memories living in {quilted} infamy + a giveaway!

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30 November 2016

There are a lot of ways in which Simon and I are really similar (which I sometimes attribute to the fact that we are both the oldest kids in our family? maybe that's a bad theory) but even seven years into our marriage I find myself surprised by ways in which we are most definitely different. Simon is a lot more laid back than I am which is why I found it funny when I realized he is definitely more of a save-everything-always-and-forever person while I'm forever on the purge and donate rampage. He saves extra nuts, bolt, and oddly shaped screws just in case they might come in handy for a project (which, admittedly - they sometimes have) all his old t-shirts from high school and college while most of mine are all long gone. It's become a mostly funny point of contention between us but recently - we found the happiest compromise to finally sort through and use said saved shirts. I'm sure you've heard of the concept of t-shirt quilts as a useful way to make special memories tangible instead of keeping them boxed away for years and years (and years!). Well, Project Repat is the most trusted and popular brand that preserves t-shirt memories with quilts and they recently made a lap quilt out of some of our t-shirts and I can attest to the quick service and impeccable quality.

Exactly, Bosco.

Everything is made in the USA and the fleece on the back of the Project Repat quilts is made from recycled plastic bottles and is incredibly soft. We thought it would be fun to do a mashup of shirts we both hung onto (and then Simon would finally get rid of the rest of his) that held meaning to us as a couple and a few individual memories. I use an old family reunion shirt, the race shirt from my first marathon, and a college shirt while Simon had lots of Notre Dame and KU shirts. Probably my favorites are the shirts Simon had made after we were engaged and I was still living in DC and he was in Kansas City. He had matching shirts made for us commemorating the day I was moving to Kansas City to a shoebox apartment a few blocks away from his palatial attic apartment and we could finally stop talking on our stupid phones for hours on end ...

the front. that graphic though ...

and the back ...

definitely a very happy day!

Anyway, the kids have found many uses for the quilt ...

whether it's taking a call on their landline ...

or crashing an intense game of Uno with their micro mullet ...

... or ruining said game of Uno ...

ahem, Phoebe.

Project Repat was founded in 2012 and Inc. Magazine recently named them one of the fastest growing and most innovative companies in the country - for good reason! They also make stroller blankets (maybe a fun one to do out of your toddler's old shirts?).

There's still time to order one for Christmas if you choose rush shipping at check out!

Click HERE to get 25% off any order and use code CAMP and Project Repat is generously giving away a twin size quilt to one lucky reader. Just click here to enter!

Thanks for reading and many thanks to Project Repat for sponsoring this post! 

toys our kids actually play with

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27 November 2016

It's killing me to end that in a preposition but nothing else sounded quite right. Who cares? No one.

Anyway, there are a lot of skills I don't possess and one of them is picking out toys our kids will actually love and use. However! My mom has a knack for giving the kids gifts they love and play with forever and ever. Amen. I've been compiling this list since the beginning of the year so as to make sure I wasn't just grabbing a week's worth of popular toys but toys that have stood the test of time around here.

I'm missing a few BUT here are the ones that stood out. And I'm willing to bet a bunch of them are on sale for Cyber Monday. I know the kitchen is, at the very least!

1. play kitchen - we got this for the kids last year  and it gets used every single day. It's the first thing Bosco goes for when he wakes up, the kids all love to make faux meals, and it doubles as a barre for my barre dvds. It's a winner. Might I advise that you NOT wait until 10:30 in the pm on Christmas Eve to assemble it, though? It's time consuming - to put it politely. If this particular model doesn't suit your fancy - there are MANY others.

2. Wheely Bee - Phoebe got this for her second birthday and it was a HUGE hit among all five kids. I'm tempted to get the bigger size for Christmas as a group gift. It's $20 off at the moment too ...

3. puzzles - I don't think there's anything particularly special about these puzzles but the older three kids LOVE to do these. Over and over AND over again. We've had them for a few years and they have yet to lose their appeal. I love that the box is wooden and Bosco can't tear it to pieces like he does with cardboard.

4. Plasma Car - Another one we've had for years that my mom bought I think before Theo was even born. It's taken a beating but still works really well - maybe a little too well because Sebastian is scarily skilled at whipping around the deck on it VERY quickly. There are lots of new off brand versions too ...

5. Boogie Board Writing Tablet - I have to admit that I thought this was a little gimmicky when my mom gave them to the older two but I was QUICKLY proven wrong. It's great for the car and up until recently we let Julia bring it into church to draw quietly. It's a no-mess way for kids to practice writing or just draw things. If you lose the pen like we did - any old anything will work (Julia gets creative with bobby pins, retractable pens etc). Phoebe has tried to scratch them to death but they are incredibly durable and still going strong after 3+ years.

