Pumpkin Spice Popcorn Trail Mix

  Last fall whenever I was visiting my family in Pittsburgh, I attended my first Tastefully Simple party, and boy do they have awesome things! I seriously wanted to buy everything and got really inspired to get into the kitchen to whip up some new, exciting recipes. So whenever fall rolled around and my mouth began to water at the thought of pumpkin spice everything, I decided to whip up this pumpkin spice popcorn trail mix recipe to satisfy my sweet tooth by using their awesome Tastefully Simple Pumpkin Spice Latte Drink & Baking Flavoring Mix! This trail mix makes a great guilt-free snack that is great to have on hand for unexpected visitors or your hungry family members! Keep in mind that this recipe makes a party-sized serving, so I keep mine in a jar so the popcorn stays fresh. (I couldn't find one online like mine, but scroll down for a great alternative OR check out the chalkboard stickers I found that you can stick on an existing jar!) The ratio of almonds and dark chocolate to popcorn is very small, so you can go ahead and enjoy a little bit everyday in moderation. Popcorn is such an awesome and healthy snack, as long as you stay away from microwave popcorn and make it on stove top - and omit the melted butter! The Tastefully Simple Pumpkin Spice Latte Drink & Baking Flavoring Mix is great to have on hand at all times because it's a really yummy fall pick me up that can easily be mixed with steamed milk for an afternoon pick me up, or used for … [Read more...]

5 Truths About Raising A Boy

  Every single day this week whenever I have crept into Branden's room at 6am to wake him up for school, I slightly nudge him and think to myself, "How is he 7?" Since my little guy turned I would say 3, (3 being when his boy-itude started) we have had some amazing moments where he snuggles me and wants to simply be my little boy, but we have also had moments where we fought like cats and dogs. Let's face it - B and I spend the most time together, and I have a pretty strict routine with him during the week so he can be kept on track for school, sleep, and everything in between. Sometimes he doesn't like that - and that's okay, too. He pushes my buttons and some days are more challenging than others, but I love the heck out of my little man. Here are some things that I have learned so far on this 7 year journey as the mother of a boy. 5 Truths About Raising a Boy Boys are just as moody as girls. Uggghhhh. Sometimes Branden makes this noise while giving me a side eye. As a society we give girls all the blame for moodiness, but I'm here to speak otherwise. Branden is moody. He in fact is possibly just as moody as me when I was little. I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with this one. They will sometimes go on and on about things you don't understand. If I had a nickel for every time B rambled on and on about something from Minecraft that I had no clue what he was talking about - I would be rich! There is no way around it, boys have these very passionate … [Read more...]

Bus Stop Style: Neon and Sperrys

  This past weekend, Branden turned 7 - which still has me in a bit of shock. Has it really been 7 years since I gave birth to this little guy? It can't be! But, it stunningly has. (You can see a picture of him blowing out his candles here.) I think that Branden getting older helps me put more and more emphasis on not only being healthy so that I can keep up with him, but being passionate about fashion - something that has always been important to me and a huge part of my life. So this past weekend, I wanted to get some fun pictures in and my husband took us to a park near his Army base called Little Bay Park where he snapped away while B got to have some rock climbing time. Yes, that's my hubbs shadow as he plays photographer to help me out! Anyways...at the beginning of each school year, I always make sure to stock up on basics to have handy for morning rushes to the bus stop, so that my bus stop style is pulled together and NOT yoga pants and a tee shirt everyday (but yes, there are days when that happens.) My favorite shoes that I added to my wardrobe this year are these awesome Sperry Topsiders with just a hint of neon pink in them, which I knew would match perfectly with this lightweight sweater I had from Express hanging in my closet. // Denim Blazer Armani (similar) // Neon Sweater (similar) // Skinny Jeans c/0 Denizen by Levis // Shoes Speery Topsider (similar) // There is no need to go overboard with your bus stop style; instead, focus … [Read more...]

