Weekend Update: Halloween is Here!

October 29, 2018

We're soaking up every last bit of Halloween that we can since, let's face it, on Thursday all the black and orange is coming down! Between a couple viewings of our favorite Halloween movies ('Spookley the Square Pumpkin' for the kids, 'Young Frankenstein' for Kyle and me), the activities we did and the treats we enjoyed it was certainly a fun Halloweekend.

On Saturday we bundled up and braved the inclement weather heading to the pumpkin patch with my sweet in-laws. Although there were a few hiccups (lots of rain, forgotten jackets at home, a picked over patch) the kids still had a ton of fun even though things don't go according to an exact plan. As always, they end up giving me so much perspective in the littlest ways. We found our perfect pumpkins, enjoyed some cider and donuts and caramel apples and my mother-in-law even got a picture of my whole family looking at the camera. Now THAT is a holiday miracle!

On Sunday we put on some Halloween music (honestly, it's a short playlist) and carved our jack-o-laterns. I told Kyle that I should have saved some of the pumpkin guts to make a homemade face mask because there are so many skin benefits in pumpkin (picture it now). Alas, we just focused on carving a spider for Jack and a cat for Violet. Henry and Max remained ambivalent and focused on the snacks. I'll pop some pictures up before the week is over, but for now here are some pumpkins that we painted last year. Painting pumpkins is such a fun alternative to carving, especially if you have little ones who aren't quite ready to wield a knife.

We have a couple tricks and treats left up our sleeves for the week and I'm excited to get everyone in their costumes one last time for class parties and candy collecting. Do you have any fun Halloween plans this week?

Create: Spooky Rice Krispie Treats

October 23, 2018

If you've got an extra 30 minutes lying around and some antsy munchkins that are excited for Halloween, then I've got a fun little activity for you! Let me be perfectly clear- I would have made these Spooky Rice Krispie Treats whether or not I had a few 3' tall helpers at home. I love making sweet treats and I loved a good theme; these are SO not reserved for children only. I feel like anything dipped in dark chocolate is adult approved anyway, right?

I started with a standard Rice Krispie Treat recipe (6 cups cereal, 4 cups marshmallows, 6 tablespoons butter) that I split in half so that I could make two batches (1 green for Frankensteins, 1 plain for Mummies). I know you could double the recipe and make two whole separate batches, but I promise you that's a lot of treats. Since ours are for at-home consumption only and trick-or-treating is next week, we certainly do not need two whole batches (read: I do not need to eat two whole batches after the boos and ghouls fall asleep at night).

In one batch, I added a few drops of green food coloring to the melted butter/marshmallow combination before folding it into the rice cereal. Start slow to find your perfect green (I used about 5 drops until I was satisfied). The other batch I left plain. I poured each batch into its own wax paper lined tray and threw them the fridge to set (this only takes about 10 minutes).

For the mummies, I melted down two bags of white chocolate chips in a double-boiler. After cutting the treats into squares I dipped the entire front of the treat into the melted chocolate. Using a spoon, I drizzled chocolate haphazardly over the dipped squares to look like bandages. Honestly, don't worry about perfection! These are cartoon mummies. And they are Rice Krispie Treats. A little devil-may-care attitude while drizzling is sure to give your finished product a more whimsical look. A couple of candy eyeballs are the finishing touch. You can find these at most grocery stores or craft stores.

The Frankensteins are up next. Using the double boiler again I melted down one bag of dark chocolate chips (the best kind of chocolate, IMHO). This time I only dipped the top half to serve as The Monster's flattop. A little black gel frosting and some candy eyeballs complete this batch. The tube of black gel frosting gives you a lot of control, but you could achieve the same effect by using the rest of the melted dark chocolate in a pastry bag with a small tip if you prefer.

And presto! Uncomplicated, toddler-approved treats ready to enjoy now or pass out to friends at a Halloween party. It's amazing how a few inexpensive ingredients can be memory makers on any old Tuesday morning.

