mobile Cocooners: 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Recipe Bucket List

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
As of yesterday, I am officially a Work From Home Mom.  I decided that I will blog full-time, which for me means posting 2 to 3 times a week and really delivering great lifestyle content to my readers.  I want to be helpful and inspiring and what better way to do that than starting in the kitchen!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!*

My love of cooking comes from my maternal Grandmother.  Just like sewing.  I would just sit up under her almost every time she started cooking.  How she never got tired of me is a mystery but she didn't.  We really enjoyed each other's company and she let me help her all the time.  I love how cooking and kitchens bring back memories.  Even if you don't like cooking or never got into it, I bet you have great memories of someone cooking and you eating delicious meals!

Happy Friday - Life Update October 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017
Today is my last day at my full-time job as a Senior Purchasing Coordinator!!  I haven't had a lot of time this week to get a post in but next week should be a game changer, ha!

So until then, here's what I am saying to myself and to you as well:  Faith it 'til you make it.  

Have a great weekend sugar pies!!

10 Things You Don't Know About Me

Friday, October 6, 2017
Thanks to Google Analytics, I know I have several new readers here on The Cocooners (woo hoo)!  So I wanted to share 10 fun facts about me in the hope that you get to know me a bit better and find me more relateable (perhaps, I can be an odd bird at times but I like that about myself).

Throw a Quick & Easy Batman Party

Saturday, September 30, 2017
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!*

My sweet son Dax turned five last month.  It's such a milestone birthday and I can't believe how much he's grown in five years.  We had a small family party for him and he wanted a Batman theme so I did my best.  Here are a few pictures of the set up.

See Through Eyes of Compassion

Thursday, September 28, 2017
I don't normally write posts like this but it was on my heart for a while and I'm a definitely listening to what the Universe says these days.  So, warning:  this is long.  Read, don’t read, do you, but I hope you read all the way until the end and please comment with your thoughts.

I always say, humans have big brains for a reason and we need to start using them as God intended. Our big brains allow us to think in ways that the standard animal cannot. We can move past basic biological functions with thought and knowledge. Our baser instincts can be restrained with compassion, empathy and sympathy. It is these things that we as a whole are seriously lacking as a country.

Saw It On Pinterest: Nutella Bombs

Thursday, September 21, 2017
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!*

Last week I bought some puff pastry in the hopes of recreating my middle school pizza pockets.  Lo and behold, when I was finally inspired to get down in the kitchen, I found I was out of mozzarella cheese.  This is after I already set my puff pastry sheet out to thaw.  Fail!  So I had to think quick on my toes and figure out what to do with my pastry so it wouldn't go to waste.  

Updated Kitchen Supplies and Gadgets Wishlist

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!*

In anticipation of working from home in a couple of short months (remember my goal from this post?), I've started meal planning and really trying to organize our lives at the casa.  This series from Living Locurto really helped me get started with the meal planning for dinners (and lunches).  I bought a couple of items from Amazon that have also helped keep me stay organized with my planning: a magnetic chalkboard, dry-erase chalkboard markers w/ chalkboard labels, this cute lunch tote (I have a thing for stripes) and slim ice packs.  

Instagram Update: September 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017
Hey gang!  Happy Friday.  It's so funny how these short holiday weeks can seem so long.  But we have so much to be thankful for heading into the weekend, don't we?  I'm still on par for blogging more but I have to say with school starting for my big little, I've been a tad busier and haven't posted as much as I've wanted to.  July was fire - August, not so much.  I have some good stuff coming up, however so get ready.  Thanks for staying here with me and keeping in tune with my little blog life.  I appreciate you so much!  Here's an Instagram roundup for you on this fine Friday.  

My little little.  I cannot even look at him sometimes, he's so cute.  And that dimple!!  Swoon... #NotHumbleAboutMyBabies 

Blogging: What is an Affiliate Link

Friday, September 1, 2017
I realize that a lot of my readers don't look at blogs the same way I do.  I am obsessed with them and have been for going on 10 years or so.  My first blog (the now defunct Fountain of Fashion) was started way back in 2007!  I had a few other iterations, CC Style and my wedding planning blog, My Dallas Wedding (which still gets a good amount of traffic) but I didn't really understand that you could blog for a living.  

Now that I've been blogging here at The Cocooners since November 2011, I know that I'm going to keep it up and continue my blogging journey for as long as I can and monetizing the blog is a must.  But do my readers even understand exactly what blogging is?  I recently went to brunch with a close girlfriend and after speaking with her, I realized that not a lot of my friends and family know what this all means for me or for them so I thought I would share some information with you today in case you don't understand.  Today the topic is affiliate links and I'll share more on followers, engagement and sponsored posts on other posts next week.

