Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Light Layers for Spring

We are finally getting some spring weather around here . . .but truth be told, there is still a chill in the air. So while my mailbox and Pinterest feed are full of tank tops and flip flops, the weather here isn't quite cooperating. That's where the idea of layering comes into play.

Spring is a great time to layer. Not only does it give you pieces to take off if you get warm, but it's a fun way to play with color as well. And if the breeze kicks up, you can pile the layers back on. A recent addition to my layering arsenal is a tank top. Being a large-chested woman, I have never fully embraced the tank. It's not something I would ever wear on it's own, and they always seem too flimsy to even bother with. But I have recently discovered two that have changed my mind completely.

The first is a basic microfiber tank from Chico's. It comes in a wide variety of colors and is perfect under sweaters, peasants tops, anything I want a smoother line (or an extra layer) underneath.The second is the Bienne Tank from Aventura. A basic white one was part of my recent Ambassador shipment, and I'm not sure if I've taken it off. Now I was skeptical of this piece at first, it was MUCH snugger than I had anticipated. But as a first layer piece - I am in LOVE!!

Using the Bienne Tank from Aventura Clothing as a First Layering Piece

Here's an easy layered outfit I styled. You probably have similar pieces already in your closet. Jeans, the Bienne Tank, a button-down shirt and sneakers. So easy, comfortable, with just an edge of style.

Bienne Tank from Aventrua Clothing Styled with Skinny Jeans and a Button-Down Shirt

Jeans - Ann Taylor Modern Skinny (this season)
Tank - Bienne Tank from Aventura Clothing
Shirt - Ralph Lauren (last year)
Sneakers - Kate Spade for Keds (last year)
Necklace - Tiffany
Bracelets - Alex and Ani and Tiffany

Still worried you may be chilly? Add a great little spring jacket! Also in my recent Ambassador shipment from Aventrua Clothing, I received this adorable white cotton jacket. It's totally styled like a classic denim jacket, without the bulk and stiffness, which is perfect for a large-chest.

Adding a Light White Cotton Spring Jacket to Style a Layered Look

I loved the way this outfit came together. At first I was worried about the two sets of dots - on the shirt AND on the sneakers. But I think since they are close in scale, it works.

What are you layering on this week?

catch you soon -
I am a 2015 Aventrua Clothing Ambassador. As part of my agreement, I received a shipment of clothing to review and share with you. As always, all opinions are my very own.

This post is linked up at The Pleated Poppy and at Get Your Pretty On. Check out what the other bloggers are sharing for even more outfit ideas and inspiration.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Menu Plan Monday - 2015 Week 16

Weekly Meal Plan - Menu Plan with Real Food for Real People

Welcome back to another weekly meal plan. This week, I'm organizing another round of real food ideas for real people.We are in the midst of spring sports season here. This week we have 6 lacrosse practices, 3 lacrosse games, one baseball practice and one baseball game. Everything is spaced out a little this week, but I may still have to make some menu changes.

Throw into this busy mix, a kid that doesn't eat many things, and no meat unless its chicken nuggets, homemade chicken tenders or hot dogs. When I need a quick substitution, I typically turn to scrambled eggs and toast - everyone loves it, it's easy and low-mess. We're not salad eaters, we prefer breads and pasta - but I'm really trying to move away from them so much (you can't tell from the menu below!)

I guess what I'm saying is that I hear your menu planning struggles - I have them too. But each week, I come back here and try to provide some inspiration and ideas for you. This is my real plan - this is what we are really eating this week, not some stylized ideal menu that looks pretty and sounds healthy. We don't need one more place telling us our own efforts aren't good enough. Trust me - they are! 

Here's what we have on our menu for this week:

Monday - Burgers and Dogs on the Grill
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday with Guacamole and Corn ( I recently made my own Taco Seasoning and I will never go back - if I can do it, you can too!)
Wednesday - Easy Italian Chicken Bake
Thursday - Ravioli with Spinach and Olive Oil
Friday - Pizza Night
Saturday - Leftover Buffet/YOYO
Sunday - Mozzarella Panini - using this recipe as a guide

What's for dinner at your house this week?

Menu Plan Monday - Weekly Meal Plan

catch you soon -
This post is linked up at I'm An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday. Be sure to check it out for more meal planning ideas and inspiration.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Cleaning - Naturally

Natural Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks

I may have mentioned this before, but I am not a fan of cleaning. That doesn't mean I don't like a clean house, because I most certainly do. I just don't particularly care to clean my own house when I could be reading a great book instead.

For years, I had a fabulous young woman that helped me keep my house clean. When I started working from home, and freelancing, we decided that having her come to clean, wasn't a necessary item in our household budget, and I took on the main house cleaning role again.

Being the organized person that I am, I decided on a daily cleaning schedule, much like my grandmother did when I was a little girl. On Monday, I clean the bathrooms, Tuesdays is dusting day, and so on. Every day includes tidying up and laundry. By sticking to this routine, my house is usually neat and relatively clean, should you drop by.

