Onto Our Next Big Adventure: Moving!

I’ve had all sorts of different emotions over the past few months from excitement to fear to painfully keeping our plans on the down low until everything was finalized.  But the “for sale” sign went up last night and we’ve already broke the news to all of our dear neighbors and friends. So… I’m pretty excited to share all of the many reasons why I’ve been cancelling plans, why there’s an absence in blog posts and why my spring line of jewelry hasn’t been produced yet. John and I have literally spent every night working on getting the house ready to sell (with the exception of our trip to Cancun mid-February).

Did you have the chance to read this post I wrote in January about living with less? I’ve been working on that New Years resolution every single day since I clicked publish on that post. I feel like I should have been crowned the queen of decluttering! Really, we were pretty organized for the most part…but just had soo much “stuff”.  We have a big enough house with plenty of storage meaning, we  just ended up just stashing things in bins to deal with at a later time. That later time has been these past few months.

The decision didn’t come easy. After several months of research, long talks and weighing out the pros and cons, John and I decided we wanted to try the urban life by moving to downtown Cincinnati.

So badly we wanted to move to New York City after graduating from college, but our student loans held us back. In hindsight, that was probably for the best. But we still have that curiosity of city living. While downtown Cincinnati is no New York City, it’s still pretty darn awesome. Surrounded by parks and nestled in between the Reds stadium and the Bengals stadium, we decided on The Banks.

The-Banks-in-CincinnatiAs we told our family about our decision, so many questions came up. The biggest one: Why?  Here’s our explanation:

Devils-Backbone-HomeWe love our house dearly. This is our first home and the memories made here are countless. This is where we brought Myles home from the hospital. This is also where we met some of the nicest neighbors who are way more than neighbors;  more like family. We learned so much about home-ownership and how to “try” and maintain a professionally landscaped yard. I remember telling John the day we moved in 4 1/2 years ago that this was it. This was the home I wanted to live in the rest of my life. I loved everything about it; especially that fact that it was “ours”.

But as time went on, our priorities changed. Several months after Myles was born was more or less the beginning of our turning point. We felt like every weekend we were trying to pawn off our baby to the neighbors and friends; just so we could get some work done on the house. The yard alone could be a full time job in the summer. Myles is growing up so fast and we don’t want to miss anymore time with him. We want to enjoy the weekends together as a family exploring downtown, going to Red’s games and participating in all the fun activities that take place downtown; without the upkeep of a home. At least for now.

The other big question was what’s going to happen to Adobe, our German Shepard Husky. The answer is nothing! She’s coming with us. That’s one of the main reasons we chose The Banks. There’s plenty of nearby parks and places to walk her. Besides, she’s getting older and constantly begs to be inside with us; despite her nice set-up outside with a large yard, invisible fence, and her own garage with a bed and toys.

Lastly, school for Myles came up. We aren’t quite there yet. If we’re still living downtown when the time comes for him to start kindergarten, we feel as though private schooling would be the best solution. But only time will tell.

Anyway, we’re off on another adventure. While it’s sad to move, we’re also very excited for the next chapter of our lives to begin.

Here’s just a few photos of our new place:

The-Banks-in-CincinnatiThe-Banks-Cincinnati-8The-Banks-Cincinnati-7The-Banks-Cincinnati-3The-Banks-Cincinnati-Aerial-ViewSmale-Park-CincinnatiThe-Banks-Cincinnati-6The-Banks-Cincinnati-4[More to come with photos on how I downsized everything in my entire life --  next week]

Photo sources: 1, 2,  3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Myle-isms: Conversations with my 3-year old

Myles-isms-conversation-with-funny-three-year-oldI’ve been thinking about adding our funny conversations to the blog for well over a year. Although, I’m not completely disappointed that I didn’t start blogging about these conversations until now. I’ll  have plenty of time and many more laughs to come.  Plus the more Myles learns, the more humorous our conversations become.

Here are the highlights over the past week.

#1: I’m walking by the bathroom and see Myles with his HEAD in the toilet and bare behind in the air.

Me: “Myles! What’s going on?”
Myles: “I’m pretending to be a dog and drinking out of toilet- Roof!”
Me: “Gross! I don’t think that’s a good idea, lets do something else”

I turn to John and mumble: “Myles is like have a miniature DRUNK around!”

Myles: “You don’t call me an elephant TRUNK!”

