Confessional Friday: {Link-Up}

Confessional Friday – it’s here, it’s here! Let’s skip through the small talk and get to the...well, more small talk. 

I confess that I’m dying to show you our new home! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen her already. (And I profusely apologize for the repeat pic.) But, for those who aren’t on that platform, I thought I’d share a pic.  We move in at the end of July, so the packing is in full swing hasn't even started yet. I can’t wait to get all settled in and take you guys on a virtual home tour. After it's decorated. (Read: after my much more home-interior-savvy MIL comes and fixes it up. A decorator, I am not.)

I confess that I’m considering seeing Maleficent by myself. I seriously doubt my hubs will want to go watch, so I’m thinking maybe he can watch Caroline and I’ll go solo.  And enjoy getting a big ‘ol popcorn and Coke all to myself. And maybe taking a nap in the theater. So, if you live in NWA and see me hanging out at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade movie theater, feel free to come sit by me! ; ) (I can't be the only grown woman to want to see this movie?)

I confess that was so hungry on my way to work yesterday that I ate one of Caroline's teething crackers. They were in a Ziploc bag in my drink console and I was hungry. It wasn't terrible, but definitely could have used some cream cheese ; )

I confess that I scared myself into a sleepless night by watching a stupid scary movie late one night this week. Stephen was in NYC and Minneapolis for work all week, so one night after I put Caroline down, I flipped on the TV and The Conjuring was playing. Now, I watched it once before with Stephen and didn't remember going to bed freaked out, but this time...good Lord. I should have stopped watching, but it really is one of those movies that sucks you in! So, I watched the whole blessed thing. 

Later, I held little Ruby close to me in bed and jumped every time our A/C kicked on through the night. I even considered waking Caroline up to hang out and keep her mama company. (Just kidding. Kind of.) Never again will I do that while he's out of town. 

I confess that I'm torn on what kind of planner to get for this upcoming fall/winter. If that isn't the most scandalous confession you've ever heard, then my name isn't Leslie. But seriously, I still love the Whitney English planners a LOT, but I always wonder if there's something better out there. I'm kind of digging the Emily Ley planners, which I think debut in September. 

I confess that I still say "I taped" something...as in, a movie or TV show. Yes, we own a DVR. Yes, I know we are technically "recording" it. But as a child of the 80s, VHS references are just hard to shake. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get my DeLorean to the shop.

Alright, I'll give you a moment to digest all the riveting information above. It's a lot to take in, I know.

Now, your turn. Tell me what's on your mind - the good, the bad and the really bad.


Summer Scentsy Party - You're Invited!

'Ello, lovelies! (You can go ahead and read that in a British accent. T'was intended.)

I make no bones about my obsession with Scentsy. (Ask Megan; she'll tell you.) I also try not to bomb y'all with giveaways or reviews or online parties, because some of my favorite blogs have fast become outlets for nothing BUT the aforementioned. (Can I get an 'amen'?)

But once a year or so, I love hosting a Scentsy party and inviting all you girls to take part! If you've never tried it before, or maybe you're looking to incorporate some new summer scents, now's the time to shop!

My favorite scents, both summer scents and those I burn year-round:
*Luna (Clean and light, I'm convinced this is the scent that sold our house!)
*Satin Sheets (Great for getting rid of the diaper genie smell in a nursery. I use it in Cee's!)
*White Tea and Cactus
*By the Sea (Awesome summer smell!)
*Simply Nashi Pear (Perfect for warm weather, it's just sweet enough to make you crave a slushy drink!)
*My Dear Watson (Listed under the Scentsy Favorites section, this scent has notes of bergamot, mint and suede...kind of a broody, sexy scent. And yes, scents can be sexy.)
*A Wink and a Smile (I usually only burn this for an hour or so because it is a little stronger, but it is such a refreshing scent. It's a little bit reminiscent of a bouquet of tulips.)

I also love my plug-in warmers and use those for night lights in our bathrooms, especially when we have guests.

For daily use, I burn my full-size warmers!

Shop here now!


