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  • Baby Must-Haves | 0-3 Months

    Well, I've now officially joined the Mom Club and frequently use #momlife in my daily conversations and social media posts. Motherhood is no joke. It can be SO challenging, but it's also awesome, so that's nice.

    Before our little #maggiequinnjoyce was born, I was Queen of the Baby Registry World. My baby registry was a well oiled machine, people. I was constantly price checking, comparing, switching, updating, adding, deleting - it was awesome, and I loved every minute. You guys, I am a researcher when it comes to products and services. I want, nope, NEED to know that I'm getting the best deal - the best product or service for the best price. So, that doesn't mean the cheapest, or most expensive, it's a balance - it's finding the best quality that's at a justifiable price that does the best job. You can imagine how much time I spent on our wedding...

    SO all that to say, I have an informed opinion about most things I own. Now that I've entered a new domain - Baby Products - I wanted to share my findings with you all! I've broken down products by use, according to age. Since Maggie is almost 3 months, I'll limit things to what we've actually used up to this point.

    Here we go!

    Muslin Swaddles - Muslin swaddle blankets come in handy for a variety of reasons with a newborn. I personally love the quality and adorable prints that Little Unicorn's swaddles offer. Other noteable brands I've liked are Aden+Anais and these from Target.

    Little Giraffe Lovey - So this was a gift that I received at a shower and originally didn't know that it would be SO USEFUL, especially during the first few weeks baby was home. The size is so perfect for a newborn! Regular sized blankets seem huge compared to their little 8-ish pound bodies. This blanky was great to wrap around her for naps and to keep her cozy during trips in her car seat. Moving forward as she grows, I'm hoping she will like this and adopt it as her "lovey". We have a similar one that has a stuffed animal on it - maybe she'll end up choosing that one as her lovey! P.S. I love all things Jellycat brand!

    Milk Snob Cover - Guys, this thing is great. It's soft, thin and so stretchy. I had to use this last week while flying with my little girl and had to nurse her during the flight (I am NOT someone who feels comfy nursing in front of people. Just my preference.) and this was awesome to have. It's also what I put over her car seat if it's raining out so she doesn't get wet but also isn't hot. It's also designed to fit over carts for when they're older. It comes in a million cute prints too!

    Green Sprouts Burp Cloths - These are amazing! I have about 12 of them and I'm never without one with baby. They are crazy absorbent and are the perfect size. They get softer with each wash (but not in a deteriorating way), which is good because they get washed 1-2 times per week! Maggie isn't a huge spit up baby, but when she does, these come to the rescue every time. I tried these at first, and they're soft and I love that they're gray and simple, but they are NOT absorbent like they say, which is the whole point of burp cloths... probably the only Burt's Bees product I don't like - usually they're amazing.

    Boppy Nursing Pillow - This is something I debated over bringing with me to the hospital when Maggie was born. I hemmed and hawed, and I'm glad I decided to bring it. It is a lifesaver for breastfeeding! It makes baby much more supported and stable and is more comfortable for me. I use it every time I nurse, unless I'm not at home, of course. I got this cover for it from PB Kids and it's perfect - soft, simple, no obnoxious baby pattern, yay!

    Nuna Pipa + Tavo Travel System - This travel system is by far the most expensive baby item we purchased, but let me tell you, it was so worth it! We absolutely love this car seat and stroller. We debated between this system and the Maxi Cosi Adorra stroller and Mico Max 30 car seat, which we actually purchased first and returned. Here's why - the stroller is just a shell for the infant seat and the stroller seat isn't used until they're bigger. At first I thought this was an awesome feature, however, it didn't provide ANY shade or covering for baby while they were in the stroller like the Nuna stroller does. This was miserable for walks and when baby was sleeping - totally exposed unless you jerry rigged a blanket or used a car seat cover, which was just annoying. I also didn't like the poor quality of the infant seat awning - it never stayed in place and was super cheap feeling compared to the nice (expensive!) seat material. The stroller wheels were also kinda crappy and kept getting stuck, so i knew this would only get worse with time. The Nuna Tavo has shocks, so the ride is so much smoother. The quality of the materials and craftsmanship is amazing and it's super easy to fold up and take in and out of the car. The other favorite feature for me is the Dream Drape - game. changer. Couldn't be happier with Nuna products - they are so quality and to me, so worth the cost. Also, the Pipa car seat is 5 lbs lighter than most other car seats on the market - THIS IS SO WORTH IT. 

    Spots and Dots book - My husband and I refer to this as the "magic book" because it literally mesmerizes our daughter when looking at it. So, when we're nearing meltdown in the car or she is bored and restless, out comes the magic book to buy us some time. She stares and coos at it and it's just about the cutest thing ever. 

