Vegas Trip Roundup: Part One

The Ok Moms – Vegas Momcation

Hey everyone! I divided our Vegas Momcation into two parts…. so lets get into it…

Danielle & I traveled to Las Vegas for a girls getaway a few months ago for our first kid free vacation. The big question while planning was ‘what do you do in Vegas when you are mentally an 80 year old cat lady?’

THURSDAY

We both got in Thursday late afternoon. Danielle picked me up at the airport and we went straight to our hotel- The Paris, for check in. My brother-in-law hooked us up and let me just say… hands down this was the best view of any hotel I’ve ever stayed at.

We did a quick hair and makeup refresh and grabbed a cab to head to dinner. We chose Lotus of Siam for our first ‘eat with both hands’ celebratory meal. This place did not disappoint! Its slightly off the strip, but this was some of the best Thai food we have had. We spent a lot of time staring at the walls that are covered in pictures of famous diners.

Mario Batali!

If you aren’t super adventurous don’t despair- they have more tame items like fried rice and pad Thai on the menu.

Side Note: when going off strip beware of old people that steal your Uber due to confusion about how Uber actually works.

After dinner we grabbed some Starbucks and did some people watching before heading back to our room to watch Frasier and enjoy face masks that we picked up from CVS. We were definitely asleep by midnight. ROCK ON.

FRIDAY

We got up early on Friday morning and headed over to Hash House a Go-Go before the rush of hungover tourists descended on the place. They are known for their comically large proportions of breakfast foods… very Instagrammable.

We decided to split the bananas foster pancake and the sage fried chicken and waffles. The chicken was definitely our favorite, the best part was the crispy fennel straws… we couldn’t stop picking at them. I learned Dani doesn’t like maple syrup… this was very disappointing and I wasn’t sure if we could still be friends. Then she managed to get grease spots on her dress… so I forgave her.

We then hit the strip to shop for a grease-free dress for Danielle, and to burn our food calories off.

Mom Problem #1- No matter what, kids always score goodies before mom. We shopped all day and ended up with items for our kids.. go figure. Our favorite place was Kids Kastle in the forum shops (3500 Las Vegas BLVD) They had some of the cutest kids stuff ever, including mini designer inspired bags… Chanel, Celine…. so freaking cute.

Danielles ‘We are over this heat’ face

With a mild case of heatstroke (it was over 100 degrees the ENTIRE TIME we were there) we headed back to get ready for dinner at Mon Ami Gabi. We indulged in some steaks after our long day of walking… and their steak frites were AMAZE.

We had to scramble to make it from dinner to our show that night- Magic Mike Live at the Hardrock. Ladies…. this show was amazing. Not anything like you think it will be. I cannot recommend it enough… we had so much fun!

what I cannot recommend are the overpriced cocktails .. you can skip them…

A very expensive, very watered down drink at Magic Mike

After the show we met back up with the ladies and headed to Hakkasan to see Steve Aoki. It was fun… fun-ish….

I’ll be honest… our club days are over. We made friends with some dads and exchanged kid stories and pictures over loud EDM music… totally not what you are supposed to do at a club. If the staff knew we probably would have been forced to leave….

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Vegas Trip Roundup!

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Things We Love: Basic Invite

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are our own.  We only work with brands that we love (and we think you will love too!)

Ok everyone, we don’t gush about paper often but we have to say it….

We love Basic Invite! There’s a whole world of sites that seem to disappoint in some way, be it color schemes that don’t work for your party theme, ugly envelopes, dorky graphic design… We could go on forever. 

When we came across a site where everything was customizable, aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, and the kicker- offers sample print outs so you can actually use the product you will get, well… someone out there has been reading our minds. Don’t let the name fool you – Basic Invite is anything but basic!

Custom Colors

You can change the gold foil to rose gold!


The custom color tool is our absolute favorite thing about basic invite. And when they say custom color they really mean it; you can switch colors on every element of the card design. it’s so fun to feel like the card you are creating is one of a kind. They even have over 40 envelope color options to coordinate with your invite!

 

Making Your Life Easier

We are a bit lazy over here, so any tool that makes our lives easier is a win!  The envelope seals are peel and stick, because nobody wants to lick nasty envelopes shut.  They have a free address collection tool, so you can just share a link and easily compile all your addresses. 

