Toddler must-haves 15-18 months!

Photography by Brandon John

I can’t believe Charlee is 1.5 years old! It’s crazy she will be 2 in less than 5 months. WHERE did the time go?! I have been doing these must-haves posts since she was a newborn. You can check all of those out here.

This stage in Charlee’s life has been really fun, but also really exhausting. Charlee was quite possibly the easiest baby of all time so it has been a tough transition into toddler life if I am perfectly honest! All of a sudden she has started to have melt downs and makes sure to let Matt and I know, along with the whole world when she doesn’t like something. I have been feeling a little out of control with this new phase of life with Charlee and decided to sign up for the Positive Parenting Solutions annual membership and feel like I have gotten some amazing tools to help me handle her changing moods and curveballs she has been throwing my way.

The below items were awesome in helping us navigate this period of Charlee’s life!

Toy Kitchen: We got this toy kitchen for Charlee for Christmas and it has become her favorite toy of all time! She loves to spend  her time at the kitchen, making “soup” and “coffee” for Mommy and Daddy. The one we bought is from Ikea (you can see it above in the photo) and we really love it. The quality is awesome and it only took about an hour to put together. It’s also a great apartment size kitchen, plus it’s $79!

Silicone Toddler Plates:  I found these on Amazon and ordered them on a whim. These are super durable, machine washable and I like the compartments. Charlee is funny about different foods touching so she is also a fan. I like that they are also silicon and soft.

Sippy cup with straw: This has been the best cup to teach Charlee how to drink from a straw. Plus they don’t leak.

Lid-less kids cups: I did a little research and decided on these lid-less cups for Charlee. Luckily, in Charlee’s daycare class they no longer allow bottles so she has gotten really good at drinking for a cup with no lid. I like these since they are non-toxic and reusable.

Sticker books: From 15-18 months, Charlee would sit and play with her sticker books for an hour at a time. I love this specific set since she is a huge fan of The Hungry Caterpillar book.

Large comfy sleep sack:  Charlee has been in a sleep sack since she was out of a swaddle, but this sleep sack is a little different than the others. It is super cozy and a bit heavy making it feel more like a comforter or blanket, rather than a thin sleep sack. Charlee will eventually be sleeping in a big girl bed with a big girl blanket, but until then this has been a great item. She sleeps so well in it and it keeps her from trying to escape the crib since she doesn’t have much mobility in it.

Big Girl toys: My first purse, broom set, vacuum : Charlee started showing a huge interest during this development stage in copying Matt and I in household tasks or basic every day things. She loves to pretend to carry a purse, vacuum the house etc. Every time Matt and I vacuum, she runs to get her toy vacuum and join us! So cute.

Travel Harness:  During this time we reached the point where it no longer worked to have Charlee sit on our laps on a plane. She is a really tall toddler and she hated feeling cramped. This harness makes her feel safe and snug and acts as a car seat. It has been such a game changer for flights!

Carter’s Toddler Pajamas: I have bought a few different types of pajamas, but I feel like the Carter’s PJ’s are the best option for the price. We just had to order 2T. She is getting so big!

Scooter: Charlee’s Nana bought her this scooter for Christmas! It’s such a cute little scooter and she loves rolling around on it in the house and at that park.

Best ipad games: Peek a boo Barn!: I love this app and we keep it on Charlee’s tablet. It has been the way that Charlee learned all her animals! It makes me feel better about giving her screen time since it’s such an educational app!

Baby Shark Book: This is the best thing you can buy your toddler!!! This book plays every single Baby Shark song and has pictures and buttons. Charlee LOVES it!

Did I miss anything that you couldn’t live without during this toddler stage? Leave a note in the comments!

Xoxo-J

Tips for Working from home

 

Photography by Shadi Garman

Top: Mango Leggings: Spanx Shoes: old, similar here: Steve Madden

Hi Guys, as a lot of you know, I work from home a few times a week…every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. You can read more about my schedule and routine in this post. I have been doing this consistently for over a year now and have figured out a few tips for staying focused. If you don’t work from home, a lot of these tips can be applied to just being more productive in general! I hope you all enjoy!