    Solly Wrap - We have this in the gray and white stripe and it's SO SOFT. I had the Boba wrap at first (similar to the Moby) and ended up returning it after I discovered the Solly. Here's the deal, newborns are HOT and in turn, while holding them, you end up warmer than you usually would be. This is compounded when you have your baby literally wrapped to your body in July and August, especially! The Boba and the Moby have thicker, bulkier material than the Solly. The material of the Solly is the thinnest, softest, stretchiest and most breathable on the market. Plus, it comes in way cuter patterns and colors than the other brands. I should have used this more in Maggie's first month home, but we had so many people visiting and wanting to hold her, that it just wasn't used as much. But, it can be used up to 25 lbs! So, there's time. It's nice to travel with this, because it folds up nice and tiny to put in the diaper bag, unlike a structured carrier. 

    BabyBjorn One Air Carrier - This structured carrier is made of the softest mesh material EVER. I originally had the Ergobaby 360 in the "mesh" and HATED it. Like, truly felt angered while trying to put it on and figure out how to get comfortable in it, which never happened. The BabyBjorn doesn't need a separate infant insert like the Ergo does, and looks a lot nicer, in my opinion. The One Air is made of 100% mesh material, keeping you and baby cool while wearing it and it fits sooooo comfortably on your body, especially around the shoulders. The clips to lock baby in are also WAY easier with the BabyBjorn versus the Ergo, which uses weird (and ugly IMO) buttons and the material is a thick canvas (yes, even the "mesh" one, which has like a little tiny panel of mesh fabric). Getting baby in and out of the One Air is SO easy and I absolutely love the dark gray color we got ours in. Can't say enough about how much I love this carrier, guys!

    SkipHop Car Mirror - This is so helpful in the backseat while driving with baby. Since they are rear-facing, it's nice to be able to glance and see their face in the mirror and know if they're awake, sleeping, etc. I like this one because it's a good size (not too big, not too small), is nice and clear (some look kinda distorted), attaches nicely to the headrest and is black :)

    JuJuBe Be Right Back Diaper Bag - This is definitely an item you want to touch, feel and see in person before making a final decision. I saw this one at BuyBuyBaby and really liked it (and my husband did too!). It has a lot of pockets, zippers and compartments to keep things organized, and the backpack style is a must-have feature for me. Carrying the infant seat and a million other things is much easier with the diaper bag out of the way on your back instead of sliding off your shoulder, like other bags inevitably will. The material of this is stain and water resistant and the bag is fully machine washable. The side pockets have Thinsulate to keep bottles and beverages hot or cold, and there is a built-in back pocket for the changing pad it comes with. Again, I also loved that it came in black with gold hardware! Another bag option I debated over was this one - I love the brown leather color, but ultimately felt like it just didn't have the organization I was looking for in a diaper bag.

    Puj Bath - This choice was purely based on space, to be honest. We live in a modest sized home that doesn't have much closet space, so having a giant infant tub didn't seem practical for us. In came the Puj! This beauty hangs FLAT on a little hook behind our bathroom door and is the softest rubbery material that squishes right in our bathroom sink. My only qualm is that it's really designed to be used up to 6 months, so if you aren't ready to have baby in the big tub at that point, you need another baby tub... annoying. We'll cross that bridge when it comes I guess and see where things are at. To be continued...

    Sleepers - Our daughter lives in footy sleepers like this one (this floral print has been my all-time fave) from Carter's most of her life. I put her in onesies/leggings/rompers for daycare and she'll wear cute outfits to church or other outings, but most of the time, she's in a sleeper. This is what she sleeps in every night and they're so easy for diaper changes. Carter's has great ones, as well as Burt's Bees Baby, KicKee Pants if you wanna spend more (they're SO SOFT) and I really like Old Navy/Baby Gap ones as well. 

    Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier - This little thing is a lifesaver for us. We tried 3 different types of pacifiers with our daughter and she clearly liked these best! She loves her paci (I also say binky, bink and nuk... still haven't landed on what I call these things yet!) as she is falling asleep and as a newborn she loved to suck, so this magestic piece of rubber saved my body from being chewed on 24/7. I use these clips to keep track of her paci sometimes too (I imagine these will be even more helpful once she's on the move) and are super convenient when we are out and about and don't want to worry about losing the paci or it falling on the ground. I have this color and this color.

    Zutano Booties - These are AWESOME because they actually stay on your baby's feet when shoes and socks really don't at this tiny stage. These have two sizes for the little snaps, so whether your baby has chunkier ankles or more skinny ankles, they will fit comfortably. They come in 3m (what we currently have) and I plan to buy them in 6m once these get too small. I like them because they are soft and unstructured like socks, but look more "presentable" like shoes. They come in lots of colors, but I love this neutral gray.

