Thoughts For Friday + The Pick: Week 43

Friday, October 30, 2015
Happy (almost) Halloween!! I'm quite ecstatic to see Friday! But, who isn't?! This weekend is going to be festive and fabulous, of that I'm sure. Husband and I will be keeping it low key this year, And for that I'm glad; this preggo gal needs to keep her feet up, especially her swollen, left one. I have plans to sip a latte, peruse my magazines, collect recipes for Supper Club and Thanksgiving, and send candy down our candy chute to decked out trick-or-treaters.

Also, who doesn't love gaining an extra hour this weekend? Don't forget to set those clocks back an hour!

T H I N K I N G  > About Thanksgiving decorations and how to really spruce it up this year. Truly, I think I'm most looking forward to pulling out my Christmas décor :) 

P O N D E R I N G > How my very favorite month of the year is just about over. It makes me a little sad to see October go, mostly because it feels like it just got here. However, November makes me feel quite cozy and it's even closer to Christmas and the day I meet my girl! Here's hoping that November is whimsical and lovely and a whole lot of cozy!

N E E D I N G > A pre-natal massage to ease this constant discomfort! Thankfully, I've got one Sunday and I can't wait!

L I S T E N I N G > To more country music than I have in almost 8 years. I used to listen to it a lot during high school, but almost altogether stopped in college and up until now. I guess my country roots are coming through.

D R E A M I N G > About baby girl's arrival. She'll be here so soon and the idea of welcoming little miss is becoming my reality. After our first birthing class this week, I've been thinking a lot about how she'll enter this world and what that day will be like.

S W O O N I N G > Over the new Starbucks syrups husband and I ordered a few weeks ago and just used for the first time. Last night we made a white mocha peppermint latte, and it was divine. I think I'm going to share the recipe for it soon!

I hope you have a very spooktacular weekend! I'm looking forward to browsing through Instagram to see everyone's costumes and Halloween fun! See you here in November/on Monday, friends!  xo

have we found each other on Instagram?? Find me here:  @astleigh_hill
and stay up to date with posts by liking the blog's Facebook page
or subscribe via email to be updated every time I post (see the sidebar)

p.s. Be sure to check out Hill Collection Designs! It's that time of year to start thinking of Christmas cards. And maybe you want to get a little crazy and send Thanksgiving cards for a twist and something new! I add new designs throughout the week, so be sure to take a look! Outside of holiday cards, there are also invitations, birth announcements, and thank you notes. Spread the word, tell your friends and family! 

Don't forget to link up with me for The Pick, by grabbing the URL of your favorite blog post from this week and adding it below. I ask that you comment on some of the other posts linked-up, and that you most definitely comment on the blogger that linked up just before you.

Day To Date Outfit

Thursday, October 29, 2015
With baby girl so close to arriving, husband and I have been planning some date nights for the near future. We don't have too much time left before date nights have to be scheduled and a babysitter is called. So we're making the most of these last 9ish weeks. And one thing date night calls for is the perfect outfit. While most days I'm quick to jump into my pajamas or sweats as soon as I hit the door from work, the nights we have planned for dates will look different as I turn my work attire into something a little extra special.

D A Y 

Transitioning from day to date can be uncomplicated and quite simple. And right now simple is my kind of language; comfort is too. Especially at 31 weeks and 5 days along. Because not everything fits, and not everything is flattering at the moment. Which brings me to finding the right pieces of clothing to make you feel like a million bucks, without costing you a million bucks. Being flexible with your clothing and accessories is key to making your day/work outfit flow seamlessly into a date night ensemble.

First I pick my main piece, the star of the show. And it just so happens that dresses are my jam right now (the always are truthfully). They've got great flow, don't constrict, and look fabulous this time of year with tights and other layers. I went for this dress, which offers a lovely pop of color while being appropriate for work and fun for a night on the town.

For work I paired it with black maternity leggings, boots, a cotton vest, cognac braided belt, silver cuff, and drop necklace. As is, this outfit choice is perfection for an office job.

to   D A T E

To make it date night ready, I traded the leggings for knit tights (found in-store at Old Navy), swapped the boots for suede wedges, traded the cognac belt for a shiny silver one, added a headband, and put on a poncho instead of a vest for the chillier night air.

With just a few adjustments I went from work-ready to date night dressed. So how do you go from day to date?? I'd love some inspiration! Grab out graphic and and link-up with Rachel and I below for the Every Girl Series!

And if you love linking up be sure to catch our remaining link-up dates for the year! Some have changed, so be sure to write these in your blogging calendar! 