Time Blocking: I first heard about time blocking from my insta girl-crush Purely Pope. She mentioned that time blocking was a game changer for her time management and productivity so I decided to do some research. Basically, time blocking is exactly what it sounds like; Blocking out specific time for specific tasks. For someone like me, who is super ADD and jumps from one task to another, this can be super challenging. That said, it has taken a few months of practice and this method really helps me stay focused and productive! Not only do I time block my days, I actually time block my entire week in regards to work and social events etc. starting on Monday. Doing this helps me visualize what is in store for me that week and allows me to be fully present in the current task or event without getting stressed about things I need to get done. I make sure to block time for all my tasks so things get done. It sounds simple, but it has made a big difference for me!

Create a to-do list at the beginning of your day: This is the other part of time-blocking that is super important. I sit down at my desk when I start my work day and write a list of priorities I need to get done. Then I set a time for those tasks. I always start with an hour of email catch up, then go into more specific tasks that require more focus after I have sort of checked the maintenance items off my list. I also love checking things off my list, it weirdly makes me super happy haha!

Eat breakfast: I always take time to make myself breakfast before I start working. I like feeling satiated so I don’t get distracted in the morning. I find that I am more productive first thing and being fed keeps me focused.

Take scheduled Breaks: It is so easy to just plow through work especially with no people around you potentially distracting you. I find that if I take at least a full 5 minute break every hour, I am calmer and more focused.

Get dressed…don’t work in your pajamas: I know this sounds weird, but I always get dressed and ready before starting work. Doing this helps me mentally check in 100% to work. Doing this also keeps me from taking “work time” and using it to do my hair or makeup.

Take a lunch break: This kind of goes into the scheduled break category, but it’s really easy to fall into the trap of sitting in front of your computer and eating your lunch. I find that by making myself leave work for 30 minutes to eat and focus on something totally different helps make me more productive!

Designate your workspace: Matt and I recently purchased a desk and storage unit from West Elm and it has been a game changer. I love my workspace and look forward to sitting down and getting to work in my little home office. I also have a really comfortable chair that I sit in which is also super important.

Go outside: When I first started working from home, there were a lot of  days where I literally didn’t go outside at all until I left to pick up Charlee at 3. The days that I do go outside I am just a happier person! I actually like to work outside on nice summer days. Nothing better than a little fresh air to put a pep in my step.

Start your day with a clean workspace: This is huge for me. Before I even think about starting my workday, I make sure my bed is made, the dishes are put away and the house is clean. If I don’t, I find myself distracted by housework.

Allow yourself to indulge the pleasure of working from home: Working from home is amazing and something I consider a luxury and one thing I do not take for granted. I love being able to throw a load of laundry in, or do a quick load of dishes. I also like to workout during my lunch break. Working from home is awesome and by integrating the tips above I find I am actually more productive at home than I am when I go into the office!

Share in the comments any tips that you recommend in regards to working from home!

xoxo-J

 

 

Les Georgettes Custom Bracelets

Photography by Brandon John

Bracelet c/o Les Georgettes

I am always on the lookout for beautiful yet affordable everyday accessories. I like to experiment with statement earrings and hair accessories, but when it comes to arm candy I find that I wear the exact same thing every day. I was so excited when Les Georgettes reached out to me to partner on a post. I loved their designs and the concept was so cool. They combine fine custom jewelry with interchangeable colors and reversible leather or fluid-perspex. In just a few seconds, you can transform your jewelry by changing or reversing the colored insert to go with your outfit! I chose a super neutral bracelet because I wanted to wear mine every day! I just love it and get a ton of compliments on it!