6. Brio Trains - My aunt saved these from when her three boys were little and got them out when we visited a few years ago and Sebastian was completely obsessed. We've slowly built a collection (mostly thanks to my mom) and it's still a favorite around here. It's odd if there's not a new track built in the boys room. Even Bosco let's his truck-obsessed eye wander over into train territory on occasion.

7. Cleaning Set - I'm no child development expert but it seems like every toddler goes through a cleaning phase of sorts and these are PERFECT for when they want to "help".

8. Inflatable Bouncy Animal - I can't explain why kids love this thing but they DO. I go back and forth about whether or not ours (can't seem to find our exact breed pictured up with our kitchen) is a dog or a bunny on the daily. Maybe a dunny.

9. B is for Bear: My grandma bought this for newborn Julia and all her other books paled in comparison in the interest and excitement department for months on end. All the kids have felt similarly - something about the big pictures, I guess? It would make a great baby gift or gift for expectant parents, I promise!

On my wish list: I'd love to get a doll stroller for Phoebe and Bosco or maybe a shopping cart? Something to push around and bicker over :)

And now for the selfish part of my post - what toys do your kids love? I think we are going more the experience (zoo and museum memberships) route this Christmas but I like to keep a running list of ideas for birthdays and potty training incentives for the younger crowd.

Anything you're excited about for Cyber Monday? It seems like a lot of sites have done a big weekend long sale which is nice and convenient for us fickle folks that are slow to pull the trigger.

A few good ones:

Amazon is having a big sale on electronics (and I think it's running all week? way to be, Amazon), lots of car seats are discounted 25% or more, and there are loads of strollers are on sale too

J.Crew Factory is having a 40% off clearance, 50% off men's suits and Crewcuts styles, and 60% off everything else sale.

ASOS is running a 30% off site wide sale. I haven't shopped for maternity clothes for a couple of years but they always had a fun inventory and lots of great dressy dresses (non-maternity too, of course). I might be a lone lover of these loafers but, I love them - can't help it.

LOFT is doing 50% off EVERYTHING. They have a wide variety of peplum and lots of fun long cardigans too.

I didn't think much of Nordstrom's 20% off clearance sale BUT I finally looked closer and these seemingly perfect ankle boots are deeply discounted, Hunter Boots are on rare sale, and there are lots of winter coats for more than 50% off (maybe the only thing I miss about the cold, maybe!). And this is the only place I've seen the new special edition Fitbit Blaze on sale.

I'm in the market for a new DSLR but haven't found any on great sale - let me know if you've happened to see any!

Hope you all have a great week! We may or may not have put the kids to bed at 6:49 on the dot tonight (they fell right to sleep so - Mom knew best, for once) so hopefully tomorrow morning's school time wakeup is a little less painful than I know it will be. Godspeed to everyone in similar boats.

the day after

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25 November 2016

1. Happy day after Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a great day and if you were working or weren't able to celebrate for any reason at all - that you can rectify that at some point this weekend. We have about five leftover pies if you're hungry - just saying. We had a great day with wonderful weather, food, and festivities. Bosco only had eyes for my champagne, Sebastian told me he doesn't like any Thanksgiving food, Phoebe ate enough green bean casserole for all of her siblings combined, Theo smelled all of the pie and asked for just ice cream, and Julia would subsist on turkey alone if we let her. Success all around, I'd say. We had Simon's parents, his two sisters (and their husbands AND our adorable niece), his brother and her wife all come down and we feel so lucky that they made such a valiant effort to be here. The kids are in total heaven.

Our Thanksgiving dress code was very formal and Bosco took it very seriously.

2. I took a few grainy cellular photos (see above and above) and if you're lucky I'll cobble together a dedicated post but maybe it's better left camping in our memory banks forever. We shall SEE. My sister-in-law, Becca, takes incredible photos and I'm hoping to snag a few from her too.

3. So, I finished The Hopefuls late last night and was really enjoying the book but was SO let down by the ending. It's as if the author just sort of reached her word quota and had 100 words left to finish things up. It's not some great work of fiction or anything but a satisfying ending would've been nice. I'm hoping Falling is a little less disappointing but I know the reviews tell me otherwise. I'm a glutton for literary punishment, I guess.

4. Are you hitting up the Black Friday pandemonium in person? (if yes, you're probably not reading this) I'm not (never have - maybe some day!) but am wondering if it's smart to strike while the online deals are hot today OR on Cyber Monday? I don't know. I did see that Amazon has my f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e sound machine on sale (I always have a backup in case of company OR in the event that one of ours mysteriously stops working after years of loyal service).

5. You know how much I LOVE my Fitbit and I just noticed that they are all on great sale on Amazon and some of them (including the Blaze, my personal favorite) are as much as $50 off. Woo to the hoo (no sarcasm).

6. Has anyone watched any of the new Gilmore Girls episodes? I haven't but I can't WAIT.

7. Anyway, I'd love to know if you're doing anything for your small business on Small Business Saturday (tomorrow!) or if you've found any killer Black Friday deals - let a lady KNOW. Thanks in advance!

drugstore surprise

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23 November 2016

Please tell me I'm not the only one with kids that love to watch those surprise egg videos on YouTube? I hope not. And if so, I'm sorry that post title makes NO sense.

