Simpsons for MAC Giveaway

I wasn't allowed to watch The Simpsons growing up, I think that's one of the reasons why I love it so much now, it's a bit of rebelliousness planted deep. Earlier this month, MAC released their Simpsons for MAC collection in honor of their 25th anniversary and it's amazing! Now, not only do I get to watch The Simpsons as an adult, I get to wear them on my face (as weird as that sounds). It highlights Marge, the queen of side eye. 

Every year I try to do a fun giveaway to thank devoted readers. Because of you, this giveaway happened. I'm sincerely grateful to keep this blog and awesome blog content for free thanks to affiliate links and partnerships (you can read more about them here). They not only provided this giveaway but they also provide for my family, what a dream come true. THANKS! 

WHAT YOU WIN:

- Marge Simpson's Nail Cuticles nail decals

- That Trillion Dollar Look eyeshadow quad

- Marge's Extra Ingredients eyeshadow quad

- Tinted Lipglass in Red Blazer

- Pink Sprinkles powder blush

- Lash 7 faux lashes

HOW TO ENTER: Since it's illegal to ask for a "like" or "follow" to enter a giveaway, I'm just going to go with the good nature of people and hope already follow along. And just like my friend Kate says, "please, none of this follow-and-leave as soon as the giveaway is over jazz.. that's super rude!" Yes, Kate it certainly is. There are options to follow in the Rafflecopter entries (again, not mandatory, just trying to be cool about it but you and I both know I'd love it). 

If you can't see the giveaway, enter here. If you don't want to wait for a chance to win, you can buy the collection here

The Simpsons for LEGO

I was so excited when I heard The Simpsons family teamed up with LEGO for Simpsons 25th anniversary. LEGO and Simpsons are two of our favorite household items and of course, we bounced on the chance to add to our LEGO collection. The box comes with the house, and all the details pictured (not including Krusty the Clown), even the car! 

You can buy the house here and the rest of the characters here

Get Spooky With Plasticland

Ok, so “Plasticland” sounds like their mountains are full of silicone and trees are pumped with fillers but Plasticland is a very cute online shop. I love what they carry and they have the perfect  accessories for Halloween. 

1. Cat Backpack- This has black kitty silhouettes wearing colorful bowties. Cute/kawaii Halloween at it's finest. 

2. Creepy Zombie Gnome- This is the perfect accessory to greet people at the doorstep. 

3. Zombie Dress- I don't dress up for Halloween (I know, I know, terrible) but I do love this to get in the Halloween spirit. I can't wait to wear one of their dresses to answer to trick or treaters. It's currently available only in the XS, but they update their shop often.

4. Skull Sneakers- These are the cherry on top. They're cheap and can be slipped on after those naughty nurse heels start hurting. 

5. Poison Cardigan- I love this cardigan, it's feminine but will keep you warm and still keep the spooky festivities. 

6. Skull Tights- Ok, so I may wear these all year long. 

7. Spider Hook- It's all in the details. I may add a spray of black glitter to this. 

8. Bat Dress- This is a new take on "batgirl". 

I love Plasticland, and these items would be perfect not just for Halloween but for the spook in you. 

Recycle Old Books

One of the things people loved about my library-themed wedding were the book decorations we made. Instead of flowers, we had books to decorate and for guests to take home and a book that "fans" out. I don’t know if this is even considered a “DIY” or a craft, it’s so easy to make, and it's even a little therapeutic. All you need is a book, and a great podcast or Netflix show. 

We have a few thrifted books we would never read again, and instead of giving them back to the thrift store or even throwing them out, we use them for decoration. For each book, just fold the top corner completely to the spine, go the to next page, and fold the bottom corner to the spine. Simple! 

Locals Only: Smocking Birds Baby Boutique

Located in one of the largest spaces in The OC Mix in Costa Mesa, is family owned Smocking Birds Baby Boutique, a shop filled with higher end baby clothes with so much more. Whether it’s a special occasion like a baptism or photos, they carry adorable outfits for a little wardrobe. I bought a ton of pieces for Max's wardrobe here, I can tell you it's a store I love and am excited to share. 

Becky, founder of Smocking Birds, has been dressing kids for over 30 years, and her handmade gifts were on high demand, she took the plunge and opened up shop. It began with handmade smocked baby gowns, which are still her best seller, to unique organic lines exclusive to luxury shops. 3 years later and a much needed renovation and extended space, it’s as beautiful as ever! What I love about it is it's a shabby-chic mixed with glamour, not something you'd expect for a kids store, that's what brought me in. 

