Fashion

Comprehensive Maternity Jeans Review

February 13, 2019

OVERALL WINNER
Seven for All Mankind –
High Rise Maternity Jeans $189
BUY THESE JEANS! Oh my gosh, these are the maternity jeans of my dreams. They fit true to size, and are incredibly comfortable. Not in the “feel like leggings” way that some jeans feel, which I actually don’t like because those same jeans usually stretch out, but in the sense that they have both stretch and structure. I was skeptical of the side panels but what makes these so great is, in my opinion, that they are high rise so even with a side panel vs. over the belly they still feel like they support and cover me in the right areas. 😉 Plus, I think I underestimated how much I would love having a real zipper and button on maternity jeans. These are pricey but SO so worth it. I’ve worn them three times now and they aren’t stretched out at all.
VERDICT: KEEP

RUNNERS UP
H&M – MAMA Skinny Jeans $49.99
I kept this pair because they were so reasonably priced and seemed to be the type of jeans that would wear well and not stretch out too much with multiple wears. I haven’t worn them out and about yet, so I can’t personally vouch for their long term wear, but I like the fit and comfort thus far!
VERDICT: KEEP

Madewell – Over the Belly Skinny Jeans in Danny Wash $138
I really LOVE the way these feel and have worn thus far. True to Madewell denim, they have the perfect mix of stretch and structure to the denim and the over the belly panel is very comfortable. I kept this pair, though as a taller gal, I was so disappointed they don’t carry talls in their maternity jeans.
VERDICT: KEEP

THE LOSERS
Hatch Collection – Nearly Skinny Maternity Jean $248
Can you believe that price? These were the most expensive jeans in the bunch and honestly, some of my least favorites. They said on the website that these jeans run small and suggest sizing up one or even two sizes. I sized up one size but should have sized up two, I guess, because they still felt small. Other complaints? They were low rise (again) and honestly there wasn’t anything special about the jeans for the price.
VERDICT: RETURN

Target – Maternity Crossover Panel Jeans by Ingrid & Isabel $29.99
This was another brand and style that was recommended by many on Instagram, but I honestly couldn’t have disliked them more. The fit strange in the crotch, and I could tell that they would be the type of jeans that wore poorly and had to be washed after each wear.
VERDICT: RETURN

Other Brands Recommended
I didn’t try EVERY brand that was recommended but here are a few others that were recommended when I asked you all on Instagram what brands you loved:
LOFT Maternity Jeans (they don’t make talls, so I didn’t try any)
Good American Maternity Jeans
Jessica Simpson Maternity Jeans

STITCH FIX MATERNITY JEAN REVIEW
Overall, I wish I had discovered that Stitch Fix now has so many amazing maternity jeans to choose from. The box I got was awesome! I just requested that I only get maternity jeans in my fix and told my stylist a bit about what I was looking for and price point and she delivered with some great options. I haven’t used Stitch Fix in years, but this was so worth it! If you want to get a fix, you can use this referral code!

From Stitch Fix //
Lila Ryan – Liza Maternity Skinny Jean $98
This was a brand I hadn’t heard of before and I was really impressed! The jeans are a bit “stiffer” but have just a bit of stretch, and I liked the lighter wash and over the panel fit.

NYDJ – Ami Maternity Skinny Jean $139
These were comfortable when I slipped them on, but they were the type that I could tell would bag out and need to be washed after every wear – which is my biggest complaint with maternity jeans in general and a deal breaker for me.

Paige – Verdugo Maternity Skinny Jean $189
So so many people recommended Paige maternity jeans but I have to say I was NOT a fan of these jeans – especially for the price. The rise was fairly low on these jeans, and in the short time I was wearing them I could tell I would constantly be pulling them up if I kept them. Additionally, I heard from some people that they found Paige jeans didn’t hold their shape well.

