Wednesday, October 30, 2013

banana bean design

hi all!  i just wanted to write a quick post to let you know that the my happily ever after shop is now banana bean design.  with tons of fun new products, along with all of the wine cork love that you're used to, you've got to check it out for holiday decorating and gift ideas.  you can find more information below!

banana bean design etsy shop
banana bean design facebook

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

goodbye to you

i've been blogging in this little space for almost three and a half years
i started here to document my life.  i remember coming up with the name for the blog as a newlywed, coming off a perfect wedding, living in a one bedroom apartment with no air conditioning and wondering how life could possibly get any better.
three plus years, three moves, an etsy shop, countless recipes and projects, ridiculous amounts of pinterest obsessions, a cooking blog, a house, a dog and a sweet baby girl later, here i am.

and i'm taking an indefinite break from my happily ever after
because with all of those fabulous things come a ton of responsibility and it's all a little too much for me to keep everything up the way i'd like to.

i'll be expanding little kitchen, big bites with more life updates and the occasional project or two.
and the shop will stay open, with some big and exciting changes coming soon.
and of course, because i'm a social media junkie, you can still find me on pinterest, twitter, facebook, and instagram

thank you to all of my loyal readers and friends, and i hope you'll join me over at little kitchen, big bites as i continue my journey there.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Fundamentals of Traveling with a Baby in Tote {Guest Post!}

i'm still on my little maternity leave and today we have a totally awesome guest post from kendra thorton.  kendra is a travel expert, a tv spokeswoman, a public relations business woman, and a wife and proud mama, who's going to be sharing the fundamentals of traveling with a little one
let's be honest, we're not planning to try this for a while, but when we do, we'll be following the advice below.
kendra has 3 littles of her own and has traveled to 28 countries on 6 continents so she's an awesome authority on the subject.  girl has been traveling since she was a little girl and wants to share her excitement for travel with us today with her tips and tricks.  the tips below definitely get me stoked to travel with my new little addition, replacing the travel anxiety that i once had!

you can find more about her here or check out her twitter account @kendrathorton.
kendra, take it away!


Photo Credit: Difei Li via Compfight cc

The Fundamentals of Traveling with a Baby in Tote
Summer is finally here and with it comes the promise of a great family vacation. It is totally normal to feel this trepidation, as successfully traveling with babies does require additional planning and preparedness. Lack of preparedness can add unnecessary stress, which detracts from what should be a pleasant getaway to spend quality time with family. Fortunately, following 5 basic travel tricks can make for a relaxing and enjoyable trip for you and your new addition.

1. Choose a baby-friendly hotel or resort

When researching accommodations, your baby’s specific needs should be at the front of your mind. Baby-friendly hotels often have cribs available that may be set up prior to your arrival. Try to find a room with a refrigerator and microwave to ease bottle preparations. For nursing moms, some hotels have private nursing areas with recliners and/or rocking chairs. If your baby is already eating solids, ask if hotel restaurants have high chairs. Ensure that the hotel is wheelchair accessible, as this also means it is stroller accessible. Many child-friendly hotels and resorts also have quiet hours, which will help for naps and early bed times. When my family chose Hawaii as our next vacation destination, we were sure to check out other parents recommendations before booking our family friendly Honolulu hotel. Checking out these amenities before you depart will give you added piece of mind and decrease any negative surprises.

2. Be prepared to distract babies during potential flight meltdowns.

Sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent a baby from waking up during a flight. This is especially true during takeoff and landing since sleeping babies can still feel pressure in their ears. Since babies do not know how to “pop” their ears, it is a good idea to feed them during takeoff and landing. The chewing motion will help alleviate some of the pressure while temporarily distracting them. Try to have a new toy on hand, as it will probably pique their curiosity more than a toy they have already seen. In a pinch, get creative! It’s amazing how entertaining babies may find plastic cups or bendy straws, both of which the flight attendant will happily provide you with.

3. If traveling for July 4th, get a balcony room within view of fireworks

While you and your family may want to enjoy a fireworks show, the new baby may not be so compliant. Babies have highly sensitive ears and loud noises may bother or startle them. Fireworks shows start after dark, which is generally after 9 pm during the summer months. Babies may be sleeping, and being too close to the action can wake them. A balcony room may provide an excellent view with far less noise. Wherever you’re going for our nation’s Independence Day, check to see if one of these hotels is in your area.

4. Schedule flights during baby’s sleep or naptimes.

This is especially important if you have a highly energetic little one. Crawlers almost always fit into this category since their newfound mobility gives them the incentive to indulge their curiosities. And nothing provokes a baby’s curiosity quite like an airplane full of new faces! Slings and baby carriers are lifesavers, especially for younger babies who often prefer to nap close against mom’s chest.

