This Week's Eats: Week 2

The second week of January felt much busier than the first so I was extra thankful for having planned out our weekly dinners. Our original plan was to plan and prep on Sunday evening but we decided to invite friends over for dinner to watch the Panthers game so we had to pivot.

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We were originally going to make fajitas but I did not want to stand at the stove for an hour while everyone else had fun. Thankfully, we have a Harris Teeter next door so I picked up a larger piece of beef and pivoted to Chipotle Barbacoa slow cooker tacos. It's one of my favorite things to make because it's super flavorful and only requires 20-30 minutes of hands on time. Less hands on means more time for margaritas! (And sadly more time to watch the Panthers lose in the playoffs.)

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Monday

Breakfast: whole grain Eggos with Nutella. 

Lunch: spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a (because we didn't meal prep the night before and I didn't want to skip yoga in the morning to do it).

Charlotte's Lunch: almond butter on whole wheat bread, cheese, baby carrots, strawberries, almonds and crasins.

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Dinner: oven roasted salmon, sauteed spinach, and rice. Everything but the rice came out of the freezer. It was quick and easy and allowed me to have time to plan and prep for the rest of the week.

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: whole grain Eggos with Nutella.

Lunch: organic whole grain chicken nuggets and sweet potato tater tots.

Dinner: black pepper beef with bok choy on jasmine rice. This dish is in heavy rotation in our house right now. It's so good!

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Wednesday

Breakfast: banana and a granola bar for me, Cheerios for the husband and kid.

Lunch: grain salad bowl that I devoured in the car between yoga and picking up Charlotte from school.

Israeli cous cous, oven roasted chicken breast seasoned with Trader Joe's 21 Spice Salute, kale, crasins, diced apples, chopped almonds, kale, feta crumbles, and Green Goddess dressing from Trader Joe's. 

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Charlotte's Lunch: almond butter on whole wheat bread, cheese, apple slices, organic gummy fruit snack, almonds and crasins.

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Dinner:  slow cooker "clean out the veggie drawer, freezer, and pantry" beef stew. 

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After Dinner: book club grub highlights included freshly baked bread with butter and jam, meat and cheese with crackers, and monkey bread (that my friend Ashley made) that was the perfect sweet ending to the day. 

monkey-bread

 

Thursday

Breakfast: whole grain Eggos (do you sense a pattern here?) with almond butter.

Lunch: grain salad bowl for me, quesadilla for the kid.

Israeli cous cous, oven roasted chicken breast seasoned with Trader Joe's 21 Spice Salute, kale, crasins, diced apples, strawberries, chopped walnuts, kale, feta crumbles, and Green Goddess dressing from Trader Joe's. 

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Dinner: leftovers for the fam, noms at Yafo Kitchen for me at a blogger event.

We were treated to beet hummus, Brussels sprouts, and pickled vegetables at Yafo. I also ate my weight in laffah and washed it all down with a cucumber, lime, mint, and prosecco cocktail.

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Friday

Breakfast: my breakfast consisted of a meat stick snack from Trader Joe's and a vanilla soy latte from Starbucks. 

Lunch: free pie from Blaze Pizza. I don't typically stand in line for free food but I just happened to be next door, I was hungry, and I've been wanting to try Blaze for months. Kind of worked out perfectly. The pizza was delicious and I appreciate the fact that you can put as many toppings as you want without paying extra.

The toppings I chose were fresh mozzarella, Italian sausage, salame, spinach, onions, roasted red peppers, and balsamic glaze. 

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Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on whole wheat bread, cheese, apple slices, cucumber, organic gummy fruit snack.

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Dinner: Caribbean food catered for my dear friend's birthday party. We had jerk wings, mac and cheese, corn, and black beans. 

 

Saturday

Breakfast: vanilla soy latte and a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks for me, cereal and birthday cupcakes for Charlotte.

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Lunch: sopa de pollo for mom and a half chicken with quinoa salad and plantains for me from Viva Chicken.

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Dinner: a beautiful and delicious Cuban spread at my lovely friend's birthday party. Not pictured below: yummy sangria and a tres leches birthday cake!

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Sunday

Breakfast: banana for me, breakfast quesadilla and eggs for the husband and kid. 

Brunch: I had the pleasure of trying out Legion Brewing's brunch with beer pairings. It was delicious and I will link it up here once that post is done. For now, here's a picture of the Maple Canyon Waffle.

