Boston {and around here lately}

I know I’ve been pretty MIA the last week, but many of you know that I was in Boston last week and had the most fun mini-vacation. My husband travels to the Boston area frequently on business, and Camryn and I decided to tag along this trip (for the first time) since the weather was nice. We’re not big on cold, wet, or frozen, and that’s what Boston typically is, so we were so excited to finally be able to join him and check out the city. My friend Biana, from BLovedBoston, had told me prior to visiting that the hotel we were staying at was nice, and she was absolutely right. We stayed on the north side of town, at the Fairmont Battery Wharf hotel, and it was gorgeous. I would highly recommend it.

While we were there we visited Harvard, MIT, and drove around the city on Mothers Day exploring. Camryn and I spent a day seeing the aquarium, eating and shopping at Quincy Market, and seeing Madagascar in 3D at the IMAX theater. It was warm, and sunny, and absolutely gorgeous weather for all but one day. Our last day in town got down to the 50′s, but it was nice to hibernate in the hotel and spend a day relaxing with my girl.

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This weekend we spent some time on South Congress, and we may or may not have picked up two…yes TWO…of the Intelligender tests. We have zero patience. Both said “boy”, so we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to see if they’re right or wrong. Either way, it was a fun way to waste $80. :-) I’m entering my 12th week today, and feeling worse than ever. I was sick every hour yesterday, and couldn’t keep down hardly anything. I’m really hoping this morning sickness goes away soon, otherwise I’m going to have to ask my doc for something to help ease my stomach. On the bright side, baby is healthy and we’ve started hearing the heartbeat on our at-home fetal doppler. My overwhelming exhaustion is fading away also. WooHoo! I can almost keep up with my toddler again. Ha!

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Have any of you taken the Intelligender tests? Were your results accurate?

Hope you all had a great weekend!

XO – Samantha

Freshly Picked Moccs WINNER!

Good morning friends! Sorry for the long lapse in blog posts, I’ve been on vacation in Boston and thoroughly enjoyed my break from life. No cleaning house, cooking, working. It was bliss. I’ll share some of the pictures from our trip on Monday.

Camryn & I had the most fun yesterday hanging out with our sweet friend Erica, an incredibly talented local Austin artist that I met through my brother-in-law. We had stalked each other on Instagram for the last year, and finally got to meet. She painted us the most amazing art to help announce the winner of our Freshly Picked Mocc giveaway, and Camryn played model for the day.

FP1edit2.jpgSandra Meaders, LUCKY YOU, you’ve won a pair of FP Moccs!! Please e-mail me at samantha@playdatesandpearls.com to claim your prize.

I’ll be posting more of these darling pictures on Instagram, as well as Facebook.

If you’d like to contact Erica for information on custom murals, and to see more of her awesome art, you can find her on Instagram.

Happy Friday! Wishing you all a relaxing weekend. :-)

XO – Samantha

Friday Lust List

Lust List Image

I’ll be linking up with Amanda of Meet @ The Barre for her Friday Favorites. Come say hi, and check out what all the other ladies are loving lately.

Meet At The Barre

1.|| I found this darling little swimsuit on Albion and couldn’t resist myself; Camryn needs this suit. It’s called Who, Moi?

2.|| I have been loving salty foods this pregnancy, and spaghetti has been calling my name…only problem is that my husband really isn’t a fan of spaghetti unless it’s packed full of meat and cheese. I found this simple, one skillet spaghetti that looks right up his alley.

3.|| This viral video was made for me.

4.|| Cara Loren spilled the secrets behind her amazing locks, and this product was one of her must haves, as well as this (for day 2 hair).

5.|| I visited my sister yesterday at her work, and spied this adorable little bag (so much better in person), and was shocked when she told me it was from Aldo. It’s the perfect summer clutch or cross body bag, and the colors would go great with any outfit.

6.|| Many of you have probably seen #redballoonsforryan hashtagged on Instagram, and heard about the tragic loss of a 3.5 year old little boy last Friday. If you’d like to read the story, or show your support, I would recommend this as a very worthy cause. My heart breaks for his parents, and I don’t even like to imagine the incredible grief they must be feeling.

7.|| Lauren Conrad is known for her beautiful Instagram feed, and recently she shared her tips for creating swoon worthy pics.