You can purchase their pre-made designs, or even customize your own. It’s such a unique concept! Here are some of my other favorites from their site. They even make rings! For a limited time, you can take 15% off your order using code LETSJESSUP15.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Xoxo-J

Cheesy chicken sausage and peppers low carb pasta!

I came up with this recipe on a whim the other night and holy moly it is SO GOOD. I love these Palmini noodles and make a lot of different pasta dishes using them. I swear these noodles really fill the pasta void! This recipe is basically no carb considering it’s made of almost all fiber and veggies. It’s one of my favorites. Let me know what you guys think if you make it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of ghee
  • 3 pre-cooked Italian chicken sausage links (sliced into bite size pieces) Any brand will do
  • 1 can of Palmini Hearts of Palm Noodles
  • Sliced red, green and yellow peppers. I use about 1/4 of each and slice the pieces up
  • 1/3 of a white onion sliced
  • 1 cup of sliced white mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons of low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Directions:

  • Run the Palmini noodles under cold water for 1 minute. Pat dry using a paper towel until they are almost dry. Set aside. I recommend using a salad spinner if you have one. This really helps dry out the noodles!
  • Heat a large pan and melt the ghee in the pan
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan and season with salt and pepper
  • Sauté the mushrooms for 5-8 minutes, until they begin to soften
  • Add the onion and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes
  • Add your peppers and Sauté until a bit soft, 8ish minutes (feel free to cover the pan to cook faster)
  • While your veggies cook, prep your ricotta sauce
  • Mix the ricotta, onion powder and Italian seasoning into a bowl. Set aside.
  • Once your veggies are cooked, add the Palmini noodles to the pan and mix them so everything is evenly combined
  • Add the ricotta mixture to the pan and coat the noodles and veggies
  • Once all coated, place into a pasta bowl
  • sprinkle a little pecorino Romano cheese on top for added flavor
  • ENJOY!

xoxo-J

Seeing stripes

   

Coat: Club Monaco Turtleneck: Wolford Skirt: Asos Necklace: Amazon Hair clip: Asos Earrings: Mango Handbag: Gucci Bracelet: Amazon


Hi guys! I am heading to Austin for SXSW with my sister Britta and my sister in law Lisa in two weeks and the countdown is ON. I have been doing some shopping for the weekend and bought this really cute skirt from Asos. It’s lightweight but I figured I’d try to style it for the winter to get more wear out of it! I paired it with a black turtleneck bodysuit and my Stuart Weitzman over the knee boots to help keep me warm. I bought this Club Monaco coat two years ago and have gotten SO much use out of it. I have worn it in posts here, here, here, here and here! I love it so much that I also bought the same coat in pink which you can see here, and here ! They still make this same style and it’s currently on sale for $350. I have clearly gotten my wear out of it and I think it’s so timeless.

I am home with Charlee today because they decided to close our daycare due to the storm.  I fully expected a winter wonderland when I woke up, but it basically is just rain! Oh well, at least I get to spend some special time with my girl :).

I hope you guys have a great start to your week!

xoxo-J

 

Found my Happy

  

^^Gummy bears are what make Charlee happy! ^^

Photography by Brandon John

Found my Happy Women’s tee | Found my happy toddler tee

I think your personal definition of “happy” changes when you have a baby. It did for me anyway. Instead of happiness being 100% about myself, my happiness extends into the happiness of another human being, my sweet Charlee! The things that make me happy, have quite simply, simplified. I find joy in the little things. Charlee humbles me, and the things that used to make me happy don’t really do it for me as much anymore. I guess a good example would be how much a designer bag used to make me happy. I used to save up and buy bags. They would bring me so much joy! Want to know something really funny? I have’t bought a new bag in over a year! Why not? It doesn’t make me feel as happy as it used to. Instead, I find so much joy in buying Charlee new Stride Rites, or wearing matching outfits haha!

