2018 Gift Ideas

Gift Guide 2018_2.jpg

My mother-in-law is taking the kiddos Thursday-Saturday (hallelujah!) and Brett doesn’t have Friday off, which means I’ll be spending the majority of the day online Christmas shopping in my pajamas. Tell me I’m not the only one? As a self-proclaimed excellent gift giver, I am also a sucker for a good gift guide. Here are a few things on our family wishlist this year! What’s on yours?

For her:

mini leather crossbody bag // medium gold hoop earrings // hooded pajama jacket // nursing-friendly top // pointy toe mule // becoming // mini orbital hair pin // 2019 calendar

For him:

wireless headphones // congratulations, who are you again? // google WiFi system // away carry on (use this link to get $20 off!) // low top sneaker // commuter mug // reversible jacket made from recycled water bottles

For them:

walkie talkies // feeding mat // donut teether // fair isle jammies // star tee // new lunchbox // donut teether // love does for kids // book passport // blush sweater set // bath wrap // motorcycle tee // superheroes magnets // brown sneakers // friend who forgives // nature kit

Comment

Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.

The girlfriends' guide to babymoons and my new favorite suitcase ever

I can’t even remember how this came to be, other than I think (?) it started as a joke, and then a few weeks later I was booking a Southwest flight and searching for maternity cactus pajamas on ASOS.com.

“So you’re going on a babymoon—without me?” Brett clarified, somewhat confused as I scrolled the spa menu.

“That’s correct,” I smiled back.

April and I ventured to Palm Springs, which is sort of becoming “our place” since the only two occasions we’ve met in real life have happened there. We booked a pink hotel and a couple of facials, drank mocktails by the pool, wore our cactus pajamas in public (accidentally), and ate a lot of delicious food (corndog lollipops anyone?).

On the way to the airport we stopped to snap photos in a succulent nursery like pregnant hipsters.

Moral of the story: babymooning with a pregnant girlfriend = five out of five stars. Let’s make this a thing!

Also, can we please talk about this suitcase for a minute?

I have been lusting after Away luggage for probably two whole years, but it felt like a lame thing to spend money on. Kind of like buying a new mattress. It’s just so … adultish. But—similar to purchasing a new mattress—once you fork over the money and get the New Awesome Adult Thing in your possession, you wonder why on earth you didn’t make this purchase sooner.

That is how I feel about my new (yes, pink) suitcase. I have been rocking the same black carry-on for twelve years, originally gifted to me from my parents, originally purchased at Costco. And while there’s nothing wrong with the suitcase per se, again, I liken it to sleeping on the same mattress for twelve years (which, come to think of it, we have been! yikes). At some point, it’s time for an upgrade.

April dropped me off at the airport 45 minutes before my flight was scheduled to take off. We didn’t mean to cut it so close, but we stopped for milkshakes and truthfully I have no regrets.

I usually plan to get to the airport an hour before my flight because I like to live dangerously. (Brett prefers to get there with four hours to spare. It’s a miracle we’ve stayed married this long.) Even for me, 45 minutes seemed a little tight, but not impossible. Plus, I was carrying on—security would be a breeze, right?

Wrong. My suitcase got yanked for further inspection.

“Is this going to take long?” I asked the security guard, glancing at the time on my phone. “My flight is leaving in 15 minutes and I think they’re already boarding.”

“Not at all,” she assured me.

I then watched her remove my bag of toiletries, tsk tsking me because I didn’t have my 3 oz items in a quart-sized plastic bag. She methodically lined up every single item on the counter, while a couple of 7-foot-tall professional basketball players standing behind me watched in amusement. Hair spray. Shaving cream. Dry shampoo. Body wash. Moisturizer. On and on.

Once she had everything arranged in a perfect line, she handed me a plastic bag and told me whatever didn’t fit in the bag had to be thrown away. I tried very hard not to roll my eyes. With the exception of my moisturizer, everything else had been purchased in the $3 travel bin from Target. I filled up the bag and tossed the shaving cream, the only item that didn’t fit.

