#SmallBusinessShowcase – Lovely Layers Cakery

 

Happy Tuesday, I hope you enjoyed your three day weekend!  We had plans to go out of town, but California is all sorts of flooded right now and most of our main roads out are closed so we weren’t able to leave.  Which is insane because one of them is a main Interstate!  They actually had to evacuate some people from nearby towns into Chico because there was so much rain and riverbanks were overflowing.  It’s been a crazy week, for sure.  I missed a blog post (or two) due to being sick, but we’re back in business now and I’m feeling a ton better.  If you’re new to the SBS, each week I pick a place I haven’t been before in my hometown of Chico, CA and give an honest review of my experience.  This week was Lovely Layers Cakery and it absolutely did not disappoint!

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When you first get there you’re kind of thinking “What the heck?”  The store is tucked away in an industrial area and right next to a feed store – only in Chico!  You would never know it’s there except for the cutest pink sign ever.

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I am totally OBSESSED with this sign and want one for my house.  Even the parking spot bumpers are painted pink!  Then you step inside and you feel like you’ve been transported into a farmhouse decorated by the most girly girl you can ever imagine.  There are so many adorable things I can’t even describe so I tried to take a ton of pictures.  There were chandeliers and paper umbrellas in pastel colors hanging upside down from the ceiling, and little signs with sayings everywhere.  I had the strawberry S’more cupcake (which sounded a little strange at first but was absolutely delicious) and a caramel macchiato, which was perfection.  I feel like I’m weird in that I have a horrible sweet tooth, but don’t like my coffee really sweet.  Is anyone else like that?  And Jonathan of course had a snickerdoodle cupcake because if that’s an option he won’t have anything else – he is snickerdoodle obsessed ha ha.

 

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Sweater: old, similar here and here / Jeans: AG – my favs! / Boots: local boutique, but I found on Amazon here

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Earrings: Fred Meyer / Lashes: Alyson at Salon Diamond / Lipstick: Arbonne “Rose”

 

Taking outside photos has been challenging with the weather, I don’t know how all you bloggers do it who live in places where it rains all the time.  We had a break in the rain so I dashed outside really quick to take a couple of pics, but they’re not very good.  I feel like this winter has dragged on forever and I can’t wait for warmer temperatures.  This high-neck sweater has been one of my favorites lately because it’s thin and can be layered easily over a tank if you need a little extra warmth, or as a base layer without getting too bulky!  Mine is from TJ Maxx, but I linked a similar style here (in multiple colors, and on sale for less than $40!) and here, the tie sleeves on this one are SO cute!  I hope everyone is staying dry and having a great week so far!!

 

Xoxo

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#SmallBusinessShowcase – Salon Diamond

Happy Valentine’s Day, and welcome back to my small business showcase!! For those of you who haven’t been here before, each week I explore someplace new in my town of Chico and give my honest review for y’all.  These are not sponsored in any way and are 100% my personal opinions of places I would go anyway.  Like, you probably won’t find me doing a review of the best local tool stores, cause that’s not my thing. But I have a lot of diverse interests, so never say never!

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This week I went to Salon Diamond.  I was super excited because my friend just started doing eyelash extensions there in addition to hair.  I’ve never done eyelash extensions before, but it was always something I wanted to try.  I’ve seen some really good and some really bad ones, so I was a little nervous about what to expect!  Alyson put me totally at ease and checked in with me throughout the whole process to make sure I was comfortable and relaxed.

The salon itself is so stinking cute inside.  It’s small, but laid out really well so it doesn’t feel crowded.  They just opened a second location so they are definitely growing!  I didn’t take a ton of pictures because there were a LOT of people getting services, and everyone should be able to have foils in their hair without someone taking photos haha.  The bathroom walls are covered in a collage of haircut and makeup pictures from magazines, which was really fun.  Everyone was so nice and friendly, which is always a huge plus!  I actually went in through the wrong door 🙈  – whoops!