Weekend Update: Fall Fun

October 22, 2018

The fact that it's already Monday and there's only one weekend left in October is kind of blowing my mind. We've made it through most of our Fall bucket list already, but you better believe this coming weekend will be packed with a few more activities (like the pumpkin patch) before the main event: Halloween!

We had a lot of fun this past weekend too. We made it to Canterbury Village for "Trunk-or-Treating" and hot apple cider with the kids on Saturday. My one piece of unwarranted advice to any new parent would be to plan for as many costumed/trick-or-treating/Halloween events as possible. 1. You've already spent the time or the money to put together the costume. Only getting one use out of it would be tragic. 2. If you only plan to do the costume on Halloween night, it's almost 100% certain that your child will be having a rough day or it will be hailing or you yourself will come down with the bubonic plague and you'll miss your shot for the perfect photo op and fun. 3. More activities = more opportunities for you to stock up on Reese's for yourself from your kid's haul. I'm an expert in regards to the latter point.

Sunday was a perfect mix of Fall and family. We stayed cozy, watched football, devoted some time to making homemade Chicken and Wild Rice soup and caught up on snuggles and rest. I always try to make self-care a priority on the weekends, so I made time for a little at home manicure on Sunday too. My favorite trick? I paint one hand during the kids' naptime and the other after they go to bed at night so that I'm always free to grab snacks, pull up pants or pop on PJ Masks without major smudge risk (#multitasking). Pro-tip: if you try this method don't run any errands in between hands to avoid strange stares at your half done manicure (OR commit to this being your "new look" and own it).

Nothing like a fulfilling weekend to help motivate for the week ahead! I'll be bringing some fun Halloween things to the blog this week as we round out the month. What are you doing this week to get ready for the holiday?

Celebrate: Baby's First Halloween

October 20, 2018

If you haven't already picked up on the fact that I'm a major holiday person then here's my Saturday morning newsflash: I'm a MAJOR holiday person. Any reason to decorate, coordinate or celebrate I must admit, I'm here for it. And being in a season of life that is constantly full of FIRST holidays as our family grows is extra special. This Halloween is Max's first and while I had a long list of costume ideas, once the idea of a Harry Potter costume was added into the mix I knew it was the one.

I might be a little biased, but I think he just LOOKS like baby Harry Potter! The best part about this costume is that with Max having two older brothers I already had most of the items on hand. A white dress shirt of Henry's from last Thanksgiving, a grey sweater of Jack's from a few years before and a pair of dark pants did the trick. I picked up the inexpensive scarf and glasses from a local costume store (you could go with Amazon or Target too) and those will make fun additions to the kids' dress-up clothes for the next few years. If you have the skill and time, the scarf would be fairly simple to knit as well! A little dash of eyeliner served as the famous lightening bolt scar. And the wild hair, well, that's just genetics leading this to be the perfect costume for Max.

There is no way I could pick a favorite kids' costume from over the years, but I will say that this is my favorite Halloween costume that Max has ever worn. And since it's only his first, I think we've set the bar pretty high for next year!

Favorite Finds: Band Tees, Baby!

October 16, 2018

One of my favorite items to incorporate into my wardrobe is a good band tee. Perennially available at a bevy of retailers whether you search for a true vintage option at your local thrift shop or order a "vintage-inspired" version from a large retailer, they are surprisingly versatile no matter the trends or the season.

For an easy take on the look, try denim and your favorite pair of booties with a chambray or plaid layered over your tee. Swap out for cut-offs and Converse when the temps rise. For a more fashion forward twist, a bomber jacket and a calf length skirt for Fall. What about a knit blazer thrown over your shoulders with a pair of dark washed denim and good heels for a night out (if Carrie Bradshaw could do it, why not you?) Don't forget the added edge it gives athleisure whether you are leaving the gym or want to appear as if you just worked up a sweat. Finally, a simple pair of cropped, flare denim to complement front-tuck styling of your favorite band tee works just as well. One little tee, so many ways to update items you probably currently own!