Skinny Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

  Hello fall! I have been waiting for you as patiently as possible! I'm finally starting to feel that bit of chill in the air and finding myself heating up the tea kettle more and more for afternoon tea, and have already scheduled my appointment with my beloved Box Butler to bring my cozy fall sweaters out of hiding and back into my wardrobe. While I still am the same salad addict as always (Have you checked out my favorite Easy Southwest Style Kale Salad yet?), soup steals my heart in the chilly months. I will say this though - I absolutely HATE buying canned soup because it's loaded with huge amounts of unnecessary sodium. So, I love making my favorite, Skinny Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup, homemade so that I have control over the ingredients. For me, I make this in large batches and freeze it for my lunches, because my boys rarely like to look at vegetables. More for me, right? But seriously you will love how filling this is for lunch and uber healthy, keeping you right on track with your fitness goals and healthy lifestyle. My only warning is not to let your hand slip whenever sprinkling in the Rosemary and pepper because it can produce and unwanted spicy taste (I learned from experience). 5.0 from 1 reviews Save Print Skinny Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup Prep time:  15 mins Cook time:  5 hours Total time:  5 hours 15 mins Serves: 6 servings   This butternut squash and carrot soup is a really easy, … [Read more...]

Sleep More, Primp Less: Beauty Hacks For Busy Mornings

  I love the morning time, it's my favorite time of the day. There is something so invigorating about waking up with a plan about your day, but also not always knowing what kind of winding path your day will take - good or bad or unexpected. There is a newness that washes over me as I pour my freshly brewed coffee into my over-sized mug, hug it in my hands, and sip in the day. On the other hand, there is nothing that can quite throw off your entire day like a rushed morning. Now that the school year has started, my husband's alarm goes off at 6 am and we rise. Then I  make my way down the hallway to get Branden up. We must leave our apartment at promptly 6:53 in order to get to the bus stop on time. This is on a good day, though. We all know that mornings don't always go as planned, alarms don't always go off, and homework doesn't always get finished the night before. On days like that, you need these fantastic beauty hacks, using my favorite cool mom beauty products to jump start your morning, and help you catch some extra zzzzs. Beauty Hacks For Busy Mornings These Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes are ah-maze-ing to keep in your bedside drawer! First of all, if you happen to get home late at night and don't feel like washing your face, they are there. And for mornings whenever you are in a rush, they are phenomenal. Because let's face it - there isn't always time to do a full scrub down when the kids are looking for their shoes and you can hear the … [Read more...]

5 Tips For Keeping the Back to School Routine All Year Through

I'm not gonna lie - I hear the word "routine" and I get really excited! I thrive in an environment that involves routine, and I have been anxiously waiting this routine-filled time of year as soon as back to school season started. But, this has been somewhat difficult for us because B hasn't had a full school week yet (I know, crazy, right?), and the new school change has been a dramatic one (bus rider for the first year and it's an EARLY bus pickup at 7:05am). We made sure that about 2 weeks before 2nd grade began to start with an earlier bedtime accompanied by an earlier wake-up, to get him into a routine that would be similar to what he was about to experience when school started. But sleeping isn't the only routine that's important for kids; in fact - these school routines should stand strong the whole year through, not just at the beginning. Here are some great ways to keep that routine going strong! 5 Tips For Keeping The Back To School Routine All Year Through 1. When weekends roll around, only increase bedtime by 1 hour - and no snoozing all day! We have had a habit in the past, and it's definitely mine and my husband's fault, of letting B stay up way past his bedtime on the weekends, because he deserves it, right? Wrong! Even just these 2 days they are off school over the weekend can result in a major off-kilter routine and lead to them being EXHAUSTED once Monday rolls around.  So, we are switching things up and laying down the law that his bedtime on … [Read more...]

10 Fall Booties Under $100

  There is nothing that I love more in the shoe department than an amazing pair of booties! They make my fall outfits complete! And even though I still have a love for my Michael Kors riding boots, booties are the apple of my eye. One great thing about booties is that there is no discrimination or feeling like "Ugh, I have big calves so they don't work on me," as there exists a height of bootie that will work on every body shape. The booties I selected for this post are all from great, super reputable brands, come in various heights, materials, and colors and are exactly what you need to make your fall wardrobe complete for under $100! 10 Fall Booties Under $100   1.  The MIA Heritage Genessa bootie is a great option for someone that likes a deeper colored bootie and one that sits a wee bit higher on the ankles. They just scream fall to me! 2.  This is a new brand that I have recently discovered and absolutely love! The  Blowfish Belen Women's Zip Boots just look so cozy to me and perfect to wear with my favorite wool leggings and over-sized sweater. 3. I love fringe and can't get enough of it, so these  Report Davey Women's Zip Boots are on my wish list for sure! I love the little bit of cowgirl flair that you get with the heel, and I can totally picture myself wandering through the city in these! 4. So, these Women's Steve Madden 'Austin' Booties have a little bit of a masculine flair, don't you think? I really do love the "I stole these … [Read more...]