So. Good.

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Lunch: Brandon and Charlotte ran some errands while I was at brunch and landed at Culver's for lunch. 

Dinner: shrimp scampi with angel hair pasta.

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We did a great job sticking to the dinner plan this week, especially with a week filled with evening events and a weekend packed with birthday celebrations. Next week I only have one evening event and our weekend is free. We have a lot of chicken and pasta dishes on deck so we'll see how well we stick to the plan!

 

What was on your menus this week?

This Week's Eats: an Intro

taking a bite out of meal planning

taking a bite out of meal planning

One of my goals this year is to be more mindful of what we eat, to spend less on food, and to reduce our food waste. "How?" You ask? By planning ahead and sticking to it, focusing on using everything in our overstuffed freezers and pantry, and meal prepping on the weekends.

We've been dabbling in weekly meal planning for the last few months but haven't done a great job at sticking to the plans. May be it's because I was in a cooking rut. May be the plan wasn't flexible enough. Or I've been sick. Or life just happened and we were too spent to deal with cooking.

So, with our goals and past failures in mind, here's how we're going to stay accountable: by sharing what we eat on a weekly basis. I hope this inspires you to try meal planning and prepping, reducing waste in the kitchen, and may be saving a bit on your groceries!

 

A little bit about our grocery shopping habits:

We do most of our grocery shopping at Aldi and supplement our grocery list with trips to Trader Joe's, Harris Teeter, and Earth Fare. I tried couponing a few years ago and it turned out to be a total time suck. If anything, we ended up spending more because we had to purchase multiple quantities or we bought things we didn't really need. Also, most of the items we buy are fresh (outside aisles) or private label and there are hardly any coupons available for those items. We try to buy animal proteins that are natural or organic as much as we can so the plan is based mainly on available deals/discounts that week. 

Our weekly menus are toddler friendly and dinners yield at least one leftover lunch.

Click here for a look at the second week of 2018 and let me know what you think!

 

Do you meal plan? What are you favorite go-to receipes? 

 

 

 

 

A Look Back on 2017

As I alluded in a previous post, the last six weeks of 2017 were a total blur. Between the death of my father in early December and being really really sick, calling 2017 a bust was an easy way to throw in the towel on summing up the entire year. But even though there were some really low lows, there was an equal amount of highs.

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I knew 2017 was not going to be easy. Adjusting my mindset from feeling victimized by circumstance to focusing on the lesson to learn was key. Practicing gratitude and finding positive in the negative was what helped me change my mindset when things got tough.

 

Travel

Travel played a huge role this year. I got on airplane for the first time in three years. I know air travel can be a pain these days but even so I still find the "romance" in it. 

The first trip of the year was to surprise my friend Katy for her 30th birthday in NYC. I feel like we ate the entire city in under 48 hours. I'd like a repeat, please and thank you!

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Our second big trip was to California to visit family and it was Charlotte's first time flying. Talk about a magical experience, minus the part where we had to carry a 30 pound car seat through the airport.

The Bay Area, just like New York City, is my happy place and feels like home for so many reasons. 

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The last big trip of the year was to NYC to see my dearest friend get married. There were so many moments when we thought we wouldn't be able to make it but all the stars aligned in the nick of time. I'm beyond grateful that I got to witness their exchange of vows and for my husband who came prepared with a pack of tissues.

So. Many. (Happy). Tears.

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We've also taken several smaller, but still memorable, trips by car around North Carolina: Southport for a wedding in January, several trips to Raleigh to see the family, West Jefferson to float down the New River in July, Brevard for Brandon's best friend's wedding in August, a handful of day trips to Asheville, and to Emerald Isle for our annual family beach vacation in September.

 

Celebrations

We love nothing more than to throw a party and to host friends and family at our house. This year was no different. From birthday parties to holidays to impromptu get togethers we honed our hosting skills and streamlined our processes. Pretty sure I have a future in event planning if this whole marketing consultant thing doesn't work out.

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Professional

Professional growth was a big priority for me in 2017 and even more so this year. I worked on restructuring and re-branding my business and can't wait to re-launch in the first quarter of this year. Until then shoot me an email if you need digital marketing help!

This year I joined the board of the local chapter of American Marketing Association as the Director of Social Media. I've been part of the organization for years and it feels good to be back on board and to continue to spread our message. 