Introducing V-Necks & Vices: A New Blog

Friday, August 25, 2017
This little blog, The Cocooners, may not have a lot of traffic or a lot of readers or a lot of anything else, but it does have my passion.  Through the years it has definitely evolved.  It was always personal but lately, the tone is way more about family and kiddos.  And I'm good with that.  I hope you are!

However, fashion is my first love.  She was here before the husband and the kids and I love her!  So, in order for me to make sure my love for fashion and style is expressed "fully and joyfully" (inside joke quoting the belly dancing twins), I decided to start a new blog with a focus on fashion, styling, parties and indulgences, aka V-Necks and Vices.  

The Cocooners is still here and I'll continue sharing lifestyle posts, recipes and family oriented content.  I hope you enjoy reading both blogs from time to time and as always, thank you so much for your support in reading, shopping and clicking your little hearts out!

5 Hacks to Help Survive Busy Mornings with Kids

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
I was chit chatting with a couple of co-workers about how I am not a morning person and telling them about how I get the kiddos ready in the morning and they said one of my "hacks" was brilliant. They were going to put the information in their back pocket for when they have kids.  It got me thinking:  I should share this information in the hopes that I can help even one soul have an easier morning especially with kiddos starting school and going back to school.

The Best Things To Buy At Target with $60

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
As you may know we had a Giveaway that ended Monday and now I can announce the winner.  Drumroll...


Louder with the drumroll...


Seriously, our winner is Michelle James!  Congratulations!!  Now check your email, get your eCards, head to Target, get you your fancy, high calorie coffee confection of choice at the Starbucks inside and go shopping!  Well, that's a mouthful if you say it out loud.

I thought it would be cool to compile a well-rounded shopping lists in case our lovely winner, or anyone else, needed some inspo on how to spend $60 at Target.  So it's not the $250 you normally spend when your budget was $100 (#amiright) but $60 can get you far.  Let's see how far it can get with a few self-care items.  

Goals, Golden Summer & Giveaway {Closed}

Thursday, August 10, 2017
Today is my birthday!

I love birthdays no matter how old I get (so far), ha!  I have to say however, that it can be a time of reflection and self-assessment.  So with my birthday this year, I'm jumping on the "post your goals on the blog" bandwagon, mainly for accountability.  It is written and shared.  This helps me be more accountable to myself and accountable to my readers.  I'm just sharing a short list of 5 goals for now.

End of Summer Sales and Steals

Monday, August 7, 2017
School is about to start and that means Fall is right around the corner.  The retail (especially fashion) industry really likes to push new seasonal items so of course, before the current season is even over, you can find tons of items on sale so they can make room for the new stuff.  With that, I found some great end of season deals.  August is a great time to shop for summer deals and for the coming Fall season.  It also happens to be my birthday month so I do enjoy August quite a bit!

Instagram Update: August 2017

Friday, August 4, 2017
It's Friday, ladybugs and male ladybugs (which are still called ladybugs, right?  So I guess there's no need for differentiation...).  I'm so easily distracted, lol... ok, so Happy Friday guys!!  I'm ready for this one.  It's been a long week.  Little Briggs hasn't been sleeping great and I am exhausted... 

I'm so proud of myself for keeping my promise to you to post more.  Remember from here?  I'm hoping in the next few weeks I keep this momentum going and really push out some great content for you guys (#goals).  

I'm sure you could use some distraction, like me, so here's what I've been up to on Instagram.

Feeling glowy and golden rockin' a Mohawk bun. Would you guys be interested in a tutorial on how to do a Mohawk bun??  If so, let me know in the comments.  The sweater is one I bought from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (this color is sold out but black and pink are in stock!)

Elevate a Super Casual Outfit

Monday, July 31, 2017

I have two simple tips for you to elevate a casual outfit.  
#1) Carry a structured tote like this one from Rebecca Minkoff.  Instant chic.  By the way, this bag is on sale at Last Call!!  
#2) Wear great shoes.  I happened to style this outfit with some fun hot pink ballet flats.  I really love these shoes and they are so comfortable that they really went well with my casual jeggings (my exact pair are sold out but these are great) and top (similar here). 

Flashback Friday: Music to Remember

Friday, July 28, 2017
I love music.  I love music almost as much as I love shoes.  Almost.  If you are a regular reader or know me personally, then this is not a surprise.  In fact it may be annoying.  But you have to understand, I've always found music to be an amazing escape.  Nowadays, listening to music helps me tolerate working everyday at a job I find less than fulfilling and the songs below have been on heavy rotation.  So I made a special playlist I wanted to share with you today in the spirit of #flashbackfriday.    

