blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: 2018

December 11, 2018

Winter Greys

Wanted to share a cozy look that I rarely get to wear here in Miami, but temperatures got down into the 50s today and I had a meeting (so my usual scrubs and pullover look, also shown in the bottom, was a no-go). I literally had this Mark&Graham throw on my bed and decided it would make for a comfy oversized scarf/shawl and I'm so glad I did! I got it in my Fab Fit Fun box, unfortunately it's sold out now, but love all of their other throws (and personalized gifts in general, great Christmas gift ideas on their site)! My boots I just bought this weekend on crazy sale, down from over $100 (which is honestly still a steal) to $55! Some colors are even cheaper! They run true to size. My top is really versatile and comfy (and comes in so many colors), and these pants are some of my favorite mid-high waisted jeans that don't really look like jeans and fit incredibly (and under $40)! My initials necklace is one of my most cherished pieces and can be found here.

Other things in the above pic I usually get asked about: dining table and dining bench (crazy deals for such high quality - both currently on sale with free 2 day shipping), dining chairs, couch, bookshelves ❤️

How I usually look on consult days lol. Obsessed with this new Figs color (cement) I'm wearing the Catarina One Pocket Scrub Top and the Livingston Basic Scrub Pants
I also love this pullover for days it's chillier - super soft, falls nicely, and has thumbholes (always a plus for me)! I own this top in a couple of colors - I went 2 sizes up actually to get an oversized fit (otherwise it's supposed to be a fitted style). Currently 40% off with code WINTERFUN.
My sneakers are another consult favorite (ie perfect for lots of walking). 
I did a full review of my consult bag here and after a month on consults wouldn't change anything. Still the best consult bag! 

Introducing fun into the middle of the week!

Hi all! Today I wanted to share the best Wednesday night we've had in a long time - it's always fun to do something out of your normal routine (particularly mid-week, when sometimes it feels like you can't do anything "fun" until the weekend)! But here's to celebrating hump-day!


We went to Chuck E. Cheese! When we got there, we ordered a large pizza to our table (my husband is obsessed with their pizza, and I must admit it was so good, dinner - check)! I put our stuff at a table and Nathan got All You Can Play passes - such a great idea! Instead of buying a certain amount of coins, you purchase a certain amount of time and can play as many games you want in that time! With older kids it would be so much fun to challenge everyone and see who can win the most tickets in a certain amount of time (we saw the adorable video of Ryan and his family doing the AYCP challenge, so fun)! With our kids they could care less about the tickets lol, it was more of a "how many times can you ride the giraffe" haha, but I LOVED it! My favorite "game" was the photobooth - so much fun taking limitless family pics haha! It felt great to not have to worry about how many times we had used our card (love that it's all on a simple tap card now, no need to worry about coins and littles inhaling them - yes I'm a doctor mom haha)!


Speaking of safety, I loved that all the kids that come in with an adult get a matching UV stamp that gets checked before leaving - an awesome safety measure that ensures your kids can't leave without the adult they came with! A few more awesome things I learned about after our visit that may help you if you decide to have a fun family trip - you can actually pause the your All You Can Play time at a kiosk (say you're going to finally eat that pizza but don't want to lose out on your game time). Also, Chuck E. Cheese is one of the few places you can also grab a beer or wine with that pizza. Just sayin.


We all had such a fun time and I'm so glad we were able to toss a little fun into our week - can't wait to go again!


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chuck E. Cheese's. The opinions and text are all mine.

December 8, 2018

Family Trip with Toddlers to New Orleans

Happy weekend y’all! Today I’m sharing a highly requested post via Instagram after I shared so much of our family trip to New Orleans over the Thanksgiving holiday!

This year we weren’t able to make the trip all the way back home to Massachusetts for the holiday, and my parents who usually visit weren’t able to come down either - needless to say I was really down (it’s been a hard year in my family with multiple deaths and illness). So when the idea of traveling to New Orleans for the holidays was brought up, I thought about it long and hard. Nathan and I have been to New Orleans once before (just last year actually) and I loved it - the streets in the French Quarter were alive with so many weddings and second lines that we celebrated to, adorable shops and delicious restaurants, and at night the streets became even more festive! I loved dancing down the street with a drink in one hand and Nathan’s hand in the other. I don’t think anyone would even attempt to question whether or not New Orleans is a great place to visit for adults.

