Friday Favorites 7.29.16

Today is my first favorite - it's Friday!  This work week has been a long one and I am so glad it is finally Friday!  We have one more big thing to get through today and then things will slow down - thankfully!

That leads me to my next favorite.  In one of my boss's emails today, he told me that I can take the afternoon off.  He jokes around a lot and I wasn't sure if this was one of those times, or if he really meant it.  However, he said something again later on in the day and when we were I am hoping that actually happens.  Fingers crossed nothing pops up to get in the way of that!  An early out would make this day even better!

I have another relaxing weekend planned.  The only set plans I have is brunch on Sunday.  I LOVE brunch and have not been in so long.  Bring on the mimosas!

I had to buy lunch one day this week, and decided to go with pizza, from the cafĂ© at work.  They have amazing pizza.  I was deciding what slice to grab, when the pizza station worker told me that if I just waited 3 minutes, he would make a fresh one for me.  I waited, and it was well-worth it.  They use a wood fire oven for the pizza and oh my goodness, is the crust delicious.  I am craving another piece right now, just thinking about it!

My best friend sent me a new recipe to try this week - Thai burgers.  I love getting recipes from friends - it's always so fun to know what others are cooking.  I plan on trying them next week. Hopefully they will turn out well for me and I can then pass them on to you!

Have the best weekend!

Linking up with AndreaAprilKatie and Amanda.  

Confessions 7.28.16

grab button for Sparkles and Lattes

It's been awhile since I have done some confessing.

I confess...last night I got home from work and wanted to do absolutely nothing.  No gym, no cooking - nothing.  I made myself do a quick kettle bell work out, ate a bowl of cereal and plopped down on the couch and stayed there the rest of the evening.  Sometimes those types of nights are just necessary.

I felt like Thursday both Tuesday and Wednesday.  You cannot imagine my disappointment when I realized what day it actually was.  

I confess...I am ready for fall and winter.  I am ready for the changing of the seasons, the clothes that come with it, and the holidays.  If you follow me on Pinterest, you might have noticed my fall and Christmas pinning lately.  I am ready!

I confess...I miss having to go school supplies shopping.  That was my favorite!  I love picking out new folders, notebooks, pens and pencils.   

I confess...I still know all the words to many Boyz II Men songs.  Lately they have been popping up on random shows, most recently Greatest Hits and it has made me reminisce about all their hits.  So many great songs!  I am pretty sure their first CD was my brother's first CD...which I used to steal and listen to all the time.  

What are you confessing lately?

Linking up with Danielle and Annie. 

What's Up Wednesday 7.27.16

I feel like I always think this, but I find it so hard to believe it's already the last Wednesday of the month!  I am linking up with my usual Wednesday girls - Jessi and Jenn for What's Hap-pinning Wednesday and Shay for What's Up Wednesday.

What I'm eating this week...I actually posted "What's for Dinner?" yesterday.  As far as lunches go, I am still stuck on this Roasted Vegetable Chopped Salad that I have shared a few times already.  Although, I do have to say, it's not quite as good as when my mom made it!  Why is it that some food just tastes better when someone else makes it?

What I'm reminiscing about...slower days at work.  I have such a love/hate relationship with these busier days.  The days go by a lot quicker and I truly enjoy being busy, but sometimes the wear and stress get to me.

What I'm loving...Real Housewives of New Jersey - I am so glad it is back on!

What I've been up to...not a whole lot other than work.  I had a lazy weekend, which was nice, and then this week is just making it through until Friday at 4:00.

What I'm dreading...nothing!

What I'm working on...staying on top of things, whether it be meal planning, picking up at home - just those little types of things.  I function so much better when I am organized, so I am trying to keep up with things, even if all I really want to do is just lay on the couch and relax.

What I'm excited about...4:00 on Friday.  Also, there are some new movies coming out that I am excited to see - Jason Bourne and Bad Moms, to name a few!  The weather has cooled down some, which is an added bonus.  The humidity is still here, but at least the extreme heat index isn't!