In the spring, I get a little more enthusiastic about clearing out the junk, cleaning the place up and brightening up everything. And I love the way a house smells when it's clean. Recently, through my essential oil journey, I found the most wonderful, non-toxic multi-purpose cleaner. I had read countless testimonies about how wonderful it was and how people used it to clean just about everything. . .from fabric to granite.

This amazing multi-purpose cleaner is the Thieves Cleaner available from Young Living. It's sold in a concentrated form, and you you can make your own spray bottles of cleaner in the strength best suited to your cleaning needs. It's very economical, as a cap full of concentrate, mixed with three cups of water, goes a long way. I feel so good about using this cleaner on my counter tops and where my kids and cat hang out. No harsh smells to irritate us, or lingering chemicals on our surfaces. And it cleans GREAT! I don't notice any difference between this and my old, chemical-filled harsh cleaners.

In fact, there are all sort of natural cleaning recipes from Young Living you can use this spring!

Photo Courtesy of Young Living
 Another way you can "clean up" your cleaning game, is by using reusable cloths (such as microfiber or old t shirts) to save on paper towel waste,  By making your own cleaning supplies, you can re-use your spray bottles and containers, cutting down on the amount of plastic bottles that are discarded too. Those are two more wins for the environment and our planet!

What's your favorite natural cleaning method or product?

You can contact me for more information on essential oils, Young Living, or how you can earn free oils and Young Living products.

catch you soon - 

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A First Look at Spring from Aventura Clothing

I don't know about where you live, but Spring has not fully "sprung" here in the Philadelphia suburbs. We have had about three beautiful days, and the rest have been chilly or rainy or both. Getting dressed is becoming a daily struggle around here.

Spring Color - Turquiose Wrap

You may have seen my announcement on Facebook that I am an Aventura Clothing Ambassador for 2015. As part of that awesome relationship, I received a preview shipment of spring clothing to share with all of you. That's really cool right?  It would be even cooler if it was actually warm enough to wear some it to share with you!

I finally got my big chance on Sunday. It was sunny, and promised to be in the 60s. So I reached into my box of Aventura goodies, and pulled out a few basic pieces to mix and match with some things already in my closet. Here's what I love about the clothing from Aventura - it is comfortable, casual and classic. All of the pieces lend themselves to mixing and matching and incorporating into your current wardrobe and style. That makes getting dressed so much easier - right?

Here's what I pulled together:

Spring Style featuring the Kyle Wrap form Aventrua Clothing

Pants - Ann Taylor - Early Fall 2014
Shirt - The Mayfield Top from Aventura Clothing
Cardigan - The Kyle Wrap from Aventrua Clothing
Boots - Aerosoles (old)
Bag - Kate Spade 2014
Necklace - Ann Taylor (old)
Bracelets - Tiffany, Alex and Ani

The details that are hard to see in the photo, are the small white dot print on the ankle pants, the stitching detail on the sleeves of the Kyle Wrap and the soft drape of the top, which is made of a rayon from bamboo and modal fabric blend. I would have loved to wear my black patent open-toe sling backs, but the weather is not warm enough quite yet. In fact, I added a hot pink cashmere scarf to the outfit before I left the house!

What will your big spring color be?

catch you soon -
This post is linked up at The Pleated Poppy and at Get Your Pretty On. Check them out for more outfit ideas and inspiration. As mentioned, I am an Aventura Clothing Ambassador and was provided clothing to share via blog posts and social media. As always, all opinions are my very own.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Menu Plan Monday - 2015 Week 15

Weekly Meal Plan Ideas - Real Food for Real People

With Spring Break and the Easter and Passover holidays in our review mirrors, it's time to get organized for Spring. Longer (and I desperately hope warmer) days are coming. Spring sports are kicking into gear and our desire to get outside will overtake that winter hibernating habit.

As the weather gets warmer, I toss aside my casserole and comfort food recipes in favor of some lighter menu ideas, using seasonal and lighter foods. This year, since both John and I are looking to shed a few winter pounds, I'm planning to incorporate more "salads" - which may simply turn into some lean grilled meat over seasonal greens, tossed with some quinoa. While I love simple meals like that, I struggle with a "sauce" or dressing idea . . .what are some of your favorites??

Here's what we have planned for this week (which includes 6 LAX practices, 2 LAX games, 1 Baseball Practice, Baseball Opening Day Parade and 1 Baseball Game):

Monday - Easter Leftovers
Tuesday - Chicken Milanese (I'm going to try working from this recipe)
Wednesday - Baked Salmon (with Dijon and bread crumbs), Green Beans and Quinoa
Thursday - This is our busiest night, so it's Meatball Sandwiches and Pasta Salad
Friday - Pizza Night
Saturday - Family early dinner out
Sunday - Leftover Buffet/YOYO

What are you having for dinner this week?

Weekly Meal Plan

catch you soon -
This post is linked up at I'm An Organizing Junkie. Be sure to check it out for even more ideas and inspiration for your weekly meal planning.