our anthem

December 31, 2014

for as long as i can remember, i wanted to be a mother. and not just any mother, but a stay at home mother. i wanted to get my kids ready for school everyday, drop them off & pick them up, drive them across town for their sports, run my own errands, clean the house, make dinner. that's how i always envisioned my life.

being a mother. 

for anyone who thinks being a SAHM is a "glamorous" lifestyle, i feel sorry for you. it is not a get out of jail free card because i don't have to "clock in/clock out".

it doesn't mean all those college classes were a "waste",
and it sure as hell does not mean "oh, you don't work".

sometimes i have to remind myself that i am doing what most people can't do. not just financially, but mentally. yes, it is a blessing to be able to live off of one income. is it tough? sure. but you know what? we lived our lives. we spent money on stupid shit. really stupid shit. we took those vacations. we had the fancy wedding. we did it.

most people get up to their alarms, hit snooze a few times, run for the coffee, and head off to a job that they hate. they spend 40+ hours a week, away from their family. at a job that they hate. they commute, meet deadlines, at a job that they hate. and if you are a working mother (bless your soul), then your days are even crazier. waking the kids up to get them to daycare in time for you to get to work on time, only to rush back to them before the school closes.

sometimes i wish i could have been a women who truly was career driven. i remember boyfriend's saying "well you can't just be a mom when you grow up. you have to have goals". now they are ex-boyfriends. and please don't get me wrong, i didn't marry my husband because he allowed me to be home with our daughter. i didn't marry him because his income is "enough" for our family. i married him because we had the same vision. he was raised by a SAHM and he knew how lucky he was. 

i feel like people look at SAHM's as a filler. like our "jobs" don't really mean anything because we don't bring home a paycheck. which in return, makes me second guess my decision to be home. it makes me feel like those college classes were a waste. it makes friendly conversations uncomfortable because "oh, you stay home? that must be nice" 

.. yea, nice. 

it's nice not showering for 3 days. it's nice taking care of a screaming baby, with a fever, while you have a fever yourself. it's nice to forget to eat, again.

so the next time you run into a SAHM, remember this post. remember that they don't get to call in sick, or take a personal day. they don't get to hit snooze. they don't get to enjoy that hot cup of heaven. they DO work. just because we don't wear a uniform, doesn't mean our job doesn't matter. and just because we don't bring home a paycheck, doesn't mean we don't contribute. 

we may never have to clock in, but that's only because we never get to
c l o c k  o u t .


diy | salt dough ornaments

December 18, 2014

as we approach mila's first christmas, i wanted to make something that we would do each year to see how much she has grown. plus, these are adorable gifts. i saw this on one of my mommy friend's IG pages + loved the idea! i did a test run since i had a feeling it wasn't going to go as easy as i thought. good thing i did. my daughter is at the age where she grabs anything that is near her hands. so when i first tried to get her handprint into the dough, it was fine. but when i went to lift her hand off of the dough, she grabbed it. turning it into mush. thanks kid!

today, me and my mommy friend are attempting these once more. her twin girls are just about 10 days older than mila, so i figured we could tackle this together, along with some vodka [ha!] i may wind up doing mila's feet if her handprints don't turn out so good. 

enough about me, here's how we are getting down ..

what you'll need:

1/2 cup of salt
1/2 cup of flour
2 tablespoons of water

rolling pin
toothpick (optional)
string to hang ornament

[you can also decorate it, as we will be doing]
for that, just get paint, clear sealant spray + whatever else you want to use

what you'll do:

first, preheat your oven to 250

mix salt, flour + water together in a bowl
[depending on how much you want, you can double/triple the recipe]

you want to make sure the dough is dry

sprinkle flour onto counter [or cutting board]
and roll the dough into a sheet

you want to keep the dough at a decent thickness
since you want their prints to be noticeable

press their hands, or feet, into dough
you'll want to then cut the prints out, leaving space around them

once you have finished the prints, if you want to write on it, use a toothpick to do so
or you can leave it, and paint it later. or just leave it au natural for a moral organic look

use the straw to make a hole at the top,
so you can later attach yawn + hang it from your tree

bake for 30 minutes or so, check periodically to make sure they don't burn

once cooked, you can now decorate!

use paint, glitter, or whatever else you can find. you can also use cookie cutters to cut them out, or add in food coloring to change up the looks of each one. get creative. 

then add in your yawn + vwaalaaaaa! a masterpiece.