What I'm watching...RHONJ, RHOC, Pretty Little Liars and Tyrant.  Does anyone else watch Tyrant?  Last weeks episode was INTENSE, holy cow.  I have also been watching the political conventions.  I think both have had some very good speakers, regardless as to what side you fall on.

What I'm listening to...I really haven't been listening to much music.  More just TV shows in the background - see above!

What I'm wearing...I have been getting lots of use out of these Loft purchases I blogged about awhile ago.  I cannot say enough good things about those pants.  They are so comfortable!

What I'm doing this weekend...I am hoping for some time at the pool, and maybe dinner and a movie.  It will be another low-key weekend, which sounds very nice right now!

What I'm looking forward to next nephew is turning one!!!  I am so excited to head to my brother's for Jack's first birthday party.  It's amazing to think that it has almost been one year since he was born.  He's brought so much joy to my family's life - couldn't ask for a sweeter little boy!  Not only do I have that, but we rescheduled our Rooster Bar Crawl for August 13th.  I am really looking forward to an afternoon of fun, while supporting a great cause.

What else is new...that pretty much covers it.  

What's for Dinner?

Meal planning is something I am always trying to improve on.  Some weeks I do well, others not so much!  This week, however, I feel like I am on top of it, so I thought I would share with you what I am eating for dinner.

With work being on the busy side this week, I wanted to go with something that I could use to make multiple meals.  Enter Andrea's Pulled Pork from Mix and Match Mama.  I knew this would be a win - a crockpot meal that only calls for a total of four ingredients.  You add in the BBQ sauce afterwards, which I really liked, because I don't always like things doused in BBQ sauce.  I served this with rice and a sprinkle of monterey jack cheese - so good.

The main reason I wanted to make the pulled pork was to try out Mix and Match Mama's BBQ Quesadillas.  They sound so good!  I cannot wait to try them out.  I love pickles, so adding them to the quesadilla is right up my alley.  Fingers crossed they taste as good as they sound!

Healthy One Dish Chicken Bake

I know that I will still have leftover pulled pork, even from the two meals, so I decided those would be repeats and I would just add one more meal to the mix.  I searched pinterest and came across this recipe for a Healthy One Dish Chicken Bake.  Who doesn't love a one dish meal - especially those of us that hate washing dishes!  I also think it's great because you can customize what veggies you put in with the chicken, depending on what is in season and what you like.  The theme of the week is easy and this definitely fits the bill.  I can't wait to see how it turns out!

That's what I am eating for dinner this week - what about you?

Linking up with LauraJennand Mackensey.    

Weekend Recap

Hey all!  Happy Monday!  This past weekend was pretty uneventful for me - just a few things to highlight.

I read a really cute series this weekend.  The books are Party Girl, Sweet Girl, and Smart Girl by Rachel Hollis.  The books are about 3 girls making it in LA.  Each book has a specific character, but they are all related and the stories carry on to the next book.  All were light, easy reads.  I think the first two were my favorite, but the third wasn't too far behind.

I went grocery shopping this weekend, on Saturday.  I am not sure if it because I don't normally shop on Saturday or what, but the grocery store was so bare!  There were lots of empty shelves, lots of empty spots for produce.  I have no idea what was going on, but it was pretty terrible.  Grocery shopping isn't necessarily my favorite, so to walk in, have a hard time finding half the items on my list, and some of them not at all made the trip especially blah.  I just hope this was a one-off thing.  I feel like I finally know where everything is in that store, I sure would hate to have to learn a new one!

I finally made it to the movie theater this weekend.  It feels like it had been so long since I had been to a movie!  I saw Star Trek.  This was my first Star Trek movie, and it was good!  I was pleasantly surprised, because I honestly didn't have high expectations.  Even if you aren't into Star Trek, if you enjoy an action-packed movie, I would recommend going to check it out!

