Something To Swoon About Vol. 4

Friday, August 31, 2018

Happy Friday! This household is super excited for an extended weekend. We'll be mixing some project work with some play and some relaxation. I can't forget college football, that will be thrown into the mix too. These are hands-down my favorite types of playing on the tv, food cooking, productivity/checking things off of my list & family time. Now if only the temperatures were cool enough to crack my windows wide open. 

I'm so hopeful to be getting back into a regular posting schedule this fall (maybe I'll kick that off with the arrival of September). I'm slowly finding a rhythm being at home with two littles, but just as soon as I think I've got it down something throws it for a loop. You know, just an average day of motherhood. 

So what have we been up to lately?
  • I've mostly decorated for fall. There's still a bit more to finish up.
  • We've made and shipped out fall candles from our little shop, Twine & Cotton.
  • Our toddler decided to randomly potty train herself last Saturday. We've had dry big girl underwear for 6 days now.
  • I had my first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season. Unfortunately, it's been so hot that I had to get it iced, but it was still scrumptious. 
  • I've done a little furniture rearranging in our family room.
  • I'm working on the final touches to Quinn's nursery. Did you see that Instagram post?
  • Greer started her first dance class. She's taking ballet, and it's adorable. And she loves it.
  • Matching the girls in floral jams. 

What are some of our recent favorites?
  • This sous vide, which makes amazing eggs and the most tender meat. 
  • My go-to fall lotion. #cantgetenough 
  • This white noise maker that my friend is letting me borrow. It's pure sleep magic. 
  • This cardigan, which has cozy written all over it.
  • My fall coffee mug
  • This top coat of nail polish is amazing. It dries so fast and keeps my color from chipping so much longer. It's the perfect top coat when you don't have much time, but you really want to paint your nails. #mommusthaves

What do I have planned?
  • I'd love to make a pumpkin dessert. I'm thinking pumpkin loaf.
  • Reading my fall magazines.
  • Celebrating the unofficial start to autumn.
  • Decluttering every room in the house.
  • Finding a new fall nail polish for the season.

So while life has been a little crazy as we find our new norm, it's also been a whole lot of wonderful. I hope y'all have a lovely Labor Day weekend! xo

**Affiliate links were used in this post. Thank you, as always, for supporting the blog!

Picking The Best || Our Dual Baby Monitor

Thursday, August 30, 2018
If there was one item at the top of our must-get list when we found our we were expecting baby #2, it was a second camera/monitor. We had been faithfully using our Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8 since Greer was born, so it was a no brainer to keep with the product and add an additional camera to link up to our monitor. And just like before, we're as happy as we can be with the dual version of our baby monitor. Let me tell you why...

I'm an anxious mom, and have been since my first pregnancy. Putting our baby into another room (that I wasn't in) for sleep required a camera and monitor that were going to give me peace of mind. There were a handful of factors that I insisted upon when making this decision; so husband did thorough research to find the best. Here is what we were looking for and found in Infant Optics:

  • Crisp + clear video no matter the lighting in the room.
    • Black and White in the dark + Color in the light
  • Ability to zoom and move the camera into just the right position.
  • Option to increase or decrease the volume and screen brightness.
  • A long-lasting battery.
  • Not connected to WIFI.
  • Ability to talk through the monitor to our baby(ies).
  • Option to add on when more children arrived.
  • A reading of the temperature in the room.
  • Able to be hung on the wall, but also easily taken down.
  • Great to travel with.
  • User friendly.

Since Quinn's birth, we have been extremely happy with the dual options. All we had to do was connect an additional camera to the existing monitor. It's easy enough to watch both girls at once with the screen jumping back and forth between the two cameras every 12 seconds. There is also the choice to keep the monitor on just one camera at a time instead of having it switch between the two. All of the criteria above are features of the dual option too, which I love. Nothing is sacrificed when adding a camera. 

All of my must-have in a baby monitor have been met with our Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8. The quality is exceptional and I find myself so happy with using this product for taking the best care of our kiddos. I would recommend this to an expecting mama, growing family, or mama who is at her wit's end with her existing monitor. Truly, this one takes the cake!

This post was sponsored by Infant Optics. All opinions are mine alone. Thank you for supporting the brands that support the blog!

**Affiliate links were used in this post. As always, thank you for supporting the blog!

A Starbucks Drink List

Thursday, August 23, 2018
Y'all are the best! If you follow me on Instagram and caught my stories from earlier this week, then you saw my prompt for your favorite and go-to drinks at Starbucks. And you all replied! For me, I typically stick to my regulars, depending on the time of year (see them below), but sometimes I want to switch things and try something new. However, I'm not really adventurous enough to a.) buy a random drink that doesn't come recommended b.) make up my own drink c.) spend that kind of money on a drink that I may not like. 

But, now I've got a whole list of everyone's go-to Starbucks beverages, from coffee to tea and refreshers. I'm super excited to give some of these a try, and I hope you find one or five on here that you feel bold enough to try out too! 