I also focused more on this blog with partnerships, sponsored content, and joining affiliate networks. I find this space to be a great creative outlet and hope to continue to grow it.

There's a lot of things that has been happening behind the scenes that I can't wait to show you guys!

Quiet but not gone.

 

Health

sick

My immune system got a beating the moment Charlotte started pre-school in the fall and peaked at the end of the year with a full on knock down.

Spoiler alert: I lost.

Having said that, I've started eating a bit healthier and have become more mindful of what I put in and on my body. I've also taken up yoga for the nth time and finally sticking to it after 11 years of trying and failing.

 

Life, Love, Family, and Friends

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2017 marked ten years of Brandon and I dating. I still pinch myself that I get to wake up next to the man on my dreams, my rock, my love, and my best friend.

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I also can't believe we created the brightest little light. Charlotte started pre-school this year and she's thriving. She's soaking up information like a sponge and her personality is ever growing and evolving. 

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I'm grateful for my mother and her selfless love. I have so much left to learn.

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And this entire crew. It really does take a village and I'm glad I'm part of this one.

Speaking of family, I'm grateful for our "extended family" of friends, I love seeing our kids grow up together and be friends, too. I'm also grateful for Twitter for bringing so many amazing people into my life over the years and the beautiful friendships that have formed offline. 

 

Grateful

I'm grateful for everything that happened in 2017, good and bad. There were many uncomfortable, difficult, and heartbreaking moments, but without them there would be no growth. There were also many beautiful and happy moments and I hope for more of those in 2018. 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 2018!

New Year, New Motto!

New Year, New Motto!

The last six weeks of 2017 were rough and I'm just now beginning to break through the fog. I'm still trying to wrap my head around everything that happened last year and plan on writing about the highlights, the low lights, and the lessons learned. But for now I'm going to focus on today and the year ahead.

 

New Years is a big deal for me, my mom, and Russians in general. There are many traditions to be followed and superstitions to be believed. How you welcome the new year is a reflection on how your year will pan out.

We rang in the new year with a small, but mighty, crowd. It was also the most sober celebration we've ever had, including the years when a handful of us were either pregnant or breastfeeding. This year most of us have been sick or injured in some form or another and the antibiotics, steroids, and pain medications prevented us from indulging in adult beverages. But that didn't stop us from having a good time.

My NYE kiss for the past 10 years! 

My NYE kiss for the past 10 years! 

Three generations. 

Three generations. 

My mom and I have a tradition of going shopping (specifically at Dillard's) on New Year's Day. They always have a one day sale and we make it out of there like bandits. We didn't this year. By the time we got there, the selections were meek and the lines long. So instead, Charlotte and I rode the escalator at Belk's a few times (her new favorite thing), I re-stocked on my favorite Clarin's face wash* at Nordstrom, and we indulged in burgushi at Cowfish for lunch. 

We drove back home to drop off the sleeping toddler (she stayed up till 11pm last night!) and then I drove to Concord Mills to make a couple of returns and check out a clearance rack (or five). 

I found a cute new workout tank* at Old Navy (they were all $7 today) and a gold belt* for everyday wear. I spent a total of $2.13 because I had $10 in credit card reward cash from Gap. I'm also very proud of myself for actually getting something for myself instead of the kid like I always do.

 

Anyways, here are some pictures from today and links to all the things.

(*All the product links below - and a few above - are affiliate which means I get a small kick back if you purchase something which helps pay the bills for running this blog.)

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Charlotte made new friends while dancing outside of the Microsoft store at SouthPark Mall.

Shop Charlotte's look (exact and similar items linked):

Hair Clip (Janie & Jack) | Coat (Target) | Fleece Lined Leggings (Target) | Knee High Socks (Target) | Gold boots (Zara)

Meanwhile, I had total FOMO over the preteens' fuzzy over sized sweaters, leggings, and sparkly kicks. 

I was rocking high waisted denim, my favorite sweater, and booties (exact and similar items linked):

Oh, and here's all the gear you'll need for your next dance party:

An Xbox One + Xbox One Kinect Sensor + Just Dance 2018 for Xbox One = DANCE PARTY!

 

Speaking of FOMO, I'm already missing my lunch.

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Loose leaf Jasmine tea is my favorite. So is sitting at the bar and trying to find the cowfish in the fish tank.

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TNT Roll: spicy tuna, kani, avocado, and masago.

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Charlotte's bento box included grilled chicken bites, apple slices, french fries, and a rice crispy sushi dessert.

