Halloween Basket Tutorial + Haul

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!

Yea… im pretty excited…

My kids are finally old enough to (sort of… kind of) understand Halloween. So naturally I’m going even more all out than last year. We are not only going to trick or treat, we are also going to Pumpkin Nights at the Minnesota State fairgrounds this year. It looks absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to see the girls’ reactions to all the lit up pumpkins! I don’t wanna spoil our costume choice yet, but I thought I would share this years basket goodies!

First up, The goodies from Target:

These bats light up…. thats a win! These were found in the dollar spot.

I showcased these in a haul video on our YouTube channel a month or so ago. Super adorbs, just the right size for a basket! These were $5.99 I believe and they were in the Barbie isle.

These were $3 from the dollar spot but they are gigantic and come with stickers…

Another dollar spot find were these ‘melting witches’… Ive seen similar products at boutique toy stores for $15… these were $3.

Next up is Michaels:

Michaels kills it in the sticker game… its my go to place for cheap sticker books.

 I used a handy coupon on these…. I couldn’t resist! They retail for $5.99.

Light up glasses…. reminds me of a spooky Elton John.  $5!

Yea… more light up stuff… you will be able to spot my kids from outer space… $5.

And lastly, Homegoods:

I couldn’t find matching books… which isn’t a big shock… its Homegoods.. and with Homegoods: “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit”- the words of my wise niece Eva. These have fun pop up surprise doors… my kids aren’t into books unless theres some sort of shtick to it. They were each $5.99.

The Baskets are also from Homegoods. As usual, I stuff a little tissue paper into the bottom of the baskets to lift everything up. Then I arrange the items from tallest to shortest.

These baskets are so much fun for me to make, and if you hadn’t already noticed… completely SWEETS FREE! So great for kids with allergies, or if you are trying to avoid sugary treats. I know its kind of redundant considering kids get bags full of candy this time of year, but they are only young once and seeing them get excited for these baskets makes me so happy. Happy Halloween mamas!!

Best Spots in Minneapolis/St.Paul for sweets

Its no secret I have a major sweet tooth. If you share my passion for diabetes inducing foods these are my top places to indulge in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area:

Minneapolis:

Glam doll Donuts

(2605 Nicollet Avenue)

This place is THE PLACE for donuts…serious.. don’t mess with other places. Just go here. This is the place where Rockabilly and sugar meet. My top favs are the bombshell and pucker up. Go early to avoid sell outs and huge lines. Bring these for your morning meeting and you will be promoted…to CEO.

Sebastian Joes

(4321 Upton Ave South & 1007 West Franklin Ave S)

The ice Cream here is amazing, Nicollet pot hole is my ‘must get’ flavor. They also have shakes, sundaes, ice cream cakes…. basically anything frozen and delicious. The linden hills location (4321 Upton) is particularly family friendly, with a huge seating area inside and out.

Patisserie 46

(4552 Grand Ave South)

Think Paris…. beautiful desserts almost to pretty to eat. Get the petit Chocolat… well, get everything…

Honey & Rye

(4501 Excelsior Blvd St Louis Park)

Chocolate coconut pie… thats all I have to say…. so good.

Rustica

(3220 West Lake street mpls & 8107 Eden Prairie rd, Eden Prairie)

My favorites include the Bouchon and the eclairs…. but honestly you can’t go wrong here.

Carlo’s Bakeshop Mall of America

(third floor by Shake Shack, Bloomington mn)

Yes I know. When I heard that the cake boss was coming to town I sort of rolled by eyes. Anyone who has a tv show has sold out and their stuff is probably pretty mediocre. Well I just tried it a few days ago and I will eat my words… along with a Sfogliatella. Let me also say one more thing about Carlo’s…. I picked up some basic chocolate cupcakes for the girls… I tried a bite. holy moly. They tasted like chocolate. In a world where so much stuff is bland and most things labelled “chocolate” hardly deserve the title, these really were quality.

St Paul:

Cafe Latte

(850 Grand Ave)

The Twins first birthday cakes

This is my go to place for birthday cakes. I love this place so much my wedding cakes (yes cakeSSS) were from here. One of my favorite things about Latte is you can order by the slice… I recommend going with a few friends and splitting a few slices, variety is the spice of life! You cannot go wrong with their signature turtle cake, or any of their many variations of Tres Leche.  ps- they serve Champagne ….