November 5: Thanksgiving Décor
November 12: Thanksgiving Traditions (share traditions and recipes)
December 3: Christmas Décor
December 10: DIY Christmas Ornament 

Hill Collection

Autumn Chopped Salad

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Last night, husband and I had friends over for our (now annual) Halloween dinner. We did this the week leading up to Halloween in 2014, and it only seemed fitting that we do the same this year. Like last October, we opted for pizza with orange and grape soda (for the festiveness). But, this year we made some tweaks, choosing to go with pre-made dough from Sal's (amazing/a must try!) and serving up salad as a side. We added dessert too; dirt cake for the win!

The gals made the pizzas while catching up, and the guys hung out with our newest member, sweet baby Layla. Before everyone showed up, husband and I put the salad together, sans the dressing and feta so that it wouldn't get soggy. When it was time to eat, we merely tossed it up and poured the dressing over it. The feta we left off so that people could add it for themselves. The Autumn Chopped Salad was such a delicious hit that I knew I needed to share it today with you!

  • What You'll Need
    • 2 large heads of romaine lettuce
    • 2 medium, green pears
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • 11 slices of bacon
    • 4 oz feta cheese
    • 2/3 cup poppy seed salad dressing
    • 1/3 cup Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • What You'll Do
    • Cook the bacon, pat away the grease, and crumble up.
    • Wash then chop the romaine lettuce. Set aside in a bowl.
    • Wash and dice the pears into small chunks. Add to the lettuce along with the bacon.
    • Add the dried cranberries, pomegranate arils, and pecans. 
    • Toss well and set aside until ready to serve.
    • In a measuring cup, combine the 2/3 cup poppy seed dressing with the 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette. Stir with a spoon until thoroughly combined. 
    • Once you are ready to eat the salad, pour the dressing over it and mix until everything is evenly coated. 
    • If you prefer less dressing, add it slowly until you reach your desired preference. 

Go  make this salad ASAP! You won't regret it! 

This recipe was adapted and slightly tweaked from this original recipe by Madison Hofmeyer.

Oh Baby! || Week 31

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
So unless baby girl has a late arrival, we are officially in the single week countdown until meeting her! I feel like just yesterday I was leaping for joy as we hit the second trimester, and here we are approaching the end of this pregnancy. The fact that our first birthing class is this week, Braxton Hicks contractions have shown up, and I feel the urge to have a packed and ready-to-go hospital bag is certainly solidifying how close we are to go-time. Oh how I can't wait to hold my girl and give her all the snuggles and kisses possible. I'm not sure how I'm going to hand her off to anyone else! 

How far along? In the 31st week

Baby's Size: A pineapple || approximately 17ish inches and anywhere from 2.5 to 3.8 pounds

Gender: Sweet girl! 

Baby Fact: Baby girl's five senses have fully developed. Her irises now react to light, and she's going through major brain and nerve development. 

Weight Gain: 14 pounds as of last week's doctor's visit; I'll find out midweek if that number is climbing as baby girl keeps growing.

Baby's Movement: My very favorite part of pregnancy is feeling her move around. It will be the part I miss most too. Her movements are so much bigger these days, and I love trying to figure out which part of her is poking out/I'm feeling. On Sunday I discovered that she seems to love the sound of the vacuum. While her daddy was running it, she was happily moving all over the place with the biggest movements. Nighttime is still her favorite time to get wiggly or really just about any time I'm reclined back. She must enjoy the extra room she gains when I stretch out.

Maternity Clothes: I've been wearing some pre-pregnancy shirts and dresses the last couple of weeks to make things work and stretch out my options in the last weeks of pregnancy. I'm not a huge fan of buying more maternity clothes this late in the game, so I'm making what I have work! The challenge is getting enough coverage over this ever-expanding bump!

Sleep: I've been waking more over the last week. There are the bathroom breaks along with random pangs. For instance, my neck was killing me late last week and my shoulder was in pain yesterday. These symptoms go away after getting up and moving about, but they are so uncomfortable while trying to sleep. And have I mentioned how difficult it is to roll over these days?? This belly is all in the way and getting heavier.

Symptoms: TUMs are my lifesavers lately; acid reflux just won't quit and I suspect it won't until little lady gets here. My feet tire extremely easily, as do my legs. I believe I experienced my first Braxton Hicks contractions too. That was interesting, and it made the upcoming birth seem that much more real! And the random discomfort that would pop up in my days has now turned into discomfort just about all the time. 

Cravings: I can't get enough to drink. Literally, I'm chugging any and everything lately. It's absurd. Pomegranate arils are my favorite right now. In fact, husband peeled three pomegranates for me on Sunday and put the arils in a Tupperware for me to snack on. He's the best isn't he?! But, ya'll those arils are going to be gone in no time. I'm working my way through them at a fast rate. 

Miss Anything? Being able to squeeze through tighter spaces. This belly just doesn't allow for it anymore.