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What's Shakin' Tuna Bacon is my favorite burgushi sandwich! It's spicy and crunchy and oh so delicious. I got it with a side of seaweed salad because it's January 1st and I'm watching my figure (ha, not really!).

Also, I finally got a new phone (thanks, Santa!) so can we please take a moment and appreciate the beauty that is portrait mode on an iPhone 8+?

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Mandatory kid on Cowfish picture. 

 

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Party animal taking a power nap in the car, shop her favorite car nap items:

 

My Old Navy athletic top finds, starting at $7! (I got the first one in grapefruit.)

P.S. You can find the letter board used at the top of the post here.

 

What did you do for New Year this year? Do you have New Year traditions or superstitions?

 

 

 

 

Breaking out of a Cooking Rut

I hit a major cooking rut earlier this year. Our favorite go-to recipes suddenly became annoyingly boring and the quality of our usual take-out spots declined. 

Here's how I broke out of my rut, plus tips on how you can too!

 

My first inclination was to scroll through Pinterest but I came away more overwhelmed than inspired. I need something curated, something tested, something healthy and delicious. I needed cookbooks.

So that's what I did, I hit the books! We also subscribed to Blue Apron, but more on that in a later post.

The first two books were from the same author, Megan of Freckled Italian. The cookbooks, The Big 15 Paleo Cookbook and The Big 10 Paleo Spiralizer Cookbook were the perfect introduction to the paleo diet in an accessible way. It was also a great way to break away from our usual diet and it was exciting to try something new. 

Megan's books are great because she takes staple paleo ingredients and provides multiple recipes for each with additional variations. The possibilities are endless!

Here are some of the dishes we made from her book:

Thai Almond Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl (Page 92, The Big 10 Paleo Spiralizer Cookbook)

I love Thai food so this was a must try for me! I was halfway through making this recipe when I realized that I didn't have plain almond butter and I had to choose between Justin's vanilla almond butter (my absolute favorite but too sweet for this dish) or tahini. The tahini worked perfectly as a substitute and the dish was saved!

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Cincinnati Chili with Zucchini Noodles (Page 39, The Big 10 Paleo Spiralizer Cookbook)

I'm a big fan of bean-less chili, I'm an even bigger fan of it when it smothers a heaping pile of pasta noodles. This paleo version was delicious and I did not miss the wheat noodles like I thought I would.

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Roasted Tomato and Zucchini Noodle Frittata (Page 20, The Big 10 Paleo Spiralizer Cookbook)

I made this frittata during the Fourth of July weekend. We had guests staying with us and it made for a perfect breakfast before a day packed with events. I went rogue with this recipe and threw in some bacon. Hey, it's paleo!

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Beef Stew with Sweet Potato Noodles (Page 90, The Big 10 Paleo Spiralizer Cookbook)

I've recently become a huge fan of chuck roast because you can do so much with it. It makes a great base for one pot meals and by one pot I mean the crock pot. This recipe was super easy and flavorful. 10/10, will make again this winter!

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Sweet Potato Linguini with Mushrooms and Spinach (Page 94, The Big 10 Paleo Spiralizer Cookbook)

This recipe was quick, easy, and flavorful and was a big hit with everyone in the family. My iron is always low so the spinach helps with reaching my daily dietary quota.

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Pasta Primavera (Page 34, The Big 10 Paleo Spiralizer Cookbook)

This recipe is a great way to use up all the vegetables that are about to go bad and makes a great side dish. Highly recommend!

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Fish Stew (Page 87, The Big 15 Paleo Cookbook)

Like Megan, I love a hearty fish stew. Probably because I love fish and anything tomato based. I made this recipe with flounder and my taste buds were extremely happy. Putting this on the list of possible recipes for Christmas dinner.

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Another book that I picked up, at Costco of all places, is called Clean Slate. It was too beautiful to pass up! The first part of the book focuses on educating the reader on good food versus bad food. The recipes are not overly difficult and there's even a detox plan that you can follow. Me being me, I focused heavily on the snack and dessert sections. 

My favorite meal out of the book thus far is the sardines and cream cheese on rye sandwich (page 92), mostly because it's quick and easy to make when I have a busy day and cooking a full lunch is not on the docket that day. It's also a great way to think outside the tuna can and explore the many variations of canned fish (anchovies, salmon, etc.).