    Eddie Bauer Glider - This glider is a staple in our nursery. I wanted the upholstered rocker/glider that swiveled as well, but didn't want to spend a bajillion dollars. This Eddie Bauer one is from Target and is exactly what I was looking for - it's simple and classic in design, is the perfect shade of gray that I wanted, wasn't huge (our nursery is only 11'x10') and was COMFY. This glider checked all of those boxes - it is the perfect size, so comfy and looks great in the nursery, along with this fabulous gold pouf as an ottoman, though this glider does have a matching ottoman we opted not to purchase. 

    Fisher Price Auto Rock N Play - Our daughter loves to take naps in this little contraption. I would say that every parent I know SWEARS by this thing. A lot of people's kids slept in this every night their first few months of life, especially those with any reflux issues (it's at an incline). We however, have her sleep in a bassinet (see below) and she only uses this for daytime naps or a safe place for me to put her if I'm home alone and need to use the bathroom or swap out the laundry, etc. We also have a 4moms mamaRoo that she likes as well, but won't nap in (more for play/awake time). The Rock N Play is nice because it's pretty portable - it folds up with the touch of a button. We have the "auto" version, which can plug in and rock on a timer or continuously and can also play music/sounds, if desired. Our daughter naps great in this thing!

    Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper - This is what our daughter sleeps in next to our bed every night. She slept in this her first night home from the hospital and does really well in it. I've read that it's an easier transition for infants from a bassinet to a crib because both are flat (rather than an incline like the Rock N Play). I love this Halo bassinet because 1. it actually fits in our room, 2. the sides are mesh - our daughter rolls on her side and I don't have to worry about her suffocating when she rolls to the sides of this bassinet, 3. it swivels all around at different angles and the side slides down with light pressure, so it's easy to manuever while you're still in bed (super nice for when you're first home and recovering, especially if you had a c-section).

    Halo Wearable Blanket - Our daughter wasn't the typical newborn who needed to be tightly swaddled at night. She honestly didn't care one way or the other! I tried the classic Halo swaddle and found it to be really annoying, as it would bunch up by her neck when she was little and then she easily busted her arms free of it part way through the night. Fail. I tried this Love to Dream one because she liked to have her arms up by her head. We used this for a few weeks and she liked it, until ditching the swaddle altogether and just using a wearable blanket to keep her warm and cozy, but not restrict her arms. She sleeps through the night now in one, so I'd say we found our winner! If your baby likes to be swaddled but you find the Halo swaddles unbearable like I did, I've heard the Woombie is amazing!

    Cloud B Sleep Sheep - We use this every night next to the bassinet (and will eventually use by the crib in her nursery) not just as a "soother" but more for noise. We have the Marpac Dohm in her nursery by the door, so once she sleeps in there, we'll have that on all night. But the Sleep Sheep has a timer, so it's nice as they are falling asleep to have that consistent noise close to their head that signals sleepy time! Plus, I think this little sheep is adorable and we can travel with it easily! I will say though, she does NOT rely on this to sleep and will just as easily fall asleep without it. I think it will make crib training easier though next month as we start that transition.

    Mother's Bliss Gripe Water - Our daughter had really bad gas her first two months of life. This stuff helped SO much! She loved the taste of it too and would immediately stop crying as soon as the dropper hit her lips, no joke! This stuff helps with hiccups too, which was a daily occurance during those first two months as well. Even if it's totally placebo effect and this does nothing, it makes you feel better as a parent that you're trying something!

    FridaBaby Nose Frida - This is also magic. You suck on one end and put the other at the base of baby's nostrils and out comes their snot. Ok, this sounds totally gross, but once you have a baby you realize that this is SO EXCITING because hello, baby's can't blow their nose, people. This thing is dynamite. (And no, you don't ingest any snot, there is a filter.)

    Ubbi Diaper Pail - So a lot of people told me that a diaper pail wasn't necessary and that they are a waste of money. I couldn't disagree more! This is 100% necessary! Our daughter's room is on the main floor of our home, so 10/10 diaper changes at home happen in the nursery on her changing table. So, every dirty diaper goes in the diaper pail, which needs to be brought out to the dumpster once a week (the night before trash day!). I love this Ubbi one because it's made out of steel, which means it doesn't absorb odor but keeps odor from escaping! It also doesn't need its own special bag like the Diaper Genie or other similar products do. We use normal kitchen trash bags for this thing so it's no added cost. It comes in nice neutral colors too - ours is white.