“Some airports don’t care about the quart-sized bag rule, but this one does,” she said with a condescending smile.

Noted.

I zipped my suitcase back up and started toward the gate, just in time to hear my name being called over the loudspeaker.

“This is the final boarding call for Southwest flight 2688. We are still looking for Ashlee God.”

Ashlee God, lol.

Cut to me running, straight up Home Alone style, one hand holding my maxi dress off the floor and the other on my pink suitcase. This is where the real testimonial comes in, because that thing glides like ice skates on a fresh rink. I was the last person to board the plane, huffing and puffing, and had to do the walk of shame down the aisle for my much deserved place: a middle seat in the back of the plane. Good times.

Anyway. The moral of this story: Away luggage is awesome, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I believe my suitcase may have been the reason I didn’t miss my flight. They literally closed the door to the plane seconds after I stepped on, and I would not have been able to run that fast with my 12-year-old Costco suitcase in tow.

Should you also find yourself in need of some new luggage, you can use this link to get $20 off your purchase. This post is not sponsored whatsoever (I paid full price with my own money!), but if you click through and make a purchase, I get a $20 credit. Brett thanks you in advance for helping us buy him one. His old Costco suitcase is looking extra sad next to mine.

The end. Happy babymoonin’, mommas.

And whatever you do—don’t forget to put your toiletries in a quart-size plastic bag.

1 Comment

Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.

pregnancy faves, part two

I’ve officially reached the stage of pregnancy where I can no longer put on my own socks without grunting and getting out of bed in the morning is starting to resemble this. Last week I found a melted piece of chocolate in my bra, and today I spilled half a coffee all over my sweater, my shoes, and aisle 7 of my local Target. Cute.

I am still attempting to get dressed in real clothes a few times a week, counting down till Christmas at this point because come January 1, you’ll find me exclusively in black sweatpants until this baby comes. Most likely paired with this sweatshirt.

I digress! Here are a few things I’m loving at 27 weeks pregnant:

// Wardrobe //

 Remember that one time i spilled coffee all over myself in the middle of target? Me too.

Remember that one time i spilled coffee all over myself in the middle of target? Me too.

These Blanqi maternity leggings are officially on sale and YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY GET SOME. I bought these one whole year ago before I was even pregnant and I am so glad I did. They put all my other maternity leggings to shame. Yes, really.

This bralette. Apologies for the TMI, but I woke up two weeks ago and NONE of my bras fit. Cue: me running to Target on a Wednesday night and grabbing every bralette off the racks. I probably need to buy some new real bras eventually (or, to be more efficient, new nursing bras!), but for the time being, I am living in this. Also tried this one on for fun and didn’t end up buying it but wish I would have. Walked out with this lounge bra as well (the back is so cute!).

Speaking of boobs, I’m trying not to buy any tops right now that aren’t nursing-friendly. Picked up this cute button down from Zara in a bigger size and I give it five stars. Fits the belly for now; will work for breastfeeding later.

These are not maternity, but I tried them on in the store and they were so stretchy, I figured I could wear them under my belly with a sweater and make it work. The metallic thread detail creates a glittery effect, perfect for the holidays!

Speaking of glittery, I’ve got this skirt on my wear-through-the-holidays wishlist.

This velvet dress is a close second.

This is also not maternity, but I bought a size large and love the fit so much. This is the sweater I was wearing when I spilled coffee all over myself (pictured above) and I am pleased to announce the stain came out, hallelujah. Looks like the tan color is mostly sold out but it’s still available in black!

646C5978-F2A9-434E-94F5-DECE943805ED.JPG

Fully expecting some of my hair to fall out postpartum (good times!), so in the meantime I’m making an effort to enjoy these pregnancy-infused locks of mine while I still have them. I bought these clips off Amazon and they make me feel v. fancy.

