Saturday

Saturday Sip and Shop ::: My Pink Valentine




Sip:

Cotton Candy Champagne Cocktail:

Cotton Candy Champagne Cocktail
Recipe found HERE
So cute for Valentines Day!


Shop:



Untitled #140

petits secrets tray (on sale here)
gold tray (on sale here)
sparkle tray (on sale here)


Friday

Five On Friday!

It's time for another edition of Five on Friday and I do hope you'll join along!

Remember, all you have to do is post about five things on your mind, add our logo (found at the bottom of this post), and join the party using the linky tools below. Easy, and a great way to find new blogs and be found. :)

O N E
Last Friday at lunchtime, I joined a girlfriend and her two sons for a little adventure in uptown Charlotte. As the Panthers prepared for their California send-off, there was a lunchtime pep rally held in one of the large parks in center city. All five of us met at the lightrail station and took the "choo choo train" in to town (big adventure for Miss Camille) and had a great time seeing everyone decked out in their gameday gear getting stoked for the Super Bowl.


They were playing great music and just getting everyone pumped up about the team. Later, the coach and some of the players made an appearance (but we had to leave before that happened). It was such a fun adventure that I wouldn't have attempted solo, so I loved that my girlfriend invited us along!



T W O
We have fully transitioned our dining room over to our shared office space, and I love it. I don't miss our dining room at all. How did we live for four years thinking it was an absolute necessity? We ate in it maybe three times a year, and other than that, it was a holding ground for STUFF.

Stack of catalogs I want to look through but not now? Dining room table. Stacks of daycare artwork from Camille? Dining room table. Paid bills ready to meet their demise in the shredder? Dining room table.


My next task is switching out these standard knobs for some funkier pulls I found 50% off at Hobby Lobby. I'd love to share some photos of the new office space next week!

T H R E E
For well over a year now, these girls and I have been getting together for a quick weekday lunch every 2 or so weeks. Sometimes the little ones join us (like this past week at Cowfish) and sometimes it's just us four gals. I cherish their friendship so much. I also cherish Cowfish's bento boxes. True story.


F O U R
Greek yogurts are a great choice for those with gestational diabetes, and I've tried several at this point. They are higher in protein than the traditional yogurt, which is the key factor to them being a good option. And oh my word, these whipped Yoplait yogurts are awesome. So far I've tried vanilla cupcake (!!!), strawberry, and salted caramel, and they are all quite tasty!



F I V E
I love that you can score some Lilly Pulitzer items on Amazon that are even Prime-eligible. I keep an "April's Wishlist" running list on my account and stick things here that I can ask for for a birthday or Christmas (or just treat myself to from time to time). These totes are sold in a 2-pack: one for you, one for your bestie's upcoming birthday. :)

I mean really, stick a few cute things in there and you are all set: a fun beach towel for a beach bag, a cheese board and bottle of prosecco for a park picnic bag. You get the idea!


That's all I've got this Friday, but just one more thing .... GO PANTHERS!




TGIF y'all, and hope you will join in on Five on Friday this week! Cheers to the weekend!

Thursday

Two Sausage Appetizers For Sunday!

I love to eat (you know this) and I love menu planning for events. Sunday's big football game is getting me so excited to cheer on my beloved team and also eat my little heart out!

These days, as I'm watching my diet a little more closely, I've been making sure to combine any carbohydrates with ample protein. I had an opportunity to partner with Johnsonville to share a few recipes with you today that I will be making for Sunday, and all of these recipes will fit in with my adjusted diet and still be really delicious for everyone else!

The first one is a recipe that my aunt made for us a few years ago. It's been a staple for get-togethers in our family since! It's part salty, part sweet, and part citrusy-garlicy. YUM. 


Roasted Sweet Potato and Sausage Bites 
with Lemon Garlic Aioli

Ingredients:
Johnsonville Brats
Sweet potatoes
Mayonnaise
Garlic, minced
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and peel sweet potato and dice into cubes. Toss in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper until evenly coated. Place on a foil-covered baking sheet and roast for approximately 15-20 minutes, flipping once or twice to ensure that all sides brown nicely. 