8.|| Spoilers from the May Popsugar Must Have box are out, and they look pretty darn good! Do any of you subscribe also?

9.|| Can we talk about Grey’s Anatomy? :-( What is life without Christina going to be like? *sobs quietly*

10.|| I was recently sent a Nature Box to review and let me just tell you, it was good! My sister busted into the dried peach slices and blueberry granola clusters first, and we decided the peaches taste yummy but healthy, but the blueberry clusters were so yummy! My husband stole the trail mix and lemon pucker pistachios and proceeded to text me all day telling me how delicious they both were. How kind. Camryn chowed on the Popsugar mix, and her only request was that they add M&M’s next time. :-) The box contained 5 bags of assorted snacks, all of which I enjoyed (with help, of course). I highly recommend this to anyone looking to eat healthy, try new foods, and wants the convenience and affordability offered by the Nature Box.

Hope you’re all having a great Friday, and I wish you the best weekend!

XO – Samantha

*Disclosure: POPSUGAR and NatureBox provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have Snacks by NatureBox box. The opinions I have shared about the box are my own, and POPSUGAR and NatureBox did not tell me what to say or how to say it.

Sea Me Twirl

Hi ladies & happy hump day! The weather in Austin has been getting warmer and warmer, and Camryn and I have been spending almost all our time outside this week. Yesterday we played on our upstairs balcony, shared cakepops, and splashed in her water table until we needed baths.

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sea me twirlOur sweet friends over at Taylor Joelle have their newest line “Sea Me Twirl” launching today, and I wanted to show you the darling bloomers/shorts they sent to Camryn. She wore them all day and couldn’t stop twirling around and calling them her ballerina shorts. She thoroughly enjoyed jumping in them too and watching the frilly bottoms. It’s the little things that count.

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I styled two outfits to show you options for these darling shorts. A simple white t-shirt with lace detail around the sleeves, a pink scarf, and frosted rose Freshly Picked Moccs for the first outfit. A black unitard from Target, black gladiators (also Target), and her feather infinity cowl from Vonbon for the second outfit.
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seametwirl7You always know as a mom that trouble is on it’s way when the shoes come off…

seametwirl9edit.jpgJumping on the furniture…like I said, trouble. ;-)

These are the perfect “girly girl” shorts, and are especially great for girls on the move. Nothing’s worse than when Camryn’s trying to play with the boys and her panties show. Boys can’t help themselves; they’ll always shout “I can see her underwear!” for everyone to hear.

The material is a soft, thick, cotton, and the gray and white combo pairs well with tons of tops.

You can view the entire Taylor Joelle “Sea Me Twirl” collection here. The entire Sea Me Twirl collection is 30% off for one week, as well as other Taylor Joelle favorites. This sweet little mint skirt might just be my favorite.

If you haven’t already entered to win a pair of moccs, go now!

XO – Samantha

Freshly Picked Moccs {GIVEAWAY}

What a wonderful weekend I had! My sweet friend Heather said “I do”, and threw the most beautiful wedding on Saturday, and on Sunday my husband and I went for brunch and then played outside all day with Camryn. I wish weekends were 5 days long, and work weeks were just 2. I never have enough days home with my growing little family.

To kick off the always dreadful Monday, I’m bringing you guys an extra special giveaway thanks to my friends over at Freshly Picked. If you know me and my tiny lady, then you know how deep our love affair with FP moccs runs. We’re borderline obsessed with these thick, durable, and eye-catching shoes. Not only can Camryn wear them everywhere, she can also put them on and off herself (which is a game-changer for a toddler), and can wear them without ever complaining that her feet hurt or are getting blisters from rubbing, unlike many other toddler shoes. My favorite thing about all of Camryn’s moccs is her little footprint that has been worn into the soles. They are sweet little reminders of all the fun things we’ve done together while she was growing up in each pair, and they’re something I’ll definitely be keeping to reminisce over in the future. If you’re not as nostalgic as me, FP moccs are durable enough to be passed down to siblings.