Anyways, the service was fantastic, and I love my new lashes!  They took a little getting used to, but we went pretty natural to start.  I didn’t want to go too crazy, since I don’t wear a lot of makeup usuallyNext time I might switch it up and go a little more dramatic.  I love being able to roll out of bed in the morning and still look somewhat put together.  I highly recommend Alyson, go check her out on Instagram @alyson.toste for some samples of her work!

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Jacket: similar here and here / top: local boutique, some other really gorgeous ones here, here, here, and here / AG jeans (my fav!) / purse: Target / shoes: similar here

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On a side note, Jonathan and I got new phones, finally!!  We’ve been in a race to see whose was going to die first and then his took a dive off the table.  We got to upgrade to the 7-Plus, and I’m so excited for the dual lenses and taking better photos for the blog. So pretty. 😍😍 And speaking of pretty, this is one of my new favorite outfits for that weird time when it’s springlike but still too cold to go without a jacket.  This cold shoulder top is adorable and I can’t wait to wear it by itself all summer long.  Hope you all have a great week!

 

Xoxo

Days of Love

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Lilies and roses, the house smells amazing!

Happy Friday, all!  Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and there are soooo many cute options for whatever you do, whether celebrating with your sweetie, having a Galentine’s Day bash, or cozying up with some wine and chocolate and a movie.  Jonathan and I don’t really make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day because our dating anniversary was yesterday, so we use that because it’s so much more personal to us. We’ve been together for four years now, I can’t believe it!  He is the best at making a big deal of birthdays and special occasions, and brought me flowers and the sweetest card.  For dinner I made him a spicy chicken and shrimp alfredo and we watched a movie.  We also finally opened the bottle of wine we bought on our mini honeymoon to Napa right after the wedding!!  On our first wedding anniversary we had brought Riley home from the hospital the day before, so I wasn’t in any shape to enjoy it and we decided to save it. Well worth the wait and I can’t wait to go back to Napa so we can pick up more!

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my favorite wine from Hagafen Cellars

 

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Top: old, similar styles here, here, and here / Paige jeans / boots: from a local boutique, but I found them on Amazon here! / Fossil watch / lipstick: Arbonne in “Peony”

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Bangles, Premier Designs, I also want these

For our date night at home or a more casual outing I absolutely love this tunic paired with some sparkly bangles.  I picked this up from ModCloth a couple years ago, and wear it all the time. It’s one of those perfect year round pieces you can wear under a cardi with boots in winter or by itself with shorts and sandals in summer.  It’s no longer available on the website, but I linked some similar items that I think would be really cute!

Xoxo

#SmallBusinessShowcase – Pour House

Hi all, and welcome to my very first small business showcase!! Even though I live in Chico, which is pretty small and has a reputation for a college party town, we are so much more than that! There are so many amazing places to visit, from cute boutiques to eateries and wineries, so I figured it would be fun to bring a different one to the forefront each week and explore it for y’all.

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This week we started off at the Pour House. It’s so fun because it’s one of those places that you can get dressed up and grab a drink with friends, go on a romantic date with your honey, or catch a game on their gigantic outdoor TV!  Their chicken coconut curry, moscow mules, and gringo tacos are bomb, though this time I wasn’t super hungry so I only had the sweet potato fries with chipotle aioli – so delish!

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How cute are these? I want them in my kitchen!

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If you go during happy hour, most apps are half price – Jonathan and I have been known to go and order like 5 things and make a meal just of apps!  They also just redid the outside patio area with couches, a fire pit, and outdoor swing, and and it is so cute, I’m going to be living there when it gets a little warmer!  I also love it as a great alternative to going downtown, which is right next to the college and can get crowded with students. This definitely has more of a grown-up and classy vibe.

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Jacket: old, similar here and here / shirt: Target / jeans: Paige / purse: Target

 

 

Have any of you gone to the Pour House, and if so, what is your favorite thing to eat? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!

