Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Trending: Versatile Jogger Pant

 The jogger pant is taking over women's and men's fashion this season. I love them for a few very important reasons.  Number one, they are soo comfortable. They can also be worn with anything; you can dress it up for work with a chic dress shirt or pair it with a fun crop top (like I did) and it's the perfect weekend outfit.  Lastly + most importantly in my opinion, the jogger shows off the shoes.  Sometimes I have the most adorable shoes on and my pants are hiding the best part. I love that joggers show off the entire shoe... those babies were meant to be seen!

 Traveler pant: Cabi | Striped crop top: Cabi | MK Travel Bag | Laced Booties: Charlotte Russe | Aviator Sunglasses: Ray Ban | Helios Cuff bracelet: Cabi

Ever After,

Monday, April 25, 2016

Motivational Monday: Going Gluten Free

I have shared before that I am hypo-thyroid and it is highly encouraged (according to my naturopathic doctor) that I live a gluten free lifestyle.  I fell off that wagon for a few months, especially while I was pregnant and breastfeeding but I am starting today with a completely gluten-free/clean diet.  I hate crash diets so the only way I stick with it is if I eat tons of fresh, whole foods, and make healthy yet satisfying dishes like cauliflower-crust pizza with veggies and feta, kale and sausage, and for dessert baked apples and cinnamon.  I shared some pictures of my favorite dishes for my own encouragement that you do not need wheat for delicious options.  

If you have any recipes to share, I'd love to check them out.  One of my favorite places to get recipes is Gluten Free Goddess.  Her recipes are absolutely amazing!

Ever After,

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Arugula, Watermelon + Feta Salad

I went out to lunch with my friend and we really feasted; we indulged with empanadas, Yuca fries, and rum cake at this amazing Cuban restaurant, Zafra, in New Haven.  When it was dinner time, I was feeling a little guilt for my lunch-feast so I wanted a light meal that was easy to throw together.  Since the weather has been so nice the last few days (in the 70s), I was really craving fruit.  I had some left-over watermelon and made this delicious salad that was the perfect summer-time salad.


  • 3 cups Arugula
  • Watermelon (about 1/4 cut into cubes)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1-2 fresh mint leaves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Directions:  Wash and dry arugula.  Chop watermelon into small cubes.  Toss salad with watermelon, feta, chopped mint leaves. Top with desired toppings such as sunflower seeds and/or slivered almonds.  I topped a balsamic glaze that I found at Trader Joe's and it was the perfect sweet compliment to this salad.

Ever After,

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Traveling with Baby: My First Experience

 We took the plunge and traveled with a 10 month old.  It was our first family trip and we were anxious, excited, and exhausted all in one.  We lived to tell you all about it!  Here are the main tips I have for traveling with a baby after my first experience.  We traveled to Marco Island, Florida, which is about a 2.5 hours flight. We had a fabulous time and my theory is that if you get them to travel young, they will be pros in no time. Gavin did so awesome on this trip; we even nicknamed him Mr. Worldwide. :)
  • Pack as little as possible.  At first, all I could list was what I could bring, but then I realized how much easier it will be if I could see what I could not bring. For example, do I really need 15 pouches of baby food?  I realized, there was a lot I could buy there.
  • Leave your stroller and car seat at home, if possible. I wore Gavin in my Catbird baby carrier at the airport and had extra hands to help with luggage.  We rented a car with a car seat and I made sure to do my research about the car seat and felt comfortable with the safety ratings the car seat had. As for the stroller, a friend told me her stroller got damaged once she checked it in at the gate, so I decided to leave my pricey stroller at home and once we got to Florida, buy a cheap umbrella stroller so I didn't mid if something happened to it. 
  • Plan travel around nap times.  I was lucky (I am still thanking the baby gods) that Gavin slept on our flight to FL and the flight back.  They were pretty close to his nap times so I think that helped in making sure he was sleepy once we were on the plane. 
  • Nurse or bottle feed for take-off and landing.  Gavin definitely felt discomfort from take-off and nursing him on the plane with a cover helped him fall asleep almost instantly.
  • Bring a baby carrier.  If you don't have one, buy one.  You don't realize how much you walk on vacation and you may not want to push a stroller on the beach (I sure didn't!) or around the zoo.  Gavin had a ball in his Pikkolo by Catbird Baby carrier. It also helps in the airport when you have to drag luggage around and have your ID and boarding passes ready.  Being hands-free at the airport is a huge advantage. 
  • Keep your little one on a similar schedule on vacation.  It's impossible to implement a very strict schedule if you want to do a lot of things on vacation, but we tried to make sure Gavin got in his morning and afternoon nap, and made sure to follow a similar bedtime routine.

Ever After,

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bib + Scalloped Details

One of my favorite things about spring fashion, are the cute, lightweight dresses that can easily be worn to work, and then also perfect for a date night or happy hour with friends.  This versatile dress was a steal at T.J. Maxx and also paired with these $12 flats from Forever 21.
Normally, I cannot pull of the bib neckline as I feel like I look like a school-girl or a nun but I actually liked this dress's neckline and paired it with a fun necklace.
My favorite part about this outfit is that the look was under $30 from head to toe.  :)

Scalloped dress: T.J. Maxx | Red flats: Forever 21 | Layered collar necklace gifted

Photos by 5 Diamond Photo

Ever After,

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Homemade Baby Food: The Ultimate Guide