This week is going to be a tough one at work - I am already looking forward to Friday afternoon!  Because I am needing it, here is a little motivation for this Monday.


Linking up with Biana

Friday Favorites 7.22.16


I am so glad Friday is here.  This week has seemed long!

1.  The beach!  I am missing Michigan something fierce!  It was so nice to go back there and spend time with family.  If you missed my recap, you can see it here.  The weather there was so nice, especially compared to this crazy heat we are seeing.  I think the area is under a heat advisory until Sunday!

2.  I thought I broke my toe while in Michigan - thankfully I don't think that is the case!  Sunday night I ran into one of the couch legs.  Holy cow, did it hurt!  It had quite the bruising and did hurt for the next day or two, but I am back to wearing normal shoes and it only is a little bit tender when I touch it.  I am just so happy that it didn't turn out worse than it did!

3.  My mom picked me up a few new pairs of work out capris and I love them.  My favorite pair are Reebok Tight Fit capris and my mom picked them up on sale in this pretty blue color.  It's amazing the difference cute workout clothes make for me. 

4.  This was a favorite last week, but I am still loving the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  I got my items in this week and while I do have a few returns, so many things I ordered worked!  I don't want to wish away the rest of summer, but I wouldn't mind a little cooler weather so I could breakout a few items!  

5.  No weekend plans!  Sometimes it is just nice to be at home and get things (cleaning, laundry, meal prepping) back on track.  I have a few new recipes I am trying next week - fingers crossed they are winners!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Linking up with AndreaAprilKatie and Amanda.  

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale - #NSale

Hey all!  I picked up all my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale packages from my apartment office on Tuesday and could not wait to try them on!  The reason I love this sale, along with so many others, is because you get cool weather items on sale now, rather than having to wait until after the season.  I ordered quite a few items, realizing that not everything would work.  Below are the things I kept, and the ones that will be heading back to the store.

Lucky Brand Bashina Perforated Bootie 
Everyone has been raving about these booties and after trying them on, I understand why.  They are super cute and very comfortable!  I have seen them paired with dresses and with jeans - both cute either way!  

KUT from the Kloth Diana Distressed Stretch Skinny Jeans 
I actually bought a pair of these from my friend's boutique a few years ago and I just love them.  Unfortunately, the first few times I washed them, I did not turn them inside out.  Since they are a bit faded, I knew I wanted to replace them.  They fit so well, come up a bit higher on the waist, which I love, and I find that they don't stretch out much after multiple wears.  While the name has "distressed" in it, I didn't find anything distressed about these jeans, which is what I was hoping for, that way they are appropriate for both work and play!

Eliza J Seamed Crepe Shift Dress 
I knew I wanted to stock up on some dresses for work, and initially this dress in pink caught my eye.  However, I felt like the pink is a little too bright for my work environment, so I ended up ordering the pine.  I love it!  The structure of this dress is so nice, and I love the sleeve length.  I can definitely see throwing a jacket over it, or just wearing it as-is.  It totally works for out of the office, too!  Just a classic dress.

Maggy London Colorblock Scuba Midi Dress 
Another great dress for work.  I am thinking this may also function as my gala dress for next year.  I can totally see it dressed up a bit with jewelry!  

Tahari Melange Woven Sheath Dress 
I love the light gray color of this dress, as well as the v-neckline.  The longer length of this dress and the one above is something I am really loving right now.

Lush Karly Shift Dress
These dresses have been around for awhile, and I can see why.  It was so comfortable and flowly.  I can see myself wearing this out to dinner, as well as for a wedding I have this September.  At just over $30, you can't really beat the price either! 

Those are the items that I kept - here is what is going back to the store.

Caslon Plaid Cotton Two-Pocket Shirtdress - The website says it fits true to size, but I found it ran a bit big.  It kind of looked as if I was playing dress up in a very large mens shirt - not a good look!

KUT from the Kloth Diana Distressed Stretch Skinny Jeans  - These are the same type of black jeans I kept from above, but I really did not like the wash of these jeans.  I was looking for something a little nicer, but they seemed too casual for what I was wanting.

