My Unique Baby + A Tale Of A Dog

This post is written by me and sponsored by Store Brand Formula. They invited me to share a special memory about my unique baby (and boy, she is unique!). They are hosting a sweepstakes where you can also share your own unique baby stories or memories ... details at the end of the post!

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Our baby Camille is now sixteen months old, and this baby is one spitfire of a little lady. She has a BIG personality, and she's not afraid to show it. I think this is what makes people genuinely like her -- she is unique and truly FUN.

When thinking back about some of my favorite memories of Camille, I think about photographs that I cherish. Photographs that I can't wait to share with her when she is older. A lot of these special memories center around Drake, our beloved husky that we sadly said goodbye to this past February.
Camille and Drake had nine months together to try to figure each other out, and witnessing that was an awesome experience. Before we brought her home from the hospital, my husband ran over to the house from the hospital with a baby blanket that Camille had been wrapped in, and he placed it on Drake's bed. This way, it gave Drake a day to sniff around the blanket and get used to her smell before she was actually home. Bringing her home was a wonderful memory and I will always remember him gently sniffing around her baby carrier and getting used to this new family addition.

Over the next several months, Drake's health was worsening and Camille was getting more mobile -- rolling over, sitting up, clapping her hands, scooting, and then full-fledged crawling. We (along with our vet) were nervous that, due to his declining health and age (15), Drake would accidentally snap at her or growl at her. This fortunately never happened -- instead he maintained a careful distance but was definitely interested in this smiling, happy, cooing baby. He was truly a gentle giant around her, even as her presence in the house got bigger, louder, and a little wilder!

Saying goodbye to Drake was one of the hardest times of my life, but I know that we ensured in their nine months together that Camille and Drake had some very special times together. I will always remember the big smile that would come to her round face as I stroked her little hand through his thick, silvery-white fur.

And thank goodness for photographs! I have some pretty magnificent memories that may have otherwise been lost in the haze of sleep-deprived newborn days thanks to us remembering to pick up the camera or phone and snap a quick moment.

We have photos of Drake all around the house, and Camille loves pointing to the pictures and yelling out "DOG DOG!" loudly. I always find myself wondering what it would be like if we could have had another year with him ... he would have seen her walking, babbling all day, and becoming more and more interested in her furry friends. Maybe when she is a little older we will think about adding another pup to our family, but for now I just love reminiscing on his sweet presence in our family and how much joy he brought to Camille! I feel like her love of animals is definitely due in part to the times she spent with Drake.

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Thank you again to Store Brand Formula for sponsoring this post. You know I have always been an advocate for feeding a baby in whatever way works best for each family ... AND scouting out great deals! Store Brand Formula is available through 68 retailers nationwide at one of 40,000 store locations for up to 50% less than name brand formula. Store Brand Formula is launching a “Unique Baby” Photo Sweepstakes in which the winner will receive $5,000 AND a year supply of Store Brand Formula. Every baby is unique, and they want you to show how your baby is unique. They’re looking for funny, silly, odd, crazy, unique baby photos. To enter the Store Brand Formula Unique Baby Sweepstakes, simply visit and follow the photo submission guidelines and the on-screen instructions to complete the online entry form. All entries must be submitted during September 28, 2015 – November 5, 2015.
You can find them on: Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // YouTube // Google+
Now for a BlogHer sweepstakes! Here is a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. Tell me in the comments below about a special memory you have of a unique baby in your life. Whether it is your baby, a niece/nephew, grandkid ... what sweet story do you like to tell about them?
Entry Instructions:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 9/29/2015 – 10/31/2015
Be sure to visit Perrigo’s brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


Versatile Gloss With Staying Power

I would love to share with you one of my purse staples -- L'Oreal's Infallable 6 Hour gloss. I own it in two colors, but the one I want to rave about today is Rebel Red. This is seriously a perfect color because of the versatility. One coat goes on like a berry stain, and two coats is va-va-voom. I love red lips in chillier weather. Who am I kidding ... all types of weather are great for red lips.

So I wanted to show you the no coats / one coat / two coats photos to demonstrate the versatility. Oh, and it's around $8.50 at multiple retailers, so it won't break the bank. Cha-ching.

Before: No gloss

After: One Coat

After: Two Coats

The pure versatility is why it's a purse staple for me. You won't find a dark red lipstick in my everyday purse, because I'm not going to apply that before I take Camille to Mrs. Amy's music class. But this one is a great option because one coat can be for music class and two coats can be blogger cocktail event or dinner date with the husband.

And speaking of dinner dates, the staying power of this gloss is really amazing. You don't have to worry about it disappearing after the appetizer!

