General Tao’s Chicken on Hump Day?

Oh camel. It’s Hump Day! Whoop Whoop!

Alright, enough of that. Finally a recipe for the blog! It’s easy and decently quick. I’m using a Blue Dragon General Tao Stir Fry Sauce for this recipe, but there are a bunch of recipes that make the sauce from scratch. I was starving – the pre-made sauce won. If there is something on a plate in front of me, Sophia will try it. This recipe was no different. She tastes as I cook, and tastes the finished product. She usually comes back for more, so I make her own portion and load up the tray on her high chair.

The recipe is right on the back of the packet, and I’ve made this twice as a pretty filling dinner, IMO. I usually have this over whole grain brown rice.

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My set up typically looks like this:

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This time around, I added some soy sauce before the actual stir fry sauce, and added green onions, garlic, and a touch of onion salt to the ‘add the veggies’ part for more flavor.

After I batter the chicken per the recipe, I put it in the pan with oil to fry.

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Once the chicken is browned and cooked through, I added the onions, broccoli, garlic, and onion salt to the pan with the chicken. After a few minutes of incorporating the flavors, I added a splash of Kikkoman Soy Sauce and a splash of sriracha.

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Keep stirring and watch the veggies sauté and become soft. Then I added the stir fry sauce, gave everything a big stir, and let simmer for 2-3 minutes to completely heat through. Then, in order, brown rice down, then top with stir fry, and consume 🙂

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So good! My little taste tester enjoyed this as well, (especially the onions!) so I added to her tray and watched her go bananas over it.

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I hope you enjoy this when you make it too! Its easy and tastes great, and unless Sophia and I are starving like crazy, there’s usually leftovers. If you read this post, then you get to be let in on a little secret if you didn’t know already… DUNKIN DONUTS HAS ICED COFFEE, ANY SIZE, FOR 99 CENTS THE MONTH OF JANUARY! Can I get a Whoop Whoop?! Ok I’ll stop now.

If you make this, let me know how it turns out!

XO

KJS

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Home Decor: Bathrooms

This will be my first of many home decor posts. I never liked doing these types of posts before because we always rented, and nothing I decorated was ever permanent for more than 8 months. Now that we’ve moved into a four bedroom, four bathroom villa-style house, I’ve been in decorating mode more than ever before! The first areas of the house that I was able to decorate were the bathrooms. We have two upstairs, one on the main floor, and one on the lower/basement level. **Note: This isn’t a finished project, yet. This is kind of my, how do I put this, “what I did so far” pictures. We haven’t painted yet because it’s recommended we wait a year until the house “settles” and the builder comes back and fixes any cracks, nail pops, etc, being that it’s new construction. I’m really itching to paint though, ask my husband.

So without further a ‘do, here is my progress so far.

Master bathroom (Upstairs)

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Main thing I don’t like about our master is the extra large/long toilet. It makes finding lid covers impossible unless I order online. We do need legit rugs though. That tile is beautiful, but so cold on your toes in the winter!

Guest/Sophia’s bathroom (Upstairs)

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This is the most useful bathroom, IMO. It has an extra wide vanity, with functioning drawers. There’s a ton of space between the tub and the toilet which is a MUST when you’re a mommy trying to squeeze yourself in between there on your knees to bathe your baby. It also has a gigantic closet!! This house has so much storage – I swear a woman designed it. You’ll understand that more in future posts.

Powder room (Main Level)

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I’ve never seen a powder room this big. It’s usually just a closet style bathroom with a toilet and pedestal sink. The fact that I can fit this table in there is amazing. The table is actually at least 40 years old? My dad refinished it and gave it to us and I’ve always found the perfect place for it in every place we’ve lived. I plan on doing black rugs, etc for this bathroom. Keep it with clean lines. Still a work in progress! So until then, everything shares gray rugs 😉

Guest bathroom (Lower/basement level)

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This was a bonus bathroom, and what a great one! Again, another closet. There’s also a bedroom on this floor for guests, and they have a full bathroom and a den, and access to outside. I’d say that’s a pretty good place to stay? This bathroom has unfortunately been neglected – besides the shower curtain. I’m still not sure what color I want to go with , and that shower curtain is just temporary.

So those are the bathrooms in my new house! If you have any ideas, or Pinterest pictures that will drain my wallet, please feel free to share them with me!

My Pinterest is the same as all of my social media, (@)kyliemarieslife.

How did you decorate your bathrooms? Did you do them all at once? How did you choose a theme/color? Let me know in the comments below!

XO

KJS

Mommy Must-Haves: Makeup.