Best Moment This Week: Although an odd feeling, I really loved experiencing the Braxton Hicks contractions. It made me realize that my body knows what it's doing and that it's time to start prepping for baby girl's arrival in more than just finishing her nursery. 

Worst Moment This Week: Feeling like my time management is everywhere but where it needs to be. Prayers for getting that together and giving myself the time to rest in these last weeks are welcome. 

Looking Forward To: Our first birthing class this week! I can't believe we are here already!

How's Husband? The second load of baby laundry we did made him even more excited to meet our girl! Seeing him with other babies gives my heart all the flutters for seeing him with our little one (and so soon!). I could brag about him for days, but I'll spare you. Husband has truly been the best support during this pregnancy, and I know he's going to be the best dad for our nugget. 

In case you missed it: 

p.s. don't forget we're sharing outfits that transition from day to date on Thursday for the Every Girl Link-Up!

Glitter Mason Jar DIY

Monday, October 26, 2015
It's no surprise that the weekend flew by, yet I'm still sitting here wondering exactly where it went. Regardless, it's Monday, and instead of sulking in the Monday blues, I'm going to pep up today with a whole lot of glitter. Because who doesn't love (some well-contained!) shimmering glitter?!

I think this might be one of my favorite DIYs to date. It's a glitterized mason jar that brings the wow factor to any tabletop. Husband and I made these several weeks ago, and I've been crazy about them ever since. I love that this project is simple, while still leaving you with a tabletop pretty that feels far fancier than the easy work and small amount of money you put into it. It's a win, win in my book!

So let's get to the essentials....the DIY part of this post and how you end up with a beautiful mason jar.

  • What You'll Need
    • Mason jar(s) - we made a total of 5 with the below supplies
    • Matte, gold spray paint - we found ours at Michaels
    • 2 bottles of Recollections glass glitter in vintage silver- another Michaels find (we used one entire bottle and only a small portion of the second bottle)
    • Modge Podge
    • Sponge Brush
    • Painter's tape
    • Plastic bowl
    • Newspaper

  • What You'll Do
    • Start by cleaning your mason jars well. We pulled off all of the stickers and then ran them through the dishwasher.
    • Once the jars are completely dry, spray paint them. You'll need 3 coats on each to ensure even coverage. Let the jars dry for just a few minutes in between coats.
    • After all coats have been applied, let the jars dry completely.
    • Using the painter's tape, tape off around the jar 3" from the bottom. 
    • With the sponge brush, evenly coat the lower portion of the jar with modge podge. 
    • Then sprinkle the glass glitter over the jar, evenly coating it. We recommend doing this step over a plastic bowl so that you don't make a huge glittery mess and also to allow you to recycle the glitter that doesn't initially stick. 
    • Once coated thoroughly with glass glitter, turn the jar upside on a piece of newspaper to dry.

The process is simple, and the turnout is fabulous! I decided to put a variety of greenery (found on manager's special at Kroger) in the jars along with decorative stems I grabbed at Michaels and trimmed down to fit. The look was exactly the fall feel I was looking for. And I loved it so much, I decided it would be incorporated into my Thanksgiving tablescape! 

This is a must-try DIY, and if you find yourself with any questions, don't hesitate to ask! You can leave your question in the comment below or email me! 

I hope your Monday is as bright as this glitter :)

Thoughts For Friday + The Pick: Week 42

Friday, October 23, 2015
I don't know why I'm so surprised that another Friday has rolled around again! It never fails though, Friday shows up, and I gasp at how fast the week went. I think a lot is due to my business, or at least what I call my busyness. And oh how I've been convicted by it this week! If you didn't know, I attend Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) weekly, and this year we are studying Revelation. In the first several chapters, the churches are being addressed. I didn't expect any of it to speak directly to me, but good gracious, God uses what He wants to get a point across to you. And it's working. All that to say, I am busy, but not too busy to sit down and spend quiet time with the Lord. Not too busy to put other priorities first, like finding some relaxation time before baby girl arrives. My BSF leader said it perfectly this week when she said, "It's easy being busy, but it's hard being effective." Amen. Now if I could find a way to make the things I do effective and get rid of the extra busy that I just don't need. Then maybe my weeks would slow down, my heart would be set on Jesus, and my feet could relax!

T H I N K I N G  > About birthing class. It starts next week, and I'm actually excited to attend. I'm most looking forward to husband's reaction to it all. He's been such a huge support during this pregnancy, and I know he'll be champ during the delivery. I can't wait to see and later talk about his thoughts regarding baby girl's grand entrance after this first class! 