But what about kids? I honestly wasn’t so sure, but after getting some information from New Orleans Tourism, we decided we’d go for it and make the best of it! And let me tell you I’m so glad we took that chance - it was incredible and the girls have continued talking about the trip and asking when we’ll go back. So if you’ve ever thought about traveling to New Orleans with family (and especially during the holidays), I’m sharing some of our highlights and tips below!



Our Stay:
We stayed at the Windsor Court Hotel, and it was perfectly situated at the Central Business District and only a few minutes walk to the French Quarter - and it was such a gorgeous oasis! Their lobby was a true winter wonderland with the most beautiful tree and lights, and they even had little teddy bears for the girls upon our arrival! We didn't book a rental car, we knew we'd be staying central to tons, so we used Uber or Lyft to get around if need be, but otherwise walked around town in our stroller wagon (you can check out my full review here).

First things first:
We had to go explore the French Quarter! We walked from our hotel and took in the incredible (and romantic, historic, just drool-worthy) architecture, the horse-drawn carriages, and shops. The girls were obsessed with all of the masks at each store we went by and it was so much fun trying them on! I especially loved watching their little bodies move to the beat of all of the live music in the streets in our wagon - the streets really do feel alive! Of course a trip to the French Quarter isn’t complete without a stop at Cafe Du Monde - their beignets are really out of this world! As a tip - this place is cash only (and crazy cheap) so make sure to bring some cash for a few rounds of beignets and cafe au lait! Also - baby wipes make for quick cleanup of all the powdered sugar ;)



Since we arrived on Thanksgiving Day we reserved dinner at Commander’s Palace, and this place did not disappoint! Our meal was delicious, and I loved that they even had a Thanksgiving meal especially for the kids on the menu (even an option for a little mocktail for them that came complete with a rubber ducky on top - adorable)!

Black Friday Brunch
We took the morning to relax (and Nathan went on his long run all the way down to Audubon Park - a gorgeous run he said) and then had brunch at The Ruby Slipper (right around the corner from our hotel)! This place has a long wait for a reason, but here’s a tip - add your spot to the waitlist on Yelp to see your place in line while you stroll around, then you can arrive when your table is almost ready! Their food was SO good - highly recommend the catfish and grits and the blueberry cheesecake stuffed french toast! Other Nola favorite brunch: Elizabeth’s Restaurant



We had plans to walk to the Audubon Aquarium from brunch, but on the way walked by the Audubon Insectarium - how cool! The girls were intrigued by the butterfly garden windows, and so we decided to pay a visit!

Audubon Insectarium!
This place was amazing! So much fun for everyone with all types of cool bugs and exhibits, including the crowd favorite, the butterfly garden. It’s been over a week and Liv is still asking when we’re going back to the butterfly garden. I love that it’s a small place so doesn’t feel overwhelming, but still has a lot to do! If you plan on visiting more than one of the Audubon Nature Institutions (they’ve also got the zoo and the aquarium, both are must-see) I definitely recommend buying the Audubon Experience tickets that get you discounted entrance to all 3!



Zoo Lights at the Audubon Zoo!
I think this was hands-down my favorite experience of the trip. There’s already something special about being in a park “after-hours” but add in spectacular holiday lights, Christmas music, charming hot cocoa stands, the Santa Claus himself, and big open spaces for the kids to play (including a snowflake light dance floor, arts + crafts stop, and a playground), and you’ve got one incredible night. Seriously. I found myself just smiling so hard this entire night. If you’re in New Orleans for the holidays with kids, go. Even without kids, go. I’ll remember it forever.



Audubon Aquarium
The next day we took it slow in the morning and ordered a delicious room service breakfast, then headed out to the aquarium! It’s right on the river, and the little walkway outside is beautiful! The aquarium starts with a jaw-dropping underwater walk-through tunnel with all of the sting rays - talk about making a good first impression! It’s complete with tons of fish, sharks, sting rays (and an area where you can touch them, the girls were in love), and so much more! Plus they’ve got a Haagen Dazs and Papa John’s on-site!



Garden District, Magazine Street
From the aquarium we took an uber down to Magazine Street - this street has miles of adorable small shops and restaurants, and was the perfect place for lunch and afternoon exploring (especially since it was small business Saturday)! A few notable places to eat on this street include District Donuts and Dat Dog! We walked around exploring for hours, had lunch at The Vintage and sat people watching, and made our way all the way down to Pinkberry where Santa was making a special stop!



Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and Celebration in the Oaks in City Park
Once it got dark we headed over to City Park where there was so much to do! First we fueled up at Morning Call inside the park (another spot with beignets and tons of yummy drinks). then started at Storyland, an adorable fairy tale-themed playground that the girls loved (only open until 6 so stop there first)! Then we headed into Carousel Gardens (open at night only during Celebration in the Oaks) and enjoyed some of the rides - the carousel was my favorite - then made our way to the Celebration in the Oaks - another incredible light display. This would be a perfect date night spot - it was so romantic - but also makes for a great family night as well!



We squeezed in a ton during our short 3 day trip and there was still more we could have done with the girls (including the Louisiana Children’s Museum, Audubon Park, and more)! The city definitely won me over and totally showed me that it is an amazing place to visit for the whole family! PS - I’ve made my Instagram stories a highlight on my page since many of you requested that, so go check it out to see video of our time in Nola!

This amazing trip was possible in partnership with the New Orleans Tourism Board!

Keenz Stroller Wagon Review

Hi all! I got lots of questions about our Keenz Stroller wagon. I bought it for our New Orleans trip (full itinerary on that coming really soon) - I knew that our usual umbrella stroller just wouldn't cut it on the streets of the French Quarter, and also know that our bigger double just isn't the easiest to travel with (as much as I love it - it's been so good to us for half a decade now - folding it with the extra seat on is a pain in the butt). So I bit the bullet and bought this Keenz Stroller wagon, loved the reviews and the idea of having all 3 in there together (even in our double someone has to end up walking)!


So today I wanted to do a little review and our honest thoughts (this stroller wasn't sent to me for review, I purchased on my own, but opinions are always my own. I never collaborate with companies that limit what I can say). For starters, you can buy this wagon a few places - Amazon, Target, and directly from the Keenz website. Because I needed mine asap I purchased online at Target and picked it up in my Target store that same afternoon - talk about immediate satisfaction! Target is also offering free 2-day shipping currently! As far as price, it's $389.99, which is certainly far from cheap, but it's cheaper than the double stroller I have (and many in that market) and provides SO much more.  

So for our first review (and if you're someone who likes to get to the point) - Nathan just said last weekend, "this is the best investment we ever made. Can't believe we didn't have it sooner." That may be the only review you need. Nathan is not a fan of any of our baby/kid gear, so to have him so vocally announce his endorsement of something says so much. Like I said, we bought it for our Nola trip but have now used it for all of our local strolls and shopping trips. 


I love this thing. It fits all 3 girls comfortably, is a breeze to push around, and has so much storage space! One side has an organizer with a large velcro pocket, smaller zipper pocket (fits a full pack of wipes for reference), and a bottle holder pocket. The other side has a large (and collapsible) storage bin that fits a ton! Each side has child buckles just like in a stroller (full 5 point safety harnesses) - honestly we didn't use them, but nice to have especially if you're towing around smaller babies or really need them to stay put! The handles are adjustable, it's got a simple foot break, and even comes with a large canopy, cooler bag (that fits in the storage basket), and cupholder (we didn't bring along for this trip but all included). And the real cherry on top for me was how easy it is to fold. It literally folds like a pack and play - there's a strap in the middle that you just pull up and the whole thing folds together, then there's a buckle that locks everything together. It stands on its own perfectly when folded and is actually smaller than my other double when folded. All of the materials are very durable, too. We checked the wagon at the airport and I was really worried the beautiful handles would get scratched up, but it survived two trips completely unscathed! Which takes us to one of the main cons, though. Even though this stroller wagon is an officially certified stroller, it still looks like a wagon, and there are plenty of people who don't care and will treat you like it's a wagon. We were given a hard time through airport security (even though officially this should be allowed through), they made us check it before getting through security. I've heard similar things at Disney where wagons aren't allowed, but I believe if you show that it's certified they do let it through. That was literally the only negative thing about this. Otherwise it's been a lifesaver and I only wish we had one for all of our family excursions sooner! We'll see how it stands the test of time, but one month in I can't picture not having it. 

November 27, 2018

Barbie Dreamhouse Surprise!