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A second favorite is the avocado-yogurt smoothie (page 114). It's savory and sweet and I crave it all the time.

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My fourth favorite cooking book this year has been Martha Stewart's Cooking School. It's a great way to get back to the basics, refresh and reset my skills, and create simply delicious meals.

 

In addition to new books and a Blue Apron subscription, we invested in a few new (inexpensive) tools and a fun pantry items:

 

Tips for breaking out of a cooking rut:

1. Find curated inspiration and, specifically, aim for something that's familiar. For example, Megan's paleo books use familiar ingredients, ones we use in our everyday cooking, but with a different perspective. What's old can be made new. I also enjoy perusing magazines located near the grocery store check out.

2. Learn a new technique or brush up on old ones. I love Martha Stewart's Cooking School book. For example, I know how to make chicken stock but what can I do to make it better? YouTube is a treasure trove of cooking techniques and can lead you down a blackhole of amazing cooking videos, give it a try!

3. Try a new-to-you spice blend. We live near not one but TWO Savory Spice Shops so I'm constantly there scouring the shelves for new-to-me blends and peppering the spice team with questions. It's amazing how a new spice blend can change up your cooking. 

4. Sign up for meal delivery service. This is a great way to enjoy a curated menu, learn new techniques, and try new flavors without spending an arm and a leg going out to eat.

5. Go out to eat. I love trying new dishes and using them as inspiration for cooking at home.

6. Take a cooking class. I've only taken one cooking class (sad, I know) and, to this day, still make the meal that they taught us how to make. I have Chef Alyssa's classes on my wishlist this holiday season. Don't live in the Charlotte are? Check out local chefs who may be offering classes, Whole Foods, or Sur La Table

7. Buy a new tool. A new tool can make a huge difference, whether it's a knife or a new pan, the possibilities are endless!

Are you in a cooking rut? What have you tried to break out of it?

 

*this post contains affiliate links*

Gratitude Journal: 10 Month Update

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My word for 2017 is gratitude and, in addition to living by the word, I kept a journal in which I wrote down at least ten things I was grateful for each day.

I stopped writing down my daily gratitude list in late July after forgetting to bring my journal on a trip and breaking the habit. It's not that I'm no longer grateful or that I no longer practice gratitude, however, I needed an outlet that also allowed me to express the things that upset me.

Those moments of disappointment are areas of growth and I don't want to ignore them.

Another thing I want to include in my daily journaling are my anxiety triggers. Again, something I want to acknowledge (to disarm) and to grow from. 

So, starting tomorrow, I'm dusting off my gratitude journal and adding new sections to it for a better view into my own world and the world around me.

 

Do you journal? And if you do, what do you include in your daily debrief? 

First Day of Preschool

We started our preschool search over a year ago but what we were looking for was practically non existent for kids under the age of two in our area. However, we found the perfect program and it was right under our nose: a church that we have been attending off and on had a partial day/week program for toddlers! The only problem? There were no spots left mid-year and we had to wait for the new school year to start. That was six months ago and we can't believe the time is finally here!

There were two orientations the week prior to school starting, one for the parents and one for the kids. I had a lot of questions at both and may have over done it by completing all of our "homework" like an A+ student who never misses a deadline. In reality, I'm a C+  (B- at best) student who is a perfectionist, hates busy work, and procrastinates till the last minute. 

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The kid orientation went well and I couldn't get Charlotte away from the trains and out of the classroom. She talked about the trains, the tea party, and the "church school" non-stop for the rest of the day. We took it as a good sign that the first day was going to be exciting instead of tear filled.

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And that's exactly what happened. She lead us to her classroom, ran in, and didn't even turn around to say goodbye.

Sassy toddler or sassy teenager?

Sassy toddler or sassy teenager?

Sad parents or happy parents?

Sad parents or happy parents?

I ran all my errands near her school in fear that I was going to get a call at 10am telling me that she's been crying and they could not console her. The call never came and she was content when I picked her up from school in the afternoon.

I think she likes it and we couldn't be happier. We're excited for her to gain new social skills and learn things that are outside of our expertise. I'm excited because I'm gaining working hours and can focus more on my consulting business. My husband is happy because his two girls are happy. A win-win-win for all!

 

That first morning, and the mornings since, have been slightly chaotic. We barely managed to take the "required" first day of school photos before rushing out the door. Charlotte had a mouth full of pancakes the whole time, however, here are a few of our favorites:

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Get the letter board here.