Saying that I was a makeup hoarder/collector/enthusiast before I had Sophia is quite frankly an understatement. I had drawers and drawers of makeup. I always had the newest collections of makeup that was released, especially in the drugstores. I had (and still have) expensive makeup brushes that I saved up my waitressing tips for to buy online. It was almost a sickness. I was obsessed. And then, well, I had Sophia. And, my makeup buying days were over. As many mommies know, you can go into Target for toothpaste, and you’ll still walk out with something for your baby. It’s a proven fact. If I have money to spare, it’s spent on Sophia.

With that said, I still make sure to keep my must-have makeup items in stock at all times. They’re essential for making me feel human. Even if I don’t leave the house, I genuinely feel CALMER if I put makeup on. I guess it’s just my ‘thing’. *Side note, I was back to wearing my every day makeup when Sophia was 4 days old, and I didn’t have any help since my husband went back to work. So IT IS POSSIBLE to do little things for yourself after you have a baby! Don’t give up!!* So here they are, my mommy makeup must-haves for face, eyes, and lips. Enjoy!

1) L’Oreal Youth Code Illuminating BB Cream in Light & Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Radiant.

lorealyouthcode  These are my go-to products. I have dry skin all year round, and this BB cream is very hydrating, covers well, and is super quick to put on. The concealer in shade Radiant brightens and conceals. I don’t have too much darkness under my eyes, but I love the brightening effect. I’m also testing out the Maybelline Age Rewind Brightening Concealer at the moment – so far so good!

To apply the BB cream, I either use just my fingers, or my Sigma F84 Angled Top Synthetic Kabuki. Both ways work great, pretty much the same results.

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2) Maybelline Unstoppable Eye Liner in Onyx & Revlon Growluscious Mascara in Blackest Black. I’ve always worn black liner on my top lash line, and I love this particular one. I bought it when they were out of the Master Drama Eye Studio in Midnight Master that I was repurchasing for the 11th time, and I decided to give this one a try, and it’s great! The mascara was a repurchase as well – I love the brush, how dark it is, and the length and volume it gives my lashes. Five stars all around. Also, I occasionally fill in the sparse areas of my brows with the E.L.F. Studio Eyebrow Kit in Medium. It does the job, and for $3, you can’t beat it.

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3) Nivea, A Kiss of Vitamin Swirl Lip Balm & Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in 225 Sultry. I’ve been using the Nivea, A Kiss of Milk and Honey for about a year now and I decided to switch it up for the vitamin swirl version. I love it! It smells amazing, way better than the Milk and Honey one. It’s perfect for the diaper bag, on your nightstand, wherever. The Matte balm is my new obsession – the Sultry shade is the “my lips but better” color of the 10 shades they offer and it’s beautiful. It almost makes you feel “not like a mommy” for a split second – you know, before they throw their lunch on the floor in public. I definitely recommend both products.

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What’s one makeup item that you couldn’t leave the house without putting on? Leave it in the comments below!

XO

KJS

Gifts for a 1st Birthday.

Having a one year old now, (holy crap) I’ve been watching her play lately. She’s become very interested in certain things, and is developing favorites! That being said, if I had to buy for a 1st birthday party, and I didn’t have a one year old, I’d have no clue what to buy. It’s that age where they still don’t do a TON but they also need something more complex than a toy rattle or ball. So, I compiled a list of Sophia’s favorite toys, and hopefully this will help you new parents, or buyers, get a clear direction to the best toys that I’ve seen are the most interesting for a one year old.

1) Leapfrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket. (For girls) It’s been my daughter’s favorite toy so far between everything, and I mean EVERYTHING she got for her birthday and Christmas. She recognizes the utensils from using them at meals, cups to drink from, even a napkin! It’s also getting her into the habit of taking things out, and putting them back in. It’s awesome. And it sings. So, clearly, you can see it won her over. It retails at Toys R’Us for $26.99.

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2) Fisher-Price Baby’s First Blocks. I got these from a local Mom Swap in my area. I paid $2 for them, and if I knew Sophia would end up loving them as much as she does, I’d pay $20 for them. She plays with these blocks every day. She’s developed a favorite color, and so far, it’s purple. She goes for the purple blocks immediately. She’s had this toy since she was about 6-7 months old, but now that she’s one year old, she understands the purpose of it. She even carries the bucket around and collects the blocks, and then dumps them all back out. Trust me, it’ll be the best $12.99 you’ll spend.

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3) Plush Animal Chair – Elephant Design. I couldn’t imagine my daughter’s day starting out any other way than with a fresh diaper, a hug, and her diving on to this chair. She runs, yes, RUNS across the house to dive on to this hair. It was bought over a year ago, and a present from the grandparent’s, so I’m not sure of the price. It’s her favorite chair. I was the happiest mommy ever the first time she went over and squatted down, and took a seat. We bought her a Tinker Bell chair from a swap for $5 but she prefers this one. And who wouldn’t prefer this one? IT’S SO FLUFFY! *If you know that movie reference, you’re the best.

