Sonny's Birth Story
Photo by @JennyQuicksall

Photo by @JennyQuicksall

It still feels so surreal to me that we have a little boy! It’s one thing to think you’re carrying a boy but it’s another to actually have it happen. We decided to wait to find out the sex of baby #2, @LittlerAmazing (just like with Milly) but the anticipation was so much higher this time around. Part of me wanted a little boy because that meant Milly would be our princess forever. Another big part of me thought we were having a boy simply because Mr. A and I thought we’d have one girl and one boy even before we were married. Then there was a huge part of me that knows the incredible value and bond of a sister and how unbelievable that would be to have two girls. All I know is I am so grateful we have two healthy children and I was so blessed to have two swift and gentle births. However, my pregnancy journey and their birth stories couldn’t be more different. Even in utero these siblings were total opposites!

When I was pregnant with Milly not only did I have an easy pregnancy but when she moved around it felt 100% magical. I loved, loved being pregnant with her. It was everything you could dream of. She did give me normal symptoms like back labor the last month of pregnancy and I had braxton hicks for about 6 weeks but it wasn’t too bad. Sonny, on the other hand and I had an adventure of a time! It’s hard to tell if pregnancy was harder because I was chasing a toddler or because I’m two years older but there were a few things that were challenging.

When Sonny moved inside my belly sometimes it was legit uncomfortable. Like now I understand when Mamas jump when their babies kick them. He would move around and I’d kick my leg or jolt up because it felt so uncomfortable. The boy was always hiccuping which is super telling now because he does it still. He also tried coming into this world very early at 34 weeks so that was scary and I had to be put on bed rest and then before I knew it we made it full term and he still wasn’t there. I guess there’s something to be said about Leo’s (I’m one of them)-they are very very determined and strong willed! I went from stressing about him making his appearance too early and him being in the NICU to wondering if I’d have to have any interventions because he was overdue! Fortunately for both of us, he decided to come Earthside 40 weeks and 3 days and this is where his birth story begins…

On Sunday July 28th, we had plans to go to Music in the Park in our town. I was so excited because a few weeks prior we wanted to go but I had to work and we hosted a get together in the backyard so we were exhausted from all of the hosting. That morning we went to church and while we were there I kept thinking “I wonder if this is the last time we’ll be a family of three.” Truthfully, we hadn’t been going to church consistently and it really made me sad. Part of me wondered if I needed to have a real heart to heart with God in His home before this baby was ready to join us. Sure enough, the Priest blessed my belly after mass and that night Sonny was born!

So back to Music in the Park -Milly had been napping since 1:30pm and it was 4:30pm. While she was sleeping, Mr. A had packed the most amazing picnic basket of cheese, meats, crackers, sparkling water (my favorite) and chocolates. Everything was ready. We had the outdoor blanket packed in the stroller and we were dressed and ready to go. I had been having contractions off and on the last week so when I started having stronger contractions while he was packing the bags I didn’t really think anything of it. Then they started getting more intense and consistent. I remember texting our friends that we weren’t going to make Music in the Park and I was legit annoyed thinking that if this isn’t it, I’m missing something really fun! We’re ready for you, baby! Let’s do this.

From 5:00-7:00pm contractions were about 10 minutes apart. We decided to wake Milly up around 5:30pm. Meanwhile, they ate dinner and I just kept walking around the house and then pausing and leaning over the kitchen island anytime I had a contraction. Around 8:00pm contractions were around 3 minutes apart and were intense. Mr. A had reached out to our midwife to give her a heads up and she immediately told us to come to the birth center. I just kept thinking, “I really hope this is it!”

As Mr. A loaded Milly into the car and grabbed our bags I looked at the sky and realized it was super misty and overcast. Anytime I visualized my birth to @LittlerAmazing it looked exactly like that. I knew right away we were going to meet our baby very soon.

It took about an hour to get to the birth center so when we arrived it was around 9:00pm. Our midwife and the midwife student (who delivered Milly) greeted us and brought me into the exam room. When they checked me they said I was 4 centimeters. I was so upset. I knew it wasn’t time yet and the last thing I wanted was to have to labor at the birth center instead of my house. But they all reassured me that the reason I was there was to have a baby at the birth center and not in the car like what almost happened with Milly. Then our midwife asked me if I wanted her to break my water. With Milly my water broke in the middle of the night at home so I just assumed my water would break with this baby. I decided to let her do it since there is zero harm in it and if anything-it would help encourage the baby to make their way down to meet me.

As soon as she broke my water, I felt a warm rush of liquid. It was bananas! Immediately I started contracting and the feeling was getting intense. I started to get focused because I knew I wanted to be in labor as short as possible and meet my baby. The anticipation of being so close to knowing what we were having was getting me pumped up! My contractions felt even stronger than when I was in labor with Milly. Some people say labor is easier your second time around. Other people, like my midwife said it can be more intense because your body remembers since your uterus has done it before so it can be tighter and stronger. For me, I definitely had sensations this time that I didn’t have with Milly so I would say this labor was definitely more challenging.

For the next two hours I labored in the living room of the birthing center. The way it is set up I have my own birth room with a living room, bedroom with the large tub and bathroom. I stood in the doorway connecting the living room to the bedroom the entire time. I couldn’t sit. I didn’t want to lay down. I just wanted to stand and rotate my hips a bit and lean on the doorway. Mr. A was behind me 99.9% of the time giving me counter pressure massages on my lower back and hips encouraging me with affirmations and reminding me to breathe. I could not do it without him 100%. He was my rock. I just kept surrendering to my body contracting and moving the baby down. My hips felt so tight and the sharp pains from the back labor were nonstop but I just kept breathing and imagining my baby rotating down with every contraction.

Meanwhile, I would look over at Milly as she hung out on the couch playing with her toys, eating snacks and watching nursery rhymes . She was so good. I remember just being so proud of her and knowing that we were so blessed to have our daughter there with us. I mean, for a 2 year old, she was absolutely incredible. We had always planned on her being with us when I went into labor but so many people couldn’t believe it including our friends and family. Mr. A and I on the other hand, couldn’t imagine not having Milly with us. It wouldn’t have felt right without her there. She joined me at every appointment and would help listen to the baby’s heartbeat, help check my blood pressure, hold the doppler, etc. We even did a few rehearsal run throughs in the birth room and walked through what it would be like when Mommy has the baby. At home, I practiced my birth breathing and she even would practice doing skin-to-skin with her baby doll. We talked about her little sibling’s birth day all the time. We prepared her as much as we possibly could of the 10 months I was pregnant and guess what? It really worked. She was calm, interested and acting like my little doula when I was actually pushing the baby out! Around 11:00pm our midwife came in to check on me and said I was fully dilated. Hallelujah! I was THRILLED. It’s game time baby! I couldn’t wait. The last two hours were brutal and super intense but I got through each wave with the help of Mr. A and Milly. The girls started to fill the birthing tub and I prepared my mind with all the powerful thoughts and affirmations I had wrote about this delivery.

