Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Champagne Frosting

Valentine’s Day is a month away and in stores it’s hard to avoid. In fact, I saw Valentine outfits for babies in DECEMBER! What in the world?! I don’t typically observe Valentine’s Day in any major way like decorating the house or giving lavish presents but I do like to acknowledge it in small ways. I typically love all holidays but I guess I’m a bit of a Valentine’s scrooge. One thing I can get on board with over Valentine’s Day are the treats! Give me all the yummy meals, decadent desserts and sweets! If you don’t buy into the fancy, over-priced candlelit dinners and extravagant gifts then why not acknowledge your Valentine with a homemade sweet treat. You can’t ever go wrong with chocolate cake so I whipped up these easy chocolate cupcakes and got into the festivities with a delicious pink champagne frosting. All of the luxury and sweetness without the added cheese ๐Ÿ˜‰

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne Chocolate Cupcakes

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Or maybe you could say “I Love You’ with the gift of peppiness ๐Ÿ˜‰ Take a look at my Vanilla Cupcakes with Espresso Frosting for an alternative caffeine fix!

How sweet are these Valentine’s apt baking items?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Dealing With Negative Nancy During Your Pregnancy

There’s always one. In every situation, pregnant or not there is always one negative person who has nothing positive to say on the matter. In pregnancy, the same applies. Whether it’s strangers patting your belly or unsolicited ‘advice’, there’s plenty of negativity to fill your nine months and beyond.

Dealing With A Negative Nancy During Pregnancy

I was home in Ireland briefly and sadly, I kind of regret going. Not because I received negativity but because I received support. I am aware that seems incredibly cynical and negative. I was finally able to share the pregnancy journey with those who seemed concerned, interested and happy for me. I cannot describe the feeling of going through such a special time and being the only one invested in it. So I won’t even try but it was very hard to leave a loving, familiar environment and return to one void of such happiness.

I have come to discover here that when I am in the company of others, all I hear regarding my pregnancy is what will or will potentially go wrong. I spoke in my last post about struggling with my mental health throughout this pregnancy. The last thing any expectant first-time mother wishes to hear is what they are doing wrong or what will go wrong. It baffles me that at such a special time in life, the only sentiments offered are negative. With all due respect – if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing.

I understand that some people don’t worry. I am a sensitive, intuitive person and worry comes with the territory. Don’t get me wrong, I am confident in this pregnancy. If it weren’t for the external factors I would say I am loving it. But I have the normal apprehension that is to be expected when facing delivering your first baby. Fortunately, in my battalion I also have my intelligence, a strong maternal instinct and a drive to succeed. Maybe I internalize too much but I cannot bear someone treating me like I know absolutely nothing. Condescending comments that almost infer I haven’t held, cared for or ever even seen an infant in my life. Negativity about the way I eat, drink or choose to care for myself during the gestation. Telling me with a loud cackle how my house will never be the palace it is now, again. UGH.

Like snowflakes, fingerprints and pregnancies – we are all unique.

Why is it so hard to live and let live? In my rant I have digressed. I have taken too long to realize that the health and well-being of myself and my child trumps literally everything else in my life. Giving these people power over your emotions is the worst way to manage. You must continue on boldly and bravely in your pregnancy. You are the mother. That intuition is strong for a reason. You know what is best for you and for baby. Embrace the positivity you receive. Be thankful for those people and their kind words, generosity and support. Give them the space in your head and heart.

Dealing With Negative Nancy During Your Pregnancy

  • Bite your tongue
  • Smile and nod
  • Say thank you
  • Firmly but nicely state that you do not wish to discuss certain topics if they are too personal or invasive
  • Don’t focus on the fact that your boundaries are being disrespected and allow it to become bitterness. Some people just truly believe they know everything
  • Try to remember that to them the ‘advice’ is coming from a good place and not one of malice
  • Don’t internalize it as condescension, often empty vessels simply make the most noise
  • Don’t go over the conversation in your head later on
  • Let others’ negativity go. Their know-it-all attitude is not your weight to carry
  • Use your time educating yourself on what’s to come – it’s the best way to minimize fear
  • Speak to your doctor about any concerns and worries potentially caused by what others say to you. He or she will be happy to clarify and reassure
  • Give supportive people your mental energy
  • Keep a pregnancy/gratitude journal
  • Embrace the journey, don’t let negative comments/people steal the joy that is now