#2:  We’re eating breakfast at the table and Myles spots this picture shown below.

downtown-cincinnati-the-banksMyles: “Hey Mommy, is that downtown?”

Me: “Yes.”

Myles: “Downtown Cincinnati?”

Me: “Yes.”

Myles: “I want to live in that building,” as he points to the Great American building — with the arch on the top.

Me: “Oh yeah..that’d be fun.”

Myles: “Mommy, I mean it. Up at the very top.”

Me: “I don’t know. That’s really high up and there aren’t any doors or windows to protect you all the way up there.”

Myles: “Downtown Cincinnati doesn’t have doors anymore?!?”.

#3. I’m eating a Spinach Salad with dinner.

Myles: “Mommy, are you eating leaves?”

Me: “More or less, yes…”

Myles: “Did you get them off the trees outside?”

Me: “No, because the trees outside don’t have any leaves on them. It’s winter.”

Myles: “Oh. You got them at the grocery store?”

Me: “Yes”

Myles: ” What?!?  Come on, did you pick them off a tree in the grocery store? That’s fancy!”

#4 Baby Bellies

To set this story up, the sweet lady that puts up with Myles on a daily basis is pregnant with her third child and Myles can’t seem to wrap his head around pregnancy.

We’re in Target the other night.

Myles points to an elderly woman and in the loudest voice possible, asks “Mommy, does she have a baby in her belly?”

Me: “No, sweetheart. I don’t think she does.”

Myles pointing to another woman: “How about her?”

Me: “Myles, use your inside voice and not every lady we walk past has a baby in her belly. I don’t.”

Myles: “Yeah, well…(sigh)…they should just buy them at Target!”

#5 Fancy Boobs

Myles and I ran into TJ Maxx to purchase new hangers. We pass the bra section as we head to the back of the store.

Myles: “MOMMY MOMMY! LOOK! Look at all the boobs for sale!”

Me (trying to not burst out laughing): “There’s a lot, huh?”

Myles lets go of my hand and dashes over to get an up close look before I can even process what’s going on.

Me: “Hey sweetie, we came in to look at hangers.”

Myles grabs a hot pink polka-dot bra and hold it up to his chest: “Do you think these fancy boobies look okay?”

By this time, we have an audience. Myles goes into a full-blown tantrum when I try to remove him from the bra aisle and take that “fancy” bra out of his hands.

Myles: “MOMMY! Just let me look at the fancy boobies, OKAY?!” and ” I want fancy boobs! Let me GO!” until we left. Without the hangers.

Monday Must-Haves: Nail Polish Picks

Sometimes you just don’t have the time or just aren’t in the position to get a professional manicure every other week. I know I don’t have the time, the patience or to be honest — have the desire to spend the money.

Luckily though,  there are some great alternatives for those of us who like to have a little DIY manicure at home without much of an investment in time or money.

essie-three-way-glaze-review

Today for my “must-have” items, I wanted to share with you my favorite nail polishes. Since writing a tutorial for this DIY Shellac (which I highly recommend), I’ve come to fall in love with Essie’s 3-Way Glaze. No matter what nail polish I use before or after applying the three way glaze… it lasts. No chipping, no wearing. I picked it up for around $7 at a local drug store and use it every single time I paint my nails. I apply a coat before applying color (so the color doesn’t stain my nails) and then I apply another coat after applying color.

 

sally-hansen-insta-dri-nail-polish-monday-must-haves

As far as my favorite colored nail polish, my go to is usually in the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri family, which range in price from $3.00 to $6.00 (including shipping) online. I can’t stand sitting still waiting for my nails to dry. With the combination of the Essie Three Way Glaze and the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri, painting my nails typically takes five to ten minutes tops from start to finish. As in, I can touch things without the polish smudging 10 minutes after freshly applying the polish.

Shown above are my three most favorite colors:

I think all of the color choices in Insta-Dri are nice. These just happen to be my current “must-haves”. You know, thinking spring with bright colors, right?

If you really want your nail polish to last, check out this tutorial on DIY Shellac at home. It’s well worth it but takes a little longer than my method mentioned above.

Happy Monday!

30 Thoughts on Being Thirty

30th-sparklers

It’s a true blessing to have the kind of friends in your life where you can call them up and feel as if you can pick up right where you left off; whether that be weeks, years or even a decade.