I've had uncharacteristically good luck with a few drugstore beauty aisle purchases this past month and you know I can't resist telling you allll about them. If you're in stocking stuffer/secret santa/gift exchange mode (welllll you might not want to be gifting concealer but! it's your life) these would definitely be winners. While I'm taking my skin care a lot more seriously and occasionally will try out nicer makeup - it's still fun to find dupes and I've found that sometimes I actually like the cheaper stuff better. Sometimes! Not always. I did come thisclose to buying this cult favorite with an almost expired gift card the other day but I didn't pull the trigger. Yet. (Now I see there's a gift with purchase though SO ... that changes everything!)

Okay, you've got food to prep. I'll make it snappy.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel - Totemly Yours - I know people love Bubble Bath and Ballet Slippers but I really love a slightly darker nude nail polish to break up my stints with my dark/black nails. This is my very favorite. Phoebe had a field day dumping allllll my polish in our closet the other day and while I was upset about the hourS of inevitable clean up - I was most upset that she had completely emptied my bottle of this. Priorities Patton. I'm still loving the Orly base coat and the Seche Vite top coat combo for no chip/long wear perfection too.

L'Oreal Voluminous Original - Jolie sent me this stuff and I'm surprised I haven't tried it before because I do love a good mascara safari but I love it. I've been using Tarte's Tartiest Lash Paint but keep reaching for the this tube instead. The Tarte stuff is great but for a fraction of the price - this stuff is GOOD and perfect for everyday wear.

NYX Butter Lipstick - Sandy Kiss - I have tried a few pricier lipsticks (MAC and Dior's Lip Glow) and I REALLY love this stuff. As the professionals say - it's pigmented and goes on very nice. Is it all day liquid lipstick? No. But, it's great to keep in your purse if your lips tend to get dry like mine do and you also like a bit of color to boot.

Almay Smart Shade - I'm sure I was the last to notice that I've developed slight (or maybe not so slight but I pretend that they are slight) under eye circles and with the help of a beauty blender - this does the lightest coverage trick. It does come out of the tube looking like a million different colors but it blends really well. This is not heavy coverage so if that's your thing - this is not for you. I use the light/medium shade. I follow up with a light dusting of this mineral peptide powder and adios forever, circles. Or, at least for the duration of the day.

Have you picked up any winners lately? Or have any longtime favorites?

oh! thank you SO much for all of your Thanksgiving recipe help on Monday! I'm off to make a last minute run to the store - I'm hoping it's not a terrible, terrible mistake. Maybe I'll keep scouring this crazy sale for juuuuust a few more minutes. Procrastination has always been a good friend of mine

Have a wonderful day tomorrow!!!

gobble gobble

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21 November 2016

shake it shake it.

I thought I'd do my yearly craft with the older kids this past week before Simon's family arrives so we cut and glittered to our hearts' content one afternoon and the results were wildly underwhelming but the kids were pleased and so - win(nish). I've stared at it so many times that it's starting to look like gob ble gob ble or go bble go bble etc etc.

ANYWAY. My Thanksgiving prep has been p-r-e-t-t-y impressive this year because we've got a Costco sized box of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls chilling (literally, I hear your chuckle) in the fridge and some flameless candles that I just realized need cursed batteries to work. Told you. Impressive. Oh, Simon did buy some of that silverware that looks real but is actually plastic so we are wa-hay-hay more ahead of the game than I thought.

So! I thought I'd poll any kind folks that might be willing to lend your favorite recipe/tradition/whatever my way. Pie, vegetable, yam with deluxe toppings, festive beverages - I'll take any and all. Links or just names of recipes are great - don't feel like you need to type recipes out for me. I was thinking of going the Pioneer Woman mashed potato route, we are buying a ready-to-eat smoked turkey from a local restaurant, and I do actually enjoy making pies (Kate's looks SO good) but if time becomes an issue I have no problem buying more Pillsbury goodness by way of ready-to-bake crust and going that route.

And now I have an entire house to clean.

Happy shopping/cleaning/cooking/baking/prepping/traveling/drinking almost Thanksgiving!

this and that

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18 November 2016

1. When your husband is out of town and you take all the kids to Ikea on a Saturday (it wasn't as bad as I thought -- but we won't ALL be returning for quite some time :)) you get photographic evidence. Times two. (I just really needed their $25 high chair and refused to wait another minute - logic has forever been my strong suit)

2. I'm guessing you've seen it making the Facebook rounds BUT in case you haven't ... as if I needed another reason to LOVE Amazon Prime this commercial is so good. Also, I just saw that today and today only Prime memberships are $20 off. Yee haw.

