This or That: Pacifier or Thumb Sucker

Dum, dum, dum…the dreaded debate! I will admit. I was adamant about making sure Parker got hooked on a paci (our term for pacifier) over her thumb. I’ve heard horror stories about thumb sucking children whose teeth were all jacked up or took serious bribing to stop the bad habit.

I have vivid memories of my younger sister getting bribed with a light-up, singing electric toothbrush when we were younger if she was able to stop sucking her thumb. Our mom put it on the top shelf in the bathroom closet, so she could see it, and it could be used as motivation for her to stop. That was after the finger nail polish remover and putting her hands in gloves…nothing was working! Alas, the toothbrush did the trick.

Even before Parker arrived, I felt like I was getting everyone’s opinions about this thrown at me. First, it was our birth class telling us that pacifiers confused breastfeeding babies and it should be introduced weeks after they are born. Then we were given an abundance of free pacifiers at the hospital (the same people who told us not to introduce them yet…). And as soon as she arrived, we found her sneaking her thumb in her mouth. Everyone was giving us the “don’t let her do that speech.” What’s a parent to do?

So on a united front, Ryan and I decided that we wanted her to suck on a paci. You can throw away a paci but not exactly get rid of a thumb, right? That was our argument. Plus, the looming need for braces in her future (since I wore braces myself) haunted me in my sleep. And it worked…to start. Parker got hooked on the paci. But not just any paci. It was a paci saga there for a while. She didn’t like any of the usual brands: no Philips or Avent or even the Wubbanub was good enough for little Miss P. She got hooked in the Nip brand pacifier, not to be confused with Nuk, which are almost impossible to find unless you order them online from Germany (yes, Germany…apparently Parker has expensive taste) or stumble upon them by happenstance at a store who has a specialty shipment in.

So, that was fun trying to chase down enough of those to have one in ever room since you can never find a paci when you need one (thank goodness for Amazon Prime!). And then all of a sudden, the thumb began appearing more and more. First, it was in her sleep, and who could blame her? It was comforting and oh so cute to see her snoozing and sneak it in. Then, she started pushing out her paci and replacing it with her thumb. We fought and fought it until finally we just gave up. Parker is a full-blown thumb sucker!

The girl is actually quite talented. She’ll even try to suck her thumb while nursing! And as much as I thought I would be mortified that she was sucking her thumb, I’ve actually started to like it. Why? First of all, it’s cute. Just the pure innocence of thumb sucking and the nostalgia of my younger sister snuggling her silk-lined blanket with her thumb in her mouth is enough to make me smile.  But the selfish parent in me loves the self-soothing aspect. There’s no crying in the middle of the night because her paci fell out and no clips on her clothing to keep it close when she’s in the car seat. It’s just always readily available.

So if you are a thumb sucking-shaming parent, shame away. I have fully converted into a thumb sucking supporter. What’s your take on the debate? I’d love to hear your argument!


Product Pick: Tory Burch Travel Pouch

First things first! No, I am not a fashion blogger nor am I pretending to be one. I just had to share this product with you all because it’s become an everyday staple in my life whether I’m running around in my Mom jeans with my daughter or running a 300-person event.

My sister got me this pouch for my birthday and at the time, I thought it was cute and could see myself using it when I wanted to add a fun punch of color to an outfit, but now that I don’t have enough hands to carry yet another bag, it has become a MUST HAVE in my wardrobe.

I find myself most frequently using it when I’m running around with Parker. We received this super cute diaper bag for her shower and once I have that, her car seat carrier, my phone and car keys, I’ve run out of hands to also carry a purse with. It’s perfect for popping in the diaper bag because it’s not too big. But it’s decent enough in size to be able to hold all the essentials of a wallet along with my favorite lip gloss, cell phone and hand sanitizer (because with flu season, I just can’t go without it).

I also love it on days when I work weddings or big events. I usually pack a bag in the morning with a change of clothes and makeup for touch ups because let’s be honest, you can’t do event set-up in a dress. So, this is the perfect bag to throw into a larger bag and be ready to go for the whole day.

The one I currently have, I couldn’t find still for sale, but I found a few other options I thought I would share with you. All are at different price points, so you can find one that matches your budget best. Happy shopping!