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*This post contains affiliate links. I receive a commission when the links are clicked and/or when items are purchased. These fees help pay for this site.

 

Sunday Funday with Queen City Rides

Q: What do you get when you take two custom eight seater golf carts and about a dozen Charlotte blogger babes?

A: A fun afternoon cruising to local breweries and lots and lots of photo ops!

 

Queen City Rides provides eco-friendly tour services in Charlotte, whether it's a brewery tour or a tour of our beautiful city. You can also find them cruising around town during sporting events, providing free rides. 

Today, Queen City Rides took us on a three hour brewery tour with stops in Plaza Midwood and Southend. We had a great time cruising around town and drinking great local brews.

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Our first stop was Resident Culture Brewing in Plaza Midwood where I ordered the Sweeter the Juice IPA. It's delicious and immediately made it on my favorite IPA's list. 

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We took a ton of photos, some of us petted all the dogs, and everyone enjoyed their first beer of the tour.

From left to right: Lorri (@lorriashly & @prosocialites), Julia (@cltchomp), Naomi (@style_nugget), Kseniya (@birchcollective), Briana (@bribola), Keith (@qc_rides), Shannon (@uptowngirlclt), Kevin (@qc_rides & @fitzgeraldscharlotte), Jessica (@sweet_seoul_in_charlotte), Kristin (@beautifulchaosblog), Melissa (@charlotte_fashion_plate), and Megan (@megandunbarphotography).

From left to right: Lorri (@lorriashly & @prosocialites), Julia (@cltchomp), Naomi (@style_nugget), Kseniya (@birchcollective), Briana (@bribola), Keith (@qc_rides), Shannon (@uptowngirlclt), Kevin (@qc_rides & @fitzgeraldscharlotte), Jessica (@sweet_seoul_in_charlotte), Kristin (@beautifulchaosblog), Melissa (@charlotte_fashion_plate), and Megan (@megandunbarphotography).

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Our second stop was at Sycamore Brewing, another favorite of mine.  I ordered the Apricot Wheat while majority of the group ordered the Sun Grown Michelada, Sycamore's take on the Bloody Mary. Beer cocktails, y'all. Get on it!

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We also used this stop to fuel up on tacos from Tin Kitchen. I ordered the Chana Masala, Cilnatro-Lime Shrimp, and the Pork Carnita tacos with a side of pickled vegetables. But I'm not going to lie, I had major taco envy when I saw the other ladies eat the Buffalo Cauliflower taco. Spice for life!

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sycamore-brewing-south-end-charlotte-nc-bloggers

Our third, and last, stop was Lenny Boy Brewing. I haven't been to the new location and was excited to check it out. It's a larger space from their old location and it's lovely! Their kombucha has been a life safer recently and I was excited to try new-to-me flavors on this visit. 

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Lavenderade Kobucha 

Lavenderade Kobucha 

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Thanks again to Keith and Kevin of Queen City Rides for a Sunday Funday!

 

P.S. Shop my look here:

 

 

 

Disclaimer: this tour was provided to me at no cost. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links that provide me with a small commission when the links are clicked and a purchase is made.

 

Three Day Potty Training Boot Camp

At times you will feel deflated but the hope that your child will (eventually) learn to use the toilet will keep you afloat. Good luck!

At times you will feel deflated but the hope that your child will (eventually) learn to use the toilet will keep you afloat. Good luck!

We started our potty training journey a few months ago by introducing the concept of using the toilet to our toddler. A few weeks ago we started reading potty related kid books to her at bed time and learning how to sit on the potty. Then, twelve days ago, we started the three day boot camp, as we so lovingly named it. By day three I was pretty sure we failed and broke the kid in the process. Days four and five were hell on earth and I was ready to give up, take a break, and regroup. Thankfully, we didn't give up or take a break but we did take a moment to regroup, change our strategy, and keep going.

Day 5: The kid refused to wear clothes and insisted on playing outside naked.

Day 5: The kid refused to wear clothes and insisted on playing outside naked.

Today is day thirteen and I feel like we have made amazing progress, but still have a long way to go.

 

Our book of choice for potty training was written by Brandi Brucks, a professional potty trainer. You can purchase it on Amazon* for around $10. It's an easy and quick read, a mix of common sense and a few Jedi mind tricks that are applicable for more than just potty training. 