3. Unless you're name is Simon Patton (who looked at me like I had 12 heads when I brought them up) you're familiar with the mannequin challenges that are spreading like wildfire right now. This might be the most impressive I've seen yet. But maybe you've seen one that beats it?

4. SO I've accepted the listening to Outlander is going to be a marathon and not a sprint but I'm not a quitter so I'm hydrated and ready but that doesn't mean I'm not taking the briefest of pauses to enjoy both The Hopefuls and Falling because they both (fortuitously? I think so) came off the holds list this past week. Run-on sentences have also always been a strength of mine.

5. I was thrilled to see these critter shoes for toddlers (I love the Old Navy version but always wish they had an elastic strap) earlier this week and you know I love a good pair of Natives dupes - the originals are great but the wannabes have yet to disappoint. Speaking of shoes - I need a pair of grey shoes for my sister's wedding so I'm keeping an eye on Shopbop's inventory but if you've happened upon a pair appropriate for a winter wedding - I'd be much obliged!

6. So I watched Bad Moms while Simon was gone and I enjoyed it (I'd give it a 7.5). On the viewing docket for Simon's next trip is: How to be Single because I've seen a few of my favorite bloggers/snappers say how much they love it. Also! I was so happy for the This Is Us solidarity. I've started to catch up this week and it's growing on me so I'll sure I'll be bandwagon groupie status in NO time.

7. I had the genius idea to try to diy one of those cool train tables for the kids with a table we were going to get rid of. LOLOL. It's totally going to be one of those, "buy all the crafting supplies to make earrings for $29.99 when you could just buy the real deals for $9.99" and the end product is going to be a laughable embarrassment. I'll show you the finished product if it's even 1/4 as awesome as I'm uncharacteristically optimistically envisioning.

And I'll leave you on that inspiring note. Hope you have a happy weekend in the works!

linking up with Kelly!

master makeover

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16 November 2016

Have you ever heard the saying that the state of your master bedroom is a direct reflection of your marriage? I have and I think it's kind of silly. Maybe it's holds some truth (maybe) but I don't think it's any sort of hard and fast rule. Also - I'm not a marriage counselor or mental health professional so what do I know? Anyway, I've blogged a bit about we've been going through the house room by room and slowly but surely redoing them as budget and our limited decor skills allow.

We are huge fans of Leesa Mattresses and already have two that we love (especially Simon who has a bad back) and were so excited to get to try out one of their new luxury mattresses: the Sapira by Leesa. We were so bummed when we had to put our Leesa up in the guest room because it was the only mattress that fit in the fold up bed and Simon's been talking about getting a new Leesa for us for months so the timing was perfect to try the Sapira. We figured if we were getting a new mattress we may as well finally overhaul the entire room. Here's a little before pic (the only I could find) ...

The photo doesn't convey how blue the walls were and while they weren't terrible we painted them light grey with the wall behind the bed a super dark navy/almost black and loved the difference it made.

I also painted the dresser a matching navy and moved it up against one of the grey walls.

Sapira and baby photobomb.

So the Sapira mattress was created with the same thoughtfulness and engineering that went into the Leesa, but it's actually a hybrid mattress which means it combines the incredible cooling and contouring memory foam layers which makes the Leesa mattress so great, with a base layer of pocket springs, for a new level of support and luxury.

I was happy to see that the Sapira came in the same convenient and compact box that the Leesas had come in which made for quick and easy unpackaging ...

... with lots of help from our resident helpers ...


watching it unfold and puff up before his very eyes ...

Bosco approves.

So does Phoebe and her enthusiasm for her favorite nursery rhyme about certain monkeys jumping on the bed ...

And for full disclosure virtually all the photos look like the one above but Simon snagged the below during a rare moment of relative peace ...

Bosco exercising his right to read about trucks instead of wheels on a bus. You do you, B.

I've said it before but I'll say it again: Simon isn't picky about much but he is particular about mattresses because of his back and both our Leesa and Sapira pass his test with flying colors. He's sleeping better than he had been on our old mattress and they've definitely made lifelong customers out of us.

If you need a new mattress but you're on the fence, Sapira offers a 100-night risk free trial. If you don't love it - they'll arrange to come pick it up from your house. Pricing for the Sapira starts at $975 and all sizes are priced below $2000. Sapira is the first true luxury hybrid mattress that can be ordered online and shipped directly to your home. Free shipping in the U.S.!

Also! If you need a new mattress but you're on the fence click here! and use code: CAMPPATTON200 to get $150 off your Sapira mattress AND get a $50 Amazon gift card on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Many thanks for reading and a big thank you to Sapira for sponsoring this post!


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14 November 2016

old shirt {similar styles}
old clogs {similar styles}
photos by my brother!

I know there is lots and lots and lots to love about fall but despite my newfound love for my ankle boots I have to admit that my heart will always and forever belong to my clogs. No shame.

