Weekend Favorites

Happy Friday Everyone! Here are a few favorite things from around the internet this week…
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1. T.J.Maxx asked the girls to participate in their Maxx Kids Art Contest. The campaign want kids to get involved with helping others and learning about caring for our communities. 25 winners will be selected to receive a $250 savings bond and the chance for their artwork to be featured on products sold in T.J.Maxx stores that benefit organizations who help children in need, like Save the Children. Download your entry form here and drop off at any T.J.Maxx store until July 11th. Rowan told me her favorite thing in the whole world is “making homemade lemonade together and then making a lemonade stand to give out to all the people in the neighborhood who are thirsty”.
Finley told me her favorite thing was “going hiking with Meme and Papa…and butterflies”.

2. Have you browsed through this summer sale? Nordstrom has some great items on major sale forkids!! Love all the swimsuits. Plus these shoes and these shoes for me!

3. Doesn’t Julie look so beautiful in this outfit?! Love the whole look!

4. This was by far my favorite father’s day post from around the internet this past week!

5. The LOFT is kind of killing it right now. They’re lucky (well my wallet is lucky) I am pregnant right now. I desperately want 1. this gingham top 2. this gingham top 3. this flow white top 4. this jumpsuit 4. this dress 5. I am totally tempted to just buy these to wear next summer- soooo on sale! P.s you can get $25 off your order today!

6. Pinch of Yum is one of my most favorite food blogs. Don’t these look so dang good?!?!

7. Still the very BEST basics out there. An easy way to look effortlessly cool this summer!

8. Indiana is back at it!! This time her and her husband Chris are making awesome and hilarious podcasts. I was honored to be one of their very first guests. We talked about trends we wish we could try and how our style has changed since becoming a Mom. Go give it a listen and then subscribe to their new blog!

9. Going to try these (here and here) easy breezy non maternity dresses! I think they will work with or with out a baby bump!

10. I am pretty sure I would dip EVERYTHING in to this yummy dip. Love this blog so much!

11. My all around favorite fashion blog. Always so classy and chic!

Stocking up on some adorable baby basics from J.Crew this weekend. All on sale for 30% off!!

Weekly Parenting Ups & Downs

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Popping in for another installment of my weekly parenting ups & downs. We all have them! Why not share them!

OUR UPS:

1. Strawberry picking. It’s always one of my most favorite outings every year (sort of like apple picking). The girls totally got into it this year too, Rowan really loved finding all the perfectly red and juicy ones and Finley just eat any strawberry she saw for the whole 2 hours we were there. We drive about 40 mins to a farm out in the country that is a low spray, surrounded by mountains and so sweet and cute I can’t stand it. I will admit that strawberry picking while pregnant is not the most comfortable activity in the whole world, especially when it’s super hot out. We made the most of it though.

2. Potty Training: This will also be on the down list. We woke up the other morning and it was as if all the diapers in our house magically got sucked into a diaper vortex over the night. We realized there were absolutely NO diapers left in the house. We’ve been here before but there is always one more in the car, or my purse, or in the pool bag or somewhere. This time there were NONE ANYWHERE. We have been super casual with potty training Finley but this was the nudge (or well shove) into potty training that we needed. Anyway, we just went full force into it. We’ve been diaper free (other than at nap and bedtime- she’s not there yet) for 2 days. She is stubborn!! But she has peed on the potty 2 times. I feel like is a big giant win for a girl who will hold it all darn day because she isn’t wearing a diaper. Onward and upward!

3. The amount of excitement that Rowan has for doing things is about the sweetest, most heart-warming thing ever. She just finds so much joy in even the smallest things. It’s no joke that she yells “this is the best day ever” like everyday. So when we are actually going to do something exciting she gets all crazy silly and it makes me laugh so hard. She cracks me up! We are headed to the Poconos this weekend to go to a waterpark and other things and she has had her suitcase packed for about a week.

4. Finley has been talking up a storm lately and her little smoker voice is so sweet I can’t stand it. It’s deep and wraspy yet so baby like at the same time. She always copies what Rowan says so half her sentences are much larger than any little girl her age would normally be trying to say. They get all jumbled, with words mispronounced and ohh I could listen to them all day long.

