What I’ve been up to

It’s been a while since I last posted but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been wanting to, it’s just I’ve been so busy so I thought I’d share a few pictures from this past month.

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We had several Easter egg hunts that Emmett had to attend. The one which our neighbor’s hosted was so fun. Here’s the whole gang of the kids who run our little section of the neighborhood.

 

 

 

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At this hunt, Emmett was the lucky kid who found the golden egg! He was so proud.

Like usual, we went to my parent’s house for Easter. We dyed eggs on Saturday, which Emmett really enjoyed. Even though it was rainy on Easter Day, we had a great day with them. It stopped raining long enough for Emmett to hunt for a few more eggs outside and for us to get a few pictures of us in our Sunday best after church. IMG_2595Ollie is getting so big. He’s five months now wearing a size four diaper and 9 month clothes! I love his face in our family photo. It fits him to a tee. So happy and cuddly. Pretty soon he’s going to be bigger than E.

I also hosted a bridal shower for friend who is getting married the end of this month. Both Pierce and I are in the wedding. Every weekend this month we’ve had something do! I am so ready for a boring weekend with no plans… soon, very soon.

IMG_2804This past weekend my sweet boy turned 4! Let me say that again, Emmett is 4 and I can hardly believe it! He’s growing so fast. He is a ball of energy, independent, opinionated, loving, sensitive, and still my sweetness even when he is driving me up the wall with his demands. Per his request, we had a Power Rangers themed party. Who knew Power Rangers were still around? Well they are and there are several different kinds which I have now discovered. He had a blast and it was so nice getting to see family and friends at the party. I think we make take a break from the big parties for Emmett for a while. They are so much work and he gets too many presents, way more than he needs. But he loved it and I’m glad we did it.

 

IMG_2795Pierce’s mom made this super cute “sushi” for the party made with rice krispie treats, swedish fish, and fruit roll-ups. Not only were they cute, they tasted delicious. She found the recipe on Pinterest and I recommend them. They were a huge hit with the kids and adults.

Well that’s just a brief overview of some of things that have been keeping me occupied for the past month. Things should be slowing down if we can make it through this weekend. Fingers crossed I can get some free time to rest, recoup, and have some low-key family time. Here’s to a beautiful spring!

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let’s get physical

I gave birth almost 5 months ago and since then I’ve been trying to lose the weight I put on during pregnancy. Along with taking off what I gained, I’m also trying to get more muscle tone and eat healthier. You can follow my fitness journey on instagram @happy.healthy.jess IMG_2376

For the body, I’ve decided to follow Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide (BBG). I started following her on instagram (@kayla_itsines) last year and have been amazed with the results from her program posted by her followers. Another reason I decided to go with BBG is that it’s not complicated, can be done at home with minimal equipment in less than 45 minutes.

If you just had a baby, like me, or haven’t worked out in a while I definitely recommend completed the 4 week pre-training which is included in her guide. I did it and it is difficult but it prepares your body for the 12 week program.
Another reason I like her guide is that it is detailed but flexible. She gives you the day to day exercises you should be doing but they can be rearranged to fit your schedule which is great for me. The breakdown comes to 2 to 3 structured workouts per week to start and 2 to 3 fat burning sessions per week. I’ve love to say I’m meeting the maximum but right now I’ve been at the minimum (2:2) but I’m moving and will get there.
I’ve completed the pre-training and now I’m on week 4 of BBG. I feel like I’m getting stronger but I wish I could see the results quicker. One thing that you must do is take weekly photos to track your progress because the changes are small from week to week but I have a feeling that my starting point will be considerably different from my ending point and it’s nice to see the in-between progress. I’m not great at taking photos of myself and I’m not too comfortable with putting my before out there but then I see other’s peoples before and after photos and they are so inspiring. So if my uncomfortableness will inspire you then here you go. None of us are perfect. Good bodies take work. Let’s get moving and motivate one another to build strong healthy bodies.
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Family Fun Friday

One of our favorite places to visit in Charleston is Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Beautiful peacocks roam the grounds. Camellias bloom in the oldest public gardens in America. You roam through the supposedly haunted plantation home which overlooks the Ashley River. It is magical.