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When I got into the tub my body relaxed and my contractions slowed down. Part of me got worried that maybe I was too relaxed and that meant I was slowing down labor. I ignored that thought and waiting for the next contraction. I wanted to make sure I really made the most of each push and worked with my body. Chris called Milly over and she held my arm and gave me the sweetest look. By the way-I couldn’t believe she was even awake! She usually goes to bed between 7:30pm and 8:00pm but I could tell she was so excited. I was too! We’re ready to meet you baby. A few powerful pushes later and I helped pull the baby onto my chest. I couldn’t help it and I immediately looked down and yelled “there’s a penis!” Then the midwife helped me turn the baby around and Chris said, “it’s a boy!” I was so happy to meet him. I was so grateful! He was so tiny and looked so much like Milly. My tiny twin babies! I couldn’t believe it. I had just delivered another beautiful, healthy baby without any interventions, medication etc.. I screamed with excitement I was so proud of myself and happy! Welcome to the world Sonny Cole Simon! He weighed 6lbs. 15 oz. and was 19.5” long.

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If you go to my instagram and click on Birth Story under my highlights you can actually see this moment happen and if you look closely Milly is reaching for her brother and he’s reaching for her. It took my breath away the first time I saw it. After I got to hold him and we cuddled for a bit, Dad cut the cord and they placed him on his chest. Next it was Milly’s turn. Poor thing couldn’t take her shirt off quick enough to hold her brother. I will never forget the moment she held him and the way they looked at each other. It was magic.

We all hung out together on the bed for an hour and I fed baby boy. Then Mr. A’s family came by to meet him. When grandma held him he smiled up at her and she told us he had dimples on both sides. Yes!!! Oh my goodness little dimples! The staff had ordered some pizza so we had some pizza and I had brought some yummy banana muffins so I forced everyone to try one and then we packed up and headed home. The beauty of having the baby in the birth center is being able to go home and sleep in our own bed. We got home before 2:30am. I have the cutest photo of both of them passed out in their carseats. I looked over at Mr. A and told him “We have two kids! Can you believe it?” It’s the best and I’m so grateful.

For Milly’s birth story go to Part One and Part Two.

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Homemade Pita Chips
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You can elevate even the lamest store bought dip by simply making your own chips. I love homemade pita chips. They are so easy to make and brownie points if you serve them warm-they make everything even better. Pita holds up pretty nicely in the freezer so you might as well keep a bag of pita bread on hand just so you can always make these chips. Baked with a little EVOO and garlic salt, they are so easy to make and versatile enough for any flavoring, really! Enjoy!

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Homemade Pita Chips

by Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of 16 oz. pita bread

  • Olive oil

  • Garlic salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F

  2. Using a pizza cutter, slice pita into chips by cutting each pita into half and then in thirds.

  3. Place on baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt.

  4. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until warm and slightly crispy.

Blueberry Goat Cheese Dip

Thank you to the U.S Highbush Blueberry Council for sponsoring this post

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Blueberry Goat Cheese Dip

by Brandi Milloy

  • 1.5 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)

  • 2 tsp. balsamic glaze

  • Freshly cracked black pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon

  • 4 oz. goat cheese

  • 4 oz. cream cheese

  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

  • 1 tsp. chopped rosemary

  • 1 tsp. chopped thyme

  • 1 tsp. chopped sage

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.

  2. Rinse and dry your blueberries. If you’re using frozen blueberries, thaw and rinse them first before using. Pour blueberries into a bowl and toss in glaze and pepper to coat. Set aside.

  3. Into a bowl, add all of the cheeses and herbs and mix well to combine. Spread evenly into baking dish. Pour blueberries on top and bake for about 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

  4. Serve with homemade pita chips (recipe below).

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Homemade Pita Chips

by Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of 16 oz. pita bread

  • Olive oil

  • Garlic salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F

  2. Using a pizza cutter, slice pita into chips by cutting each pita into half and then in thirds.

  3. Place on baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt.

  4. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until warm and slightly crispy.

How To Fight Fair in Marriage
@BrandonKiddPhoto

@BrandonKiddPhoto

How To Fight Fair In Marriage

On a recent episode of the podcast I co-host, Mommy Group we discussed communication in marriage and I shared the following tips for fighting fair and how to stay connected while fighting. I hope they help you learn how to resolve disagreements quicker and easier in marriage so you can makeup (and makeout) already! Also, if you haven’t read the Five Love Languages or taken their quiz, do this right now with your spouse.

TIME OUT

Sometimes everyone just needs to take a time out. This means that sometimes you need to physically separate and give each other some breathing room to cool off, reflect and formulate some thoughts before talking. Taking a time out helps to discourage yelling and saying things you don’t really mean. Figure out what a time out means for each of you. Sometimes it might only need to be an hour but other times someone needs a little longer. Discuss this together so you each know what the other needs.

GIVE EACH OTHER YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION

This means you’re not talking while your children are in the room. Your cell phones are not in your hand. The TV is off and there are no other distractions that are preventing you from focusing on your conversation. You can’t do the dishes or fold laundry while you’re talking or trying to resolve a conflict. Eye contact is huge too so you should be looking at each other when you’re talking.

BODY LANGUAGE

When you’re trying to resolve conflict or working through an argument, body language is everything! Your body should be facing your significant other. Knee to knee is even better! Touching is best. Hold hands. Hug. It’s so powerful when you are physically also giving your significant other physical attention.

WRITE OUT HOW YOU FEEL BEFORE YOU SAY IT

Jot down how you feel. Write out what you want to say or how it felt/bothered you. Read this to your significant other or write them a letter for them to read in private. This will help each of you see the other person’s point of view and it might be easier to understand each other’s perspective.