Basic invite is also killing it on the baby front (attention all you preggos; put down the baby names book and the Oreos for a second here.)

 

Birth Announcements

Basic Invite has templates for everything, but we are especially crushing on the birth announcement designs right now – they are seriously so chic! They aren’t your typical ‘cutesy’ graphics; you can get down right sophisticated if you want. They have great templates for both girl birth announcements and baby boy birth announcement cards. Here are a couple of our faves:

 

Doubtful that a birth announcement will be in either of our immediate futures, but now you know where to head if you need one!  We will definitely be heading to Basic Invite to get our Christmas cards and birthday invites this year.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017

It’s the most magical time of year!!! CHRISTMAS! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  If you have somehow missed this phenomenon in previous years, it’s when the Fall merchandise goes on sale the end of July! So not only do you get a preview of fall trends, but you get amazing deals on the upcoming season, not last season’s sad leftovers (aka the Half Yearly Sale.)

We both were able to shop the sale early access sale with our Nordstrom cards, but it opens up to the public tomorrow (7/21).  A lot of the stuff did sell out, but they do restock a good amount before the public sale.  There are also a lot of returns that happen, so make sure to bookmark anything you like so that you can keep checking back.

Here’s what we bought:

 

Kelsey also put together an awesome video on how to style the faux leather Spanx leggings she bought.

Favorite Treats & Sweets – Phoenix

Ruze Cake House

Even though I love to bake and even went to culinary school for it; I definitely have more of a salt/carb/cheese tooth than a sweet one.   I still love to go out to grab a little treat now and then though.

RBF on point.

I have been following Růže Cake House on Instagram for a couple years, back when the mother-daughter duo used to make beautiful cakes and macarons out of their home.  Now they’ve opened up an insanely gorgeous storefront in Scottsdale.

Růže Cake House is tucked away in Old Town Scottsdale. They sell boba teas, macarons, and other pastries daily. If you have an event coming up, they also do wedding and special occasion cakes.

Trying to destroy their plants.

My last visit, I stopped in and got a box of 10 macarons and a strawberry lemonade boba.  (Their earl grey and prickly pear ones are really good too!)  I brough most of them home to split with my husband, and our favorites were the cookie dough and birthday cake ones.

Photos by Rachel Fischer.

Other favorite spots for treats:

Tracey Dempsey Originals If you’ve eaten at restaurants like Citizen Public House, The Gladly, or Nook; than you have probably already tried some of Tracey’s delicious desserts.  She also has a little shop in Tempe where you can get pastries, cookies, and her famous bacon caramel corn

Sweet Republic Ice Cream. This is my absolute FAVORITE for ice cream.  The Almond Buttercrunch and the seasonal Sugar and Spice are the best!  Alton Brown also named their Toffee Banofee sundae in the show Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network.

The Local Donut. There are so many good local places for donuts (Short Leash, Welcome Chicken + Donuts), but The Local Donut is my favorite.  Their donuts are categorized as traditional, fancy, or classy which is the cutest.

Ollie Vaughn’s I haven’t been here in some time, but I used to go here all the time when I lived in Phoenix.  My favorites were always their almond croissants and lemon bars.

 

 

Rosé Granita Recipe

Ok, Frosé!

Ugh, sorry, I already hate myself for saying that.  But as hard as I try not to be basic, I can’t help myself sometimes.  And let’s face it, rosé is the cool kid drink right now, and frosé (rosé granita, slushy, or snow cone – call it what you’d like) is the drink of summer. I rarely buy expensive bottles of wine, and this was no exception.  I used Ferard Bertrand Core des Roses because I had a sad bottle left from Gigi’s party, but any drier rosé would do.  I think this also might be pretty delicious with a sauvignon blanc/viognier/ any type of fruity dry white.  (Maybe I will need to do a little R&D taste-testing for you on this!)

Recipes with limited ingredients and pretty bottles are my favorite.

Plus it takes no time to make, requires no special ingredients or equipment, and you can make it ahead.  I think it’s totally impressive to serve at a dinner party, and besides the novelty of an adult snow cone, it tastes delicious!  You could tweak my recipe a little bit, but keep in mind that adding too much more alcohol will keep it from freezing.