Cosettas

(211 7th Street west)

This place is amazing… a giant Italian cafeteria, a bakery, and a full Italian supermarket under one roof. The bakery has some amazing stuff… but I like the cannolis…I’m old school like that…

DIY Unicorn Costume

DIY unicorn costume Pottery Barn Kids

Being that it is still 90°+ outside, it’s a bit difficult to wrap my head around the fact that it is officially fall.  Last year I threw together a DIY Rosie the Riveter costume at the last minute and my daughter ended up giving out major Tupac vibes, so I wanted to put a bit more thought and time into it this year.  I really liked this Pottery Barn Kids costume, but at $89, it is clearly not happening!  I used coupons at Jo-Ann Fabric and bought the shirt on sale at Old Navy for $4.  I think the grand total was probably about $40. You could definitely do it for less, if you got cheaper fake flowers, but I really liked these ones which were a bit pricier. Let me know if you have any questions, and try not to mind my double chin in my tutorial!

 

A Weekend in Minneapolis Recap

We just spent a long weekend in Minneapolis.  As you probably know, Kelsey lives here, and I grew up here so I had a pretty good grasp on what I wanted to do before we came.  I LIVE for the MN State Fair – the cheese curds, the people watching – it’s the best.  We were here the same time as the fair, but I didn’t think it would make much sense to drag a 16 month around, and it also rained a good bit over the weekend.  Instead we tried to focus on more toddler friendly activities, and wanted to spend time with my parents and Kelsey and the girls.

Eat:

Convention Grill
Edina, MN

This is just a “full order” of fries. Make sure to order them extra crispy, or they are a bit limp.

Convention Grill is one of those old standbys that I have to do every time I’m home.  The food is nothing extraordinary, but it’s good burgers, fries and shakes.  (I know Kelsey always gets the chicken soup like a weirdo, so I’m assuming that’s good too.) It’s been around for ever, and not only did I used to come here growing up, but so did my parents!  It’s cute and 50’s looking, and not fancy aka perfect place to bring a loud toddler.

Pizzeria Lola
Minneapolis, MN


It was super busy, even at 4:00 pm on a Saturday, but we didn’t have to wait long.  Again, it’s a loud and casual restaurant, so perfect for kids.  They gave her a cup of goldfish crackers while we waited, which was awesome.  She usually loves pizza, but wasn’t going for it tonight.  Instead she ended up eating almost 2 entire ears of roasted corn, which was on their special that evening.  The grownups all liked the pizza though (Korean BBQ, The Boise, & My Sharon-i.)

The Lynhall
Minneapolis, MN


I actually went here twice.  My husband and I went here for drinks one night, and then we came back the next morning for brunch with my parents and daughter.  It’s a huge, gorgeous space, with the most thoughtful little details everywhere.  This place was made for your Instagram.

 

Sebastian Joe’s
Minneapolis, MN

Our favorite ice cream joint (besides Izzy’s) in Minneapolis.  They added on, and now have a cute patio and more seating.  The girls had fun running around, and we found a cute bench nearby for some pictures.  Not sure if you have ever tried to get 3 kids under 3 to all look in the same direction at the same time and smile, but it’s not do-able.

Drink

Northern Coffeeworks
Minneapolis, MN

Northern Coffee - best coffee shop in Minneapolis

Again, this is where your Instagram dreams come true.  This place is light and industrial in all the right places.  We got a smoked sea salt mocha and an iced espresso drink with maple and orange called Cabin Vibes. Both delish.

Wesley Andrews
Minneapolis, MN

Wesley Andrews - best coffee in Minneapolis
No caffeine and still running wild.

This was more of a tea place, and I’m not a huge tea person but we did end up getting a cold brew and a realllllyyyy good iced vanilla mocha.  They were out of the kombucha I wanted to try.

Volstead’s Emporium

We were looking for a fun place to grab a cocktail, and this had good reviews and was near where we were in Uptown.  It’s a “speakeasy” and took us a minute to find it in some alleyway.  The door guy opens a little eye hole and then let us in.  Once you go down a dirty staircase, the bar is pretty cool.  It was dark so I couldn’t really get any pictures, but it definitely looked the part of an old speakeasy.  We sat at a table, and the mirror on the wall opened up and the waiter appeared and took our drink orders.  The drinks were pretty meh and everyone there was very friendly, but our server had no interest in helping me find a cocktail that wasn’t on their limited menu. I’d definitely come back again just for the novelty of it though.

Do

Wild Rumpus Book Store
Minneapolis, MN

The last time I went to Wild Rumpus, I was pregnant with Gigi!  It is the cutest little bookshop with a silkie chicken running around.  I think last time I was there, there were kittens too.  They have tons of fun and different books you wouldn’t find at a regular book store.  Things are a little pricy; Georgia ended up picking out a $36 dollar squirrel puppet (sorry Grandma and Grandpa) but worth it.  She loved chasing the poor chicken and seeing all the other kids.  I think next year when she’s a bit older she will enjoy it even more.

First Avenue
Minneapolis, MN

Ok I’ll be honest, we only walked by here after our coffee so I could take a picture next to the Prince star, because I’m basic like that. It’s famous as a venue where tons of big artists got their start their.  I had to laugh because I saw Hanson was doing a (sold out) show there.  We also walked by at night, and there was some prime people watching.  Lots of black latex, crazy hairs, and someone had a cat tail?