I have always enjoyed cooking so when I was on maternity leave (I took 16 weeks off), I took some time to really prepare myself for going back to work.  I pumped every chance I had so that I could freeze breast milk and I also wanted to make some baby food to store so that I could feed Gavin healthy and tasty meals.  There are a few things I learned along the way of baby food-making so I wanted to share to save you a few steps.  Here are some important things to consider when making homemade baby food:

  • Before you make it in bulk, make in a single serving and let your baby try first.  I wish someone told me this advice!  I made this mix of kale, banana, and apple with my Vitamix which I thought was so delicious. Gavin, on the other hand did not.  I was stuck with a bunch of kale banana ice cubes.  Luckily, I was able to make protein smoothies out of it.. but wish I had him try it before I made a dozen batches of it!
  • Buy jarred baby food for texture.  If you are a first-time-mom like me, I had no clue how the consistency of "stage one" food should be.  I think this fear turns a lot of people off from making their own food.  I went to the grocery store and bought some stage-one jarred food and played around with my own consistency until it was similar in texture.  If it was too watery, I'd add more ingredients and if it was too thick, I blended more or added more liquid.  I did the same for each stage of food so I could get inspiration.
  • Don't be scared of spices! I'm not saying throw in some cayenne pepper but it's fine to throw in a little garlic or parsley for flavor.  I use cinnamon a lot to sweeten things up a bit.
  • The easiest foods to serve are avocados and bananas because there is no preparation needed!  As long as they are ripe, you can usually skip the blender part and just whip/mix to desired consistency.  I always take a banana on the go for Gavin. 
  • You don't have to invest in a special "babyfood maker."  As a new mom, it's easy to get sucked into everything in baby stores.  Some of the products are simply marketing as "baby products" and you don't necessarily need something special for making homemade food.  I already had a Vitamix and it works perfectly for making Gavin's food.  Plus, not having a separate machine helps me save money and space.  God knows I have enough clutter of baby stuff!
  • Use leftovers.  If we are having sweet potatoes with dinner, I throw the leftovers into Gavin's food.  He pretty much eats whatever vegetable we are having for dinner.  One of the best benefits of homemade food for your baby is that you save tons of money, not to mention you know what's going in your baby's food.  A lot of people think eating organic or all natural will be expensive, but it's actually the opposite here!  The average baby consumes 600 jars of baby food by one year.  Six-hundred!  Prepared baby food can get expensive and a lot of them are filled with additives and are "watered" down.  For example, I did some research on my own with one of the veggie servings I bought.  Not only did is have a lot of sodium, but it had 14g of sugar in a tiny serving!  I also dug a little deeper and thought it was "sweet potatoes with apples and carrots", the majority of the food was made up of water.  I am not saying I never use jarred food.. I do!  I always have some on the go and keep some in my cupboards.  I just wanted to be informed so I can make the best decisions when it came to providing nutrition for Gavin. When I do buy, I try to buy organic, non-gmo and really look at the ingredients.  My favorite brands with decent prices (I try to buy on sale) are:
  • Nature's Promise organic Stop + Shop brand
  • Babies R Us "Purely Simply" brand
  • Beech Nut Organics
  • Earth's Best

Gavin's two favorite recipes so far have been banana-apple and sweet carrots mixed with sweet potatoes and cinnamon.  I do make these with organic fruits and vegetables.  Both recipes are given so you can make as much or as little as you want.  The recipes are so simple:

Banana-apple puree:  Peel, core and cut apple into slices. Boil or steam apples until slightly cooked. I use one of these to cook fruits/veggies.  Mash apples with a potato masher and combine a ripe banana (no need to cook/steam banana) to make a smooth consistency.  Place the mix of apples and bananas into a blender (I use the Vitamix).  Keep blending until desired texture (again, I bought the stages of baby food to achieve the same texture/consistency for inspiration.)  You can add cereal to thicken or water/breast milk to thin out.

Carrots with sweet potatoes and cinnamon:  Trim and peel carrots and sweet potato and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  Steam carrots and potatoes  in a steamer or boil until tender.  Mash with potato masher, then put in blender, adding cinnamon and other spices/flavors of choice.  If you need to thin out a bit, consider adding low-sodium chicken broth instead of water for extra flavor. 

Storage in Bulk:

  • For storage, I really like these small containers because they are mess-free and are already in individual portions and can go right in the freezer.  
  • Make sure whatever you buy is BPA free You can always use silicone ice-cube trays as well but I liked that I could just grab one and not have to hassle with the ice tray to get one out.   
  • Recycle small jars - I used some glass jars from store-bought food. 
  • Make sure to consumer within 3 months of freezing.  
  • To thaw, transfer in refrigerator until thawed or if you need to quickly thaw put in a glass container and defrost in microwave.
  • After thawing and serving, consumer within 1-3 days and do not refreeze thawed food.
Any other moms make their own baby food?  I'd love to hear some of your baby's favorites!

Ever After,

Friday, April 1, 2016

Fuji Film Instax Mini 8 Giveaway

Happy Friday everyone!  I am hosting  my first group giveaway and it's for this awesome Fuji Film Instax Mini 8 Camera with film.  I love these because they remind me of growing up in the 90's with Polaroid cameras way before filters like Valencia and Willow.  It would only be fitting to do this giveaway on the picture-obsessed app.  Contest is launching today and goes through 4/7.

All you have to do is check out my Instagram @jamieeverafter for entry information at 12p EDT.
One winner will recieive the following:

  • Fuji Film Instax Mini 8 - your color of choice.
  • Twin pack of film
  • FREE shipping in the U.S. ( contest open internationally but may be subject to shipping cost outside the US) 
Good luck everyone!  Winner will be announced on 4/7 via Instagram.

Ever After,