October Favorites

Happy October! Well, technically it's almost over, but it's still October for a couple more days at least. This month has been a whirlwind of busy-ness and late nights working on upcoming holiday posts (get excited for all the gift guides y'all, they're gonna be good), baking all the pies and getting Bella's costume ready. Now that it's (FINALLY) starting to cool off here, I feel I can really get in the spirit of autumn and do alllll the fall things (as in heading to the pumpkin patch like we did yesterday and pumpkin carving). I'm sharing some of our favorites from this month so check them all out below!

We've spent practically the entire autumn in Alice & Ames dresses since they're our absolute favorites and well, Bella hardly wants to wear anything else. She loves the twirl factor and how comfortable they are, and I love how classic and pretty they are (she literally gets so many compliments on these dresses when she wears them) as well as the fact that they're such great quality. We recently snagged a couple of the dresses (this one and this one) from their holiday collection and I'm considering going back for another soon (this one), because they're just that good! We're actually incorporating an Alice & Ames dress into Bella's Halloween costume this year, I found an olive green ballet dress (from last year's fall collection) and it'll be perfect for her costume, which is.... drum roll... a dancing sunflower! Something she came up with all on her own and I think it's just the cutest idea ever. so we're rolling with it!

I've had my eye on getting some of those adorable felt ball garlands for forever, but hadn't jumped on it until I spotted these adorable ones from Wooly Sheep Dots (one of my new favorite shops). Seriously how CUTE are these? This lovely "Snowdrift" cream colored felt ball garland is perfect for autumn AND winter, but it's more than perfect for all of the upcoming holidays (especially since I decorate with a lot of white during Christmas) and it could actually work year round in a farmhouse style home! This pink felt ball garland (appropriately called "Valentine" caught my eye since I'm always planning, planning, planning, and I think it's going to be just perfect for Valentine's Day! I'm already excited to put it up and decorate with all the pink and hearts everywhere. Head on over and scoop up a few pretty garlands for your own home for allllllll the upcoming holidays!

Gigi Pip is my absolute favorite brand for women's hats, I just love all of their unique designs and that they have a hat for every style, no matter what your favorite personal style is. I recently got this olive suede baseball cap and it's the most perfect ball cap ever. I've never really worn baseball caps because I just couldn't find one that I liked, one that was functional, yet classy, but wasn't flashy, but this one is so lovely. Perfectly neutral, a great fit, feels comfortable, is a great price and I actually feel cute wearing it! I'm thinking I totally need a few more colors (that you can find here) to add to my ever growing Gigi Pip hat collection!

I've been looking for the perfect apple pie recipe for ages, and recently found "the one". I mean, I used to like apple pie, but now I LOVE it. It was the perfect consistency, not too sweet, not too much cinnamon, just right on everything. So of course I had to share it so you can make it too, I recently blogged the recipe and you can find that post here, I promise you'll never look at apple pie the same way again.

Over on pinterest, I've been pinning about a million ideas for the upcoming holidays (Christmas especially).  The Holiday season is my most favorite time of year so I just can't help but brainstorm all of the ways to make each holiday, especially Christmas, extra special. This year I'm planning on turning our entire home into a dazzling winter wonderland (think of the mall that Buddy the elf decorated on Elf). Yeah, I plan on being slightly overboard this year, since my mom and sisters are (hopefully) visiting for Thanksgiving, I'll wait until the day after Thanksgiving to decorate (we typically decorate a little earlier) so my artistic and talented sisters can help me decorate and cut out and make allllllll the paper snowflakes (a tradition my Dad started years ago after we found it in a childkraft book). If you're on Pinterest and are looking for holiday inspo or just like pretty pins, you can find me on there at @thejoyfultribe or click here to follow along with me over there!

Another one of our most favorite brands, and our absolute favorite hairbow brand, Wunderkin Co., is releasing their Fall 2 drop on October 31st at 10 am MST (or 12 noon EST) and I'm hoping to scoop up that pretty "Frankie" oversize schoolgirl since it's been one of my ISOs for practically forever, and I'm kind of smitten with the black floral big pinwheel too. If you're looking for the highest quality hairbows around (with a lifetime guarantee) make sure to scoop some up when they drop!