I was so excited when Found My Happy reached out to partner. Found My Happy is a new, feel-good apparel & accessories brand that lets you live, wear & express your happy! They have apparel for the whole family and their message is to spread happiness!  “Always Happy Your Way Through Life” is the Found My Happy mantra because life is so much better when you do! How sweet is that?

They have so many cute options of matching tees including the ones we are wearing above! As a gift to you guys (because you all make me so happy!), we are offering a 20% off discount on any item on their site using the code “Let’s Jess Up.”

Make sure to head over to www.foundmyhappy.com to scoop these up! Check out my other faves below:

 Women’s Girl Power Tee  | Toddlers Girl Power Tee

 Always Happy Your Way Through Life Toddler Tee

Finally, I thought I’d share a really random list of things that make me happy:

-When I go into Charlee’s room in the morning and she smiles so big

-When you catch the subway just in time and your morning commute goes seamlessly

-Date night with my husband

-Sunny days

-Summer

-When I nail a new recipe

-Cooking for my family

-Spending time with my family and friends

-Travel

-Fresh sheets

-a bath

-Watching TV on the couch with my hubby

-A really good glass of red wine

-When Charlee randomly hugs me

-My alone time in the morning

-Drinking on a NYC rooftop

-Sweden

-Spending quality time with my Momma

-Checking everything off my to-do list

-A clean house

-That feeling you get after a really hard workout

-Coffee first thing in the morning

-Laughing with my sister and brother

-My nephew Joe

-Getting dressed up

-Friday and Saturday nights

-Giving back to those less fortunate

-My blog and all of you who read it!

-Massages or any type of self care

-SLEEP!

What makes you happy?! Leave a note in the comment section below!

 

 

Hair swag: The new go-to accessory

Photography by Shadi Garman

Hair accessories are all the rage right now. From oversized fabric headbands, to dainty hair clips like the one I am wearing in the photos above, the hair accessory is the new IT accessory.

I recently got a hair makeover and weirdly having short hair makes it easier to style and use accessories! I wanted to share some of my favorite hair accessories for you guys to shop in case you want to try this trend for yourself!

 

 

 

Water that curbs your hunger!

 

Photography by Brandon John

Wanu Water: C/O

No, the title of this blog post is not a typo! I have actually discovered a water that curbs my hunger!!! I feel like I am sharing some undiscovered secret but if you have tried Wanu Water then you’re in the know!! As many of you know, I am a devoted F-factor follower, where fiber is the secret to my weight loss after baby. Wanu Water bottles contain 6 GRAMS OF FIBER in every bottle and only 2g net carbs, which is the secret behind curbing your hunger. Their water is nutrient infused and flavored and they are the first to market with 10 essential nutrients in every bottle. They contain no sugar (are lightly sweetened with a monkfruit-stevia blend) and are officially #FFactorApproved by Tanya (the founder of F-factor.)

When the team at Wanu Water reached out to me to see if I wanted to try their product, I was super skeptical. I mean, a water that curbs hunger sounds like a joke! What I can honestly say though, is that this water really does what it says! I drink Wanu all throughout my day and at different times. My favorite time to drink Wanu is before my morning workouts. I used to wake up super hungry in the morning but I don’t like to eat before a workout, so this made the hour between Charlee waking up and day care drop off tough. Wanu helps keep me from feeling super hungry at this time and also gets me hydrated for my workout! I also love to drink wanu in the afternoon in between meals. This keeps me on track and keeps me from snacking on foods that aren’t good for me. You can use wanu in your shakes too! The options are endless!

As a special offer to my blog readers, we wanted to share a discount code to order your very own package of  wanu from wanuwater.com . Us the code: JESS24 to save 24% off your order at wanuwater.com. Valid today through Friday 3/1! Make sure to stock up!

xoxo-J

*This post was published in partnership with Wanu Water. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

 

Mediterranean baked salmon with spinach, red onion, tomatoes and feta cheese!