// Exercise + Health //

I am typically a vinyasa-or-bust type of gal, but I went to a slow hatha yin class this week and it was surprisingly good. We used a ton of props and I didn’t struggle through the class the same way I’ve been huffing and puffing through recent vinyasa flows. Moral of the story: yin yoga is kind of awesome and I had no idea because I had always stereotyped it “lazy yoga” in my mind. (Fellow enneagram nerds know a type 3 would never go to lazy yoga if they could help it.)

I am terrible at drinking water, but Brett started filling up my water bottle every night and it’s making a huge difference. He set an alarm on his phone and everything. #husbandoftheyear

// Nesting //

I know. It’s my third baby. I still made a registry. Can’t help myself. Babylist is my favorite registry and I’ve used them for all three of my kiddos. You can add stuff from any store, including Etsy, and you can also register for super useful things like housecleaning, meals, etc.

This shop is so cute!

Also love every single thing in this shop, run by my own friend (and Sacramento local!) Maia.

My BFF Lauren is coming to town next weekend to help me make something like this and this. The last time she came to Sacramento, I was 34 weeks pregnant with Carson and she spent the weekend making things for his room while I ate cheese and watched. Not sure if anything will be different this time around. I’m a big fan of staying in my lane, and my lane is certainly not crafting. Although when I was in her neck of the woods over the summer I managed to snap a few photos of her sweet family, so I’m not a totally useless friend, in case you were wondering.

I discovered Kayla’s work on Instagram and have been a tad obsessed with her ever since. On my nursery wishlist: one of her paintings!

Another big nursery wishlist item: a wall hanging from my pal Sarah.

I haven’t even started thinking about packing a hospital bag, but I did pick out baby girl’s coming home outfit.

D1C48289-ECE4-4C83-BD57-D5FDDA006BAD.JPG

// Memory-Keeping //

My friend Lee is taking maternity pictures for us in a couple weeks and this time around, we’re going to do a simple session at home. I did both of my other maternity sessions outdoors in maxi dresses, and wanted to change things up this time around. Plus, I somehow went through two whole pregnancies without any photos of my bare belly, and I really want to make sure I get at least one because this is most likely going to be my last pregnancy (!). Snapping iphone pics in the meantime, and pinning inspiration here.

The prettiest baby book that has ever existed. You can use promo code CRUMBS to get one for $99 now through the end of November! This is SUCH A GOOD GIFT IDEA for a new mom.

I’ve hardly written a dang thing this pregnancy, but I’m over at Coffee + Crumbs today talking about age gaps and growing our family and that feeling you get when you wear a sweater for the first time in the fall.


Pregnant mommas, whatcha lovin’ these days?

ALSO, question for nursing moms (it’s been a while!) — do you have any nursing bras/tanks you love? I want to get a few things before February and would love some recommendations! I didn’t keep much from the first two times because both my kids spit up every five minutes and all my bras and tanks were gross by the time I finished nursing. Help a sister out!

p.s. Pregnancy faves, part one

15 Comments

Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.

it's the whole thing.

Heads up: this is not a sponsored post. I tried this service on my own dime, and the following is my 100% honest review.

AD98B875-061F-410B-923F-B1D96984AFD9.JPG

Has this ever happened to you: after mentioning something in passing exactly one time, you suddenly become known for that thing?

A few months ago I casually mentioned on an episode of The Coffee + Crumbs podcast that I am a terrible meal planner and love eating cereal for dinner. Since that episode aired, I have been tagged in approximately 40 cereal-themed memes on Instagram. I didn’t intend to become the spokesperson for eating cereal for dinner, but here we are!

And really, it’s fine. Cereal is delicious and I am not ashamed.

However. Being pregnant and regularly hangry, I have to admit I feel a lot better when I eat a “real” meal at the end of the day. You know, one with protein and possibly a vegetable.