Grace of last year looked at those jeans pictured above and thought they looked ridiculous. Grace of today loves them but if you side with the Grace of last year - we can still be e-friends. Promise. And if you're more of a minimal destroyed denim look - Shopbop has got you covered. Literally.

I've been dying to go and get my hair cut but after seeing the wind hit it just so (3rd photo down) and give me the perfect neck cape - I might just have to forgo the chop. (not, still cutting)

A couple months ago in the midst of a slew of days the kids had off of school due to hurricane warnings, the in-house fighting was at an all time high s I got everyone ready to go to the gym. Not surprisingly, once we got there we found out that the gym daycare was full (I can't be the only mom with all the bright ideas, I guess) so instead of waiting it out I loaded everyone back in the car, and drove straight to ... McDonalds (the drive-thru -- I have my limits). It was the kids' first time getting their OWN kids' meals and I think we all still look back fondly on my poor and rash decision making skills.

I keep reading about this wine purifier that supposedly removes the toxins from wine that give you a hangover? I'm sold but I'm wondering how well it would work on canned wine - my vintage of choice.

I know it's a total summer song but I could still happily listen to Cheap Thrills on re-re-re-repeat for an entire walk/run. And sometimes I still do.

We are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time ever this year and we don't have enough plates for everyone coming to town and we all know I'm a DISASTER in the kitchen but my friend Ruth sent me this ridiculous Brie recipe (sure to pair well with canned wine) and even if it's the only thing that turns out - I'll consider dinner a smashing success.

Never did I ever think I'd do something like this (ever) but I mentioned in my Whole30 post that I've had great success getting rid of my truly terrible Melasma with a new skin regimen. I'll eventually do a whole post on it but I wanted to quickly tell you that I've been so blown away by it (I'm a pessimistic skeptic at heart - I can't help it) that I decided to become a consultant for the line. Don't worry! Do not worry - I won't pester you or add you to Facebook groups or invite you to parties or any of that. Ever. If you're ever interested in hearing more - great! If not - really great! No one is more surprised than I am but - it's that good.

No one will agree with me here but while I really like This Is Us -- I'm not obsessed. Yet. I am three episodes behind so there's still hope for me - worry not.

And now I'm off to pretend that we don't still have loads and loads of Halloween candy (namely Swedish Fish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) left in the pantry.

Happy Monday, party people.


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11 November 2016

Linking up with Kelly!

 1. Earlier this week I looked down to see Bosco just waltzing across the kitchen like he's been walking for months (I've yet to see him attempt a step) so now I'm wondering if he has been walking on the secret sly all this time or if it was just beginner's luck? I don't know but I think there was a definite ploy to get me to tote him around as long as humanly possible. Mama didn't raise no fool. Just a lazy baby.

2. You know how much I love a good birth story and you know it's a gem when you laugh AND cry while reading and Fran's birth story fits that difficult bill. Don't miss it.

3. Anne of Green Gables - No doubt you've seen that there's a new movie coming out on PBS and while I know a lot of people are concerned it won't live up to the book or the first movie I watched a ten minute preview (not sure how I found it and now I can't find it again - boo) and was pleased with what I saw! Martin Sheen will take a little getting used to as Matthew Cuthbert because he seems like such a stark contrast to how I read the character BUT - no complaints. I remember plowing through the books and impatiently waiting for my parents to take me back to Walden Books in the mall (lol) to get the next in the series ASAP. I can't wait until Julia is old enough to dive in.

4. For now I think we are going to start reading Little House in the Big Woods at night - I think. It's getting tough to find a book that ALL five kids love so we might have to divide and conquer on the bedtime story front. I'll take the chapter book crowd, sorry Simon.

5. I'm going to plow ahead and I'll admit I haven't been listening very much but I'm having a tough time getting into Outlander. I'm not giving up because people seem to love it SO much but I'm not quite hooked. Yet.

6. A few times a year, J.Crew Factory runs a 50% off clearance sale and now is one of those times.  I found these dresses for the girls (with festive tights for Christmas + Thanksgiving + if I get together enough for Christmas card photos?) and while they are only 40% off I think I'm going to take a chance on a Christmas present suit for Simon since he's still rocking his one and only suit from high school and he's got oral boards and interviews on the horizon. I thought these ties were super cute for the boys but I'm not sure I'd have much luck getting them to wear them ... J.Crew is also having a 40% off sale styles and their dress selection for girls is triple the size so ... I'll have to weed through those too! I recently found a pair of warm weather appropriate slightly dressier ankle boots that were sold out everywhere else and now have two pairs of Jeffrey Campbell shoes and have been really pleasantly surprised by their comfort level.

7. Speaking of Christmas cards - do you have a favorite place to order from? I know there's a bevy of options but I'd love to hear if you've had an exceptionally great (or terrible!) experience with one place in particular. I know I'm already behind the ball - I know.