I have never been a huge fan of fish. I honestly never ordered it when I was out to dinner and rarely made it as a dinner at home. That all changed when I started the F-factor diet. I knew that fish was a great lean protein option and I set out to challenge myself to come up with some delicious fish entrees. I started looking up recipes and came across a few recipes that called for salmon to bake in parchment. I figured I’d try to cook my salmon this way and added a few different veggies etc. until I got this just right. This salmon dish is THE EASIEST dish I cook and absolutely delicious. Everything is thrown into the same piece of parchment paper and cooked all together. All you have to do is remove from the paper and serve! Keep in mind, this recipe makes two servings, but just add an extra 2 servings etc. if serving more than two people. Also, I have used this recipe with other types of fish as well, including halibut and cod! It tastes just as delicious! I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Parchment paper
  • 2 fresh salmon filets. I purchase my salmon from Trader Joe’s.
  • Olive Oil spray
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • Cherry tomatoes (however many you want…I usually add 5 per filet)
  • Sliced red onion (about 1/4 of a red onion)
  • salt and peper
  • crumbled feta cheese
Directions:
  • Take a piece of parchment paper and fold it in half. On one half of the paper, spray the olive oil baking spray so that it covers the entire half of the parchment paper. Repeat this step for however many pieces of salmon you will be serving
  • Place a handful of spinach on top of the parchment paper and olive oil spray
  • Top the spinach with the salmon, skin down
  • Season the salmon with salt and pepper
  • Top the salmon with the sliced red onion and cherry tomatoes. You can place them on top or around the salmon.
  • Cover the salmon with the other side of the parchment paper. Make sure it is wrapped up and closed so no air gets in
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 20- 30 minutes. This depends on how you like your salmon cooked. I prefer mine well done and tend to bake for 30 minutes
  • Take the salmon out of the oven and scoop onto a plate
  • Top the salmon with crumbled feta cheese
  • ENJOY!

Xoxo-J

A denim jumpsuit and 9 things.

 

Photography by Brandon John

Jumpsuit: Mango Coat: Club Monaco Turtleneck: Express Shoes: Zara (old) similar here Hat: Mango also love this option Earrings: Mango

Hi! I bought this jumpsuit a few weeks ago and I am so happy I did. What a fun piece to have in my closet! I love that it’s super versatile. I paired it with a turtleneck here, but can’t wait to wear it this spring unbuttoned and with some cute wedges.

Here’s a few random things that have been on my min lately that I wanted to share:

  1. We just watched Generation Wealth on Amazon prime TV last night. It was so good but also very disturbing.
  2. I can’t wait until the weather is nicer. I love NYC but this is my least favorite time of year. Winter always lasts too long.
  3. I made these F-factor red velvet cupcakes this week and they did not disappoint!
  4. I bought Charlee a bunch of new clothes from Amazon last week. Her new big girl class at daycare doesn’t allow for onesies, so I had to buy tees and some new leggings. I was super impressed with the quality, not to mention the great price! These leggings are 5 for $25 and these tees are on sale for $22! 
  5. So many of you have asked about the hat I am wearing in this photo. This specific one is sold out, but the same hat in another color is available.  I just bought it lol!
  6. I may be late to the party, but I just discovered Alo Yoga. I ordered this yoga top and these leggings.  Best quality ever. I highly recommend this brand!
  7. I recently partnered up with a brand called Wanu Water. Each bottle has 6 grams of fiber in it and only 2 grams net carbs. The water keeps you hydrated AND full. I have been drinking the water before my workouts in the morning because I don’t like to eat before I work out. The water keeps me hydrated and takes away that feeling of hunger. I am obsessed!
  8. This weekend is a long weekend (President’s Day) and we are staying in the city and relaxing. Matt and I really love to stay in the city on holiday weekends. It’s much quieter and chill.
  9. We are heading down to NC next weekend to visit my family. I am so excited to see everyone, especially my little nephew :). He is getting so big!!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

xoxo-J