Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mountain Vacation Part 2

     We were fortunate to have another weekend vacation this past weekend when we went to the mountains with my in-laws. They recently built a house in Young Harris, Georgia and we were so excited to be able to see it. I had seen it once before when I stopped by with Tim's parents when they brought me to Kentucky, but Tim had never seen it before in person. It is a  beautiful place and my favorite part is the front and back porches. I enjoyed reading outside in a rocking chair on the front porch and eating our meals on the back porch. We weren't there for long, but we did enjoy a rousing game of Apples to Apples and dinner out at Fatz on our first night. Then on the second day we went to the lake where we swam and enjoyed a picnic lunch. And Owen was so worn out from swimming and sunshine that he took an awesome afternoon nap. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and reading and playing games and left in the morning the next day. We drove back through the mountains, which were beautiful and had a great trip overall. Here are some pictures from our trip. 
The house. 
I love the sign above the doorway.
Here's the view off the back porch.

Hummingbirds were having a field day at their hummingbird feeder on the front porch. Owen loved going outside to see the birds.
A cute pic of a happy boy with his grandparents.
And Aunt Jenny.
The rocking chairs are super fun.

The wind chimes were also a big hit. 
We stopped at Newfound Gap on our trip home. Excuse my car hair and pay more attention to the adorable baby. 

Wittlebee review (Box No. 2)

     I recently received my second box from Wittlebee, the children's clothing subscription box.    I was once again pretty disappointed in the contents of my box and even more disappointed in the number of items from my box. After receiving only six items last month (instead of eight), the company promised to send me ten pieces of clothing this month to make up for it. So when I filled out my notes for my stylist, I mentioned that I was supposed to get 10 items as a reminder. Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered only eight items in my box this month. This tells me that A. they aren't good at keeping their word on fixing problems and B. they apparently don't pay too much attention to my style notes where I specify different styles and colors that I like. Pretty disappointing, right? I told the company and they are supposed to send me the extra two items. Not that I have much hope of them being something I'll love.
    The items I received were from Kenneth Cole Reaction, American Apparel, Strawberry, and Vitamin's Kids. One of my items was also a Wittlebee T-shirt, which I felt was sort-of a sneaky way of making my kid into a walking advertisement.  Unlike last month, I did receive items that could be used to make outfits, but I'm not sure that they fit the "hipster" style that I selected. I also requested pajamas, but didn't receive any. 
    I still feel that the clothing options for girls are way cuter than anything they have in stock for boys. If I had a girl I might consider keeping this subscription. The reason I subscribed to this was because I got a great deal, but also because I thought I might discover some unique clothing for boys. But unfortunately they don't offer anything more spectacular than the normal boring colors and patterns for boys that I avoid at the store. And I'd almost say that Wittlebee was providing false advertising because the sample boxes they post on Facebook and their site look nothing like the boxes of clothing that I've received.

    And while the company does say they are satisfaction guaranteed and allows customers to return clothing and request replacements, I think going through that process every month is too much hassle. Here is a picture of the items from my box. 
    And $39.99 for six pieces of clothing that you have no guarantee of liking is just too much for me to spend each month. Here are some photos of Owen in his new clothes. Don't be fooled though. Just because my kid is adorable does not mean the clothes are anything special. 

     I will be canceling my Wittlebee subscription because I've decided that I would rather just pick out Owen's clothing myself. I'll stick to scouring the sales racks at Gymboree and the Children's Place. Then I will know that I've got something for him that I will actually have him wear. So if you've been looking into trying out Wittlebee, I would do some research first. Read some reviews of people who weren't given a box for free (I find that those people get better clothes anyway and also most seem to feel like they can't say anything bad since they got it for free) and also check out their Facebook page. You can typically see people's complaints on there and I think the number of complaints is indicative of how this company is doing at the moment. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Menu Monday