Freshly Picked offers a huge variety of colors to pair with any outfit, boy or girl, and is releasing the most amazing new neons for spring/summer. Here are a few pictures of Camryn rocking a few of our favorite moccs:

One lucky Playdates + Pearls reader is going to win a pair of these gorgeous moccs in any size and color of their choice. YOU could be that lucky winner! Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

XO – Samantha

Shades of Blue

Good Morning

Yesterday during Camryn’s nap, when I should have been doing all my chores and being responsible, I decided to play with nursery ideas. Apparently I’m dreaming of a boy, because this is what I came up with…

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 5.08.07 PMThis is still a draft, but I took a screenshot to share with you. If you’re interested in any of these items just leave me a comment below and I’ll happily give you the sources.

I had originally planned on creating a nursery upstairs (Camryn has a bedroom, and there are 2 guest rooms upstairs currently), but I’m concerned about being so far from a 6-ish month old. I know I’ll be more comfortable transitioning it from my room into a nursery on the main floor, closer to my bedroom. Our office/theater is the only other “bedroom” downstairs, and I’m seriously considering transitioning it into a nursery. I would leave the sectional because it’s so comfortable and would be great for long nights, or late night feedings, as well as guests. I would focus on art that makes a statement and can be used again in the space after baby moves out. The room has a beautiful set of built-in shelves, as well as a walk in closet, so storage would be a breeze. I want to brighten up the room with a minty/turquoise wall color, and then make the wall opposite the art into a triangle mural using Walls By Mur decals. The triangle wall is where baby’s crib would be positioned as well.

I guess it’s time to plan for a baby girls nursery…just in case my mommy intuition is off. ;-)

XO – Samantha

Crest 3D Whitestrips

My sweet friends over at Crest sent me some happy mail a few weeks ago, and asked me to give my honest feedback on their new 3D White Luxe Professional Effects Whitestrips. I’ve used similar products in the past, as well as professional whitening trays from my dentist, the Glo whitening kit, and in-office Zoom. I was eager to compare the results, especially against the higher priced brands.

The box contains 40 strips; 20 treatments (top & bottom). Directions recommend wearing the strips for 30 minutes a day until you reach your desired whiteness. I have very sensitive teeth, so I chose to whiten every other day instead.

I started by flossing and then brushing my teeth using the 3D white toothpaste & accelerator, which I already owned. I dried my teeth with a paper towel, and applied the lower strip first. I suggest using a toothpick or your nails to press the whitestrip in between the crevices of your teeth so you don’t have white surfaces but yellow gaps in between. Apply the top strip the same way, and be sure to fold the remaining strip over the backs of your teeth. If you have sensitive teeth like me, avoid getting any of the whitestrip or gel on your gums because it’s typically the nerves in your gums that get irritated and cause that piercing feeling in your teeth.

My husband and I split the box and did 10 treatments each. I wanted a second opinion because I do have sensitive teeth and he doesn’t at all.

After about two weeks my teeth were practically glowing.

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Sorry for the crappy iphone pic, and cheeseball smile. I was wearing Lady Danger by MAC, with a Rimmel Stay Glossy over the top, which did make my teeth look even whiter. I was extremely impressed by these strips, to say the least.

My final thoughts…

  •  Affordable (roughly $39.99 per box)
  • Effective – Half a box whitened my teeth to my desired color.
  • Ease of Use – VERY easy to use. You only wear them for 30 min and they do not budge. I was actually worried the first time I tried taking them off because they literally stick like glue. I could have a full convo with my husband while wearing them, no problem.
  • Little sensitivity for me, none for my husband.

In comparison to the other whitening treatments I’ve had/used, I would go back to these above all the rest. Zoom is very expensive, and requires a significant amount of time at the dental office, in addition to wearing take home trays for weeks after. Zoom also caused a horrifying pain in my teeth; I would avoid Zoom for that reason alone. Glo is as effective (or more effective), but inconvenient. The tray has to be taken out every 8 minutes, rinse your teeth and re-apply new whitening gel (repeat 4 times…yes, FOUR!) The mouthpiece also hurts my jaw, and it’s significantly more expensive. Similar whitestrips lack in sticking power, and end up sliding around my mouth, and foaming…which is gross, and makes me dread wearing them.

So there you have it. I’m a Crest 3D whitestrips kinda gal…except right now…Doc says no whitening because baby doesn’t like to eat bleach for breakfast. ;-)

What whitening products do you use? Have you tried the new Crest strips?

Hope you all have a great hump day!

