Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fall Food Favorites

Now that it is officially September, does that mean it’s socially acceptable to talk about all things pumpkin and turkey now?!  I sure hope so… because that’s what I am doing today.

We had our first dose of fall this past weekend with some rain and cooler weather… it got a lot of people really excited for the season to come!  I wish I could say I was one of those people, but I’m a summer girl through and through.  You’ll never hear me complaining about sunshine.

Although summer is my season of choice, there are a few things that get me pretty amped for the fall season… one of those things being fall food!  I’d love to share those with you today!

Fall Treats

I’m not a fan of the pumpkin spice latte, but these treats sure look like a great, indulgent substitute…



Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins via Damn Delicious




Pumpkin Apple Cider Doughnuts via Heather Kinnaird




Candy Corn Cookies via Jenna Weber (These are my FAVORITE!!)




Also a good option?  Pumpkin Spice Cakies via yours truly.

Warm, Comforting, Soup Dinners

Nothing is better on a cozy fall night than a delicious soup dinner!  Here are some we love in our house…or are excited to try this year!



Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup via Baked by Rachel




Smoky Kale & Bean Soup via Jenna Weber




Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup via Budget Savvy Diva


(We make this yearly—SO good!)


Also our favorite comforting dinner year-round?  Chicken & White Bean Chili via yours truly.

Fall Drinks

I obviously won’t be partaking in a few of these adult options, but they all look too delicious to not share!



Sparkling Apple Cider Float via Hot Eats & Cool Reads




Apple Cider Sangria via My Life & Kids




Slow Cooker Apple Cider via No. 2 Pencil




Apple Cider Slushies via Clean & Scentsible



I’m obviously a sucker for anything served inside an apple… not to mention, apples are for sure my #1 pregnancy craving right now.

So that’s all for me today… I’d love to hear/see some links to some of your favorite fall treats!  Leave them in the comments below!

To see all my favorite Fall ideas, be sure to follow my
Fall Festivities Board via Pinterest!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Maternity Staples from YogaOutlet.com

I mentioned briefly in this post that with this whole pregnancy thing, clothing is getting tricky… I’m small enough to where the maternity stuff doesn’t really fit yet, but too big for my normal sized pants and shorts.  A classic in-betweener.

I’ve had a few staple items this summer that I’ve turned to until the warmer maternity hand-me-downs from my sister start fitting a little better, the first article being dresses!  I loveeee my maxi dresses.  Nothing fit as well and was more comfortable for my growing bump… that was until I was able to try these little gems on…

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(This post is about the pants… however, for those of you that don’t follow me on Instagram, my best friend surprised me with this little shirt.  I think it was more of a present for my Star Wars loving husband… but I got a good laugh out of it!)

Enter YogaOutlet.com.  When I was contacted by YogaOutlet.com to participate in their summer blogger promotion, I was a bit hesitant.  Nothing really seemed to be fitting me right and I was so uncomfortable in everything I tried on!  I browsed the website a bit and was pleasantly surprised to find a couple maternity items available for purchase.

In full disclosure, I received a gift card to select one item in exchange for my honest review.  After much deliberation between these two maternity items, I finally selected the Cozy Orange Wanderlust Maternity Pants—in the raven black color.

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I have tried on maternity pants before, and even the extra smalls in stores seemed to be too big and awkwardly baggy in the crotch area.  My expectations for these pants were low, I selected the small size to add to my cart and hoped for the best.

Much to my surprise… they fit perfectly!

From their website:

“Elastic underbelly waistband the sits just below your belly for easy wear throughout your pregnancy. Chafe-free and stretchy for a cozy feel. Relaxed fit with boot cut leg openings. Luxurious four-way stretch fabric. Moisture wicking qualities for a dry fit. Shape and color retention fabric qualities.”

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I don’t love the idea of posting this bare belly pic for the world to see… but I wanted to point out the wide waistband on these pants, it really adds to the comfort factor.