I hope you have a fun weekend in the works and much more importantly: Happy Veteran's Day to all military men and women - we are eternally grateful for your sacrifice and service to our country.

xo, gp

Whole30: down and dirty

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09 November 2016

Yesterday was day 30 of my Whole30 soooo today -- I'm finished. Yee to the haw. At the beginning I felt SO MUCH BETTER (I really kept thinking that - caps lock and all) that I couldn't see myself ever going OFF of Whole30 but the honeymoon phase slowly faded and I started dreaming about cheese and Taco Bell (which I haven't had in years so - why now, G?). And now I think that honeymoon Grace was nuts but I'm not going dairy or drive-thru crazy because I know how awful I would immediately feel and it's not worth it. At all. Will I attempt a healthier homemade version of a taco bell burrito with the tiniest sprinkle of cheese? Yes, I will. And, I still feel so good but I think I've just gotten used to it and take it for granted.

I could ramble forever and ever about Whole30 and my experiences and personal pros and cons but I predict that no one would make it to the end so let's break it down into digestible categories ...

Meal Planning:
I went into it thinking I would be a meal planning queen and be on top of it and prep on Sunday afternoons while listening to something appropriately relaxing and fun on Pandora but no, I am an old dog with no interest in learning new tricks, I guess. I prepped when I could and was never pawing around the fridge looking for food to make and eat but I didn't have my meals perfectly planned. I found that the first week it worked to have salmon cakes and meatballs on hand to eat with veggies and the occasional sweet potato. But then, I got kind of sick of that and moved onto making what my friend Jessica calls a hash. I mixed ground turkey with various veggies and had that ready to go in a big container and generally ate it with an over easy egg and ketchup or balsamic vinegar. Those were some GOOD meals. But then, I got bored. So, I moved onto salads with romaine lettuce, hard boiled eggs, chicken, tomatoes, and the most incredible salad dressing (Whole30 compliant or not - it's THE BEST). I still eat those a lot but this past week I ate a lot of turkey or chicken burgers wrapped in romaine with tomato, avocado, and yellow mustard - so good. I did vary my meals beyond these four staples but it worked well to have weekly themes for me.

salmon cake, spinach, brussels sprouts + onions + sweet potato + compliant chicken sausage

If you've done a Whole30, you know all about SWYPO (eating things like pancakes or smoothies made with compliant ingredients but go against the spirit of Whole30) and while I didn't make it a daily thing at all, I did partake on occasion. Sometimes I was making smoothies for the kids and made sure it was compliant before I poured myself a glass and Bosco happens to love protein pancakes and some mornings it was just easier not to make several different breakfasts. I don't think it set me back but I'm sure many would cross their arms in disagreement. C'est la life of a semi-cheater.

typical breakfast: scrambled eggs, tomato, and avocado

Condiments, Creamer, etc
I'm convinced that my positivity throughout the majority of the 30 days was semi-thanks to my decision to buy Whole30 compliant condiments (ketchup, aforementioned salad dressing, balsamic vinegar) because I hate to use the word "elevate" but that's exactly what they did to my meals. Interestingly enough, aside from the salad dressing, I found myself reaching for the Whole30 helpers less and less as the month went on and my taste buds adjusted so I guess I kind of saw them as legal training wheels that got me over the initial hump. The nut creamer was a pitiful substitute for the glorified ice cream I'm used to using but I don't drink coffee every day so it wasn't a HUGE deal to me. But, a couple weeks in I looked forward to an afternoon glass of iced coffee with the creamer because I could actually feel the effects of the caffeine as opposed to the sugar buzz of my former creamers. 

sweet potato chips, compliant ketchup, and a real hot getup

Noticeable changes 
The biggest difference I notice and feel almost immediately is how much more soundly I sleep. It's so incredible and appreciated that if it were the ONLY positive side effect of doing a Whole30 - I'd still do it. Sometimes I would wake up as early as 4:30 or 5 and feel rested enough to get up and start the day which was a great bonus because it's always nice not waking up to a small human breathing morning fire into your unsuspecting face. I also noticed my super stubborn Melasma (yes Bosco is almost 17 months old - it's really stubborn) faded more than it already had thanks to a new skin regimen (I'll save that for another post because this one is already too long). My skin feels so soft and has lost the puff and one of my friends pointed out that her cellulite goes away when she does Whole30 to which I have to say - SAME HERE. I know a lot of people do Whole30 to lose weight despite the program stressing that it is NOT a weight loss program but generally people tend to lose weight. It's never been the case for me and the same thing went for this round because I lost one pound (lol but it wasn't my objective at all) and just for the sake of curiosity I took my measurements before and after and lost nine inches which was surprising even though my clothes do fit a lot better.