      We had a nice weekend with my in-laws at their mountain house (stay tuned for pictures sometime this week.) But because we were on semi-vacation, we didn't eat as well as we probably should have so we are both happy to be back home where we can resume our healthy eating. Tim and I have both felt our bodies negatively reacting the past two weekends while we've been on vacation eating fast food and drinking a lot of soft drinks and things like that. I am making our dinners this week almost entirely from recipes I've found on the blog Skinny Taste. I really love this blog (obviously) because the creator's recipes are healthy and diet-friendly, but they also typically have a lot of flavor so they don't seem like "health" food. So if you're looking to clean up your eating habits, but you don't want to sacrifice flavor, check out Skinny Taste. 
      And here's our menu for this week!
  • Monday: Cilantro lime tilapia tacos with black beans and corn. Here's the description: "Flaky white fish, tomatoes, jalapeƱos, cilantro and lime topped with avocado. A fresh and flavorful way to spice up fish, quick enough to make for a busy weeknight!" I made this a few weeks ago and we both loved it so much that we're ready to have it again. Even Owen enjoyed them the first time I made them (sans jalapeƱo for him). We will have them with black beans and corn. 
  • Tuesday: Spicy black bean burgers with chipotle mayonnaise and sweet potato fries. Gina from Skinny Taste says, "one bite of this spicy black bean burger with spicy chipotle mayo and creamy avocado and you won't miss the meat!" And she's right! I made this recipe just last week and they were a huge hit here at the Rumely household. Tim has a deep-seated fear of mayonnaise so he really missed out though. The chipotle mayo and avocado really make this a fantastic burger. The recipe only makes four burgers though, so I'm going to double or triple the recipe so that I can freeze some burgers for us to have another time. We will eat these with sweet potato fries. 
  • Wednesday: Coconut chicken salad with warm honey mustard vinaigrette. Gina from Skinny Taste describes this recipe as "warm oven-fried coconut chicken over a bed of baby greens, cucumber, tomato, shredded carrots topped with a hot honey mustard vinaigrette. It's the perfect mix of salty and sweet, warm and cold." We've never had this recipe before, but a nice uncomplicated salad seems like a great recipe for the middle of the week. And I bet Owen will love the coconut chicken. 
  • Thursday: Island pork tenderloin with sauteed garlic spinach and sweet potato fries. This is our tried-and-true recipe from the P90X diet. I have talked about it several times before. We will be having it for dinner tonight because we are having company. Tim's college roommate Tom and his girlfriend Julie are visiting from Pennsylvania. We haven't seen them in a couple of years since we visited them during our trip to Philadelphia the summer before Owen was born.This recipe is always a crowd-pleaser. Unless you're feeding a vegetarian. Or a Muslim. Or someone who really loves "Charlotte's Web."
  • Friday: Cajun chicken pasta lightened up with steamed broccoli. Here is the description of the recipe: "This colorful Cajun spiced pasta is tossed with chicken strips, bell peppers, red onion, mushrooms and scallions in a creamy light sauce. One of the easiest ways to lighten up a pasta dish is to add tons of protein and vegetables to your dish which keeps the portions large and the carbs low and this dish is a perfect example. Be sure to be generous with your Cajun spices, it should have plenty of kick so don't be shy!" I used to make a Cajun chicken pasta recipe from the blog Pioneer Woman Cooks, but it uses tons of heavy cream and has to be packed with calories, so I'm hoping this version will allow me to feel like I'm splurging when I'm really not. We will be having this recipe with steamed broccoli to add another vegetable to the meal. 
  • Saturday: Grilled chicken breast marinated in Stubb's chicken marinade with veggies. This is one of our absolute favorite marinades for chicken. It is so wonderful. We used it a lot when we were first married and living in Georgia, but not so much once we moved to Washington because the price was close to $5 for one bottle. Now that we're back in the south, we've been able to find it again for cheap enough that we feel like it's worth buying again. Try it sometime!
  • Sunday: Summer vegetables with sausage and potatoes. This recipe pairs "lean Italian chicken sausage with summer bell peppers and zucchini sauteed with baby red potatoes and fresh herbs for a quick one pot meal." I am all about a one-pot meal so as not to dirty up the kitchen too much and I really love turkey sausage and the mixture of it plus a bunch of vegetables seems really appealing. 
  • Extra recipe: Cherry custard. Because we've been trying to eat better, we haven't been eating a lot of treats, so to reward us for eating well, I'm going to try this summery recipe. Gina from Skinny Taste explained why she created this recipe on her blog. "Before the summer comes to an end, I am trying to enjoy all my favorite summer fruits, especially cherries, watermelon and peaches. This cherry custard is a must, I just love the flavor and you'll be surprised how easy it is to make," she said. I love cherries and I'm excited to eat this recipe. I've been craving cherry pie or something similar, so this recipe is a way to indulge without making (and eating!) an entire pie.