So there's a little more detail about my very favorite gloss ... and you've gotta love one that lasts hours but does not dry out your lips.

If you are looking to purchase online:  Amazon // Target //
(other details: my mascara // my blush // my concealer // 

* affiliate links used


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. :)

Thank you to everyone who links up with us each week. And a super happy birthday to my lovely fellow FoF hostess, Christina!

The Ultimate Naked Birthday Cake from Layers of homemade cake, lemon curd, crumbled meringue cookies, swiss buttercream frosting and sparklers to boot!! (@whatsgabycookin):

O N E  
I'm super excited because Ian and I are Raleigh-bound today for his cousin Kristen's wedding! I am a big fan of weddings. Watching the bride walk down the aisle. Seeing everything she painstakingly chose ... bridesmaids gowns, ceremony music, readings, reception decor, the menu, first dance song, the dance with dad, the exit, the whole nine yards. And I'm also excited about dancing with Ian and having a night away! In a hotel! Where we can maybe sleep until 8am! Hallelujah!

Love is the answer:
Is it messed up that I seriously offered to pack Children's Benadryl for Ian and me to take tomorrow night to ensure a good night's rest, and the slight possibility of sleeping in? I'm serious. Also on the packing list will be two eye masks and two sets of earplugs. Mama wants sleep. Good, serene, hotel sleep.

My aunt pinned this the other day and I was drooling. Positively eye candy. If you could only choose one, which would it be?

My choice: middle finger, second up from base of finger. Second choice: pointer finger, bottom aqua/teal colored stone. Gorgeous!

Yes to all of them! (12) Tumblr:

Yesterday we had music class at Miss Amy's, and Camille was really enjoying it. This was the first time she got to play on her own "drums", and she was loving it! I put a video on Instagram last night. I love seeing her try out new toys and instruments. I found these Sound Shapes on Amazon (here) and they are pretty expensive, in my opinion! They do have this mini-verson for less which may be a good Christmas gift for her. 

similar gold baby moccasins found here or here

Not ashamed to admit that I'm on the pumpkin bandwagon and I've been burning a pumpkin candle (Scentsationals soy candle, from TJ Maxx) and using this lotion from Bath & Body Works. It smells sooo delicious. And the kicker is that I had a coupon for a free full-sized product, so I redeemed it for this. I don't know how I got on their coupon mailing list, but it's SO worth it. Every few months I have received a coupon for a free trial-sized lotion or shower gel, and this full-sized product coupon was a real treat. So YES, pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin. I want it all. I will definitely vouch for this scent, if you're on the hunt for new lotion.

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

*Affiliate links used. 


It's Okay To Be (Fall) Basic

Ahh, FALL.

The first day of this glorious season was yesterday, and I welcomed it with open arms and a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Did I mention I sipped it wearing my white shorts and gold boat shoes? Whaaat .... it was hot here! No blanket scarves 'round these parts just yet!

I think when it comes to this autumnal bliss, you either fall in one of two camps:
1) You really don't give a hoot, I mean it's just a season, or

And if you are in that latter camp, I'm here to tell you that it's okay. It's okay to be Fall Basic.

basic / bā-sik (urban dictionary): 
an adjective used to describe any person, place, activity 
involving obscenely obvious behavior, dress, action.

Here's why I don't have an issue with being Fall Basic: it's cheesy, it's fun, it shows enthusiasm for what is a really beautiful time of year. So, go forth, pick your basket of apples, munch your cider donuts, button up that plaid lumberjack shirt, wear leggings to work, singlehandedly keep Starbucks in business, have your pumpkin patch photoshoot, and monogram your pumpkins (carving is so '90s). 

I dig it. 

fall favorites

And dress the part.
I sure as heck am going to.
I do have a few wishlist items this season. Here goes:

Soft Camel Sweater: A cashmere sweater is a bit of a splurge, but they can last a long time with good care. And the luxurious feel is worth owning one or two, in my opinion! Loving this camel version, and I love the navy and heather charcoal colors it comes in, too.

Dark Flare Jeans: I used to have the most amazing pair of AG flares. Tight across the bum, fitted in the thighs, and then the perfect (not-too-crazy) flare. I rocked them as a senior in college and felt so good walking to class with my pointy-toed heels. I wore them so much that they developed a hole that grew and grew until they were bordering on offensive, and now they still exist -- but as cut-offs. I am definitely willing to embrace this trend again. The flares in the photo above are the exact wash I'd want.

Worn Gold Studs: I am loving this worn gold finish ... less flashy than shiny summer earrings, more muted. Available here, and $20 -- would also be a great gift to pick up for the upcoming holiday season for a mom, sister, or girlfriend.