In a skillet, cook the whole brat a few minutes on each side until it's nicely browned. Remove from skillet and slice with a sharp serrated knife. Return to pan and cook thoroughly. Once cooked, drain on paper towels.

For the lemon garlic aioli, you will mix a few tablespoons of mayonnaise with lemon juice, a tablespoon of minced garlic, salt and pepper. There's no "wrong" way to make this, just sample it from time to time until it tastes great. 

Skewer together a roasted sweet potato cube with a slice of the Johnsonville brat and serve with the lemon garlic aioli as a dipping sauce. Easy and unique!


Wait ... something seems to be missing from the photo above. 


THERE. That's much, much better. ;)

But truly, these are such an easy appetizer and great for a pick-up and go snack. 


Next up on our menu is the classic gameday appetizer -- sausage balls!


Sausage Balls

Ingredients:
1 package Johnsonville Ground Sausage
4 cups grated sharp cheddar (two bags)
3 cups Bisquick

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well with fingers until all ingredients are combined. Form into tight 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet coated in nonstick spray. Bake 18-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. They are also great for breakfast straight out of the fridge ;-)


Thank you so very much to Johnsonville for allowing me to share two of our gameday recipes with you today. You can follow them on Instagram as well for some delicious recipe inspiration (jvillesausage)!

GO PANTHERS!

Wednesday

Maternity Leggings: A Review (AKA I Have Too Much Time On My Hands)

There are a lot of joys of pregnancy, and one for me is MATERNITY LEGGINGS. I'm dead serious. Leggings in general are pretty stellar, and then when you add in a comfy-cozy full panel waistband, the deal is sealed. 

But I recently ordered three pairs to try out at home, and I found that all maternity leggings are not created equal. Here's my own personal breakdown of the three affordable pairs I tried (from Old Navy and Target) and what made each a hit or miss. 

First up:

Old Navy Full-Panel Jersey Leggings (online here)
Currently $14.94, site is 20% off today using code GROWNUP (adult clothing only)

Coming in at the least expensive of the bunch, I was truly hoping these would work. I love Old Navy's maternity line ... in fact, that dark green notched v-neck I've got on was a Christmastime purchase from there (currently $6.99 here). These leggings had pretty good online review ratings (4.2/5) so I figured I would love them.

The actual legging part itself was great, but on me, the panel hit at an awkward spot -- about two inches up from my (very protruding, eek!) belly button. It still smoothed everything mostly out, but I was able to see that tell-tale legging line under my shirt, and it just felt uncomfortable to me. I was very aware of that top seam and it bothered me to no end. Next!


Target Over The Belly Ponte Pants (online here)
Currently $29.99

The style of these had me intrigued and I figured they would be a favorite. Typically, ponte knit is thicker -- a good quality to be found in leggings, am I right?! I was thinking these would be pretty similar to the Lilly Pulitzer Travel Pants that have such a cult following. 

Eh, not really. The full panel was comfortable, but the leggings themselves didn't have that nice and luxurious feeling that I was expecting for my $30 (I'm frugal and I own it!). They were still a good find, and I probably would have justified keeping them had I not tried on the very last pair I'll review here today. 


Winner, winner!
Target Over The Belly Black Legging (online here)
Currently $16.99

By a landslide, these were the big winner of the group. The heft of the legging was fairly similar to the "thicker" ponte pants, and the waistband was even more comfortable! It is made out of this really soft, almost bathing-suit type material. And less than $20 -- a score in my penny-pinching book. 

I should definitely point out that my blog friend Justine, currently expecting her fifth sweet baby, originally told me how awesome these were. I should have just taken her word (and saved myself the return trips to Old Navy and Target for the pants above) because a woman expecting baby #5 definitely knows her stuff. 


I wear these every single week. Sometimes two days in a row (no shame). They have held up in several washings -- I've been wearing them since November -- and have accomodated my ever-growing baby bump. The black has stayed a nice, true black. Come visit me after the baby is born and I guaran-darn-tee you I will still be wearing these!

Do I have too much time on my hands for this review? Umm, maybe. But maternity leggings, y'all! There is nothing better!