Turn-lock Envelope Pouch, Tory Burch, $198

Lauren Clutch Wallet, Hobo Bags, $87.80

Zip-Top Charging Wristlet Clutch, Old Navy, $22


This or That: Cocktail Reception or Seated Dinner?

Welcome to the first official This or That post! This mini blog series will feature two different options or controversial topics that I will share my thoughts on and weigh in on the pros and cons. If there’s a topic you ever want me to cover, let me know!

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day and we will be wrapping up engagement season soon, I know a lot of couples are plugging away at reception details. So, today’s This or That topic is hors d’evours reception versus seated dinner.

Usually, there are two determining factors behind deciding on the food service style: price and atmosphere.

If you’re basing your decision solely on your budget, I recommend going with a seated dinner. Most people opt for a hors d’evours reception because they think it’s going to save some money. In actuality, that’s not always the case. If you’re serving food over a traditional mealtime, guests are still going to consume the same amount of food because it’s replacing a meal. Guests could consume even more if they are served buffet style because it encourages grazing versus food being served directly to them.

If price is your determining factor, I would recommend opting for  seated meal and weighing the pros and cons between buffet and plated service instead. This way, your guests are guaranteed to eat a delicious meal, and the caterer should ensure you don’t run out of food. Plus, it keeps the vibe of a traditional wedding reception and creates a more captive audience during dances and speeches.

Photo courtesy of Scott Patrick Myers Photography.

If you’re selecting a service style based on atmosphere, then I would definitely recommend an hor d’evours reception. More and more often I see traditional sit down meals replaced with passed appetizers and food stations. This organically cultivates a mingling atmosphere and encourages guests to move about the space.

Action stations are ideal when you want your event to feel upbeat and interactive. They offer cook-to-order or customizable food options that are prepared in front of you by a chef. Build-your-own taco stations, pasta stations or even sushi stations can be unique adds to your events that will have guests talking about them long after the evening is over. Maybe even think about incorporating brunch options into an evening event with a DIY crepe station. The possibilities are truly endless!

Dipping Into Some Fun

On Sunday, I had a total win at our Super Bowl get together. It was a casual family watch party, but when everyone started chiming in on what they were bringing, I was at a complete loss. Wings, meatballs, buffalo chicken dip….all the classics were there, and I was stumped on my contribution.

Let me mention that as much as I love making parties look pretty and can nail everything coming together, I am no Julia Child in the kitchen. In fact, I tend to stick to basics or hire someone else to do the cooking (but man, can I make a spread of food look good :)).

So after hearing all of the savory deliciousness, I decided I needed to take the sweeter route and bring some sort of dessert. But I wanted it to be a snacky dessert if you will–something that could set out with everything else and still have a laid back feel to it.

Alas, funfetti dip…it was perfect! I had made a variation of this in the past, but it was more of a funfetti cheese ball. This was a yogurt-based dip, which made it slightly (ever so slightly) healthier than the cream cheese version I had made before. By bringing this, I balanced the savory treats, and it was easy to eat, especially with the little ones we had there. And the best part is it’s super easy to make!


-1 box funfetti cake mix
-1.5 cups vanilla yogurt
-2 cups Cool Whip
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-animal crackers
-Nilla Wafers


Mix together the funfetti cake mix, vanilla yogurt and Cool Whip. Add in the vanilla extract and stir until it has a nice whipped consistency. Garnish with colorful sprinkles and serve chilled with animal crackers and Nilla Wafers.

The cream cheese version of funfetti dip I had made for Easter was also a huge hit, so I’ve included the recipe below for you all to decide which one you like better!


-1.5 cups of funfetti cake mix
-1/2 cup powdered sugar
-3 Tbsp. sugar
-1/2 cup butter
-1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
-Nilla Wafers


In a large bowl, beat together softened cream and butter. Add in the funfetti cake mix, sugar and powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Place mixture in plastic wrap, bring in the corners and form the mixture into a ball surrounded by the plastic wrap. Freeze for 1.5 hours or until the ball keeps its shape. Once firm, roll the ball in sprinkles until it’s completely covered. Serve with Nilla wafers.

Repurpose & Reuse

If you know me well, you know I love a good bargain! Marshall’s is my jam, and so is the Dollar Stop at Target. I also love “redecorating” my house by taking all my knick knacks and decor off the shelves in my house, bringing them to a central location and then redistributing everything among the house to make it feel like I purchased new decorations.