 

Xoxo

My Winter Workouts

A lot of people have been telling me lately that I look great, thank you SO SO much! – and asking me what I’m doing – so I figured I’d share my current workout routine with y’all.  It’s pretty simple right now, three days a week I train with my trainer Katrina (Instagram: @thearmorykat) with heavy weights. We are always switching up our programs, from Duel, which uses a partner to assist or go against you, to the Arnold program which is lots and lots of reps at a slightly lighter weight, but still heavy. She is so amazing, I’m forever grateful I found her. And I’ve never felt so strong!

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L/S Shirt: Forever 21

The rest of the days of the week I usually end up taking about an hour long walk with the dog and the stroller. I’ve been wanting to get back into running, but with Jonathan working such a crazy schedule lately it’s hard to get any time to myself! On the weekends we’ll go on a hike together with Riley and Copper, with the Sierra Nevada foothills nearby we have SO many great places to go explore.

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I’ve never been too worried about what I wear while working out, see the above picture for proof. 🙈  Don’t get me wrong, I love looking cute, and it’s something I’m working on, because having a new outfit that shows off all your hard work definitely puts a pep in your step! But a lot of the time I end up a sweaty mess, so I prefer comfort and function over style, for sure. Props to all of you who can look like models even while working out, I am not that girl.  In fact, I get so red when I run that I’ve had people pull over to ask if I’m ok.  True story.  A brand I’ve totally fallen in love with lately is Zella. I recently discovered them and if you haven’t tried them, you need to!  They have fantastic leggings/yoga pants that aren’t see through, and have that perfect stretch to make your butt look fantastic.  If my wallet (and husband) would let me buy all new workout gear from Zella I would be a happy girl. 😍😍😍

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Top: old, similar here (comes in 14 colors!) / Cropped leggings: Fabletics, here to sign up or similar here and here / Nike sneakers / Oakley sunglasses: similar here

 

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One thing that’s non-negotiable for me is good shoes. Mine are Nike Flex, which are perfect for both working out or just running around town. I love how Nike always has the cutest color combinations -I have trouble deciding which pair to get!  These babies fit snug, so I actually went up a full size, but if you aren’t going to be running a half size would probably do. I think I need a second pair in the light grey/white combo!

That’s it for winter, I tend to be a homebody and even though it doesn’t get all that cold in California, I HATE being cold!!  What do you all do to switch up your winter workouts?  Leave me a comment below!

 

Xoxo

My Progress Thus Far

Woohoo, accountability day! 🙌🏼 I’m a little late, but each 1st of the month when Riley hits another month old I check in with myself and my progress post-baby.

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Excited to say I’m only 12 pounds off my pre-pregnancy weight at 4 months postpartum! Technically it’s 5 pounds, but I only started weighing myself at 6 weeks along when I found out.. I thought it was strange that I was trying to drop those 7 pounds and they just would not come off! But my body knew before I did. 👶🏼 = 🌯+ 🍕+ 🍪 + 🍔 + 🍦

I’ve been taking it slow and not trying to get too wrapped up in losing the weight quickly. I was terrified it would affect my ability to feed Riley if I restricted myself, and he absolutely 100% comes before any vanity of mine. At the same time it’s nice to know that at 36 I’m still able to lose the baby weight, you hear horror stories about permanently wrecking your metabolism. I’m currently working out with my awesome friend Katrina who has a whole setup in her garage, and trying to make mindful healthy choices in what I eat.

badassery starts here..

It’s more of a 70/30 than an 80/20 at this point, but as a new mom I think that’s good enough!! I learned a long time ago that I only have so much discipline to go around. If it’s a stressful or demanding time, that’s NOT the best time to get super strict about diet and exercise, otherwise I’m cranky nonstop. Also why I didn’t diet before the wedding, I did not need one more thing to manage at that point.

