HEY LANDYN...I'VE GOT A QUESTION

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty great. We took the kids on a little family date night to one of our new favorites, Chauhan. It's this really great Indian restaurant in Nashville that has quickly become a fave. Do you do this...try out a new place then go over and over. We are bad about that, but it's so good we can't stop! Saturday the kids had fun playing outside in the snow, we barely had an inch at our house...but they had fun. Then on Sunday I was honored to be asked to speak at The Pink Bride show which was AMAZING. I just love being in front of you guys. And speaking about relationships + marriage is one thing I enjoy the most. Thank you for coming is was wonderful to meet so many of you!

Alright, let's kick this week off with some of your questions! 
Xx
Landyn


WHAT LAUNDRY DETERGENT DO YOU USE?


Well, I have sensitive skin and have always used some sort of FREE + CLEAR detergent like all or something you'd use to was baby clothes. No Tide or Downey for this girl. Only problem is I really love the scents that come along with these detergents, but not the itchy skin. While on vacation last fall I discovered a new detergent that the house we rented provided for us. Every time I walked by the laundry room, I was like what is that DREAMY scent? I no intention of doing laundry, but it drew me in and I've been hooked ever since. I'm serious. It's the most fresh + clean scent ever. It's not overpowering or floral-y.  They describe it "warm and earthy vetiver grass with rich patchouli embraced by black currant blossoms"  Whatever it is, it actually makes my house smell so good and laundry a little more enjoyable. I'm hooked. Even bought the air freshener and dishwasher tabs. Now I want to try them all. When your laundry soap run out, try this! 

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HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR FIDDLE LEAF FIG ALIVE?


This is one of my most commonly asked questions via DM on Instagram.  As you know, Fiddle Leaf Figs are notoriously fickle little guys and are very, very sensitive.  I am not a plant whisperer, but I do have a few tricks and products that I use.  The first is DO NOT OVER WATER.  I can not stress this enough.  Fiddle Leaf's are very sensitive to over watering.  You want their soil to be very dry before you water them again.  I will put mine up in the sink and mix the fertilizer with a gallon water and pour it in the pot.  Here is the key, let it drain really, really well.  Fiddle Leaf's can not tolerate being in standing water, so you want to give it at least a couple of hours to drain.  I also will periodically throw in the water that I have left over in my water bottle at the end of the day to give him a little drink.

Another thing I found is that they do not like being moved around to different locations. They like sunlight, so I always keep mine in the window in our living room.  When we put the Christmas tree up every year I have to move him to the dining room window.  When he gets moved back it always takes him a week or so to perk back up and recover.  I have a few tried and true products that I use to keep mine healthy and happy that I am going to share below, as well as some options for live plants if you want to try your hand at them.

And if you don't want the hassle of trying to keep a real tree alive, then check out some of these really beautiful faux options.

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TELL US ABOUT THAT AIR FRYER


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Air Fryer

Steve is the king of kitchen gadgets, so he had been on the search for an air fryer for a while now.  Since we were doing keto he decided to pull the trigger on it a couple of weeks ago.  His favorite food in the world are chicken wings, so this is the perfect addition to a kitchen.  A lot of you were wondering exactly how an air fryer works and thanks to my friends at Wikipedia I can tell you.  Basically it coats your food in a thin layer of oil and then circulates hot air around it at really high speeds to create the crispy effect you typically get from submerging food in hot oil.  Since you are not submerging your food in oil it is a much healthier way to eat your favorite fried foods. This is the air fryer we got and I really like it.

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower by Laura Lea Balanced

We used our air fryer for the first time last week to try this delicious Buffalo Cauliflower recipe from Laura Lea Balanced.  It was so easy to make and tasted absolutely delicious.  Definitely a healthier alternative if you are craving wings.  It would make the perfect appetizer for the upcoming Super Bowl or a fun side dish to serve for the whole family. She's got so many great recipes, check her book out here


MY TIPS + TRICKS FOR PURGING + ORGANIZING YOUR HOME

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Continuing on with our new year, new you theme we have going on this week, I wanted to talk about purging and organizing your home.  Many of you saw me go on an absolute cleaning and purging marathon over on Insta-stories and were curious about how I did it.  Today I wanted to share some of my tips and tricks for purging and organizing your home and show you some of the spaces that I worked on over the holiday break.

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I typically go through periods where I let the house go and become a total wreck and then basically freak out and go on a purging and organizing rampage.  I become a woman on a mission who can not be stopped until every space is clean + organized.  Like most of you, that typically happens for me right after the holidays are over , and I start taking down the Christmas decorations. This year I got a jump start on it because we were moving in to the closet right around Christmas.  What started out as a closet purge turned in to a whole house purge. 

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I truly believe that your home should be a sanctuary.  This world is chaotic enough; our schedules are packed to the brim and we are all frequently overwhelmed.  When I walk through the doors to my home I want to leave all of that chaos outside and come in to a nice calm, clean space.  Having my home organized and neat is very much something I do for my mental health.  I know that sounds weird, but if my house is disorganized and in disarray it truly creates a sense of uneasiness and anxiety that I can not shake.  No one wants to feel like that in their own home.  I am going to talk about self-care later this month, and I know this is not something that is typically thought of as self-care, but for me having a clean and organized space is very much about self-care.


GENERAL ORGANZING TIPS + TRICKS


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I am not a professional organizer, and a lot of the things I do or am going to tell you are not things you haven't possibly heard before; however, these are some of the general tips and tricks that work for me.