Rosé Granita Recipe aka Rosé Slushy
When your friend comes over and you want to be fancy, but you only have cheddar bunnies to serve as a snack.

Rosé Granita Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry rosé
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • juice of half of a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. pomegranate or cranberry juice for color (optional)
  1. Heat water, sugar, and juice until sugar dissolves, and let cool.
  2. Stir in rosé and pour into a 9×13′ Pyrex (or similar) pan.
  3. Freeze for 2 hours, then stir with a fork, and put back in freezer.
    1. Freeze for another 2 hours (or up to 3 days) and re-stir.
  4. Serve in chilled glasses. Add a rosé float if you’d like, but it will make your rosé granita part melt faster.

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Stupid Toys Roundup

Dumbest Toys of 2017

I’m just OK in the momming department so I always let my kids go down every toy isle at places like Target or Toys R Us. I already know I’m raising spoiled and entitled children…so theres really nothing to lose. Plus its fun to see what has changed in the world of toys and what has stayed the same. There are toys like Calico Critters, Barbie, And LOL Dolls where, if I’m being honest, I want to buy them all and play right alongside my children….

And then there are those toys that leave me super confused and scared for the future. These are the toys that have me making my ‘WTF’ face:

Mashems/Fashems:

Instantly deducted points for the super stupid name of these. Right out the gate and I already hate you. I have yet to figure out why there are two names for the same awful product. Its basically a rubbery little figure that should be about 25 cents at a vending machine inside a bowling alley. Someone had the genius idea that we haven’t been paying enough for absolute crap…. so they invented Fashems… or Mashems… whatever.

On the plus side they are super duper attractive:

Orbeez:

These are on the list of things I will never buy my children for many, many reasons. I watched a YouTuber play with these. Then I rolled my eyes when she said they were ‘fun’.

You soak these little gel capsules that look like they are from old lady bath sets… then you smash them into little particles to do crafts with. If theres anything moms really love, its products that create things your child will have to keep and cherish forever, and leave strange chemical messes all over your household surfaces. BRAVO Orbeez.

Side note: You can apparently also do this with Orbeez… cause why the hell not?

Easy Bake oven:

I’m sure  there are people out there that would rip me a new one for putting this on a worst toys list. they would probably say things like “Its an institution!” or “I love making food that doesn’t taste like its meant for human consumption!”. With all the advances in technology I cannot believe this is still manufactured. For some reason cooking things over a lightbulb makes me think of people making meth. I don’t actually know how meth is made… but easy bake oven sounds plausible.

“ruining cake was fun…ruining pizza will be even more fun!”-the people over at easy bake

I remember making a cake and after the first bite realizing how bad it was and that I had to choke it down so I wouldn’t have to admit to my mom she was right about my Easybake oven. Glad to see other kids will get to experience that memory.

Shopkins:

I’m confused. Do these have a goal? Besides the obvious one of separating parents from their money? Bottom line: they creep me out and remind me of something a Japanese businessman would get off on.

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Instant Pot – The Ultimate Lazy Mom Device

Instant Pot = GAME CHANGER.

Let me start out by saying, I am in no way affiliated with Instant Pot. But I say in all seriousness that Instant Pot has changed my life! I’ve never been much for kitchen gadgets, besides my Vitamix and stand mixer.  I purchased the Instant Pot during an Amazon Prime Day sale as an impulse buy.

My baby was still pretty new, and I didn’t have time to cook much.  We hadn’t got her sleep down yet and thought you had to hold her to get her to nap, and I was still nursing.  These 2 activities took up my entire day.  In the mornings my husband would make me what he referred to as a “mommy sandwich” (cheesy egg sandwich) before he went to work. Then at about 8 pm I would realize I was ravenously hungry and eat 2 or 3 Hagan Daaz ice cream bars.  I did this for weeks and wondered why I hadn’t lost any pregnancy weight.

When my Instant Pot and America’s Test Kitchen pressure cooker book arrived, my life dramatically improved.  You can make anything in minutes. A crockpot means you have to plan it out.  You also have to brown the meat or saute the onions in a separate pan, which means more dishes (no thank you!).  I’ve made tons of stuff like ribs, chicken thighs, pot roast, and pork shoulder, but the real saving grace when I had no time to cook was a whole chicken.