Smocking Birds doesn’t end with clothes, though. They offer classes on how to make smocked baby gowns (I personally would love to do this, it’s like an heirloom to pass down). They also offer classes with story time, kids entertainment, science experiments, and other hands on activities in their busy calendar. Becky has successfully hosted Women’s Entrepreneurs Extravaganza (another great thing Becky has done is opened up doors to celebrate women in business of the OC ), Tea and Tots Fashion Show, and The Spring Fling. The OC Mix Mart is already a family friendly area and there’s something for everyone, but Smocking Birds is a great place to bring kids. You can check out what other classes they carry here. 

Smocking Birds Baby Boutique located inside The OC Mix

3313 Hyland Ave Costa Mesa, California

Free parking. 

Check them out on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Locals Only is a series on our.city.lights blog highlighting surrounding areas in the OC. If you're a small business and would like exposure on this blog, I love supporting local business'. Contact me here. 

Forever Footprints OC Walk

When I was in the hospital, the nurses kept coming into my room congratulating me after I gave birth to Max, put in the same room as other mom's having their babies, gave me Max for 5 (timed) minutes in a crowded hallway to say goodbye to, and sent me home with a "Congrats New Mom!" swag bag full of newborn goodies. The hospitals have a protocol for sending off healthy babies to their homes, but not many know bedside manner for a grieving mom.

Forever Footprints is an OC based organization I believe in. They help hospitals with the right protocol (like a separate room for stillbirth labors to have a moment with their child),  bringing hot meals to the families, offering counseling, and bringing awareness and light to a dark topic. 

On October 4, my family and close friends are going to walk in honor of Mordecai Maximus La Counte. It will be two days after the one year he died. Celebrating it is a weird way to say it, but remembering him doesn't fit because he's not forgotten. We're honoring him. Whether or not I can walk by this time next month, I'll still be there. I won't be there honoring just my son, but the thousands of other parents who are mourning their babies. 

I feel weird asking for money (none of it goes to me, btw, it all goes to the organization), but today, I am asking. You can donate here. Thank you, friends! 

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling...

There's a giveaway going on on Instagram right now. 

There's a giveaway going on on Instagram right now. 

+ I'm obsessed with this TV show. I'm sure it'll drive me crazy if I lived in one but I love the fantasy of it. 

+ My kitchen was featured here

+ What Kim Kardashian Taught Me About Life

+ Here I Am, Send Me 

+ I'm a contributor to the new advice column on The Loveliest. I'm not a doctor, or have any experience in counseling but the questions have been on everything from how to use Twitter to jealousy. If you need to, reach out and talk someone or talk to a doctor. 

+ There's a great giveaway on Sprit and Haven

+ Check out the new Harvey's and Disney collab 

+ Do something small for something bigger

+ I've been eyeing this skirt 

+ 20 Struggles People With Glasses Understand 

+ 9 Ways to Build Your Biz as an Introvert

+ Friday night pizza night 

Enjoy your weekend! 

How To: Find Coupons for Organic Food

Full disclosure: I currently use Amazon Fresh and I haven't used coupons in a few weeks but when I do go to the grocery store, I still use this list.

(even fresh produce like pomegranates can be coupon'ed!)

(even fresh produce like pomegranates can be coupon'ed!)

Yes, coupons for organic food exist. I knew it was possible when I watched Extreme Couponing and the woman who saved $150 at Whole Foods. I began searching online, subscribed to my Sunday local paper, and I was shocked I couldn't find anything. After a few months of constantly looking, I had a whole system I went through every week. I casually mentioned it on a blog post and a reader emailed me asking to post about it. I guess this isn't so much a "how to" but a list and some tips I've learned. 

+ Be Prepared to Have Your Inbox Flooded- Facebook updates from companies will get lost in my feed so I opened up new email account just for coupons. Every week, companies and groceries that carry organic food, even produce, flood my inbox and I get to go through the ones I want to keep. I sign up for newsletters, mailing lists. When I know they're expired, instead of checking each email, I just hit "all" and delete. Here are the list of companies offering organic and/or natural food to sign up for 

+ Follow Coupon Blogs I love Money Saving Mom blog, she has a special section just for organic and natural coupons. I've used them at Target and my local Vons. 