    Boudreaux's Butt Paste - There are a ton of different brands of diaper creams out there aside from this one - Desitin, Aquaphor, Honest Company, Burt's Bees, etc. I chose Butt Paste (aside from the funny name) because it's what my mom and sisters swore by and now I see why! Our daughter had a little bit of diaper rash her first day home and we used this stuff for every diaper change those first few days and literally, her diaper rash was gone after the first use and she's never gotten it again... it's magic paste and I'm now a believer. We have a bottle in her nursery and one in the diaper bag, just in case.

    Ubbi Wipes Dispenser - This may seem like more of a "luxury" item than a necessity, but hear me out. When you buy a big box of wipes, they come in a bunch of little pouches with sticky tabs to open/close the package. I don't know about you, but opening and closing those little sticky tabs like 10 times a day is super annoying, especially because it stops being sticky and then the wipes dry up. No thank you! In comes this little $19.99 gem of a product! This wipes dispenser has a weighted panel that sits on top of the wipes pack and allows wipes to come out one at a time, as well as a window to monitor quantity of wipes (if you don't put the package in there like I do). It also has a rubber seal to keep wipes fresh and moist as well as non-skid protective rubber feet to hold the dispenser in place. Do yourself a favor and just order one - you won't regret it, I promise!

    Munchkin Disposable Changing Pads - This is another item that may seem unnecessary, but it's one of my most used products! We have a nice fluffy changing pad cover to keep baby comfortable while changing diapers and clothes. Instead of washing that every time a diaper change gets messy, which is often, put one of these on top of the pad cover and simply wash this instead of the whole cover. They come in a 3-pack and can be used and washed a million times apparently because we've washed ours about that many times already and they are still in perfect condition. Highly recommend!

    Pony Tails book - I keep this book next to the changing pad and my daughter coos and talks to it the whole time she lays there. She absolutely LOVES it. Little does she realize that it's a crinkle book and has furry tails on it that's she can play with as she develops in the next few months. This is a Jellycat book (I told you, I LOVE Jellycat stuff - their stuffed animals are the BEST.) and there are a few versions of "tails" books - Jungly Tails, Fluffy Tails, Puppy Tails, Fishy Tails, etc. SO DANG CUTE!

    So there you have it - my must-haves for 0-3 month olds. Of course there are other things you need, like diapers, wipes, clothes, etc. but these are the products that we use and love most! You'll notice that in most of the items I purchased, I tried to be gender neutral (in case we have a boy next!) and not in a gawdy baby pattern. There is some UGLY baby gear out there, but there are aesthetically pleasing options that don't break the bank if you do a little research. The places I frequent most for baby stuff are: Amazon, Target, Nordstrom and BuyBuyBaby (they have some of the gear that you can see in person rather than only online). Another fun website for more boutique style stuff is Spearmint LOVE!

    Hopefully this is helpful for any new parent or grandparent/aunt/uncle looking to buy an awesome baby shower gift!

    What are your must-have baby items? COMMENT below!

    xo Cait 

  • Hey, so, you haven't blogged in awhile...

    So, I've stepped back from blogging for the past, oh I don't know, almost 2 years?! It hasn't been laziness or lack of motivation (desire though, I'd say); it's been more of... identity or dislike of identity rather. I kinda loathe (ha, that's an oxymoron) the connotation of blogging. Everyone and their mom has a blog. And, now that I actually am a mom (life update! ha), now there's the mom-rant blogger connotation in addition to the try-hard fashion bloggers, the make-your-life-look-better-than-it-is bloggers, the anti-vaccine-do-everything-with-oils bloggers (don't even get me started people), the people-who-are-awful-writers-and-can't-spell bloggers (you make my skin crawl)... I just didn't want to be lumped in any category.

    I blog(ged) because I want(ed) to share things that I love, products that have made my life easier, ramblings, creative things... whatever I feel like. I don't blog because I think I'm awesome or want the affirmation of others, or for some sort of status. I just wanna do what I want, when I want without other people chiming in or judging from afar. But yes, ok, I realize thtat's impossible! Maybe I'm worried of that though because I do that to others... BOOM I said it. I'm judging you, other blogger. Sorry! I'm not a meany, but I'm human. We all do it, so don't even act like you don't. Hey young 20-something try-hard fashion blogger with the instagrid you OBSESS over... I'm judging you, but I'm also inspired by you and am secretly proud of you for just doing you. It's a weird line, guys, between the judging and admiring for me, and some days I land on one side, and other days I land on the other side.