Today  I'm  sharing  a  post  that  seriously  gave  me  SO  MUCH  JOY  putting  together!  My  cheeks  literally  hurt  smiling  so  much  as  I  edited  these  pictures  and  relived  this  night  with  my  girls.  I  hope  you  guys  enjoy  it  too!



I  remember  as  a  child  always  wanting  a  Barbie  Dreamhouse (they  knew  what  they  were  doing  when  that  named  it  a  dream  house  that's  for  sure)!  And  while  our circumstances  growing  up  meant  I  never  got  one,  it  felt  that  much  more  special  surprising  my  daughters  with  their  own  Barbie  Dreamhouse!

When  the  girls  were  old  enough  and  we  had  the  space,  I  talked  about  it  with  my  husband,  and  we  still  weren't  totally  sure  they'd  love  it  -so  we  bought  a  smaller  dollhouse  just  as  a  test  run.  They  still  love  that  house,  but  it  was  clear  that  all  three  of  them  couldn't  play  with  it  at  the  same  time  -it  just  wasn't  big  enough!  



So, after  a  year  with  that  house  we  decided  to  get  a  Barbie  Dreamhouse,  and  let  me  tell  you  I  do  not  regret  it!  I  was  worried  it  would  be  too  big  (it  stands  at  4  feet  tall)  -but  that's  actually  what  makes  it  fantastic!  All  of  the  Barbie dolls  they  already  own  (who  are  beautiful  shades  of  brown  with  hair  ranging  from  straight  blue  to  tight black curls  - love  the  Barbie  diversity  out  now)  fit  in  perfectly  - from  the  bed,  to  the  couch  (that  converts  into  a  bunk),  to  the  pool,  car,  and  more!  And  my  daughters  all  have  plenty  of  room  to  play  together! 



Love  so  many  parts  of  this  house,  but  a  few  of  my  favorites  are  the  pool, slide,  the  elevator  (that  works  and  fits  4  dolls!),  and  the  little  details  like  the  grass  out  back  and  the  painting  of  the  back  exterior  complete  with  string  lights  and  all.  And  what  I  loved  the  most  is  the  wonder  and  imagination  I  see  in  my  girls  as  they played  for  hours!



We  decided  to  make  it  a  full  dine  and  watch  party,  so  we  enjoyed  some  of  the  Barbie  Dreamhouse  Adventures  Netflix  show (again  -LOVE  the  diversity)  and  also  played  with  our Barbie Ultimate  Kitchen playset - love  that  you  can  create  all  types  of  food  using  the  safe  Barbie  dough  it  comes  with,  and  even  hear  food  frying  on  the  stove  top  or  the  oven  timer!  It  was  perfect  to  play  with  as  I  got  dinner  ready!  Once  we  got  her  sisters  to  bed  Liv  and  I  cuddled  up  on  the  couch  and  spent  some  time  playing  with  the  Barbie  Dreamhouse  Adventures  app on  my  phone  - something  that  definitely  didn't  exist  when  I  was  a  kid,  but  was  such  a  fun  and  creative  game  to  bring  the  Dreamhouse  to  life!

Thank  you  so  much  for  Barbie  and  Mattel  for  partnering  with  me  for  this  project  and  helping  some  of  our  dreams  come  true!

In My Consult Bag

Hello hello! Today I wanted to share a quick and fun post based on the crazy response I got last week when I shared my consult bag organizer over on my Instagram stories!

I'm on a new rotation now where I hold the dermatology consult pager - in many places this may be a more "chill" rotation, but in our hospitals dermatology gets consulted all the time, particularly for high level patients who are either in the neonatal ICU, pediatric ICU, medical ICU, or surgical and trauma ICUs. The days can be unpredictable, but on average I'd say we get 5-10 new consults daily on top of following up with our consult list! So it's usually very busy!

As the consult resident you're traveling around seeing all of these inpatients and you need to be prepared with all of the tools you may need, so our consult bag is pretty important! A well-thought-out consult bag can certainly save you time throughout the day! 

The bag I use is this one I found on Amazon. Initially I was drawn to it because it looked like the MZ Wallace bag I really wanted but couldn't convince myself to buy, and now I've had it for over 2 years and it's still my favorite work bag. 