I also spent some time researching online what we'll need to be prepared for this past weekend and beyond, created bathroom kits, and stocked the fridge with quick meals so we can keep all of our focus on the kid.

The first two days of potty training went as presented in the book but then something happened on day three. May be it's because we haven't left the house all weekend or the fact that we fell ill, but we experienced a regression that continued for three days. After some soul searching we realized two things: 1) she was stuck between a rock and a hard place, she knew she couldn't get her underwear wet but was not yet comfortable with using the toilet and 2) constantly asking her to use the bathroom when she didn't need to go annoyed her. Thankfully, on day six we saw a positive change in her and the ratio of accidents to non-accidents began to improve.

We're still figuring out public restrooms. She knows they exist, has been in them, but has yet to use a public toilet successfully. Any advice in this area is welcomed!

My number one piece of advice? Don't give up (like we almost did). My second piece of advice? Be overly prepared for whatever your kid throws at you... literally. You know your kid better than anybody else, know when to push and when to let up. Remind yourself that your kid has only ever known a diaper and they will do whatever it takes to regain control of this new situation. Trust your gut.

 

Potty Training Bathroom Kit

Potty Training Bathroom Kit

Here's a breakdown of all the books, tools, and other items that we got to prepare for the Three Day Potty Training Boot Camp and beyond. (Affiliate links below.)

Books for the kid

Bathroom Accessories

The book recommends using a potty seat versus a small toilet for two very important reasons: 1) it's an additional thing you have to clean after every use and 2) you'll have to retrain your kid to use the regular toilet. We used the small toilets to get her used to the idea of using something other than her diaper but we put them up on day one of potty training. It's up to you how many step stools you get (we have one for each bathroom), stick to the kind that does not fold. You'll also want a small chair for you to sit on. You'll be spending a considerable time in the bathroom and sitting on the bathroom floor is not always ideal. 

Bathroom "kits"

I put together bathroom kits to have a one stop shop for all the things we'll need: clean underwear, wipes, books, etc. Here's what I included in ours: 

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Cleaning Supplies

I'm not going to lie, this is the cleanest our bathroom floor has been since we've moved into this house. We've cleaned up a lot of accidents in the first couple of days and having the supplies on hand in the bathroom has been helpful. 

Out & About

We've been out a couple of times without any incidents but we're still in the early stages. I'm back to carrying a large bag with all of the supplies listed below as well as a change of clothes for both of us! I'm seriously considering embracing the 90's and getting myself a backpack purse.

 

Each child and situation is different. Charlotte and I both fell ill on day three, making our potty training journey more challenging. The author states that it could take up to ten full days for her methods to work and if they don't, more often than not, it's either a behavior issue with the kid or the parents screwed up. 

This experience may break both you and the kid but it's definitely a growth experience for everyone involved.

 

 

 

 

 


*This post contains affiliate links.

Friday Nights in the City: Uptown

There's something magical about Uptown Charlotte coming to life on a summer evening and I was lucky to experience it last Friday. My evening was filled with art, celebration, food, friends, and a moment of deep inward reflection.

My first stop was the Goodbye, Goodyear event. Goodyear Arts utilizes underused buildings to host artist residencies and events. This event was thrown to say goodbye to the current location on College Street. The new location is set to open at Camp North End in the near future.

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Our second stop of the evening was at the grand reveal of Subsecreto, a brainchild of Corri Smith of Black Wednesday and her business partner Caleb Clark of Enemy to Fashion.

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We were asked to keep the event a secret until it began, I think Erin and I did a pretty good job doing so:

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The coffee shop and retail space is brilliantly located in First Ward, a block away from the soon-to-be opened Blue Line extension and across the street from UNC Charlotte's Uptown campus.

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Corri throws great events where no detail is spared and this party was no different. From a blessing of the space by John W. Love Jr., to custom Reyka vodka cocktails, to tarot card readings from Meredith's Lucky Stars, to a room full of Charlotte's movers and shakers.

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I toyed with the idea of getting my first ever tarot reading but had chickened out, at least initially. I wasn't emotionally ready to hear what the cards had to say. But after a heart-to-heart with a dear friend, I went in. I don't know what I was so worried about.

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subsecreto-charlotte-nc-meredith-tarot-card-reading

Meredith made me feel at ease and it was more of a therapy session than anything else. You can learn more about her and her services here.

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We ended our evening with cocktails and tapas at The Cellar at Duckworth's

A magical evening, indeed.