  • Research a worthy organization and donate your unwanted items. A lot of people were really concerned when they saw the dumpster and were afraid that I was just throwing everything out.  Don't worry, I wasn't!  I went through everything and created a donate pile to take everything that was still usable and in good condition.  I always donate to our local Goodwill because it is convenient and they come and load everything out of my car.  However, if you have specific or specialized items, I always think it is a great thing to find organizations that could really need or use your items.  For instance, if you are done having kids and are looking to donate some of your baby items, look for a local homeless shelter that specializes in mothers with newborns or babies.  One of my girlfriend's churches has a foster care closet that they run where foster parents can come and pick out childern's clothes for their foster kids for free.  If you have a lot of work clothes look into organizations like Dress for Success and if you have a lot of formal wear you are looking to get read of check out organizations like Becca's Closet that give prom dresses to underprivileged teens.
  • Get your kids involved- This is an especially big component in our house because my kids are older and understand the concept of cleaning out and organizing.  This can be harder when they are younger and don't understand why you are "taking" their things, but I still think it is an important lesson to learn.  I send each of my kids up with a couple of garbage bags and make them go through the same process I do with my things.  If it is trash, broken, missing pieces, etc it goes in the garbage bag.  If it is something that they think another child would like to play with or wear, it goes in the donate bag.  Simple as that.  I will then come along behind them and help them if I feel like there is still work that needs to be done or I need to see them in clothes to know whether they fit or not.
  • Control sentimentality- A lot of you wanted to know how I control all the paper clutter that my kids bring in; which is especially difficult when they are younger.  I have a benchmark I use when I am deciding what to keep and what to toss of my kids...because Lord knows I can not keep every scribbled on piece of construction paper they ever created.  I look at each piece and ask myself if this is something that their kids would like to see when they come over one day and we get that bin down from the attic.  For instance, does it show their handwriting when they were in Kindergarten, is it a picture or story about what they wanted to be when they grew up, is it a hand print to show how little they once were, etc.  Those pieces that give us all a glimpse into who they were or what they were thinking when they were a certain age are the pieces that get to stay.  I also keep report cards, tests or papers that they worked really hard for, and homemade Mother's Day/Father's Day gifts.
  • If you have a big job, get a dumpster.  I know this sounds extreme, but you would be surprised how much junk/trash you have lying around your house, especially when you start getting your hands on your attic, basement, and garage.  We have moved 9 times and I realized when I was putting away our Christmas decorations this year that I had moved around a box of broken ornaments with us through the years.  WHY LANDYN!?!  So, I went through everything and if it couldn't be re-purposed or donated, I trashed it.  I am talking a Christmas tree that's lights no longer worked, broken toys, empty boxes to TVs and electronics we don't even own anymore, even a random couch cushion. 

My friend told me about Red Dog Dumpsters and now I'm completely hooked. You are able to rent a dumpster by the week and they come to your house deliver it and then you just call them when you are done with it and they come pick it up. If you are in the Nashville area, my LANDYN10 code for 10% off is still good through January.

 


THE BASEMENT


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I wanted to share a few tips of mine that were specific to the areas I really focused this year.  Let's start with the basement.  I am so lucky because the brilliant woman who lived here before me built a storage room in the basement that was lined with shelves all around the room.  This has been a godsend and has created a great opportunity for organized storage space.

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This space is very accessible to our kitchen and so this is where I store the majority of my entertaining supplies- dishes, napkins, party supplies, you name it. It's also where our liquor, household supplies, bottled waters, etc are kept.  Which leads me to one of my tips.

  • Keep items close to where you use them-  This seems like such a statement of the obvious, but it makes everything so much more convenient and hassle-free when it is right where you need it to be.  It also makes it easier to keep the house clutter free because you don't just leave things in a room thinking you will take them back across the house or to the attic or garage, it is all just right there and I can easily pop down and grab something.
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  • Get the right tools.  My paper products and party supplies were absolutely out of control.  Obviously I have a problem with napkins, plates and paper straws.  They were all over the place before I got them organized and it lent me to constantly overbuying because I was never sure what I really had.  I decided to spend a little money on some shoe boxes at the Container Store and use them to store all of my paper products together.  Now everything is grouped together, I can easily see what I have and stuff doesn't get messy.  You might need to spend just a little bit of money to buy various bins, baskets and storage containers, but they are absolutely essential in being able to maintain the systems and order that you put in place.
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THE CLOSET


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I don't want to give away too much of a sneak peek of the closet, because I am going to do two huge reveal posts next month, but I did want to share some of my closet cleaning tips.

  • Group like items together- This really goes for all organizing, as you can see in my basement images where I group all my serving platters together, but it is a fundamental part of creating a good system.  In the closet I chose to group items together by color and then by length of sleeve/type of item within the color.  You could also do it by grouping different clothing types together- all of your tank tops, then all your short-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shirts, etc.
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  • Invest in good quality, matching hangers.  I buy a couple of different hanger types that I use in my closet.  I love these clear acrylic hangers because clothes hang so well on them without getting the shoulder dents that wire hangers cause.  They also have little indents for you to hang tank top straps in so they don't slip off.  I also buy the coated velvet hangers that you can find at places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls because they keep things from slipping off.  Whichever type you choose, my biggest piece of advice is to throw out all the wire hangers and mismatch hangers you have.  It helps keep your closet neater, keeps your clothes in better shape, and looks 100 times prettier.
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  • If you don't love it, don't keep it.  This is a super basic principal that is the basis for all purging, but if you do not love something then let it go.  I know we might be holding on to those pair of jeans that will fit when we loose 10 pounds.  Or keeping something because "you never know when you might need an XYZ", but really all that is doing is taking up space in your closet and in your head and makes getting dressed that much harder each morning.