Mavi – Colette Maternity Skinny Jean $88
I really liked these jeans! They were soft and stretchy yet fit snug enough that I felt they would wear well over time and multiple wears. I also really liked the darker wash for something different and the price point was great!

DL1961 – Florence Maternity Side Panel Skinny Jeans $128
No. Just no. Whoever thought that designing ridiculously low rise side panel maternity jeans was sorely mistaken. It does no favors for the booty or the pregnancy love handles. 😉 These were a hard PASS. They also run really large. Even sized down a size they were crazy baggy.

Fashion

My Makeup Routine Lately

February 11, 2019

You all already know this, but I’m a makeup minimalist at heart. As a work at home momma, I hardly go anywhere beyond the coffee shop, my home office and play dates with friends, errands with the girls and the occasional trip to Target.

All that said, I don’t really have a huge need for a lot of makeup on a daily basis, but I DO like to look and feel put-together even if I’m just lounging around the house and mom-ing. There’s something about putting myself together for the day (which includes getting dressed in real clothes, applying makeup, and at least putting my hair in a bun) that makes me a better mom – more likely to get out and do fun activities with the girls and welcome drop-in guests and last minute invites to do things during the day.

So, my makeup routine! It’s simple, quick and easy to achieve thanks to my beloved Flawless in Five. I’ve always used the Flawless in Five to some degree – but I’ve recently fallen in love with it all over again and been wearing some version of it on the regular.

Here are the Flawless in Five shades/colors I’ve been wearing (pictured in the first photo)

Tint Skin // Linen
Concealer Pen // Fair
Blush // Guava
Brows // Brilliant Brow Gel in Medium
Mascara // Volumizing
Gloss // Whisper (from holiday, though I love Bellini typically)

Want to see the entire application process in action? Head on over to Espresso & Cream Beauty where I demo my current favorites and how quickly the routine above can be done!

PS: Curious about getting your hands on your own minimalist makeup routine? You can do so HERE.

Family

Homemade Valentine’s Cookie Bouquet

February 8, 2019

This post is sponsored by Soapbox Influence in partnership with Vanilla Gift Cards.  As always, all opinions are my own. I carefully select which sponsored posts to take on with YOU, my awesome readers in mind! I hope this party helps inspire you this holiday season. #VanillaValentine #VanillaGiftCards

This is the first year that Ainsley has been in any type of formal school (she is in 3-year-old preschool this year) and as my kids have gotten into more and more activities I’ve realized how my mindset around holidays has shifted as well.

While Valentine’s Day in my 20’s was all about romantic love, boyfriends, eventually my husband and things we did as a couple, the last couple years there has been a definite shift toward class parties, Valentine’s Day card exchanges, teacher gifts and more. Don’t get me wrong, I still make plenty of time to show Joe that he matters most to me, but the focus on what I’m getting out of Valentine’s Day has become less and less important.

Since I’m never really the “do things in advance” type mom (and I’ve come to accept this about myself and my life stage) I’m usually doing a craft with Ainsley at the last minute to get ready for “Love Day” as Ainsley likes to call it.

Decorating cookies is a favorite activity in our house, no matter the time of year, so I decided to take Ainsley’s favorite thing to do and put a fun Valentine’s Day spin on decorated sugar cookies! We made a DYI cookie bouquet with heart-shaped cookies, put the cookies in a decorative vase, and paired it with a Vanilla Gift Card from Walmart for a little extra something special. This would be a perfect gift for kid’s teachers, family members, Sunday school teachers and more. I mean, who doesn’t love cookies and gift cards?

If left to my own devices, I would have probably done fancier decorated cookies, but since this was a mommy + me craft, I let Ainsley have full creative control with the cookie toppings of sprinkles and decorative pink frosting. 😉

DETAILS //
I bought a wire vase pre-wrapped with burlap at our local craft store and put a florist’s block (the green foam) inside. Then I stuck each cookie into the foam and taped the gift card onto one of the craft sticks and inserted it into the foam as well. It was SO easy!