Confessional Friday: {Link Up}

It's that time again, ladies! Let's confess!

1) I confess that I've watched this video by OK Go "The Writing's On the Wall" approximately 57 times. It's a visual trip and probably one of the coolest music videos to-date. You have to view it a few times before you realize the amount of detail and work that they poured into it.

2) I confess that (I hope) we have found our house! We are submitting the offer this morning on a brand spankin' new house, so hopefully I'll have more news later today! I'll post on Instagram with a pic if I'm able later today. This home is a dream come true and I'm really grateful that it will (hopefully) be ours. Wish us luck that they'll accept the offer and we can start packing!

3) I confess that I got a look at my roots yesterday and WOAH MOMMA. My hair grows SO stinkin' fast during the summer, so July 9th (hair appointment day) can't come soon enough!

4) I confess that I'm obsessed with the Lauren James dress line. Have y'all seen it? You can buy several styles from Riffraff, which are so cute and perfect for summer events. I snatched the Hampton Dress for myself (and plan to show off some of those pics on Monday), but I'm about to add the Livingston to my life, too. Seriously, check out the line. You'll LUST over it like me.

Back of the Livingston Dress
Livingston Dress by Lauren James via Riffraff
Hampton Dress in Spring Green via Riffraff

Okay, we've got a crazy morning with the house stuff, so I'm going to let y'all get to it. Confess away!


    An InLinkz Link-up


Swimsuits: {My Picks for Summer}

Okay, if any of you are like me, (and I know you are), putting on the bathing suit for the first time each summer is scary business. I'm typically pasty, (i.e. Casper the Friendly Ghost), which makes the swimsuit trying-on process OH SO FUN.

And this year, I'm working with a post-C-section body. I've been trying to get in better shape with the baby (you can read a post about that here), but I still have some things I want to hide.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite suits I've found for summer 2014. Who knows? Maybe you'll find one below that you like, too.

If You Love your Assets, but Want to Hide Your Derriere

Lots and lots of suits right now are verging on being G-strings. Seriously. It's stupid, y'all. Our friends at Loft heard our cries (we girls who don't look like Gisele) and produced some really cute bottoms, which serve as lovely alternatives to the booty cheek-bearing styles.

LOFT Beach Siren Stripe Bathing Suit

You Want Sexiness, but also Want a One-Piece

Leave it to my girls at Maude to find THE perfect black one-piece swimsuit. It's a little sexy with the plunging neckline, but also conservative for those of us trying to conceal a tummy. A win-win, in my book.

Janie Zinke Peplum One Piece Swimsuit from Maude

You Want Full Torso and Tummy Coverage

You can't go wrong with this suit if you're looking to disguise your midsection. It's flattering on any body type and still gives you the comfort of a two-piece.

Tommy Bahama Pearl Twist Tankini from Nordstrom

You're Plus Size and Want Something that will Showcase Your Gorgeous Curves

You've got the body, so show it off already! I love this swimsuit from Forever 21 for a curvaceous body. It's super hot, sleek and completely chic. The side baring cut-outs give it an edgy look and also draw attention to a beautiful, hourglass waistline. And, how about that caftan and sun hat they paired with it? Um, yes, please!

Gone Knotty Swimsuit from Forever 21 - It also comes in HOT PINK!

You Want a Funky Bikini, but NEED an Underwire

This is one of my very favorite prints of the season from J.Crew's swimwear. Its deco design and underwire support make it a good choice for staying put on the "girls" while you frolic on the beach. (And yes, I just said "frolic". We really don't frolic enough.)

Deco Shell Underwire Top from J.Crew - ON SALE!!!

You are with Child

Now, I may be in the minority, but I love a girl who isn't afraid to bare that baby bump proudly. I happily wore my bikini the whole time I was pregnant and loved every minute. But, if you're more comfortable keeping things a little more modest, this one is for you. Totally stinkin' cute.

ASOS Maternity Tankini in Yellow from ASOS

You Just Want Something Fun

Maaji. That's the only word you need to remember. And Maude, because that's where you'll find it. It's the beginning and end of fun, funky swimwear. I'm in LUST with this style and plan to add it to my swimwear rotation STAT.