Last Friday night made me truly appreciate those kind of relationships. Chatting with one of my best friends from high school, I happened to have our senior year book readily available from a basement re-model I’m in the middle of. One of the things we added in the year book as seniors was our “ten-years-later” life predictions. While I read ours and a few of our other close friends predictions, it’s really intriguing to see what people “expect” to happen when you get near the age of 30 (really this was for when we were 28 but close enough). Most predicted to be married, with kids and a successful career. While I can’t say I strayed too far from my predictions, the road to where I’m at now was no easy ride. I learned that the only thing that is constant, is change.

2002-year-book-predictions-as-high-school-seniorsSo, my last named changed and I may live in a shoe box of a house as opposed to a mansion, but I didn’t stray too far away from what I thought my life would be like now but predicted back in 2002.

Let me just say that I’m thankful for turning thirty. It’s a privilege most get, but not all.

Predictions and mansions aside, here are thirty things I’ve learned since being that 18-year old high school student who aspired to break 100 lbs and make it big in the real world:

high-school-sweethearts1. Follow your intuition. after  graduating from high school, my dad accepted a job offer at Clemson University in Greenville, South Carolina. While it would have made sense for me to relocate with them and possibly get a small break on tuition, I opted to stay in Tallahassee and live with John (husband now) and his mother. Much to my family’s demise, I did what I felt was right at the time. I went to Tallahassee Community college on full scholarship before attending Savannah College of Art & Design, which brings me to my next life lesson.

2. Never let anything get in the way of you and your dreams. John and I wanted so badly to attend Savannah College of Art & Design. As freshman on Friday nights, we opted to stay in and work on scholarships applications for SCAD as opposed to going out to clubs and bars. Of course the temptation was there, but we were on a mission. And we succeeded.

3. Appreciate your relationships. Not many people meet their soul mate in high school. I’m one of the very few lucky ones. When I first met John in Advanced Placement Art, we sort of stuck together. The only thing we had in common was that we were the only freshman in a room full of high school seniors. Little did I know by thirty, we’d be married six years and have a child together.

4. College was one of the more challenging times of my life, but it prepared me for the future in a way I’d never expect. Not through books, but being able to being a full time student with a full time job. We spent countless nights where we just couldn’t go to bed due to the amount of homework we had. John pulled over twenty all-nighters in just one quarter. I maybe did twenty all-nighters throughout my time in school, but I know what lack of sleep is. You know it’s time to go to bed when telephone poles start swaying as your stopped at a red light. Red means stop, right?

5. Life after college is just as difficult but in a much different way. Job hunting…figuring out the next step and what you’d ideally  like to do in life. Yeah I mean, we all had goals in fashion design school; it was to be the next top designer showcasing our work at New York Fashion Week. But then there’s reality. You know, student loan bills start kicking in six months after you graduate. At $650 a month for EACH of us, that was enough to stifle quite a few dreams.

6. Sacrifice can be a good thing. John gets the first job out of college and unfortunately, those pesky student loans aren’t going to pay for themselves. So we move from Savannah, Georgia to Austin, Texas. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know where Austin was on the map until I actually lived there. Looking back, I still think it’s odd when I say “Oh yeah, I lived in Texas for 3 years; it was an interesting chapter of my life.” But moving there gave me a different perspective on life.

7. Things don’t always work out as planned. Ideally we have this end goal in our head…or at least I did.  I just worked my butt off the past four years, paid crazy amounts of money to go to an outstanding college and was ready for that high paying awesome first job. I’d wake up bright and early every morning while residing in Texas, fine-tuning my portfolio, scouring Craigslist for freelance opportunities only to end up becoming a bartender. Saying it was a blow to my ego would be an understatement.

8. Life works in mysterious ways. Luckily pouring booze late at night brought in decent money. Enough to invest in starting my own fashion and accessory design business. Under the name MEWfashion, I started designing clothes and jewelry. My website launched August 15, 2007.

9. Being your own boss isn’t all what it’s chocked up to be. Many dream of having their own business. But taking action puts that idea of owning your own business from high up on a pedestal, to questioning what the hell your doing. I  mean, I just invested more than I should have on a fabulous e-commerce website. I spent countless hours making jewelry, purchasing sergers and Quickbooks, in addition to turning the 2nd bedroom into a studio. Why weren’t orders pouring in?

10. Persistence and patience are only words, but their meaning can be life changing. My jewelry started to sell in boutiques, I was invited to participate in multiple fashion shows, including Austin’s first ever fashion week. I was even given the opportunity to try out for Project Runway and meet Tim Gunn. Remembering these two words along with outpouring support from my family is all I ever needed and I still believe in that to this day.

