What to Pack : Beach Vacations

Things I'm coveting for my trip to Mexico.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com
How good does a beach vacation sound right now?!  So I’m prepping for a trip to Mexico later this week and you know I had to do a little shopping.  And since one of my summer bucket list items is “wear shorts” (you know you are stupid and old if your summer bucket list item has something about wearing shorts…) on it, I thought a beach vacay would be the perfect time to try some out.  I picked up those adorable black ruffle shorts (bottom right photo) from Ascot + Hart and can’t wait to wear them! (Dang it! These look like they are all sold out.  Check out their other fun short options here!)  Of course I need a spray tan first but then I’m going to wear the sh*t out of those shorts.  I’m also ellipticizing (I know this isn’t really a thing but if you can Jazzercise I really think you oughta be able to ellipticize) so hopefully my thighs won’t clap together as I wear my shorts around the resort.  And I have been making awesome food choices.  I see a little bit of a difference in my body and am totally going to stay on this healthy food business until at least my Palm Springs trip in August.  Of course I want to continue it after, but I really think I need a weekend where all I eat is cake.  I really like cake.

So um, Sharon, how is this post about packing for beach vacations again?  Oh right.  So another item I picked up for my trip, and summer in general, is this fantastic ruffle bikini top by Roxy.  This is perfection for small boobed, birthing hips gals like me.  It helps to balance out the silhouette and guess what else?  Ain’t nothing going to fall out of anywhere.  This would be a great bikini top for playing smashball in the sand (whoa, that sounded so 80′s, right there) or being more active than just lying on your towel.  This is going to be my go-to top for swimming with my kids.  Why are little hands so grabby?  Like, OH NO I think I may be drowning!  You know what will save me?  My moms triangle top bathing suit!  And I’m realizing that this isn’t much of a “how to” post.  It’s more of a “you should totally get these items post.”

And the other items in that photo?  All wish list items.  I keep seeing this round beach towel and it wants to be part of my family.  This white Cleobella kimono is perfection (holy crap!  This item is no longer available either! Here are some other great kimonos and jackets).  I can’t stop dreaming about these Nena and Co. bags.  One day I will break down and buy one.  The colors make my heart happy!  This Tacos and Tequila shirt should be mandatory when even thinking about Mexico.  And I’ve seen these rad little booties in action and think they want to be on my feet.  I can’t even tell you the last time I wore heels, so these would sort of be like training wheels.  That thick heel is right up my alley and I love the color.  All I have at the moment are black shoes and that is just too heavy for an easy, breezy oceanfront dinner.

I really like shopping, so I picked out some other things I would want for a beach vacation:

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Things to do on a Quick Trip to New York

Streets of New York // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI love New York!  I was beyond excited that we got to stay in the city for #PuffDay14.  Tori and I discussed the trip before hand and we both knew that we wanted to pack in as much stuff as possible no matter how tired we were.  Mostly this meant we wanted to eat a lot.  I figured out that we had about 15 hours of awake time in the city that was all ours.  And I really think we did make the most of it.  There are a lot of things to do on a quick trip to New York and I’m sharing a few of my favorites. 

The St. Giles Tuscany Hotel in New York has super comfy rooms and beds // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAlthough I didn’t have anything to do with choosing the hotel (this was set up by the PR company handling the Puff Pastry event) it was awesome!  I highly recommend the St. Giles Tuscany Hotel in the Murray Hill area.  The neighborhood was pretty quiet but still had tons of stuff to do.  It was a close walk to Grand Central Station and a short taxi ride to La Guardia airport that I flew in and out of.  The rooms were spacious and comfortable and way larger than I was expecting for a hotel in New York.  

Gorgeous bathroom at the St. Giles Tuscany Hotel in New York // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd the bathrooms were GORG!  Mine was very large and it was so well designed.  It had Molton Brown amenities and excellent lighting. [Read more...]

Pepperidge Farm #PuffDay14

#puffday 14 at Pepperidge Farm Innovation Center in CT. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI mentioned a few weeks ago that I was in NY for a super quick trip.  But I wasn’t just in NY.  For one whole day I had the chance to go to Connecticut and visit the Pepperidge Farm Innovation Center for their #PuffDay14 event.  It was kind of the coolest thing ever.  For SO many reasons.  So how did I get invited, I bet you are wondering.  I totally won a contest!!! Tori (in the photo all the way to the right) of Thoughtfully Simple was already working with Pepperidge Farm on their Puff Pastry product.  She hosted a contest on her site and I got chosen to accompany her to their headquarters.  Fun, right!?  There were seven other gals invited so it was super intimate and we had a blast!  And it is such a small world.  That is Cheri, of Adventures in the Kitchen, standing next to me.  Turns out she lives 15 minutes from me and used to work with one of my best friends!

@hostesstori and I at Pepperidge Farm #PuffDay14 event //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe got a tour of their massive facility and got to see their testing rooms, a small-ish factory where they test out new ideas for products, their employee cafe (yes – this is worth mentioning especially because you can order dinner to take home with you on your way out! Genius!) and so much more.  We got to hang out in their test kitchen area and met tons of Pepperidge Farm staff, from the culinary side, marketing, packaging, development, etc.  It was so neat to hear from all the different people and see the crazy amount of teamwork it takes to create and market each individual product.  This is a well oiled machine, folks.   [Read more...]

New Red Robin Allergy Friendly Interactive Menu

*The Red Robin information and gift cards have been provided by Red Robin.  I was sent a gift card to Red Robin to try out their new Interactive Allergen Friendly Menu Builder portion of their website.  I jumped at the chance because Red Robin was one of the first restaurants that I let my food allergic son eat out at because the staff and management ALWAYS went out of their way to ensure his safety.  With the creation and launch of this new meal planning feature, making allergen free dining even easier and safer, I wanted to share my experience with you all.  All opinions are mine.Whiskey River BBQ wrap at Red Robin.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.com #sponsoredI LOVE Red Robin.  And always have.  From their high octane cocktails that I discovered in college (Sand in Your Shorts was always my go-to but I probably haven’t had that in about 10 years!) to their fries (I’m obsessed with their fries!) and on to my current favorite the Whiskey River BBQ wrap, I could eat at Red Robin daily.  But I don’t.  We really don’t eat out all that much.  I prefer to save money and make dinner at home.  But it wasn’t always like that.  I pretty much unconsciously set out to NOT learn how to cook from my mom growing up.  So when I got married, and even after I had my first child, I was getting some homemade meals on the table but they were NOT nutritious, particularly tasty or frequent.  All of that changed when I found out my son had tons of food allergies at one year old.  He had had continual, severe eczema for 6 months and I was desperate to get to the root of the problem.  I will never forget one Monday night, however, when the phone rang and it was his doctor.  After months of trying crazy harsh creams and steroids, we finally did a blood test to see if it was food allergies.  It was after 5 pm when the call came and she said, “He’s allergic to milk, eggs, soy, peanut, probably shellfish and other tree nuts.  You can give him Rice Milk.  They sell it at Whole Foods.”  And with that, I was left to navigate his food allergies on my own.  We changed pediatricians and I got to work trying to figure out what would be safe to feed him.  I did my research online and in books and by wandering Sprouts and Whole Foods.  I immediately had teach myself to cook and made pretty much all of his food.  I didn’t feel confidant with reading labels to know if I was going to give him something that would harm him.  And I certainly didn’t feel comfortable taking him out to restaurants and having to rely on someone else’s knowledge, or lack thereof, of food allergies to keep him safe.

Red Robin has a new allergen free meal builder to create your perfect, and safe meal.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.com #sponsoredI brought all of his food with me wherever we went.  If he did come to a restaurant with us I carefully wiped down the table and made sure he wasn’t sitting by anyone that had one of the food’s he couldn’t have.  But finally, when he was about 4, I decided that if I wanted to give him more of a normal childhood experience in terms of dining out, that I should take the next step of trying to navigate restaurant menus.  One of the first places I went was Red Robin.  I did some research on line and felt that there was at least some conversation about allergies on their site.  I called a manager and inquired about food allergies and decided to try it out.  Even back then they handled food allergies with ease.  And it was a place he could eat where I felt he was safe with fries no less!  So when I got an email asking if I would like to check out the new Red Robin allergy friendly interactive menu builder, I jumped at the chance.  A few Saturdays ago, the family and I headed to Red Robin for lunch.

Dining out with food allergies.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.com #sponsoredWhile it is possible to pull up the website on your own phone (and of course from your home computer), the manager at our Red Robin location brought us out an iPad to view the menu builder on.  Of course my son had to try it out first.  I think he really just wanted to see if they had Minecraft on the iPad.  Red Robin trains all team members on how to deal with dietary restrictions and modifications to their menus.  The use special allergy alerts in different type so it is clear on every order.  The alert notifies the kitchen that a special allergen kit is required for the order.  The kit includes tools that are to be used on allergen orders only and are purple to clearly distinguish them from other kitchen tools.  Awesome! [Read more...]

Fashion Posts by Bloggers

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Great winter outfit, plaid flannel, faux fur and rose gold braceletSince I’m in the middle of posting about my recent trip to Alt Summit I thought today’s Dirty Side of Blogging would be to show you how blogger’s get outfit shots.  I had been missing my husband on my trip as he had been traveling when I left and we’d been apart for a while.  So I decided I wanted to wear the Becomb bracelet he had given to me for my birthday because I was thinking about him.  You can’t just take any old photo.  You style the shot.

behind the scenes of shooting a blogger outfit postWhich sometimes means you are in a bathtub, with wet towels all around you, and you take 4-5 photos to get THE shot.  Glamorous, no?