5. Rowan last night said “Hey Mom! You know what? It works out good with the baby in you belly because when we read stories it’s like they get to listen too.” awwwwwwwww

OUR DOWNS:

1. Potty Training: Ugh! Oooh there isn’t much I dislike more than potty training. The constant asking if they have to go, the potty books, the bribes, the constantly looking for every bathroom in every store you go to, the germs in public restrooms, the planning your day around how long you can be in the car, out, doing errands, the extra clothes you always have to carry around, convincing them that pooping in the potty isn’t scary, the puddle of pee on the floor of old navy you are trying to clean up before someone sees. The list could go on and on. It’s a stage I know and in the scheme of things passes very quickly but yuck! it’s a gross stage. Remember our potty adventure with Rowan when we tried to get the Christmas tree? Oh man! That makes me laugh now. We had a similar one out strawberry picking the other day- except I totally had the little potty in the car for Finley this time.

2. Rowan’s hair is a little wild. It always has been. I cut her bangs because her hair could never decide on a part and it was always in her face. The bangs are cute, like super cute. BUT her hair is so curly and wavy that they take some care in the morning (especially after sleeping). Care she has no interest in waiting for. Most days her hair is this wild, curly, 80’s sort of do that of course looks adorable on her because she is 4 and what doesn’t look cute. I do try to get her to let me straighten them every once in a while. When we went for a walk the other day, we noticed her look at her reflection in the car and say “ooh I should have brushed my hair before we left.” Ahhh it sort of broke my heart. Did I create come kind of complex in her over her hair? I mean we NEVER say anything negative or degrading about her hair. And of course I do feel like there is something to be learned about taking care of yourself and learning we need to brush our teeth, brush our hair and not wear pjs out of the house sort of thing BUT… it sort of made me want to cry that she looked at herself and thought that. I just want them to have such high self esteem and not be concerned about outward things like hair, especially at 4. I don’t really have a conclusion to this, just wanted to share my sort of #momfail and to remind myself how much of a sponge they are. They’re aware of so much more than we realize sometimes.

3. Oh the Drama! We have a household of girls with LOTS of feelings. Always knowing how to best parent those feelings is tough. I want to allow them to feel those things but there is also a balance to becoming a little over dramatic and whiny. It’s tough being a parent- you want to do your best for them at all times but sometimes you just don’t know what that is. It takes time to figure each other out, what works and what doesn’t.

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Feel free to share your own in the comments!

Our Everyday Style | 06.23.15 #25weeks

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I won’t deny that I kind of LOVE dressing alike with the girls. Sometimes more deliberate than others but I love when we match. That’s why I was pumped when T.J.Maxx and Marshalls emailed me about celeb moms matching with their daughters (see here, here and here) and challenged me to create our own mother/daughter look. It was right up our alley! They aren’t going to want to match or take group photos forever, right? Gotta live it up now. Rowan and I actually went out on a little Mommy/daughter date night together to go shopping for something. We went with an overall theme more than exact matching outfits. I am totally on board with all blue that’s in the store right now. I love all the indigo dyed things out there. So pretty! I was able to find a ton of super cute Lucky Brand tops (at a major discount!) in the kids section for Rowan. They all had the cutest details- like the crochet shoulders on the top she is wearing in these pictures. And don’t even get me started on the new items from June & January! This playsuit Finley’s wearing is pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever put on her. *Swoon.

Sorry for the abundance of photos in this post. I don’t assume any of you want to see 500 pictures of my kids, unless of course you’re my Mom (hi Mom!) and then these pictures are for you. I just couldn’t help it. It was like every picture was gold. I love capturing their silly, loving and sweet relationship. Sisters are kinda the best. Can’t believe they’re both going to be big sisters soon. I always wonder how becoming a middle child will change Finley’s current personality. Any insight from Mom’s with 3 or more out there? Would love to hear your thoughts. Also, would you just look at Finley’s sassy little face!

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

JEN:
Chambray crop top: Marshalls
Maternity skirt: asos
Sandals: Marshalls

ROWAN:
Lucky Brand top: T.J.Maxx
Polka dot jeans: Target
Salt Water Sandals: Nordstrom

FINLEY:
Striped playsuit: June & January
Salt Water sandals: Nordstrom

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Let’s talk Honest!