*Sidenote* After taking this picture I was shocked…This is the first picture where I feel like I actually look pregnant! Ahh! So exciting!

I immediately throw these pants on after coming home from work… actually, any opportunity I have to wear them—I do! :)  I am obsessed. 

To be honest, I have yet to actually do any sort of physical activity while wearing them… but I’m hoping to feel up to doing some prenatal yoga soon!  I’ve got my eye on these two dvds… Maybe if I buy them it will magically give me that boost of energy I need? ;)

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Anyways, besides the amazing maternity/prenatal gear that I have raved about… YogaOutlet.com has tons of spectacular options (both clothing and gear wise) for everybody!

You’re in luck too because right now they are having a HUGE Summer Sale.  The deals for awesome clothing and gear do not get much better than these… especially when any order over $49 gets free shipping!

Here are a few of the Summer Sale items I would jump on if I didn’t have this little baby bump to think about…

yoga outlet summer sale

1. Lucy Workout Racerback in Asphalt
2. Beyond Yoga Surplice Back Pullover in White
3. Beyond Yoga Women’s Gathered Legging in Neon Berry
4. Gypsy Junkies Backless Maxi in Charcoal

One last thing, Harrells on Hood readers can get a one-time 15% discount at YogaOutlet.com by using the promo code "bridgepose" at check-out on your first purchase!

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For those of you that just skimmed to the end of the post, here’s a recap of the important stuff—Insanely cute and comfortable yoga gear, cheap Summer Sale prices, free shipping over $49, and a 15% discount on your first purchase… What are you even waiting for?!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Baby Harrell is a…!! [gender reveal party recap]

mickey or minnie gender reveal party

In case you missed it… about a year ago, I had the opportunity to throw my sister a gender reveal party!  It was so awesome to see my sister & brother in law’s genuine reaction to the fact that they were having a baby GIRL!  I knew that when the time came, Zack and I wanted to do some sort of reveal with our families too.

I mentioned here that my sister was kind enough to offer to throw us a little shindig, and I dropped the hint that I preferred something a little more lowkey… however, anyone who knows my sister knows she does not do lowkey.

Before we knew it, we had an (adorable) invitation sent out to both our big families and a few of our closest friends—and it was a big bash in the making!  In hindsight, I am so thrilled with the way it turned out and would not have changed a thing had I thrown it myself. :)

gender reveal invite

First hint that it’s a big party?  There’s a THEME! :)

The “Mickey or Minnie?” theme was so cute, and something I had never seen before!  My sister really knocked one out of the ballpark with all the special little details and touches to the party—it felt so “us.”

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Scattered around all the tables were photos of Zack and I from our Disneyland & Disneyworld trips.

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On either side were little tubs of this delicious white chocolate peppermint popcorn!

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A variety of pink and blue sweets—not to mention Mickey and Minnie Rice Krispy treats!

Looking back at these photos I realized I didn’t get a chance to eat any of these delicious sweets! Such a bummer, but I guess I was just too excited!

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She handmade Mickey and Minnie ears for people to wear their guess.

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Even Trooper wore his pick. :)

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Harper was dressed to impress. :) As were my parents, of course.

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Zack’s family was dressed in blue all across the board—they were pretty convinced Baby Harrell was a boy.

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Some of my favorites. :)

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There was a board for people to write their name ideas for both genders.

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And the PHOTOBOOTH! Oh my goodness, don’t even get me started!  The wedding photobooth made yet another appearance, but it was spruced up to fit the theme!

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How creative is that?  There were so many fun Disney themed props too!

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After a little BBQ dinner, it was time for the big REVEAL!

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Zack and I were instructed to stand under this box and pull the strings on the count of 3… We were so nervous!

one two three

ONE…                                        TWO…                                    THREE…

In case you can’t see the video…

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We obviously didn’t care what the gender was—but I was shocked.  I guess since the last 4 babies in our family have been girls, I just convinced myself ours was too?  Not sure—but we were thrilled!

