Jona at 15 Months

If I had to choose one word to describe Jona right now, it would be hilarious. He is making us laugh constantly with his goofy expressions and sayings. Here are a few things he's been up to this month.

Growing: Jona had his 15 month check-up last week, and he weighed in at almost 22 pounds and measured just over 30 inches tall. Growing, but not quite as quickly as those baby days. Thankfully, he's gotten a lot of mileage out of the last round of clothes that I bought. I feel like he hardly wore so many of the things he had as a baby, he grew out of everything so fast! He's stayed pretty consistent with sizing; at 6 months he wore 6 month size, at 9 months, 9, etc. Now he's wearing 12 month or 12-18 month size; I hope he stays this predictable! (Does that give me permission to buy him a bunch of 18-24 month clothes knowing he'll likely wear them for a good 6 months? I think it does...) 

Eating: It's still a struggle lately. Unless it's peanut butter toast, squeezy yogurt pouches (so he can do it himself of course), macaroni and cheese, or fruit, he's pretty suspicious about it. Sometimes I can get him to try a bite of something by telling him to "take a bite" or "put it in your mouth (he just learned 'mouth')" and often when he tries it, he likes it. Case in point: asparagus. But his favorite thing is definitely still fruit; he can't shovel it in fast enough. 

Moving: He's still not taking any strides on his own, but he's getting a lot faster and more confident with his walker, and he's holding on to everything (walls, chairs, bookshelves) and cruising his way around the house. He still prefers crawling (with a little scooting mixed in) as his quickest means of getting somewhere. 

Playtime: Jona still loves some old favorites (stacking blocks, anything in our recycling basket, balls--which now he loves to say "ball") but he has a few new faves as well. He has nesting wooden blocks he loves to take apart and stack back together, and he also likes playing with cars. It's especially amusing to roll them across the coffee table and watch them crash to the floor. He also still loves music and singing, and we've added some Christmas music into the mix. 

Jona Funnies: Here are a few little things I want to remember about Jona at this age.
  • He learned to "roar" like a dinosaur, and now he roars when he sees his dinosaur shirt or a picture of a dinosaur. Naturally, the book Dinosaur vs. Bedtime has become a favorite. 
  • He loves to give people things. He has a little play phone and he'll hand it to us, saying "Here-go". He especially likes to hand us stuff that's frustrating him. (Can't fit the puzzle piece in? Here-go. Can't get the blocks to nest? Here-go.) He'll sometimes say thank you when you give it back. 
  • He's gotten to be quite an imitator. Once, I was getting a little weary of him putting every piece of food on his head before he put it in his mouth (where does he come up with this stuff?) and I loudly sighed and said Jona. Then he sighed and said "wuhwah". It was hard to stay frustrated after that! 
  • Similar to stuffed animals, chicken really horrifies him. When chicken is on his tray and he discovers it (sometimes after taking a bite, the horror!) he sets it down and picks it up, moving it further and further away on his tray. 
  • He loves hiding (behind his hands, a blanket, or even his hat) and if we don't notice right away and ask "Where's Jona?" he'll ask, in a muffled-hand-covered voice, "Wa-wha-wha?" and then uncover himself. Of course, he finds this hilarious (and no surprise, so do we). 
Thanks for reading! I've been doing a terrible job keeping up with Jona's baby book, so this has been a fun way for me to keep track of the things I want to remember about my sweet little boy. 

I'm taking the rest of the week off to enjoy time with my family. If you're in the US I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! 

November Capsule Roundup

It's hard to believe it's already nearing the end of the third month of having a capsule wardrobe. When I started this, I wondered if by now I'd be ready to return to a closet full of clothes or if a capsule is something I'd want to continue. Echoing what I've said the last two months, it's something I'd like to stick with, at least for now. Like I mentioned last month, I'm not going to start my winter capsule in December. Instead, I'll use next month as a time to transition my current wardrobe and also narrow down the things I'll need for January through March. I'll be using a lot of what I already have, but I'd also like to add a few more pieces, because you know how much I love a good post-Christmas sale!