Cockatoo Maaji Peek-a-boo Suit from Maude

These are just a few of my pics for the summer. Have you bought your suit yet? What's your favorite style suit...tankini, bikini, one-piece??


My Blog Made Buzzfeed!

Hey girls! Lots going on this morning as we zero in on our house hunt, but I did want to share something really cool.

I found out yesterday that my blog was on Buzzfeed! John Frieda, maker of Sheer Blonde, featured nine blonde bloggers that they would want to be BFFs with in real-life. I was pretty pumped to have made that list with eight other blondies!

If you have time today, go check it out and stop by the rest of the blogs on the list.

And thank you again to my friends at Buzzfeed and John Frieda for making my day!


Things Lately (a.k.a. Let's Talk Like Girls Do)

Today has no topic or rhyme or reason. So basically, it's Tuesday.

Here are a few topics for discussion today:

1) Where can I get a whole mess of big cardboard boxes to pack up our house? I know you can purchase them, but I'm looking for a less costly solution (read: FREE). Will warehouses or big stores (i.e. Walmart, Sam's Club, etc.) give you those if you just ask?? I'm not above a dumpster dive.

2) We have to be out of the house by July 15. (Hear that? It's the sound of panic coursing through my veins.)

3) I'm obsessed with Orange is the New Black. If loving a show about a corrupt women's prison is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

4)  Stephen was in Minneapolis for work yesterday and so Caroline and I were solo last night. I never sleep that well when he's gone, so I was up pretty much every hour on the clock. Finally, I gave in to insomnia and watched the only thing that was live: QVC.

QVC is funny. You never think that you'd need a pair of light-up, terry cloth house slippers, (you know, for those late-night trips to the fridge), but then they spell out all the reasons why you're crazy if you DON'T order a pair. So, you find yourself Easy-Paying your way (a little Q lingo for ya) to a new pair of house shoes. (And for the record, I did not order anything. But I was tempted. Oh, was I ever tempted.)

5) There was a bat and her baby that took up residence in our garage sometime early in the morning on Monday. I discovered them around noon yesterday and proceeded to flip shiz. NO MA'AM. I don't care if they are harmless and "good for the ecosystem" and whatnot. They're creepy and gross and you won't change my mind. (If you really want to lose sleep, watch this. Then tell me how cute they are.)

I polled my Facebook friends who offered words of advice to get them to leave. I resorted to leaving our garage open last night (with our door locked, of course) in hopes they'd fly out.

And they did.

Thank the good Lord.


Okay, now you tell me what's on your mind! See, it's just like we're two friends having coffee ; )


Caroline Rose: {Eight Months}

I know this is late, (Cee turned 8 months on Saturday), but we had a bit of a crazy weekend. We actually SOLD our house on Saturday morning - yay!! We are elated to get to start the fun and fast house-hunting process! So, with that said, this will be Caroline's last month-by-month update in our current home - crazy, right?!

I'm so excited to see what our next home will look like, where it will be, etc. And very excited for the memories we will make in it!

Weight/Length: 17 pounds, 3 oz. and 25.75 inches tall 

Hair and Eyes: Hair is a blondish-brown. Seeing as how both mine and Stephen's eyes are blue, as well as every member of each of our immediate families...I think they will stay blue ; )

Diapers: Size 3 Pampers Swaddlers and Honest Co. diapers, which we just discovered and love!

Clothing: 6 month clothing across the board. She's gotten some delicious rolls on her, but she's still pretty petite, so I think we're a few months away still from 9 month items. 

Favorite Things: Her Exersaucer, her Olivia the Pig doll, her blocks, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Doc McStuffin on Disney Jr.

Likes: Right now, our petite princess loves: bath time, sitting in her kiddie pool in the yard, going shopping and sitting up in the shopping cart like a big girl, hanging out in the yard with her doggies, riding on the boat and looking at books

Dislikes: Being hot (loathes the heat just like her momma), getting her diaper changed, (girlfriend doesn't have time for that anymore!)