    So... that's where I'm at. It boils down to control - I want to control what other people perceive about me. I want people to know me before they assume what I'm like - being misunderstood is maybe the worst thing in the world to me. It kills my soul to feel like someone thinks something of me that isn't true. Sigh, adulting is hard, guys.

    So that's where I'm at. Moving forward, if I feel inspired to write a post, I'm gonna write it! I'm going to stop obsessing over this crisis of the mind I've been having and start being more like the 20-something chick who is just doing her thing, not caring about meanies like me judging her.

    Let's do this, y'all. 

    xo, Cait

  • Gimme Dat List | March

    "He will come to us like the rain." -Hosea 6:3

    Spring is almost here, friends. (cue applause) I love this verse in Hosea and it always reminds me of spring. Even though it can get sloppy outside, I'm thankful for the slop this time of year. It means things are melting and coming to life and the greens are getting greener - hence, the rain. Praise Him for rain being rain and not snow, y'all... hallelu!

    With that, I have some fun things shown below that are currently on my "Ooh, I would love to have that!" list for March. I'm really vibing botanicals, florals, gold (ok, this is year round), marble (oops, yeah, year round love there), sandals, lightweight fabrics, and brights and whites. 

    I'm currently in the market for a new phone case, which is quite a decision. I'm not one to swap these out to match my outfit. I'm more of a one and done (until it breaks) type of girl in this department. And thus, my case recently broke and here I stand. So, I'm digging this cute pineapple one. Too summery? Maybe. Does that matter? Not really. TBD here.

    Regarding the clip board... that might be one you're scraching your head over. Um, why do I need a clip board? Well, I like using them as wall art to highlight a photo or drawing rather than using a frame. Ahhhh, it's all making sense now, eh? I want to get some botanical prints and get four of these to make a little mini gallery. Cute, don't you think?

    The other item I want to highlight is the set of cord tacos... WHAT! How genius/hilarious are these you guys?! I randomly stumbled upon them on the Free People website - bahahaha. R-A-N-D-O-M. So I don't know about you guys, but I have borderline OCD tendencies with certain things in my life. One of them: cords. Seeing cords dangling or having cords unkept in a "junk drawer" makes my skin crawl. Right now, our TV has two cords that hang below it that aren't covered by the console table under it. Literally I'm annoyed every time I see it, but since we are likely moving soon, I don't want to go to extreme measures to cover them - UGHHH. So, here comes the cord tacos. Tuck these around headphones, phone chargers, etc. in your purse, in a *neat* junk drawer in your home, in your car's center console - wherever. These are a fabulous invention! Plus, the cognac color leather is divine. Thanks Free Peeps!

    phone case / necklacebirkenstocks / clipboard / clock / vest / scarf / plant / volume spray / cord taco set

    There you have it! What's on your current want list? SHARE & COMMENT below! :)

    xo Cait

  • My Life | Me, a Yogi?

    We all have New Year's resolutions year after year - to lose weight, eat more veggies, spend less time on social media, walk our dogs more, eat fewer cheeseburgers. Some of my resolutions this year were to spend more time in prayer and solitude, exercise more frequently, and to spend more time for myself and by myself (I rarely spend time alone). Even as I type that, I feel slightly embarrassed. My nature tells me that that is selfish - I should do more, achieve more, spend more time and energy with others and for others. But for me, that's my default. Those are my strengths - I empathize, I relate, I develop, I adapt, I listen. My tendency is to say "yes" to any social invitation, to fill my schedule, to neglect having margin in my life. If I don't take intentional time to step back, to be alone, to pray, to just be, it becomes an unhealthy imbalance and I lose myself. 

    So how have I begun to remedy this imbalance? For starters, I'm trying to say "no" when I should. I'm trying to question my motivation for saying "yes". Is it because it's something I want to do? Is it because it's beneficial? Is it something that I am doing just to please the other person?

    I've also started practicing yoga 3-4 times per week. No, it's not weird chanting or meditation to some eastern religious god. I'm doing yoga sculpt (trust me, it's SUCH a good workout!), hot yoga and other variations of each. (Side note: The amount you sweat in these classes is actually rather mind-boggling, as the room temperatures - with added humity, might I add - reach between 92-103 degrees.) I'm taking time to take care of my body, to calm my mind... to just breathe. Whether I can't resist my extroverted nature and I attend a class with a friend, or whether I go alone and take some time for prayerful solitude in a room full of strangers, yoga is starting to literally change my life for the better. I feel stronger, healthier, more patient (!) and more like ME. I allowed myself to neglect myself for too long. And now, I just breathe - inhale through the nose, open mouth exhale - and take the hour I carve out each day for yoga and enjoy every minute of it. Ahhhhh. I feel more relaxed just thinking about it! 