What I love about it:
- 3 main compartments to keep everything separate ; I keep my consult stuff that I take out in patient rooms in the main middle compartment, then my personal stuff (gum, chapstick, wallet, etc) in the front pocket so it's not touching the MRSA stuff (I'm joking lol, but really, I like to keep that stuff separate), and then the back pocket for papers and occasionally my laptop.
- outside can be wiped clean with a disinfecting wipe, I can even toss the whole bag in the washing machine.
- there's an incredible long string/lanyard that I attach my keys to. I didn't realize how amazing this was, but it's one of the best things about the bag and saves me so much time as I'm coming home with all the girls trying to get my keys out (the struggle was real, but not anymore)!
- comes in tons of colors (and is even reversible so if you prefer patterns wear it with pride)!



What I don't love about it:
- while two of the pockets zipper shut, the middle pocket doesn't (it has a magnetic closure). I've worked around it, but sometimes I do want to close the entire bag. 
- the straps can sometimes slip on your shoulders (they are super soft and padded so it's great to carry a heavy load, but the material is slippery if that makes sense)? I've worked around it by making sure to cross the straps when I wear the bag and it's pretty much a non-issue.

My actual consult organizer is just a travel toiletry organizer I found on Amazon - I loved the size and number of the compartments and thought it would be perfect for organizing my goodies to do shave and punch biopsies, Tzanck preps, and more! It's been fantastic! And of course was a crazy deal, so I bought two (one for my consult bag and one for the bag the senior resident prepares for the incoming residents)! What questions do you guys have about consults (or how I organize my bag)?


November 17, 2018

Miami City Guide

Hey guys! Today I wanted to do a really fun post and share a few of my FAVORITE places around Miami! I've done a post in the past about some of our favorite spots on South Beach, but today I really wanted to focus on the fun stuff outside of South Beach that you can't miss!

C o c o n u t   G r o v e
This is one of the older neighborhoods in Miami and has some incredible history, but also some incredible food! One of our favorite spots is Lokal which serves incredible burgers, local beers, and something everyone should try in Florida - alligator! It's actually really good! They've got great outdoor dining, and nextdoor at Vicky's you can grab some of the best milkshakes ever! The grove is fun because there are lots of parks, plenty of shops and bookstores in a very small radius, fun bakeries, and more.


W y n w o o d
This is probably the area that has exploded the most and now I find more people (particularly the "locals") go to Wynwood to hang out than we do the beach! Wynwood is best known for it's incredible art painted on all of the walls in the neighborhood, and again, for some incredible food. Some of our favorite restaurants include Kyu and 1-800-LUCKY - but our absolute favorite place is the The Salty Donut. Best donuts ever. They've got tons of markets and live music - one of the easiest places to find this is at Wynwood Marketplace.

Outfit details:  tee  //  jeans  //  leopard flats 

L i t t l e  H a v a n a  / C a l l e   O c h o
You can't come to Miami and not visit Little Havana. Miami culture is full of Cuban roots, and you can get a great taste of that here. The easiest place to start is at Versailles - their restaurant is world famous for cuban sandwiches and other cuisine - but the locals all know that their bakery next door is where it's really at. Grab a cafe con leche (or a famous cortadito if you really want to be awake all day), some croquettas, empanadas, and a sandwich, and thank me later. Head further down Calle Ocho and explore Cubaocho museum and performing arts center for more history, then refuel at Azucar for some INCREDIBLE ice cream. Right next door is the most important spot you don't want to miss - Ball & Chain! This restaurant/bar/dancing joint always has the best live latin music, dancing, mojitos, and more. It's one of my favorite places and just feels so electric!

Outfit details: dress (similar here as well)  //  persimmon flats

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Wherever you head to explore, make sure you're chic and comfortable (and environentally conscious) in some adorable Rothy's. I'm addicted to their "point" style, but love their other options too! They even have little girls' styles now! Thank you to Rothy's for sponsoring this fun post!

November 3, 2018

Instagram Lately

Sharing some of my recent looks on Instagram for those who may miss my swipe up story links when you ask for outfit details! 


Unfortunately a travel/funeral look: Draped front top (true to size, wearing XS)  // Cashmere wrap (a splurge for me but I've owned for years and it was so worth it - literally the best thing to travel with - use it as a blanket on the plane and as a scarf or shawl with outfit)  //  Pants (comfy for traveling but still look put together)  //  Flats (comfiest and a bargain price - go a half size up since they run a tiny bit snug)!  //  Tote bag (can never go wrong with a simple black tote, but this one is vegan AND reversible)


Fall in Miami look lol: Comfiest light camo sweater (runs a little big but I wanted it to fit looser; as an aside, bought this grey one from here too and it's amazing and currently on sale)  //  Shorts  //  Bag


Comfy cardigan I got dozens of questions on lol, unfortunately it's years old from urban outfitters, but this one looks really similar (and my initial necklace)


Sweater I just posted today that I've gotten lots of questions about! And here is a similar one that's even cheaper. 