Favorite Foods: Avocados, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans and infant oatmeal with fresh peaches. I'm very glad that we chose to buy the fruits and veggies and puree them for her, versus buying the ready-made baby food. It's a huge cost-savings, not to mention that I don't worry about the weird preservatives and high fructose corn syrup that she might be getting otherwise. (No judgement at all if you choose to purchase ready-made, but for us this is working well.)

Milestones: She said her first word last week and it was 'mama'! I just melted, y'all. She also said 'dada' the very next day!

She pulled up at about 7.5 months and was quite proud of herself. We are really having to watch her because she is on the move 24-7. 

She also had her two little bottom teeth come in last week and they're so cute!

Mama Thoughts: 
Seven months would best be summed up in one word: changes. Every day, she accomplished some little or big milestone. Her personality also started to come out even more. We have discovered that she is happiest when she's in social settings. She loves to "chat" with other kids and people, and has a very mellow disposition about her. Her daycare teachers say she is by far their most low maintenance baby.

She is also most happy when she is around our dogs. She adores watching them run and play in the yard. They are so gentle and patient with her, and it melts my heart to watch them together.

She is most attached to her mama, but when daddy's around, she loves to play and giggle with him. She associates him most with fun and play, and me with comfort and cuddling, which I love.

That's about all for this month, so stay tuned for NINE months on July 14!


Confessional Friday: {Link Up}

It's time again; let's confess!

1) I confess that I am having a Scentsy party starting June 22nd, so mark your calendars if you want in on this! They have some great new summer scents that I think you'll love. We've been using the heck out of our Scentsy warmer since our house went on the market. Our realtor said that everyone that looks at the house always comments on how nice it smells. I'll be letting y'all in on a few of my go-to scents, as well as some of the cool newer products they have.

2) I confess that I'm dying for a good tzaziki recipe. Anyone know of a yummy one? We love Greek food and I'd love to have an easy tzaziki recipe on hand for summer meals. Random confession, but I thought I'd throw it out there for you fellow foodies.

3) I confess that I may or may not watch videos of Caroline from my desk on the days that I work. You'd think that seeing your kid daily would be enough, but nope. I just can't get enough of that sweet little lady these days.

4) I confess that I cannot get back into the Birkenstock trend. My thinking is that if they were popular during my middle school years, the trend probably shouldn't be repeated. And yes, I know they're comfortable, but so are gladiator sandals and cute flips flops...and those won't get you on the worst-dressed list.

5) I confess that seeing this blog grow every week and meeting new and AMAZING women on a daily basis through this channel...well, it makes me happy. I'm coming up on my 5th year in blogging on July 9. Can y'all believe that? Five years! A blog that began as a hobby has turned into something so much more. Someone pass me a Kleenex.

6) I confess that I'll have an EIGHT month old tomorrow and that makes me weep. Caroline, please stay little. Just do it for mommy, m'kay?

Okay gals and dolls, what'cha got for me?


    An InLinkz Link-up


A New Favorite Recipe (Seriously Easy)

Hey, girls. So, I whipped up some barbecue lime grilled shrimp on Tuesday night after getting inspired by something similar I had seen in a cookbook earlier that day. (Yes, I still use actual, paper cookbooks. I'm old school.)

I put my own little twist on it with the barbecue and ginger and voila! It was finger licking good. (You really shouldn't wear white whilst devouring this meal. 'Tis messy, my friends.)

Barbecue Lime Grilled Shrimp

4-5 skewers (Tip: If you opt for bamboo skewers like we did, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to using on the grill to keep them from catching on fire.)
1 pound of shelled, deveined shrimp
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. ginger

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and let marinate for 2 hours prior to grilling.
Thread shrimp onto skewers and place on grill over medium heat.
Cook for 6-7 minutes, turning every minute or so, until the shrimp begin to cook evenly

We served ours on top of Zatarain's Caribbean Rice (because I had a coupon) with sides of roasted new potatoes and grilled corn on the cob - YUM.