CLOSED | holiday give-a-way

December 16, 2014

hey guys! so as my views increase daily, i wanted to say thank you! as a stay at home mom, this is sometimes my only outlet into the real world. i share my thoughts, fears & everything in between. i wanted to say thank you to those who have been so supportive & check out my posts, even if it's just to pass some time.

although i wish i could kiss each of you (don't tell my husband), i thought a little give-a-way would be nice, especially around the holidays. here is how to enter:

comment on this post & let me know
what you love most about the holidays

since i don't expect to get a million submissions,
picking a winner should be pretty easy. the prizes will be beauty related.

- one submission daily -
- US residents only -

winner will be announced
christmas day

also, let me know if you guys would like a mommy give-a-way. i really wanted to do one of those too, but not sure how many mommies read my page! let know know :) 

thanks again so much
without you guys, i wouldn't enjoy this as much as i do


my holiday wish list

December 15, 2014

10 more days until christmas morning. how crazy is that?! so as a new mom, i laugh at my mental wish list for the holidays. times have changed so much. these are my top items. comfy, basic + universal items.

1. a new robe / since i had to throw away my old one, thanks mila

2. essie - wicked / i can't seem to find this shade anywhere. it's so gorgeous

3. crest whitening strips / a moms gotta pamper herself right?

4. a messenger bag / since my baby bag is huge, this would be so helpful for quick errands

5. black leggings / no explanation. these are all i wear

6. UA in-fared top / i have the matching leggings, but am lusting over the top (in black)

7. ugg moccasin slippers / obsessed. perfect for the cold months

8. oversized sweater / love the turtleneck style on this one. so perfect for winter

what are some items you are lusting over?
make sure to tell santa!

recipe | buffalo chicken pasta

December 12, 2014

boy do we love food in this house, especially on the weekends! when i was younger, my family + i would go to this pizzeria in our town (mainly because i had a crush on one of the owner's sons) but the food was delicious too. crazy, but the place is still there - and one day after a surprise spa day (thanks to my fabulous husband), we stopped in for dinner. his favorite thing in the world? buffalo chicken pizza. i was never a huge fan, but after having it at this pizzeria, i was hooked. we have tried it at a few different places, but of course, theirs was the best.

i thought about making it a few times at home, since i had attempted it before. but i know it would never be as good at theirs. then i had a brilliant idea - buffalo chicken pasta! i put my own little spin on it, so i am sure you could do the same to make it more appealing to your family.

what you'll need:

pasta of your choice, i used rigatoni
chicken (cooked or raw)
garlic powder
frank's hot sauce: buffalo style
bleu cheese dressing
shredded mozzarella or crumbled bleu cheese (optional)

obviously depending on the amount of people
you are cooking for, the measurements will be different,
but i am more of a "by eye" kind of cooker anyways! :)

what you'll do:

first you'll want to cook your chicken (if you bought it raw)
dice it up & let it cook in a pan (you can add oil if you want), about 5-10 minutes or until completely cooked.

cook your pasta, drain
add chicken to pasta, along with buffalo sauce, salt & pepper, and your garlic powder

i waited until i was about to serve to add the following:
bleu cheese dressing
shredded cheese

*some people prefer ranch dressing, which i am sure would be great too*

stir it up and enjoy!
i served this with some homemade garlic bread, just to add some extra carbs.