The Best Homemade Apple Pie

A couple weeks back, we headed out to our favorite local orchard for apple picking! It was a crisp day, feeling so much like autumn and we picked a ton of apples, golden delicious (my childhood favorite), red delicious, and empire (definitely a new favorite) because I had plans for baking and Bella had plans for apple snacking. Now apple pie has always been one of those things that I loved, but I just hadn't found "the recipe" so I never made it a lot, until now. As you all know, I'm a pie baker, give me all the pies. So the fact that I didn't have a good apple pie recipe is surprising to even myself, but this one, you guys, is it. It's hands down the best apple pie I've ever made, and Frank told me it's the best apple pie he's ever eaten in his life, even Bella (the pickiest eater I've ever known) loves it. So when I made it once, I couldn't help but make it again yesterday, you know, just to make sure the recipe the first time wasn't a fluke (or maybe just because I wanted apple pie again), and nope, it's just as good as it was the first time, maybe even better!  I have a feeling we'll be making a lot more trips to the orchard... Here's the recipe below so you can make it too!


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

9 thinly sliced peeled apples

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)

1 large egg white

In a small bowl, combine the sugars, flour and spices; set aside. In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Add sugars, flour and spices; toss to coat. Line a 9 inch pie pan with bottom crust ans trim the dough even with edge of the pie pan. Fill with apple mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie and place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in the middle of the pie (for ventilation). Beat egg white until foamy and brush over top of pie. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes (or until crust is golden). Serve warm and enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or chill and serve later!


Swimzip on Vacation

The older I get, the more I care about caring for my skin and passing on good sun care habits to my little girl anytime we are in the sun, whether it be covering ourselves head to toe in sub screen, staying in the shade or wearing UV blocking fabrics while swimming, it's most definitely a super important way of life.

When I was around 14, my family took a trip to the annual Independence Day parade in St. Louis on the 4th of July and I was at that age that well, I thought I was too cool for school. I was like, Nah, I'm good, I don't need any sunscreen. Well, lesson learned. The hard way unfortunately for me. I ended up with the worst sunburn of my life, so bad in fact, that I had huge blisters all over my body, my arms and legs and even face was covered in sunburn and blisters. So after that I became extremely proactive about either staying out of the sun entirely or doing everything in my power to prevent sunburn.

So when we decided to vacation at the beach for 10 days this past month (yep, it was as dreamy as it sounds), I knew we needed something a little extra to protect our skin. I remembered seeing a brand called SwimZip before on instagram and after looking over their website, I knew they were just what we needed! Betsy was so kind to send some pieces our way and they arrived just in time to take them with us on our trip!

For Bella we chose this super adorable Long Sleeve Girl Rash Guard Swimsuit Set in "Sail Away", it was the cutest little swimsuit and what I loved most about it was how well it shielded her sensitive and fair skin from the sun! As well as this adorable ruffled black long sleeved rash guard top with these black ruffled matching bottoms. For myself I chose this lovely black swim dress coverup (that I paired with a pair of black swim bottoms underneath), which ended up becoming my favorite swimsuit of all time (I wore it almost every single day at the beach and in the pool too), and for Frank, I chose this gray short sleeve rash guard swim shirt that was perfect for catching waves in. We seriously spent hours on the beach every single day, splashing in the waves, riding waves, playing in the sand, finding seas shells, and soaking up the warmth of the south.

SwimZip's products feature UPF 50+ UV sun protection – blocking over 98% of the sun’s cancer causing UVA and UVB rays which helps keep you and your family safe for lots of fun in the sun! UPF is the clothing equivalent to sunscreen SPF and SwimZip's designs perfect a day or week (or even longer) at the beach or pool. I just love the “no-pinch” zipper flap behind the zipper and a hideaway “zipper garage." You can definitely tell how much time and thought went into the design process of each piece that SwimZip offers.

One of the things we loved most about our SwimZip swimwear was that we didn't have to use as much sunscreen! Because let's face it, I still don't enjoy wearing sunscreen, I only do it because I know how important it is, but while wearing this I don't have to apply as much which is great! I already can't wait to wear our SwimZip goodies again next summer at the lake and pool and at the beach!

Thanks to SwimZip for sending this swimwear in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


Pink Blush Faves

When it comes to shopping, convenience is a big deal to me, that's why I primarily do all of my shopping online. Before I became a mom, I loved going to the mall and shopping for pieces in person, but let's face it, it just isn't practical to drag a little one around to a bunch of stores to find the perfect few pieces to add to your wardrobe, and now I'm all about comfort. Give me my laptop or phone sitting on the sofa in my cozy clothes any day over putting on makeup and getting dressed nice to go out shopping, plus I feel like with online shopping, you see so much more of a selection than you do in stores. So yeah, online shopping is pretty much my favorite, and one of my absolute favorite online women's clothing boutiques is PinkBlush! And not only does Pink Blush offer a huge selection of pretty items for women, they also offer maternity clothing, plus size clothing, and plus size maternity clothing, so they have something for every woman in every stage of life!