SCHEDULE REGULAR CHECK INS WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Weekly family meetings are huge for the family unit but scheduling regular check ins with your spouse are even more important so you can discuss any feelings you have, things that have come up, unresolved feelings or arguments, etc. This is key for preventing those big blow outs and unnecessary arguments.

SET EXPECTATIONS IN THE HOME

Set out roles and responsibilities in the home. For example, go over who is in charge of all the household business. Delegate who does the grocery shopping, who does the dishes, who gives the children a bath, who makes sure the bills get paid on time, etc. If you cook, is your spouse in charge of the dishes? Do you do both but they handle a ton of other things. You have to figure out what works for your home and your family. Write it down and figure out what works best for your family. As soon as everyone knows their role, then there is a clear expectation of what each person is responsible for.

SIGN UP FOR MARRIAGE COUNSELING/MARRIAGE RETREAT

Put your marriage first and schedule a yearly marriage retreat (either a one or two day program or even a weekend retreat) or see a marriage counselor every quarter so you can set time aside for each other with a professional that can help guide you and facilitate a healthy discussion. There are also a lot of resources online including marriage worksheets, communication activities, etc.

HEART TO HEART EXERCISE TO STAY CONNECTED

Sit together facing each other and put your right hand on each other’s heart and then hold hands with the other. Look into each other’s eyes without talking in complete silence for 5 minutes.

I’d love to hear any of your tips for fighting fair or staying connected. Let me know below or DM me on instagram. xo, Brandi

Banana Crumb Muffins
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Ok so I don’t know if it’s this pregnancy or what but I’ve been on a crumble kick lately. I’ve always loved baking and eating carbs and finding reasons to bake but the desire to do this has been on another level. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen me post at least 1 new baked treat a week to bring to the birth center for our midwives and team in anticipation for baby #2. It’s becoming pretty comical I guess since this has been going on for a month now! I’ll share more after baby is here but we’ve been on a bit of a rollercoaster for the past 8 weeks in anticipation for baby. We went from baby trying to come too early to now-baby coming after our due date. The eviction notice has been served, kid!

Anyway, this week I decided to make my banana muffins with crumble on top! We always have bananas on hand and they had been ripe for a few days now and I wasn’t feeling like my usual chocolate chip banana bread so I decided more muffins it is!!! My friend and I have an ongoing joke that the reason baby is so cozy is because I keep feeding him/her muffins. Possibly!!!

These muffins are SO good. They are a little messy cause as they bake the buttery brown sugar crumble kind of melts into them so the wrappers get a little buttery but I rather have a moist, buttery muffin than a dry dense one, right? You can make this recipe into a crumble cake if you want but I love the individual servings of muffins so much more! Don’t forget to post your pics on Instagram and tag me. I love to see them!

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Banana Crumb Muffins

by Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour

  • 3 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 3 ripe bananas

  • 2 eggs, room temperature

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 tsp. real vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 cup flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line your muffin tin with liners. This recipe makes about 21 muffins.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, mash bananas. Mix in eggs, sugar, vanilla and butter.

  4. Add milk and flour and mix until combined.

  5. To prepare crumb topping combine the cold butter, brown sugar and flour and cut them together with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over muffins and bake for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.


Blueberry Grain Bowl

Thank you to the U.S Highbush Blueberry Council for sponsoring this post

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I think the secret to a really delicious grain bowl is variety. It’s like building a really good sandwich. It’s gotta be the right ratios of textures and flavors. It has to be interesting! You eat with your eyes so if something isn’t beautiful and appetizing, I’m not going to enjoy it. This Blueberry Grain Bowl is super satisfying. From the peppery arugula to the juicy blueberries and creamy feta cheese, there is so much going on your tastebuds will be dancing! I like keeping these ingredients on hand for an easy grain bowl build. This bowl is also a staple during the summer months for our beach playdates-just wait to add the dressing! Be sure to share this recipe with a friend and leave me a comment below sharing your favorite grain bowl topping!

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Blueberry Grain Bowl Recipe

By Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

  • Arugula

  • Couscous, cooked

  • Grape tomatoes, sliced and seasoned with salt

  • Greek feta cheese

  • Blueberries, rinsed

  • Beets, steamed and sliced

  • Avocado

  • Creamy Dressing, recipe below

  • Dried chickpeas

  • Dried oregano, for garnish

  • Cooked chicken or shrimp, optional

Directions

  1. Into a bowl, add your arugula. Top with couscous, tomatoes, cheese, blueberries, beets and avocado. Drizzle dressing on top and garnish with chickpeas and dried oregano. Serve immediately.

Creamy Italian Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 tbsp. honey

  • 2 tsp. mustard

  • S & P to taste

Directions

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients in a bowl. Keep in refrigerator up to 5 days.

My Birth Center Bag

Packing a birth center bag is slightly different than packing a hospital bag. When I had Milly, I was at the birth center barely 3 hours total. I delivered her, we nursed, they weighed her, we cuddled, etc and then we were in the car on our way home. One of the best parts of having your baby at the birth center is the convenience of leaving and going back to the comfort of your home when you’re ready. Therefore, my birth center bag doesn’t need to have nearly as many goodies packed as for a traditional birth/hospital bag. Check out my Amazon store and find Birth Center Bag for all of my favorite things.

In the meantime, here’s my checklist:

For Mama

  • weekender bag or suitcase

  • clothes for coming home

  • robe

  • a few large towels (especially if planning on a water birth)

  • nipple butter

  • nipple shields

  • disposable undies (ex. Depends)

  • camera

  • phone charger

  • vision board or affirmation cards

  • labor ball

  • essential oils & diffuser

  • snacks & beverages for staying hydrated

For Baby

  • diaper bag

  • 2-3 footed onesies

  • 2-3 onesies

  • newborn diapers

  • a few swaddles

  • a blanket

  • carseat installed in car

Blueberry Banana Maple Muffins
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Wanted to get this recipe up really quick since so many of you have asked for it on IG! I decided to make these for Milly’s 2nd birthday breakfast and to have on hand throughout the week. Baby #2 will be here any day now and you can never have enough snacks around for a growing toddler!

I came up with this idea because I wanted to make something super easy for her and we always have both of these on hand. We keep blueberries in our refrigerator (fridge & freezer) all the time. And then Mr. A eats a banana every morning with almond butter and often we end up with over ripe bananas that we usually toss in the freezer for weekly smoothies. This time though, I looked at those brown bananas and decided to put them in some Milly muffins. Excuse the basic post on this one. I haven’t had time to take gorgeous photos of these but they are delicious in every way! Don’t forget to post pics anytime you use a recipe and tag me. I love to see them! xo, Brandi

Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to make even sized muffins

Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to make even sized muffins

Blueberry Banana Maple Muffins

by Brandi Milloy

(Makes about 16 muffins)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2/3 cups maple syrup (can always use granulated sugar instead)

  • 1 large egg, room temperature

  • 2 small ripe bananas, mashed

  • 1/3 cup milk

  • 1 tsp. almond extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • sprinkle of salt

  • 2 cups blueberries (I used frozen-see below for a tip-keep blueberries in freezer until adding to batter but you can also use fresh blueberries if you have them on hand)

  • brown sugar or turbinado sugar, for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

  2. Into a bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and maple syrup. Add egg, banana, milk and almond extract and keep mixing.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. If you are using fresh blueberries add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix just until combined. If you are using frozen blueberries, add 3/4 of the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix. Then add your frozen blueberries to the remaining flour mixture and toss. This will keep the frozen blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the muffins.

  4. Scoop batter into muffin tins until they’re about 3/4 of the way full and top with a generous sprinkle of brown sugar or turbinado sugar.

  5. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Three Ingredient Donuts
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When Home & Family invited me on the show to share something special for #NationalDonutDay I knew exactly what I wanted to make! These three ingredient donuts are so easy they will blow your mind. Essentially being only 1 ingredient made with biscuit dough, you can transform these donuts into your favorite glazed, cinnamon sugar or jelly donut! For something extra special, stack your donuts on a tiered cake stand and add a few sugar pearls and edible gold to make a donut cake! You can watch my segment on the show here and then scroll down for the full recipe!

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Three Ingredient Donuts

By Brandi Milloy

Ingredients:

3 packages of biscuit dough (like Pillsbury)

6 cups powdered sugar 

3/4 cup half & half 

3 teaspoons vanilla extract 

2 cups granulated sugar 

3 tablespoons cinnamon 

Vegetable oil, for frying

Edible flowers, for garnish 

Gold leaf, for garnish 

Directions

To make the donuts:

1. Fill heavy bottomed pot (at least 2 quart) with oil, about 3” high and heat over medium heat until 350F. 

2.  Open container and separate each biscuit. Using a small 1” cookie cutter, cut hole in center of each biscuit. 

3. Fry the dough in hot oil for 60-90 seconds on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towel lined baking sheet allowing them to cool. Repeat until you’ve fried all of your donuts. 

For glazed donuts:

1. Into a bowl, add powdered sugar, half and half and vanilla and mix. 

2. Drizzle or dip each donut in the glaze and allow to set. 

For cinnamon sugar donuts:

1. Into a bowl, add granulated sugar and cinnamon and mix. 

2. Dip each donut in the cinnamon sugar mixture. 

To assemble donut cake: 

Arrange donuts on cake stand, filling the stand completely to make the first layer. Begin to lay the rest of the donuts on top between each of the first layer to create a sacked cake. Repeat until you’ve created your donut cake! Alternatively, you can also stack three cake stands and fill each with your donuts. Once you’ve created your cake, garnish with edible flowers and edible gold leaf. 

Sticky Wings with Asian Blueberry Sauce

Thank you to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council for sponsoring this post

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These are one of my favorite entertaining appetizers for summer!  These sticky wings with asian blueberry sauce are spicy, sweet and tantalizing!  Head to my IGTV channel to learn how to make them and then scroll down for the full recipe!

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Sticky Wings with Asian Blueberry Sauce

by Brandi Milloy

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. chili garlic sauce

  • 1/3 cup Sesame oil

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

  • 1 cup soy sauce

  • 1 lime zested and juiced

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

  • 24 chicken wings, uncooked

Directions

  1. Into a bowl add everything but the chicken and mix. Slightly break up the blueberries with a whisk and then pour half of the mixture into a plastic zippered bag. Add the chicken to the bag and marinate 4 hours or overnight. Meanwhile, pour the remaining sauce into a pot and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens.

  2. Preheat oven to 350F. Place wings on a baking sheet in the oven for about 45 minutes turning them half way through. When ready to serve, finish wings on a hot grill for about 3-4 minutes on each side to get that smoky flavor and add some grill marks!

  3. Serve with sauce and enjoy!

Our Maternity Shoot for Baby #2

Thank you to our friend Jenny of Jenny Quicksall Photography for capturing this special time in our lives.

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What a gift to go back to the same spot we took maternity photos when I was pregnant with Milly. El Matador Beach in Malibu, CA will always hold such a special place in my heart but it was even more magical being there this time around knowing we are about to be a family of four very soon. Seeing Milly run into the water and kissing “her baby” gave me all the feels . It’s no secret I love being pregnant but being pregnant the second time around is even better. I think it’s mostly because you know how much your heart will burst open and the intoxicating way a baby makes the entire home feel like heaven. It’s also the pure anticipation of seeing Milly thrive as a big sister. I’m just so grateful we are bringing new life into this world.

What’s great about experiencing these big moments like being pregnant with baby #2 is it encourages you to capture this chapter with photos. I used to have to drag Mr. A to do these with me but now he totally gets it and understands the value in having professional family photos. Every time we get photos back he says to me, “I’m so glad we did this.” So if you’re reading this and realize it’s been forever since you’ve taken real family photos (not on an iPhone) together, book something immediately. They are such a priceless gift you’ll cherish forever! We really did nothing for these photos to come together. I mean we posed for a second here and there but it was all Jenny’s God given talents that made these photos so amazing! Milly was constantly running into the water, eating snacks, ignoring us and wanting to do her own thing. The wind was obnoxiously strong and my hair was flat the minute we walked out of the car. I mean it was really hard to get any photos of us three actually looking the same direction but she pulled it off despite an energetic toddler!!! I’m so happy with how these turned out. It makes my heart sing to have these photos and I can’t believe one day I’ll say I can’t imagine life before baby #2. Ok, I’m gonna go cry now. Bye.

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Meal prepping: Chicken 3 Ways
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Being a busy working Mama means making the most of my time and a huge part of that is by meal prepping! Post-it® Extreme XL Notes make it easy for me to tackle 3 of my favorite weeknight meals-Greek Chicken Bowls topped with roasted veggies, Chicken Enchiladas and my One Pot Chicken Pasta. 

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Post-it® Extreme XL Notes are perfect because they have enough space for me to write out the full recipe, and stick securely on my counter, near the oven and even on containers in the fridge or freezer, making them the ultimate meal prepping hack!

I'd love to know your tips for meal prepping in the comment box below and don't forget to subscribe to my You Tube channel if you aren't already. Scroll down for the full recipes.

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MEAL PREPPING: CHICKEN 3 WAYS

Key Ingredients:

  • 6 large chicken breasts, cubed

  • 8oz. white mushrooms, sliced

  • 8oz. mini bell peppers, sliced

  • 8oz. rainbow carrots, sliced

  • 8oz. broccoli, sliced

  • 8oz. butternut squash

  • EVOO

  • Seasoning salt

  • fresh rosemary, chopped

  • fresh thyme, chopped

To start: place chicken breasts on baking sheet. Drizzle with EVOO and season with seasoning salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme.

Place vegetables on baking sheet and drizzle with EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 425F for about 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

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Greek Chicken Bowls

by Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

  • 1/3 of the prepped and cooked chicken

  • The roasted vegetables (peppers, carrots and butternut squash)

  • 1 cup quinoa

  • 1 bouillon cube

  • 2 cups water

  • 4 oz. arugula

  • 6 oz. feta cheese

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/4 cup mayo

  • 1/2 tbsp. Italian spices

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

  • 2 Persian cucumbers

  • 8oz. cherry tomatoes, sliced

Directions

  1. To make quinoa: Pour quinoa, bouillon cube and 2 cups of water in rice cooker and cook.

  2. To make dressing: Into a blender, add feta cheese, sour cream, mayo, italian spices, salt, pepper and lemon juice and blend until smooth.

  3. To assemble grain bowls: Add desired amount of the arugula to a bowl or glass container. Top with quinoa, chicken, veggies, cucumbers and tomatoes. Serve with dressing and enjoy!

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One Pot Chicken Pasta

by Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

  • 1/3 of the prepped and cooked chicken

  • Remaining roasted vegetables (broccoli and mushrooms)

  • 8 oz. dry penne pasta

  • 3 tbsp. butter

  • 3 tbsp. flour

  • 1 1/2 cups half & half

  • 3/4 cup reserve pasta water

  • 1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to box and reserve about a cup of water for sauce.

  2. To make sauce: Into a large pot melt butter and add flour to make a rue. Add half and half and water and mix until smooth. Add chicken, vegetables, pasta and cheese and serve warm.

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Chicken Enchiladas

by Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

  • 1/3 of the prepped and cooked chicken

  • 12 oz. jar salsa verde or enchilada sauce

  • 2 cups cheese

  • 16 corn tortillas

  • sour cream

  • cilantro

Directions

  1. Shred chicken using a fork or knife and toss with half of the salsa verde or enchilada sauce and 1 cup of cheese.

  2. Place a few tablespoons of chicken filling in a tortilla and wrap. Place in casserole dish, seam side down. Repeat and layer until you’ve filled all your tortillas.

  3. Cover with remaining cheese and bake covered at 400F for about 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream and cilantro.

Tips For Connecting with Your Family Over Breakfast

Thank you Hilton Breakfast Alliance for sponsoring this post

All photography by @Ographr

All photography by @Ographr

If there’s anything you need to know about me (and if you follow me on Instagram you absolutely know this), I am crazy about eating breakfast together with my family. That’s why I’m so excited to team up with Hilton and its five brands that offer free, hot breakfast, on a mission to transform breakfast from an often overlooked meal to an opportunity to connect. 

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For us, eating together in the morning is pretty much a non-negotiable. Maybe its because when I was growing up my family always sat down together for breakfast or it could just be because Mr. A and I can’t start our day without a nice hot meal in the morning. I mean I neeeed my breakfast sandwich, you feel me? It’s also about connecting and spending quality time together.  Honestly- I still don’t understand how people go to work and function without having eaten breakfast. 

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A new nationwide survey reveals that despite their love for breakfast, Americans are sacrificing the morning meal due to their hectic schedules. And many wish they weren’t so busy so that they could enjoy breakfast with others. Here’s what really blew my mind: 80 percent of parents are willing to give something up to have more meaningful conversations with their children at the breakfast table. 

“80 percent of parents are willing to give something up to have more meaningful conversations with their children at the breakfast table.”

Here’s the thing: I get it. Between work, being a full-time mom and just the hustle and bustle of the day, it’s easy for the mornings to feel rushed. But for us, eating breakfast together each morning is the most powerful time to connect (as opposed to the end of the day when work might get in the way or extra-curricular activities). 

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For me, starting each morning with breakfast is really a mind, body and soul thing. When my mind is refreshed, body is fueled and my soul is filled by the emotional connection with my family is really when I can start my day!

This summer and everyday after that (for that matter) I’m joining Hilton to celebrate their mission to encourage everyone to take the pledge to Eat Breakfast Together and make breakfast the most connected meal of the day. 

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Here are some of my best tips for making time in the mornings to eat breakfast together:

WAKE UP BEFORE YOUR CHILDREN

Mr. A and I always wake up early, at least an hour or more before our daughter. This allows us to spend time together, get ready for work and not feel rushed before Milly, our toddler daughter needs us. We also allow her to play for about 30 minutes in her crib after she wakes up just so she has time to herself before we all sit down together for breakfast. 

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TAKE TURNS MAKING BREAKFAST

My husband and I take turns each morning making breakfast. He makes a killer scramble and breakfast sandwich and I love his Belgian waffles. I usually make eggs over medium and avocado toast.

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MAKE EVERYDAY A SPECIAL OCCASION

We always keep our favorite breakfast staples on hand but we will switch things up depending on what we have going on in our day! For example, we'll do Tuesday Breakfast Tacos or Waffle Wednesday (reminds me of staying at Hampton by Hilton)! 

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PLAN AHEAD

On the mornings we don't have time to make breakfast, we plan ahead. Sometimes I'll make a double batch of frittatas muffins or a quiche and keep them in the freezer for those busy mornings. We also love overnight oats that keep in the fridge for a couple days and my hashbrown casserole is pretty killer and SO easy to make! That way we aren’t spending our mornings cooking and instead-connecting!

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INVOLVE YOUR FAMILY 

Making breakfast is the first meal our daughter Milly learned how to make. Involving our child in this important meal has proved so powerful. She can crack eggs, scramble them and makes a fierce fruit oatmeal! Even when she was little, she would help by rinsing blueberries and putting them in the bowl.  When she is involved in the cooking process, she's more excited to sit down and enjoy breakfast together at the table.

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SLOW DOWN, SIT DOWN AND RESET

Sometimes we just need to slow down, sit down and reset. When we travel, we always prefer to stay somewhere that offers free, hot breakfast so that we can easily keep our morning ritual.  Our favorites are Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites Anytime I feel rushed in the mornings or overwhelmed by my to-do list for the day, I will take a moment to "reset." In our family, this could mean turning on the music and having a quick dance party together or going outside to our patio and just doing a few deep breathing exercises-focusing on the sounds and sensations of the morning (the chirping birds, the cool beach air and the warm sun).  I’ve found that also laying out our clothes for the next morning the night before is helpful too. I try to pack our lunches and snack bags at night as well. That way everything is ready to go and we aren't spending precious time together looking for last minute items. All it takes are small steps and a little intention to make time for your family. After all, the most precious gift of all is time.

I would love for you to join me in taking this pledge to eat breakfast together. Be sure to visit HiltonStateofBreakfast.com and share your tips and photos on social media using the hashtag #HiltonBreakfast.

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Mum's Amazing Hashbrown Casserole
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This is hands down the easiest way to serve my family breakfast! Prep everything the night before and then pop into the oven to bake in the morning. The comforting taste of cheesy hashbrowns, ham and sage is absolutely delicious! When we have family in town I’ll make a double batch and it’s one of those dishes everyone gets seconds of! This is really one of my favorite morning meals. Scroll down for the full recipe!

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Mum's Amazing Hashbrown Casserole Recipe

by Brandi Milloy

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded hashbrowns, thawed

  • 6 oz. ham, diced

  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

  • 8 large eggs

  • 2 tbsp. half and half

  • Pinch seasoning salt

  • Pinch pepper

  • 1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped

Directions

Tip: I usually assemble this the night before in the refrigerator so it’s ready to bake first thing in the morning. This dish serves 4 so if you need to serve more, double the batch and bake in a 9x13 dish.

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray 8 x 8 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. Place hashbrowns in dish and spread to make even. Sprinkle ham and cheese on top.

  3. Into a bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, salt and pepper. Add sage. Pour egg mixture over hashbrowns and cover.

  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Remove cover the last 5-10 minutes for a crispier cheesy top if desired. Enjoy!

Registry for Baby #2
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You might think there’s not a lot that Mamas need if they are having their second baby (and I thought the same thing before becoming a mother) but goodness was I wrong! Here’s some of the things I registered for that I think all Mamas could use! Would love to know what else was helpful to you or if you have any other ideas for expectant mamas of two. Leave your ideas in the comments below! xoxo, Brandi

Registry for Baby #2

Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light and Time to Rise

Solly Baby Wrap

Cloud Island Sheets

Personalized Baby Blanket and Swaddle by Bee Boutique NC

Knotted Sleeper by Indie Claire Boutique

Baby Mori Clothing (big sibling and little sibling matching sets)

Brica Car Mirror

FridaBaby Nose Frida Snot Sucker

California Baby Massage Oil

The First Forty Days Postpartum Book

MotherBee’s Healing Broths and Teas

Gift Card for Meal Delivery

Big Sisters are the Best Book

Summer Must Haves

Summer time is my favorite time of the year! Take a look at my favorite must haves for the season and then let me know what yours are in the comments below! xo, Brandi

CALIFORNIA BEACH TOWEL BY LAUREN CONRAD  $17 ON SALE  I love a good beach towel and this one by LC is amazing! The print is so retro, love the summery colors and the price is too good not to get a few!

CALIFORNIA BEACH TOWEL BY LAUREN CONRAD $17 ON SALE

I love a good beach towel and this one by LC is amazing! The print is so retro, love the summery colors and the price is too good not to get a few!

DISTRESSED DENIM SHORTALLS  $45  I’m so glad overalls and shortalls are back in style because I forgot how comfy and cute they are! I’ve been rocking these weekly and love the way they fit. These aren’t maternity, I just got them in a bigger size. LOVE the way they make me feel and the distressed accents are a nice touch!

DISTRESSED DENIM SHORTALLS $45

I’m so glad overalls and shortalls are back in style because I forgot how comfy and cute they are! I’ve been rocking these weekly and love the way they fit. These aren’t maternity, I just got them in a bigger size. LOVE the way they make me feel and the distressed accents are a nice touch!

KONERY ARTISINAL WAFFLE CONES  ($5 ON SALE)  Ever since I had these cones in NYC at  Ice and Vice , I’ve been obsessed. They taste SO good and elevate even the most basic vanilla ice cream. I’m partial to the birthday cake flavor but I’ve tried several and they are all good! When we hosted an  ice cream social , everyone raved about these!

KONERY ARTISINAL WAFFLE CONES ($5 ON SALE)

Ever since I had these cones in NYC at Ice and Vice, I’ve been obsessed. They taste SO good and elevate even the most basic vanilla ice cream. I’m partial to the birthday cake flavor but I’ve tried several and they are all good! When we hosted an ice cream social, everyone raved about these!

ROUND STRAW CROSS BODY BAG  BY LAUREN CONRAD $41 ON SALE  The cutest accessories trend this year. Love the neutral strap on this one with rose gold hardware. I rarely change out my handbags but during other seasons but there’s something about the summer that inspires me to pack lighter and go for it!

ROUND STRAW CROSS BODY BAG BY LAUREN CONRAD $41 ON SALE

The cutest accessories trend this year. Love the neutral strap on this one with rose gold hardware. I rarely change out my handbags but during other seasons but there’s something about the summer that inspires me to pack lighter and go for it!

FRINGE 9FT OUTDOOR UMBRELLA BY WORLD MARKET  $54 ON SALE  Obsessed with this fringe umbrella and the boho vibe. We get so many compliments on it every time people come over. The natural hued canopy provides amazing shade and I can’t believe it’s on sale.

FRINGE 9FT OUTDOOR UMBRELLA BY WORLD MARKET $54 ON SALE

Obsessed with this fringe umbrella and the boho vibe. We get so many compliments on it every time people come over. The natural hued canopy provides amazing shade and I can’t believe it’s on sale.

KUAUI WEARABLE BLANKET  $44  Made locally in Los Angeles, this silky-soft and eco-friendly bamboo jersey fabric is breathable, gentle on sensitive baby skin, and naturally anti-microbial. This is our go-to sleeper for Milly during the summer. It’s perfect for keeping your child from overheating, while still providing safe, soothing sleep.

KUAUI WEARABLE BLANKET $44

Made locally in Los Angeles, this silky-soft and eco-friendly bamboo jersey fabric is breathable, gentle on sensitive baby skin, and naturally anti-microbial. This is our go-to sleeper for Milly during the summer. It’s perfect for keeping your child from overheating, while still providing safe, soothing sleep.

COFFEE SANDAL BY LC  $12  If these aren’t the cutest summer sandal I don’t know what is! I love the fringe and the faded gray green material but these also come in pink, yellow and black. You can never have enough flats for summertime and I love how these perk up any outfit.

COFFEE SANDAL BY LC $12

If these aren’t the cutest summer sandal I don’t know what is! I love the fringe and the faded gray green material but these also come in pink, yellow and black. You can never have enough flats for summertime and I love how these perk up any outfit.

TAKEYA KIDS INSULATED WATER BOTTLE  $25  Days at the pool and park mean a lot of time outdoors and in the hot sun. I was always putting ice in Milly’s cup but it would never last. Finally I decided it was time to get her an insulated water bottle and it’s been amazing! Easy to sip and just the right size for toddler hands.

TAKEYA KIDS INSULATED WATER BOTTLE $25

Days at the pool and park mean a lot of time outdoors and in the hot sun. I was always putting ice in Milly’s cup but it would never last. Finally I decided it was time to get her an insulated water bottle and it’s been amazing! Easy to sip and just the right size for toddler hands.

QUAY AVIATOR SUNNIES  $50  Can’t go wrong with a pair of aviators and I own several. Love the thicker frame of these and how they provide just a bit of colored tint. The adjustable nose fits nicely on my nose so I’m never worrying about them sliding down or the frames messing up my makeup.

QUAY AVIATOR SUNNIES $50

Can’t go wrong with a pair of aviators and I own several. Love the thicker frame of these and how they provide just a bit of colored tint. The adjustable nose fits nicely on my nose so I’m never worrying about them sliding down or the frames messing up my makeup.

INFLATABLE SPLASH N SLIDE  $47  Mr. A surprised Milly with this and so far, it’s been the best summer activity ever! It really has provided us endless hours of fun. I love all the little water features and how it’s a less stressful alternative to a kiddie pool (where kiddos need constant attention).

INFLATABLE SPLASH N SLIDE $47

Mr. A surprised Milly with this and so far, it’s been the best summer activity ever! It really has provided us endless hours of fun. I love all the little water features and how it’s a less stressful alternative to a kiddie pool (where kiddos need constant attention).

ICE POPSICLE MOLD BAGS (125)  $10  We love making homemade popsicles and these bags make it super easy as opposed to traditional molds with wooden sticks. Milly and I have had the best time making these together. We’ve mixed citrus, fresh squeezed juice and even whole milk yogurt for these and we always have a dozen on hand for playdates. Check out this  recipe for grapefruit creamsicle pops!

ICE POPSICLE MOLD BAGS (125) $10

We love making homemade popsicles and these bags make it super easy as opposed to traditional molds with wooden sticks. Milly and I have had the best time making these together. We’ve mixed citrus, fresh squeezed juice and even whole milk yogurt for these and we always have a dozen on hand for playdates. Check out this recipe for grapefruit creamsicle pops!

GRAPHIC SWIMSUIT FOR GIRLS  $12 ON SALE  I guess you could call me a Cali girl cause anytime I see prints that pay homage to the state or any California love, I want it. This graphic swimsuit is so cute. I just wish it came in my size!

GRAPHIC SWIMSUIT FOR GIRLS $12 ON SALE

I guess you could call me a Cali girl cause anytime I see prints that pay homage to the state or any California love, I want it. This graphic swimsuit is so cute. I just wish it came in my size!

SET OF THREE MESH FOOD TENT  $7  We do a lot of entertaining outside and I can’t stand with snoopy flies linger and land on the food. It’s such a turn off. These are easy to store, affordable and something all hosts should own.

SET OF THREE MESH FOOD TENT $7

We do a lot of entertaining outside and I can’t stand with snoopy flies linger and land on the food. It’s such a turn off. These are easy to store, affordable and something all hosts should own.

NIKE LOW SNEAKERS  $95 I’ve been looking for a low sneaker I could wear with jeans and sundresses and when I found these, I was sold! They are super comfortable and a nice alternative to sandals. Love being sporty spice.

NIKE LOW SNEAKERS $95
I’ve been looking for a low sneaker I could wear with jeans and sundresses and when I found these, I was sold! They are super comfortable and a nice alternative to sandals. Love being sporty spice.

BEACH BABE TIE DYE MAXI DRESS  by STARDUST BOUTIQUE $55  I love, love, love this dress! It’s light, stretchy, breathable and such a gorgeous neutral maxi. Worn with your favorite pair of summer sandals, it’s the dress of the summer. Easily add a denim jacket or cute leather moto and big hoops and you’re ready for date night. And who else gets extra excited when they find a dress with pockets?

BEACH BABE TIE DYE MAXI DRESS by STARDUST BOUTIQUE $55

I love, love, love this dress! It’s light, stretchy, breathable and such a gorgeous neutral maxi. Worn with your favorite pair of summer sandals, it’s the dress of the summer. Easily add a denim jacket or cute leather moto and big hoops and you’re ready for date night. And who else gets extra excited when they find a dress with pockets?

LANEIGE LIP BALM IN GRAPEFRUIT  $15  Maybe it’s because I fell in love with their  Lip Sleeping Mask , but call me loyal! I love the way this balm feels and the smell is intoxicating! Glossy, not sticky it also comes in berry, peach and pear OMG.

LANEIGE LIP BALM IN GRAPEFRUIT $15

Maybe it’s because I fell in love with their Lip Sleeping Mask, but call me loyal! I love the way this balm feels and the smell is intoxicating! Glossy, not sticky it also comes in berry, peach and pear OMG.

OUAI CLEAR MINI PURSE  $15  Maybe I’m late to this clear bag trend but I have the Ouai pink bag and use it all the time! It was limited edition but I found this one on their site and I love the shape and cute buckle. Perfect for poolside or summer travel vibes, right?

OUAI CLEAR MINI PURSE $15

Maybe I’m late to this clear bag trend but I have the Ouai pink bag and use it all the time! It was limited edition but I found this one on their site and I love the shape and cute buckle. Perfect for poolside or summer travel vibes, right?

Woven Hearth & Hand Tray  $15  I love a good breakfast in bed moment but these days that doesn’t happen very often and not because Mr. A doesn’t spoil me with breakfast almost every morning. I just rather eat with them at our island. :) I love this tray for when we have guests-we’ll use it for dessert when we serve affogatos or night time espressos.

Woven Hearth & Hand Tray $15

I love a good breakfast in bed moment but these days that doesn’t happen very often and not because Mr. A doesn’t spoil me with breakfast almost every morning. I just rather eat with them at our island. :) I love this tray for when we have guests-we’ll use it for dessert when we serve affogatos or night time espressos.

TORTOISE SHELL AND PEARL BARRETTES  (16 FOR $14)  If you’re like me and love the barrette trend happening but not sure how to begin, these are perfect. I couldn’t believe how affordable and adorable they are and even though I’m still not sure if I’m wearing them the right way, I know they look good!

TORTOISE SHELL AND PEARL BARRETTES (16 FOR $14)

If you’re like me and love the barrette trend happening but not sure how to begin, these are perfect. I couldn’t believe how affordable and adorable they are and even though I’m still not sure if I’m wearing them the right way, I know they look good!

HOT DOG ROLLER  (FITS 18 HOT DOGS AT A TIME) BY OLDE MIDWAY $100  Here’s the thing, I had no idea how much we needed this hot dog roller until we bought it. We LOVE this thing and it makes entertaining so easy! We love hosting friends and family but sometimes it can feel overwhelming to shop for all of the ingredients, cook and have all the other things you want to provide your guests. Lately our go-to is having a DIY hot dog bar. It’s so easy! We got our all beef hot dogs, all the condiments and fun toppings, buns and then buckets of beer. Stress free summer entertaining!

HOT DOG ROLLER (FITS 18 HOT DOGS AT A TIME) BY OLDE MIDWAY $100

Here’s the thing, I had no idea how much we needed this hot dog roller until we bought it. We LOVE this thing and it makes entertaining so easy! We love hosting friends and family but sometimes it can feel overwhelming to shop for all of the ingredients, cook and have all the other things you want to provide your guests. Lately our go-to is having a DIY hot dog bar. It’s so easy! We got our all beef hot dogs, all the condiments and fun toppings, buns and then buckets of beer. Stress free summer entertaining!

Organizing Your Fridge with These 5 Easy Tips
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Organizing my fridge and labeling everything has been on my list of things to do for a while now so as soon as I put these labels on I couldn’t wait to snap some pics. I actually needed to do a fair amount of grocery shopping when I took these photos so this is not a post about my fridge must haves because that is something I’m thrilled to share with you. We were out of a lot of food we keep on hand (Dr. Pepper to name one!) so stay tuned for that post and IGTV episode. In the meantime I’m excited to share how I organize our food in the fridge.

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PURGE AND CLEAN

I mean, this is self-explanatory really but get rid of any old food (check expiration dates), condiments you never use and random things you’ve been keeping in there. For example, small jars of jam you got at a hotel that you thought were super cute so you took but you’ve never used? Tip: these are really cute but maybe put them in the pantry (as long as they’re unopened) and bring out the next time you put together a charcuterie board! Take out each drawer, shelf and bin and wash in hot soapy water and dry before returning to your fridge.

CHECK INVENTORY

As I was putting each food item back, I started taking inventory of anything I needed or what I realized I had a lot of. For example, we love hot sauce so I made a mental mark that we’d probably want to designate an area for all of our spicy sauces!

DECIDE WHERE YOU WANT EVERYTHING TO GO

Everyone has different needs and eats different foods so once you’ve emptied your fridge and cleaned it out then you can really access what kinds of foods you keep on hand. This helped me see what space made the most sense for each category and helped me choose the place where I wanted everything to go. Traditionally you see refrigerator drawers filled with vegetables and fruit but for us, we keep a lot of fruit on our counters so having a drawer just for fruit would be a waste of space for us. I decided our love of cheese would go in a drawer instead.

LABEL IT

When I came across these custom labels on etsy by Vinyl Goods Co I knew I wanted to use them in our fridge (and pantry…blog post part 2 coming soon)! The farmhouse calligraphy script font was just perfect for our style and I loved that I could custom design exactly the categories that made sense for us. I mean, have you ever seen a label for a fridge that says “cookie dough”? Probably not. But in our house, we always have it on hand! Once I decided each category I wanted and the color and size I needed, I emailed Tiffany at Vinyl Goods Co and shared my list with her. For all of the clear bins, I choose white and then black for the labels on each shelf to make them easy to read. Here’s what I ended up with:

  • Leftovers

  • Refreshments

  • Milk

  • Snacks

  • Eggs

  • Specialty

  • Sauces

  • Veggies 

  • Fruit 

  • Cheese

  • Protein

  • Condiments

  • Dressings

  • Butter 

  • Spreads

  • Yogurt

  • Briny

  • Spicy

  • Cookie Dough

The labels were really easy to transfer onto each surface and they included instructions for how to do so. With each label I got more and more excited to finish!

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MAINTENANCE

The only way for your fridge to stay organized is by weekly check ins. Every time I take something off a shelf, I give a quick glance at what else is over there. I wipe down bbq sauces and make sure things are staying in place. I find that every time I grocery shop I end up doing a bit of maintenance to keep things nice and organized. This has been especially helpful when we have someone care for Milly. I love that they can easily find her snacks and since we added a bin just for Milly she can choose her snacks and the nanny can find her lunch easily because it is all contained.

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What I love about an organized fridge is the more organized you keep it, the less chance of food going to waste! It also discourages you from buying things you don’t need. I hope this helps inspire you to organize your fridge. I’d love to see your photos and hear about any other ideas you come up with as you organize. Post your photos on instagram and tag me! xoxo, B