KUT from the Kloth Stevie Stretch Straight Leg Jeans - I loved the wash of these jeans, but the straight leg is just not for me.  My legs looked short and stumpy.

I have a few other items I am returning, but I couldn't find them online, so I am guessing they have sold out.  It's amazing to me how quickly things are gone!  It's important to check back, though, because they do restock some items.  

I keep finding more things I like, but those will just have to go on my Christmas list.  I think that list will keep growing, because I keep getting ideas from seeing other people's finds!  All in all, it was an extremely successful Anniversary Sale for me.  Until next year...    

Linking up with Annie.

Albion Swim

This summer I have been on the hunt for the perfect new swimsuit.  I wanted something that was a little more covering and forgiving than my normal suits.  I decided I wanted to go with something that had high-waisted bottoms, so I headed to Dillard's after looking online, because they seemed to have a great selection.  After a miserable hour or more of trying on swimsuits, I was just over swimsuits in general.  I put finding a suit on the back burner, and left it at that.  After I made plans to join my family in Michigan this past weekend, I knew I had to resume my search.  

Antigua Cobalt Peplum Tankini Top - Albion - 1
(picture from Albion website)

I came across the cutest suit on instagram earlier this summer, so when I started looking again, it stuck in my mind.  I couldn't remember the brand name, so I googled floral peplum top with striped bottoms and luckily, that was enough to lead me to the website for Albion.  I shopped around a few different website, but kept coming back to this particular look.  I ordered the Antigua Cobalt Peplum Tankini Top and the Stripes 101 High-Waisted Bikini Bottoms.  It was a little more than I had originally wanted to spend, but it was well worth the money.  I love this suit!  I found that it fit true to size, (I just ordered my normal clothes size) - I was worried about ordering a swimsuit online from a new-to-me company, but thankfully that was a non-issue.  The coverage is like a one piece, but has the convenience of a two piece.  The ruffle from the peplum is very forgiving.  It is just super comfortable, too.  The bottoms are cute by themselves, too, I can definitely see myself pairing the bottoms with tops I already have.  Same with the peplum top!  Gotta love when you can mix and match!  I even got a compliment from a lady while I was walking with my mom on the beach!  

I know I am not the only one who has a hard time finding a new suit, so I thought I would share my great find!

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi.

Michigan 2016

This past weekend, I went with my family to Union Pier, Michigan.  We have been going to Michigan as long as I can remember.  In fact, the cottage we stay in, we have gone to for 15 years!  It truly is one of my favorite my dad said this weekend, the sky is just bluer in Michigan.

We headed up to Michigan late morning on Saturday.  To make the drive go by faster when we got stuck in traffic, we played the license plate game - one of my favorite car games!  We didn't even get half, but it did help pass the time.  My mom packed us a lunch, so we stopped at the Michigan rest stop/welcome center for lunch.  It was a great place to stop - the weather was gorgeous so it was perfect to eat outside and they had samples of fresh Michigan blueberries at the door!  After eating, we headed into New Buffalo.  It was hopping - I have never seen so many people there.  New Buffalo is great, because the main street houses cute little shops and yummy restaurants, with the marina and public beach at the end of it.  We shopped around before it was time to meet my grandma at the cottage.  Union Pier is the next town over, so it wasn't a far drive at all.  Once we got to the cottage, we checked it out.  It's always fun to see what is new in the house, or what has changed.  The owner actually stopped by, too, with his sweet little pups.  It was really neat to meet him, and to hear a little bit more about the history of the area.  Apparently the place we stay, along with the surrounding cottages, were for teachers.  The teachers would stay there and pick the blueberries, and other fruit planted around the area for the Welch' in Welch's grape juice!  How crazy is that?!  We headed down to the beach just to walk around.  Since we didn't get there until late afternoon, we didn't get in the water that day, but took a walk along the beach and just enjoyed the weather.  One of my favorite things to do on vacation is get ice cream.  There is a place in New Buffalo called Oink's that has my very favorite ice cream - Blue Moon.  I hadn't had this ice cream in 5 long years...we made sure to make a trip there Saturday evening before the sunset.  I had the waffle cone and it was every bit as delicious as I remember.  We headed back to the beach to watch the sunset, although we got there towards the tail end.  It was still gorgeous!  My mom always brings a puzzle on vacation, so we spent a good portion of the afternoon and evening working on that.  We all were tired from traveling, so it was a pretty low-key night.  