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Along with the party came some adorable gifts!  Zack’s grandma purchased the cutest little snow suit for Baby Harrell—along with both a girl and boy outfit. :)

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Along with the balloons glitter and confetti, all the guests were given these poppers to pop after the big reveal!

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Lots of glitter.

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So thankful for my sister for throwing us such an incredible party! (And her husband who I’m sure helped a lot too. :)

Can’t wait to meet Baby BOY Harrell in December!

Like any ideas?  Feel free to re-pin them on Pinterest via my gender reveal board here or by clicking the “Pin it” button on the photos.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Baby Harrell [weeks 17-22]

19-22 weeks

Baby is the size of… an onion [17], sweet potato [18], mango [19], banana [20] pomegranate [21], papaya [22].

Big Developments… A lot of big developments have happened over the past few weeks, but as of 22 weeks our baby is around 11 inches and almost 1 pound and starting to look like a miniature newborn. The lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, tiny tooth buds are developing beneath the gums. Eyes have formed, but the irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment.

Cravings? I had a big donut craving for WEEKS!  Lucky for me, I attended my cousin’s wedding where in lieu of a wedding cake they had a donut cake.  It was honestly the best thing ever.

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Also, Zack’s cousins came to visit and brought us donuts too!  I have definitely fulfilled the donut craving a few too many times… I think it’s safe to say I have reached my pre-pregnancy weight again after losing so much being sick. ;)

Aversions? Most things still make me a little queasy thinking about them… Zack has stopped asking what I feel like eating for meals and will just set something in front of me.  I can usually eat anything without issue, it’s just the thought of it that makes me feel sick. 

Sleep?  Still not sleeping great throughout the night, but have eliminated naps almost altogether which is a great sign.  I’m starting to get some motivation back!

Other Symptoms? I am no longer getting sick every single morning!! (PTL!!) However, it’s not gone completely.  The longest I’ve gone was 6 days and it was glorious. 

Around 18 weeks I felt our baby move for the first time!  Zack was out of town and I was sitting on the couch at home when it happened.  I immediately started to tear up, I just knew that I felt our little baby for the first time, and I was bummed Zack wasn’t there to share it with!  I tried to wiggle around to feel it again but it didn’t work.  After that I could feel it at night time every couple of days just faintly.

Around 20 weeks I started to feel movement more consistently at night, and stronger too!  Now, at 22 weeks I can feel movement throughout the day every once in awhile, and the occasional large kick or roll.  It is such an incredible feeling… I can only imagine what it will be like for the next 18 weeks!

What I Miss?  Coffee… have had a couple decaff coffees, but they just aren’t the same for some reason?  I really miss turkey sandwiches and fresh Caesar salads!  I have been asking at restaurants if they use raw eggs in the Caesar dressing and only one that I’ve been to did not… and it was SO delicious. 

Maternity Clothes?  I am still not fitting into maternity pants yet… which is getting tricky.  There’s no way my normal pants can button comfortably so I’ve had to get creative with my work pants… I use a hair tie to fasten the button, and a long tank top to cover it. :)  Luckily it’s summer, so other than work I have gotten by wearing maxi skirts and dresses.

IMG_3257IMG_32822 events, one maxi dress…desperate times.

This week I also had the opportunity to try out some comfy maternity yoga pants from yogaoutlet.com—I will be telling you more about those soon. :) (*Spoiler—I love them!)

New Baby Items? Now that we know the *GENDER of Baby Harrell, we have gotten a TON of items!!  Zack and I are constantly amazed at how generous people have been!  My cousin Jennifer is amazing and surprised us with 2 huge boxes filled with the cutest clothes, not to mention a bunch of other great baby items—like a bouncer/swing, boppy, and other little toys.

Then, the nanny family that gave us the crib that I mentioned here?  They gave us 2 huge bins of clothes too!

All that, plus SO many cute new things family and friends have bought us once they found out the gender.  Baby Harrell is SO loved… and Zack and I just feel so blessed for all the love and support we have received already.