11. Good things come to those who wait. And at the end of 2007, John proposed to me in front of the capitol of Texas. We took a carriage ride through the streets of Austin that were illuminated by all the colorful Christmas lights of the season. I had no idea he was about to pop the question and when he told me he had something for me, the first thing that came to mind was a ring made out of a straw wrapper. No worries, I still get straw-wrapper-rings to this day and probably have about twenty saved in a keepsake box.

12. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. We kept our wedding in Greenville, South Carolina small. Since it was remote for just about everyone aside from my mom and dad, it was more intimate. We were able to have our bachelor and bachelorette parties together. All ten of our bridesmaids and groomsmen were from nine different states. It was so amazing to have all of our closest friends, from every chapter of our life thus far, together.

13. Being married didn’t change much. The two biggest changes: my last name and our car insurance payment. It dropped significantly…but that could have been because we were coming up on turning 25.

11. Home is where your heart is. While not everyone could agree with this, it’s a phrase that stands true for me. Maybe I would have felt differently if I hadn’t been uprooted from Cincinnati at age 12 to relocate to Flordia. Maybe I wouldn’t see the city as a place with such fond childhood memories. Regardless, I was proud to be from Cincinnati and I wanted to move back and call the Queen City my permanent home.

purchasing-our-first-home

12. Take risks. Looking back, I think it’s safe to say I (we) took risks. After deciding to move to Cincinnati from Austin, we flew to my parents house in South Carolina and drove a rental car up to Cincinnati to buy a house. That’s right. We had four days to find a house in our price range –  praying it’d pass inspection so we could get approved for a loan. This was all before we told John’s company we were moving across the country. He had this whole work-from-home proposal figured out and only hoped they’d give him a chance to work from home. That home we just purchased whether his company liked it or not. Ironically, five years later, he’s still working from our very same home. Speaking of homes…

13. Home ownership has just as many downs as it does ups. It was in just about everyone’s future ten-year-plan in the yearbook: to own a home. We were beyond excited to move in. Every weed that sprung up overnight wasn’t a  big deal because we owned it. That weed belonged to us damn it and we could do what we want with it. We killed like ten plants in our yard the first year, but it was okay because they were our plants and we could replant anything  our nature-loving hearts desired. Let’s just fast forward past literally one-hundred other issues we’ve had from our deck caving in to water literally pouring over the breaker box. Owning a home is not always fun or rewarding.

fountain-first-home-love

 

 

14. Trying new things keeps life interesting. The only thing that comes to mind is wearing trash bags over my legs while I cleaned out our worm-infested pond. Those things weren’t normal worms. They had to of been water snakes or something. If anything, it made for a funny picture.

 

 

15. Finding out your pregnant is both the scariest and one of the happiest moments of your life.

16. Bringing a new life into this world is a long, exhausting and emotional journey. I always thought that woman exaggerated when they mentioned all the weird cravings they’d get while being pregnant. But after reluctantly telling my doctor I wanted to devour a porcelain bowl, she  informed me that this in fact comes up more than you’d think. It’s caused by an iron deficiency and adding a little more iron to my diet made that go away. But crying hysterically when my husband passed gas in the car and it was making me sick – that stuck with me throughout the entire pregnancy.

article-on-turning-30

17. It’s okay to be and have and only child. I’m an only child. My husbands an only child. We were both fine with it growing up. I mean, we both shared moments where we wished we had siblings to play with at times. But overall, it wasn’t so bad. I feel as like there’s so much pressure to have more than just one kid. I’m not buying into it. One is plenty, both emotionally and financially.

18. Cherish good health. Even though I’d say I’m in pretty good shape, things can still go wrong. I’ve had Basal Cell Carcinoma (skin cancer), multiple foot surgeries, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, some weird dent in my hip so deep I could store change in it (that went away on it’s own but hurt for about a year) along with  heart failure and multiple blood transfusions. I feel like I should be a lot older jotting down some of my major health issues I’ve had over the last decade but yeah. I’m only thirty and a little over 100 lbs.

19.  Accept the way you look and learn to love it. My stomach may never look quite the same and I’ll always have a little extra skin from having my son. I spot gray hairs from time to time and my hands feel like those of a construction worker from making jewelry for so many years. Who cares.