5. Try to stick to the baby’s daily routine as much as possible.

You want to enjoy your vacation, and indulge in as many fun or relaxing activities as possible. But do not try to adjust the baby’s feedings or naptimes around your vacation schedule. This is a sure way to have a cranky baby on your hands. Bring convenient meals and snacks that require no preparation. If your baby is bottle-fed, be sure to bring an insulated bottle bag stocked with prepared bottles everywhere you go. If you’re prepared, you can enjoy all the fun your vacation has to offer while ensuring your new addition gets the rest and fuel they need. Pin It

Friday, May 24, 2013

rockabye baby

even before i was pregnant, hubby and i knew that we had to get a couple of rockabye baby cd's for our kids some day.  we're both big music lovers and were totally in love with the idea of taking classic rock and turning it into lullabies. 

and then in all of the fuss of buying the essentials, these kind of got left behind.  until one of my best friends picked up where i left off and got us the beatles and bob marley for a shower present.  and they are fricking awesome.  hubby and i have been listening to them in the background while we do things around the house and we're committed to getting a bunch more of them for the future.  i'm sure they're going to be a staple around here in the future.

my favorite {probably because it's one of my favorite songs of all time} is hey jude.  so good it hurts.  i can't wait to listen to this with baby girl and teach her about all of the awesomeness that is our ecclectic music collection.

this is not a sponsored post, just wanted to share the love!
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

maternity leave

today is my first day of maternity leave
i've got a bazillion things to do in between now and baby's arrival, but at the same time i'm wondering what i'm going to do to fill my time if she comes late
i'm captain schedule, queen of the to do list.  even tropical vacations have a timeline and a list of activities.  and although i've got things to do, i think it's going to be odd for me to live life without a prescribed schedule.
and probably even harder once a little one comes that doesn't want to stick to the schedule that i've decided on.

 a couple of pics of the nursery in progress and my big belly for fun...

at this point, i'm not sure if i'll be posting more or less...i'm pretty in the dark on the whole newborn thing and i don't have a clue how much time i'm going to have once she gets here
but i'll do my best to keep updating
and i'm going to try to keep posting recipes and occasional life updates over at little kitchen, big bites
because the freezer meals that i'm putting together can only go so far and a girl's got to eat, ya know

any tips from the mommy bloggers out there on how to balance blogging and a newborn?
or do you just not?  and take a maternity leave from the blog too?

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Friday, May 17, 2013


holy moly, today is my last friday at work!
i have two days next week and then i go on maternity leave.  i feel like time crept by for the first part of the pregnancy and all of a sudden it's flying.  and i'm still not processing that it doesn't just mean an extended vacation, but that the movement in my belly is going to translate into a sweet little baby in a few weeks.  weeks!  how did that happen???

anyway, let's talk about instagram {find me at rachelh0123} and all of the random nonsense from this week.

this lady.  where do i start.  i would not be the person that i am today without my amazing mama.  i am so blessed to have her as my mother and my friend, and baby girl is going to be so lucky to have her as a grandma.  i know that everything i am as a mother will come from what i've learned from her and i hope to be half the mama that she's been to me.  love you mama.
we spent mother's day grilling and hanging out in the back yard.  it was a perfect, wonderful, relaxing day with family and i couldn't ask for anything more.

it's been gorgeous and a half here in so cal.  and all of the plants that i thought were just ugly shrubs are now blooming.  like this one that i almost pulled out of the ground a month ago.  thank goodness for pregnancy laziness...

hubby said that he was going to take me on a date night to olive garden.  and honestly, that was all i needed in the world.  there's nothing like their soup, salad and bread sticks. 
but then he surprised me and said that we were going to cafe firenze instead.  as in fabio's restaurant.  from top chef.  as in one of my favorite top chefs ever in the history of my complete and total obsession with the show.  and it was  we split a flatbread and lobster bisque and then i pigged out on short ribs with polenta.  food is my happiness.  and i only have a few more weeks of blaming it in the baby, so i might as well take advantage while i can. 

hmm, another food related picture.  i'm sensing a theme.  but i went to sprouts for the first time and wow, guys.
this place is so cool.
at some point i'm going to wander the aisles and take some of every single bit of rice, grains and legumes and cook them all.
and the chocolate covered fill-in-the-blank aisle?  it's pregnancy paradise.

happy friday! Pin It

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

little kitchen, big bites recipe digest

have you been over to my cooking blog little kitchen, big bites?
it's kind of my baby before my baby gets here
and, let's be honest, with an infant coming soon, there may not be time to frequently update

but cooking is my passion, and i'm definitely planning to keep it up, even with the little one.  and i may even end up withe more updates over there than i have here.
below are a collection of favorites {lots from the crock pot...shocker} that i've whipped up in the last month or so
i also have some awesome ideas and freezer meals coming up, so hop on over there, browse through the recipes and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Brownie Bars | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker BBQ Buffalo Meatballs | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Easy Fudgey Peanut Butter Cup M&M Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker Cheddar Potato & Asparagus Soup | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