      So that's it for us. What are you eating this week?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Random Friday

1. Julep picks. 

     This month I decided to switch my style profile to Boho Glam again. I'm beginning to think that I'm not as Classic with a Twist as they think I am. The Boho Glam box comes with these two colors, Isla and Piper, and a nail polish remover. I received my box for free this month through Julep's referral program. The company also offered the ability to add on up to three other nail colors for $4.99 each, but I resisted in hopes that Julep will release a mystery box this month. I'm interested to see what these polishes look like in real life since they are metallics and chromes. I'm not sure it that's my style exactly, but since it was free, I figured it was worth a try. I will review my box once I receive it. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out my post here

2. Let there be light!

     We finally received our new kitchen pendant light from Shades of Light earlier this week. Tim rewired it and hung it this week and we are in love! It is the Wire Wrapped Recycled Glass pendant. Glass is blown into chicken wire in the form of diamonds and flowers to create a whimsical pendant for rustic or cottage settings. We love it and although we thought it might be too big when we first unpacked it, we really like its size for the space now that it's in there. At night it is positively gorgeous. Now we just need to find a light to replace the fan in the kitchen. Oh, and finally paint the kitchen walls!

3. These boots are made for walking. 

     While we were in Pigeon Forge last weekend, we went shopping at Stages West, a huge western wear store. While there, I figured I might as well try on some boots since my cousin wants me to wear them for her wedding. I found the perfect pair that can go with anything. They are Ariat Heritage R toe boots in distressed brown. The sales lady said that they are the most popular and best-selling boot for women in the country. And they are surprisingly really comfortable. I wasn't the only one to get new boots though. Tim picked up a pair of steel-toed boots to wear to work and even Owen got in on the fun thanks to his grandma. He is so adorable in his boots. I can't wait for him to wear them to the wedding. We got them in a bigger size so that they will for sure fit in October and through the winter. 

4. What's on my Nook.

     In "Where We Belong," author Emily Giffin tells the story of Marian Caldwell, a 36-year-old television producer living in New York City. Marian's at the top of her career and in a promising relationship when a secret from her past shows up at her front door. 
    Here's an excerpt from the first chapter. It was a perfect beginning. It really draws you in and has a great hook. If you don't want to continue reading after this, I don't know what would make you want to read it.  
   "I know what they say about secrets. I've heard it all. That they can haunt and govern you. That they can poison relationships and divide families. That in the end, only the truth will set you free. Maybe that's the case for some people and some secrets. But I truly believed I was the exception to such portents, and never once breathed the smallest mention of my nearly two-decade-long secret to anyone. Not to my closest friends in my most intoxicated moments or to my boyfriend, Peter, in our most intimate ones. My father knew nothing of it - and I didn't even discuss it with my mother, the only person who was there when it all happened, almost as if we took an unspoken vow of silence, willing ourselves to let go, move on. I never forgot, not for a single day, yet I was also convinced that sometimes, the past really was the past. 
   "I should have known better. I should have taken those words to heart - the ones that started it all on that sweltering night so long ago. You can run but you can't hide."
    I am about a fourth of the way in and I am really enjoying this book. I would even go so far as to say that I think it might be her best book. I think the story is so interesting that I wish I had more time to read it. I'm hoping that I will get the chance to read more this weekend while we're visiting Tim's parents. 