For the past 11 years, Brett and I have mildly struggled with dinnertime in our home. By that I mean: neither one of us really enjoys cooking. Therefore, dinner rotation in the Gadd house can be summed up by 1) a few regular recipes (spaghetti, chicken tacos, stir fry), 2) takeout, and 3) cereal. That’s it. You will rarely find us eating outside those parameters. I have an entire Pinterest board full of recipes I will probably never make.

And the truth is—I don’t like this about us. I’m not proud of the fact that we suck at making dinner. I think somewhere along the line, we both thought the other person would take an interest in cooking, and then neither one of us did. So here we are, 11 years later. Still eating cereal at 6:30pm because what else is even in the fridge?

I was thinking about this recently, trying to answer the question: what exactly is it about preparing dinner that feels so hard to me?

Is it the meal planning?
Is it the grocery shopping?
Is it the meal prep?
Is it the actual cooking?
Is it the dishes?

16685C40-AADF-4990-BBEC-A049A68AD021.JPG

After giving it some thoughtful consideration, I had an epiphany.

It isn’t any one thing; it’s the whole thing.

I don’t mind sitting down to meal plan. I am more than capable of writing dinner ideas on a cute weekly calendar. I actually love grocery shopping, especially when I go by myself. Meal prep and cooking? Give me a good podcast or a playlist and I don’t mind that either. Dishes … okay you lost me there.

But this was an important realization! I realized I don’t hate any of the individual steps that make up the art of cooking dinner for my family, but for some reason when I combine them all, I get super overwhelmed.

6850374A-E01D-4DDD-88F6-FF6572B4C2C2.JPG

I equate it to trying to clean your entire house in thirty minutes. Putting dishes in the dishwasher? Not a problem on its own. Cleaning the bathroom? Easy enough on a Wednesday. Folding that mountain of laundry on the bed? Sure thing. Picking legos out of the rug? I can practically do that with my feet. But when you combine ALL of those things, suddenly you’re running around the house like a chicken with its head cut off, sweating and cursing at the legos.

That’s how I feel about cooking dinner on a regular basis: it’s a constant perfect storm.

Too many things need to be done (the planning! the shopping! the defrosting! the measuring! the chopping! the cooking! the cleanup!). I know I’m an adult and I should be able to handle all of those steps, but I am also a mom to two young children, and pregnant with a third, and I run my own business, and, well, most days I’m just really really really tired by 5pm when everyone is hungry.

I mean, can you blame me for reaching for a box of cereal most nights? One bowl, one spoon, bam, done.

B4C23662-0BA1-40F0-BF77-FE66C650CEFF.JPG

So a few weeks ago, my sister-in-law tells me about Hello Fresh, a company who will send you everything you need to cook a meal straight to your doorstep.

[Worth noting: I have tried Blue Apron in the past and while the food was delicious (seriously, it was!), I also found the recipes to be cumbersome and time-consuming. Remember: spaghetti is the meal to beat here. Simple is the name of my kitchen game.]

My SIL assured me even I could handle a Hello Fresh recipe, so I decided to give it a whirl. And friends, I am here to report: Hello Fresh is kind of awesome. That perfect storm I mentioned? There is none.

I don’t have to think about what is for dinner (they do).
I don’t have to think about what to buy at the store (they send me the ingredients).
I don’t have to remember where the recipe is (they send me the recipe cards).
I don’t have to calculate how much I need of anything (everything is pre-measured/pre-portioned).
I don’t have to waste any food (we eat it all!).

Basically: I don’t have to use any brain space on dinner, which is perhaps the greatest gift of all. At 5pm, I pull a brown paper bag out of the fridge, dump the contents on the counter, read the recipe card, and follow the directions. It is MINDLESS. Most of the meals have taken me about 30 minutes to make, which is enough time to listen to a podcast.

But, wait! There’s more!

Brett and I have a strict rule: whoever cooks dinner doesn’t have to do the dishes. So, to recap: I don’t have to make a meal plan, I don’t have to wander around the grocery store looking for obscure ingredients, I don’t have to print any recipes, and at the end of the meal—I don’t have to do any dishes.