Why I like it
In addition to all the changes mentioned I have to say that I like rules and guidelines. My friends and I have talked about needing babysitters when it comes to our eating habits. While I do a decent job most of the time - I know when I've let the convenience factor of unhealthy food creep into our life and sometimes it's easier just to do a hard reset like a Whole30. Not always! But, sometimes. It's good to see and feel how much my diet affects how I feel and sleep. It also feels good to finish it - while it's not the hardest thing I'll ever do in my lifetime, it does take self discipline (for me!!) to do in a house full of people that are NOT doing Whole30. There are more and more websites and blogs dedicated to Whole30 recipes and I love that you can do several rounds of a Whole30 and eat completely different recipes every time. And again, I feel SO much better. I think I take for granted how much better I feel and wish I'd kept some quick daily notes to monitor minor changes I noticed.

Why I don't
This is personal opinion (and I loved hearing Julie's thoughts too!) but it's tough for me to go from eating small meals throughout the day to fewer big meals. I felt bloated and looked 20 weeks pregnant (which - I am not) for the first week or so which felt gross and counterintuitive to eating well. I know it happens to a lot of people and I (unscientifically) just saw it as all the gross stuff bubbling to the surface and it did eventually go away and I felt great other than that but - I could do without that initiation. Most of the time I would make the kids lunch and dinner before I ate which was my own fault and stupid but by the time I sat down to eat I was the hangriest bird in all of the land and .... the kids knew it which I hated. Again, my own fault but this is why I like grazing/small meals.

Now what?
I'm going to slowly (very slowly!) reintroduce food groups back into my diet to see if I can target what exactly my body reacts poorly to. I've been really looking forward to having some hummus and bell peppers so I'll start there. Surprisingly enough, my Diet Dr. Pepper cravings subsided almost immediately so I'm just going to pretend they are poison (which I know they prettttty much are) and not go back down that slippery slope. I'm always trying to incorporate more protein and veggies into everyone's meals and the kids have liked a lot of the vegetables I've made so we'll keep that up and continue to try new ones prepared a variety of ways.

I've mentioned it a few times but my favorite new blog I discovered (thanks to a comment!) was Well Fed and I highly, highly recommend it. I loved the following products as well and will keep using the majority of them transitioning out of Whole30.

1. Nutpods Dairy-Free Creamer

2. Tessemae's Organic Ketchup - initially I was kind of meh but then grew to love it

3. Date Lady Balsamic Vinegar - I was pleasantly surprised by this

4. Chia Seeds - I use these to make chia seed pudding overnight (and add fruit and maybe some sunflower seed butter in the morning) and just wished I'd made it a long time ago

5. RxBar - I love these because they have added protein and aren't nearly as sweet as Larabars. My kids love them too - for better or worse. I didn't eat these or Larabars daily or treat them like dessert or a treat but they are good to have in my bag for times we were out longer than I'd anticipated etc.

6. Dasani Black Cherry Sparkling Water - (whispers) I prefer this to La Croix. It's so good.

7. Tessemae's Lemon Garlic Dressing - best of all the rest

8. Gingerbread - my favorite Larabar flavor (thanks to Jolie for sending me a box!) to date

9. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides - read all about the benefits here. It's truly flavorless so you can add it to coffee, your chia seed pudding, anything. Easy.

I know I'm missing a lot and will come back and tweak and add as I think of things but let me know if you have questions - but I'm the furthest thing from an expert. Have you done one? Did you love/hate/meh?

I'd love to know!

pink sneaks

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06 November 2016

I know I said I wouldn't mention Poldark again but then we watched the season finale and I'm not sure I'll recover anytime soon - if ever. To distract myself and in an effort not to dissolve into an ocean of tears I watched with one eye on the finale and one eye on my craft: a collage of pink sneakers (tennis shoes? you decide). I don't have my finger firmly on all the trends but the color pink/blush/rose gold/dusty rose/etc seems to be on the rise. My 7-year-old self would be quite pleased because she really, truly, and literally (yes - literally) thought heaven was just rows and rows of hot pink converse in her size - selfless child that Grace. Anyway, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite because I just bought and love these purple (eggplant?) tennis shoes - Julia loves them too because her favorite color is purple (heaven forbid she and Phoebe have the same favorite color) but if they come out in any sort of pink anything - I'm all over it.

I keep going back and forth and side to side but I think my favorites are 3, 7, and 8? I think. I'll change my mind momentarily.

1. Adidas Fresh Bounce Running Shoes

2. Asics Onitsuka Tiger

3. Nike Air Max

4. New Balance Classics

5. Charlie Sneakers

6. Classic Reeboks

7. Rose Gold Reeboks

8. Adidas Los Angeles

9. Coral New Balance

I'm always keeping my eye on Shopbop's inventory too because they often have styles that sell out SUPER fast everywhere else. And now I'm off to convince Simon that we should watch The Crown. Wish me LUCK.

Happy Sunday.

the hills are alive with the sound of Friday

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04 November 2016

1. We'll start with the most important take (don't think that I'm kidding) and talk about: hair. Julie's hair curling tutorial has cut my curling time in half - maybe more. It took me some practice and cursing but I'll never go back to my wand.