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Last year when we made a big overhaul to the way we eat, we also made a big ol’ overhaul to the products we use to clean our house and the products we use on our bodies as well. I know that a lot of household cleaners and body products can be self made, but I decided I would rather spend extra time on making food from scratch and save time in these particular areas. I went on a big search for brands and items that would work well for our family. It was really important to me because I think we pay a lot of attention to the food we eat, without much thought about the products we put on our bodies. They’re getting absorbed into out bodies just like the food we eat, right? I hated how almost every soap, cleaner, shampoo out there was full of colored dyes, bad chemicals, etc… After searching a bit I ended up really falling in love with Honest. I know Honest has been around now for a while but it was the first time I really started using their products. They’re simple to order (go with the monthly bundles!!) and I only have great things to say about all the products we’ve been using over the past year. I signed up to receive a monthly bundle every month- I change the products that will show up at our doorstep depending on what we’re out of. The products below are the staples in our house. They’re my most loved Honest items! I would totally recommend giving them a try if you haven’t already.

1. Toothpaste:

It was a must for us to find a toothpaste that did have SLS in it. We love both the kids and the adult versions. They even sell travel sizes making it super handy when you travel. The kids love the strawberry flavor and I love the mint.

2. Spray Hand Sanitizer:

Ohhh let me sing the praises of this hand sanitizer! I have tried a lot of them over the years since having kids and these are BY FAR my favorite. Have you ever noticed how disgustingly neon pink the soap is in most public bathrooms? I make everyone get a good heavy spray after potty breaks and we’re good to go. I love not having to touch the sinks and dryers that are also covered in germs.

3. Vitamins:

These are the newest additions to our bundles. I’ve been taking the prenatal vitamin for a few months now and the girls love the kids chewable ones.

4. Conditioner:

Our whole house uses the shampoo and conditioner from Honest. Love that it makes my hair soft with out feeling weighed down with added gunk.

5. Multi Purpose Cleaner:

We use this for EVERYTHING!

6. Shave Oil:

This is one of my top favorites. It feels like a little spa treatment when you shave. My legs tingle (from the menthol crystals) and are so soft after using it in the shower.

7. Sun Screen:

I am a stickler about sun screen. Oooh it can be so bad for you even when it is doing something soooo good for you. Ingredients in sunscreen is something really important to me. I love the Honest sunscreen, especially the sun stick. Man! That thing is so handy. I leave one in my purse at all times. The amount of times it has saved all of us from sunburns! Perfect for quick under eye, nose, forehead coverage at the park on a sunny day.

8. Fruit and Veggie Wash:

I try to buy organic as much as we can but this fruit and veggie wash helps with some piece of mind when I can’t. Spray produce down and wash it off. Simple as that!

*This is not a sponsored post by Honest. Just my honest (no pun intended) opinions on the products that we use and love in our household. There is an affiliate link used though.

Celebrating 60!!

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It was my Dad’s 60th Birthday this month and we surprised him with a special family weekend in Lake George. My sister flew in from Squamish, BC and my middle sister Amy came down from Rochester. We haven’t all been together in 3 years! That’s crazy to me! Needless to say, it was a very fun, memorable and special weekend for my Dad (and well, all of us of course!). Lake George in upstate NY is such a beautiful area. The lake is gorgeous, the Adirondack Mountains make the perfect backdrop and there are endless things to do. I love that it’s so close to us. The girls were loving all the attention all weekend. They always miss everyone so much when they aren’t around. It’s hard living away from family, but it does make it that much sweeter when you are together again (just wish it could happen a little more often!). It’s crazy to think that the amount of time spent living away from each other is quickly creeping up to pass the length of time we actually all spent together under one roof. I know life goes on and that’s the nature of growing up, but I always wonder what it would be like to have my sisters or parents down the street or even just in the next town over. I could call them up quick and say “come over and watch Project Runway with me”, or “we’re running to Target want to come?” It’s something I’ve never experienced and not sure I ever will- who knows where this life will take us all. I know my parents raised us to be adventurers, to follow our hearts, to take risks and live big. So honestly, I feel like we will always be spread out all over the country but that’s ok. I am so proud of what everyone is doing and who we’ve all become. I may have to watch from a far but I wouldn’t change any it. The Lula gang is a crazy, last minute, spontaneous, fun loving, adventure loving family and I am so glad I am one of them.