THE PANTRY


We have been lucky enough to work with The Home Edit on a few spaces in our house, the pantry, Steve's office, old closet and my craft room.  We worked together on my pantry first and I will tell you it has pretty much stayed the way they made it for the past several years.  There is a reason for that and it is something that they are really big about teaching and implementing in their clients home.

  • Create a system that works for you and stick with it-  This really is a fundamental part of organizing and it has been crucial for keeping the pantry looking great.  A second component of this is a place for everything and everything in its place.  You need to think about how you use your spaces and what is and isn't working for you.  It is critical for everything to have a place and for you to know where things belong and to make it easy for you to put them back after you use them. 
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  • Label, label, label- This is another thing that The Home Edit taught me that is so crucial.  Labels are everything.  I wish my handwriting was as beautiful as Clea's custom calligraphy, but alas it is not.  If you don't have beautiful handwriting, don't be dismayed.  Pick up a label maker, basket tags, stick-on labels, whatever you want to make sure that everything is labeled.  You never will have to guess what goes where or where something is when everything has a designated spot and is labeled.
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  • Cut the cardboard-  If at all possible, take things out of the cardboard boxes and packaging.  All of that packaging is bulky and takes up a ton of space.  It can also be oddly shaped, like packages of flour, sugar, etc, so it is really hard to keep neat.  I love putting things in plastic or glass storage containers...with labels of course.  Not only does it keep items fresher and better organized, but it looks great too.  If you don't have the ability to take everything out of their containers, at least try to corral the different items by grouping like items together.

MY ORGANIZING ESSENTIALS



WHY I CHOSE KETO

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jeans | necklace | t-shirt version on my tank  

It's January, which for most of the world means time to clean up that diet and get back on the healthy train.  Am I right?  Well I am just like everybody else and I really let myself fall off that train for the past several months.  My holiday eating definitely was not stellar and I haven't worked out since the Living with Landyn live show in September...of last year!  Well all that changes now. 

the best keto cookbooks

great recipes | www.wickedstuffed.com

The funny thing is that I am actually the thinnest I have been since college, but unfortunately it is because I have lost muscle mass.  They always say muscle mass weighs more than fat...and let me tell you, they aren't lying.  After so many positive reviews and encouragement from you guys about Orange Theory, I am actually going to start going this week.  I will definitely give you my thoughts on that after I have gone for awhile.  I have also started the Keto diet this month and I'm excited to share with you why I chose that diet and what all I have learned so far.


WHAT IS A KETO DIET?


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First things first, what exactly is a Keto diet?  I had heard that term before, but never really knew what it was.  At its core it is basically a high-fat, low-carb diet.  Is anyone old enough to remember the ole Atkins diet that was really popular in the early 2000's?  It is basically like the Atkins diet on crack.  One of the primary difference though is the emphasis on eating high-fat foods and getting your body into a state of ketosis and keeping it there. 

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Ketosis is a natural process that our body creates when it has a low intake of carbohydrates and needs to produce fuel for the body.  The body's primary source of fuel is glucose which is created when carbs and sugars are broken done in the liver.  When the body does not have enough carbs, the liver produces ketones through the breakdown of fat. Basically your body is using fat, rather than carbs, as it primary fuel source so it burns fat quickly.


WHAT DO YOU EAT ON A KETO DIET?


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The goal with a keto diet is to get into and keep your body in a state of ketosis.  To do this the general recommendation is that you need to eat no more than 50 grams of carbs (25-30 net carbs) a day max and the lower the better.  For me it's 20 grams. This is just a guideline though, so if you want to know more accurately based on your personal situation and your body just google keto calculator and you will be able to better figure out the right amount of carbs for you. 

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Because fat becomes the primary fuel source in a keto diet, fat is the majority of what you are consuming in your diet.  Below is a pie chart that I found that helps break down what you should be eating on a keto diet.  You will notice that in addition to being low carb, you are eating a limited amount of protein too and the protein that you do eat is generally higher fat meats.

source: Perfect Keto

source: Perfect Keto

good foods for a keto diet

Keto-Friendly Foods

  • Meat- high fat cuts like steaks, veals, roasts, and ground beef
  • Seafood
  • Eggs cooked anyway
  • High Fat Sauces- Dressings, Bernaise Sauce, Alfredo, Garlic Butter, etc
  • Vegetables grown above ground, especially leafy and green veggies such as caluiflower, spinach, avocado, broccoli, etc.
  • High Fat Dairy- butter, sour cream, heavy cream, cheese, but not regular milk as it has too much sugar.
  • Nuts- especially macadamia nuts and pecans.  Avoid cashews as they have more carbs.
  • Berries- these must be eaten sparingly and blackberries, raspberries and strawberries have the lowest carb counts.
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 heavy cream | coconut milk | almond milk 

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my favorite sweet treat | barney butter + dark chocolate + chia seeds |


If you are a more visual person like me, here is a great food pyramid that shows you the foods to eat and avoid on this diet. I'm loving the Keto App. It's so easy to track what you consume daily, along with plenty of great recipe ideas. 

Source: Keto Diet Blog

One of the very best parts of the keto diet has been that the recipes are delicious and even my kids love them.  Typically when we try a diet and are eating lots of "green things" my kids completely freak out and don't want to eat what I am cooking.  Mama doesn't have time to be a short-order cook, so it is nice to be able to make one meal that everyone enjoys. Like those pork rind dusted pork chops...they devoured them! 