what my daughter has taught me

December 4, 2014

from a super young age, i always knew what i wanted to be: a mother. of course i was obsessed with baby dolls, but it was deeper than that. i wanted to be everything to someone. i wanted someone to physically, emotionally & whole-heartedly need me. i wanted to give an unimaginable love to someone. don't get me wrong, i had an amazing upbringing. i wasn't a girl who needed to fill a void. but i was always told "you won't understand how much i love you until you have a baby".

she was so worth the wait.

my baby girl is 7 months old today. i have no idea where the time went, but i can honestly tell you, that i remember everyday since she has been on this earth. from the first weeks of breastfeeding, to today, wiggling around the house & shaking her head no when she doesn't like a new food. it's a ride that i hope to ride until my last breath.

i'm not sure if it's the fact that i retired from my 9-5, but i really feel like the world is in a rush. i wish more people had the blessing that i do, being home with their babies everyday, but being away from your kids for 40+ hours a week, you'd think you would appreciate the time you had with them a little more. yea yea, i know, i'm a stay at home mom. shut up, right? what do i know about real life?

i get all dressed up just to get puked on. i do my hair just to have it pulled, and puked in. i do my make-up, only to have sweet potatoes spit in my face. and guess what? then i have to run errands, cook dinner and go to doctor appointments. i sit at a red light, or in bumper to bumper traffic with a screaming baby in the backseat. still with puke in my hair & on my fancy leggings.

all my designer bags are packed away neatly in my closet. christmas comes more frequently than my trips to the hair salon. my "swing by for a drink" days are over. and i couldn't be happier.

my daughter has taught me to be in the moment, even if she is screaming. to enjoy every second, because before i know it, she will be walking down the aisle. my daughter has taught me that even with puke in my hair, that won't get washed out for at least 3 days, i am all that she needs. she doesn't care if i have a million things on my to-do list, she will want to be held for the entire day. she reminds me everyday, that just because i don't bring home a paycheck, i am irreplaceable.

she gives me life -- funny how that works, right? 

i am reminded

December 1, 2014

i'm not sure when it happens. i mean, on paper, i know exactly when it happened. i know the date, the time, the weather. i know what i wore and the scent in the air. i know everything, but i just don't know when it happens. 

this weekend, we went to go visit my mom. we turned down her street and i saw his car parked in front of the house (his car was recently purchased by a family friend). my heart immediately jumped. and then it happened. i was reminded. i said "wow, i saw dad's car and thought DAD IS HERE!" i was reminded. it happened.

 was that it? was that the moment? i'm not sure. or maybe it happened when i play with my daughter. she will be laughing and i will just stop and look at her. i am reminded.

or maybe when my day isn't going exactly as i had planned. it use to just take a 5 minute phone call to fix it. it use to just take a "best kid, best dad" and i would be ready to conquer the world.

now it takes a little bit more.

i am reminded by lights on the tree. i am reminded by a movie. it happens daily. when my daughter was born. on father's day. it seems as if life just continues on. not sure how, but it does. 

it's been over a year and i am not sure it will ever happen. maybe it's not suppose to happen. maybe you're never really suppose to accept that they aren't here. that you can't call them. you can't "stop by real quick". i am reminded everyday. it happens everyday.

get familiar | alicia cook

November 27, 2014

i first met alicia cook while working at Hollister, about 8 years ago. i didn't work there long, but immediately took to her light & positive personality. well, all these years later, thanks to the power of #instagram, our love of writing helped our paths to cross once more. 

aside from having her first story published when she was in the third grade, she has recently written about the attacks of 9/11, the tragic loss of a family member due to addiction and the personal effects that super-storm sandy had on her hometown of toms river. her pieces are highly relatable, and the imagery she adds to them is totally worth a #screenshot.

even though #instagram may have reconnected us, she is way beyond just @thealiciacook [seriously, follow this chick], she has just signed her first book deal with underwater mountains publishing. her book "entranced" has 4 editions available for pre-order now, available everywhere 2/17/15 --> click here

[40% OFF DISCOUNT CODE: blackfridayweekend]
ends sunday, november 30th

can we discuss this artwork she created for the book? i am obsessed.

i had never collaborated on my blog before, but i knew that if/when i decided to, i wanted to introduce a fierce female to my readers. i am all about women empowering women & this is just the first chapter of greatness for miss alicia cook. i hope you all take the time to check out her, send her positive vibes, and continue to follow her journey.


gift ideas | under $200

November 21, 2014

with the holidays creeping up fast, i thought i would share some of my favorite items i have been adoring for friends & family. since we had our daughter & bought our first home this year, we have decided that we will not be "exchanging" gifts, but that doesn't mean i haven't been making a mental christmas list. check these out if you are stumped on what to buy:

the new homeowners

6 quart crock pot // $130 // target.com

mini bar cart // $200 // overstock.com

wax warmer // $20 // target.com

keurig 2.0 // $150 // target.com

the handy-man

kobalt work bench // $199 // lowes.com

dewalt cordless tool set // $199+ // lowes.com

16 gallon SHOP-VAC // $179 // lowes.com

the beauty queen

clarisonic facial spin brush // $100+ // sephora.com

sonia kashuk "all that jazz" brush kit // $34.99 // target.com

anastasia beverly hills contour kit // $40 // sephora.com

the fashionista

tieks // $175+ // tieks.com

printed sweater leggings // $19.99 // target.com

chunky knit infinity scarf // $34+ // asos.com

if you are currently stumped on "what to get" that special someone, i hope these suggestions helped! i wouldn't mind finding any of these under my tree this year :)


october: breast cancer awareness month

October 16, 2014

I'm not really sure where i want to go with this post, but as i sit here & watch Beyond Candid with Giuliana Rancic the Breast Cancer Special, i can't help but want to share my story. if you follow me on #instagram, you may have seen my post regarding my experience. if not, here it is.

it was november 2010. i was 22 years old, planning a surprise vacation for my then boyfriend's birthday/christmas. i was so excited for it. it would be our first real vacation together. i saved up for it & couldn't wait.

after recently paying off my ridiculous debt, i was working at a local gym. i loved it. i had worked at 3 gyms in my town, and besides bar tending, it was my favorite place to work. this gym had tanning beds, and at the time, i was addicted. typical jersey girl. 

one night when i was closing up, i jumped in the tanning bed before i left. for some reason, i decided to do a self exam. i had never done one before, or even thought about doing one. i was too young. why would i? 

wait. what is that? i found a marble sized mass in my right breast. it felt like marble too. pretty dense. again, i was 22. why would this be here? i really didn't think too much of it. i figured i would go to my GYNO, and be done with it. so the story continues ..

at first, my GYNO said "i don't feel anything. don't worry about it." not possible. i found it again, and put her finger on it. There. it's right there. her eyes popped. OH.

she sent me to get sonograms. which came back suspicious and referred me to a specialist. this shattered my mom. i remember her texting me while she was at work, really upset. why are they sending you to a specialist? you are too young. i don't understand.

i wasn't super worried at this point. I'm not sure if its a blessing or a curse, but it takes a lot to make me worried/upset. i knew this was serious, but i also knew that if i fell apart, it would create a domino effect. so that wasn't possible.

it was time for the vacation. i needed it more than ever at this point. i was probably such a bitch to my boyfriend looking back. i had a feeling that if things went south with the results, they would go south with my relationship too. i think i was more concerned about that honestly. i knew that when we got back home, something, if not everything, was going to change.

he was an early bird & i loved to sleep. but one morning, he woke me up at like 6am - just before the sun came up. i remember being so tired and just wanting to go back to bed. but i thought, when i go home, something is going to change. enjoy life.

we went up to the top deck (we were on a cruise) and watched the sunrise. it was so beautiful. it was symbolic. it was a new day & i was getting to see it. i was ready for whatever was ahead.

back to reality.

i went for a needle biopsy. they pulled up the mass on like a ultrasound type of image, i am not sure if thats what it actually was. but it was pretty cool. i was able to see the marble sized mass. it was pure white. the technician was trying to get the needle into the mass, but it was so dense that nothing could penetrate it. of course. just my luck.

the specialist then decided that its best that we go in & remove it, since there wasn't much else we could do. i agreed of course.

it was the day before my boyfriend's birthday, how dramatic. he stayed over the night before, planning to go with me to the hospital, then go to work. the morning came. i was nervous. i drove with my mom & remember being really sad. i stayed quiet. but i was petrified at this point. 

we got to the hospital, i remember the waiting room so vividly. they called me back. i got dressed in my gown & waited for my mom & boyfriend to come back to see me before they wheeled me back. i kissed everyone. here we go.

to my surprise, i woke up to my boyfriend. he had told me he was leaving for work, but he stayed. i remember being super happy about that. the doctor came in to see me, telling me everything looked good but we obviously had to run tests to be sure.

about a week later, i went back for my post op visit. i needed to get my stitches out. the results weren't ready yet. fabulous.

the next visit was good. the news was great. everything came back benign. i was healthy again. i had to go back a few more times just for the dr to keep an eye on my healing process. he told me that scar tissue could form and begin to feel similar to a mass again. so he wanted to make sure that IF that occurred, we could figure it out ASAP.

it was now early spring, and by this time, my boyfriend and i had broken up. he knew i had my last & final appointment to be officially cleared. he kept in touch with me that day, making sure i informed him of my status. i was cleared. it felt like the longest roller coaster in history that i was finally stepping off of. i couldn't believe it.

everything had changed. i was 22 years old.
i can't help but urge everyone to do self exams. you're not suppose to get mammograms until you are 40, i think, but that doesn't mean you can't be proactive. you never know. early detection gives you a 98% chance of a positive outcome. don't waste time. 

what's in my diaper bag?

October 11, 2014

i have been wanting to do this post for a while, but i think i finally got the hang of "i don't need everything" .. even though when i do take something out of my diaper bag, i normally will need it that day for something. typical. but here is a run down of the essentials that i carry with me.

my diaper bag:

i fell in love with this bag the second i saw it. i loved that it didn't look like a diaper bag, plus an oversized bag is my favorite thing! timi & leslie "charlie" in chestnut. i don't recommend this bag if you are on the shorter side. this bag is HUGE. it will swallow a super petite person.

it also comes with tons of goodies! i don't use all of them, but the ones i can't live without are the add on straps for hooking it onto strollers or carts/turning it into a cross body bag, the padded changing pad & the clutch - which is PERFECT for all your "mommy" stuff - license, credit cards & coupons!

check out all TIMI & LESLIE items --> HERE

what's inside?

always need an extra change of clothes!

the cutest socks of course!

diaper cream, just in case! i have been loving this cream. its super thick!

these don't even need a reason! these blankets are delicious in every sense of the word!

i have a hanging anti-bacterial gel hanging outside of my bag so i always remember to use it!

perfect for those extra stinky diapers! these are like a portable diaper genie. i LOVE them!

obviously some diapers!

my favorite wipes!

the best formula dispenser! i always fill this (4 divided spaces) & bring extra bottles just in case i am out longer than anticipated.

the rest of the items are pretty much my necessities - lip balm, hand lotion & of course my phone!

hope you guys enjoyed this post! as a mom, its great to see what others use on their day to day journey with their little ones!


recipe | turkey pumpkin chili

October 1, 2014

when john comes home every friday, i have something delicious waiting for him. it's normally something that will last us the whole weekend, and sometimes into the following week for me. this last weekend is was turkey pumpkin chili, in honor of fall. i pretty much threw a bunch of shit in a crock-pot and was super surprised when it turned out well.

with a baby, i don't have time to stand over a stove and cook. i am all about the crock pot. throw it in, leave it for the day & then boom.

i was never a fan of chili, but had it a few years ago when someone had made it. they put it over mashed potatoes, so that's what i did! it's super hearty & perfect for a cold night.

again, i did not follow any recipe. i actually googled a few of the "top" chili recipes & picked apart the ingredients that we would enjoy. this made a huge amount, so you don't really need to use the family size of turkey, but here is what i came up with.

what you'll need:

- 1 family size of ground turkey
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1 can of corn (drained)
- 1 can beans (whatever kind you like, i used kidney. drain & rinse them)
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- handful of diced onions (john hates onion so i didn't use much)
- spices (you can buy a packet of chili powder, or just make your own)

what you'll do:

1. cook the ground turkey in a pan until completely brown. you'll have a pretty decent amount of liquid so drain it as much as you can. i hate soupy chili, i like it thick.

2. put meat in crock pot, along with everything else. seriously. just throw it all into the crock pot.

3. cook on HIGH for 6 hours, or LOW for 8 hours

4. stir occasionally if you want to


i served this over homemade mashed potatoes. so it went mashed potatoes, chili on top, then shredded cheese & sour cream on top. with a side of cornbread & multigrain corn chips to eat the chili more like a "dip". so, freaking, delicious.


mila | 5 month milestones

where has the time gone?! i have been slacking so much on here - i apologize, but i am putting family first the last few weeks & keeping things in order on the home front. i have been spending my time with amazing friends who have turned into family, and of course those fabulous people in my bloodline who i am so lucky to have in my life.

i thought i would share some of the things miss mila has achieved over the last few weeks. i am so proud of her & i can't believe i am lucky enough to be her mommy! such a first time mom over here, but i can't help but gloat about her. she is the greatest gift, as all mommies can agree on!

// crib sleeping
i was super worried about this because of all the horror stories you hear, but she has been doing amazing. the first new nights i went in to check on her (she sleeps in her own room, and i use the video monitor) a few times & john would say "she is okay.." but as a mama, you know you have to go poke them to make sure. she also goes down with no struggle. we do not use a pacifier or anything, she lays down for a few minutes, then rolls over & passes out. she still is sleeping 11+ hours a night [8pmish - 7amish]. we are still working on napping in the crib though, she's not the biggest fan.

// food
we have been doing 1 food per week, since john has some food allergies & mila has a milk sensitivity, we wanted to take our time & make sure she didn't have any issues. we do organic whole grain brown rice, which she loves. and now we have introduced avocado - which she really enjoys! we are just doing 1 meal at day, around lunch. to give her time to digest.

// rolling over
she has mastered the back to belly, but still needs some help going belly to back. i will put her on her play mat, start to clean up her room, and i turn around and she is flipped over. she loves rolling, but hates being on her belly for a long amount of time.

// sitting up
she does this pretty well if you ask me. we recently bought the boppy chair since we started solids, and she loves it. it gives her a totally new view on her surroundings. she can sit up with little assistance now, but sometimes she will face dive if you don't catch her in time!

// language
she totally knows her name which i think is hilarious. she will turn & look at your if you call to her. she smiles constantly, but mainly at familiar faces. it takes a lot for her to smile at someone she doesn't recognize, but she is getting there. so knows when i tell her that its time to eat, take a bath or when its time for sleep. i think she mainly recognizes the things in front of her for these times, like her bottles, tub or dark room - she is such a smart little cookie!

// belly laughs
she has officially mastered the belly laugh! this was a struggle for a little because she would do it very rarely, but now it's a daily occurrence. she always laughs at john when he does silly things, or when he is walking behind us when we walk down the steps. she thinks its hilarious! certain sounds i make she laughs at, but of course daddy is her favorite, and i can't argue with that!

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