XO – Samantha

*This product was gifted to me to review. My opinions, as always, are my own. If the product was crap, I’d tell you.*

Calling All Bloggers!!

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As my pregnancy progresses, and especially as I get closer to my due date, I’ll be looking for contributors for Playdates + Pearls. Are you a blogger who has a lot to offer my readers? I’ll be looking for bloggers to cover topics like fashion, food, beauty, home decor, & DIY. Content would need to be original,  high quality, and of interest to my readers. A giveaway will be offered, provided by me, or sponsors, on a monthly bases which will cross-promote all my contributors. If you’re interested in more details, or page stats, please e-mail me at samantha@playdatesandpearls.com

XO – Samantha

TGIF

Hello Darlings!

I’m so happy it’s Friday, and even better, tonight is girl’s night with my BFF (also known as my sister…we’re lame, and obsessed with each other.) We’re going to the Alamo for some drinks (aka a milkshake for me), yummy food, and seeing The Other Woman. You can watch the hilarious trailer here. What are y’all doing this weekend?

Meet At The Barre

I’m linking up with Amanda over at Meet @ The Barre, so be sure to come check out her Friday Links as well as some other great bloggers!

Lust List Image1.|| Mmmmm I wish I could drink these watermelon vodka frosty’s all summer. Maybe I can substitute vodka for coconut water?

2.|| I’ve been lazy with my makeup lately, and relying on my Laura Mercier mineral foundation for a quick, easy, and flawless skin base. I love the finish of this powder foundation, and find it wears all day without looking patchy. It reduces my makeup routine down to minutes.

3.|| For me, pregnancy means pizza face. That beautiful glow that most preggos get is the opposite of what I get. I’ve been loving my Purity Cleanser for fighting off oily skin and acne. It’s super effective and safe for baby. I’ll be doing an in-depth look at my pregnancy skincare routine soon, and sharing all my tips and tricks that I learned last pregnancy and what’s still working now.

4.|| I love this beautiful Color Block Picnic Throw Blanket by West Elm. On sale for $39 – It’s already in my shopping cart.

5.|| I’ve been reading this series, and I’m obsessed. I finished the first 2 books in 3 days.

6.|| Why can’t this be real life?

7.|| Road rage revenge at it’s finest. Don’t try this at home.

8.|| Who doesn’t love candid shots of  celebs without makeup? Not me, I love them!

9.|| The perfect accessory for bookshelves, tables, and as a coffee table book topper.

10.|| I Heart Giveaways. The giveaway I’m co-hosting with a bunch of babes, to be specific. If you haven’t already entered to win $150 + 3 other amazing prizes then you can go enter here.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

XO – Samantha

So Fresh & So Spring! {Giveaway}

Hello Lovelies!

Remember a few months ago when I mentioned that my husband & I love travelling? It’s our thing. We invest all of our spare time and money into seeing the world, and taking Camryn on new adventures. We visited Paris & the french riviera last fall, and we’re planning a trip this spring/summer to Italy & Greece. Every purchase I make takes away from our budget for this coming trip, so I’m constantly aware when I’m out shopping.

If I just happened to have some extra money fall in my lap, there are a few things I’d have my eye on for our trip, and spring/summer in general.

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Sheet Masks || Nars Monoi de Tahiti Body Glow Oil || Sunglasses || Bikini Top, Bottoms || Clutch || Gladiators || Tunic || Nail Polish – Essie “Nice Package”

What would you buy if you had some extra cash lying around? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could actually buy those things, without breaking the bank, with extra money that you WON?!

Today’s your lucky day. I’m so excited to be teaming up with some fabulous friends of mine to bring you a “so fresh & so spring” giveaway today! Meet the ladies making this all possible, and go check out what they would buy if they won the cash prize:

Bethann of BethAnimalPrint

Katie of Pearls + Girls

Kaysha of That Comfort Girl

Rene of My Simple Kitchen

Biana of BLovedBoston

Are you ready for all the AMAZING prizes?!

ONE of you will win $150 cash, a March Popsugar Box (check out this post for all this details of the contents), a dozen flower cookies from PPGBakery, and $50 credit to TennesseeMeVNTG on Etsy. Many of these goodies would make great mothers day gifts as well. :-)

Enter to win below. All entries will be verified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XO – Samantha

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