Oh, and have I mentioned my newest obsession? I found this #humboldtbaycoffee about a month ago in my local store that is simply the greatest! It’s blended in my hometown (shout out to Eureka!) and it was so nice to talk with the owner about the town and how much it’s changed. She recommended some fun new hidden gems I have to visit next time we’re there!  I’ve been blending it with a scoop of vanilla #arbonne protein and it tastes just like a latte, but with none of the insane amount of sugar a normal latte has.

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Hope everyone’s having a fantabulous Thursday! What are y’alls plans for the weekend? It’s Jonathan’s 36th birthday 🎉 and I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t bought his present yet! He was off work all week so far so it’s been extra hard to sneak off shopping..

More pics of Riley coming soon!  He’s gotten so active it’s hard to catch a good photo of him that’s not blurry from him moving.  We need to upgrade our camera to something other than our phones, but having a hard time choosing between all the different options. We’re looking to spend around $300-400, any suggestions?

XOXO

Don’t Call Yourself Fat: an ode to new moms

I recently ran across this post I started and never finished from August – whoops! I was about to delete it, but read it again and decided the message was too important and powerful not to share. I’ve made a lot of progress with my emotions in the last month, (go me!) but this was EXACTLY how I felt at that point, so here you go…

I’ve been talking with a lot of new and seasoned moms lately, and a recurring theme keeps coming to the forefront, how negatively we view our post-baby body.  I am absolutely guilty of this as well, as much as I try to be patient. Today is going to be a humble post.  We all know I love me some clothes, especially Nordstroms.  So when I talked hubby into a day in Sacramento recently to spend some birthday money, and it turned out to be the same weekend as the #NSale I thought I’d hit the jackpot!  Well, get to the actual shopping part and it was so disappointing I was almost in tears by the time we left, and not because of the clothes, the clothes were beautiful.

It was me.

The mental image I had of myself last time I shopped at Nordstroms was drastically different than my current in-progress, post-pregnancy body.  I had no idea how to dress myself and felt like a failure as I tried on pair after pair of jeans that would have looked fantastic on the old me. Words like “fat”, “gigantic”, and “stuffed sausage” ran through my head as I struggled to pull a pair of skinnies over my thighs.  My husband, God bless him, thinks I’m sexy at any weight and was loving the skintight fashions, but I felt heavy and uncomfortable.

This seems to be a common theme among new mothers, and women in general.  We’re told that we shouldn’t care about how we look and love our bodies no matter the size, but at the same time bounce right back to pre-pregnancy weight.  There are postpartum workouts, waist trainers, celebrities who lose all the baby weight in six weeks, and stories of women who only gained 20 lbs and weighed less walking out of the hospital than they did before getting pregnant.  (One of these was a friend of mine, and it was incredibly difficult not to compare my journey with hers, especially as I ballooned up 50 lbs.)

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I’m trying very hard to love my body through all its transformations, though some days are easier than others.  If someone else called me the names I call myself in my head, I would cry.  And that’s not ok.  Before pregnancy, I had no idea how much of my self-image was tied up in genetic thinness and the label of “fit.”  When I lost those, even temporarily, it sent me into a mental tailspin. Finding the balance between loving myself where I am now, while striving to get back to a preferred level of fitness, has been a tough lesson.  One I struggle with every day.  Why should we be so forgiving of others and so harsh with ourselves?

My body is incredible.  It has carried a child and now nourishes him as he grows.  It has recovered from injuries and cancer cells.  It has given birth and run half-marathons and will again.  We all deserve to celebrate our accomplishments and treat ourselves with grace and patience. So new moms, don’t you dare call yourself fat.  Our kids are watching, and will learn how to view themselves and others through your examples. Let’s end the self-shaming.  My son will grow up with a mother who is healthy and strong and imperfect, and I will show him it’s ok to be all those things.

By the way, breastfeeding mamas, the lounges at Nordstrom are pretty much the most fantastic things ever. Cushy couches and beautiful decor and soothing music, it was hands down the nicest place I’ve ever been. If you’re in a mall with a Nordstrom, go there even if you’re not shopping there, it’s so worth it I promise you.

breastfeeding in Nordstroms, holla!