Below I'm showing a few of my current favorite band tees at a variety of price points. How would you style the look? Let me know in the comments below!

Queen Tee, Revolve

Beatles Tee, Urban Outfitters

Led Zeppelin Tee, Free People

Johnny Cash Tee, Target

The Best Spooky (Not Scary) Halloween Movies

October 15, 2018
I am here to provide a list of my very favorite spooky (not scary) movies that you need to watch annually if you have a pulse and it's October. They are spooky (not scary) NOT because I have small children, but because I am infantile myself and do not enjoy true horror films. I do not have the constitution for them. I watch one and I will actually lose sleep for weeks. No 'It,' no 'Annabelle,' no thank you. I make the exception with one or two Hitchcock movies every year because no one beats his mastery of suspense (and there was so much less gore in the classics). So that being said...drumroll please....my list of Spooky (not Scary) movies in no particular order:

1. 'Hocus Pocus': I was born in the late 80s, grew up in the 90s and, frankly, if you haven't watched this movie every year since you can remember Halloween then I don't think you will find me all that relatable. This movie just makes me feel like it's Halloween. I love everything about it except for the fact that the cat's name is THACKERY and not ZACHARY. That is more unbelievable than the premise of three fabulous witches coming back from the dead to collect eternal youth. I love you, SJP. I love you, Bette Midler. Nothing beats the mid-movie song and dance moment and you know it.

2. 'The Addams Family': Another classic for those raised in the 90s, the dark humor and sarcasm in this movie just get better the older I get. The casting director nailed it with this one; Angelica Houston is Halloween #beautygoals and Christina Ricci brings out the evil little sister in all of us with her turn as the macabre Wednesday Addams. It's dark and strange and funny all at the same time and I love it. I can't tell if my kids will like this movie one day or just roll their eyes and tell me it's too weird.

3. 'Clue': The "original" Murder Mystery party, this whodunnit movie is solid gold in the comedy arena. It's the perfect mix of high-energy dialogue, slapstick comedy, campiness and Tim Curry. I don't think anyone has turned a board game into a movie I love more. Ok, I don't think anyone has turned another board game into a movie. But either way, this one stands the test of time and is just FUN to watch. Bonus points if you can turn the viewing into your own Murder Mystery dinner complete with costumes (extra points if you can incorporate all those great coats the women wear).

4. 'Ghostbusters': I don't care how dated the graphics are, I don't care how silly some of the plot-line is, Ghostbusters is a must watch during the Halloween season at our house. Isn't this the movie that introduced you to Bill Murray aka the kooky uncle of our generation? I stayed at the Biltmore a few years ago on a work trip and kept my eye out for Slimer the entire time.

5. 'The Nightmare Before Christmas': It's a mash-up of two of the best holidays, the songs are catchy, the characters are iconic and Tim Burton is at the helm of this one. I actually thought this movie would be way too scary for my little ones, but my daughter is beyond obsessed with Jack Skellington and Sally (she far prefers them to any Disney princess, she was a skeleton for Halloween last year and is essentially the next Helena Bonham Carter) so this one is a must watch in our house.

6. 'Casper': Wait, did they only make fun Halloween movies in the 90s? I grew up with this one as a holiday staple and loved it mostly because Christina Ricci was the coolest and Devon Sawa was a dream boat (spoiler alert: Devon Sawa peaked in the 90s).

Do you watch these movies or do you love the thrill of a REAL scare? Am I missing any of your favorites? Grab your popcorn and sound off in the comments below!

Friday Favorites 10.12.18

October 12, 2018

Favorite Treat: It wouldn't be Autumn without a trip to Yates for hot cider and a donut. The best part is, there is a Yates shop in Canterbury Village which is not far at all from our new house! If you're headed to the Rochester Hills location, I would suggest making a morning out of it and walking the nature trail; the colors are beyond stunning right now in Michigan.