October 13, 2018

Fall Nails

Want to get back into sharing little things that I get asked all the time and stopped posting about on the blog (really just posted on Instagram), but it's hard to search for things I've shared there! So i'm getting back to my roots and blogging more! Super excited because I've been working really hard on a new blog, so stay tuned for that announcement coming later this month!!!

For now, I'm sharing this color I recently did my nails - obsessed!! It's the perfect dark tan to almost chestnut brown and just gets me in the fall mood! It's OPI A Piers to be Tan and I've loved this shade for years!


Nail polish linked here (with prime shipping) and here (no prime shipping but 10% off) 


Another close shade to this is OPI The Isabelletway!

For those who may have missed my post on how I do my home "gel" manis (posted way back in maybe 2015?) here's a quick rundown (I try to stay away from true gel manicures as I've seen some horrible reactions now as a dermatologist and permanent nail damage)

  1. File and shape nails, wash and dry. 
  2. Apply base coat of Gelous polish (this is a strengthening polish that has keratins and cellulose to naturally strengthen the nails without acrylate products - it's definitely helped me grow my nails!)
  3. Apply coat of nail color polish.
  4. Apply another coat of Gelous polish.
  5. Apply 2nd coat of nail color polish.
  6. Apply one last coat of Gelous polish.
  7. Top with Seche Vite polish (apply to still wet nails, do not wait to dry).
As I type that out it sounds like a lot, but I barely give any drying time in between coats (just the time it takes me to finish both hands). With the Seche Vite as a top coat my nails really are dry to touch within a couple of minutes and completely dry (like I can go to sleep and not wake up to destroyed nails) within a half an hour, plus have a beautiful shine. The best part is that with this routine my nail polish really does last at least 2 weeks (through all of our clinic hand-sanitizing and washing) without chipping at all. Usually after a week I'll add a fresh coat of Seche Vite to get the shine back, but that's about it!

October 8, 2018

Clinic Shoes - Patent and Studded

Happy Monday! Headed to clinic today but snapped a quick shot of the shoes I have been loving the last couple of weeks! 

My requirements for a good clinic shoe are that they are comfortable, able to be worn all day while I run from room to room, and stylish. These fit the bill and were a good deal at under $70

Leggings (size XS short - crazy steal at $22)  //  Top (size S)  //  White coat (size XS)
Flats (size 6.5, fit true to size)


Also including my outfit info above! For clinic one of my easiest pairings is professional looking leggings with a tunic (and comfy flats)! This goes really well with a white coat on top! 

PS - Please excuse the dark background, lol, staying at my parents' house while I work with a few dermatologists up in the Northeast!

October 7, 2018

Spooky kid-friendly sleepover treats


Happy weekend! I'm still on a high from an incredible girls weekend I hosted here at my parents' house in Massachusetts! I had my best friends over and all of the kids (all girls too lol) and we had some halloween themed fun! 


For dinner I stocked up on frozen personal pizzas and we decorated them - I think the mummy was my favorite (and I love extra cheese so it tasted the best) - but we made ghosts and jack-o-lantern faces too using cut up cheese and pepperoni! It would be fun to add black olives and use those as hair and make a vampire or something else as well! It would definitely be nice to make the pizzas from scratch, but we had a full night of activities planned so I used my absolute favorite frozen pizzas (and I've tried a ton - these are great to have on hand in the freezer)! 


As our pizzas baked in the oven we got together our sugar cookies! Again, sure, it'd probably be nice to make these from scratch - but for us the fun was in decorating them not making everything from scratch! So I used this pre-made dough (they taste delicious, plus no preservatives, artificial flavors, or dyes), and then just sprinkled flour on our cutting board and hands to roll new balls. I found that 2 of their "squares" rolled together made the perfect size to flatten and cut into our own shapes! We found these adorable cookie cutters for our ghost and pumpkin shapes (only $2.99 and they came with a candy corn too we just didn't use those)! 