Instant Pot Chicken and Beans / Chicken and Brown Rice

All you do is throw a chicken, chicken stock, garlic, (onion, white wine/lemon/herbs etc. are all great but optional), and short grain brown rice in the pot and set it to 25 minutes. And that’s it. LIFE. CHANGING. Once it’s done, you can take the chicken out and set aside to rest and stir a couple cups of baby spinach or chopped kale into the brothy rice and now you even have a vegetable. If you wanted to get fancy, you could saute your onion and garlic first for a greater depth of flavor, but I find this step unnecessary here.  The point is to have something super quick and easy.

You can replace the brown rice with pre-soaked beans, which is just as delicious! (I just never remember to soak the beans ahead of time.)

I’ve done beans instead of rice, or roasted vegetables instead of greens stirred in, but I really can’t tell you how good it felt having a hot meal after weeks of eating crap. My one and only complaint is that I really like crispy chicken skin, and even if you brown the chicken really well first, it just ends up a little soggy and sad by the time you take it out.

My solution (and I know this is a total fatass thing to do) is to remove the skin. It should all come off pretty neatly in a little sheet with legs and cut it up into a few pieces, so that it bakes evenly. Place it on parchment or aluminum foil for about 20 minutes at 375 until it’s brown and crunchy. I like to put a liberal amount of salt and pepper on it first, and turn it over halfway through.  Then you have a delicious crunchy snack or you can set it back on your chicken pieces for a sort of deconstructed look.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 4 lb. chicken
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup short or medium grain brown rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Optional (juice and zest from 1 lemon or a couple glugs of white wine, fresh herbs, spinach or chopped kale)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Stir rice, stock, garlic and onion together in pot. Season with salt and pepper. Place seasoned chicken on top.
  2. Close lid and set to 25 minutes.
  3. When timer goes off, quick release pressure.
  4. Remove chicken. If desired stir in spinach or chopped kale into rice mixture while set to “keep warm.” Stir until it wilts.

Zara Kids Haul

My Zara kids haul is not huge, but I love their stuff so much right now, I still had to share.  Specifically, their  artisan capsule collection has me dead, but I didn’t get too much from it because sometime I think I push my own monochrome style too much on my daughter, and let’s face it – babies are cute in colors!

And when I say I got these, I actually mean I sent my MIL the links for everything and told her this is what Gigi wanted for her birthday.

Dress: Zara $29.90

Also got this knit sweater  ($22.90) for fall, that they refer to as a sweatshirt, but whatever.

 

Shirt ZARA $7.90: Shorts: ZARA $22.90

She hasn’t worn them yet, but also got this adorable little embroidered outfit. Shirt $22.90 and shorts $19.90

Gingham Dress ZARA  $29.90

Also, when I was back on the ZARA website to find the links, I noticed they added their summer collection which is too cute! Would it be weird if I bought this kids backpack for myself?

Oh and then just to mix it up… Victoria Beckham for Target $15.00  They kinda look like PJs, but I’m still in to them!

 

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Gigi’s First Birthday Tea Party

First Birthday Partea Time!

Holy cow.  I really cannot believe that a year has come and gone so quickly.  I’ll skip all the cliche mushy feelings, and just skip to the important stuff – her birthday party.

I really don’t have a ton of friends, which sadly cuts into Gigi’s friend circle. (Sorry Georgia; mom’s a loser.) So the party was all adults, but  I swear I’m working on some baby friends soon! I had the Pinterest Mom Guilt (it’s real guys!) and have been planning an elaborate party and cake smash for months.  I went through several themes from flamingos, swans, zoo, fiesta, to stars, and finally landed on a tea party, because it sounded easiest and cute.  And my planning just really went downhill from there. The cake smash? Don’t hold your breath. 2 weeks later and that hasn’t happened yet.