DING DING DING. I think I have finally found a system that works for us.

Seriously though: our first week using Hello Fresh we ate five homecooked meals at home, and NONE WERE CEREAL. Three were from our Hello Fresh box, and two were staple meals I typically make. We ate way more vegetables than usual, I cooked with ingredients I had NEVER used before (I’m looking at you, chorizo), I roasted chickpeas in my broken oven (which set off the fire alarm, #worthit), and—generally speaking—I felt like a badass chef.

My confidence in the kitchen has never been this high.

3B0EF5EA-3EED-4CD5-84A2-763C5FA819E8.JPG

DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN MAKE BURGERS ON THE STOVE BECAUSE I DID NOT.

The moral of the story: I’ve eaten better home-cooked meals in the past two weeks than I have in all of 2018. Hello Fresh is saving my life right now. Or at the very least—dinnertime. I don’t know how long we’ll keep up our subscription, but for the time being, I feel a lot better about growing this baby with pork tacos and mediterranean couscous than multiple bowls of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest.

If you also find yourself regularly overwhelmed by the whole thing of meal planning / grocery shopping / cooking, you can use this link for $40 off your first order.*

This is my new favorite life hack / wife hack / mom hack. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!

*Full disclosure: if you sign up with my link, I get a small store credit. Thank you for putting literal food on my family’s table!

5 Comments

Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.

pregnancy faves, part one

My friend Lauren recently returned a bunch of maternity clothes I had let her borrow, which was funny because a) I didn't remember giving her maternity clothes in the first place, and b) I had a whole other pregnancy in between this clothing loan. Once I sorted through the bag I realized all the clothes were from my pregnancy with Everett, not Carson. 

The best part? Almost all of the items were purchased at Motherhood Maternity, which I believe was one of three maternity stores in 2011. Fast forward to 2018 and Madewell makes maternity jeans now (!). We are living in a different time, folks, and I am here for it. Which brings me to ... I'm sure all of these recommendations will be irrelevant six months from now, but until then, here are some pregnancy faves I'm enjoying:

// Wardrobe //

324A080A-4229-49FB-92CC-2024DB50C658.JPG

H&M Mama Skinny Jeans - I thought I'd splurge for the Madewell maternity jeans this time around but truth be told I could not justify the cost for something I'd only wear for a few months (worth noting: if this was my first baby, I 100% would have, because I would have used them for multiple pregnancies). If the Madewell jeans happen to go on super sale in the next month or two I might change my mind, but until then, these H&M skinny jeans are working out just fine. They were super long but I took a pair of scissors to them using this video tutorial and now they hit right at the ankle where I like 'em. // I got the grey ones on sale in the store for $35 and they're still on sale online but most of the sizes are sold out. They have a ton of colors though in all sizes at regular price. I wear a 4 in these; size up one from your normal size!

Old Navy premium full panel rockstar jeans (pictured) - These jeans were $23 on sale over Labor Day and I figured they were worth a try. For the price tag, I give them a full five stars. The butt doesn’t fit as tightly as I’d like it too, but I don’t have a ton of junk in the trunk so that’s probably more indicative of my body type and less the jeans’ fault. // I ordered a 0 short in these and they fit me really well; I’d say these are true to size or even order one size down because they’re stretchy. $40-46

ASOS Maternity Swing Dress - It's still 90+ degrees in Sacramento so I won't be wearing this little number for another month or so but the first time I tried it on, I felt like a million bucks. Very flattering fit, and it's light so you could layer with tights or a cardigan once it gets cooler. // $29

Everlane double V dress - Because it's 90+ degrees, I have lived in this dress all summer long. It's not maternity but fits like a dream, bump or no bump. I have the blue and white stripe version but it also comes in plain black, which would transition nicely into fall (pair with a sweater and mules, done and done). // $24