    Taking time for yourself resting, vacationing, exercising - these are spiritual, not selfish, practices. I'm working on believing that myself. The more I take my own advice, the most the voices (a.k.a. lies) in my head disappear and in their absence comes silence, margin and more room for good things and God things. So take my advice - be counter cultural - relax, breathe deep and create margin. 

    So I'm a Yogi now I guess, and I love it. Namaste :)

    “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” -Psalm 62:1-2

    #restisspiritual

    You can't get your sweat on without the proper gear. Here are my must-haves for a hot yoga class:

    headband / tank top / wrap / tumbler / yoga mat / strap / pants / towel / bra / sandals

    xo Cait

  • My Picks | The Best Burgers in Minneapolis-St.Paul

    So, it's safe to say that my favorite food is a cheeseburger - and great for the thighs, let me tell ya. There is never a time in life that a cheeseburger doesn't sound absolutely divine. After living in Minneapolis, home of the Juicy Lucy, for the past 7 years, I've tried quite a few burgers and have recently experienced a few new(er) places that each have a delectable burger.

    I realize my usual blog content pertains to clothes, makeup, home decor - you know the stuff that really matters in life - but I've decided to branch out! Afterall, there are no rules here - I do what I want, y'all! I'm not concerning myself with what fits in my blog "grid", if you will - WOOOOOOOOOF! Don't get me started on people who obsess over their stupid grid... I literally hate it. Get over yourself. Ew. Moving on...

    So, back to burgers. YUM. Ok, here is my list of 10 bests. Some you'll see on many "Minneapolis Best of" lists and others you may have never heard of. And please note that in no way, shape or form am I pretending to have great insight and expertise on food because I'm writing this. Nope, just a consumer here sharing my opinions! Feel free to disagree with my choices - I won't argue with you unless you tell me that my dog isn't cute. He is the cutest dog on the planet and you're wrong if you disagree :) 