20. Being a mom is one of the toughest jobs you’ll ever have. It never stops. Even when your child isn’t physically with you, you’ll think about them all the time. Even at the age of 3, I still get up in the middle of the night with Myles. Last night it was because there were purple witches under his pillow. Yeah… it’s easier to spray air freshener and tell him it’s “witch go away spray” over heating up a bottle, burping and changing him several times a night, it still takes a toll on me the next day.

21. Never stop working on your marriage. Kids can wreck havoc on a relationship. Thankfully I learned sooner rather than later that it’s important to make time for just the two of you. Even if it’s just going out to dinner once a month kid-free. It’s a great feeling that was taken for granted prior to being parents.

22. Everything happens for a reason. This may not be true, but I believe it. It might just be me trying to find the good in what would otherwise be a bad situation.

23. Losing loved ones is inevitable.  I know everyone goes through some sort of  loss and grief – followed by questioning. But I’ve come to terms with knowing it happens to everyone and sometimes without explanation. Losing my mother-in-law in 2010 was a tough, especially being pregnant, hormonal and not yet out of the morning sickness phase.

24. Success isn’t measured the way I once thought it was. There are many types of success that doesn’t involve having a fancy car, new designer clothes, a  big house and  a lot of money in the bank. I now base success on happiness and fulfillment rather than material things.

25. Follow your passion. Throughout the course of all these various life events, I never gave up on my business. Sometimes I dropped down to as little as only working on it 10 hours a week, but it’s something I worked so hard far. I’m  passionate about what I do and because of that, I really don’t feel like what I do is work. (see #8 on how & why I started my business)

26. Push boundaries. I would have never imagined that I’d have a daily radio segment on Cincinnati’s top 40 station or that I’d cut commercials for my favorite stores like Michael’s Arts & Crafts and IKEA  or be on national TV.  But when I was offered a job at Hubbard Broadcasting only 4 months after my son was born in 2011, I jumped in with both feet and rode it out until the position was discontinued 5 months ago.

27.  Try not to take things personal. That took me awhile to figure out. I still struggle with it. But things happen, people change, businesses change and life goes on.

28. Cherish friendships. The amount of friends you have is far less important than the quality of  your friendships. I consider myself very fortunate to still have several friends from elementary school that I talk to on a regular basis.

29. The only thing certain in life is change. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and accept the way things are and try to find the positive in the situation or adapt to the change. This is definitely easier said than done.

about-turning-30

30. Life balance is essential. Taking time for myself is still something I’m working on. However, I’d say going to Cancun, Mexico for my 30th birthday is a good start.

There you go. There’s my thirty thoughts on being thirty. I can’t wait to read this at forty to see how things have changed. But until then, I’m going to continue to challenge myself,  never stop learning and enjoy my thirties to their fullest!

Monday Must-Haves: Nerium AD

I’m kicking off a new column, “Monday Must-Haves” starting (drum roll, please….) today!

This weekly column will be about anything from my favorite pair of heels that are both comfortable AND cute (I find that to be a rare combination) to a clothing line I adore or a beauty product that is worthy of sharing. I love sharing things that make me happy and if I can inspire or introduce new things then hey, I think it’s a win-win for everyone!

*Links below are fixed as of 2/11/14 at 8 p.m. Sorry for any inconvenience! 

nerium-night-cream-review

Today, I wanted to share my thoughts on Nerium AD Night Cream as I thought it was only appropriate to cover the topic of fine lines and wrinkles on the last Monday I’ll be in my twenties. Laugh all you want, but seriously…I’ve got some fine lines appearing and I don’t know whether to blame my three-year-old or my age. Regardless, I want to stop them in their tracks while also using preventative measures.

Last August, I met a sweet woman named Vonnetta at a fashion event who is a representative for Nerium. Honestly, I’ve heard of the product before but never thought too much about it, other than it’s just another skin care product claiming to fix damaged skin. But as she went into detail, I learned that Nerium AD isn’t the same as any ordinary night cream. It benefits your skin in more ways than just correcting fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps smooth skin and if you happen to have any skin discoloration, it’ll help even out your skin tone. Using an extract from the Nerium oleander plant in a way that preserves its unique and beneficial properties, it’s really a revolutionary skin care solution.

nerium-review-nerium-before-and-after-30-day-picture

To the left is my before and after picture. I had some forehead lines going on, but after 30 days of      using Nerium, it made them nearly vanish – which is AWESOME!