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4) Leapfrog My Puppy Pal – Scout & Leapfrog My Puppy Pal – Violet. These are genius. Your baby’s name, favorite food, songs, animals etc can be programmed into this cute stuffed animal! The songs are adorable and it even sings about your baby’s name. It’s not so static in the sense that it plays the same thing over and over again. It connects using a USB port to your computer, and you can change the songs and preferences as often as you want. They retail for $24.99.

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To many, these ideas sound simple. Boring perhaps? Not to a baby, trust me. Sophia has equally loved all of these toys, and continues to go back to them. It’s amazing what they remember day after day. Another idea? BOOKS! The hard page cardboard ones. Sophia reads books every day. She brings them with her to the kitchen, under the dining room table, and just sits and pretends to reads. She flips through the pages like a pro.

What toys would you recommend for a one year old? What toy did you bring to a birthday party recently?

XO

KJS

What 2013 Taught Me to Strive for in 2014.

I’ve made new friends and lost old ones. I was thrown into the wild, crazy, incredible world of being a stay at home mom. Jay and I bought a house, and we got married. It was a pretty big year for milestones if you ask me. But besides the big things, there were some key points and lessons I’ve learned this year that will definitely shape me into a different person coming into 2014. Ok, maybe not a different person, but a different mindset, if you will.

1) Putting family/friends first. We moved to Maryland almost 3 years ago. Before we even knew Sophia existed, we traveled back home to New Jersey pretty frequently. Now since my pregnancy, car sickness, and now having a toddler and Jay’s crazy 24/7 on-call work schedule, it’s been made just a tad harder to travel as frequently as before. Sophia is also more aware of her surroundings being a year old now, and she doesn’t nap as well in the car on the 2 1/2 hour drive to and from NJ. She also shares my old bedroom with us in NJ, and sleeps in a PnP, but she’s very hard to share a room with and hates it just as much as we do, so she doesn’t sleep much at all on any of our trips.

WITH THAT SAID, I’m hoping to be in NJ more often this year. My family does make the effort to travel to MD more than us travel to them, and I’m so grateful. So do my closest friends from NJ. That’s how you know you have good friends; they travel even for just the day, to spend time with you. If your friends won’t make that commitment, they aren’t your real friends. So just in a general sense, see family/friends more. Possibly (hoping!) to even make a trip to Texas to visit my sister Melissa, Brad and the puppies.

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2) Making time for my marriage. Having a baby can be stressful on any relationship. Jay and I aren’t party people. We don’t barhop, and we don’t drop our baby off so we can go to Happy Hour for apps and drinks. It’s just never how we’ve been, and I like it that way. HOWEVER we have met some pretty great neighbors since moving into our new house and they’ve offered up their nights and weekends to letting us go out on a date night. I am just so grateful. Sophia is in bed by 7:30 at the latest most nights. We literally would need someone to sit in the house, on our couch, and watch movies and eat food while we’re gone.

We’ve come to realize that it’s something we need. Even just once a month, just one dinner and a night to ourselves. I tested this out (on my own) when Jay took Sophia to see his family, and I went out to dinner good ol’family style, just the five of us, and I actually had a great time. It was so relaxing. I had almost forgot what it was like to not be responsible for anyone other than myself, just for once. So I want to keep up with it, even with just Jay and I, and have that relaxing date night.

*We had dinner at Brickhouse Tavern and Tap in Neptune, NJ and it was sooooo good. I wish I took pictures, but I pretty much stuffed my face.

3) Do something, and stick with it, for once in my life. Every Friday, at 8am, you can expect a blog post from me. It’ll be about pretty much anything, nail polish, baby stuff, new recipes, makeup, house decor etc. But regardless the topic, it’ll be posted. I got into a very bad habit in 2013 of starting things and not finishing them, including my laundry, and it’s time to cut that shit out. I’m going to be 24 (yikes!) and I need to start acting like it. It definitely gives me a good kick in the butt when other people mention to me how I start things and never finish them, and I don’t like to be that example. No more excuses.

4) Be more social. I had about 8 new “girlfriends” after getting my job at Bonefish Grill when we moved here. I soon realized that no matter what state you live in, girls will burn you left and right, and soon removed all of those people from my life. I became friends with some mom’s in my area, and of course the families of the babies I had been a nanny for, prior to Sophia. I’ve started a few mommy groups, had some play dates, but I really want to have that close knit group of friends again, like I had in NJ. The only way that’s going to happen though, is if I’m more social. So that’s a big goal for me.

and finally…

5) To stop trying to switch from a diaper bag to a purse. I’ve officially given up. The end. #diaperbagforlife

 

What are your goals for 2014? What has 2013 taught you?

XO

KJS