+ Check out Your Farmer's Market- Did you know most farmer's markets offer coupons and deals? Our local Anaheim Farmer's Market offers them through the Downtown Anaheim Association booth, and each farmer's market has one. Just ask! 

+ Keep Asking... If there is a brand I love but they don't offer coupons, I email them and ask and most are willing to send them. Organic coffee, a dairy farm, even a CSA, they thrive and rely on happy customers. Email to ask, not to take advantage of them. If they don't offer any, I hope their day was made with a satisfied customer email. 

+ Don't Give Up on Regular Coupon Offers Every now and then, an organic brand will pop up in the regular coupon section. If you don't want to subscribe to a local newspaper, print them online at Redplum, and SmartSource.  

+ Stock up on printer ink- Most of these companies don't offer digital coupons. Plus it's good to have as a reminder to be ready to print. 

I hope these help, if anything, I've made a reference for myself. Read more of my How To's here

oh and P.S., This isn't a post on how much better organic food is, or an invitation to email me that an apple is better than packaged food, or what monster corporations own what organic food companies, etc. This is simply a list I've compiled that make it a little easier for families that are looking for healthier food options. Thanks for reading!

August 2014 Favorites

Let's take a look back at favorites for August. 

Favorite Instagram feed is littleredbowtique. Besides the play on words with "bow" I love, Marlyn posts beautiful landscapes, cute dresses, and polka dots. She's been a favorite for some time and so happy to share her feed. 

Favorite purchase was the subscription to Hatchery. I've been eating clean lately and Hatchery offers artisan cooking ingredients like healthy oils, spices, condiments like gourmet mustard (if you know me, I LOVE anything with mustard seeds), and sauces. The bottles last enough for a few uses and make a cheap meal like rice and beans taste gourmet. 

Favorite TV Show was X-Files. With a broken ankle, I've been hanging out in bed watching the creepy show. It adds a little bit of excitement to my slow day. Plus if you miss Breaking Bad, this show is a great alternative because Vince Gilligan was a head writer. All season are currently streaming on Netflix. 

Favorite moment was doing an outfit post. It was out of my comfort zone but I loved it! Even if it wasn't I would normally wear, dressing up is something I'm doing to take care of myself.  And for the record, the TOMS shoes I was wearing did NOT make me fall. It was just my clumsy self. I love those shoes so much, they add the right height without making me feel like I'm wearing heels. 

Here's to September 2014! Check out other favorites for this year here

Grown Up Minnie

I've grown up with Minnie Mouse my whole life- but I only remember the cheeky, juvenile character. Even at my age, I love the polka dots and bows and Minnie was the first to wear those before they became a trend. Below are some of my favorites Disney has made. Grown women no need to fear looking silly in Disney shirts. These look good in and out of the park. Hover over the items to take you to the link. 

Harveys Leopard Bag, Peter Pan Collar Tee, Nail File, Bow Tank, Dotted Doll tee, Minnie Ears, Bow-led Over Tee

This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links help support my family and upkeep my blog. Thanks for the support! 

DogVenture with DogVacay

This post is in partnership with DogVacay

There are times when our parents can’t always watch our dogs, and this is where DogVacay comes in. They make it simple, just like booking a hotel online, but for pets. They make it even easier with an app. Search local pet “hosts”, and book your stay for your pet online. DogVacay includes free pet insurance, customer support for 24/7 and requires a daily photo from your host to know pets are having a safe and fun time. 

As a reward for putting up with us leaving them occasionally, we like to take them on a mini vacation of their own—their favorite spot is the Dog Beach in Huntington Beach—a beach devoted to all kinds of pups. Leashes are “technically” required, but that rule is only enforced for unruly pups. It’s the perfect place they can run, swim, get dirty, and socialize with other dogs. 

Frodo is the type of dog that is happiest anywhere she is, as long as we are around. She’s much more happy socializing with us then the other dogs, but even she can’t resist the atmosphere. Usually by the time we are ready to go home, Merry is all done barking in excitement and running in circles—she sleeps the entire car ride home…and pretty much the rest of the day too.  

Real talk- this is how half my photos looked like. Happy dogs don't pose for blog posts apparently. 

Real talk- this is how half my photos looked like. Happy dogs don't pose for blog posts apparently. 

California- where dog’s life is a beach. Thank you to DogVacay for sponsoring my DogVenture! 