I also think this would be a great way to marinate and cook fish, scallops, you name it. If you give it a shot, let me know how it turns out!


You Need a Denim Vest

...and here's why:

You will LIVE in the thing all summer. I promise. I've been wearing my constantly over dresses for work. They're an easy way to cover up spaghetti straps or a strapless maxi, which definitely aren't office-appropriate by themselves. But, when paired with a cute denim vest, a whole new outfit option (or several) is/are possible.

I got mine at Target (seen in my pic above), but here are a few more choices you might like. Because....options.

 Brave Soul Washed Denim Vest from ASOS

Mavi Jeans Jodie Denim Vest in Bleach Vintage

Lucky Brand Embroidered Sabrina Vest (kids' size)- this would be adorable for a little gal!

Levi's Moto Trucker Vest from Piperlime

Think you'll try this look this summer? Where did you find your favorite denim vest?


Cause You Gotta Have Friends

Friends. Some have been in our lives forever, while some are brand new. Some stay for a season, some stay longer. But, one thing's for sure: ya need 'em.

Good friends, to me anyway, are essential. 

Having a spouse, a kiddo, close family members - all of that is amazing. Nothing, however, can take the place of a great friend. 

After I had Caroline, I knew I was going to have to try harder than ever to maintain friendships. I didn't want the stresses of being a new mom to remove me from the rest of the world, which, let's face it, can easily happen with the addition of a baby. 

I didn't want to be one of those women who never has a girls' night out or forgets to call her good friend on her birthday. So I made it my mission this spring to try to be a better friend. 

Kind of a strange goal, huh?

I wanted to work harder at making my friends feel valued...because they ARE. I also wanted to make new friends. 

-So, I started attending a neighborhood Bible study earlier this month and love it. (I met so many women who are right in my backyard (literally), that I can't wait to know better.)

-I started to make regular "dates" with my good friends, just lunch or coffee, but some way to reconnect and keep up with them. 

-My husband and I made it our mission to say "yes" to every opportunity to go and have fun with our couple friends. After Caroline, it seemed like take-out on the couch was all we did on Friday nights. We missed our friends dearly. Now that she's old enough that we feel comfortable leaving her for a couple hours at a time, we make it a point to do a couples thing once a week or so. 

See? Told ya! We took the baby : ) 

-And if the sitter falls through, we take the baby! A kiddo is no reason to keep yourself holed up in the house. This past Friday, our sitter fell through and we had no choice but to take the bambina. Guess what? She was an angel and we had a great time anyway. Point is, sometimes you just have to do it.

Friendships are work and they're something I plan to keep working at. But they're so, SO worth the effort. I feel better when I know that I've been a good friend, don't y'all?

How do you stay connected to friends and make them feel valued? 


Confessional Friday: {Link Up}

It's Friday! All day long, friends! Let's confess.

1) I confess that I paid my VERY LAST car payment on thine olden Altima yesterday and it felt friggin' fantastic! Hitting the 'submit' button on the Nissan payment site last night was about the best feeling ever. I'm going to drive this puppy until the wheels fall off, which really could happen any day. Strange noises and such.) And even then, I will Fred Flinstone-style pedal that thing if I have to.

2) I confess that hearing Caroline say "mama" this week was the best sound I've ever heard. (I posted two videos of this on Instagram at my username, ablondeambition.) I told her in the hospital that her first word better be mama because she made me soooo sick while I was pregnant ; ) Guess she decided to heed my advice.

3) I confess that I am dreading this summer heat like a root canal. And I've never had a root canal, but they sound dreadful. It was nearly 90 on Wednesday and it felt like 2,000. Have I mentioned that I prefer fall?

4) I confess that I'm hoping this house sells quickly because ohmygosh...this constant cleaning is killing a sister. I'm very grateful that we have a home to be selling in the first place, but good grief is it ever tiring. I've gotten really good at hiding crap in drawers and cabinets before showings. And, a possible plus, my arms are getting really toned from all the vacuuming I've been doing.