*Wondering what the gender of our little bundle is?  Well, stay tuned for our gender reveal party update coming later this week. :)  Most of you know already though, the secret is out on Instagram, if you just can’t wait to see.

Friday, July 25, 2014

What I’m Loving Lately

Well, it’s Friday and today I am officially 19 weeks!

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my life and the random little joys I’m appreciating lately.  And let me tell you, since I’ve been pregnant those little joys are few and far between… so I take advantage of them when I find them! :)

The Skimm

source

Have you guys heard of the Skimm?  I love to be informed about what’s going on in the world, and I usually can be found checking my CNN app once or twice a day… but to be honest, I don’t always understand the logistics of what I’m reading.  A lot of news articles don’t tell you the history behind the story, they expect you to know exactly what they’re talking about…and a lot of times I don’t!  Enter: The Skimm.  In their own words,

“TheSkimm is the daily e-mail newsletter that gives you everything you need to start your day. We do the reading for you - across subject lines and party lines - and break it down with fresh editorial content.”

So each weekday morning I receive an email filled with news updates.  Not only is it great to be informed, but the emails are written in a way that’s entertaining too! :)  To read an example of the emails that are sent each day, check them out here.  Or to sign-up yourself click here!

SoftLips Cube

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I received this SoftLips Cube (Blueberry Pomegranate flavor) in my Spring Vox Box via Influenster.  To be honest, I’m a loyal Burt’s Bees fan—I have yet to find a chapstick/lip balm that comes close to my love for good ol’ Burt’s… but this cube comes close.  I loved the scent of the cube, which was unexpected, and when applied it gave my lips that tingly feeling that I love… it makes me feel like it’s really working, ya know?  Overall, do I love it better than Burt’s?  No.  But it’s nice to have options…and the cube packaging is pretty fun too.

Sisterhood Everlasting

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I want to write a whole post dedicated to the books I’ve been reading lately (maybe next week?) but I wanted to share this one now.  I used to LOVE the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books when I was growing up.  I read all the books, and watched the movie multiple times—I had such a strong connection with the characters, I loved growing up with them as I read.  Well apparently I have been living under a rock and never knew that Ann Brashares wrote another Sisterhood book, but this time they are all grown up!  I read this book in like 2 days, I loved getting caught up with my favorite characters lives.  I was half expecting the book to be cheesy and young, because that’s probably what I would think of the other books now… but I was surprised by the more adult themes and mature subject content.  It makes sense, but it was just unexpected.  I loved it!

Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars

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Over the past 19 weeks I have been surviving on granola bars and Saltines…I wish I was joking.  Other foods are phased in and out depending on my temperamental nausea… but granola bars and Saltines have been my go-tos.  My current granola bars of choice are the Nature Valley Crunchy variety.  I’ve been enjoying them with some yogurt in the mornings, and as snacks throughout the day.  So far, so good.  Honorable mention to the Odwalla Chocolate Chip Peanut bars, also a solid choice.

Last but most certainly not least…

I am absolutely LOVING the invites my sister made for our GENDER REVEAL PARTY!!!

Originally, Zack and I weren’t planning on doing any sort of big reveal when we had our gender screening ultrasound.  But if you remember, I threw my sister a big party for her gender reveal—and it was so much fun! 

My sister was anxious to start planning some sort of reveal for us, so we agreed to some sort of low-key BBQ or something to reveal the gender of our little bundle… but if you know my sister, she doesn’t exactly do low-key. :)  We are definitely excited to see what she comes up with, and most excited to find out if we will be having a little boy or girl!

I have now fully embraced the idea of a big gender reveal bash and have invited lots of family and friends.  I CAN’T WAIT!

Anyways, check out the invitations she sent out to everyone:

gender reveal invite

Perfect for us. :)

Now we are hoping and praying that all goes well during the ultrasound and that Baby Harrell cooperates so that we can actually find out the gender on the scheduled day!

What have you been loving lately?!