Dressed Up for The ER

I’ve been wanting to do outfit posts for awhile now, but I always believed I had to be skinnier, more charming, more graceful, less awkward, less this, more that. It turned out, I had to be less myself. I was starting to wonder why I wanted to do them. I get a lot of of “where did you get that?” questions, so I figured, okay! Plus when the internet witnessed my complete breakdown this year, there is not much else to hold back. I was even a little skeptical of showing off my legs since I have scars from skateboarding accidents, a Birkenstock tan, and pregnancy gave me varicose veins, or as Ruthie calls them, "nature's typography tattoos". 

Photos of myself are out of my comfort zone so I may as well start with an outfit out of my comfort zone. I normally don't wear color but I love the cut of this dress. As for the ER visit, moments after these photos were taken, I fell and sprained my ankle. It's not broken thankfully, but I was told the damage was bad enough it would take as long as 12 weeks to heal. I wish I could say I was doing an awesome slam dunk during basketball and landed but nope, I was simply walking and my foot got caught on a cement crevice, and I tripped. I guess I won't be posting many outfit posts for awhile but this was fun! 

 

Plated

I wanted to try Plated's service to deliver fresh food to your doorstep with the recipes. All you have to do is cook it! The basics are required like salt, pepper and olive oil. When logged in, you get to choose the date and the recipe, and they offer vegetarian. I chose a beet pita dish, and I can say it's one of the best things I've made, I made sure to save the recipe. It's a spiced deekuh beets with watercress on a greek yogurt with feta on a grilled pita. The photo below is what came with plated, along with the recipe. 

I love Plated and I will use it again for special occasions like when I'm having people over or even when I know I'm going to have a crazy week and eating out isn't an option for me. They offer gourmet recipes but the prices are about $15 a plate, $12 with membership. I thought Plated would be great for a couple like Scott and I but for a large family on a budget, Plated isn't for every day meals- but then I added it up. By the time I go out to a restaurant (not fast food), with tip, pay for gas, it's the same price as going out. If you appreciate fresh food from local food sources for your family, this is a great option. Sign up here

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling. 

When you already have a broken heart, hearing, reading and watching heart breaking things adds a little bit more to the pressure of trying to hold it together. I think what this week has taught me is I don't think our vulnerability and our kindness is mistaken for weakness. Compassion is the least we could do right now and sometimes it's the toughest thing. Instead of the typical fun links, I'd thought I'd share links that inspired me to be a better person, whether it's opening the door for someone, smiling at a stranger, or donating a favorite dress, I hope these inspire you, too. 

+ Don't Waste a Moment

+ What Bad News Does to Your Heart 

+ It's Okay To Fail

+ Blind Man Teaches Kids to Read

+ Emergency Art Therapy

+ Become an Optimist

+ The Coffee Shop With Homeless Employees

+ I Raise My Hands

Ok, so I can't leave without a pizza link so how's this? Enjoy your weekend and stay safe! <3 

Hello Kitty x Minnetonka

* This post contains partner links. Thanks for the support!

I've seen Minnetonka's on friends for years. They not only love the brand, but they are borderline crazy when it comes their loyalty for the brand. When Sanrio and Minnetonka designed a shoe together, I thought it was time to see what the big deal was. When they arrived, I knew how much I would wear these out but the quality is awesome, and I doubt these will wear out anytime soon. What I love best about the collaboration is how subtle Hello Kitty is on the shoe. The design isn't as loud like other Sanrio collaborations. It still keeps Minnetonka's signature style but it still has the famous Sanrio look. 

Grow Part 2

We have tomatoes! They were planted in spring, along with other veggies and fruits, and they are growing faster than we can eat them. Each day we pick a handful. Thankfully I love tomatoes, and my favorite way to eat them is just plain with some kosher salt and pepper. I'll admit food tastes better when you grow it yourself. Maybe it's the humble brag that gives it that extra flavor. Seriously though, gardening has saved my sanity, the more each plant bears veggie or fruits, the more I can see my heart bearing a little more hope. Yes, this post came with extra cheese apparently. 


Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling.

I still kept taking my prenatals in fear I would lose my hair postpartum and I can see the benefits of them in my hair mostly. As someone who used to do hair, I've seen a million things that could work on the hair, but ultimately, eat your fruits and veggies! I'm also wearing my City Chic bow dress, now on sale! 

I still kept taking my prenatals in fear I would lose my hair postpartum and I can see the benefits of them in my hair mostly. As someone who used to do hair, I've seen a million things that could work on the hair, but ultimately, eat your fruits and veggies! I'm also wearing my City Chic bow dress, now on sale

+ Start your Friday right by listening to this version of Radiohead's Creep. 