Here are a few favorite looks from November, each one showcasing an element or two I love right now. Be sure to check out some more capsule wardrobe looks at In Residence and Just Jacq

Look 1: Pop of Bright Color

Look 2: Boots and Button-ups

Look 3: Cozy Layered Dresses

Look 4: Neutral Mixed Prints

 What are your favorite combinations right now? 

Leopard Accents 2 Ways

This weekend treated me pretty well. On Friday Jona had his first sleepover at my dad and step-mom's house, and Aaron and I had date night and a morning to sleep in! Of course, I woke up every hour starting at 6am...wouldn't you know it? Oh well, it was still nice to lay in bed and be lazy. More laziness ensued on Saturday, we all spent the afternoon napping. It was a rainy, dreary day; naps were pretty much required.

Instead of remixing a specific item today, I'm remixing one of my favorite prints, leopard. Surprisingly, I wore both of these looks this weekend; it was cool enough for a coat on Friday night yet warm enough for short-sleeves Saturday, go figure. What's your favorite way to style leopard print? 

For Saturday's surprise warm-up, I kept my look comfortable and casual with a graphic tee and boyfriend jeans, and I added a leopard belt for some interest. 

Graphic tee: J.Crew Factory (similar) / boyfriend jeans: Loft (similar) / leopard belt: Gap Outlet (similar) / nude flats: Target

For our date night Friday, I dressed up skinny jeans and a navy blue sweater with my favorite sparkly necklace and leopard flats. Those are two of my favorite ways to add a little glam to any look. 

Red coat: Ellen Tracy via Nordstrom / navy sweater: J.Crew Factory / skinny jeans: Gap / sparkly necklace: Bauble Bar (similar) / leopard flats: Dr. Scholl's

Linking up for Inspiration Monday and Mix it Mondays

Weekly Eats: Classics

This week's menu was all about the classics. We had a classic pot roast, a spin-off of classic lasagna, a modern version of a classic chicken dish, and a new classic: BBQ chicken pizza. 

Clockwise from top left: 

1. BBQ Chicken Pizza. This is one of those dinners that's perfect for when you don't feel like cooking dinner. Store bought pizza crusts + bottled BBQ sauce + cooked chicken + cheese = easy dinner. It's a nice shift from the usual pizza as well. 

2. "Not-sagna" Pasta Toss from Rachael Ray. You know I love a good lasagna spin-off. I actually made this a long time ago and really liked it, but for some reason it fell into my black hole of forgotten recipes. I'm glad I gave it a rescue this week, it was delicious, hearty and comforting! I also think this would be fantastic topped with some mozzarella cheese and baked in the oven (what isn't, right?)... I may have to try that next time. 

3. Crunchy Topped Swiss Chicken Bake from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. This is a modernized version of an old-fashioned chicken casserole made with canned cream of chicken soup. However, the "cream of chicken" is remade as a homemade sauce, and therefore tastier and healthier! It's also topped with buttered panko breadcrumbs and Swiss cheese, so it has that going for it as well. Yum! 

4. Perfect Pot Roast from The Pioneer Woman with mashed potatoes. In cooking any sort of roast beef, my goal is always to make it taste like my mom's. This came the closest to anything I've tried yet, so I'm considering it a victory! Browning the roast first gives the beef wonderful color and flavor, and I like that it's cooked with carrots and onions, but not potatoes. I believe potatoes are heaven-sent, I really do, but I don't love them cooked with pot roast. So to me, a side of steaming hot mashed potatoes is a pot roast's perfect accompaniment. 

What's your favorite "classic" dish? 

Old Clothes, New Layers

The cold weather, combined with my paltry selection of pants, led me to finally break out my tights. I'd been neglecting my skirts and dresses, so it's nice to wear them again (without freezing my legs off). With tights and lots of layers, I'm even able to cozy up this summery striped dress. 

I love how layering can give your closet so many more  possibilities. On their own, I've worn these pieces dozens of times or more, but until now I never thought to combine them all quite like this. It's refreshing to still be able to give new life to things I feel like I've worn a million times. 

What are your favorite layering combos? 