Nerium is definitely no secret; with over 99,000 facebook fans and even people like Justin  Timerlake’s mother selling it, there’s something to be said for this miraculous multi-purpose anti- aging cream.

For more information about how you can try or purchase Nerium for yourself, I’d suggest chatting with Vonnetta Mc Colgan. She’s such a sweet person and is so passionate about Nerium and what it can do for your skin. You can find Vonnetta through her website: http://www.nettagi.nerium.com or through email:

nettagibeauty@gmail.com

All the opinions stated above are my own and is not a paid endorsement.

Fiesta like there’s no Manana: Myles turns 3!

This year we opted for a super small party complete with a taco bar, cake made out of cupcakes and margaritas for the adults. A nice little fiesta. We don’t plan on having such a small party every year, but this year it just made sense.

fiesta-3rd-birthday-invitation-hand-madeThird-birthday-chalkboard-artThe famous chalkboard we always decorate for special occasions.

taco-bar-for-fiestaThe self-serve taco bar. It was pretty darn good. I’ll be posting some of the recipes soon. The guac was addicting and I ate jimica for the first time (mexican potato).

Mason-Jar-MargaritasMargaritas in mason jars for the adults.

Myles-posingcakeBlowing out the candle on the fiesta cake made of cupcakes.

Myles-in-sombrero-eatting-cupcakeSombrero-headThis picture cracks me up. The sombrero is HUGE!

Fiesta-3 with the sombrerocheersMyles loves to cheers, so we raised our glasses (and sippy cup) to being three!

presents-3I think it’s safe to say ALL the presents were a big hit, including one of the awesome hats from Aunt Lindsey & Uncle Kael. I’m certain this hat will be featured in many more pictures to come!

opening-presents-collagepresents-2

opening presents

playingthreeJust a few family pictures… It was so nice to have Grandpa Fenno visiting from Florida.

 

family-collage

how-it-feels-to-be-3When asked if he liked his party, I got Myles’ signature dance, complete with pulling his hair. Kids are weird. Regardless of bizarre dance moves, I think we all had a good time. Happy third birthday, Myles!

**Special thanks to Skip-N-Whistle for the adorable “3″ tee and to Posh Pixels for capturing the moment. You’re not only incredibly talented, but a wonderful friend.

[Here are a few pictures from Myles' first birthday & second birthday. And if you want to know why he's going to be an only child, here's the birth story.]

On the Table: Healthy Chicken Meatballs Asian Dish

chicken-meatballs-vegetabe-dish-healthy-recipe

Not only is this recipe easy, it’s good for you and delicious! While I wouldn’t call myself a food expert, I do enjoy cooking and if I really like a recipe, I’m happy to share! This recipe takes a little over 30 minutes to make from start to finish.

Ingredients:

  • One egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup of bread crumbs ( I made these by just toasting three pieces of bread and mashing it)
  • 2 TBSP of chopped cilantro
  • 2 TBSP of soy sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 TSP of sesame oil + 1 TBSP for cooking meatballs
  • 1 TBSP of ginger
  • 1 LB of ground chicken
  • 10 oz (roughly) of whole wheat thin spaghetti
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 orange or red bell pepper
  • 1 package of carrot chips (use 1 to 2 cups for recipe)
  • 1 cup of green or napa cabbage
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of cashews, crumbled

*Make this recipe even healthier by using reduced sodium chicken broth and soy sauce.

Directions:

In a large bowl combine the egg, bread crumbs, soy sauce, cilantro, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Mix it all together then add the ground chicken and mix again.

chicken-meatballs-vegetabe-dish-healthy-recipe-2

Shape the mixture into 1 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs. In a large skillet, add 1/2 TBSP of sesame oil and add the meatballs. Turn occasionally and cook the meatballs for 10-12 minutes until they’re browned on the outside and cooked throughly. Set aside once done.

Cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm.

In the meantime, add the chicken broth to a second skillet and bring to a boiling. Cut the pepper into thin slices and chop cabbage.

chicken-meatballs-vegetabe-dish-healthy-recipe-3

Once the broth is boiling, add the cabbage, carrot chips and sliced bell pepper. You can add more vegetables if you’d like, but I used two cups of carrot chips, sliced a large pepper and the 1 cup of cabbage.

Reduce heat and allow the vegetables to simmer for around 3-5 minutes, covered.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken broth and vegetables, chicken meatballs and spaghetti.