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and a little video for us to remember to weekend!

My Everyday Style | 06.16.15 (celebrating 9 years of marriage!)

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Yesterday Kev and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. We were lucky enough to have my Mom in town still and she watched the girls for us most of the day. We didn’t have super plans or anything but we got to spend the whole day just together doing whatever we felt like. We ate lunch, walked around Saratoga, ate cookies and milk, went to the bookstore, watched Kev’s hockey game and sat outside on a beautiful night eating late night burritos. It’s always so nice to just have regular ol’ time together without little ones taking up all your attention. It’s been such a wonderful adventure these past 9 years. I am so thankful for them and for him. I look forward to all that is to come as well. We don’t buy gifts for each other on our anniversary, usually just trying to take a trip together(my fingers are still crossed we can make this work this summer) but we do try to make something for each other. My gift was centered around a bible verse I claimed as our motto for year 9. I hope to share that in a post sometime soon. Anyway, here are some outfit pictures/anniversary tradition photos. Did you know that Stitch Fix has a maternity service now? Hallelujah!!! It has been my saving grace. My stylist has been sending my the cutest things… like this dress! It feels like I’m wearing my pajamas, how could you not love that!! It’s got the cutest scoop neck at the back too, makes the dress feel extra feminine.

If you are pregnant make sure you sign up for your first maternity fix soon!

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

Dress: Stitch Fix
Sandals: Forever 21
Glasses: David Kind

And as I post every year… here are our past anniversary photos (love this tradition)…

Year eight:

In Costa Rica. Why are we not there again this year? jk
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Year seven:

Ogunquit, Maine. One of our most favorite places. We made a little video of that trip.
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Year Six:

Florida. I think we get a little too tan when we spend 3 weeks in FL in the middle of June. Ha!
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Year Five:

Paris, France. We just locked a lock on the “love” bridge.
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Year Four:

Hello super pregnant Jen! Although I still had 3 months to go in this picture.
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Year Three:

Just chillin’ in our front yard.
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Year Two:

We just had the closing on our very first house!! We celebrated in the empty house with Chinese food and champagne on the floor.
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Year One:

Living in Hawaii and loving life. We look like little babies.
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When nothing comes.

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Anyone else battling a case of writers block? I get in these funks sometimes where everything I think about posting on here seems so trivial. Like, does an outfit post really matter when a blog friend’s baby has leukemia? I get stuck in my own head sometimes. Blogging can feel so “me” centered (duh! it’s a personal blog) but sometimes that just seems so apparent to me and then I get nervous and can’t think of anything worth writing about. Am I sounding crazy yet? The thing is though, we all have something worth sharing- even the small and mundane. It’s all part of our own personal story. I really want to just get back to writing more. Maybe about nothing in particular, maybe about deep things. What I love most about blogging is the idea of being able to look back at my blog as a family journal. I feel like my blog has been missing that lately. Recipes and outfits are all well and good but I know I’ll want to read more about how we were feeling and the things we were up to in the years to come. Have you seen that 31 day writing challenge that happens in October? I can no way commit to something like that but I like the idea of forcing yourself to write more. I am not a great writer, so that can be scary to me. When I write longer posts I feel panicky before hitting publish. I would be the first to admit my lack in skill in that area. Especially my grammar! Oh my grammar! I write like a long, run-on train of thought. That’s who I am though. Fear never gets anyone anywhere. Being afraid of sharing, writing or a lack of skill just makes you frozen and stuck. Are there things you feel afraid of that are holding you back? Fear is a crazy, powerful thing that really can suck the life from you doing something you love.

Well, this post wasn’t supposed to be so depressing. I am not depressed by any means. Just wanted to write about well, my lack of writing and posting. Wondering if anyone ever feels the same way? Anyway, I am excited to just sit and write more. There are lots of fun and scary changes happening for us (ahhh being out numbered by children soon) and this blog has always been my way of expressing how I am handling it all. Excited to Ignite that blogging flame again.

Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev
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