CUT-OUT COOKIE RECIPE //
(from a really old “Christmas Cookies” book by Southern Living)
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Desired vanilla frosting of choice and toppings, such as sprinkles and colored frosting

Directions
Cream butter in a large mixing bowl; add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well.

Combine flour, soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture, blending well (dough will be very stiff)

Divide dough into thirds; roll each portion to 1/4-inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut with heart-shaped cutters and place 2-inches apart on baking sheet. Firmly press a paper craft stick into each cookie. Bake at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

Frost as desired.

Roasted Tomato Soup

February 5, 2019

I’m super thankful that although I’ve felt horrible this pregnancy (worse than the girls!) I haven’t really had any food aversions like I did with both Ainsley and Collins. Food doesn’t really sound good or satisfy, but it’s pretty universal across all food groups. So, with that said, I’ve still been eating plenty of vegetables and relatively healthy options.

About a month ago Joe said tomato soup and grilled cheese sounded good, and I have to agree that it’s sounded appealing this entire pregnancy so far. So I made a batch of homemade tomato soup, and then I tweaked it a bit and made it again and again. And now, I’ve got the method down and think I might make tomato soup every week until warmer temps are here.

Joe LOVES this recipe, as do I, and I love that it’s made with really clean ingredients and no cream, yet it still tastes remarkably hearty and satisfying on a chilly day. It also works great as leftovers throughout the week and is fantastic served with toasted sourdough.

Full disclosure: The girls do not care for tomato soup, but I torture then with it anyway and can usually at least get them to agree to the grilled cheese it’s often served with.

Roasted Tomato Soup
Ingredients
3-4 lbs. Roma tomatoes, halved (I estimate this – enough to fill a 13×9-inch sheet pan)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup salted chicken stock
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Caramelized Onions
1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper

Additional grated Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired

Directions
Heat oven to 425°F. Line a 13×9-inch baking sheet with foil. Place halved tomatoes on baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Place the minced garlic on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle tomatoes generously with salt and ground black pepper.

Roast 35 to 45 minutes or until tomatoes are very tender and slightly shriveled around the edges.

Meanwhile, make the onions. In a nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat, combine the onions and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are tender and caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Place onions and 1 cup chicken stock in a high speed blender along with the grated Parmesan and blend on high 30 seconds to 1 minute or until mixture is smooth and creamy. Transfer mixture to stock pot.

When tomatoes are done, working in two batches, place tomatoes in the blender and blend on HIGH for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until mixture is nearly smooth and no large chunks remain. Place pureed tomatoes in blender with the onion mixture.

Simmer 10 to 15 minutes, adding additional salt and pepper if needed, until flavors are combined and mixture is hot. Serve with additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Easy Roasted Brat & Potato Sheet Pan Meal

January 28, 2019

I’m enjoying a few days of sunshine and work meetings in California and so excited to be here, but I always have THE hardest time leaving my sweet crew. Even if it’s just for a couple days – and they usually go by quickly – I still just miss the heck out of them and love being with them.

When I leave, I do try to do at least a little meal prep to make the days go by smoothly and dinnertime easier while I’m away. I prepped a batch of our family’s favorite homemade tomato soup (recipe to come!), a baked pasta dish for Joe’s lunches, and this roasted sheet pan meal with brats, broccoli and potatoes.

It’s nothing special – and oftentimes I hesitate to share these “not special” meals on the blog – but really, this is the type of food and the way I like to cook on weeknights and when time is crunched. Which, let’s be honest, is more often than not.

Easy Brat & Potato Sheet Pan Meal
Ingredients
4 uncooked brats, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions
Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; brush foil with olive oil.

Place brats, potatoes, and broccoli on baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and ground black pepper. Spread in an even layer on the baking sheet.

Roast 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender, brats are cooked through and the broccoli is caramelized, turning just once during baking.

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