Cool Diaper Bags

04
19

I first started shopping for a diaper bag about 5 years ago when I was pregnant with my first son, David. I remember seeing tons of options with bright, colorful patterns but it was harder to find one that looked a little bit more understated and subtle. Ultimately I liked the functionality, pockets, and wipe ability of the popular bags so we used that kind!

But now it seems like there are so many more bags that look like a simple backpack or tote, but have all the pockets and functionality on the inside! I haven’t carried a diaper bag for months, and only keep a stash of clean clothes in my van in case of an accident, but with the new baby I’m planning on getting back into the routine of carrying a diaper bag with me.

I currently carry the Madewell Medium Transport Tote as my everyday bag and have received a few questions from readers asking if I was going to use that as my diaper bag, but I think it’s too small based on the amount of things I like to have with me with a newborn.

So I’m browsing around for a chic, simple bag that will store all of the baby stuff and not feel like it screams out diaper bag. I may downsize my everyday bag as well, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there!

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight

I actually think Justin would be comfortable carrying some of these as well! If I choose one of these, I’ll likely downsize my everyday purse so it doesn’t feel like I’m carrying around two large bags. I have this one from Sole Society and this one from Target, and both will work great as small springtime bags!

p.s. here’s another bag from Vince Camuto that would be perfect, and a more budget-friendly option too!

Happy Birthday, Justin!

04
18

Today is Justin’s birthday! He turned 36 and I must say that he looks good as a 36 year old. I mean, he always looks good, but he’s getting more grey in his beard and throughout his hair and I really like the salt and pepper look. He’s like 98% pepper still, but the more salt the better!

It always feels a little funny to gush about my husband in a blog post or on social media because I just tell him these kinds of things to his face, but I do have some gushing to do today so get ready.

We are celebrating 9 years of marriage next month. We met 3 years before we were married so I’ve known him for about 12 years now. If you read our love story (I KNOW I’m slow in adding to it, I’m sorry!), you would know that he and I swiftly fell in love and became nearly inseparable after our first meeting.

We’ve been together through my college, starting my private hair studio, starting the blog, starting the jewelry business, leaving the jewelry business, leaving the salon, pressing fully into the blogging career, his undergrad degree, graduate school, a long distance stint for an internship, another long distance stint for a work program, mountain climbs and adventures, a job that required a lot of travel, one baby, another baby, a third pregnancy, cats, moves, big life events with our families, and so much more. SO MUCH MORE.

We’re different in a lot of ways, but also have a lot of similar perspectives on things, so experiencing life with him in all that that entails has been deeply fulfilling and gratifying. We’ve had challenges, difficult seasons, and had to work through personality differences to come to a meeting place that works for both of us. Neither of us can last long in conflict, and I’m grateful that we generally can resolve issues relatively quickly. We both work very hard on sharing individual expectations we have, from small things like “what does tomorrow morning look like for you?” to larger things like “what can we do differently this year?” so we each know where the other stands.

On a lighter note, Justin is a great story teller, and while he’s not goofy-funny like I sometimes am, he makes me laugh so hard. He’s a hands-on dad and it has been a pure delight to be able to watch him become an even MORE hands-on dad since he quit his job last summer. Not only is he around more because he’s not traveling for work, but he also works from home on Raleigh UAV when he doesn’t have a shoot, and is spending more time with the kids so I can work a bit more. It’s been a big change for our family, but I must say it’s been great. Much easier and smoother of a transition than I expected.

Justin loves adventure, and likes to be challenged. We can look back to certain points in his life and see that, while it looked different at different stages, he’s always pushed himself to do something hard and fulfilling. He left home for the Air Force at about 19, chose a very difficult degree to achieve in college (Aerospace Engineering), graduated from Duke with his Master’s, and more recently has challenged himself in physical ways with mountain climbs and extreme sports. He has profound willpower and is deeply self-motivated. I watch in fascination as I have almost zero will-power (that was evident in my lack of self-control in buying bags and bags of Starburst Jelly Beans over Easter).

I could keep going but I’ll need to wrap this post up at some point so I’ll finish with this: Happy Birthday Justin, you make me happier than I could ever have even imagined, I’m so thankful to be your wife, and I hope you have a wonderful day.

I need to go make him a Key Lime Pie now!

homemade thin crust pizza dough

04
17

I shared a pizza making essentials post a few weeks ago and received many requests for my pizza dough recipe. I’m still testing out a few different things, like different types of flour and how long to let the dough rise for, but in general I’ve been working off of one recipe while making these adaptations.

Justin and I like thin crust pizza and we’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with making it at home! It’s really quite easy, and as long as you have the tools I mentioned in this post you’ll be able to make a pretty dang good homemade pizza!

Thin Crust Pizza Dough // makes four 10 inch pizzas

12 oz warm water*

1/4 tsp sugar

2.5 tbsp active dry yeast

3 1/2 cups “00” flour

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp table salt

  1. Stir sugar into water, then add yeast. Stir to combine, then set aside to proof for 5 minutes. Proofing the yeast simply means that it should become foamy, meaning it’s “proving” to you that it’s working.
  2. In a large bowl, add flour, olive oil and salt, stiring together until combined.
  3. Pour yeast into flour, stir to combine. It’s okay if there is some loose flour around the dough, that will come together when you knead it.
  4. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead dough until it’s formed into a ball.
  5. Divide into 4 even sections and place in an lightly oiled bowl that has a lid to rise for at least 3 hours**.
  6. Once risen, turn dough out of bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Gently press into a circle and then stretch the dough to your preference of thickness.
  7. Place on a floured pizza peel, add toppings, and slide it into the oven to bake!

Most of our thin crust pizza’s at home only take about 7-9 minutes to bake at a 550 degree oven. Justin has tried 1 pizza on his Komado Joe grill at about 625 degrees and it was finished in about 4 minutes. Try to avoid opening the oven or grill as much as possible since you’ll lose heat when you do so!

If your crust is quite thin, keep your toppings light. Too many toppings on a thin crust can lead to a soggy crust.

Dust your pizza peel with Semolina flour to keep the dough from sticking, then build your pizza right on the peel!

 

This is an ongoing labor of trial and error so I’ll do my best to keep you updated as I learn more! Good luck with your pizza making!

*I just turn my faucet onto hot and wait until the water is very warm to the touch. You can certainly use a thermometer if that’s easier for you!

**I’ve found that refrigerated dough is a little easier to work with. If you have time, make the dough at least 1 day before you plan to make pizza. After kneading it into a ball, divide into four sections, place in oiled containers that seal, and put directly in the fridge. Remove from fridge roughly 6 hours before making pizza to give it time to come to room temperature and rise. 

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