Everyday maternity leggings by Blanqi - This is a brand I did not know about with previous pregnancies (maybe they're new? not sure!) but once I saw ten people raving about them on Instagram last year, I decided to order a couple of pairs on Black Friday (at 50% off!). They've just been sitting in a drawer since November but I recently pulled them out and holy moly they are phenomenal. I bought the maternity leggings and the postpartum leggings, and, being due in February, this is probably all I'll be wearing from December-March. // $64

Motherhood overalls (pictured) - I had been on the hunt for maternity overalls for weeks and then randomly came across these on Pinterest. Despite the great reviews, I was too nervous to order them online and ended up driving all the way to the mall to try them on in person. FIVE STARS. They're soft and stretchy without being too tight, and hit right at the ankle (no DIY hemming required!). I will be wearing these nonstop the next few months. // $59.98 but I got for $42 via the Labor Day sale!  

// For Acne // 

This acne spot treatment + these acne healing dots - Sigh. Both of these things are stupid expensive but the bottom half of my face looks like a pepperoni pizza and I am desperately trying All The Things. Apple cider vinegar, charcoal bars, tea tree oil—you name it, I have Amazon primed it to my house. My hormones are out of control and it’s the worst. Cheaper versions of the Peace Out acne dots that I also use and like: these ones and these ones. And yes, I have basically purchased every zit patch on the market over the last three months. Brett asked me recently how much money we are spending on acne products each month and I had to remind him I'm growing a human and it's best not to ask questions like that.

// For Skin + Stretch Marks // 

I am a creature of habit and for all three pregnancies have used Palmers Cocoa Butter religiously. When I have two extra minutes to spare, I add a tiny bit of this self-tanner, a few drops of jojoba oil (I buy it from Trader Joe's), and a dollop of this lotion (love the smell, no parabens). I just mix everything into my hand and combine, like my own personal pregnancy potion.  

// For Exercise // 

Robin Long Prenatal Pilates - I have never met Robin in real life, but we’ve been Internet friends for ages and I am a total fan girl of everything she does. These workouts range from 12-32 minutes and target everything from arms and butt to core and pelvic floor. Best part? You never have to leave the house. You can use promo code “coffee” for $15 off if you want to check it out!

This Prenatal Power Yoga workout - Loving this 23-minute power yoga flow. 

Class Pass - I'm still using Class Pass once or twice a week, almost always for yoga but as soon as that gets to be too hard (I practice at a pretty challenging studio), I'm probably going to switch to barre because the classes are shorter (50 min vs. 75 min) and most of the exercises don't even need to be modified. If you're local to Sacramento, I love love love Yoga Shala and Ubarre. 

… that’s it! Fellow pregnant friends: whatcha lovin’ these days?

p.s. I’m also chatting about all things pregnancy with my bump buddy April on today’s episode of The Coffee + Crumbs podcast.

1 Comment

Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.

Back to School

We had the whole summer to prepare, but alas: the first day of school snuck up like it always does. Where did June go? July? Funny how quickly a season can pass by when you spend six weeks in bed trying really hard not to puke.

Anyway. Here we are again! Starting first grade at a brand new school, like it ain't no thing. He eats lunch in a cafeteria now and wasn't he born five minutes ago? What is happening. 

187D6845-F7DB-4A25-A506-1F291D3276A1.JPG

While I have never in my life made a first day of school sign (props to all the moms who are killing it with their letterboards—I mean that), we do take the obligatory first day photo on the porch, and we also have a tradition of drawing hearts on our hands. I stole this idea from Kate Baer a few years ago, and Everett has informed me he'd like to keep this ritual every first day until he doesn't go to school anymore. I asked, "Even in college?" and he said yes, even though he doesn't know what college is. Why yes, son, I'd love to show up at your dorm and draw a heart on your hand for the first day of class. I will also happily bring the "No Girls Allowed Except For Moms" sign you made a few weeks ago. 