    • Victory 44's "Perfect Burger" - A local fan-favorite, Victory 44's Perfect Burger truly lives up to its name. The patty is part beef and part bacon and comes on a sensational bun from Rustica Bakery. Topped with gooey American cheese, house-made pickles (and I don't even like pickles... these are phenomenal) and thick-cut bacon (and I don't even like bacon, I know), this burger melts in your mouth, confusing your brain because you're transported to your own kind of heaven on earth... yeah, it's GOOD! It comes with bacon-loaded fries, which are basically yummy french fries with bacon grease and bacon powder sprinkled on top. It's a party, y'all. ($17.00 w/ fries) 
    • Red Cow's "Brooklyn" - This burger, you guys... it's SO GOOD - literally melts in your mouth delicious. It has two thinly smashed Red Cow grind patties, white American cheese, bone marrow (WHAT) and in-house pickles. Back up though... BONE MARROW?! Yeah, don't let that seem scary. I'm the world's pickiest and least adventurous eater and I love it. And no, it's not like hard chunks of bone fragments on top of your burger. It's basically melted down and added in the middle of the patties with the cheese creating a buttery substance that melts into the patties and cheese, becoming an invisible secret ingredient of deliciousness absorbed into every bite. TRUST ME ON THIS. Red Cow's fries are also delish and they have a sweet potato option, which is a fan favorite (not mine, but for some). They also offer Gluten Free versions of most of their menu items, including their french fries. ($14.00 w/ fries)  
    • Revival's "Revival Burger" - Thinly cooked-to-perfection grass-fed beef made in-house, using 80% short rib and 20% brisket, with melted American cheese, mayo and house-made pickles. This burger will quickly become one you crave. Though they don't offer french fries at Revival (which seems like a burger consumption sin), they do have yummy sides to choose from like their mac-n-cheese or hush puppies (shown below). ($13.00 + side) 
    • Nighthawks' "Cheeseburger"- Another classic take on a burger, this one drips with American cheese over the juicy beef patties. Fermented pickles come on the side and are oh so delicious. The patty(ies) sit on a bed of yummy carmelized onions atop a homemade potato bun. All of this is topped with their "secret sauce", which is ketchup, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, burger, and bun blended up - yeah! I recommend the double versus the single - it's on the smaller side for dinner (double shown below) and I just don't know why you wouldn't get the double... duh. Fries cost extra, but they're worth it if you share with the table. ($10.00/single or $15.00/double w/ coleslaw or potato salad) 
    • The Nook's "Juicy Nookie" - The original Nook and its larger counterpart, Shamrocks, make what might be the best Juicy Lucy (called a Juicy Nookie) in the Twin Cities. In my opinion, their juicy lucy is the best juicy of all. It's classic deliciousness at its best - gooey American cheese oozes out of the perfectly cooked beef patty on a simple bun and delicious fries (they also have sweet potato fries and waffles fries that you can substitute for). The Nook is a city staple - you must go and see for yourself! ($9.50 w/ fries) 
    • The Nook's "Nookie Supreme" - Ok, so this thing is HUGE. Two Angus chuck patties are separated by a bun half and gooey American cheese with lettuce, onion and their "special sauce". I love the flavor of this but it's generally too much food for me, though my husband says otherwise. However, I read here that you can fix that issue by simply ordering a cheeseburger with lettuce and special sauce, which is basically a single version of the Nook's classic go-to burger. This beauty was also featured on Guy Fieri's FOOD Network show, Diners Drive-ins and Dives! ($12.50 w/ fries) 
    • The Lowbrow's "Highbrow Burger" - This beauty is made with 100% grass fed Minnesota beef and comes topped with melted brie, caramelized onions, field greens and roasted garlic aioli. Deemed the "fancypants" burger on the menu, this doesn't disappoint. They also offer a Gluten Free bun option for an additional $2.00 and their french fries are yummy and Gluten Free/Vegan for those who need that option. ($11.00 w/ fries) 
    • Matt's Bar's "Jucy Lucy" - A Minneapolis classic that apparently was the "original" lucy, but many other restaurants claim the same, so who's to say? Probs not me. Matt's is something you must try, but for me the location and experience leaves SO much to be desired, that it's not a place I frequent. Seating is sparse, they only accept cash and local checks (who in the world uses checks anymore...) and there's always an obnoxiously long wait time in the teeny tiny bar area. However, they make a really delicious Jucy Lucy (their unique spelling) that everyone must have at least once or twice or ten times. No frills here, just yumminess. ($7.25 + fries) 
    • Edina Grill's "Cheese Burger" - This one is very simple and is never on any "Best of" lists, however, it is classically delicious in its own right. Coming with lettuce, tomato, mayo and your choice of cheese (obvi American is best in this case) with a simple bun and served with yummy, perfectly crispy french fries. Plus, I love Edina Grill - it's a family favorite and located in a prime 50th and France location in Edina. Win-win. ($11.95 w/ fries) 
    • Lucky's 13 "Juicy Lulu" - Like the previous, you're not going to find this burger on any "Best of" lists, however, I want to give some credit where credit is due. A solid juicy lucy in its own right, the Juicy Lulu from Lucky's 13 Pub in Bloomington holds its own. Not to mention, they use that fantastic crushed ice in their soft drinks, which is nostalgic and delcious in my Diet Coke with lime. The burger is simple - gooey American cheese, beef patty, sesame seed bun and perfectly crispy fries. You can add lettuce, tomato or onion too, which adds a nice extra crunch. Another Lucky's win - they serve all-you-can-eat popcorn while you wait for your food. Yum. ($12.99 w/ fries) 

    All photos are linked to their original sources.

    Honorable mentions that I've heard are great, but haven't had the chance to try yet: Saint Dinette, Meritage, 112 Eatery, Parlour, Libertine, HauteDish.
    Honorable mentions I've had but didn't make the list: Tilia, Blue Door Pub, Pat's Tap, Buster's on 28th. 

    So there you have it! Now I'm hungry.... mmmm. Thoughts? Agree or disagree? Is yours a favorite I missed? SHARE your thoughts by COMMENTING below! :)

    xo Cait

  • Splurge VS. Steal | Valentine's Day Date Night

    It's almost Valentine's Day! Planning on going on a date or having a Girl's Night Out? Depending on your budget (or amount of self-control), here are two options to consider - the first from Madewell (the splurge) and the second from H&M (the steal). No matter what you wear, you'll need some beauty basics from Sephora, like a few of my favorites shown below. I rarely wear false eyelashes, but Valentine's Day is the perfect time of year to up the drama! Whether you buy a nice silk set like the ones shown from Sephora or a cheaper alternative like these, they're a fun touch to any outfit.

    For Valentine's Day, I like to stick with a classic look - shades of red, pink, cream, black and metallics. Even a little animal print seems to fit the bill. I love feminine touches like silk and chiffon while keeping in mind the practical needs of warmth for those of us living in the frozen tundra - wool coats and closed toe shoes. Cold night? Skip the dress and tights and stick with black jeans, dark denim or fun "treggings" like those shown below - a trouser/jegging style pant to keep your legs warm and toasty. There's no need to suffer for beauty, ladies - we've got options!