I just love how many styles they have to choose from and of course all of their dresses since dresses are currently my favorite thing to wear, maxi dresses are especially easy since all I have to do is throw it on, and accessorize with a cute piece or two of jewelry and sandals in summer or booties in winter. Right now I'm loving this solid black 3/4 sleeve maxi dress I snagged from Pink Blush the other day, it's so flattering and comfortable so it's been on repeat over here.

Another dress I've been loving is this pretty little number that's seriously perfect for date nights! Though my hubby and I rarely seem to be able to get away for a date night, on occasion we do and I always want to make sure I look my best for those fun evenings! This dress is the right amount of classic mixed with the right amount of fun, I just love the dark and neutral color and the silver gives it a pop of sparkle which I love.

And last but not least, this long sleeve tee is everything. Black and white stripes and kind of my thing, and then add that dainty crochet detail in the front? It is definitely love. the fabric is so light and perfect for wearing indoors in the winter or outside by itself in a crisp day, and when it get's cooler out, it's going to be darling paired with a black cardigan. Definitely can't wait to wear this one again and again this autumn and winter.

Head on over to Pink Blush and grab some pretty new pieces for your closet!


Farmstead Fun

Last year we added Irons Mill Farmstead to our list of autumn traditions and it's become one of our most favorite family traditions! There's so much to do and it's the perfect family fall activity! There's something for everyone, and even better, is that while we visit the farm, we're actually supporting local!

Located in Western Pennsylvania, near the most quaint little town, New Wilmington, Irons Mill Farmstead was opened in 2012 as a way to share the beautiful countryside and farm lifestyle with so many others, to bring families together, and have lots of fall fun, and it's just gotten better every year since! Last year was our first year, and we thought it was good then, but this year, all the changes that have been made in the past 12 months, all of the hard work that's went into it and all of the new attractions have literally blown out socks off. You guys, it is SO GOOD! So good in fact that you'll want to go again and again.

One of my absolute favorite, kind of new but kind of revamped attraction at the farm are the jumping pillows, nope, not a typo, pillows, plural. Last year there was only one jumping pillow and this year, there are TWO!  Bella might have been just a little bit excited as we made our way over to them and she jumped and jumped and jumped (she also slept good that night too haha). Such a fun thing to do and even parents can join their kiddos on the jumping pillows!

Of course we can't forget our favorite thing from last year, the bat glide! Basically a small zip line and Bella seriously cannot get enough. She would go again and again and again if we let her. In all honesty I really kind of want to go on it too it looks so fun! Corncob beach is forever the most popular attraction on the farm with the little ones, I mean, what kid doesn't love to scoop and dump corn for hours on end? Also the fact that you can bury your feet in it, like sand but less messy? Bella is obsessed, as all of the kiddos seem to be.

A couple new things that have been added to the farm since last year is the addition of the trike race track for little ones (so, so cute), the old fire truck that shoots candy out of the water cannon (um, yesssss), the farm animals are better than ever and now has a fenced pathway to walk through (more animals to pet yay), and you guys... so many new food places... which means more delicious food choices, um, yum! We've yet to try out the new apple blasters and farmstead express but those are definitely high on our to-do list.

We're planning on riding the tractors and picking the biggest pumpkin from the patch to carve right before Halloween (send all the carvings ideas our way because I have no ideas this year), and of course I can't forget to mention how AMAZING the corn maze is this year... y'all... Fixer Upper! It's Fixer Upper themed! Chip and Jo, shiplap, silos... and seriously, we can't wait to do the maze this year! With 30+ attractions and 8 eateries, you'll never be bored or hungry at Irons Mill Farmstead and I promise you'll want to make a tradition out of it, you'll be amazed at all there is to do and I'm pretty sure the mini piggy races (yeah, I said that) and kettle corn will seal the deal for you.

I'm sure I'll be sharing more on my instagram and insta stories in the coming weekends so make sure to keep an eye out for that and if you're in the western Pennsylvania or eastern Ohio area, make sure to head to Irons Mill Farmstead on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from now until October 29th! There's so much fun to be had and memories to be made at Irons Mill Farmstead!