Favorite Look: There's that sweet spot in the season where you can wear all your cute, third piece layers without having to cover them with a heavy winter coat and you can wear your suede boots without having to worry about them getting damaged from snow and salt. I wish I could find somewhere to live that felt like this year round (although maybe I wouldn't appreciate it as much if I did). I love this cape and these boots for this exact moment of the season.

Favorite Quote: From one of my all-time favorite writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald, this quote sums up my feelings about the season perfectly. It's finally cool enough for scarves, boots, hats, sweaters and all other things cozy and I only hope it's here to stay. Maybe it's the lifelong student in me, but Fall always feels like new beginnings, even more than the start of a new calendar year each January (image found via Pinterest).

Favorite Find: I'm seriously coveting this sherpa lined, buffalo plaid jacket that I found at H&M. Mustard is so on trend right now, but with such a classic silhouette and print I feel like it isn't trying too hard to be of the moment. So perfect with dark denim, your favorite white tee and booties for a casual look OR you could mix it up with a calf length accordion-pleated skirt and some fresh white kicks for a fun twist.

Favorite Song: 'Fare Thee Well' by Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford from the film 'Inside Llewyn Davis.' This one just sounds like Fall and is the perfect melancholy, folky song to be your backdrop for a rainy afternoon with a yummy candle burning and a cozy blanket on.

Favorite Finds: Trend Right Shoes (and the Hack that Helps)

October 11, 2018

There are two things I love: investing in a classic piece that will last me a lifetime and finding an amazing bargain on a trendy piece that I know I'll only get a couple seasons out of before I can't believe I ever wore it.

Recently I think stores like Target and H&M have been on point in their accessory selection. I am super impressed with the trend conscious shoes, handbags and hats I am finding and for such low prices it's easy to achieve the cute look you want without having to break the budget.

The only problem I have with this kind of footwear is that sometimes you end up sacrificing quality and comfort for price. There's an easy fix for that though! When I fall in love with a pair of shoes from a fast fashion line, I size up half a size and slip in a pair of insoles from my Nikes or other running shoes. Presto! You now have the cutest AND most comfortable shoes on the block. And you can use the money you saved to buy some bragging rights for what a thrifty shopper you are.

Below I've included links to the style pictured as well as a few other pairs that I'm coveting for the season, all under $50.

These Free People look-a-likes.
The perfect white booties for Fall.
The cutest fur lined mules.
These studded mules (that will go with EVERYTHING).
Ruffled flats in the color of the season.
Leopard sock booties that are surprisingly versatile.

Trick or Treat?: $4 Halloween Entryway Update

October 08, 2018

Fall really is the beginning of such a magical time of the year, isn't it? It seems to me like my calendar fills up so quickly as soon as the leaves start turning, but with most of the obligations being celebratory, Fall just feels FESTIVE. With festivities come a rotating door of decorations to pull together since the holidays are really lined up back to back to back and that can add up pretty quickly. I know I'm not the only one who gets sucked down the rabbit hole at Target where every item is perfectly priced to reasonably "just throw in the cart!"- that is, until I have a cart filled with 25+ "perfectly priced" items.

I was flipping through a few catalogs and scrolling Pinterest and I kept stumbling upon fun silhouette vinyls to decorate the walls for Halloween (think flying witches, spider webs, bats, etc). I like that this is a slightly more subtle twist on spooky decor. Determined to stray from my usual decorating/spending habits, I grabbed the scissors, $0.69 worth of black poster board and a quick Google search for "free bat template." In about 15 minutes I had updated my entryway for October! In fact with the small white pumpkins costing only $0.69 each at Trader Joe's (and the rest of the items being things I already own and use on my entryway table), the entire update cost less than $4.00! No tricks, THAT'S a treat. Happy Haunting!