Cozy Plaid Scarf: Comfy cozy, yes please. I'm not a fan of all plaids (some color combos just don't do it for me), but I love this pattern. Available with free shipping here.

And if you're looking for more of an oversized blanket scarf, I also found some really pretty ones for more than half the cost of the above scarf on Amazon here, but looks like they take a little longer to arrive ... may be worth checking out, though! The "brown red" is my favorite color combination there.
Spring Fever Plaid Checked Tartan Scarf Wrap Shawl Spring Fever
Tortoise Sunglasses: In a crazy moment this year, I sold my C. Wonder tortoise sunglasses (boo). I miss them. I like chunkier sunglasses for fall, and these bad boys are only $12. With a 16-month old who loves removing my sunglasses all day every day, that price point is perfect for me.

Essie Polishes + Gel Setter: Okay, full review coming soon, but let's say that I'm a fan of Gel Setter. This gel-like topcoat gets an A+ rating from me so far (on Amazon here) and I love these two muted polish colors: Au Natural (on left, here) and Sand Tropez (on right, here). I think Au Natural would be so pretty on toes too, and I'd gladly give up my fuschia and bright red for this tone.

Tell me ... are you Fall Basic?
What's on your Fall Basic Bucket List?
You know you have one.

* affiliate links used


(Really) Easy French Dip Sandwiches

When we were at the beach this past weekend with friends, we had a deli that delivers to bring us sandwiches one night. What can I say, the days of late restaurant trips to our favorite sandy beach bars have probably come to an end for the time being (so long, frozen screwdrivers). With five children five and under, it was pure heaven getting them to bed and then having six take-out boxes magically appear at our front step.

I went with one of my favorite sandwiches -- the French dip -- and I probably could have eaten two, it was so delicious. It reminded me of a really easy version of the recipe that Mom shared with me recently. So, naturally, I made this recipe for Ian and me the very next night.

(Really) Easy French Dip Sandwiches

Deli roast beef, sliced thinly (I used 1/2 pound to make two sandwiches)
Provolone cheese
Chicago rolls or hoagie rolls
1 can French onion soup
1 can beef consomme


Heat your broiler to 450 degrees. 

In a saucepan, heat the French onion soup, beef consomme, and all of the roast beef. I heated mine about 10-15 minutes, until it was pretty hot and at a soft boil. The roast beef will get hot and nicely flavored from cooking in this broth.

Slice your rolls almost all of the way through, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Using tongs, remove hot roast beef from soup mixture and layer on the bread. Reserve the remaining soup. 

Top each sandwich with provolone cheese. I also added a small slice on the top piece of bread.  

Watch carefully under the broiler, and remove as soon as the cheese is melted and golden. Add the tops to the sandwiches.

Pour the brothy soup in small ramekins for dipping. This is the perfect au jus!

Two quick notes...
I purchased half a pound of Boar's Head deli roast beef. As soon as I left the busy counter, I got nervous that it would not be enough. So, in the refrigerated meat section, I picked up a small package of thinly sliced roast beef. I was able to make our Monday night sandwiches just from that half pound of Boar's Head and did not need to rely on the pre-packaged roast beef that I had as back-up. However, I did use some of that roast beef to recreate this sandwich for lunch yesterday, and while I will say it was still really good, the freshly shaved Boar's Head was MUCH better. So -- spend a dollar or two more and get the freshly sliced stuff here.

(and yes, if you're counting, that makes three days in a row that I ate French dips ... and guess what's for lunch today? four days and counting.)

Secondly, I'm not sure if you're as curious as I was, but here goes. Beef broth vs. beef stock vs. beef consomme ... what's the diff? Let's let Martha Stewart tell it how it is.

Broth: "Broth is the liquid that remains after meat, seafood, or vegetables have been cooked in water. It may be served alone or used as the base for a light soup."

Stock: "Stock is more intense than broth, having been cooked slowly to extract as much flavor as possible from meat or fish bones and aromatics. A stock is used as an ingredient in other dishes, such as soups, stews, and sauces, rather than served alone."

Consomme: "Consomme is a clear liquid that results from clarifying homemade stock. This is usually done with egg whites. (The cloudy particles in the stock attach themselves to the whites and rise to the surface, where they can be skimmed off.) The French word means 'consumed' or 'finished,' referring to a more complete soup than a stock or a broth. Consomme is often served by itself, typically at the beginning of a meal."

For a meal that goes together SUPER easily, I could not recommend these French dip sandwiches more!


Tuesday This & That

A few random notes this Tuesday!