+ 25 Books To Read Before You Die according to Powell's Books. My personal goal is to read them all before 2016. I hope I don't die by then. 

+ More books to read- The Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life. 

+ Sometimes I'll admit I won't workout at all if I've been on my treadmill desk all day, but this article makes me want to kick up my cardio. 

+ Cut back on your house cleaning. 

+ What it's like to be the president of Disneyland 

+ Another perspective of real honest look at the first week as a mother we rarely read. The physical recovery after labor was the hardest of my life and I feel for the new mom. 

+ Loving this girl and her blog

+ Don't let that huge tub of Greek yogurt go to waste

+ Friday night pizza night

Enjoy your weekend! 

Nicely Worn

I have my “nice” outfits and I have my everyday leggings-and-t shirts-outfits. The days I go out and wear my nicer outfits were few and far between. My husband and I work from home. I’ve been at home more wearing faded black leggings than I am wearing a fitted silk dress and red lipstick (also, that’s a terrible combo in retrospect because have you ever tried getting red lipstick out of silk? It’s my white whale of stains). I would walk by my “nice” things- the finer plates in the kitchen cupboard, the designer dresses in the closet, and the fancy makeup in the (unused) vanity. I was jealous of my own things. The things I owned but didn’t wear because I was waiting. And waiting. 

Moments to use our nice things won’t come as often and when they do, they will probably be a little disappointing. Waiting to wear nice heels only to notice they’re not as comfortable or they don’t make you as tall as you thought they would. Or the dinner party you waited for to use the nice plates aren’t as fabulous because guests didn’t comment on your fancy plates or someone drops a salad plate and your set is no longer a set. 

I have so many “nice” things, I rarely wore them in hopes I will look taller, smarter, thinner, more this, less that, but most likely those promises won’t be met. 

I’m tired of waiting for “nice” moments because right now, this minute is when it’s the moment to celebrate, with no expectation. Don’t wait for “date night” for those heels, a job interview for that dress, a party for those plates. Don’t wait for nice moments. Go to that nice restaurant to celebrate a Tuesday, use those fancy plates for the kids mac and cheese and the peanut butter sandwiches for Mondays. Wear that silk dress to do your laundry, or my personal favorite- wear that expensive lipstick to go running. Yeah, it looks ridiculous but so do the plates collecting dust in the cupboard, or the lonely dress hanging in the back of your closet, or that lipstick shoved in the drawer. Don’t let nice collect dust and time. Nice is right now.

Waiting For Nice.jpg

July 2014 Favorites

Let's take a look back at favorites for July.

Favorite Instagram feed is emricchini. For that cliche saying, "There's beauty in the simplicity", Erika is the perfect example of this quote. I like seeing creativity and styled photos in the every day. By now, I would think I"m tired of shots of feet, flowers, selfies, and whatever else Instagram is flooded with but she makes the mundane work for her, which works for me. There's a moody creativity in Erika's photos and I'm happy to share her feed as my favorite. 

Favorite purchase was my Zoku popsicle maker. I'm staying healthy and making my own popsicles beats a pint of ice cream. Although, I'd love the ice cream over the homemade popsicles any day, but I'm just being real here. Those days are long gone and I'm making the most of it. Instead of eating my feelings and feeling the sugar rush cut off, this is a great alternative that doesn't make me feel like I could cut someone from the lack of ice cream in the house. It's easy clean up, easy recipes and it doesn't take up much space. Plus the whole ice cream thing. 

Favorite book is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I've mentioned his Virgin Suicides book before as one of the best books I've read. I had low expectations of Middlesex- there is no way Eugenides would beat the wordy affair I had with Virgin Suicides. I'm not DONE with the book and I'm naming it a favorite book for July. I read 6 books in July. This is how amazing and powerful this book is. After reading a few passages, I had to take a moment and catch my breath because I didn't realize I was holding it. I never imagined I'd have my breath taken away by reading, but I have and Middlesex does this to me. And no, it wasn't the lack of ice cream. 

Favorite album was The Voyager by Jenny Lewis. I wish this album came out in the beginning of summer. It's the perfect summer soundtrack. Anything Jenny Lewis does, or anyone from Rilo Kiley, I love. Besides the amazing cover album, and the fact she is Jenny Lewis, this album is relaxing, has angry love ballads but when she put them to her music, it's still magical.

Here's to August 2014! Check out other favorites for this year here