The next day I started out early with a run.  For some reason running outside in St. Louis does not really appeal to me, but running outside in Michigan is a must for me!  Years ago we figured out a running route, although I honestly don't remember how far it actually is!  After I got back my mom and I decided to go for a walk to see if any new homes had popped up.  It's so fun to look at all the beach homes and imagine having one myself.  My aunt and cousin came in the morning, but they unfortunately brought the rain with them!  It rained the majority of the morning, but luckily it cleared off right around lunch time.  We wasted no time getting down to the beach!  The water was definitely colder than the day before, but once you got all in, it felt very refreshing!  The beach was a bit rocky right by the lake, but once you got in the sand was smooth under your feet.  Between time in the lake, walking along the shore and reading, it was the perfect beach day.  We had plans to go to one of our favorites, Redamak's, for dinner, so I stayed down at the beach as long as I could, soaking it all in until I had to head back up to get ready.  My uncle made it up in time to join us for dinner, which was so nice.  Redamak's is an institution - if you are ever in New Buffalo, you need to go there and get a burger.  Yum!  The wait was only 20 minutes, which honestly wasn't too bad.  We ended the night at Oink's for more ice cream.  My dad and I left shortly after to head home...we didn't know it at the time, but it was going to be quite the eventful drive.  Traffic was great, which was so nice, but there were terrible storms.  My dad has a ton of different apps, and the thunderstorm, tornado warnings kept going off left and right.  Thank goodness my dad was driving, because I would have been a mess.  We somehow timed it perfect, because we got to the affected areas right after the warnings had ended.  Needless to say, we were so happy to be home.

I woke up to some more crazy weather, but by the time I was ready to go to work, it had mostly passed.  I was about 15 minutes from home, when my dad calls that I forgot my straightener.  I am so glad he found that when he did.  I pulled off the interstate to wait for him to meet me and saw the most gorgeous sunrise.  The rest of the drive was uneventful, thankfully, and it was right to work.

I am super thankful I was able to spend some time in Michigan with my family.  It had been 5 long years, and I definitely don't want to go that long ago.  Although it was a lot of travel packed into a short amount of time, I definitely think the time spent with family was worth it!

Linking up with LauraJennand Mackensey.     

To Be Continued...

Hey all!  I just got back to St. Louis after a whirlwind of a weekend.  My dad and I got back to my parents' house late last night and it was a super early morning as I drove straight from there to work this morning.  I will be back to share everything with you tomorrow! 

Happy Monday!

Friday Favorites 7.15.16

Work has started to get a bit crazy, along with some travel plans this weekend, so today is going to be short and sweet.

1.  Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  Like the majority of other bloggers (and non-bloggers), I am beyond excited about this sale!  I have already made my purchases and am having to hold myself back on purchasing any others.  Check back next week for some of my favorites!

2.  Last weekend, my mom and I picked up this super cute Ric Rac ribbon in the Target Dollar Spot.  We used it to dress up a few gift bags, by just tying it around the handle and it looks so nice!  There is plenty left over to use for different things, too.  Definitely a Dollar Spot win!

3.  I mentioned on Monday that my mom made this delicious Chopped Salad with Roasted Vegetables while she was visiting.  I had enough leftovers for a few lunches this weekend and oh my goodness, was it good.  I actually was craving the salad come lunch.  I was a little worried that the roasted veggies might get weird, but they didn't at all.  Such a delicious salad!