Muse Juice For a Healthy Life {Giveaway}

  Monday has rolled around again, and after you get the kiddos off to school, it's time to think about YOU! I'm so excited to share a product today that helps me achieve balance in my healthy lifestyle as a busy Mama who doesn't always have time to think about juicing, but loves the benefits! Muse Juice is an awesome company that I spoke about whenever they were in their very beginning stages and just getting ready to launch - and now they have! First things first though, I want to share a picture that I snapped while hiking the Catskills mountains as a reminder that I can do what I put my mind to and to stay strong and positive through everything. I shared it on Instagram this morning where I often try to spread some Monday Motivation for you all! Whenever they first launched, Muse Juice was called Eden Juice, so don't get confused with the name change - same great products! I wrote about their kickstarter campaign in my post, Naturally Different Juice For Health Conscious Mamas, and everything still holds true, as I'm always trying to get my guys to drink their veggies and happily they love this juice. BUT, like I mentioned in the beginning, I want you to think about incorporating this into your own healthy life today. We focus so selflessly on others, our families, our homes, our jobs, that I'm finding personally that I've been putting myself last. So I'm taking my life back and using Muse Juice to help me regain my workout balance and carry it with me … [Read more...]

A Must For School Days – SoCozy Boo! Lice Prevention 3-Step System

**This is a sponsored story. As always, opinions are my own.** First things first - every Mama has been tasked this year with either already dealing with the super strain of lice that has been presented before us, or trying to find a way to keep it from entering our children's heads. Whether or not you want to think about it, you have to - so I'm here to share a solution with you all today, hooray! My favorite children's hair care company, SoCozy (specific for kiddos ages 2-12 years old), is releasing a product this month called their Boo! Lice Prevention 3-Step System - and it's genius! Why We Love SoCozy Boo! Lice Prevention 3-Step System While I received products to review and compensation from SoCozy for this post, my opinions are my own and not edited by SoCozy, for more info, check out my disclosure policy. We have been using the SoCozy Boo! Lice Prevention 3-Step System since 2 weeks before school started because I'm honestly paranoid about this super lice strain and want to do everything that we can to keep it away from Branden. The system includes shampoo, conditioner, and spray that work together to keep lice away naturally. We use the shampoo and conditioner twice a week and always make sure that is handy for Branden to use during bath time! Then we make sure to give a few squirts of the spray each morning when B is getting ready for school - it's so easy he can even do it himself! The system is infused with Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint Oil, and … [Read more...]

Family Getaway: Emerson Resort And Spa

THIS was my beautiful view whenever I woke up last Saturday and Sunday morning at the gorgeous, family-friendly, Emerson Resort and Spa in the rustic Catskills - just 2 hours outside of the hustle and bustle of New York City. I can't start our weekend adventures recap without first stating this: my family and I SO needed this trip! With back to school stress, my husband's military training travels, my back and forth to Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Massachusetts with Branden - it was amazing to reconnect in the solitude that this experience presented before us. We rolled into the resort late Friday night because we couldn't leave the city until Chris came home from work, but we walked into the most beautiful room complete with a wooded balcony, stone fireplace, and a bathroom that made me want to wish away my tiny NYC apartment! This HUGE creek was our tranquilizing view as we had breakfast at their on-site restaurant, The Catamount - and we couldn't resist climbing down the big stone steps to get right in there and experience all the creek has to offer. We knew that rain was on the forecast for the day, but our family goal for the trip was to complete a long hike together. The resort is beyond organized and made sure that our room had all the information that we needed about local hiking trails and how to get there. We ended up choosing a trail a couple miles away driving, a trail that was noted to be kid-friendly. We hiked the 3 miles, climbed 2,000 feet … [Read more...]