This year we drew color coordinated hearts for everyone. Ev knows on the first day of school that anytime he looks at his hand, we're all thinking about him and missing him, too. 

19D05DA7-BBD0-4DF1-B353-9CBB3CEEFC21.JPG

Carson held his hand out in the air for a solid hour, terrified his Sharpie tattoo would rub off if anything touched it. Also: can we please take a moment to appreciate the back view of children being swallowed by gigantic backpacks? Cue lump in throat. 

0284435B-3BE7-44B1-97BD-7E48CBC3AF74.JPG

Truth be told, I did not even read the class supply list until four days before school started. We had been traveling the week prior, and on Sunday night while unpacking my suitcase I realized we did not have a lunch box or ice packs or—hold the phone ... were we supposed to buy anything else? 

Turns out, yes: folders, pens, glue sticks and dry erase markers, just to name a few. Oops. 

But hey! It's 2018, and this is what the Internet is for: fifteen minutes in the Amazon back to school shop, boom, done. School supplies arrived on our doorstep two days later, and nobody broke a sweat. 



Figuring out The Lunch Situation was causing me a great deal of anxiety but I'm happy to report these Easylunchboxes + Ice Packs were recommended to us and have made packing lunches a breeze (well, as breezy as lunch can be with an extremely picky eater).

At Back to School night, the teachers asked us to send the kids to class with a sweat-proof water bottle, which sadly we do not own. The reviews are great for this Camelbak water bottle, but if you have any other suggestions, help a mom out? I need to order one ASAP. Who knows what kind of upheaval his desk papers are experiencing from the water droplets oozing off his current bottle?!

Other back-to-school items we've bought and loved from Amazon: these dry erase pens, these Sharpie pens (equally great for writing and drawing heart tattoos!), glue sticks for the class, Band-Aids for the car (this is the season of finding scraped knees at pickup, no?), this Paw Patrol watch (for recess countdown, obviously), and our most favorite shoes of all time—Natives


Are you already in back-to-school land? Any tips, tricks, products, or favorite traditions to make the first few days easy? Do tell. 

p.s. Speaking of BTS, I loved this.

p.s.s. I cannot believe it's been a whole year since I wrote this

p.s.s.s. I asked Carson to hop in a photo with Ev on his first day of school, and with absolutely zero prompting whatsoever, this is how they got in formation. I love them so much it hurts. 

27D4FE0B-3F21-4147-B1BF-761DBCD211E8.JPG

I do not know where they learned this prom pose but I am 100% here for it and hope they stand like this forever and ever on the first day of school. 


This post was sponsored by Amazon, a company that makes my life as a mom exponentially easier. Thanks for reading!

3 Comments

Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.

72 hours in Tahoe

Last week we ran away to Tahoe for a few days. I did not bring a laptop, and it was just as marvelous as it sounds. Also! After not wanting coffee for two whole months, the cooler temps worked some voodoo magic on me and I drank not one, not two, but THREE WHOLE CUPS OF COFFEE (over the span of three days, but still ... I haven't had coffee since May!).

I forgot how much I love to be caffeinated. 

Trip highlights: building sand castles at sunset, swinging with an ocean view, not wearing makeup for two whole days, reading a book in the hot tub, sitting in the hot tub, playing I Spy in the hot tub, eating a chocolate chip cookie in the hot tub, and oh did I mention how much I love hot tubs? 

C50AA34E-D2EA-4B25-AB1B-ACDA9D451E49.JPG
605D5BD9-A398-4A3B-B7B5-680FED7127A9.JPG
64FAA9F8-3600-42AF-B9D6-E1E4FA6EA571.JPG
84BAA2F4-F5D6-4BB8-95DA-4D0E76F4AEE1.JPG

We also went mini golfing and Everett and I both scored a hole in one. Brett is still not over it. Sorry babe, you'll get em next time! *she says with a condescending pat on the shoulder*

(Look: I'm not good at sports, so when I happen to beat Brett at anything in what is surely an act of pure luck, I have to gloat obsessively for at least 6+ months to keep him humble. He is good at all sports, which I find a tad obnoxious.)

19550B7F-5364-4012-B214-1F87B3EDB97E.JPG
149962E8-6806-46F4-AC59-CABAFEB347BB.JPG

We stayed at the cutest AirBNB which featured the most spectacular staircase my children have ever seen. Forget the hot tub, forget the ski lift chair swing, forget the chalkboard wall in the kitchen; just give them stairs and let them go up and down 400 times and it's the best vacation of their entire lives. 

9CF3329A-8435-4B04-AE55-D7AD778BA06C.JPG

All in all, we had a wonderful time, and can't wait to go back next year. 

DDA7ADE0-25DC-4E3A-8872-2735001378B9.JPG
IMG_9029.JPG

black swimsuit // hat // get $40 off your first AirBNB stay // song in video is "River" by Tow'rs *

4 Comments

Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.

Worth It: Glossier Products

First things first, thank you so much for your sweet and generous comments on my last post. I read every single one and cried big fat crocodile tears at the kindness and grace you offered me. From the bottom of my heart: thank you.

Also, in case you missed it: we are having a girl (!). I still can't believe it. I'm sure I will write about her a dozen more times before February, but in the meantime—I'm still recovering from my vulnerability hangover and thought I'd switch things up and re-enter blog land with a totally meaningless post about makeup. Get excited!

vsco5a63a8bb887a4.jpg

Do you ever see people talking about products 24/7 and wonder if they genuinely work? This was me and Glossier. After watching a bunch of ladies rave about their products on Instagram, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to order a few things. 

I'm happy to report: they are worth the hype! I'll admit I am a sucker for good branding, so I was somewhat biased to love Glossier right off the bat. All the products arrive carefully packaged in a pink bubble pouch, which I have already re-used approximately 28 times while traveling. 

Now, on to my favorite products!

< I've linked these all individually but if you click here, you can get 10% off your first purchase! >

Boy Brow — this is the first product I tried and loved. I don't use this every day, but when I do a full face of makeup, this is definitely part of the routine. I love how natural it looks and how easy it is to apply. 

Cloud Paint — this is my number one favorite Glossier product; I use it every day. It's the most natural looking blush I've ever used, and one tube lasts FOREVER. I just put a tiny bit on my fingers and dab on my cheeks, boom, done. I use the beam shade. 

Haloscope — I also use this every day, just a quick swipe on my cheekbones and blend with fingers, done. Some highlighters I've tried in the past have been too bright, but this one is super natural without being obnoxious or glittery. I use the quartz shade. 

Clear lip gloss + Rose Balm Dotcom — I've tried all the lip products that Glossier makes and these two are my favorites. The Balm Dotcom is a step up from chapstick (never leaves my purse), and the gloss is perfect for when you want something a little extra. I have two Generation G lipsticks as well, but find they pair better with the balm or gloss because they're pretty drying on their own. 

and last but certainly not least ...

vsco5a63aa5d8a690.jpg

Glossier You Perfume — the main thing I want to say about this perfume is I get complimented on it all the time. Women in public bathrooms, the flight attendant handing me a bag of pretzels, the sandwich guy at Whole Foods (not kidding, that really happened) — I have never in my life been complimented so much on a perfume. I use it every day, just one spray on my neck, and I never get tired of the scent. If you're the type who likes to try perfume before committing (I am!), if you order anything from Glossier, you can select a perfume sample at checkout. They usually give you a few skincare sample options too but I always get the perfume sample to keep on hand for traveling, my purse, etc. 

Have you tried Glossier? I haven't used many of their skincare products yet, but curious if people like those. 

P.s. This post is not in any way sponsored by Glossier, but if you sign up with my link, I get a small store credit. Thanks in advance for contributing to my little luxury fund. 

3 Comments

Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.