2. Speaking of YouTubers (I know I'm late to the game but it seems to be the fun new thing that's going to stick around -- I'll be tortoising it forever and ever in blogland but I am loving the YouTube phenom) ... Brissa is another fun one to follow. If you have any other recs - I'd be much obliged!

3. I promise not to mention Poldark again for a week or two but I feel a kindred connection to Ross and Demelza as their firstborn is also named Julia Grace. Simon's sister Elizabeth is married to a Francis so there's that connection too but Simon has never been in love with her - which is where our Poldark parallels end.

4. So, I'm giving Outlander a go. I went back and forth about reading vs. listening so I started listening to see how I liked the narrator (my short foray into audiobooks has taught me that narrators can make or break books for me - which is why I had to switch to reading The Light Between Oceans) and I actually love the Outlander narrator. I can hear your collective sighs of relief from here. Most books I listen to are between 10-15 hours long (I do speed them up as much as my speed listening skills allow) but Outlander is 32. Crazytown.

5. They've been doing road construction outside our house for a couple of weeks now and I thought baby Bash was obsessed with trucks but Bosco is OBSESSED with trucks. I think he says, "truck!!!" 199 times a day - not an exaggeration (for once) so he has been in stare-happy heaven lately. Are the construction workers creeped out by the toddler that barely breaks to blink while quietly staring and staring and staring? Probably. Sorry guys.

When the project is complete I suspect they'll be a long period of serious mourning. Black outfits and all.

6. I was going to poll you folks about your favorite face masks but then I saw that Blythe blogged about hers so -- no need. Unless I hate her suggestion. Jk, jk. But if you do have a favorite - let a lady know!

7. We're painting our bedroom grey this weekend but now that I'm looking at the paint I bought -- it definitely looks silver (and is that a hint of a shimmer I'm detecting?!). I'll keep you posted - you know I ALWAYS do.

Happy Weekend!

Linking up with Kelly!

practical dress-up

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02 November 2016

There are a lot of things I second guess myself on every day but one of the more frivolous things I wish I had a better handle on was effortlessly picking out and wearing day-to-day jewelry. It's obviously not practical for me to wear statement jewelry, heavy earrings, or bracelets galore on the daily but I see plenty of moms/teachers/busy women wearing pretty and appropriate pieces all the time and I wanted in on the secret.

Bosco was very concerned with my plight, as always.

Well, Rocksbox to the valiant rescue! I've read about the Rocksbox concept on several of my favorite blogs and they all loved it but I never got around to giving it a go which I'm now realizing was a big mistake after getting my first box in the mail. Rocksbox is a jewelry rental service to discover and wear new and trendy styles without the the pressure to purchase them. For $19/month you receive three new pieces of jewelry at a time that are hand selected just for you. You can send your set back at any time and purchase any pieces you love at a member discount. It's extremely easy to return your set with the enclosed prepaid USPS shipping label that comes in your box.

Alright, so when my Rocksbox arrived I pulled out my finest faux fur to lay it all out and take a close look at the contents ...

I had previously picked well over 30+ favorites from their inventory (super simple and super fun) so they had a great idea of my taste and style. I don't have any fancy events coming up (but maybe you do! Christmas/New Years Eve parties?) so opted for casual styles. I'm loving the look of gold and rose gold at the moment but they have plenty of silver pieces as well.

I was SO excited to see that they'd included mostly House of Harlow (Nicole Richie's line) pieces because if I had to pick a favorite jewelry line, that would be it. Rocksbox carries jewelry brands that can be found in Nordstrom such as Kendra Scott, Gorjana, and smaller indie brands so a huge variety of styles is represented.

I wear a lot of plain white and occasionally spice things up with light grey tops and sometimes feel like I'm veering back into my waitressing days with my uniform but love this simple necklace (Phoebe Quilted Pendant Necklace in Gold by House of Harlow 1960. Member Price: $34. Retail: $40) to dress it up ever so slightly ...

I've worn it almost every day since its arrival because it goes with just about everything, doesn't feel heavy, but doesn't feel cheap either.

The second necklace (Geometric Statement Necklace, by Slate. Member Price $50 {Retail $59})  they included is a lot of fun and something I'd never pick out myself but once I put it on, I loved the length of the chain and the bit of edge it added to my getup.

Rocksbox included the Telluride Earring Set in Turquoise by House of Harlow 1960. (Member Price: $25. Retail: $30) that made me wish I'd never let my second earring holes close because they'd be so cute worn together. I'm wearing the gold and turquoise half hoops in the top and bottom photos but I've worn these studs every day since they arrived ...

... anything that's delicate enough to sleep in is a big win in my book.

Curious to try it out for yourself? Get your first month totally free with code camppattonxoxo but hurry because the code expires on Wednesday, November 16th!

Many thanks to Rocksbox for sponsoring this post and providing play/wrestle friendly gems and to Simon for snapping the pictures!


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