5. Look what the stork is bringing!

    And no, it's not a baby. I snagged another great deal on Plum District this week to receive the August box from the subscription service Stork Stack for just $12. I'd give you the link, but the deal is already sold out. Stork Stack is another baby subscription service that started delivering to customers just a couple months ago. The Chicago-based company sends five of their favorite products for mom and baby each month. It is similar to Citrus Lane and I'm interested to see which company I like better. The theme of the August box is "Splish Splash and Sleep Tight" and will include bed- and bath-time products. The box normally costs $28 a month and is valued at more than $50. One neat thing about this company is that they give back to various organizations like Operation Showers of Appreciation, which donates boxes to the wives of military families who are separated due to their soldier being deployed and Baby Buggy, which had donated more than 5.5 million products to families in need since 2001.  

6. Hoo are you?

     I'm not sure if you remember seeing this little guy before, but I talked about it when I received it in my June Citrus Lane box. I wasn't that thrilled with it at first because it doesn't match Owen's nursery theme and I wasn't sure where I would put it. The fabric wall decal is made by the company Pop and Lolli. After moving it around a couple places (like on top of Owen's bookcase) I finally settled on placing it next to Owen's changing pad. He loves it! He looks at it every time I'm changing him and now has even learned to say, "Hoo hoo" when I ask him what an owl says. Sometimes it's the only thing that keeps him from wriggling all around and flipping over while I'm trying to change him. I love the jaunty fellow and I would definitely recommend this company if you are interested in wall decals for a nursery, child's bedroom or playroom, or even a classroom. 

7. Snack time!

     One of the coupon codes included in my July Citrus Lane box was for Ella's Kitchen brand baby food and snacks sold on Alice.com. I received a $5 off code so I used it to stock up on snacks for our trip this fall to Florida. I have already started stockpiling snacks and toys and other items that I think will make our trip easier and less stressful. Owen has already tried the Carrot and Mango Nibbly Fingers and he was a big fan. They are kind-of small, but they look pretty tasty and they help me get through car rides and grocery trips with a cranky baby, so they get the mom stamp of approval. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mountain vacation recap

     We had a great time in Tennessee last weekend. It of course went by too fast, but we got to have a lot of fun spending time with family and Owen got to take his first trip to Cade's Cove, a nature preserve full of deer, bear, and other woodland critters. He even learned to say the word "bear" while we were there. We did some shopping. Owen got three pairs of new shoes and we were shocked when the saleslady told us he should be wearing a size 5.5 or 6. What?! He does have a pair of size 5 Nikes that fit perfectly though, so I guess it just depends on how wide the individual brands run. We also visited some of our Tennessee family and overall had a great time. Here are some photos of our trip to Cade's Cove. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer Beauty Vox Box review (Influenster)