(WELL. Maybe a funfetti cupcake, but that's off of my radar for the time being.) ;)


Tuesday

Baby Shower Planning ... Your Ideas?

I get so, so excited when I think about welcoming my new little nephew into our family. My sister Laura is six years younger than I am, so the fact that we are both pregnant at the same time is not something I necessarily thought would happen but definitely something I hoped for. Like, really really really hoped for! :)

Ian and I think the world of Laura and her husband T, and we are also really excited that we will have babies that will be about two months apart in age.

I'll be hosting at my home a shower for Laura with the other sisters -- my middle sister and one of T's sisters who lives in Columbia. We are getting our ideas all together and it's going to be a pretty and sweet shower!

Here's where I love hearing from you ... what are some of your baby shower must-haves?

(photos used are not what I will necessarily end up using - Laura reads here!) :)


INVITATIONS
I was torn whether to go with a boutique for the printing or whether to buy a digital file from Etsy and have it printed. I've done the latter before and then taken the digital file to the printer, have had the invitations printed on 8.5x11 cardstock, and then done all of the cutting myself. Coordinating envelopes were typically purchased at Paper Source. But a girlfriend told me yesterday that Staples has done her invitation printing before with marvelous results, and they come pre-cut and with envelopes! TA-DAAAA! I've received a few of her invitations so can definitely vouch for the quality of the paper and the printing quality. Would love to hear your tricks of the trade for invitations!

Printable Baby Boy Shower Invitation

FOOD
I think we will keep the food fairly simple ... maybe some nice Southern classics like cucumber sandwiches, deviled eggs, and fruit salad cups. What are your favorite baby shower foods? I'll just use paper plates and paper napkins, and of course -- my favorite Dollar Tree find, the shiny metallic silver plasticware. Being that it will be a daytime affair, we will have some light adult beverages (maybe a tasty sangria? or mimosa bar?) and some sparkling waters or a lemonade.

Pretty jars of fruit at a Farm Tea Party!  See more party ideas at CatchMyParty.com!  #partyideas #farm:

FAVORS
I am always all ears for great favor ideas -- have you received anything recently as a shower favor that you really enjoyed?

Baby boy shower favors, baby boy shower, hair tie favors, baby shower favors boy, its a boy, boy shower favors, baby shower hair ties, baby

FLOWERS
I think to keep things simple, I'll probably just have a few arrangements delivered the day prior from The Bouqs. They have been my go-to source ever since I saw the concept on Shark Tank. I love their flat-fee pricing and gorgeous, high-quality flowers. They will come in boxes so they will be very easy to arrange in the key areas of the house that we'll be entertaining.

Love Dove

Halo

One thing we'll definitely be doing is encouraging attendees to bring a small board book in lieu of a card. If you're going to spend $4 on one or the other, we may as well fill sweet Thompson's bookshelves with some fabulous reads!

Now is when I'd love to hear some of your ideas. What have you seen or heard about recently for baby shower trends that you can share with me?

Friday

Five On Friday

It's time for another edition of Five on Friday and I do hope you'll join along!

Remember, all you have to do is post about five things on your mind, add our logo (found at the bottom of this post), and join the party using the linky tools below. Easy, and a great way to find new blogs and be found. :)

O N E
I had my 30-week pregnancy appointment yesterday followed by my one-week gestational diabetes follow-up. Both went great! According to the midwife, I am measuring perfectly and everything looks great. The heartbeat was in the 150s and it just sounded so, so sweet. I never get tired of hearing that sound. My blood sugar numbers have been looking really good, in fact, the nurse/CDE would actually like to see me adding some extra carbohydrates in (ohhhhkayyy!) and next week I can just email her in a photo of my fingerstick results rather than meeting with her in person.

Growing, growing, growing ... up about 16/18 pounds now!


T W O
I was so excited to read my friend Justine's post yesterday with her $3 Kate Spade stud knock-off earrings, found at Walmart! Check out her post here ... y'all know I love an awesome, inexpensive find.