Our pizzas were done in 20 minutes and we started eating those, with apple cider to drink (hard cider for the non-pregnant adults lol)! We used clear glasses and these eyeball ice cubes I had made earlier in the day (another cheap find that the girls LOVED)! 


Finally it was time to decorate our cookies after letting them cool down a bit. I had made the royal icing earlier in the evening and stored the different colors in zip-lock bags - the recipe is really easy - just 2 cups of confectioners sugar, 2 egg whites, and a 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract - and scale up as needed! I split them up into smaller bowls and then added a couple drops of food coloring to get our orange and green!

 


The girls absolutely loved decorating their cookies (the frosting was really fun, but the sprinkles and candy eyes were the best part - loved this bottle of sprinkles because it included eyes)! They would have decorated cookies all night lol! 


I hope you enjoyed this post - tag me on social media if you use any of these ideas - I LOVE seeing how you all make it your own! 


October 3, 2018

Productivity Hacks

Now more than ever I need help when it comes to getting time to getting to my never-ending to-do list. But when I am blessed with that time (and trust me it feels like a blessing), I was having a hard time actually using that time to be productive and start tackling the things on my list! These are some hacks that have been GAME CHANGERS in terms of increasing my productivity and I hope they can help you too! None of them are novel ideas, they're all pretty much variations of things I've done in the past, but it's amazing how little shifts can increase productivity!




  • Lists lists and lists (but not *too* many) - lists keep everything accounted for so I don't have to remember so much off the top of my head. I use these daily pages for my daily to-do list and jotting down times/appointments/meetings on the right side. They are thick pages and the best quality I've found - my favorite. The back is a grid layout "braindump" that is perfect for random notes (I find my mind needs that empty space to right things out that may not fit any place particularly *yet*). 
  • Use alarms. I'm embarrassed to show you my alarms on my phone. So I'm not lol. But I have at least 30 alarms in there. While my mind (and sanity) need everything written out as above, once I actually get my day going, it's rare that I actually have time to reference the sheet! Anyone else have that problem? So one thing I do (particularly for things that should be done by a certain time), is set alarms for my to-dos. So I'll set an alarm at 9am to send an email, an alarm at 11:55am that I have a conference call at noon, an alarm at 5:20pm to get ready to leave to get the girls -you get the idea! It might seem crazy but when you get to a certain level of busy this trick is a LIFESAVER. 
  • Set a timer. When I actually have an hour or two (or even a rare whole afternoon) of free time, this is when this hack becomes critical for me. If you guys have read my productivity posts before then you know this is nothing new (based off of the Pomodoro technique)! What is new though is the app I use that helps me organize things even more. I recently started using the BeFocused app (not gonna lie picked it because I loved the colors) but thankfully it's also proven to be a very powerful little timer app (even if you don't pay for the upgraded version - I use the free version and the ads aren't too bothersome at the bottom). With this app I can set my designated time to work (small chunks are how I get to work) - so I set it for 15 minutes and GET TO WORK! A few things about this app that I really like that take it above my usual timer I was using on my phone
    • Break up a large task (like "make powerpoint presentation" - which is a huge task) into many small, identifiable steps. In the pic below you can see the start of my presentation, which I broke down into multiple tasks that you can list in the app. This makes even the most daunting to-do's feel manageable (after all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a simple step).
    • Built in chronometer with sound. You guys may remember I love white noise (and this is still my favorite study/productivity "music"). But nothing says "get your a** to work" like a ticking timer. This might be too stressful for some, but for me sometimes when I'm really having a hard time I put this feature on and it really turns on my productivity! 



  • The right soundtrack. I mentioned the chronometer above for when I really need to light a match! But my usual preference is white noise (there are plenty of apps and playlists and youtube videos with tons of options for white noise). When it's break time, I switch to something motivating and upbeat and very likely inappropriate for work (think Two Chainz, Pitbull, and the likes). This always keeps me going! Get asked about my bluetooth headphones all the time, these are the ones I use (and that are photo'd above). 
  • Snacks and staying hydrated. This one gets forgotten easily, but never underestimate the power of staying fueled! I like to remember to drink water (this is the stainless steel water bottle I usually have with me) and have high protein snacks within reach - protein bars (these are my favorite), P3 packs (recently did a collaboration with them and I'm even more in love), and my chia pudding/overnight oats (mentioned the recipe in this post)!





I hope these tips helped!!!
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