MagnoliaPlantationImage1The gardens were cultivated by John Drayton to help heal his tuberculosis and entice his wife, a New Yorker, to fall in love with the South Carolina lowcountry, thus creating the oldest romantic garden in America.

IMG_2159  IMG_2144It’s only ten minutes from my home and it is lovely. Emmett loves to go and pet the animals. The donkey is his favorite.

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I recommend this location for couples and families as a great place to take photos and take in the beauty of the lowcountry. I’ve taken such lovely pictures here, including my own maternity photos. There is so much to see and I highly recommend picturesque Magnolia Plantation and Gardens to everyone. There’s history, animals, live oaks, bridges, boat rides, gardens, the house, and a swamp walk.

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If you’re in beautiful Charleston, make sure you add Magnolia Plantations and Gardens to your list of must sees. You won’t regret it. Enjoy!

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Yummy Chicken Salad

IMG_2088If you know me then you know I love good food. My grandmother was a wondIMG_2103erful cook. She taught me to appreciate good food and good company. Many of the staples I make today came from her or have been influenced by her. Some of my favorite memories of our time together involve us being in the kitchen or in the garden. We’d pick fresh vegetables, shell beans, can tomatoes, fry chicken, cook grits, bake gingersnaps… the list goes on and on. She’s no longer with us but her influence on me is reflected in so many facets of my life. She was so loving, giving, hardworking, and all around amazing. As she looks down on me from heaven, I hope I’m making her proud and can be half the woman she was.

So now that I told you of my love for food I guess I’ll share one of my go-to tips and a yummy recipe. Working full-time and being wife and mom, you need some quick recipes, and this is one of my favorites that I make on the regular. I like to stock up on bone-in chicken breasts when they are on sale ($1.29/lb or less). Chicken is so versatile that I usually cook, shred, and freeze the breasts so that they’re ready to go when I need to whip up a quick dinner. I love my large coated cast iron stock pot for boiling the chicken. I add the chicken breasts (typically 4 to 5 lbs) cover with water and add spices (salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, 2 bay leaves, and herbs like oregano and thyme). Bring to a boil and cook for roughly an hour to an hour and a half or whenever the chicken is cooked through. Let cool. If you are making a recipe that requires broth, you can save the liquid; otherwise, pour it off and shred the chicken when cooled.

This past weekend I did just this. I shredded all the chicken, froze half, and used the rest to make chicken salad. My chicken salad is loosely based on the delicious tarragon chicken salad from Publix. Again, I’m not strict when it comes to following recipes so the ingredients and amounts below are guidelines or a good starting point. Mix it up, taste, add more ingredients until you get it to what you like.
IMG_20862 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 cup light mayo (or full fat, or a combo of mayo/greek yogurt)
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans (the Publix recipe uses almonds)
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp dried tarragon
salt to taste
Mix all ingredients together and chill for a couple of hours.  Enjoy. I love this on romaine leaves and with pita bread. So easy and delicious.
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Bathroom Redo Inspiration

I moved into my home in April of last year and I love it but there is so much that I want to do to it. We’ve done a few projects here and there like paint the living room, kitchen, and Emmett’s room and change a couple light fixtures but there is still so much left to do to turn this house into our home. From the bare walls and older furniture in the living room, to the blasee half bath, to the mix-match furniture in the master to name a few; there are lots of projects. The ones involving furniture aren’t cheap, so I’m holding off on those for a little while.
For now I figure that tackling the half bath downstairs would be a good weekend project that would satiate my desire to renovate. Hide-and-Seek-Anahi-Forest-Fauna-Wallpaper-HAS0123
I’m planning to have an accent wall with this whimsical wallpaper from AmericanBlinds.com and paint the other walls a coordinating white.
I’m thinking this shelf over the toilet and I have a metal cabinet very similar to this one that I’ll put in the corner topped with fresh flowers.
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71Ifcba207L._SL1500_I’d like to change the light fixture to something similar to this and either change the mirror or paint it. There is a window and I haven’t made up my mind if I want to put curtains back up of leave it bare. Thoughts?
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NYC Girl’s Trip

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My sister and I are planning a girl’s trip with our mom to celebrate her 60th birthday to New York City. None of us have ever been and we are all looking forward to this trip. Now we have to figure what are the must see and must do while we’re there. We’ll be there 3 days and 3 nights in May. I’ve looked at what other people have recommended, like this itinerary from Traveling Chic.

wicked-musical-tickets-charlotte-january-2016A Broadway play is a must and we’ve gotten our tickets to see Wicked, which I’ve heard is wonderful.   Of course, I want to see the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Center Park, Grand Central, and the Met; but I want to know what would you recommend? What are the must see sites, best way to get around, and some restaurant recommendations?

I figure we will have to spend time on 5th and Madison Avenue to do a little shopping. I’ve started working out more and told my mom and sister to get on it as well so they can keep up with me. I know we will have a blast and I want to make this a memorable trip in the best way possible so send your recommendations. I’ll hopefully have lot
s of pictures and a review after we make the trip so stay posted!statue-of-liberty      alice-l

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Shout out to my Parents!

My parents both celebrate their birthdays this month and I wanted to give a shout to them for being so AWESOME. I’m sure everyone thinks they have the best parents, but you’d be wrong. I have the best mom and dad EVER!969430_10151576630334407_1188308409_n

They are super supportive of my endeavors and challenge me to be a better person. Even though they live an hour and half away from me, if I have sick child and can’t stay home, they drive on down and help me out without complaint. This is just one of the many ways they are there for me.
My mom makes me want to be a better person. She’s nice to everyone and so positive; she never has bad word to say about anyone.
My dad has taught me how important it is to be smart, resourceful, capable, and self-sufficeint. 10672215_10153552540749407_8273868603585024597_n
10429469_10152989842315091_6947294244807440063_nI have always appreciated my parents but now that I’m a parent I have a much deeper appreciation for all they have done and continue to do for me. They love me unconditionally and I hope that can be as good as a parent to my boys as they have been to me and my sister.
Thank you mom and dad for everything you do for me and my family. I love you!
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Winter Wears

It’s finally feeling like winter here in Charleston. Considering it was 80 degrees on Christmas day, it is nice that it actually feels like winter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a southern girl and love my warm days but the mosquitos were killing us and it doesn’t quite feel like the holidays when you’re wearing shorts.

A change in weather means a change in wardrobe. Those comfy sweaters, cords, and boots get to make there way back into my everyday staples. Here are a few items I’m crushing on this season.

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1. Felted Hat

2. Skinny Cords

3. Comfy Sweater Cardigan

4. Love SC Necklace

 

 

 

What are your winter must haves? Comfort and warmth are key to me with splashes of color. Booties are definitely the must have this yeSTEVEMADDEN-BOOTIES_RADIOO_BURGUNDY-NUBUCK_SIDEar.          Wear them with everything from skinny jeans to sweater dresses… you can’t go wrong.

These booties would look so cute with this outfit.

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Photo a Day

I love taking photographs and since Emmett was born I have been working to better my photography skills. I’ve taken workshops for portraits, newborns, and landscapes trying to learn the skills to take the best photos I can but I think the best experience comes from practice. I take photos on the side and love when I can dedicate the time to do so for other people but I rarely get the time to do so for myself or my family.IMG_1826It’s hard for me to break out my big camera to take the pictures then find a moment alone when I can upload and edit them. In order to change this, I am challenging myself to take and post one picture a day on Instagram for 2016. https://www.instagram.com/jess_webbie/

Of course these are primarily taken with my iPhone but it’s not the instrument that creates beautiful pictures, it’s how you use it. If I spent thousands of dollars on the best camera that doesn’t mean I’m going to take beautiful pictures.
Use what you have. Practice. Experiment. This is what I’m going to do. Hopefully it will be fun and enlightening experience. Follow my journey and if you decide to take up the challenge let me know so I can follow you.
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New to the World

In October I welcomed the newest addition to my family and would love to introduce him to you. Oliver James decided to arrive early. I was at my checkup when my water broke. I drove myself over to the hospital, which was only a few blocks away, and two hours later, Oliver made his entrance into the world. Thankfully Pierce made it in time for the delivery.

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So far we are all adjusting well and Emmett loves his little brother. He’s constantly wanting to hold him and help get things for him.
In his first two months, Oliver has grown quickly and he is a chunk! He loves to coo, eat, and cuddle. I think he, like his brother, is going to be very social and a talker. There’s so much to learn from this new little person. I can’t wait to watch him grow. He really completes our family.
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