M Y    P I C K S
Iced Latte with 2 pumps White Mocha & 2 pumps Toffee Nut
Hot Latte with 2 pumps White Mocha & 2 pumps Toffee Nut
Coffee Frappuccino
Chai Tea Latte (hot)
Strawberry Acai Refresher
Caramel Apple Spice
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Caramel Brûlée Latte
Salted Caramel Mocha (iced or hot)

E V E R Y D A Y 
Iced Caramel Macchiato
Iced Caramel Macchiato with Extra Caramel Drizzle
Caramel Iced Coffee
Almond Milk Latte with Cinnamon Powder
Mocha Latte
Caramel Iced Coffee (extra cream & extra pumps of caramel)
Grande Iced Coffee with 2 pumps Sugar-Free Vanilla, 1 pump Peppermint, 1 pump Mocha, & Cream
Hot Vanilla Latte
Iced Coffee with 2-3 pumps of flavor + cream
Decaf Cinnamon Dolce Latte
Triple Iced Espresso with Toffee Nut Syrup and either half & half OR coconut milk
Mocha Frappuccino
White Chocolate Mocha Latte - slim, no whip
Iced Americano with 3 pumps White Mocha and Cinnamon Powder on top
White Mocha, half pump, extra hot, decaf
Cinnamon Almond Milk Macchiato
Hot Caramel Macchiato with Coconut Milk + 1 Pump Mocha
Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Latte
Iced Mocha with Coconut Milk
Iced Caramel Coffee with Whipped Topping
Flat White with Cinnamon

Non-fat White Mocha with Toffee Nut (no whip)
Iced Chai Tea Latte with 2 pumps Pumpkin
Holiday Spice Flat White
Salted Caramel Frappuccino

N O N - C O F F E E
Strawberry Acai Refresher with Lemonade (instead of water)
Mango Dragonfruit Refresher
Violet Drink
Strawberry Green Tea Lemonade
Peach Citrus Tea Lemonade
Iced Chai Tea Latte
Hot or Iced Chai Tea Latte (no water, skim milk)
Chai Tea Latte with Coconut Milk (dairy & soy free)
Iced Soy/Almond Milk Dirty Chai Latte
London Fog

If you have any Starbucks drinks recommendations and must-trys, leave them in the comments! Happy Starbucks-ing!!

Fall Capsule Wardrobe || Toddler Style

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Y'all, if there's one thing I love about fall (excluding pumpkins!) it's the cozy wardrobe. Not only do I love picking out a new sweater or two for myself, I also love dressing my oldest in autumn-inspired pieces. There's something super adorable about fall clothing on a toddler, and I can't get enough. Since my girl grows like a weed, outgrowing all of last year's fall wardrobe, it meant replacing it this year. And that prompted me to put together a capsule wardrobe to carry her from August through the winter months to get longer wear out of the money spent on her needed clothing articles.

In creating the fall capsule wardrobe, my goal was to stay neutral with all of her clothing options to create a whole bunch of outfits using timeless staples. To add fun pops of colors, I'll accessorize with bows, tights, and socks. So that's exactly what I did as I picked out a handful of pieces for mixing and matching all season long, giving her a plethora of outfits put together from classic pieces. Keep scrolling to see what Greer will be sporting this fall + winter! 

C R E A T I N G    A    C A P S U L E    W A R D R O B E
  • Stay neutral with the clothing selection.
  • Get a variety of pieces (dresses, pants, shirts, cardigans) for mixing and matching.
  • Pick clothing that can be layered; this gives versatility with the weather as it stays warm in early fall & then cools. 
  • Opt for equal parts patterns and solids.
  • Think timeless + classic staples. These will span the seasons flawlessly.
  • Look for deals to get the the best amount for your budget. 
  • Shop from multiple stores.
  • Accessorize with color!

**Affiliate links were used in this post. Thank you for supporting the blog!

Sea Salt + Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, August 7, 2018
National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day came and went on Saturday, but not before we could celebrate with a homemade, straight-from-the-oven batch of cookies. Y'all, these cookies are absolutely amazing! The perfect texture, baked like a dream, and combination of salty and sweet. We've been munching on them with cold glasses of milk since. And since they are going to be our go-to cookie in the Hill house, I wanted to share this scrumptious recipe with all of you! Take this as my, not-so-subtle nudge to go make these cookies ASAP. Then tell me how much you love them too :)

  • What You'll Need
    • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal, ground
    • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 TSP baking soda
    • 1 TSP salt
    • 2 sticks unsalted butter
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 TSP vanilla extract
    • 2 cups mini chocolate chips
    • 1 1/3 cup toffee pieces
    • Flaky sea salt

  • What You'll Do
    • Place oats in food processor and grind up until fine (flour-like). Add to a bowl with the flour, baking soda, and salt.
    • In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar using a mixer, until the mixture is fluffy. Add one egg and the vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Add the second egg and mix just until combined.
    • Add the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and beat until just combined. Make sure not to over-mix!
    • Fold the chocolate chips and toffee pieces into the dough using a spatula. 
    • CHILL IN THE FRIDGE FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS! This is crucial!
    • Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    • Scoop the dough out into 2 TBSP portions (making it into a ball, but no need to roll it into a ball) and space 2 inches apart. 
    • Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges are just browned and crispy.
    • Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. 
    • Sprinkle with the sea salt and eat right away with a glass of milk! Or store the cookies for up to 4 days. Enjoy!

This recipe is from Certified Pastry Aficionado, and was slightly adapted for my taste preferences.