Now you tell me, how important is music to you? Do you listen to music every single day, every single hour like me or is it just nice? I'm curious to know if my readers would like me to share more music on The Cocooners.  In case the answer is yes, here are some posts where I featured some of my playlists:  

You Better Werk
Top Ten Tuesday - March Music Mix
Fit Music
10 Songs To Soothe Baby That Are Actually Cool

Happy Friday and happy listening!

Stitch Fix Review: Fix #5 July 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017
*This post contains affiliate links and my Stitch Fix referral link (when you sign up from my link and get your fix, I get a credit at no cost to you).*

I received my 5th Stitch Fix box last Thursday and realized I hadn't done a proper review since my Maternity Fix.  Summer seemed like a fitting season to request a Fix and try on some goodies.  If you want to get a Fix before summer is over, head here to sign up.  I get a referral credit if you use my link.  You all know how that works, right!

Look at Baby Briggs Grow!

Thursday, July 20, 2017
I am super late writing this post (what else is new and at least I'm staying true to myself)!  My little baby Briggs is now 7 months old and I have yet to take his milestone pic for this month.  So, while I'm figuring out when to do that, I at least wanted to share his previous milestone photos.

He's such a big guy now.  He's wearing 12 month clothes and to be honest they are a bit snug.  He's not as chunky as my Daxie was but he's still pretty solid.  Mainly my little dude is tall.  And cute.  Oh so cute!!  It's pretty striking how much he's changed.

NSale 2017 Early Access Picks & Purchases

Saturday, July 15, 2017
As promised, I'm here with some of my favorite items from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale that I think you guys will really like.

Women's Tops and Sweaters

I can't get enough of that rich golden mustard color and statement sleeves.  

How to Host a Viewing Party for Two on the Fly

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
One of my besties (Joy from Basically Joy) had a brilliant idea to have an impromptu viewing party for the season premiere of The Real Housewives of Orange County.  I agreed and said I'll host at my place.  So we developed a game plan that I wanted to share with you along with a special recipe.

We knew we needed a signature cocktail.  This was our first priority.  So we decided to have some Pina Colada Margaritas (it was #NationalPinaColadaDay).  Next up was deciding on the food.  Since it was just us two, small bites was the way to go.  Joy made some yummy Nutella Raspberry Dip and the most amazing Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull Apart Bread.  An lucky for you, she shared the Bread recipe here.  It was like crack.  I'm guessing.  I've never tried crack but I've heard it's pretty addictive. 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017 Insights & Giveaway {Closed}

Monday, July 10, 2017
**Although this post does contain affiliate links (you click, you shop at no cost to you, I make a small commission, you support my blog) it is not sponsored in any way.**

For the past couple of years, I've blogged about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale mainly because I'm a loyal customer (I also used to work at Nordstrom back in the day) and I love a good bargain.  However, and I'm ashamed to admit, I never actually knew what it was really about until this year.  Now, I'm here to share with you my new found knowledge in the hopes your potential NSale shopping experience is that much better.  I know mine will be this year. 

So the gist of this awesome once a year sale is that Nordstrom releases new Fall merchandise at unreal sale prices.  It's new arrivals on sale.  That never happens!  Well, I guess it does with the NSale but who knew!  This makes so much sense to me now because I've purchased boots from the last two sales.  Duh Camille.  I mean, duh.  I will use the Sale this year to freshen my wardrobe with trendier Fall pieces and pick up some things for all three of my boys (you know, the hubs, the kid and the baby) and possibly get some Christmas shopping in!  Cardholders get Early Access for about a week before the sale goes public.  I'm stoked that I'm a cardholder and will be shopping on day 1 of Early Access, which is July 13th.  I have marked my calendar in pen and saved an appointment in my Google calendar.  It's that serious guys.

InstaWhat: July 7

Friday, July 7, 2017
I promise, promise, promise I will get back to posting regularly.  Did I mention I promise?  Lol.  For now, here's an Instagram update.
My painting from a girl's night at Sip-n-Doodle.  I gifted it to my mom.

My favorite olive green wedges from the Gap.  They are sold out but you can shop some similar items and my entire look here.

Summer Crushes

Thursday, June 22, 2017
I can't apologize enough for being MIA for you three loyal readers.  Lol.  Ok, I'll stop being self-deprecating.  But seriously, I had another recent hospital stay due to a retained stone in my bile duct.  I was jaundiced and super tired. Sexy, right?  All seems to be well now so we are marching forward with summer and lots of plans.  Hopefully, I will get back to Instagramming on the regular and posting more style posts here (especially since I've lost a few L-Bs).  In the meantime, I wanted to at least showcase some pieces I've been crushing on lately.   It's finally hot here in North Texas so I'm ready for a summer shopping spree.  Yes, I'm a bit late to the game but I've been ill guys.  