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Minneapolis, MN

Fun outdoor park with the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry, as well as lots of others.  There’s also a really cute looking mini golf, but we didn’t do it.  Highlights included enjoying the weather while walking around, and watching some little kid play in the disgusting duck pond water while his parents spent a good 15 minutes trying to get a photo where it looked like the mom was eating the cherry.

Crayola Experience
Mall of America – Bloomington, MN

Kelsey already did a video on this here, and they have an annual pass so we ended up getting in for free as their guests.  It is huge and there’s tons of stuff for kids of all ages. If they had that in Phoenix, I would definitely buy a pass!

Gold Medal Park
Minneapolis, MN

Gold medal flour park

All in all the weekend was a total success.  We wished we could have spent about another week there!

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Vegas Trip Roundup: Part Two

We woke up Saturday morning fresh as daisies- one of the best things about no longer being cool party people. GO US!

We took our time getting ready, and decided our first meal of the day would be lunch at secret pizza inside the Cosmopolitan. Its not much of a ‘secret’ anymore… but it was still good. We found a prime location right outside of secret pizza with sofas and a coffee table to set our food on. It was the perfect people watching spot, near the Marquee pool party. Let me just say, of all the people watching locations… Cosmopolitan was our favorite.

We headed out shopping again after letting our carbs settle. I had spent the first shopping excursion comparing handbags at different spots, and I finally had made my decision: it was time to buy.

I’m not a gambler, so buying designer bags is how I choose to be irresponsible. I decided on Balenciaga…in the forum shops.. Because crystals mall is apparently a place for all of us regular slobs to have “pretty woman” experiences.

After that we chose to cool off and have a Diet Coke, then head back to clean up for dinner.

Our Saturday night dinner was  at Scarpetta inside the Cosmo (once again… sensing a theme?)

 

My short rib agnolotti
Danielles Tagliatelle

It was carb heaven. I highly recommend.

After dinner it was Backstreet Boys time at Planet Hollywood. It was all good except for a diminutive asian lady usher who screamed at us NOT TO USE OUR FLASH. Not gonna lie, she sort of sucked the fun and excitement out of the moment briefly.

I should be giving you my review of the show, but if I’m being completely honest… I’m not a huge BSB fan…. shhhh don’t tell.

After the show our cool friends went to some cool club with other cool people….

Danielle and I changed into comfy clothing and hit up Momofuku Milk bar at Cosmopolitan… again.

Ice cream- old people’s version of cocktails

Sunday was our last little bit of kidless freedom so we got up early and headed to Aria to try out Jean Phillipe Patisserie.

Most adorable chocolate shoe ever at Jean Phillipe

I got a crepe, and Dani got a ham and cheese filled croissant.

Best picture I took in Vegas: Danielles extreme RBF while waiting for her croissant.

We also learned grown adults still sometimes try to cut in lines. Those people learned I don’t screw around with etiquette ( my biggest pet peeve is bad manners), I totally will call you out for being rude in public.

Danielle drove me to the airport and in a funny twist of fate I sat right next to one of my clients on the flight back. We exchanged stories and I’m pretty sure he now thinks I’m the most boring person alive. oh well……

Tot Activities: The Odysea Aquarium

I was hemming and hawing about buying passes when The Odysea Aquarium opened up.  I thought my daughter might like to see the fish, but the Yelp reviews were all over the place and I couldn’t decide if it was worth it or not.  When summer rolled around, they had a special deal for annual passes. $69.95 for an adult versus $34.95 for a daily pass.  I do not think it’s worth the cost for the daily pass, at least for this age, but the annual pass is a steal.  We have gone there almost every week this summer, because it’s nice just to have an air conditioned place to run around.

The aquarium itself is a lot smaller than it appears from the outside.  The complex is actually mostly restaurants and gift shops.  There is also a laser tag place, a butterfly exhibit, and a dolphin experience. The aquarium has lots of smaller tanks with fish, and bigger tanks with sharks and rescue tortoises (my favorite part.)  The best part of the aquarium is probably the living carousal, which rotates around so you can see the big tanks.  My 15 month old has little patience for this part, so if we do this one, I have to bribe her with lots of snacks (which you’re not supposed to bring in there.)

They have a play area for kids with a giant peg board, water table, and coloring area but she is a bit too little for this.  She still likes running around and looking at the other kids though.  There are also a couple places where you can touch the water creatures, but I’m pretty sure she would just try and grab them, so I haven’t done this yet either.

You can color fish/ sea creatures and project them

All in all, I would recommend Odysea Aquarium but would definitely invest in the annual pass. There’s really not too many indoor activities for little ones around here during the summer and we’ve been enjoying this one. I’m assuming at about 3 or 4, she would get a lot more out of the experience.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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