BBQ Citrus Salmon with Strawberry Mango Salsa | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Enchilada Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

 Skinny Orange Chicken with Asparagus & Quinoa | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker Hot & Spicy Asian Noodle Soup | Little Kitchen, Big Bites


so check out the blog, fire up that slow cooker, and enjoy! Pin It

growingggg {36 weeks}

i keep growinggggg
i'm almost at 37 weeks today and i can't believe that this adventure will be ending beginning soon!
baby girl will be full term tomorrow, so i figured i should give another pregnancy update

you can also see the slow evolution of the nursery behind me...
i maintain that this striped tank makes me look bigger...but i kind of love it for that reason...
{sweats: juicy, white tank:nordstrom, dress: rosie pope, striped tank: old navy, leggings: charming charlie}

how far along?  36 weeks, 5 days
baby size?  baby girl is the length of a honeydew {yum!} or a small watermelon according to some sites {yikes!}
maternity clothes?  as much as i can...but my work pants still work with the bella band and some of my leggings and tops are still a'ok {although i may regret stretching them out later...}.  the maternity clothes is definitely more comfortable, but at this point i feel like there's no point in buying more than the limited set that i have
cravings?  nothing crazy...just eating a lot of the stuff that i wouldn't let myself splurge on before.  sweets and french fries come to mind :)  but i've also been eating a lot of salmon and berries so at least this little one isn't hurting too much for good food
feeling?  a little exhausted and sore every. single. time. i stand up {i have a slip in my sacroiliac joint that can't be fixed until baby gets here so my back isn't my friend}.  and super super excited to meet this baby!
best moment this week?  relaxing on mother's day with my family
sleep?  doing ok...up more than i used to be with being a little uncomfortable and having to use the bathroom every few hours, but still getting enough.  i figure waking up every few hours is good practice anyway...
miss anything?  still deli sandwiches.  and i could use some sushi too!
movement?  all the time.  my stomach looks like there's an alien about to break out of it.  and sometimes up and under my ribs.  ouch.  but it's seriously the most amazing thing ever.  i think it's going to be all kinds of weird after baby comes when i can't feel her bumping around in there anymore.
anything making you queasy or sick?  still squash/pumpkin/sweet potatoes.  luckily it's not the fall, so it's no big deal.
looking forward to?  meeting this little one in a few weeks!  holy smokes! Pin It

Friday, May 10, 2013

instafriday {showers and doggy and headbands, oh my!}

this is the last of the baby shower pictures
i feel like they've taken over my blog lately, but with four showers in two weeks i feel like i have to share all of the love and amazingness with you

did i mention that the girls went all out?  that it was the most spectacular thing ever?
yea, i think i did.  about seventy times.  but i'll say it again.
it was an amaaaazing day!

does this dog look guilty or what?
after telling her half a dozen times that this new, adorable little piece of furniture from my coworkers is not for her, I turned around to find her sitting there. 
so i kicked her off again.
but seriously, how do you stay mad at that face?

girly nonsense.  i couldn't help myself.
this headband will be prominently featured in baby girl's newborn photos if i have anything to do with it.
buy it here from izzy's attic
{in no way sponsored by her nor did i get the headband for's just too cute not to share!}

not to end on a bummer note, but we were close-ish to all of the fire craziness that was burning in so cal this week.  we got to see this big ol' smoke cloud and had some nice raining ash.  luckily, our house was ok, as were all of our local friends and family.
stay safe and practice fire safety, my friends.
that's my psa for the day.

happy friday loves!

life rearranged Pin It

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

southern baby shower

i'm feeling so blessed in the last few weeks. 
even with being sick and exhausted, with a constantly aching back, i have so many wonderful people who have surrounded me, hubby and the baby with love and support that i can't help but smile through it all. 

my girlfriends threw me an incredible southern themed baby shower {for derby weekend, and for baby girl's name, which has a little southern flair} last weekend.  In.Cred.I.Ble.
i'm telling you, they went all out.
from the gorgeous flowers and oodles of decorations to the delicious fried chicken, hand made mini pies and red velvet cupcakes, to the *pitter patter* punch in lace tied mason jars with pink stripped straws, to the ridiculously creative bib decorating, it was just perfect in every single way.
i literally couldn't have imagined a more amazing shower in my wildest dreams.  they thought of every little detail that would make me smile {crown included} and made it perfect.

with my lovely hostesses

i had an amazing relaxing time just hanging out with my closest friends, reminiscing about old times, and looking forward to all that's to come in the future.
now i just need to have the rest of them get knocked up so this little girl has some automatic friends for life
i can only hope that she is as blessed with wonderful friends as i have been.

The alphabet was hand made by this amazingly talented girl.
I keep begging her to start an Etsy shop so stand by...

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