T H R E E
Last month I saw this adorable love note holder from Pottery Barn Kids. Camille is way off from needing one, but I was so tempted (they are now marked down to $15.50 here). Personalization is $9 extra.


Valentine's Day Love Notes Chairbacker

BUT! BUT! Yesterday during a trip to Target, I saw these oversized felt envelopes and I picked a few up! I should be able to get them embroidered with names for maybe $6, and they are a dollar each (from the dollar spot at the front of the store). A total deal, and I can't wait until next year when Camille gets the whole love-notes concept a little more and I can strap this to the back of her chair by stitching on a little red ribbon. 



F O U R
I posted this week about the zucchini pizza bites I made for the playoff games, then I found this recipe on Pinterest which is a little more involved but looks seriously yummy. A great option for those of you planning your Super Bowl menu!


zucchini pizza bites4 (1 of 1):

F I V E

Who's getting excited for Valentines Day? We won't be doing anything wild and crazy this year, but I do really love February 14th. I have a few decorations I usually buy at a major post-holiday discount at Michaels or Hobby Lobby and I want to put some things in Camille's room. Do you have big plans for the day of love, or are you a eat-at-home sort of couple?

10 Fabulous Valentine's Day Crafts:

TGIF y'all, and hope you will join in on Five on Friday this week! Cheers to the weekend!

Thursday

Smoothie In A Box

Recently I was given the chance to try out a product that I can 100% get behind ... a smoothie in a box, to put it simply. The company is Green Blender and they have a really cool concept going.

Green Blender is a smoothie delivery company based in NYC. With a subscription to their service, you are sent all the pre-portioned ingredients and superfoods to make delicious, healthy smoothies at home. Locally sourced, organic produce is a priority for Green Blender, and their boxes are 100 percent vegan.


I received my first box last week, and it was filled with high-quality, extremely fresh produce and add-ins ... enough to make five full smoothies with multiple servings each.





A recipe card was included for the five recommended smoothies. The card contained interesting facts about each smoothie as well as nutritional information. That was key to me these days since I have to watch my carbohydrate intake while dealing with my gestational diabetes. I also spoke to my nurse about these smoothies and we just made a gameplan that I would have them as an afternoon snack rather than for breakfast (a healthier choice for me while I deal with this condition). 



The first smoothie I decided to try was the Pecan Oatmeal Cookie. 




I portioned out a serving for myself as well as for Camille for her post-nap snack.




I obviously need better smoothie cups for her. After a while, she really got the hang of the straw, then I ended up just helping her to pick up the cup and finish it that way.

I still had a little more left over in the blender, so I poured it in a popsicle mold for her to have another day. 


This smoothie was absolutely tasty, and I loved the fact that she was eating spinach in a smoothie! 

Another awesome smoothie we made from this box was the Cranberry Kumquat Tart. 



This was my first time of ever trying a kumquat, and THAT is what I love about Green Blender. Anyone can go to the corner grocery store and pick up bananas and frozen strawberries, but this shipment really caused me to step out of my smoothie ingredient comfort zone. Tofu, swiss chard, beets, ginger, goji berries, pea protein, collard greens, a poblano pepper, purple sweet potato, mesquite spice ... these were ALL items that came to me in my box amidst the "regulars" like a pear, an apple, a mango, cinnamon, and pecans. 

PS, did you know you can eat kumquats whole? No need to peel them ... this citrus fruit lacks the bitter pith that a fruit like an orange has. 


I gave it all a good blend and poured it into two glasses!


Well, not quite glasses. One serving went into a Minnie Mouse sippy cup. 






The Green Blender team is incredibly helpful should you have any questions at all about your box or the smoothie prep. You can reach them through their Facebook page or by emailing them at support@greenblender.com.

Best part yet, they are offering you 20% off your box order with code ALIZ at checkout! Thanks, guys, for allowing my readers to try the boxes at a discounted rate.

I am already eager to see the next batch of recipes and what sort of crazy ingredients I might be able to try soon! Two big thumbs up for a delivery box that gets us all eating a little bit healthier.

Connect with Green Blender:

Green Blender in the press:  PureWow | Well+Good | Forbes | Today
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