Jesus is the Best Superhero

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!

What a crazy few weeks I've had.  I'm so sorry to have been M-I-A on here but let me explain.  First, we had a major layoff at my job and it caused a bit of stress and frankly, a lot of soul searching.  I am now doing the work of 2 people and I'm not too happy about it.  More later.  Then, I got sick.  I had a terrible bout of indigestion, vomiting and upper abdominal pain a couple of weeks ago and went to the ER.  Turns out, I had a gallbladder attack.  It was so bad and painful.  So fast forward to last week and your girl here had emergency surgery to remove my nasty gallbladder.  Surgery was a relief.  I felt so much better.  I'm still in a bit of pain this week but I'm back at work and can pick up my big little 5 month old after a week (that was miserable).  Apparently, pregnancy can exacerbate gallbladder issues.  Awesome.  We really do go through a lot for our kiddos, don't we!

The 10 Newborn Essentials You Need to Help Stay Sane

Thursday, April 13, 2017
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!

I am no baby expert nor am I an expert mother, but what I am an expert in is sanity (so far). You have to be when you work full-time with two children and a husband and have to deal with all the demands of this modern world. So, I learned a thing or two with my first son about how certain baby products helped to keep me sane, especially in those first early months with a newborn. Luckily, some things were a bit easier this time around because I was prepared with all my go-to items. Of course, I had to share some of them with you. These 10 items are not necessarily in order by importance but they are all musts in my book. So if you know any new moms or soon-to-be mamas, share this post with them.

1) Swaddle Wrap
I believe in the power of the swaddle.  I also understand that some children just can't be swaddled.  Boy do I feel "sorry for their mother".  Ha!  That was a bad Menace to Society reference...  Anyway, both of my son's were strong and active newborns so swaddling really helped them sleep.  Yes, they broke out of the swaddle quite a bit but so what.   
A recent and funny picture of  Briggs bustin' loose.  The swaddle's time is almost over.
I just wrapped 'em up again and they went to sleep again.  So I could sleep again.  Sleep is just too important to me.  I am seriously a dragon lady without sleep.  Hopefully, my dragon tendencies are starting to fade now that Briggs is sleeping through the night.  My favorite swaddle is the Summer Infant SwaddleMe Wrap.  The velcro closures keep the little ones nice and snug and I recommend these 100%!!

10 Spring Outfits You Need to Try for Breakthrough Style

Monday, March 27, 2017
I love Spring.  It's my second favorite season behind Autumn.  (Don't you love the word "Autumn"?  It sounds so much better than Fall, lol).  It's a great time to refresh your wardrobe and get inspired by new trends.  I wanted to do a roundup of some great Spring outfits I found in Blog Land this week.  These ladies all have great style and you should totally try to incorporate some of these looks into your style.  I can't wait to incorporate them into my wardrobe.

Note some of the trends featured: jean jackets, little white dresses, florals, stripes, khaki, blush pink, graphic tees, shoulder cut-outs, one-shoulder tops, and statement sleeves. 

via Bows and Sequins
This is an adorable striped top and I love the long gold pendant.  Dark jeans takes this to look up a notch.

via The Fancy Things
I love this white midi dress.  It's easy, breezy and so cute.  Her studded sandals are perfect.

via The Southern Style Guide
Can you say layer love?  The little floral blouse is so cute and the blush jacket really works.

via Fashionably Lo
Neutrals are my thing and I love that khaki is actually trending.  This trench with other neutral accessories sets the trend off right.

via Lady in Violet
Someone is so happy that one-shoulder tops are in.  That someone is me, if you didn't guess.  This festive top is great for the season and is perfect paired with distressed jeans.

via Life's Candy Jar
Bell sleeves, flared denim, and that bag!  Yes!  So much yes!!

via Beijos Events
Have you ever thought to pair a graphic tee with a maxi?  Do it.  This is such a great Spring outfit and easy to pull off.  Try pairing this look with espadrilles to take you into the Summer.

 via What I Wore
I love this casual outfit and think the olive shorts are so cute.  A baby is the ultimate accessory.  And I love the jacket although I don't own one and have never worn a jean jacket.  Crazy right?  I love how they look on others but I just can't see myself in one.  How do you feel about denim jackets?  Do you think I should stop being so rigid and get one?

via Moxie Fashion Blog
The blush joggers are life!  I am obsessed.  And of course the clamshells are everywhere and are an athleisure staple.

via The Glamorous Gal
This lightweight sweater has the coolest cut-outs and I love the color.  Also loving the light grey bag and studded flats.  This is how you elevate a casual look.