WHY WE CHOSE A KETO DIET


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Steve was actually the catalyst for starting the keto diet.  Several members of the Titans team and staff, as well as some of our friends, have been on the keto diet and have seen great results.  Since his back surgery last year, he hasn't been able to work out as strenuously as he'd like, so he was looking for a way to maintain/lose weight without being able to work out as much. He did all the research {his nickname is Manual Boy, he reads about everything} and ordered all the books and I am basically along for the ride.  I will say this, Steve is the absolute best person do do a diet with.  He has the most willpower of any person I have ever met and when he makes a decision to stick to a diet, he does it.  I know if I join in a diet with him he will hold me totally accountable and will be my partner every step of the way, so I generally jump on board with what he recommends.

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KETO DIET RESOURCES


my favorite keto cookbooks

I have a few different keto resources that I have enjoyed that I wanted to share with you guys.  We bought several different cookbooks that we have used and really enjoyed. Another one coming tomorrow! Also below is the collagen powder + MTC oil we use. Ketosis testing strips I ordered and Steve has this monitor currently in his cart ( he's just GOT to know. Ha! ) So, I'll end up ordering that today I'm sure. And...he's read up on this drink and it's quite popular, I'm sure he ordered that too. Let's just say we are READY over here! 


INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS I ENJOY + FOLLOW


There are also a few different Instagram accounts/blogs that I follow and really enjoy.  I am going to share a screen shot on each one below. If you have a favorite, I'd LOVE to know. 


WHAT I THINK SO FAR


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We are a week in, but I have to say that so far I am really enjoying it.  I mean who doesn't want to eat high-fat foods all the time.  Any diet that encourages you to eat something called a fat bomb, I am all for.  I will say that I am a little nervous, because if for some reason this diet doesn't work I am going to turn into a little tub of lard.  I have seen and heard about so many great results though, so I am sure it will be awesome.  The first week I had a slight headache, but so far I haven't seen any adverse side effects.  One of the biggest positives that I have noticed from the diet is that I have amazing mental clarity.  By day four, I could totally tell I was sharper and less foggy.  You have to drink a TON of water on this diet, so be prepared to be in the bathroom a lot.  As I mentioned above, the recipes have been delicious and are super family friendly.  I don't think it is a diet that I will stay on long-term, but I think it is a great way to jump start your system. I know this is a statement of the obvious, but I am not a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist.  As always, you should do your own research and consult with your doctor before embarking on a change in diet. 


I hope you guys have found this post helpful.  If you have any keto specific questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments or email me at heylandyn@livingwithlandyn.com and I will try to address them.  I will check back in with you guys in few weeks and let you know how it is going.

Xx
Landyn

HEY LANDYN......I'VE GOT A QUESTION

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jeans | top (similar) | necklace | lip gloss

Well, we're one week into the next 365 days. I don't really like to say New Year, cause what if you mess up and then you've got to wait until 2019 for a do-over. Nah. I mess up daily, and sometimes I can't fix it until next week or next month. So, let's don't be so hard on ourselves this year. Let's just do our best and be a better version of ourselves. Cause I'd say we're doing pretty darn good. Am I right, ladies?! Pat yourself on the back....some of us made it through holiday break with our kids home for almost three weeks. Vacation anyone? That's what I should have asked for Christmas! 

Ok, so if you're new to Living With Landyn, than this will sound fun and something to look forward to weekly. If we've been besties for a while now, you'll be saying, "IT'S ABOUT TIME" Great! This week my very popular HEY LANDYN....I'VE GOT A QUESTION series is back on the blog starting today and every Monday. It's when I answer your questions and the most popular from the week before. Maybe it's something you saw me wearing, a paint color, a question about skin care or even what to get your best friend that just got engaged.

I LOVE your questions and want you to email them to me. I created a brand new address where you can send them - heylandyn@livingwithlandyn.com  Whenever you've got one, send it right there. This is the best way to get your questions answered. I try really hard, but sometimes they get lost in DM's on Instagram & Facebook. I think this will work much better. Let's give it a try and you let me know what you think. Cool? Cool. 

Alright, let's kick off 2018 with some of your burning questions! 
Xx
Landyn


WHERE DID YOU GET THAT NECKLACE YOU'VE BEEN WEARING? 

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Oh, this beauty the Multi Bar Necklace I know. I'm obsessed. I've been lusting over it for a while and my hubby got it for me for Christmas, along with these two rings. {MRS + Luna} If you don't know, Melanie Auld's jewelry is ALL THE THINGS! She's a wife + mother and has an unbelievable talent and that shows in every one of her pieces. Her jewelry is seriously B E A U T I F U L. I want everything. It's all so me.  Again, she NAILED it with this one. Delicate game, strong! Check her out, if you don't already. If you end up falling in love like me...go ahead, I dare you not too. Enjoy 15% off as a gift from Melanie- use LANDYN15 at checkout.

MELANIE AULD.com

You're welcome
Xx 


HOW DO YOU HANDLE ALLOWANCE WITH YOUR KIDS?

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I have two thoughts on this. One is...you live in my house therefore you help around the house. That means not giving me any lip when I ask you to feed the dog or clean up your room. Two is you need to learn about earning and how it feels to wait, save up and take care of something you spent your hard earned money on. Not be handed everything. Cause that's not real life. Also we like to remind them that is is our money, not theirs. Mom and Dad worked hard for all that we have and you're not going to just sit back and become a member of the lucky sperm club. Ha! Too much for a Monday? I recently heard that and had to laugh. Anyways..that's our philosophy.