Orange blazer: Target (similar) / gray gingham shirt: J.Crew Factory (similar in navy) / navy stripe dress: Land's End Canvas (similar) / tights: Target / brown riding boots: Mia (similar)

Midweek Pick-Me-Ups: November

This cold weather makes me want to stay inside, bundled up under the covers all day. Even my new coat isn't enough to motivate me to want to get out of bed in the morning. (That would be some coat, right?) Unfortunately, the alarm clock still beckons, and I still venture out every day. So to keep my cold-weather grumbling at bay, I'll focus on some happy things. Here are a few things making me smile lately. 

Wing Night In. Aaron and I love trying new foods and new restaurants, but sometimes it's nice to just head to a casual bar and eat chicken wings! We both had a wing-craving over the weekend, but after some errand-running on Saturday we didn't want to take Jona (or ourselves) back out into the cold. So we had a wing night in instead. We decided to go the somewhat healthier route and oven-bake them, and we tried both a classic and a honey chipotle recipe. Both turned out delicious! I must note that the cooking temperatures are very different, and I thought I'd be able to broil both wing varieties, as in the classic recipe. One small fire in the oven later, I realized that was not the case. After nearly burning the honey chipotle wings, we removed them from the foil-lined sheet, and the remaining glaze on the foil got a little too cozy with the broiler. Lesson learned.

2. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Just like every weekend lately, all I want to do is stay inside and bake yummy treats. This weekend I tried this Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from Half Baked Harvest. It seemed like a strange cookie recipe to me; there's no butter, instead, it calls for canola oil. Weird, but they turned out oh-so-good! These cookies also turned out to be my failed attempt at a good deed this week. My plan was to take a plate of freshly baked cookies over to our neighbors. However, by the time I got them out of the oven on Sunday, it was already after 8pm. They have a baby younger than Jona, so I wasn't about to go knocking on their door that late in the evening. So I tried to deliver them Monday afternoon, but no one was home. I can't leave them on the doorstep, because I failed to plan ahead and get a critter-proof container to put them in. (I have a feeling the aluminum foil-covered plate is no match for the neighborhood squirrels who can carve pumpkins with their teeth.) They say it's the thought that counts, but I'm afraid thought cookies just aren't as good as the real thing. 

3. In-house Entertainment. Jona has been hilarious lately, and providing us with lots of entertainment. He's full of energy, and he sings and talks nonstop. He loves to shout in a language that's all his own, and he's very enthusiastic about it. And if we start laughing, he has to join in too. I love this kid. 

4. Cozy Winter Gear. In addition to my cozy red coat, I added a few things to my winter arsenal this month. Although they're not my usual style, I couldn't pass up these sparkly sequin slippers (in silver) from Target. While I was there, I also picked up a new hat, scarf (yep, I jumped on the plaid blanket scarf train), and gloves. Other than the scarf, these were all much-needed buys. I swear. 

5. Hot Chocolate Season. It's that time of year. I'm trading in my bowl of ice cream for a steaming mug of hot cocoa. (Okay, I'll probably still have ice cream from time to time pretty often.) I usually just go with an easy just-add-water mix, but maybe this year I'll try something new. Any good hot chocolate recipes that you recommend? It would taste even better out of one of these mugs from Anthropologie too, don't you think? 

What's making you happy this week?

Cozy New Coat

Coat season has officially arrived here in Kansas City. I finally turned my new coat dreams into a reality during Nordstrom's big clearance event a couple of weeks ago. Really, it was the email I received from Twice that sealed the deal. I sold a bunch of clothes to Twice when I did my big closet cleanout, and they emailed me with an offer that beat the pants off of anything I've ever made selling my clothes in the past. That money was added to my "new coat fund" and I pulled the trigger on this red Ellen Tracy beauty

I love how it stands out against the sea of neutrals in my closet, and I love the detachable hood too. I paired it with lots of denim over the weekend for its debut, and it kept me nice and toasty warm. I've got my coat and a good stash of hot cocoa; all I need is a big stack of books to read and I'll be ready for winter! 

Do you like a bold coat or a neutral coat? Or do you like to have multiple coats to choose from?