4.  I just discovered an awesome TV show called Greatest Hits.  This past episode I watch included songs by Chicago (one of my favorites!), Wilson Phillips, Bon Jovi, and Kenny Loggins.  Each guest performs a shorten version of some of their favorite songs.  Such a delightful surprise following the Town Hall President Obama held.

5.  Michigan!  Ahhh, I am going to Michigan this weekend.  While it is going to be a super, super quick trip, I am ridiculously excited about going to the beach with my family.  It's been 5 long years!  Fingers crossed the weather is nice, but even if there is some rain, playing cards and reading on the porch sounds just as fabulous!

Also, an extra favorite for this morning.  I am so excited to share that the ladies from High Five for Friday, Katie, Tif and Della, have featured A Little Bit of Emily during their link-up this week!  Every week they share a new blogger, which I think is so nice.  I am always looking for new blogs to read and this is a great way to learn about others!  Make sure to stop by their blogs (just click on their names) and say hi!  Thank you ladies - this was such a highlight to my Friday! 

Have a great weekend!

Linking up with AndreaAprilKatie and Amanda.  

Looks Lately

When my mom came to town this past weekend, we headed to the mall.  My mom is definitely one of my favorite shopping partners.  We had a few specific things we were looking for, but it wasn't going to be a huge shopping trip.  However, my mom convinced me to stop at Loft, and it was definitely a great idea.  I picked up a few super cute tops and my new favorite work pant.  Below are the items I took home with me.

Peplum Tank  
Primary Image of Peplum Tank

Mixed Media Pocket Shell

Doubleweave Rivera Crop Pants 

The peplum tank was only $15 dollars.  I think this is a great transition piece.  It's light and airy to wear now this with warm weather, but with the color, I can see myself wearing this in the fall with a jacket or cardigan.

I love the mixed media pocket shell.  I had one already in a teal with black polka dots, and when I saw they had different colors, I knew I had to pick another one up.  One of my favorite tops to wear to work.

I have to confess - I bought the Riviera pants in both black and navy, I loved the fit so much.  They were on sale for only $30, which was I thought was a great deal.  They are perfect for work, and with the quality of the pant, I can see them lasting me quite awhile. 

Not only did I pick up some really great pieces, I also got a start on my July goals, by using my Loft gift card!

Linking up with Annie.

Provident's 4th Annual Rooster Run

Saturday was Provident's Annual Rooster Run.  Provident is a local St. Louis organization that helps people to a brighter future by providing mental health services.  These services include counseling, suicide prevention and intervention, and community support programs.  

For the past four years Provident has been hosting the Rooster Run, which is a 5K Run and a 1-Mile Fun Run.  The reason behind the name "rooster", is because roosters provide a wake-up call.  With 1 in 5 individuals suffering from a mental illness each year and a person dying from suicide every 13 minutes, a wake-up call is needed.  The Rooster Run is Provident's way of encouraging people to wake-up, start a conversation, and support the improvement of mental health in the St. Louis area.  

This was my first year volunteering at the Rooster Run and it was such a fun event.  It's a great way to start off your Saturday morning right.  The run is pretty early, but it's perfect for St. Louis in July - gotta beat the heat!  Not only do we have our own Rudy the Rooster, but Fredbird, the Cardinals' mascot, makes an appearance, as well.  Unfortunately, the picture with him isn't on my phone, but we had a lot of fun with him!  I didn't do the run, but a few of my fellow Young Professionals did, so the rest of the group made sure to cheer them on as they ran through the finish line.  We manned the Provident table, which provided more information on Provident and the services they offered, as well as a sign up to get more involved.  I am happy to say that we had some people sign up, which was awesome.  There were a few different vendors, one in particular that stood out to me, Start Right.  They had waffles, which are full of protein.  Such a good idea to have a booth at a race!  The runners (and volunteers!), just ate them up!  All in all, it was a super successful event, and I cannot wait for next year!

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi.