Thursday, February 28, 2013

Baby Shower Get-up

Baby Shower Get-up

Baby Shower Get-up by lifebyrikki featuring belted tops

I have a baby shower to go to in a few weeks and I thought I would share some of my outfit inspirations.  As I was looking through the different outfits, I realized - how perfect would these be for bridal events/parties also?  Since wedding season is coming, I definitely had to share these!

When going to a baby shower or bridal event, I want to be very feminine and conservative and not too trendy.  Afterall, these are going to be moments you and your friends will treasure for a lifetime and you don't want to look back at those pictures and be like, "What was I/she thinking?"  Also, it's the bride or mom-to-be's  time and you don't want to outshine them.

The weather has been so unpredictable lately and I am so eager for Spring, so I sprung (no pun intended) for cheery colors.  I know I want to pick an outfit that can be either casual or dressy so that I'm not over or under dressed. 

My favorite outfit is the top and skirt combination on the top left.  I really like the girly lace tank top and the flowy maxi skirt.  Plus, who isn't comfortable in a maxi skirt?

The top right combo is really pretty, too.  The black zipper in the front of the skirt adds some edge and off-sets the flowery blouse and flowy skirt.

I've been really into white denim lately.  It's just so crisp and clean.  So one of my ideas is to pair white denim with a pop of color like the one in bottom middle.

What outfit option do you think I should go with?

I hope you're all having a fabulous week!  The weekend is almost here!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Happy Hump Day!

It's only Wednesday?!  It's been so crazy at work lately, I need the weekend to!

 I'm still struggling with this whole working mom thing.  How could you leave that face? It's getting a little easier to leave in the mornings (I don't burst into tears anymore or have an overwheling feeling of guilt, just moderate now, haha). Yesterday, I worked about 11 hours and came home around 8 p.m.  Driving home, I was kind of sad thinking that little miss Soph would be asleep by the time I got home.  Thankfully, she wasn't :) I still got to do our bedtime routine and I think we might have found a new thing to add!  HoneyB and I were on both sides of her and kissed her cheeks at the same time, while making the smaking/kissing noise.  Our little babe started cracking up!  It was the sweetest sound and we couldn't stop doing it! It absolutely melted my heart and gave me the most undescribable happiness I could never have imagined!
So here's what's getting me through Hump Day:
This morning, I slept in as long as I could...soaking up every precious minute in bed.  I sauntered to the bathroom to start getting ready.  What do I see peeking out of my bag?  A small package envelope?  What did I order?  Yes, I know, it is so horrible that I don't even remember what I buy online anymore.  I open the package and found the perfect pick-me-up for today! This scarft from ShopLately has the perfect pop of pink to brighten up any day.

 Scarf:  ShopLately Love Hot Leaopard Scarf (here)
White Tee:  American Apparel (here)
Black Denim:  Old Navy (on sale for $19.00 here)
Zip Back Flats:  Cathy Jean (here)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Looking Back at the Oscars 2013

There were so many amazing gowns to admire at last night's Oscars.  My top 5 from the awards are:

Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen
I absolutely love the detailed embroidery on this dress.  There was a lot of lace and detail oriented gowns last night, but the details of this dress combined with the flowing fit definitely made it one of my favorites.

 Georgina Chapman
I can't believe how gorgeous Georgina and her baby bump is in this dress.  When I was 8 months pregnant, I could not find anything that looked good for the life of me.  Clearly, Georgina did not have that problem.  She looked absolutely glamorous in a fitted and detailed bust/top combined with a flowy white bodice to accomodate her baby bump.  This was automatically one of my favorites.

 Stacy Keibler in Naeem Khan
I love the metalic trend, in everyday fashion and especially the red carpet.  Stacy looked beautiful and sexy in this fitted number with a cinched waist.  The length and conservative neckline really allowed the dress to pop without being too-much. 

 Kerry Washington in Miu Miu
What an amazing gown, perfect for Spring! There were a lot of pastel color gowns at the awards ceremony, but the gold detail and minimal accessories really makes the color pop.  
Sandra Bullock in Elie Saab
This dress has Old Hollywood Glamour written all over it.  Vintage-y pieces are always a favorite of mine.  The lace and beads on this dress are beautiful.  Wearing it fitted in black makes it very feminine and sexy.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mommy Must Haves

When I was pregnant and looking at items to register for, it was a bit overwhelming because I didn't know what I would really want vs. need.  Now that my little munchkin is a little over 3 months old, I thought I would share my favorite items right now.

1 & 2.  The only diapers and wipes I use now are from the Pampers Sensitive line.  I was able to try many different brands from the ones that were given to us from the baby shower.  Unfortunately, every other diaper and wipes irritated baby's skin.  I even tried the Huggie's Pure & Natural line, but it wasn't the same. 

3.  My favorite bottle right now is the Avent Natural Flow bottle.  Because I had to supplement with formula, this bottle made it very...and I mean VERY easy to switch back and forth from bottle to breastfeeding.  My little one didn't have a hard time going back to breastfeeding, which can happen when you introduce a bottle or pacifier too early while breastfeeding.

4.  Another great bottle is the Dr. Brown's Wide-Neck bottle.  This bottle also made it very easy to switch between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding.  When we first started supplementing with formula, it seemed to give our baby a little gas problem.  After switching her to the Dr. Brown's bottle, it definitely helped with the gas.  Our little munchkin doesn't have much of a gas issue now, so we use both the Avent and Dr. Brown's bottles.  The Dr. Brown's bottles do require a little more cleaning because of the extra parts; you need a special little brush to clean them.  I don't mind the two extra parts, but for some parents, I've heard that it can be quite a hassle.

5.  When I went to the store to buy more forumula, I noticed that they actually made a formula specifically for babies with sensitivity.  So we switched to the sensitivity formula and it virtually got rid of baby's gas.

6.  I thought that having a changing table was more of a "nice to have" item, so I didn't register for one.  After a few weeks of being home with the baby, my back was killing me from bending over to change her diaper ever couple of hours.  So, for Christmas we asked for a changing pad that we can just put over her dresser.  It made a world of a difference!  No more back aches and it is so much better for both baby and mommy to change her on the changing pad.  I prefer the contour pads because she can't really roll around on it.  But please, please, please remember not to leave the baby on the changing pad, contoured or not.

7.  We purchased the Britax B-Ready travel system: infant carseat, bassinet and stroller.  I loved that the infant carseat and bassinet can be attached to the stoller.  On those cranky afternoons, I would take the baby for a walk in the bassinet.  She would fall asleep and I wouldn't have to wake her when we got home.  It was definitely a life-saver.  The bassinet was more of a "nice to have" item because she is 3 months old now and just fits perfectly inside it.  So it's not an item that you will be using for an extended period of time.  We wanted a stroller that would give the baby a smooth ride, without feeling all the bumps, easy to navigate and easy to open and close.  This stroller gave us everything we wanted.  It also comes with a seat for when the baby gets bigger.  When you have a second child, you can purchase an attachment so that both the "big kid" seat and the infant carseat can both attach to the stroller.

8. An infant activity gym is a must.  We got the Fisher Price Precious Planet Activity Gym.  It encouraged her hand-eye coordination as she learned to swat at the hanging toys.  Now that she is able to lift herself on her forearms, she can look at all the bright colors on the mat.  When she was a newborn, she was amazed by all the bright colors.  It definitely helped to put her in the gym when I needed to clear up around the room. 

9.  The Fisher Price Sugar Plum Cradle 'n' Swing is a great investment.  I like that it plugs into the wall so you don't have to mess with batteries.  The lights, mobile and rocking motion definitely sooth a fussy baby.  Sometimes, our little cheekies won't take naps during the day.  As soon as we lay her down, she wakes up 20 minutes later.  If she absolutely refuses to nap, we'll put her in the swing and it never fails to to rock her to sleep.  It's also very convenient when I have to do something, like cook or clean.

I hope this helps any mommy out there :)  What other items would be great to have?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Eats by Rikki: Zuppa Toscana

HoneyB and I were visiting our friends a couple of months ago and they had made the most amazing soup!  She asked, "Have you had the Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden?"  I said no, because I can't even remember the last time I had eaten at Olive Garden.  Little did I know, this treasure was hiding there!  Here is the recipe I used.  I added more kale and substituted some healthier options.  It came out amazing.  Even HoneyB and his brother liked it and HoneyB isn't a huge fan of soups.  
1 lb. of organic chicken sausage
8 small red potatoes (I only used 8, but I thought it could have used a few more)
1 large onion, chopped
4 pieces of cooked bacon, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chopped kale, stems removed (I only put 4 cups, but I thought it could have used one or two more)
3 cups organic, low sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
1 cup milk (The original recipe asked for heavy whipping cream)

Chop or slice the sausage and brown in your soup pot.

In a separate pan, brown the onion, garlic and potatoes - the potatoes will not cook, you just want to get them a  little browned.

Once your sausage has browned, remove them from the pot and set aside.
In the emptied soup pot, add the chicken broth and water and stir. 

Bring the broth and water to a boil, then add the potatoes, garlic and onion.  Cook until the potatoes are done.

Add the cooked sausage, bacon, kale and milk.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve in a bowl with a side of warm bread.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Heart on My Sleeve

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! 
Today is the day we celebrate love.  I am so blessed to have so many Valentine's - My loving (and patient) husband, my beautiful baby girl, the cutest neice and nephew anyone could ask for, siblings that never leave my side and parents that I adore.

Top:  Marshall's (similar here)
Skirt:  Forever 21 (similar here)
Shoes:  Kelsie Dagger (similar here)
HoneyB and I celebrated Valentine's Day a day early because he has to work tonight :( We kept is low key, being thankful that we have our little family.  We spent some time with our little wiggle worm, put her to bed and headed out for a quick late-night dinner.  It was nice to spend a little time alone together.  This will mark our 6th year of being each other's Valentine's <3 Wow, time flies!
I've been in a festive mood lately, so I wanted to wear something "Valentine's Day" themed.  I opted for this heart print top to celebrate the day.  I have this same skirt in a coral color, but because I had painted my nails, I didn't want to be matchy-matchy.  So instead, I opted for the teal version.  And I sported the same Kelsie Dagger pumps that I wore here.
I hope you all have a heart-filled Valentine's Day!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm not saying that these chocolate chip cookies are "good for you", but why not get a dose of whole grains and enjoy it?

This actually happened by accident.  I try to use whole wheat products whenever I can - pasta, bread, flour, etc.  I hadn't tried whole wheat flour in my cookie recipe because I didn't want to change or mess with the texture.  If you've tried whole wheat products, like pasta, they have a texture difference that I didn't want to make when serving goodies like cookies.

One weekend, the hubs asked me to bake some cookies and all I had was whole wheat flour.  We tried it and it actually made for a better cookie recipe!  The texture was the same and the cookies have a little bit of a toffee taste.  Now, I always use this recipe when baking cookies. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Stir both sugars, butter, vanilla and egg until blended.

Stir in flour, baking soda and salt.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop tablespoons of dough on ungreased cookie sheet, approximately 1"-2" apart.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until browned. (I like my cookies chewy, so if you use this cook time, the cookies will be a little soft in the middle)

Remove from cookie sheet and cool.

Try out this recipe and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life by Rikki in Photos

 My little cheekies (one of the many names that I have for her) just loves to eat up her thumb and hands.  It cracks me up when she tries to fit both hands in her mouth!  She's rolling over onto her side now!  I knew she would any day now, after I wrote this post.  She is also starting to push herself up on her forearms when she is on her tummy!  Slow down, baby!  Mommy still wants to swaddle you up and cuddle!

This is my fluff-monster and my other baby, Madden.  I guess baby girl's Boppy looked like a cozy place to lay his head :)

I made dinner for my mommy last week.  I made whole wheat spaghetti, organic sauce and turkey meatballs - I'm working on a recipe post for this.  I also made my whole wheat chocolate chip cookies - the recipe is here.  My mom and I also added some champagne to our relaxing evening.

I treated myself to a manicure and pedicure this past weekend.  Because honeyB is working on Thursday night and I didn't think we would have any plans for Valentine's Day.  I thought I would keep in the spirit of LOVE with my nail polish colors :)  I know the ring finger accent trend has been around for a looong time.  I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  I think it looks amazing and fun on everyone else, but I just didn't think I could pull it off.  But what the heck, I was feeling festive and I went for it.  I like it!  These colors in particular aren't that different, so the accent is very subtle.  Which is perfect for work!  I love when I can pull off something trendy at work!

Main Nail Color:  Essie Escapades
Accent Nail Color:  Essie Carousel Coral

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Paisley Print

Printed Leggings:  Forever 21 (black and white ones are available here)
Black Blazer:  H&M (similar here)
Black Pumps:  Kelsie Dagger (similar here)

This has been my go-to work outfit lately.  

Leggings + Blazer/Jacket + Pumps = Comfy & Happy.   

I guess the weather, mixed with sleep deprivation, has made me seek the most comfortable options.

I absolutely love these printed leggings.  Not only are they super comfortable, but they really update this classic look.  Since the leggings were pretty wild for the office, I decided to "tone them down" with a structured blazer and pumps.

What's your go-to work outfit?

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Little Edge

It's a rainy day in San Diego and I guess it's about time we've had our share ;)
I always keep this (mine is black) umbrella in my car, just in case it happens to rain. First let me tell you that this is my favorite umbrella of all time.  It has a large canopy (perfect for keeping my hair and make-up dry) and a super cute design on the handle.  Moving on...Lately, it's been hit or miss with clouds, but no rain.  Being the Typa A person that I am, I cannot stand to have anything in my car - it even bothers me whenever I look back and see the carseat base in the back seat.  If I could take it in and out with the carseat, I would be forever grateful.  So yesterday, I cleaned out my car, I looked at the umbrella and thought, "Eh, I don't think it's going to rain anytime soon.  I'll just put it by the door."  I wake up this morning and the sun is shining, the sky is clear!  Little did I know, it was going to hail later in the morning and continue to rain all day...thank you weather gods!  So here I am, warming myself up after bing drenched in the cold rain.  Happy Friday!
Anyway, believe it or not, I am totally in love with rainy days.  Don't get me wrong, I love the sun and fun that we have the other 364 days of the year, but there is just something about curling up on the couch while it's raining outside.  My favorite rainy day activity - opening all the windows and patio doors, curling up in a blanket and watching the rain...or tv.  Why open all the windows and doors when it's freezing outside, you ask?  Because I love the cold rain air and the sound of each rain drop hitting the ground.  Weird, I know.  And you probably wonder if I get sick a lot, huh?  I do not :)
Today, I opted for a comfy t-shirt, jeans and faux leather jacket.  Since I can't be home in my jammy jams, an oversized tee shirt will have to do.
This is my favorite "minuts the leather" jacket.  It's very simple, clean and structured, but still a little edgy.  I've worn it with slacks to work or with jeans on the weekend.  It's warm and very lightweight, so I'm comfortable wearing it indoors and out.  Sometimes, I feel like a coat is too bulky to wear indoors and it makes me feel a bit stuffy.  I bought this jacket from Express last year, but they have a similar one.  Mine just doesn't have the button tab on the top.  The Obey tee is actually hubby's, but it accidentally got shrunk in the wash...accidentally. 
Jacket:  Express (similar here)
Shirt:  Obey (similar Converse one here)
Jeans:  Express (here)

To add a little femininity to the outfit, I added a black ribbon woven necklace.  I bought this necklace from a local boutique a LONG time ago.  It had a some gold and white ceramic rose broaches attached to it and I just removed them.  There's a similar one from Shop Lately here.
I hope everyone has a nice weekend and stays warm!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

3 Month Update

This little lady turns 3 months old today.  She is the love of my life and there is nothing that makes me smile more than hearing her loud giggles whenever I talk to her.  This sweet baby has a lot to say, too.  Whenever I'm with her she has some new story to coo and ahh about.

She's doing great on tummy time (even though she hates it with a passion).  She lifts her head well and will hopefully learn to turn over soon!  She lifts, holds her head up and leans back when we carry her, which is really scary so we have to make sure we really hold on to her.

She's not sleeping through the night and will usually wake up once or twice to eat.  Not too bad for a 3 month old baby.

She's growing way to fast and I feel like if I blink, I'll miss it...

Winter Skin Essentials

The cold air and heaters indoors really took a toll on my skin this Winter.  I was on the hunt for anything and everything that could keep my skin hydrated and comfortable this season.  I thought I would share some of my favorites with you.

I really enjoyed the mango sugar scub from The Body Shop.  It sloughed off the dead skin cells, leaving my skin soft and smooth.  Plus the smell made me want to eat it out of the jar!  I also used Dove Visible Care.  It is gentle on my skin and I definitely noticed a difference in the hydration of my skin after I started using it.  After the shower, I slather myself with Avon Moisture Therapy body lotion.  It was actually recommended to me by one of the nurses during my pregnancy to help prevent stretch marks.  The nurse told me to use it on my belly as many times as I could throughout the day.  It made my skin feel so nice that I used it all over my body and am still using it after pregnancy.

Now let's move on to hand creams!  I'm a big fan of Burt's Bees products so I tried the Naturally Ageless Hand Cream.  Boy did it make a difference!  In just a couple of days, my hands were so much smoother.  The formula is thick and creamy, but not greasy and is easily absorbed into the skin.  The only negative thing about this product is that the smell isn't great.  Luckily, the smell doesn't last long.  Because of the smell, I generally use this at home.  I also fell in love with the Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Hand Cream.  Also creamy and hydrating and smells great.  I love the smell of classic Dove soap and that is what it reminded me of.  I actually received the La Source body wash, body lotion, foot scrub and foot cream as a Christmas present a couple of years ago and really liked the products so it was a no brainer to try the hand cream also.

My all-time favorite lip balm - Burt's Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranite Oil.  I find that a lot of lip balms feel greasy or waxy.  This lip balm is smooth, absorbs easily and is great under lipstick or alone.  I use it under my lipstick and it doesn't feel like my lipstick is sitting over a coat of wax which is what I've felt like with other lip balms.  It's also great by itself because I think it adds a little bit of a red tint to my lips so I can swipe it on real quick and I'm good to go.

What are some of the products that saved your skin this Winter?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Now on Bloglovin'

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Life by Rikki can now be followed on Bloglovin' :)

Plaid and loving it

I took some inspiration from one of my favorite celebrity mamas, Jessica Alba.  I love how casual and comfortable she looks, but still stylish and put together.

 It was a whopping 56 degrees today (those of you on the East Coast, please don't hate me!), so I opted for the riding boots that I blogged about here.

Top:  Old Navy (similar here)
Black Leggings:  Cotton On (here)
Black Cashmere Scarf:  Nordstrom (here)
Riding Boots:  Forever 21 (similar here)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Casual Friday

Jeans:  Charlotte Russe (old) similar here
White Tee:  Forever 21 here
Black Blazer:  Forever 21 (old) similar here


Watch:  Relic from JCPenny here
Cable Bracelet:  Glint & Gleam from ShopLately here;
currently sold out, but can be added to waitlist
Necklace:  Local boutique, similar here
Earrings & Ring:  Vintage from my mother

Monday through Thursday I am in and out of the office and in meetings.  Thankfully, it is the California norm to have Casual Friday :) Since work requires us to still be available to clients, we can't be totally casual.  My go to outfit - jeans and a sweater or blazer/jacket.  Easy enough for me!

I wasn't blessed with a husband that would photograph me in different outfits, so you'll have to bare with me for now :(  I greatly appreciate it!