P O N D E R I N G > It's one of the great debates of my life. But, my hair is on my brain a lot these days. Instead of becoming thick and voluptuous during pregnancy, it has pretty much stayed the same, except for its new tendency to fall out in hoards. Knowing that more hair will most likely be shed after baby girl arrives, I've been toying with the idea of my next haircut. Originally I thought I was growing it out (it takes forever!), but then the itch to cut it short happened. My theory is that it's already short, so why not maintain it for awhile instead of growing it out long to chop it again. But, what I want to know is if I'll regret cutting off the length I have now. And do I look better with long hair or short hair? And if my face takes on any pregnancy weight toward the end, am I going to look really awful with short hair? So basically, I've been asking everyone and now bob or not to bob??

If I do cut it, I'm thinking this look, just more angled in the front so that it's longer than the back.

N E E D I N G > To find time to rest. Like I mentioned, I keep myself going like the energizer bunny, but I need to slow it down and soak up these last weeks of pregnancy and life pre-baby.

L I S T E N I N G > Last week, I mentioned I listen to Christmas music while designing cards. This week you can officially roll your eyes at me...I've been listening to it some while not designing cards. Oops.

D R E A M I N G > About Thanksgiving décor. I've never had a lot of Thanksgiving decorations, and I've got some ideas for this year, specifically the table. I just need to find what I need (at a great cost) to make it happen!

S W O O N I N G > Over all the fall recipes and magazines that keep popping up in my mailbox! I can't wait to try out some new drink recipes...maybe this weekend?!

Cheers to the weekend, a wedding, pumpkin carving, recipe testing, and chilly temperatures!
I'll see you lovelies back here Monday! xo

join me for #weekending on Instagram @astleigh_hill
and stay up to date with posts by liking the blog's Facebook page
or subscribe via email to be updated every time I post (see the sidebar)

p.s. Be sure to check out Hill Collection Designs! It's that time of year to start thinking of Christmas cards. And maybe you want to get a little crazy and send Thanksgiving cards for a twist and something new! I add new designs throughout the week, so be sure to take a look! Outside of holiday cards, there are also invitations, birth announcements, and thank you notes. Spread the word, tell your friends and family! 

Don't forget to link up with me for The Pick, by grabbing the URL of your favorite blog post from this week and adding it below. I ask that you comment on some of the other posts linked-up, and that you most definitely comment on the blogger that linked up just before you.

Pumpkin Patch Play

Thursday, October 22, 2015
I'm a broken record when I express, yet again, my love for fall and all things that go along with it. Truly, nothing makes me giddier than this time of year, October through December, when the temperatures are cooling down, traditions are in full swing, and the holiday spirit is tangible. It's true love, really.

Growing up my family had certain holiday traditions, of which I plan to continue and add to as my family expands. One of our biggest traditions took place at the end of October, tagging our Christmas tree. Then we'd go back at the start of December to cut it down and haul it home. Growing up in a small, country town certainly has its perks when you consider the unique opportunities you get to experience. But, back to bringing this full circle...this tradition began with another family, the Huffmans, who owned the tree farm where we tagged and cut our tree. When Mr. Huffman retired, his niece started her own tree farm, and we smoothly transitioned right down the road. 

For as long as I can remember Joe's Trees has been a part of yearly, holiday traditions. So when the tree farm started a pumpkin patch, it made all the sense in the world to begin a new tradition. And that's how we began pumpkin patching every October. We began going just after marrying in 2013, and unintentionally our tradition must always include husband's brother's family. That's whom we first started going with, and three years later the five of us are still driving through the mountains to the patch together. Next year is going to be extra special when baby girl joins us!

If you ask me, there is something magical about a pumpkin patch. Maybe it's this one's mountain views and the feeling of being tucked away within the trees. Regardless, I can't get enough.

It felt extra wonderful this year to "bring" baby girl along. After all my years at this place, I get to introduce our girl to so many special traditions and pass along some of my favorite memories. Nostalgia, people. This must have been how my parents felt. 

 Babes in pumpkin patches give me all the feels. There is nothing sweeter. Don't even get me started on our girl amongst the pumpkins next year. I'll have a photographing field day!

Twins on twins....well not exactly. The two little guys are the official twins, while husband and his brother could just pass as twins even though they are four years apart in age. 

And we may not be actual blood related, sisters, but if you put our personalities side-by-side, you'd think otherwise! Over the last three years Amy and I have grown super close, resulting in a really wonderful and close relationship.

Couldn't you just take them all home?! The urge to not fill up a vehicle with as many pumpkins as you can possibly fit hasn't won yet....

But what did win out was taking home Cherry Apple Cider! We haven't cracked the jug open yet, and I'm thinking this weekend will be perfect for it! 

You can see all of our pumpkin patching from years past:
2014: Part 1 & Part 2