Here's how we handle allowance. Our kids started chores early. Even if it was picking up toys, or putting their plate in the sink before they could see over the counter. It has given them responsibility at a young age, and that has done them well + given me less to nag about. Since the age of six or when they started kindergarten, came jobs they needed to complete daily. 

  • make bed- even if it's not perfect, they eventually, over time got pretty good at it.
  • hang up your towel in bathroom
  • wash the toothpaste out of the sink - nothing worse than spit n' go 
  • put laundry away - I would put it folded on their bed and they would put in in the drawer that it belonged in
  • set the table - something as easy as place the napkins + forks on the table
  • clear the table- helping me get everything from the table to the kitchen sink
  • feed the dog + give him water 
  • get themselves up + dressed in the morning for school * this one is another blog post, but lets just say our mornings are pretty smooth around here. Thankful I started that one early. 

Now, let's talk payment. We've always given them their age a week for allowance. For instance Lily, $13 a week and Luke $10 a week. It's worked perfectly and has been just the right age-appropriate amount. Each year on their birthday they will receive a $1 raise. Now, if they don't do all that we ask or get sassy that week, they stand to lose a a few bucks or all of it for that matter. And that's how we do it around here. 

 

 


OK, TELL US ABOUT YOUR KEY RING

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Now, this thing is THE BEST EVER. I don't know about you, but I loose my keys, can't find them on the bottom of my purse, always carrying way too much and most of the time running into some place without my purse...so what do I do with my keys?!?! Drop them. Ha! That was me...not anymore. I got this Big O Key Ring last year and I kid you not. It's one of my favorite things. It's like a bracelet with purpose. Girls....listen, do yourself a favor and treat yo-self. I have the white one. But now, I really want the mocha ostrich one. Dang it. See, you guys get me in trouble too.

Here'a a link right to they're shop! 

www.o-venture.com


WHAT I'M WEARING

| same top, now in many colors + I layer my lip gloss, who wears just one anyways. this one and the one under my picture |


SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION!

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A PERFECT AT HOME DATE NIGHT

HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT AT HOME DATE NIGHT

Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over and football season is winding down, Steve and I are going to get back on track with our weekly date nights. As much as I love getting dressed up and going out on the town, I really love just staying at home and spending quality time with him. Let's face it, babysitters are expensive and maybe you don't have family and friends in town who can pitch-in to help watch the kids so that you and your honey can enjoy a night out.  Or maybe a night out at a restaurant just isn't in the budget right now.  If this is the case, then an at home date night is the perfect solution.

cream blanket on Summer Classics couch
SUMMER CLASSICS COUCH

One of the great benefits that we didn't anticipate when we built the pool house, is that it would give us a space away from the house to hang out together.  Luckily our kids are a little older, so we can set them up with a movie and dinner in the house and scoot across the yard for our date night. The pool house is a perfect set-up for date night because the couch out there is so comfortable.  It is deep and long enough that both Steve and I can snuggle up on it and still be comfortable, which is no easy task may I add. I know I say this all the time, but if you are in the market for new outdoor furniture you have to check out Summer Classics.  We LOVE all of our stuff from them! We have a TV and fireplace out there too, so we can watch a movie or binge watch one of our favorite shows together if we feel like it. 

cheese board on wooden serving platter

Cutting Board (LANDYN20 for 20% off)

Obviously not everyone has the luxury of a separate space in their house to get away from the kids, or kids that are old enough to self-entertain, but that doesn't mean you have to give up on the idea of an at-home date night.  I want to share some tips that you can use to set-up a perfect date night regardless of the age of your kids.

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When Lily and Luke were younger, and I knew that Steve and I were going to have a stay-in date night I would typically let them skip a nap during the day.  As we mom's know, while skipped naps can make the afternoon and early evening a beast they usually lead to early bed times.  An early bedtime for the babes is a must if you want to do an date night and not fall asleep in the middle of it.  Because I knew the afternoons and dinner time were going to be dicey at best, I would usually "bribe" them with a dinner that I knew they would love.  What kid can't be good for boxed macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets.

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Steve and I love to cook, so that is typically something we can do together for date nights.  In fact, Steve is such a great cook and loves it so much that he will sometimes cook the entire meal and I just get to sit and chat with him and drink wine.  However, if cooking isn't your jam then do something simple like a frozen pizza and call it a night.  The key is that you are spending time together.  Another thing we love to do if we don't want to go through the whole process of cooking a meal is to put together a cheese plate or some easy appetizers and just snack on those over a nice bottle of wine.

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The key is that you want to take this time to really just focus on each other.  I know this is obvious, but put away the phones.  When Steve and I do at-home date nights, I typically don't even take my phone so that I am not even tempted by the thought of it.  As I mentioned, sometimes we will use a date night to binge watch some of our favorite shows, but even if we do that we always spend at least 30 minutes to an hour just talking and catching up before we watch TV. 

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Another thing that we really try to do is not just talk about the kids or work.  If there are issues or things we want to talk about related to those two topics, we definitely will, but we try to focus just on each other and what is going on in our lives.  This can be really hard, especially when kids and work are two such enormous parts of all of our lives.  To help you guys along in really digging into a conversation with your hubby, I have created a list of 10 questions to ask your spouse on your next date night.  Hopefully one or two of these will be interesting to you and can spark a conversation maybe you haven't had with your spouse before.