Garnish with chopped green onions and crumbled cashews.

*This recipe makes about four large servings. It’s delicious and I know I’ll be making this over and over again! Enjoy.

Myles’ Room Tour: From Nursery to Toddler

This showcase of my son’s room has literally been three years in the making. I’d take pictures, then something else would come up. My computer crashed in 2012 and I thought I lost everything, only to find the pictures once again on a memory stick. Regardless, I’ve been wanting to do a tour for quite sometime, so let’s get to it!

023 (2) 025 (3)The initial excitement! What to do, what color should we paint the room? We knew we were having a boy and I was pretty set on doing some sort of woodland themed room. The above photos were taken right after we primed the walls in 2010.

diy-woodland-themed-nursery-tourWe both agreed on this blue/gray color as the base coat before adding the birch trees. All of the antiqued pine furniture is IKEA from their Leksvik Collection. It seriously has been the best furniture for Myles’ room and was affordable. We moved into our house in 2009 and found out in May 2010 I was pregnant. So staying on a budget was really a priority for us because at this point, I think we were re-doing the upstairs office area and the basement at the same time. Our house was about as fun as living in a construction site at the time!

woodland-themed-toddler-roomI searched online to try and find the perfect “tree” wall decals but with no luck, we thought it’d be easier and more cost-efficient if we just painted the birch trees we had in mind. We used the same blue/gray base coat and mixed it with white to get the lighter shade.

diy-chair-cushion-for-woodland-themed-nurseryOne of our many trips to IKEA, we scored this modern wicker rocking chair that was in the “as-is” section. It had a few scratches on it, so we were able to get a nice discount. I thought it matched the decor perfectly. It didn’t come with a cushion, so I went to the local fabric store to pick up some thick foam and fabric that would match the woodland theme. The patterns for the chair were made out of brown paper bags and I more or less just winged the project. It turned out great!

tiny-clothes - Copywoodland-theme-nursery-ikea-furnitureAs mentioned earlier, I took these pictures over the course of three years, and perhaps I did lose some from when the crib was actually a crib; not a toddler bed. But here’s what Myles’ room looks like as of now – except we took the changing table piece off of the dresser.

Myles-room-details-woodland-themeI don’t want this to sound like an ad for IKEA, but we were so happy with the furniture we purchased for Myle’s room. All of the furniture we chose were pieces that could grow with him. The crib went from being raised to lowered, to a day bed to a regular little kid bed. The dresser was used as a changing table the first two years and once Myles was potty trained, the piece on the top came off so it converted to just a normal dresser. His armoire was pretty much the same way. We are still able to fit all his clothes in it – no problem! Whether or not we purchased the furniture at IKEA, I still would recommend purchasing furniture that is convertible if you’re here visiting for nursery room inspiration.

woodland-themed-toddler-room-expedit-shelfHere are a few more views of the room from different angles. The rug was on clearance at TJ Mazz for only $30. The little woodland stuffed animals my mom and dad gave to us as gifts. I remember being 9 months pregnant searching for the perfect stick to hang with the owl. In fact, I blogged about it here.

tiny-childrens-bed-from-ikeaI still love this sweet little bed. It’s so cute and for a small room, the perfect solution because it doesn’t take up a lot of space.

woodland-themed-toddler-room-wicker-chair

woodland-themed-toddler-room-small-bedI’m so glad I finally had the opportunity to put this post together and give you a peek. So many people have asked over the years what I did with the nursery because I keep trying to explain the woodland theme – but sometimes pictures are just a lot easier than words.

DIY: Make your Own Disinfecting Wipes + More!

With flu season upon us, I thought this would be a could post to re-blog. It was originally published August, 2012 for cincysavers.com and this blog. 

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I don’t know about you but I can really go through those tubes of disinfecting wipes, which over time, can begin to add up! So when I went on my cleaning spree this past weekend, I hopped on Pinterest first to see if there were any alternative solutions or creative ideas for cleaning. I came across the idea of making your own disinfecting wipes. I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first, thinking the paper towels would tear, dry up or they just wouldn’t work. But, I couldn’t be happier with the outcome and love using them!

Here’s how to make your own disinfecting wipes. I also provided recipes so you can create your own glass cleaner or a more natural cleaner using vinegar. I used Pine Sol because I had it and enjoy the fresh smell.