Red Toggle Coat: Ellen Tracy via Nordstrom / chambray shirt: Madewell (similar) / white tee: J.Crew Factory  (similar) / skinny jeans: Gap / leopard belt: Gap Outlet (similar) / taupe ankle boots: Target (similar

I'm linking up to The Creative Closet today for the Cute + Cozy themed linkup

Toms Remix

I did a significant amount of griping about the early arrival of the cold weather. And I'm not going to turn around and say I like the cold, but... I enjoyed the coziness that the weather brought this weekend. We did venture out for necessary outings (grocery store, church, pizza place), but for the most part we stayed in this weekend, and it was nice.

For my Monday remix, I'm wearing some of the most comfortable shoes I own, my red Toms. Last spring I paired them with my mustard yellow cardigan for a casual weekend look.

This time around I wore them to work for casual Friday, and I threw a blazer and leopard scarf over my jeans and tee to keep the look from being too casual. I was channeling this week's Inspiration Monday picture at Two Birds. I could sing the praises of these shoes all day; they really are the most comfortable pair of shoes I own, and I love that the company gives back as well. I need to check out the collab with Target! 

Taupe corduroy blazer: Loft (similar) / leopard scarf: c/o Sammydress (similar) / navy tee: J.Crew Factory (similar) / jeans: Gap (similar) / red shoes: Toms

On Jona: chambray shirt: Baby Gap / skinny jeans: Old Navy / black shoes: Toms via consignment shop (similar)

He may not look too excited, but Jona loves his Toms too! Well, he loves taking them off and trying to put them back on. Judging by the look on his face, I don't think style blogging is in his future. 

Linking up for Mix it Mondays and Inspiration Monday. Also, not a sponsored post, I just love the Toms brand! 

Weekly Eats: Warmer Uppers

If last week's cool temperatures made me want to break out all my soup recipes, this week's winter-like weather made me want a direct IV of soup flowing through my veins. It also made me realize that I need to stock up on hot chocolate. Winter, I'm not ready for you yet! 

This week we ate (clockwise from the top right): 

1. One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese from Damn Delicious. Since last week's chili was less than stellar, I decided to try a new spin this week. When I make a big batch of chili, I like to turn some of the leftovers into chili mac (chili mixed with macaroni and topped with cheese), so I liked the idea of this one-pot chili mac, no leftovers needed. This was so good, so easy to make, and so perfect for a cold night!

2. BBQ Pork Burgers, adapted from How Sweet it is. I originally saw this recipe when Anne made it, and after I tried it myself it was deemed a keeper at my house. This time, I swapped the ground chicken for ground pork, just to try something different, and it was delicious! 

3. Chicken Noodle Soup. To me there's nothing better than homemade chicken noodle soup with freshly made broth and homemade noodles. However, the reality is that I rarely have the time to make it. My favorite substitute for homemade chicken noodle soup is store-bought chicken stock or broth, shredded rotisserie chicken, and frozen Reames noodles. Of course it's not as good as homemade, but it's still warm and comforting on a cold night! 

Not pictured, but worth mentioning: I swear, I could never be a food blogger! We had a great dinner on Sunday night and I completely forgot to take pictures. We had Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos from Pass the Sushi with Mexican Rice Casserole from the Pioneer Woman. The chicken was so juicy and flavorful, and it stays nice and moist in the slow cooker since it cooks in enchilada sauce (I used homemade but you could use a can to make it even easier)! The rice dish is a favorite that I've made several times, I just tweak it a little by using salsa instead of diced tomatoes with green chiles.

Are you cooking anything good this weekend? 

Pin to Present Linkup: Chocolate Cheesecake

I'm linking up with Anne of In Residence for Pin to Present

I've mentioned it before, but lately I've been in such a mood to bake. We had family over for dinner on Sunday, and I decided to make cheesecake for dessert. When I came across this Chocolate Lover's Cheesecake from Brown Eyed Baker on my dessert Pinterest board, I knew it would be the perfect indulgent Sunday dessert. 

The Oreo cookie crust, rich chocolate cheesecake, and chocolate ganache topping reminded me of a cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory that used to be my absolute favorite. My dad used to work near a Cheesecake Factory, and every so often he'd bring me home a slice of their Triple Chocolate Brownie Truffle Cheesecake. It was heavenly. I'll never forget the day I went there to order a slice and they told me they no longer made it...tears were shed.  