The supplies:

I ordered the cutest tea stuff from this UK company called Party Ark.  It was all really cheap, but the shipping was $20.  They have the same stuff on Amazon, but it’s WAY more, so it’s still worth it to order directly from them.  I mixed and matched stuff, and then bought these cute cups while I was at Target. My mom had pretty silver platters and flatware that we mixed in for serving. I got these cups, these plates, these napkins, and this treat stand.

tea party first birthday party

Eats:

I cook for a living, so I always feel like there’s a lot of pressure on me, to have decent food.  In the end though, I nixed all the recipes I had been pinning, and made a DIY tea sandwich station. Having other people do all the work is pretty genius.  I cut up bread with cookie cutters, and had chicken salad, smoked salmon, thinly cut veggies, micro-greens, and spreads.  I also put out veggies, fruit, and all the typical party stuff.

Treats:

The real theme of this party, was probably that I cheated in every way possible.  I am slightly ashamed to say that I bought rice crispy treats from the grocery store, and dipped them in candy melts.  Palmiers were purchased from Costco, and then I spent way more time than I’d like to admit on her birthday cake, which was topped with puffs and yogurt melts (I’m pretty sure I invented this idea, and I felt really proud of it.)

Partea Cake
Partea Cake with Puffs

What I skipped:

Basically, everything.  I just ran out of time! I’m in the midst of starting a new business, had family coming into town, and lots of other lame excuses.  I nixed basically all decorations.  My mom got flowers, and had enough pretty platters and china, that I didn’t think we needed anything else.  I ran out of buttercream and time, so the mini cupcakes didn’t get done. I wanted to do a photo booth backdrop which was also neglected. I balanced it out by spending way too long on the cake, and doing ridiculous things like watercoloring signs, and personalizing treat bags of tea that nobody took.  In the end though, Gigi had a great time eating tissue paper and flinging her cup, so I’ll call this first birthday partea a success!

first birthday partea

First Birthday Partea Inspo

So if I had more money and time, I would have definitely amped it up a little, but really wtf does a one year old care?  Below is some Pinterest inspo to make your party cooler than mine!

(Kara’s Party Ideas)
The Glamorous Housewife

 

(Celebrations at Home)

 

LOL Dolls…Is this what my life has become?

If you have children and you aren’t a total nazi when it comes to screen time, chances are you and your kids have watched at least one toy unboxing video on youtube. For those of you with social lives, the toy unboxing world is big business on youtube, and people make millions… yes millions, uploading these videos. Side note: why am I not pimping out my children making these videos yet?

Ive become quite the toy video connoisseur and consider myself well versed in all the dumb toy and ‘surprise balls’ that are on the market. Most kids toys are designed by people on acid (I’m assuming here) but there is one toy that really resonated with me. Warning to readers: I’m about to show my crazy here in a major way…

Enter LOL Dolls. “Little Outrageous Littles”….yea I know. I can feel you judging already. Shut up.

The whole idea is this mystery ball with all these layers, each layer revealing a surprise. Each doll comes with shoes, an outfit, and an accessory. They also come with a little ‘bottle’ to feed them water- thus revealing the final surprise… does your doll spit, cry, or pee? Some dolls also change color if you dunk them in cold water. This is the official site for LOL Dolls that goes way more into depth on all the different dolls…

I can feel you rolling your eyes…stop.

Hello Ladies…

Yes, LOL Surprise Dolls are cute, and they have the fun surprise element, but the thing that really got me addicted was how elusive these suckers are. Finding these feels like hitting the lottery and brings me back to being a kid on the hunt for Beanie Babies. Honestly I live for the competition. I was never athletic in any way so I get all my competitive juices out through shopping. Better believe I can outshop anyone.. not joking.

The only two gold ones we have scored so far…

My girls like these but If I’m being completely honest I like them more. I don’t actually want them per se… I just want to find them all and conquer the world of useless plastic items (thats a real title you can win right?) Ive been snagging these dolls whenever I find them and was hoping to use them as potty training incentives. So far no progress has been made on that, but I am the proud owner of an entire box of LOL Dolls I found at Toys R Us! And yes, last week I fought the urge to throw a completely stocked LOL Doll display into my Target cart.

Yes, I keep some in my car as good behavior bribes…

The craziest part of all of this was I wasn’t sure I even wanted to write about this for fear I might inspire others to start looking for these. I need help.

Side note: According to this article the evil genius is planning to unveil new dolls come fall. LORD HELP ME.