Supplies Needed:

  • Pine Sol or Vinegar (Recipes are at the bottom of this post for various types of cleaners you can create)
  • Sturdy paper towels (I choose Bounty)
  • Water
  • Glad or Ziplock Container that is large enough to fit part of a paper towel roll in ( I found the Glad Designer Bowl at Target–Two for $2.99)
  • Serrated Knife
  • Something to cut a 1/2″ hole through plastic (I used a 1/2 inch drill bit- that worked well)
  • Measuring cups
  • Bowl
DIY-disenfecting-wipes

1. Cut your paper towel role length-wise so it will fit nicely in the plastic container you’ve selected. I used a large serrated knife and it cut through the paper towels just fine!

2. Next you will need to cut a hole in the top of the plastic lid so you can easily pull the paper towels or should I say, disinfecting wipes, out. I asked my husband for a 1/2″ drill bit and used that. But because the plastic you are cutting through is so thin, I think a knife or even sharp scissors will work just as well. Just be careful and use a cutting board.

3. Mix your desired solution.

Here are several recipes you can use:

Disinfectant Cleaning Recipe (this is the one I used):

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of pine cleaning solution such as Pine Sol
  • 2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cup of water

General Cleaning Surface Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Optional: A few drops of favorite scented essential oil to cut the vinegar smell

Window Glass Cleaning Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup of rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
4. Once you have the solution mixed and your paper towel roll set in the plastic container, pour the solution over the paper towels. Put the lid back on the plastic container and allow them to sit overnight.
5. Once the towels have sat overnight, then the cardboard tube in the center of the paper towel roll should easily come out (See the bottom right photo above).
6. Carefully pull the end of the paper towels from the inside, where the cardboard roll had been. Thread the end of the towels through the hole in the lid, and replace the lid.
TA DA! You now have your own homemade household cleaning wipes. As I mentioned earlier, I was a tad skeptical of this project, but am happy I tried it because 2 1/2 years later, I still refill my plastic tub on a regular basis.
Here’s a short news segment I did about the wipes from FOX 45 in Dayton: http://fox45now.com/shared/news/features/morning/stories/wkef_vid_2895.shtml
What do you think? Are you up for making your own disinfecting wipes?

[This post was originally posted August 2012.]

Review: Getting Naked with Herbal Essences’ Newest Kit

herbal-essenses-naked-kit

You may have remembered the post where I mentioned how easy it is to order this complete hair care kit from Herbal Essences from Walmart.com. As promised, it shipped and I received the kit within a few business days.

Since then I have been using the Naked Volumizing Kit and it is seriously awesome. Because I have such fine hair, I’ll take any volume I can get. As an added bonus, the minty white grapefruit smell is divine! Another wonderful thing about the kit: The cost.

For  only $12.99 you’ll get:

  • The Naked Volume Shampoo
  • The Naked Volume Conditioner
  • Volumizing Soufflé
  • Naked Volume Dry Shampoo for the days you’d like to freshen up your look without having to wash your hair.

It’s everything you need for irresistible volume.

So why the name Naked? (I know, it caught be off guard at first too) The name implies that is doesn’t have anything unnecessary in the products. There are no heavy residues, no dyes or parabens added to the shampoo or conditioner, which in turn, will restore your hair’s natural body.

Naked Volume Shampoo & Conditioner

  • Restores hair’s natural body.
  • Made with zero heavy residues, dyes, and parabens.
  • Light weight shampoo provides a clean luscious bounce.
  • Conditioner keeps hair detangled, nourished, and maintains full volume.

Naked Volume Dry Shampoo

  • Great for days when you don’t have time to wash your hair.
  • Refreshes your look for lightweight, clean hair — even on days when you don’t wash.
  • The natural tapioca formula absorbs excess oil and transforms lifeless, oily hair into fresh hair.
  • Delights senses with the crisp essence of citrus and mint.
  • How to use: Gently spray on and work into roots, brush out as desired.

Naked Volumizing Souffle

  • Weightless, volumizing styler gives you a lift for fullness that lasts.
  • Delights the senses with a boost of grapefruit and mint.
  • How to use: Gently work mousse through wet hair for volume.

Next time you are shopping for hair care products, make sure to check out this limited edition kit, sold both in Walmart stores and online. For the price, the scent and the way it works wonders for fine hair, it’s such a steal!

For more information on this kit click here.

[This blog post was sponsored by Walmart & Herbal Essences. All opinions are my own and I'd never endorse a product that didn't live up to my expectations.]

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