Friday Favorites: 10.5.18

October 05, 2018
Rounding up my favorite things from this week before cozying up on another cold, rainy night with a movie and a warm cup of cocoa with my guy. Tonight we are watching the "new" 'Jurassic World' movie which may have been a summer blockbuster, but in all reality it usually takes us about 6 months after anything is released to finally see it. I'm ok with it though; nothing beats being able to press pause for snack breaks and last I checked, they frown upon you taking your bra off in the middle of a movie theater. I'll take a delay in viewing for comfort any day of the week.

Favorite Day: I got to tag along with my favorite preschooler on his apple orchard field trip today and we had a blast. I love making memories with my little ones and today was one for the books. Tractor rides, apple picking, petting zoo, hay maze, cider and donuts. From start to finish it was filled with the good stuff and even more special to get one on one time with my first baby.

Favorite Song: Mumford & Sons, "Guiding Light." Love it, love them, love that they released dates for their tour next Spring and I'll see you at the concert.

Favorite Find: I rarely meet an oversized sweater I don't like and H&M is certainly NOT disappointing in that category this season. Check out this little gem (a steal at $13) that would look perfect over a light washed pair of distressed denim and also looks long enough to cover your bum in leggings. While you're there, check out the selection of jackets (then immediately add-to-cart).

Favorite Sweet Treat: This one is a throwback, but all the reminiscing about our wedding day this week has me craving the macaroons from Cannelle Patisserie. We gave them away as favors at our wedding in two of my favorite flavors- coffee and chocolate.

Favorite Inspiration: This Halloween Party that I stumbled across on Pinterest via minted.com is too adorable and so many of the components looks like fairly simple DIYs. This would be a fun way to host some friends on Halloween before Trick-or-Treating commences.

Celebrate: Our Anniversary!

October 04, 2018

Today marks one of my very favorite days to celebrate (and I LOVE reasons to celebrate) because today is my wedding anniversary! When Kyle proposed five years ago, I was beyond certain that I would be a June bride. I had the idea in my head (I blame too many viewings of 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.' Yes, my love for musical theater runs deep) and was so excited to plan our Summer wedding. Our color story was easy to choose (blush and bashful, haha) and Baby's Breath would accent the day like little clouds in a Summer sky. We knew we wanted the event to feel like a destination wedding without a HUGE travel commitment for many if we could help it and both immediately fell in love with the sweeping hills, stunning lake views, charming barn and winding vineyard paths of Ciccone Vineyards in Suttons Bay, MI. The place looked gorgeous in the summer sun and I would be a bride in June of 2014.

Well, through a series of unexpected events that I like to call LIFE we ended up welcoming our first little guy, Jack, only one day before our original wedding date (I would be hard pressed to find a more wonderful surprise in this lifetime if I tried) and we were lucky enough to be able to move our date to October 4th at the exact same venue with our whole team intact.

Keeping in the theme of surprises, Jack wasn't the first wedding surprise we had. With Fall came uncertain Michigan weather (read: it was the coldest and rainiest October in the history of Octobers), a scramble for umbrellas, a Plan B ceremony set up that quickly became a Plan A, a florist shop with a whole in the ceiling and a flood on the floor, a manicurist who didn't have the perfect shade on hand (mine was sitting back at the condo in my luggage) and last minute rentals of enough space heaters to warm a party of 150 in a drafty, spacious barn. But the thing is, all the things that went "wrong" quickly became the most memorable parts of the day. I couldn't imagine getting married in any season other than my very favorite one (I just love Autumn). And if I thought the vineyard was gorgeous in the Summer sun, I wasn't prepared for how perfectly moody, romantic and stunning it would be under cloudy skies and rain.

The day did not go off without a hitch, but we ended it hitched and when I look back I wouldn't change a single thing even if I could. I ended up married to the guy who still makes me heart beat faster four years later and helps me believe in the sun, even when it's not shining. Happy Anniversary, DK!