If you’re struggling to fend off negativity or just feel overwhelmed in your pregnancy check out my recent post The Importance of Self Care During Pregnancy for some simple ideas to take a positive time out!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

The Importance Of Self Care During Pregnancy

The topic of self care is trendy right now but there is much more to it than a bandwagon. Finally, an idea with more substance than ‘adulting’ or the apparently vital role Target plays in our lives. The new year brings high hopes, willingness to embrace change and goals, goals, goals! This year, after an extremely emotionally demanding 2016, my main goal is self improvement. This resolution was borne out of necessity. With my first baby arriving soon there is simply no choice to continue in the mental state I was in. Stress is not good for your growing baby so it is incredibly important to ensure you have a safe, stress-free and happy pregnancy. Taking time for yourself is easier said than done but if I could prevent even one person from feeling the strain I have felt then I would be content.

Self Care During Pregnancy

Whether your stress is a direct result of work, relationship issues, financial problems etc. it does not matter. The physical affects of stress on your developing baby can be detrimental to their mental health in years to come. Even at this point I feel a large amount of guilt for inflicting my sadness and worries onto my baby. Clawing your way out of a rut isn’t easy and casting aside fears is less so. With every kick and hiccup from inside I am reminded and determined to be the best version of myself. Both for the baby and for my own happiness. Sometimes you will come to realize that your expectations of support are nothing more than expectation and in that situation you must be everything you need by yourself.

“So what can I do to minimize stress?”

First of all, like any issue, recognize that you need help and be able to admit it. Even if only to yourself. Fortunately with self care, YOU can help you. All it takes is remembering be to intentional.

Self care practices range from the tiniest trivial activity to life altering decisions and you get to choose what is best for you. Nobody knows you better than yourself! Simply put, do more of the things you love, the things that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. If that means taking a vacation or just putting on freshly laundered pjs then do it and do it solely for you.

As a highly sensitive and introverted person, time outs are a necessity for me. Unfortunately time away from the chaos doesn’t simply equate to positive, revitalizing me-time. I can often spend it in turmoil with a very messy, over analytical mindset. This serves me no purpose and adds to my woes. For self care to be legitimate and genuinely help you, you must be intentionally selfish and make it entirely about you.

Self Care Activities For A Happy Healthy Pregnancy

These activities are so easy but we often ignore them. Sometimes we just need a little nudge! What are some of your favorite self care practices?

ย 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate In A Jar Gift

Christmas week is here! Can you believe it? It’s a week of last minute scrambling, cleaning and preparation to go visit family for us. While Christmas is about so much more than presents – gift buying, wrapping and giving is in full swing this week. I love thoughtful little gifts! Who doesn’t? It’s quite special to receive a gift that’s been handmade just for you! That’s why I love putting together baskets and these DIY mason jar gifts. They are perfect as stocking fillers, for co-workers, secret Santa gift giving and even as last-minute gifts for the unexpected visitor (we’ve all been there!).

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate In A Jar Gift

At this time of the year you may already have some or all of the ingredients for hot chocolate jars in your home depending on how sweet your tooth is. For me, this is not an issue. ALL of the candy at this time of the year! This particular jar has an added dose of chocolate in the form of chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli white chips for a richer flavor) and a candy cane for stirring! You could also get your peppermint flavor from a layer of crushed peppermints as a topping in the jar or by adding peppermint marshmallows instead of the regular kind.

You will need:

  • Ball Mason Jar or similar
  • Decorative ribbon or bakers twine

If you are super organized you could have some pre-printed labels for the lid (I was not super organized!).

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate Jar Gift

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate

  • Hot Chocolate Mix
  • Mini White Chocolate Chips
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Candy Cane

LastMinute Jar Gift

Add hot water or milk with two tablespoons from your jar and enjoy!

Why not try some other hot chocolate flavors such as salted caramel, spiced white hot chocolate or even gingerbread!

Jar gifts can be absolutely anything you wish so be creative.

More Jar Gift Ideas

Manicure – Nail polish remover, nail scissors, file, buffer and a festive shade of polish.

21+ – Mini soda can, mini liquor bottle, decorative drink stirrer.

Coffee Lovers – Gourmet espresso sachet, espresso mug and mini dark chocolates.

The possibilities are endless and the results so personal and cute!

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

The Holidays For Him | JORD Designer Wood Watches

Why are men so hard to shop for? They are relatively simple folk when it comes to hobbies and interests, right? I know what my husband, brothers, father etc. would like but executing that list has its hidden difficulties. They either already have it in some shape or form, it’s a ridiculously out-of-budget gadget or they have a super fussy specification list that life wouldn’t be worth living if you deviated from…

JORD Designer Wood Watch

Luckily shortly after I met him, I discovered my husband’s kryptonite – the watch! Beautiful timepieces may be an accessory you can only wear once in a while but it never hurts to have a nice collection. When it comes to men’s style I think a nice watch completes a great outfit. You wouldn’t wear running shoes with a fine suit so why would you wear a lackluster watch with one?

JORD Designer Wood Watch

My husband has quite a nice collection going with a diverse range of styles suited to many different looks. I chose this JORD Frankie Zebrawood & Champagne wood watch and it is my favorite of his thus far. It is as light as a feather, with a beautifully finished West African zebrawood strap and a simple yet extremely smart champagne face. The watch also came custom-sized to his wrist thanks to a handy sizing chart provided by JORD wood watches.

JORD Designer Wood Watch

Not only was the watch perfect but so was the packaging, I am so impressed with the presentation. I’m a wrapping freak. I love beautiful packages as much as the gift. The watch came in a divine wooden box complete with storage drawer inside to store the dust cloth and spare links. It’s a display piece in itself. I was like a kid at Christmas opening the box and I admit, rather jealous. He might have to fight me to ever get to wear it!

JORD Designer Wood Watch

JORD Designer Wood Watch

As well as the men’s range, JORD has a beautiful range of women’s wood watches that are well worth checking out and since it’s the Holidays I have a FREE $25 GIFT CODE just for you! The gift code expires on December 18th and you can redeem it until February 28th 2017!


Luxury Wooden Watch

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. All opinions are my own.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

No-Sew Novelty Cloud Pillow

This blog has given me a serious case of craft-itis! I get so much inspiration and motivation from reading hundreds of other blogs every month that I now have a massive craft bug and I am thoroughly enjoying it. This week I tried my hand at a simple cloud pillow for Baby’s nursery. I cannot sew. At all. Even a button, it WILL fall off again. I despise sewing. What I can do however, is handle a small, low-temperature hot glue gun!

DIY No Sew Cloud Pillow

People often ask me if I’ve chosen a theme for Baby’s nursery and honestly I had not, nor had I ever considered one. Unless you can call ‘gender neutral’ a theme. Although I love to decorate and sit back to admire my handiwork, I get bored and over analytical. For me, something overly specific was an absolute no-no.

Let me tell you, choosing gender neutral decor is easier said than done. It seems these days that a lot of grey and rustic/outdoorsy decor is considered gender neutral. I personally think that stuff, although beautiful, is far more boyish than girly. After I had decided on a white crib and re-purposed my old TV cabinet into a white changing unit (check it out here!), I found the cutest cloud door handles on Etsy. What’s both baby appropriate and gender neutral? The sky! So I settled on clouds, stars, the moon etc. as my central ‘theme that isn’t a theme’.

This easy peasy no-sew cutie will be complete in 30 minutes and costs less than $10-20 depending on where you buy your supplies and the quality you desire!

You will need:
  • White fabric (cotton, felt, fleece, velour …it’s up to you!)
  • Poly-fil Stuffing 12oz (o r see amount requirements for different projects on the package!)
  • Low-temp hot glue gun + extra glue sticks
  • Sharp scissors or ideally a fabric shears
  • A sharpie to draw your cloud shape

There is no distinct pattern for this project. I completely winged it and you can too!

Method:

On a clean, flat surface fold your fabric in half and freehand draw a simple cloud shape on your fabric. If drawing is not your forte then find a shape to copy or trace with a quick google search

no-sew-novelty-cloud-pillow1

Once you’re happy with the shape, cut it out (both sides)

no-sew-novelty-cloud-pillow3

Since the sides you have cut may have sharpie marks showing then make sure you glue this side up! Make sure both pieces line up and apply a thin, clean line of glue around the edge. Carefully glue edge to edge in small stages 4/5ths of the way around

Don’t forget to stop, you have to leave a hole for filling!

no-sew-novelty-cloud-pillow4

no-sew-novelty-cloud-pillow5

When the glue is dry and you’re happy there’s no missed spots ie, holes, then turn it inside out. The reason for a thin, evenly glued edge is to avoid puckering. It may still appear puckered in spots but you can iron those out!

Start stuffing the pillow carefully, ensuring it’s totally filled! It may take a lot depending on how large you made it. Work out the bumps as you go.

no-sew-novelty-cloud-pillow6

The trickiest part is sealing the last gap since the fabric is now the right way around. Take your time and slowly glue it as neatly as possibly. Rushing will result in hot glue all over your hands and the outside of the pillow!

no-sew-novelty-cloud-pillow7

Shop similar supplies on Amazon!

SignOff

Save

Continue Reading

DIY Unique Christmas Wreath

Last year I didn’t have a Christmas wreath on our sad little front door but this year in our new house with a beautiful entryway there was no way I could go without! Wreaths out there were either too expensive for me, too big, too small or just…meh. So I made my own which I love because nobody else has one. I’m feeling festive so I guess I will share with you guys ๐Ÿ˜‰

DIY Unique Christmas Wreath

I purchased a plain artificial wreath but you could also use a fresh one! Once I fluffed up the wreath and gave it a good shape, I sprayed on snow, topped with a large burlap bow and added the CUTEST pair of ice skates in the center. Vintage holiday decor is my favorite and I have been eyeing them up at Hobby Lobby since last year. When I found them again I couldn’t bear to leave them behind. I don’t really have anywhere to hang more decorations so this was the perfect solution!

DIY Unique Christmas Wreath

DIY Unique Christmas Wreath

Have you made any of your Holiday decorations?

SignOff

Save

Continue Reading

DIY Baby Changing Station Transformation

I don’t need to tell you that babies are expensive little beings. It is rather overwhelming looking around your home and realizing just how much you need to buy for baby. I think the worst kind of baby gear is the stuff that lasts five minutes and is then no longer of any use. Like a bassinet or a changing table.

DIY Changing Table Transformation

I was lucky to have an old TV cabinet sitting in my garage that had the perfect potential for a changing unit. This was achieved by simply changing the color! I was able to create a beautiful piece of furniture for the nursery that can be used as both a changing table and later, a storage unit. What I love about re-purposing a small cabinet is the versatility of the end result. You could remove the doors and add decorative storage boxes to make it more gender/theme specific or you can also choose toย  keep the doors and hide boring necessities behind them.

DIY Changing Station Transformation

DIY Changing Station Transformation

I am doing the latter. I have decided to turn this into the ultimate baby changing station! The upper shelf which is usually for DVD players, game consoles and the like will be a place to store basics like onesies/bibs/burp cloths and the inevitable spare outfits we will need with some changes! Behind the doors there is one shelf which will be home to endless diapers, wipes and also health and bath products. All I am really adding to this piece is a standard changing pad.

For such a huge transformation and total re-purpose, this project is the easiest I have ever done. It had two steps.

I have two words people. CHALK. PAINT.

DIY Changing Station Transformation

Paint that magic potion directly onto your dust-free, un-sanded wood and watch it transform! Granted, it took four or five coats but if you are not in a rush and have patience then you can get away without prepping. I underestimated how many coats it would need and I went through two tubs before I gave in and bought a bigger one to finish it. If in doubt, buy the bigger tin! To save time and effort you can sand and fully prep the furniture from the start. The reason I didn’t was because I began during Summer and therefore in the height of my allergy season. It just wasn’t worth the agony in my eyes and the sneezing fits! Once you are happy with the coverage you can use a clear wax to seal and protect it.

I’m SO happy with the way this unit turned out and even happier that I have a piece of nursery furniture that cost me $25! All I purchased was the paint, wax and door knobs ๐Ÿ™‚

DIY Changing Station Transformation

Shop similar products below!

ย 

SignOff

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Maternity Essentials for the Stylish Mama To Be

Initially, the thoughts of a maternity wardrobe horrified me which is strange because I love fashion, shopping and everything related. It wasn’t the fact that I would need bigger clothes. Or the effort of shopping for them but simply the fact that if you stick the word ‘maternity’ in front of any item of clothing it seems to triple in price. The sting in that is the amount of time you will actually spend wearing these pieces. It is so short! So in my pregnancy ignorance I assumed I would get away with leggings and my loose tunic style tops for the next few months. Yeah, I quickly learned that isn’t going to happen. My bump is still teeny tiny but I am rocking the maternity jeans a good few weeks now. Undershirts have become weird belly tops and button down tops no longer button.

Maternity Essentials For The Stylish Mama To Be

With that, I have started to pick up a few key pieces that are versatile enough to build different outfits around. Think essential basics like leggings, tanks, long tees, tunics, casual jersey dresses and layering items like shirts, cardigans and blanket scarves.

Luckily I will be spending my pregnancy sporting Winter gear. I cannot imagine being pregnant in the height of a Georgia Summer, ick. However, Winter really only arrives here in January so there is no need for heavy coats and huge sweaters. With upcoming trips to Ireland and Huntsville, I will need some cold weather attire occasionally but I hope to pull this off by layering basics with chunky cardigans already in my wardrobe!

Comfort is the winner for me with style taking a close second. Here are some of my suggested essentials to get you through your Fall/Winter pregnancy in total comfort and the height of style ๐Ÿ˜‰

BASIC TOPS

Maternity Essentials

I would suggest buying these in white, grey and black or multiples of whichever your favorite color is! These are perfect for layering. Wear under sweaters, kimonos, cardigans, blazer etc. I love the longer length to cover the waistband of my jeans/leggings. If you are still doing the hair-tie trick with your pants, they are perfect for hiding that too!

SWEATERS & LAYERING

Maternity Essentials

None of these are maternity pieces which I love because you’ll wear them long after baby arrives. Kimonos are light and airy and look great over leggings for a relaxed but dressed up look. I LOVE this plaid kimono, get your Autumn plaid shirt fix without battling buttons. Chunky knitwear is a no brainer when it comes to layers so it needs no explanation. How cute is this layered sweater? It’s also peplum which means you can wear it without the bump stretching it out! Win!

BOTTOMS

Maternity Essentials

Maternity jeans and a pair of comfy leggings (or 5!) will be absolutely lived in throughout your entire pregnancy. I was lucky enough to get a 40% off any single item code for H&M which allowed me to pick up these jeans for a steal. Overalls/dungarees are a love or hate maternity piece but I adore this skinny legged pair!

DRESSES

Maternity Essentials

If dresses are your style then they will be your splurge item. However if you find a casual dress that can take you from day to night then it will be an worthwhile investment! Add a wide brim hat and chunky statement jewelry to dress these basic dresses up! I personally would pair dress #4 with denim leggings and over the knee boots as I don’t like bare legs with knit dresses but to each their own.

Check out my ‘Bump Style’ Pinterest board for ways to wear similar styles

 

 

What were your holy grail maternity items?

SignOff

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Super Easy DIY Christmas Wall Art

If you can’t stand people who love Christmas, LOOK AWAY NOW because today I am bringing you some DIY Christmas wall art!

Super Easy DIY Christmas Wall Art

Move over Fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving, it’s officially my time! I’m not obnoxious about it. I won’t decorate for a while and blast carols from my speakers but I ADORE Christmas. I find it amusing how genuinely disgruntled many people become when others get in the Christmas spirit. You don’t see me pitchin’ a fit when you all go crazy for pumpkins in August so hush. We can have Halloween decor in stores in July but now I’m the worst for loving Christmas 8 weeks in advance? As they say in the South, bless your heart!

Christmas was always a special time for me and since moving away from home it’s become even more. It was incredibly difficult last year to spend my first Christmas in 27 years away from home. It was even harder to participate in others’ ‘traditions’ that just did not feel right to me. Overall it was just a really emotional and sad time for me. I feel very strongly about carrying on my own Holiday traditions especially now that we are expecting. I can’t wait to have Santa Claus again in our home and the magic of Christmas that only children can bring!

So since November is just one sleep away I am sharing with you a super easy festive wall art I made over the weekend. This involves nothing but glue and some craft paint! You know me, I like the easy stuff!

diy-christmas-wall-art

I picked up this distressed hanging pallet piece a few weeks ago at the craft store and separately, this laser cut decoration. There was no real plan for either and placing them haphazardly on the counter resulted in this project! I decided to paint the cut-out gold + gold glitter top coat and attach it to the pallet. It makes a great piece of wall art that is simple yet festive! Remember you can also stain or paint an unfinished pallet very easily if you can’t find or don’t want a distressed look.

diy-christmas-wall-art1

First I left it painted gold with the leaf element glittered only but I loved the sparkle so much, I did the whole thing! It’s not overly glittery just a gorgeous shimmer than catches the light.

diy-christmas-wall-art2

Shop Similar Supplies!

 

SignOff

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading