Lactation Bites

Lactation BitesHi, all!

After a nice long 16 weeks of maternity leave, I started back to work last month. Luckily, I get to work from home, but that can definitely get interesting with a baby along for the ride. I cut back my work hours to help manage it all, but that’s left little time for blogging still. I think eventually we will get into the swing of things over here, but for now, I’m barely keeping afloat with work and Henry! Does anyone have any tips or is it just one of those things that gets better as your kiddo gets older and requires less attention? Or does that just bring on a new set of challenges? Time will tell!

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Anyway, I don’t make much of anything from scratch in the kitchen anymore, but I have been making these Lactation Bites (or Boobie Balls, is what my husband calls them) all the time. Anything that requires minimal ingredients and no baking is a win in my book. When I started pumping to try and build a stash for times I’m away from Henry, I realized quickly that I definitely do not have an oversupply of breastmilk. How was I supposed to feed him AND have extra to save? After talking to a friend, she suggested making these bites to help build up my supply. I do think they help give me a little boost and I now have a small freezer stash of breastmilk which is a big victory in my book! There are a zillion different recipes for them out there, but I thought I’d share how I make them. The oatmeal and flaxseed are the two big important ingredients here in helping your supply.

lactation bites

 

  • 2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup flaxseed
  • 2/3 cup raw honey
  • Combine all in a bowl. Wet hands and roll into ball size of your choice. Set in fridge to cool!

Ta-da! That’s it! Believe it or not, I have messed these up. Sleep deprivation is SO real, my friends. Luckily, Henry has been sleeping through the night for the last month or so (::knock on wood::), so the world is becoming a little less blurry again. We are at about 5 months of exclusively breastfeeding, which I’m super proud of! Breastfeeding is something that I knew would have its challenges, but it’s so rewarding. I also feel very fortunate we’ve been able to go this long. Stay tuned for a blog post in the next month or so about our experience as I’m making the super tough decision to probably stop soon. Oh my goodness, I got teary-eyed typing that. Okay, more on that topic another time. Have a great week!

Xo, Anna

2017 Highlights

F6BE8632-F535-4FDE-8F33-47C31617E0D8Well, well, well…Happy new year! I know, I’m late, per usual on the blogging front. This blog has been a little hobby of mine for years that I end up picking up and down, starting over and over. But, I’d like to make it more consistent for 2018 as I really do enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts! I often find myself getting discouraged with all the bloggers out there and their beautifully curated feeds. I have to remind myself that’s just not what this blog is for me, and I’m okay with that. Whatever this becomes, it will become. I’m figuring it out as I go, so thanks sticking with me and for following along!

My brother recently did a highlight reel of his 2017 and I thought, hey that’s a good idea! And honestly, I needed some inspiration to get back into the swing of things. With that being said, I’d love to share the highlights of my 2017 to reflect on everything that was and move forward into the new year.

Life Highlights… officially adulting.

Henry was born. Which is the highlight of my life, let alone my year. He’s growing so fast already and it’s been such a rewarding experience being his mother. I’m constantly going between wanting him to stay little forever and being excited about all the things he is learning daily!

We bought a house. We’re homeowners and have a kid now so basically we are officially real adults. We took on a house that needed a little bit of love, but it was so worth it! The paint choices and work in this house were, um, interesting to say the least. By giving it a good scrub with the family, refinishing the floors and a lot of paint, it has really has become home.

Our first wedding anniversary. One year down, forever to go! I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life. 2017 was such a whirlwind with being pregnant followed with the first few months of being a mother. Nick has tied my shoes when I couldn’t bend over, wiped my tears when I was scared, gotten me fresh water about a zillion times, and so much more. He has taken care of me when it was honestly so hard to take care of myself. Gosh, I love him!

Adventure Highlights… with a large belly.

Blackwater Falls, WV. This was a place I stumbled upon a few years ago and finally got around to exploring it this summer. The falls were gorgeous and the mountainous view on our hike was breathtaking! The town of Thomas, WV is so artsy and quaint, it doesn’t get enough credit. I talk a little bit more about it in this blog post.

Niagara Falls, Canada. I guess the kids these days call a trip like this a babymoon. I still can’t believe I had never been to the falls with it being so close! We wanted to take a weekend to ourselves after a crazy summer of moving/renovating pre-Henry and I’m glad we took the time to do so. It was so fun! The falls are were a sight to see and Niagara on the Lake is calling my name now that I can drink all the wine.

Bruno Mars concert. It had been a lonnnng time since I had been to a concert. I love live music, but stadium concerts are always put on the back burner for whatever reason. Lucky for us, my mother in law bought us tickets because she had seen Bruno live and swore it was one we couldn’t miss. She was right! He is unbelievably talented and entertaining.

Fashion Highlights… the year of comfort.

Target Maternity Tank dress. When I think about what I wore the most this past year, I think of the Target maternity tank dress. I wore it all spring, summer and fall. It was seriously the easiest thing to throw on and head out the door. Not to mention it was so versatile to dressing up or down depending on the chosen accessories. I loved it so much that I had it in three colors!

Loft Leggings. Post maternity, I live in these leggings. During the Black Friday sales, I scooped up them up for 50% off and ended up buying another pair when they carried that sale on longer. They are soft, thick and hold everything in. Oh and they come in petite, aka perfect!

My “H” necklace for Henry. It really never comes off my neck! It’s small and simple for my new life as a mom. It helps me feel a little bit more put together. I had told Nick I wanted something like this for Christmas and my longest friend, Annie, had beat him to the punch and sent it as a gift after Henry was born. She had no idea I had been wanting one just like it! It’s from Geo Supply Co. which has a ton of super cute jewelry items.

 

I want to thank you again for reading and following along! I can’t wait to share more of my life, adventures and fashion with you in 2018.

Xo, Anna

Get to Know Me

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Hi, guys! Happy Friday!

Why not start off the weekend with something fun!? I was challenged by Erika from Living Los Angeles with the Get to Know Me tag. She is actually a co-worker of mine, that I’ve never met in person since she’s across the country! Isn’t the world of tech wild sometimes? Basically, this tag means I get to take a survey like we all used to do on Myspace, which sounds like fun to me! Anyone else remember doing those?

Share your profile picture: A wedding photo still because that day was the best, and it was the only day I ever had a glam squad. Just seems like an obvious choice to have for an entire year straight, haha! Or my portraits that I made my husband take for my blog!

Who are you named after? My name is a total family name. My first name is from distance relatives on both my dad and mom’s sides, and then I share my middle name with my grandma and mom!

Do you like your handwriting? Sure! It’s my own with it’s cursive and print combo.

What is your favorite lunch meat? Turkey, hands down.

Longest relationship? My hubby!

Do you still have your tonsils? Sure do, and I get a sore throat at least once a year!

Would you ever bungee jump? Nah, no interest. Now skydiving, you may be able to twist my arm to try.

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Sometimes? Just kidding, I looked up to see my converse on the floor… still tied.

Favorite ice-cream? Mint chocolate chip, all day, every day.

What’s the first thing you notice about people?  Usually, their smile, people that don’t smile at all make me a little uncomfortable.

Football or baseball? Um, I feel neutral about both. Neither are my favorite, but I do like going to Pirate games in the summer!

What color pants are you wearing? Black leggings, standard work from home uniform.

If you were a crayon what color would you be? Turquoise!

Favorite smell? Coffee, fresh flowers or freshly baked cookies, mmm.

Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? It’s usually Katy, yep… It’s Katy!

Hair color? Naturally brown that lightens up in the summer, but have some blonde balayage right now

Eye color? Brown

Favorite food to eat? I love a lot of food, but my favorites would be pasta, cheeseburger or scallops. Hence why I don’t have a fitness blog.

Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings! I have no idea why people want to be scared for fun. It actually blows my mind that scary movies are even a thing! Give me all the rom-coms!

Last movie you watched? I can’t remember? Been hooked on The Office and finally at the last season, so there is no slowing me down!

Favorite holiday? Christmas! I love giving, decorating and spending time with family.

Beer or wine? Wine, please!

Night owl or early bird? Early bird.

Favorite day of the week? Saturday! No work, all play.  

Three or four bloggers you want to learn more about? Laura at The Wexford Housewife and Erin at The Almond Eater in case she wants a break from posting  delish recipes annnnd Nick at Naretto Creative…. all my other blogger friends did this already!

Thanks for taking the time to get to know me a little more! Do we have anything in common that you’re surprised about?

Have a great weekend!

XO, Anna

Pasta Making with Yvonne

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Hi, guys!

I am still feeling the high from Yvonne’s pasta making class last night because we had so much fun! Nick and I have always enjoyed cooking together and are always trying something new. My family is Italian and I’ve been making pasta sauce for years now. I never really thought about taking the leap into the noodle making, but Nick had been saying he wants to try making them. I would kind of just roll my eyes and tell him the amount of work it’d be! When thinking of ideas for Nick’s birthday, I thought to myself if he wants to make noodles, let’s learn how to do it right! After some research, I came across Yvonne’s website. Pasta is her specialty so I gave her a call right away. After talking to her about her class, I was SO excited and booked us a class right away!

We were really excited the day of and found our way to Handmade Pasta by Yvonne, in the North Hills area of Pittsburgh. We were greeted by Yvonne and her husband, Jim. It’s a small shop that Yvonne makes her pasta in, but they also sell bags of their pasta, as well, as olive oil and some other goodies. Shortly after two other couples arrived, Yvonne handed us our aprons (that you take home!) to begin our pasta making journey.

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First, Yvonne gave us a quick rundown of what to expect for the evening. She then demonstrated how will we make the dough and learned some technical tips along the way, like using room temperature eggs. Then it was our turn. She walked around to each individual, helping as needed. After this quick process was done we had to let the dough rest.

She had a table set for us and had us sit while opening some Prosecco to welcome us all to their shop. Then she brought out an antipasto plate for each of us. Little did we realize that she would keep coming out with more food! She said wanted the experience to be similar to what it would be if you went to someone’s house in Italy to learn how to make pasta.We didn’t stop eating once we stepped through the door. We tried about 8 other various Italian appetizers she made (not all photographed due to chowing down), all while she talked to us about their families time in Italy and the different foods we were eating. We were already stuffed!

Then it was time to burn off some of those calories and get back to the pasta making! Yvonne demonstrated, then just has you go for it. We were taught how to prepare the pasta by hand cutting and machine to see which way we prefer. She then cooks up some of your noodles served with the olive oil flavor of your choice (she’s hooked up with Olive Tap ). And mangia, again! I actually preferred the hand cut noodles, but they were a lot more work (of course). But holy moly both ways were goooood. Handmade pasta is just out of this world compared to boxed pasta!

After that, it was time let the pasta dry a bit before packing it up to take home. Which also meant time for dessert! Yvonne brought out various different cookies and homemade gelato with strawberries and balsamic glaze, along with espresso to drink! We were stuffed and basically in food heaven. We had such a good time with the others in our class and making new friends. So much that we all signed up for the advanced class, which is ravioli, in July together!

I can’t say enough positive things about our experience!  Yvonne was so patient with us and fun to learn from. Her husband, Jim was doing his share of work in the background by cleaning up after us to make each transition extra easy so we could concentrate on pasta making. If you have any interest in learning how to make pasta this class is worth every penny! If you don’t have any interest in making pasta, I still recommend stopping by her store to pick up a bag to enjoy.

Thank you, Yvonne and Jim for a wonderful pasta making class and meal!

Xo, Anna

6 Ways to Save on Your Wedding

6 Ways to Save on Your Wedding

Being a newly wed I constantly find myself thinking about all the things I learned from wedding planning that I’ll never use again. With that being said, I wanted to incorporate some wedding posts to share our special day with you all and how we made decisions in the planning process. Nick and I wanted to make our special day about us, with traditions and details that were actually important to us as a couple, not the wedding industry.

It’s really easy to get sucked into the dream weddings that are the cost of a house because well, they are EVERYWHERE! These weddings truly are stunning, but the majority of the time they are only good for one thing and that’s inspiration for the majority of us. A lot of vendors do an excellent job of upselling you, which I totally get it. It’s their job and they want to help make it the most amazing day for you… but it’s gonna cost ya! You need to know when to say no and keep your expectations realistic in what you can afford. Pick what parts of your wedding you want to splurge on. For me, that was food and photography! Because who doesn’t like a good meal and your wedding photos will last a lifetime, right? It was easy for me to decided, but it isn’t always easy for others. So here are some ideas to think about and 6 ways to save on your wedding day.

  1. Interchangeable flowers. This was an idea from the first florist that my mom and I met with that ended up being the only florist we met with because she was so great. Shout out to The Farmer’s Daughter Flowers! Anyway, when trying to stay on budget the idea was brought to us to make the ceremony flowers transportable so they can move inside for the reception! Brillant! We choose urns of flowers that were to be on each side of us during the ceremony, that then would be transferred to another location for the reception (side note; this didn’t end up happening thanks to mother nature, but that story is for another day). This obviously is only easy to do if your ceremony and reception are in the same location. If you need another idea for separate venues, have vases set up on your tables (guestbook, head table, etc), so that your bridesmaids can just plop them in there for decor rather than just sit on the table for the rest of the night!
  2. Ask a friend to play your ceremony music. Luckily my family is a huge fan of live music and some are musicians themselves. Of course, you should still pay whoever is playing for you. But, I guarantee you this will save a ton of money! Thanks, Ed! If you don’t have a musician friend, think about contacting a local college’s music program. Many of their students do freelance work, and which was going to be a backup option for us.
  3. Wedding resale groups. I followed a few of these groups on Facebook, and only ended up using it once for prettiest table number holders ever (see above), that nobody remembers besides me and my mom. But, join these as soon as you are engaged and stay on top of it because the good stuff goes fast! With that being said, always price check what someone is selling their pieces at. I’ve seen sellers get tricky on here and try to make money off these used pieces and that’s not cool. Also, don’t go into this as a free for all, or you’ll end up with a closet full of things that you’re not actually going to use. Have a game plan on what you need and stick to it! And if you’re feeling frisky, see if you can negotiate the price of those chalkboards that you HAVE to have!
  4. Keep the guest list down. This can be really hard for some people who have extremely large families, a big group of friends, and about a million other excuses out there. But honestly, keep it down! How? Pull on your big girl and guy pants and take a hard look at who is relevant in your life today as a couple.
  5. Reconsider the ceremony program. We just totally eliminated this detail expense, even with having free graphic designer thanks to my brother. I went back and forth on it a lot, but after much discussion, we decided with a short and basic ceremony, nobody will miss them. I will add that sometimes it can be an amazing detail to your day. My brother and his wife had a Greek orthodox ceremony their programs were a huge help in guiding guests through their different religious traditions.
  6. Look at your favors in a different light. Favors have gotten out of hand! They can cost a lot of money and a lot of times forgotten at the table! Personally, my favorite favor is a photo booth. Wait, the photo booth is a favor? I think so! They bring so much fun to your guests, and guess what… they have a fun souvenir to take home with them aka a favor! If you already have a photo booth booked, you’re all set! We used Pittsburgh Prestige Photo Booth and had a great experience. Plus if you’re from Pittsburgh, I can almost guarantee your guests are walking out of that wedding with a bag full of cookies. As long as your guests aren’t going home empty-handed, I think it’s a win!

If I added a number 7 it would be to have a crafty family, but I know that I hit that jackpot with that one. My mom and brother made so many of my wedding ideas a reality with their talents. We’ll chat about wedding details another time, though.

I hope these ideas help with your planning process! And to any reading bride’s, take a deep breath, I promise any stress is worth it. What are some things you did to save a buck or two during on your wedding day?

Xo, Anna

 

Day Date- Apple Picking

Day Date- Apple Picking

When you want to get in some fall activities and the budget is tight, what do you do? Our conversation went something like this…

We could pick pumpkins? Eh, that’s fun, but we’ve done it a million times. We could go to a haunted house? Eh, that’s too scary. Then my husband says, “In Michigan, we picked apples in the fall!” And guess what, I never have!! Thank goodness for my smartest friend, Google. She found Norman’s Orchard in Tarentum, PA that was only 15 minutes away from us. Score!

We pulled up to Norman’s Orchard not knowing what to expect. What we found was the owner sitting in his garage full of apples for the less adventurous, a good old fashion scale, and some baskets. We had to sign a waiver (smart!), learned the science of the questionable ladders and about all different apple trees around the orchard. Then finally, we were handed a basket to have some fun!

We had a great time walking around the orchard in the crisp fall air, finding the “good” trees to pick from. After climbing the somewhat scary ladders and collecting the very best apples, we went back to scale our apples. Our fun day date cost us around $14 dollars. That’s including a gallon of fresh apple cider and a lot of apples! Norman’s Orchard is old school, but that was part of its charm. With that being said, if you visit, wear your boots and bring your cash.

We not only took home our apples but a new memory. Nick and I love trying new things together. Even when one of us has already done it before, it’s always a beautiful thing to show your loved one something new. This is especially the case when it comes from your childhood!

With that being said, what is your favorite apple recipe? We have a lot of apples to eat!

Xo, Anna Day Date- Apple Picking

Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog! I’ve tried this blogging thing before and got myself pigeon holed into a subject. The subject this go around is a little more broad. If you know me personally, you know that I have a lot to say, so why not share it with everyone else?

Follow me as I dive into topics relevant to life as a late twenty-something based out of the beloved city of bridges, Pittsburgh.

So I guess that’s what this is, a Pittsburgh gal’s lifestyle blog. Yinz ready? To start, check out the About Me page to learn more about little ole’ me!

I would love to hear what topics you’d like for me to talk about. Leave a comment below for your suggestions.

Xo, Anna