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10 DATE NIGHT CONVERSATION STARTERS


  1. If we won the lottery, what would we do with the money?  This is a fun one because you can pick different amounts that you might win and see how that changes what your spouse might want to do.  It also is a great conversation starter about financial goals and desires.
  2. Where do you see our family/us in 5, 10, 20 years, etc?  This is another great one because it opens the door to talk about future goals, retirement plans, what you both want when the kids leave the house etc.
  3. What is something that you did with your family when you were a kid that you wish that we did with our family?  Great conversation starter to talking about priorities as a family and creating traditions for your own family.
  4. What is the one thing that surprises you most about being an adult?  I think we all have fantasy's when we are little about what it would be like to be an adult and it would be fun to know what of those have lived up to or been a surprise from our childhood fantasy's.
  5. If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world, with money being no object, where would you go an why?
  6. If you could go back in time, or fast forward time, what is one age you would like to be?
  7. If money were no object, and you could change your career to be anything, what would you do?  I think a lot of us do a job because it makes a good living and provides a secure future for our families.  Both very honorable and important things, but it is fun to think about what you would do if those things were not a consideration.  A good way to dig deep and think about true passions.
  8. What is a hobby that you wish you had time to pick up?
  9. When did you know that you wanted to marry me?  This is such a fun way to really relive those dating years and think about those early romantic feelings you had for each other.  Sometimes some of that romance and excitement that you used to experience in the beginning gets swept aside in the hustle of day to day life. 
  10. What is the biggest memory that sticks out to you from our wedding day?


ONE LAST THING


Remember the key to a date night is being able to reconnect with your spouse.  Don't put too much pressure to make it perfect.  Light some candles, pour some wine, and snuggle up to the one that you love.  I promise you won't regret it.

Enjoy Xx
Landyn


DATE NIGHT ESSENTIALS


GETTING ON TRACK IN THE NEW YEAR

Ingredients for a healthy meal or healthy snack

Do you dread the new year or do you love a fresh, clean slate to get the year started? I am not one to make resolutions, but I do typically choose a theme or a mantra for the year. I love doing that as a way to help guide my thoughts and actions throughout the year. It is not as much pressure as setting these lofty goals that you may or may not be able to keep.

making a healthy breakfast with berries on a marble cutting board

This past summer I turned 40 years old and in order to get ready for my 40th, I went on a pretty regimented eating and exercise plan. I looked and felt the best I ever have. Unfortunately though, life got in the way and I have not been exercising or eating well consistently since then. Luckily Marshalls came to the rescue to help me get on track. And this year, I’m expanding this commitment to being healthier with my family too.

In our house, healthy eating starts with meal planning and meal prep. Luckily, Marshalls has EVERYTHING I need for meal prep and planning. Healthy choices start first thing in the morning, and I was so impressed with the things Marshalls had on the shelves that would be perfect for your morning yogurt or smoothie – a favorite in our family. I picked up everything from bee pollen to organic honey and chia seeds. The thing I was most excited about was that all of these supplements and ingredients ranged from only $2.99-$5.99. If I went to my local health food store or supermarket they would cost two to three times that amount!

healthy food stacked in glass storage containers

Meal planning, meal prep and meal journaling are three things I do to help stay on track when it comes to healthy eating. Our family is busy and on the go quite a bit, so I am always looking for good storage containers for packed lunches. I don’t like using plastic containers, so I am always on the lookout for glass containers to store my food in. Marshalls has an amazing selection at awesome prices. I picked up several different sizes and they were all under $6.

writing in my food journal

I also picked up this pocket-sized calendar. I don’t use this as a calendar, but rather as a food journal. It helps me to see what I am eating each day. I find that it holds me accountable to what is going in my body and helps keep me on track if I actually write it all down. This one was only $5.99 and my local Marshalls had a huge selection of them. If you are trying to lose weight or eat healthier in the new year, then this is probably one of my biggest tips for you.

Exercise is a very important part of my life and that is something that I also let slide the past few months. For me, it is as much about the mental benefits and how it makes me feel as it is the physical results I see. It truly is a sanity saver and a stress reliever for me. Let’s just say my entire family can tell when I am not exercising regularly. While I was cruising the aisles of my local store I found this awesome hoodie jacket and running belt. I am going to let you in on a little secret. I am a closet fan of fanny packs and this running belt is helping that obsession. It really is perfect because it fits snuggly to the body and is big enough to fit your keys and your phone. The best part is that I was able to get both of them for less than $25. I am starting to run again, since it has been over 5 years since my last half marathon, and this belt will come in handy. I was really excited about the great selection of workout gear and accessories that my Marshalls had. Everything from weights to yoga mats and tons of workout clothes to choose from. I can’t wait to try this gear while we’re working out and running together as a family.

Let’s work together and make 2018 our healthiest, happiest year yet!

Xx
Landyn


Thank you to Marshalls for sponsoring this post.  As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  Thank you to all of you for supporting the brands that help make Living with Landyn possible.

NEW YEARS EVE: BAR CART STYLE

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How many of you guys have fun New Year's Eve plans?  Sometimes we go out and do it up big, like did last year and other years we just keep it low key and invite a few close friend over.  This year it is looking like Steve is actually going to have to work on New Year's Eve so we are keeping it low key.  Today I want to share with you some fun ideas for setting up a bar car for your party and an easy recipe if you are entertaining.

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MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR BAR CART


I have been on the look out for a great bar for awhile now and I was so lucky when I stumbled upon this beauty at HomeGoods.  Yep, you read that right, I got it at HomeGoods, so everyone hurry to your local store and see if you can score one too.  I love the idea of having a bar cart on hand for entertaining.  It can really be a lifesaver, especially if your kitchen or entertaining space is small because you can move it around and it frees up your counter space. 

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Since my bar cart is silver I went with a mixed metal, metallic them for my bar car.  Here is a great tip for you.  I wanted something shimmery that would pop but would not create a huge mess that I would have to clean up later.  To do this I just grabbed a couple sparkly placemats and called it good. I love that it provides the shimmer, while also defining the area that I am using to set up my champagne station.

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That is another one of my bar cart tips.  Well really just a general entertaining tip.  Keep it simple and just provide one type of specialty drink and pair it with wine or beer.  It will save you a ton of money and it will make putting your bar cart together so much easier.  For this particular set-up I went with a bubbly station since champagne and New Years Eve go hand in hand.  I love to provide some type of fruit for my guests to drop in their drink, whether that is fresh pomegranate seeds, raspberries, or blackberries.  I went with blackberries for my bar because I like how they played against the metallic decorations I had chosen. Also, here is another little tip for you if you do a champagne station, if your champagne looses a fizz all you have to do is drop a sugar cube in it to activate the fizz again. Bubbly + brilliant! 

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top (LANDYN20 at checkout) | skirt (PRETTYTHINGS25) | necklace (similar) | shoes


I was also looking for another fun little addition to my bar and I stumbled across white cotton candy at HomeGoods, so I had to snatch it up.  I love the touch of whimsy it adds as an unexpected little treat for your champagne.  To make it extra special I dusted it with edible gold dust that I picked up at Michaels and I love how it turned out.   It doesn't have to be fancy or hard to make for something to be memorable.

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MAKE IT FESTIVE + HAVE FUN 


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Once you have your drink stations set up, you can move on to the fun part...decorating!  Since I already knew I was doing a mixed metal and metallic look for my bar cart, that really set me up in the direction I was going.  I took a plastic + velvet party hat and repeated the silver glitter element from the drink station by placing the hat on top of it.  I found some inexpensive plastic gold and black Christmas ball ornaments and placed them in the hat.  I then bought a bunch of fun paper goods and confetti poppers for us to use when the clock strikes midnight.

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One of my favorite, inexpensive decorating tricks is to buy a ton of balloons to use in a space.  I love to have the balloons floating loose in the party space with the strings hanging down for people to walk through.  It makes a big impact for very little money.  I got my balloons at my favorite local shop Shindigs and I had them tie them off with different colors of metallic string so they would fit in with the theme.  I then got some paper confetti and sprinkled it all around the room.  Here is a little word of warning, metallic confetti is really hard to pick up and your vacuum cleaner doesn't really like it.  If you want to go for a confetti look, but don't want to be finding piece of it around your house for the rest of your life, then stick to paper confetti and vacuum it up afterwards.

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WHAT TO SERVE


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My philosophy when it comes to planning my menu for a party is the simpler the better.  That is why I love a good cheese plate.  I am always looking for easy appetizer recipes that I can make quickly or better yet ahead of time.  And I am definitely not opposed to adding a few store bought goodies into my spread.  Today I have put together a great recipe that is super easy to make and can be made ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until your guests come.  This Cranberry Orange Cheese Ball is definitely one to include on your New Years Eve party this year.


CRANBERRY ORANGE CHEESE BALL 


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  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 tablespoon juice form orange
  • crackers for serving
  • rosemary for garnish

  1. In a medium bowl whip together cream cheese + cheddar cheese until well blended.
  2. Add orange zest, orange juice and cranberries until well incorporated. 
  3. Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on your counter and empty cheese mixture on to it. 
  4. Wrap plastic around the cheese and use your hands to form into a ball.
  5. Refrigerate for one hour. 
  6. In a shallow dish pour chopped pecans. 
  7. Unwrap cheese ball and roll in chopped pecans. Gently use your hand to make sure nuts are in place and cheese is well covered. 
  8. Place on a dish, garnish with rosemary springs. Cover and chill until ready to serve. 

BAR CARTS



BAR ACCESSORIES



PARTY DECOR


 

 

A SIMPLE CHRISTMAS TABLESCAPE

a simple Christmas table decoration

Today I am going to share the final piece of my Christmas decor; my Christmas tablescape.  I continued my theme of a simple + modern Christmas into my table and I am really happy with how they came together.  It is clean and easy, which is just what I wanted this years Christmas table to be all about.

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I started with the same glass Christmas trees from CB2 that I used on my mantles.  I brought in some of the mercury colored ones on the table and I varied the heights.  If you have followed me for a long time, you know that I typically like long, low, spread out tablescapes, as opposed to one big centerpiece.  I like the people sitting around the table to be able to see each other.  These trees fit that bill perfectly because they come in three different sizes so I could mix and match them to vary the height. 

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While I used faux garland from Michaels on my mantles, I choose real garland for my table. I love faux snow and I just sprinkled it all over my garland.  Gives it a little extra touch and breaks up all the green.  I found some white jingle bell ornaments from Jo-Ann's and cut the ornament hangers off them so I could spread them around the table.  I also grabbed some silver ornaments and votive candles to put in the mix.  I love to light them right before we eat.  It gives the table such a pretty glow.  If you don't want to do real votives, you could also use the fairy lights I used on my Charlie Brown tree or the battery operated votives.

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I also got the grey and white ribbon and ornaments that I used on the place settings from Jo-Ann's.  I love that the grey and white ribbons ties in to the color scheme that I've used throughout the house.

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For the place settings I used my everyday plates on the table and I combined it with my wedding crystal.  I love the mix of casual and formal.  I laid the plates on a diagonal for visual interest and then just placed my ornaments on them.  Simple as that.

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SHOP THE LOOK 


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STUFF YOUR STOCKINGS

stocking stuffer ideas for boys

I don't know about you guys, but stockings are one of my favorite parts of Christmas.  I love thinking of all the fun little gifts that I can put in Steve and the kids stockings.  It is our tradition to open all of our presents first and then while breakfast is cooking we go an open our stockings.  I don't know if it is because it is the last part of the Christmas gift opening experience or the mystery of not knowing what is inside, but it is just the absolute best. 

stocking gift ideas for boys
stocking stuffer ideas for girls

Whether you give big stuff or little stuff, I have got you covered this year.  I have created THREE different stocking gift guides for you.  You will find everything you need for the kids, the hubby, and even your own stocking below.  These will be my last gift guides for this year.  I have had the absolute best time doing them.  Seriously, it is one of my absolute favorite parts of my job and I hope you all enjoyed them and found some goodies for people on your gift list...or to put on your own gift list. 

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FOR HIM


STOCKING IDEAS FOR YOUR HUSBAND, STOCKING STUFFERS FOR YOUR BOYFRIEND

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15


STOCKING STUFFERS FOR HER

STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS FOR YOUR WIFE, STOCKING IDEAS FOR GIRLS, STOCKING GIFT IDEAS FOR YOUR GIRLFRIEND

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15


STOCKING STUFFERS FOR KIDS


STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS FOR KIDS

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15

 

 

GIFTS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Christmas gifts on a budget

If you know me, you know that I am a certified Marshalls addict. I absolutely love the thrill of shopping high-quality finds and get so excited whenever I am able to snag a designer item at a discount. I love just strolling the aisles and waiting to see what surprises are going to jump off the racks or shelves at me.  What you might not realize is that I also love doing some of my holiday shopping at Marshalls too!  Whether you are looking for something for your family, your favorite four-legged friend, your office bestie, or the special guy in your life, there is always something for everyone. The best part is that you can shop for all of those people without breaking the bank.

I was hoping to get a jump-start on some of my holiday shopping, so I stopped by a couple of my local Marshalls to see what all I could find. I am going to share one of my most important Marshalls tips with you guys. Consider it my holiday gift to you. We are lucky enough to have more than one Marshalls in Nashville, so I always try to hit up multiple stores whenever I am out. If you have more than one store in your town, I definitely recommend doing the same. The merchandise and selection can vary by location, so I am sure to find what I am looking for at one of the stores.

hostess gifts on a budget, Christmas gifts for the person who loves to cook

While I was shopping last week, I hit the jackpot and got some of the cutest gifts for family and friends. I know that we all think about Marshalls for clothes and accessories finds, but did you know they also have a great selection of hostess gifts? Everything from home décor and kitchenware to awesome finds like this adorable cutting board that was a steal! I love that I can create curated, personalized gifts that my fellow hostess friends will enjoy!

Christmas gifts for a tween or teen girl on a budget

If you have a fashion loving tween or teen girl, then you are going to love this next gift idea. I found the cutest pair of designer jeans and paired it with a cream sweater. To complete the look I picked up a cozy cream scarf and metallic edged beanie. Since the tween in my life is a music lover, I also found these gorgeous marble + gold headphones that I could not pass up. Did you know that Marshalls also has lots of great small electronics and gadgets like headphones, chargers, and phone cases? The best part is that this entire gift cost me less than $50.00.

 

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If you have a mom, sister, or sister-in-law that is a beauty lover then you are going to love the selection of brand name beauty Marshalls has in store right now. Marshalls is the perfect place to find things for the girly-girl on your gift giving list. I love creating my own beauty gift baskets, so when I found this gorgeous felted wool storage container, I knew it would be perfect to fill up with all sorts of bath and beauty items. I grabbed some make-up removing wipes, rose gold beauty accessories, bath products, and even a great hairbrush. I love that I can get all the wrapping needs that I have for the holidays at Marshalls too, so I grabbed some cute scalloped tissue paper, ribbon and a cute ornament to tie on the basket. It is the little touches that people remember.

Christmas gifts for your husband, inexpensive Christmas gifts for your husband

Next up on my list is my tech loving hubby. I have never spent a lot of time perusing the electronics section in the men’s department at Marshalls, but I was shocked at how many fun gadgets they had for the man in your life. Everything from drones and record players to speakers and cameras. Speaking of speakers, I found this cool portable speaker that I could not resist. Not to knock on speakers everywhere, but most of them are so ugly. I love that this one is something that I wouldn’t mind sitting on a shelf or a bed side table. I paired it with an extra charging cable and viola! I had a gift for only $16.00.

Christmas gift ideas for your dog

And last but certainly not least, we cannot forget all of the fur babies on our list. We have a precious yellow lab named Jack who is very much a part of our family. I am always looking for cute little things to pick up for him, and on this trip I made him his very own doggie gift basket. I used a cute dog treat container that I found for only $19.99 and filled it will all kinds of pet goodies for him. He got a new leash, stuffed animal and even some dog treats because he is such a good boy.  

Hopefully you will find tons of great items that allow you to check-off loved ones from your holiday gift list.


Thank you to Marshalls for sponsoring this post.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Living with Landyn possible.