for myself. Somewhere to share my ideas, life and style with others and to share my love for design. It is somewhere I can connect with other like minded fellow bloggers. Somewhere to share my thoughts and feelings. I don't want my blog to feel to 'advertise-y' or solely focused on selling products. I do, however, want to provide my readers with honest product reviews and fashion finds for their benefit.

Going forward, I will be focusing on quality content. I will be clearing the clutter and making way for the good stuff. I don't want to just throw up photos from my instagram account and call it a post. This may mean I only post once, maybe twice a week, but I will make sure it is a post that I can be proud of. I'm hoping to post more DIY projects (like back in the day), style/fashion finds, baby product recommendations, home decor and organization posts. I will still be posting about my life from time to time, however, there are some aspects I like to keep private. Obviously, pictures of my son are not one of them (if you've seen my instagram...). I will continue posting about motherhood and my experience being a first time mommy, because truth be told, I absolutely love it! It is the best job I've ever had!

Bottom line is, I am continuing the blog. It may look and feel a bit different than the norm, but I hope you will still follow along!

I really love this little piece of the web world that I have created and I'm not ready to give it up!

Plus, how could I not share photos/moments like this:

{my little gentleman... right before one of the biggest blowouts to date!}

*Now, if you could do me a favor and leave a comment with the type of posts you would love to see on Lovely Life Styling, I would be so greatful. Some examples are baby related posts (baby products, daily schedules, baby clothes, etc), fashion related posts (outfits, fashion finds, etc), beauty posts (tutorials, my favorite products, etc), DIY projects, home decor, typical day posts, recipes, etc... Let me know what you love reading!

Thank you for your continued support!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Hoppy Easter!

Just wanted to pop in and say Hoppy Easter weekend to you and yours! 

We will be traveling to Bill's hometown this weekend to celebrate the holiday and his father's birthday with the family. I just love documenting all of Camden's first holidays!

I'm missing the blog and have some great ideas for upcoming posts. I'm hoping to give the blog a much needed 'face lift' as well very soon!

Until then, follow me on instagram for more rediculously adorable photos of mostly my son :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Taking a little blogging break...

Hello blogettes! I've decided to take a little blog hiatus for a bit. Trying to keep up with baby, work, home, family, social life is keeping me pretty busy these days and blogging has definitely taken a back burner unfortunately. I do love blogging and I especially love connecting with all my bloggy friends, so I will pop in from time to time to read and comment on your blogs. 

Does this mean I am going to quit blogging altogether? No!!

Every now and then I feel as though I need to take a breather to refresh. Most of the time I come back full swing with new, creative ideas for posts. I'm hoping to work on a revamp of the design of my site as well.

Until then, you can keep up with me on instagram (aka my mini blog)!

Love you all! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

CAMDEN || 4 months!

{polo and shorts: carter's | mocs: c/o Sweet N Swag}

Weight: guessing around 14 + pounds
Height: ?? (will fill in after our 4 month appointment on Friday)
Diapers: size 2
Clothes: mostly 3-6 months and some 6 mo

I can't believe my little dude is 4 months already! I am loving this stage. Lots of smiles and even a few giggles here and there (when mommy is really funny). 

He has been eating like a champ and is definitely bulking up! We won't know his exact weight until his 4 month appointment this Friday, but from our guestimations and weighing him at home, I'd say he's about 14 + pounds! That head of his will not stop growing as well! Poor guy can hardly keep that noggin upright while sitting in his Bumbo or Monkey chair. He's getting a lot better at tummy time, but he can't quite hold his head upright on his arms yet. He has, however, started to roll from his back to his side and vice versa. He's always squirming and waving those arms (I couldn't get one shot of him still!). He's so ready to stand and crawl! His legs seem to be so strong. I need to get him an activity walker (recommendations welcome) so he can stand. I can tell he gets so anxious in his chairs. He just wants to stretch his legs out!

We are on a great routine now. Up at 7 and eating and he goes to bed no later than 8pm. He eats at 7, 10-10:30, 1-1:30, 4-4:30 and last feeding at 7:30 with a big bottle (he's up to eating 6 oz now). We started taking his arms out of the swaddle and as long as his hands are covered (so he doesn't scratch his face), he does pretty well.  Sometimes he gets a little 'grunty' between 4-5am, but I just go in and put the paci in his mouth and he falls right back asleep. He's such a good sleeper once he is down. 

His reflux is pretty much non existent anymore which is great. He still spits up a little, but is a 'happy spitter' as they say, so nothing to worry about. He is eating 50% formula (we are using Enfamil Gentlease as recommended by a few friends for his gas issues) and 50% breast milk right now and I am starting to ween myself off of the pump (whoo hoo!). We have a pretty good stock pile of breast milk in our deep freezer that should get us through until he's 6 months or starting to eat more solids/baby food.

He has definitely found his voice! He loves to squeal and is babbling constantly! I'd love to know what is going through that baby brain of his sometimes. He especially loves to have conversations with the monkey on his activity mat. He has also started grabbing at objects and shakes his rattle. He is starting to want to put things in his mouth, which I was wondering if that may mean he is starting to teeth, but no signs of teeth yet. 

I also just picked up a fairly new Graco jogging stroller that fits our carseat for $50 off of a local neighborhood buy and sell page on facebook! I'm pretty excited to try it out! 

I am so excited to see what the next month of Camden's life brings us! So many firsts on the way for this little bundle of joy! We just love him to pieces!!

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