     I recently received my first ever Influenster Vox Box with free products to try and review. 
     What is an Influenster Vox Box you ask? Well, Influenster is a website that connects a community of people who love to try out products and give reviews and recommendations to others with new and exciting products. You become an Influenster by filling out a profile and "unlocking" badges by completing surveys to describe your lifestyle and social media use. For instance, I've completed badges that qualify me for beauty boxes, boxes for moms, and boxes for cooks. There are a wealth of other badges including ones for travelers, dog lovers, and more. If your lifestyle and answers to survey questions fit certain criteria, Influenster may send you an e-mail to ask if you'd like to be sent a Vox Box for free with the understanding that you will post reviews of the products on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger. The Vox Boxes are themed and come with four to five products for you to test. They range from food products to beauty products to lifestyle products. 
    About a month and a half after signing up, I was notified that I could receive the Summer Beauty Vox Box. It came with five products.
  • Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion SPF 30
  • Tampax and Always Radiance Collection
  • Quaker Soft Baked Bar in Banana Nut Bread
  • Sally Hansen  Magnetic Nail Color
  • Sally Hansen Nails & Cuticles Hand Creme
Here's the insert telling me all the things in my box. Alas, I was not one of the "chosen ones" to receive the shampoo and conditioner. 
Here are all my goodies!
     I love the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration SPF 30 sunscreen. This costs $8.99 for a full-size 6 ounce bottle and is available in SPF 12, 30, and 50. With its ultra-luxurious hydrating ribbons, Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration lotion sunscreen nourishes and pampers skin while providing broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, and 12-hour moisturization when out in the sun. The sunscreen has moisturizing ribbons so it both protects and hydrates your skin, which is great when your out in the sun constantly during the summer. And it has a really silky smooth feel when you rub it into your skin as opposed to the normal greasy sunscreen feel that leaves white residue. And the smell is fantastic. I love the summery coconut-y scent. I have this set aside to take with us to Florida in a couple months.

     The Sally Hansen Nails & Cuticles Hand Creme is also a really wonderful product. It is priced at $5.99 for a full-sized bottle. Made with shea butter, the Sally Hansen Nails & Cuticles Cremem softens hands, smoothes cuticles, and conditions nail. Active Moisture Complex formula with Ceramides helps lock in nutrients so hands maintain their ideal moisture level. Offers 24 hour moisture and lasts through hand washings! I love the citrus scent and the feel of this lotion. It isn't greasy or to thick, but has an almost watery silky feel when I rub it into my skin. I'm definitely a fan. 

    The Quaker Soft Baked Bar in Banana Bread flavor was the first thing that I used in the box. Owen and I enjoyed it together. A box of bars is priced at $3.29. Made with real bananas and almonds, Quaker Soft Bars in Banana Nut Bread flavor have tasty ingredients to help provide fuel to start your day. They have five grams of protein, 20 percent daily value of five B vitamins and six grams of protein. This bar was so very tasty. I heated mine in the microwave for about ten seconds and the warm, soft bar was like eating a bowl of oatmeal without the hassle of having to cook it or dirty a bowl and spoon. These would make a great on-the-go breakfast or snack. The flavor was super yummy and the texture was almost like a soft-baked cookie. Owen loved it too! 

Momma and baby-approved!

    This product was one of the ones I was most excited about getting in my box. It is Sally Hansen's Magnetic Nail Color in Graphite Gravity. It costs $9.99 in stores. Magnetic nail polish is one of summer's hottest nail trends that allows you to create a gorgeous 3-D nail art effect in just seconds. This unique formula was developed with metal particles - just hold the built-in magnet over wet polish to reveal a unique design on the nail. This was a really fun nail product and so easy to use. (If I can do it, anyone can). You apply one coat after a base coat and let it dry. Then you apply a second thicker coat one nail at a time and then hold the magnet over the wet polish for 10 seconds for the wavy pattern to appear. I found that if I held my nail sideways and parallel to the floor, I could see the top of my nail better when I held the magnet over it and wouldn't accidentally touch the wet nail polish with the magnet. I would definitely recommend a top coat because mine chipped really quickly without one. The graphite color is pretty neat, but the polish comes in seven other colors. I was really impressed with this product because it is an easy way for someone who likes the look of nail art to get a really cool look without having to have the patience or talent. It definitely doesn't look like something I did at home. Below is a photo of my finished look. It chipped a bit because of my not applying a top coat. 

    This is a sample pack of Tampax and Always Radiant Collection. The two companies have come together with the stylish Radiant Collection, a complete offering of premium tampons, pads, liners, and wipes that meet all of a woman's feminine care needs. With designer packaging and wrappers, these products are must-have accessories for that time of the month. Prices vary by box. I haven't tried these products, but I think the carrying case is cute and a way to discreetly carry the products in your purse. 

* I received these complimentary products by Influenster and the individual companies in return for my honest reviews of the products.