Okie dokie. Let's hear yours!


    An InLinkz Link-up


What's In My Beach Bag

The Mister and I bought a little ski boat about three years ago, so from May until September, we pretty much live on the lake. I guess you can say that I've gotten pretty good at compiling the perfect bag for a day or night (or both!!) on the water.

(Mind you, this is just the bag for Stephen and me. Caroline has her own because...babies. They require a whole lotta stuff, which merits it's own mammoth bag.)

I love a straw bag because they dry out quickly, (just make sure to dry them out within hours after they get wet. Otherwise, they can get quite stinky.) I found one like the above at Old Navy last year and it has held up pretty well! Aviators are also a requirement because DUH. And a cute cover-up since we usually eat lunch at the marina's little hole in the wall restaurant after we go out (and no one wants to see this chick put away a big 'ol jalepeno burger wearing a bikini.) 

L.L. Bean Seaside Beach Towel (here) // BurnOut Kids Physical Sunscreen (I got ours on Amazon)

I really like L.L. Bean's beach towels because they hold up after mucho, mucho trips through the washing machine. And this is my new favorite sunscreen (below). It's called Burn Out and, although it is meant for kiddos, I like it because it lasts all goshdarn day. No reapplication needed, folks!

Clarins Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Suncare Oil (here

Once I've achieved a little bit of color, I can usually get away with an SPF 30 oil-based sunscreen. I LOVE Clarins Sun Care Oil Spray for my skin and my hair. If you have color-treated hair, spray a little on before you hit the water. It'll keep your color fresh and non-brassy!

It's also important to keep your lips protected on the water all day. I swear by the FRESH brand Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 in Sugar Coral.

Other things that require no photos:
-Extra ponytail holders
-iPod (we just plug it into the auxiliary jack and blare whatever we want)
-Water Noodles (I know they're meant for kiddos, but they're darn perfect for sitting in the water without having to tread water.)
-Gatorade (Gotta stay hydrated.)
-Koozies (To keep the beverages cold whilst sipping.)
-Bandaids, Neosporin and Advil (Accidents happen. Be prepared.)

These are just a few of my bag staples, but I'd love to hear what makes the list every time you hit the beach or lake. And, go!


Summer Frocks: {Outfit Pics}

Finding the perfect summer dress is sort of like finding a $10 bill when you're cleaning out your purse: the best kind of surprise.

Frill of the Chase dress c/o Riffraff (here) // Garden Party necklace c/o Riffraff (here) // Brown bracelet via Riffraff (purchased in store) // Rhinestone link bracelet via Groopdealz (purchased last year, but similar here) // shoes via Target (found here)

I was pleased as pink punch to discover the perfect little frock at Riffraff a couple weeks ago. It was an ideal color for the warmer months, a gorgeous shape and the best length - short, but not obscene for a momma ; )

If you're like me and currently trying to overhaul your summer wardrobe, I'd start with dresses. They're much more likely to fit (if you aren't able to try on in store), plus, you'll get a lot of mileage out of them because, in my opinion, they're way more comfy than shorts!

Here are a few of my current favorites I've found lately from Riffraff.

Gaze n A-maze Dress {in hot pink}
Neon Flirt It Out Dress {in blue}
Bella Dress {Flamingo Deck}

Trapeze Dress {Be Mine}
A few tips to remember when you're looking for a universally flattering dress:

-Look for a portrait collar, a deep V-cut with straps or a one shoulder (Grecian) style neckline

-Find frocks with fun detailing, like a flutter sleeve or intricate designs around the shoulders (like the Gaze n A-maze dress) to draw the eye upward

-The perfect length for most women? 1-3 inches above the knee. Not much more and not much less.

Stay tuned Wednesday for another outfit post (I know, crazy right?), featuring the cutest darn top from one of my other favorite boutiques!

*The dress and necklace in this post were generously gifted by Riffraff. Style photos are property of A Blonde Ambition and Leslie Sisti (in partnership with Riffraff) and may not be re-published on any blog, website or social media channel without express written consent from this blog administrator or Riffraff store.