Here are some key pieces I scoured the interwebs for to make it easy on you to shop.  You're welcome and happy Spring!

Here is Why I Love the NUK Simply Natural Bottle

Saturday, March 18, 2017
This post was sponsored by NUK as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, however all opinions expressed are my own.

I didn't really get into breast feeding with Briggs b/c with all the issues I had with Dax, I knew how awesome and easy bottle feeding is.  Both he and Dax were moderately tongue tied (ankyloglossia) and we chose not to have their frenums clipped.  That made latching a bit more difficult.  I did give Briggs a nice bit of colostrum in the hospital so I'm not all the way selfish.  He was able to latch quite a bit better than Dax but he still had some issues.  

Even though I'm not breastfeeding, I wanted the bottle I use to really mimic the breast as much as possible and help with Briggs' latching.  I'm not sure that people understand the importance of finding the perfect baby bottle.  There are so many factors to consider: nipple size and shape, anti-colic features, bottle material, bottle shape, cost, ease of use and ease of cleaning.  I tried a few different brands before I fortuitously received the NUK Simply Natural Gift set.  I was so pleasantly surprised at how well these bottles worked for us.  Briggs had none of the latching issues he had with the other bottles.  I believe that is due to the innovative features The NUK Simply Natural bottles have.  

The nipple shape is pretty true to the way mom's nipple is shaped while nursing and it has up to nine holes depending on the flow rate.  I thought this was so cool because it works just like breasts!  Now that I'm back working full-time, I have to prepare bottles for Briggs for daycare so another feature I really appreciate is that the NUK Simply Natural bottles are easy to transport.  I love how easily the cap pops on and off.  Perhaps my favorite thing about them is that they are easy to clean.  They have a simple anti-colic valve and a soft nipple that feels more like a breast.  There are not any complicated parts to clean every time like some other brands.  These things seem like minor details but to a sleep deprived parent, anything that causes less frustration and saves time is important.

I've never felt that my bond with my boys is less than because I bottle feed but I do wish I had these bottles when Dax was a baby.  To me, they really mimic the breast and would definitely help ease the transition from breast to bottle for mamas who need a break, who want dad or others to be able to feed baby or for those who supplement.

Not to be left out is how I feel about the NUK orthodontic silicone pacifier.  Dax took to the standard hospital issue "pacie" like a champ.  Briggs, on the otherhand was a bit more finicky.  Sometimes he would take it when sleepy, other times he would just spit it out and continue to fuss and cry.  Not so with the NUK pacifier.  He took to it right away and it soothes him so much better than the non-orthodontic type.  I think it helps that the shape of the pacifier and the shape of the bottle nipples are not too far off.  This pacifier has been a lifesaver us.

The set I received came with 2) five ounce bottles, 2) nine ounce bottles, 2 slow flow nipples, 2 medium flow nipples, 2 fast flow nipples and 3 orthodontic pacifiers.  Buy a couple of these and you're set because they really grow with baby.  You can find them online or in-store at Target and Walmart.  Visit the NUK website to learn more about these awesome bottles and their Simply Natural Freemie cups, also available at both Target and Walmart stores.

I realize that every baby is different but it's nice to have advice as a good starting off point.  So my advice to you is to do your research but ultimately go with the flow (tee hee) when your baby arrives.  You never know what's in store until you meet your little wonder.  For those already in the throws of "babydom" what features are most important to you when it comes to bottle feeding?   

InstaWhat: March 17

Friday, March 17, 2017
Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Holidays that aren't really holidays are sometimes more fun than real holidays, ha!  Think Cinco De Mayo and Halloween.  I love that I get a free pass today because I have green eyes but every once in while I'll dress festively in green and show my Irish spirit.  Today, however, I had to show off the kiddos.  

Aren't they cute?  This is Dax's shirt from last year and we are squeezing every last wear out of it!  Luckily, my mom bought little brother an outfit that included a green onesie so I didn't have to buy a special St. Patty's day outfit for him.  It's still cute - I mean, it's green.

In other news, here's an update on life lately from Instagram
The creepy tree canopy of Wilmeth Road, McKinney, Texas
Look at these little feet!  #StarsAndStripes

Peanut butter truffle Cookies - recipe here
Briggs in his cute little Lolly Wolly Doodle outfit gifted from a dear friend.
My pink Nikes (similar here and here)
A "Margatini" from National Margarita Day
My favorite new booties - Seychelles Snare Blush Booties
Don't forget to follow on IG for content not featured on the blog.