On Friday, I read about the GIF keyboard on Jenn's blog and downloaded it immediately. UM, YES. This is a hoot. In the same way that you would use an emoji keyboard on your phone, you can search for hilarious GIFs to send to friends. It's a free download in the App store (here)! It's taken my group texts to the next level.

Last night I made the most DELICIOUS French dips for us for dinner. I'll plan on sharing that recipe since it sounds like a lot of you are always on the hunt for yummy, easy recipes that use only a few ingredients. I know how crazy the evenings can get -- who wants to spend hours in the kitchen? And then have a big ol' mess to clean? Not this girl. 

Kitchen art print  The secret ingredient... - cooking quote typographic print letterpress Kitchen wall decor A3 11 x 14. $21.00, via Etsy.:

Thank you to everyone who shared your nail recommendations on Friday's post! You all are just chock-full of information. I'm going to try to run out this week to purchase one of the drugstore gel-type polishes in hopes that it helps me have pretty and low-maintenance nails. Emphasis on the low-maintenance. Oh, and I love cheapie drugstore products. You know I'll share my hits and misses!

Label this: DREAM NAILS
(can I do it? can I do it?)
favorite OPI nail polish color ever!!!! Bubble Bath:

What's everyone having for dinner tonight? I'm jazzed because Ian had the besssst idea this morning ... SOUP! It's sort of dreary out which makes it the perfect soup night. Plus, I can just throw everything in a pot and let it simmer, and then all we have to do is cue up The Strain on DVR and ladle out our dinner into bowls. Now that's good stuff. 

This was meant for me to my husband. I'm always ice cold & he's got enough warmth for the both of us ha ha:


Folly Beach Getaway

We are heading home as I type this from a long weekend at the beach. Our friends have a family home at Folly Beach -- just outside of Charleston, SC. We pulled into town around 4 o'clock on Friday and packed the weekend with fun. We had 6 adults, 5 children, and 2 dogs ... a full beach house! 

Camille did give us a sleepless night last night (!!!!) and I still don't know what to attribute it to other than being in an unfamiliar location. Ian and I are zombie-esque for sure, but we are hoping for an early bedtime tonight and for better sleeping from the baby this evening. It was rough, no way to sugarcoat that. 

Here are some photos from our otherwise restful trip. We had perfect weather and great times with friends!


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. :)

Thank you to everyone who links up with us each week!

O N E  
First of all, I think that many of you may be aware of what is going on in my friend Christina's life with her sweet baby boy Thomas. I was reading through the amazing and supportive comments that people left on her posts about his eye health and saw that one commenter mentioned that she has an alarm set on her phone for 11:45 today, the time of his first cataract surgery. I thought this was BRILLIANT and sweet. So I'm encouraging all of you to think of Christina's family during this time and maybe even think about setting an alarm on your own phone to go off today at 11:45. It will be a quick reminder to us to spend a moment thinking about Thomas, everyone who loves him, and his very talented medical staff. 

I've got my alarm set! Do you?

Mom and I are really excited to be wrapping up several cooler-weather bonnets now for The Tipsy Bunny. We've even added a few to the shop! This pink cord bonnet is my favorite and I just couldn't help but to show it off here.

Baby Pink Corduroy Bonnet, 18-24 Months

I have to share with you the newest two books that Camille loves. Loves? Okay, she's OBSESSED with these books. We read them several times daily. We always read books before morning nap, afternoon nap, and bedtime (and sometimes in between). She positively gravitates towards these two.

Where Is Baby's Belly Button?


I have a silly question. Do you keep your nails painted? Ever since I had Camille, I just have not prioritized painting my nails. I always used to keep them painted, usually a very pale pink or a nude color. It's too hard now to find the time for the upkeep. And I don't really love the maintenance of gel nails, either (although they were awesome for my wedding/honeymoon). I saw this Essie shade the other day, Topless and Barefoot (wow-eee), and loved it. And I did paint my nails a coral-pink color on Monday, but of course it's chipping already and driving me nuts. Any tips on keeping nice-looking nails as a busy mom of a toddler?

essie Nail Polish - Topless and Barefoot

Now that I'm staying home with Camille, I'm handling all three meals plus a snack. Creativity is key to break up the same old, same old meals. She seems to really get a kick out of when I use these silicone ice cube trays to put her food! This morning she had mini-pancakes with peanut butter on them and banana chunks sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice. We've also used them for snacktime -- just load them up with different berries, goldfish, Cheerios, raisins, you get the idea!

If you're looking for some ice cube trays like mine, you can find them on Amazon here and here.

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

*Affiliate links used. 

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