So, it should come at no surprise that I love dual purposing party decor. Everyone always complains that parties become so expensive. Instead of purchasing disposable decor or things you will never again use, why not purchase things you can reuse not just at future parties but in your everyday.

My first example has to be one of my favorites (maybe because it is yet again baby related and I am in total baby mode), but it came from a shower I attended for my friend Mariette. The hostesses created a clothesline of onesies that adorably matched the shower’s color scheme, but they also were coordinated and numbered up to 12. The mama-to-be could use them in her baby’s month photos. Instead of the generic stickers, she is now equipped with 12 onesies to dress Conrad in (happy one month, little man)!

Eclectic dishware has been a trend at weddings and parties that have a romantic, antique feel. And styling a table full of mismatched dishes is not only easy to do, but it requires very little purchasing. If this is the vibe you’re going for, raid the cabinets of your mom, grandma and even an antique shop or two, and you can collect all sorts of ornate China, colorful glassware and pieces with character for a very small price.

Photo courtesy of Codi Shandel Photography.

And when you do have to purchase party-specific items, try and purchase things that can be reused from celebration to celebration. I am someone who LOVES color, but most of my serving dishes are plain white with maybe a small monochromatic detail. This way, you can work them into any color scheme or decor theme. Below are a few links to items that I find myself consistently using every time I host friends and family:

Bash Beverage Tub from Crate & Barrel ($89.95)
I have this one, which is the larger version and works well if you host a lot of parties or bigger gatherings. If you tend to have more intimate events, they also have a small version  ($69.95). I chose the silver one, but now that I have collected more servingware, I almost wish I would have purchased the gold one. There’s lots of fun, neutral colors available, including graphite, silver, gold and copper.

Place Card Holder Set from Pier 1 ($28.95)

Technically, these are called place cards, but I prefer to use them as buffet labels. They’re dry erase, which makes them easy to reuse and a nice, neutral color to match my servingware.

Double Sided Chalkboard from Target ($59.99)
The one I own is actually from Hobby Lobby, but here’s another great option from Target. These work great for welcome signs on your front porch, menu boards, photo opps, etc.

The Gift of Gifting

I’ve been told quite a few times that I have a gift. A gift for…gifting if that’s even the way to say it? For lack of better words, I’m a good gift giver. I pride myself on recipients truly enjoying what they receive, and I’m always one to be able to recall someone’s birthday (currently working on getting better at anniversaries)!

I attribute this quality 100 percent to my mother. She always seems to know exactly what to get people for a special occasion, and she spends hours at Hallmark finding the perfect card that accurately describes the person she’s sending it to. I’ve definitely learned from the best 😉

So if you struggle with what to buy people for holidays or find yourself being that forgetful friend, I have a few tricks for you. First and most importantly, I always use the mindset that gifts do not have to be tangible items. For example, a simple handwritten note when someone conquers a challenge or has a rough week means far more than anything money can buy.

But if a tangible gift is much more suitable, here are a few ideas for you:

For the person who has everything….
Ahh these people are the worst! If they want something, they buy it themselves. They leave no options for us to surprise or wow them with the latest and greatest because they already have it. In these instances, I say experiences are best. Think concert tickets, a night out planned totally by you, a sporting event, sign them of for a class, etc. You’re gifting them a memory versus an item.

For the humble at heart….
Make a donation in their honor. If they are a pet lover, make a donation to your local humane society or start a scholarship in their name with a group of individuals. This is also a great route to go with older recipients because, let’s be honest, a lot of older people don’t want to collect anymore stuff.

For almost anyone…
Don’t get them the item they mentioned to you they would like while they were at the mall the other day. Chances, are they will buy it themselves once they have the money for it. Get them something they wouldn’t personally buy. Make them a massage appointment and cover the fee, including tip! Restore a piece of furniture in their home that they’ve been “meaning to do for years.” Or have all of your parents’ home videos transferred from tapes to digital files.

For the practical person….
Think useful luxuries. Pay for a year of Amazon Prime or Netflix subscription for them. Find out what their favorite magazine is and purchase an annual subscription.

For someone sentimental…
Take all their high school or college T-shirts they have saved in a box and have (or make if you’re that talented!) a T-shirt quilt made out of them. Purchase a cute recipe book or card box and fill it with recipes from friends and family. Find the wine that was served at their wedding, and purchase a bottle from the year they were married. The more personalized the idea, the more it will mean to him/her.

Hopefully this post has drummed up a few ideas for the next time you have a gift to give. And who knows. Maybe yours will be their favorite yet!

The Transition

I officially finished my second week back to work after maternity leave, and we are getting the hang of things. I say we, but really I mean me. Parker loves daycare and is great with all sorts of new people. It’s Mom who has taken some time to getting used to everything.

Obviously, the hardest part about returning to work is going from being with my little peanut all day every day to spending 8 hours a day away from her. Luckily, we found daycare that I feel very comfortable leaving her at and feel she is truly getting one-on-one attention. Originally, I swayed toward an in-home daycare, but we ended up enrolling her in a daycare facility, and I could not be more pleased. Finding daycare was a nightmare, but that’s whole other post…

What I’ve learned, however, is the separation anxiety from being away from her is just the beginning of the at-home to work transition. It’s definitely not easy, but there have been a few products that have made it a little bit smoother.

1. Clothing: The healing process after childbirth is extensive. Whether you have a vaginal birth or a C-section, there are tons of changes happening with your body. Upon returning to work, I was still dealing with these changes. Not only was I trying to dress a body that I still wasn’t completely confident in, but my incision from my C-section was still very sensitive. Wearing regular pants was hard because the buttons and zippers would rub and make it uncomfortable. But I stumbled upon a pair of awesome pants at Old Navy that were professional looking for the office and comfortable enough to wear with a healing belly. Thank goodness elastic waist bands are in! The style is called The Stevie, which is stretch knit. I purchased a pair of burgundy pants and a pair of black and white polka dot pants, and I love them both

2. The Little Things: As if breastfeeding wasn’t enough of a challenge, keeping up with your milk supply at work is a whole other issue. Now if you’re fortunate enough to work at an office that has those fancy lactation rooms, this point might not apply to you. But coming from someone who pumps in a storage closet for a little privacy, I found just a little something that made me feel more comfortable about pumping at work. They are called Bella B Nipple Nurture Breast Wipes and make cleaning up after pumping a breeze. Plus, they make me feel refreshed before returning to my desk.


3. A Little Cuteness: I invested in a few extra cute and girly office supplies to get me excited to go to the office each day. I hung a new calendar that had monthly inspirations, and I started with a fresh legal pad that was decorated with flowers along the top. And each morning (that I don’t go to Starbucks), I bring my coffee in a color block Kate Spade mug.

The second challenge is our new morning routine. Let me preface this by saying I have never been a morning person in my entire life, and now I am learning to be one. Actually, I am learning to live on 5-6 hours of sleep a night instead of 9. I should be incredibly grateful that I am, yes, getting a full 5-6 hours of sleep a night with a newborn.

I used to be able to get up, shower, get ready and be out the door to work in 45 minutes. I had my routine down, and it was easy peasy every morning. Now, I block out about two hours to get out of the house. And this morning, I was still 15 minutes late. Why? Because everything is different with a tiny human. As much as you plan and prep, there’s always a hang up like the hiccups she got this morning right before I was about to put her in her car seat or the blowout she had the other morning.

And the third challenge, which I mentally addressed prior to her arrival but emotionally feel now that she is here, is weighing the pros and cons between working at staying at home. I truly don’t think I could be a full-time, stay-at-home mom. First of all, I give them a lot of credit. As wonderful as it is to spend all that time with your children, it’s a lot of work. There’s juggling the different schedules of multiple children and making sure you’re planning and executing quality, interactive activities. Not to mention unless there’s a Target run involved, she speaks to nobody over the age of her oldest child until her husband returns home from work. That being said, I also crave a schedule, getting up in the morning and going somewhere, and I have always been motivated to have my own career. But when you start looking at how much you’re paying for daycare and how many hours you are spending away from your little one, it just doesn’t seem entirely worth it. I work over a third of the month just to pay for daycare. that means I spend roughly 7 days of the month working just to be able to afford to be away from her during the work day. Seems a little messed up when I’m missing out on valuable time when she’s growing, developing and hitting milestones. Thus, I’ve decided in a perfect world, I would be a part-time working mom.

For now, it’s back to work full-time for me! As much as I miss Parker during the day, I am getting back to something I love. I love working events, I love planning and prepping, I love being creative, I love weddings and I love love. And that makes doing something so hard just that much easier.