While this Chocolate Lover's Cheesecake may not be the same as my beloved Triple Chocolate Brownie Truffle, it is still delicious in its own right. Cheesecake can be a little intimidating to make (I think at least), but this one was pretty easy. It doesn't even need to bake in a water bath, which is something I thought was a requirement for all cheesecakes. Not so! I loved this cheesecake, and there were five other clean plates that told me this recipe was a success! If you've never made cheesecake before, this would be a good one to try out. 

Have you baked anything yummy lately? 

How to Layer a Shirtdress in Fall and Winter

For the past few weeks, Fall and I have been having a great time together, sipping our salted caramel mochas and wearing cute sweaters under our lightweight jackets. Then out of nowhere, Winter decided to show up unannounced and uninvited yesterday morning, with her frost and her wind and her "Don't leave the house without your gloves, fool!" Bitch.

So, grudgingly, I pulled out my tights and got to layering. Since I'm working with a limited wardrobe here, I thought about how I could take this one shirtdress and layer it for varying degrees of chilliness. So here's one printed shirt dress styled for cool, cooler, and cold temps.

For cool weather, I kept it simple and just added a pretty necklace and ankle booties. 

For chillier days (like today),  I'd keep the dress, booties, and necklace, but I'd add a warm sweater and tights. 

Finally, when it's downright frigid, add a blazer and a chunky knit cowl scarf. Maybe even try a pair of fleece-lined tights! (I plan to get some this year--any recommendations?)

Corduroy blazer: Loft (similar) / navy sweater: J.Crew Factory / print shirtdress: Ann Taylor Factory (similar) / tights: Target / taupe booties: Target (similar) / necklace: Target (similar) / cowl scarf: Etsy (similar)

And when all else fails, put on your dinosaur pajamas and stay inside! (Jona wanted in on the picture taking action.) 

How do you layer a dress when it's cold out? 

Working Mom Formula: Striped Top + Skinny Jeans

This striped top + skinny jeans combo has been on repeat lately. It's a great base outfit that can easily be transformed depending upon what accessories I add. For work yesterday, I just couldn't bring myself out of weekend "jeans mode". So I dressed this combination up a little with a sparkly statement necklace and my leopard flats. 

This necklace, from Bauble Bar, is a piece that I had on my wishlist months before I actually got it a couple of years ago. It's one of those pieces I loved when I bought it, and I still find myself pulling it out time and time again to add a little something special to an outfit. This necklace is another example of why the capsule concept totally works for me right now. I pined for this necklace (really, I did), thought about how well it would fit into my wardrobe, finally bought it, and have loved it since. I can't say there have been too many (or possibly any) impulse bargain buys that have had the same success. 

Do you plan your purchases or are you a more free spirited shopper? 

Navy stripe top: Ann Taylor Factory (similar) / skinny jeans: Gap / statement necklace: Bauble Bar (similar) / leopard flats: Dr.Scholl's / tiny photo bomber: not sold in stores :) 

I'm linking up to the Creative Closet for today's "Make a Statement (Necklace)" theme. 

Polka Dot Sweatshirt: Then and Now

I can't say I accomplished much over the weekend, unless you count food as an accomplishment. We had family over for dinner yesterday, so I did a lot of cooking (that I forgot to photograph) and baking (cheesecake...I'll share more later). A weekend spent in the kitchen and at the dinner table is a weekend well spent! Luckily our house comes with built-in entertainment too: rather than the television, after dinner we sat around and watched Jona sing, crawl, climb, and laugh. Who needs TV?

Today I'm remixing this Loft polka dot sweatshirt. I wore it last April layered with some more dots and white jeans.

This weekend I also wore it with layers and some red. The weather was beautiful, so I was happy to (still) be tights free. I cried a little when I saw this week's forecast. 

Polka-dot sweatshirt: Loft (similar - with embellished neckline) / gray check shirt: J.Crew Factory (similar in black and white) / red skirt: J.Crew (similar) / brown riding boots: Mia (similar)

Linking up to Mix it Mondays