    So here you have it - a splurge look and a steal look. Which do you like better? What's your go-to date night look? SHARE below and leave a COMMENT or tag me on Insta @caitquinnjoyce, #prideandjoyce :)

    Madewell: silk top / high riser jeans / flats / cross-body bag / coat / earrings / ring / long necklace

    Sephora: false lashes / Benefit mascara / Marc Jacobs Beauty eyeliner / Urban Decay Naked3 palette / bareMinerals foundation / NARS lipstick "Fire Down Below" / butter nail color set / Miss Dior "Blooming Bouquet" perfume

    H&M: tie-neck blouse / polka dot treggings / heels / shoulder bag / coat / earrings / bangle set / bracelet

    Happy Valentine's Day! xoxoxo

    Cait

  • My Picks | The Best of Athleta

    If I could shop at only one clothing store for the rest of my life, it would probably be Athleta, with TJ Maxx and Madewell coming in at a close second and third. It's owned by the GAP/Banana Republic/Old Navy conglomerate, which means you can use your rewards points, gift cards, etc. at Athleta too! Unlike it's snootier counterpart (Lululemon), Athleta has fantastic sales (often and for more than $5 off), offers an array of sizes (XXS-XL, regular, petite, tall, plus), uses quality material that isn't see-through when you bend over, offers a "Give-it-a-Workout Guarantee", and is made for real women with real bodies, not just teeny tiny middle school girl bodies :) (I will say, Lulu's headbands are amazing and their yoga mats are the best in the world, so I'll give them that. I don't think they're the worst, I just like Athleta better.)

    So in honor of my love for Athleta, here's my must-have list of favorite items (some that I own personally, others that I've tried on and are on my wishlist) for my yoga-practicing, trail-jogging, weight-lifting, errand-running, couch-sitting buddies:

    1. Movement BraletteWhy I like it: This bra has great support for higher intensity workouts without feeling bulky. I also like the way it hugs you since it comes down a little further below your chest. What they say: "We're bringing the bralette into the aerobic world with mesh ventilation, high compression support and everything else a run-loving, burpee-loving girl needs.(shown in Black, $49)
    2. Fastest Track Tank: Why I like it: This is my favorite workout tank - it has the perfect amount of stretch. I love the rouching detail on the front, which is super flattering, and the bottom has little grippy things on the inside so it stays in place for your workout - no more tugging! What they say: "We improved our favorite, go-to training tank with our REGUL8 technology (customized cooling increases or decreases to adapt to your body's needs so you're never too hot or too cool) and seamless design fabric that stretches with your every move, pulling sweat away from the body.(shown in Flint Grey Heather $44)
    3. Kettlebella TankWhy I like it: It's loose enough to feel comfortable but not too loose for downward dog and it's semi-sheer, which keeps you cool during a heated workout. Featuring Athleta's trademark unstinkable technology (natural silver salts give the fabric antimicrobial protection that lasts wash after wash)... need I say more! What they say: "A new favorite for our gym workouts, this wicking, breathable top features Unstinkable technology and a semi-sheer factor for the ultimate in layering." (shown in Iron Blue, $49)
    4. Fastest Track TopWhy I like it: This long-sleeve has the same feel and technology as the Fastest Track Tank, but I love pairing this with a vest for a casual, comfy Saturday outfit or for runs outside. It's the perfect tightness, feeling cozy, not constricted. What they say: "We improved our favorite, go-to training tank with our REGUL8 technology (customized cooling increases or decreases to adapt to your body's needs so you're never too hot or too cool) and seamless design fabric that stretches with your every move, pulling sweat away from the body." (shown in Flint Grey Heather $64)
    5. CYA Hope Jacket 2Why I like it: I have this jacket in a similar pattern and it's my fav "to-fro" jacket to wear to the gym or studio. It's very flattering in its design, as it contours to your body's natural hourglass shape without clinging. I love it for weekend wear as well - the fabric is amazing. What they say: "This jacket's sheer versatility and detailing make it perfect for everything from yoga to-fro to lifestyle to even running (reflective back trim brightens up your way home in the dark after your workout).(shown in Black Heather, $138)
    6. Techie Sweat HoodieWhy I like it: This is currently on my wish-list. The material is to die for - it's SO soft, you'll never want to take it off. I also LOVE the green color, cowl-neck and longer length to pair with leggings. I'm drooling... What they say: "Beyond-soft Techie Sweat fabric (super soft, breathable fabric with a retro-sweatpants vibe) with a cozy cowl hood and cover-your-assets length is your new hoodie standby.(shown in Jasper Green, $89)
    7. Downalicious Deluxe VestWhy I like it: I recently got this vest on sale in the gorgeous "Evergreen" color and must restrain myself from wearing it everyday. It's the perfect blend of sporty yet casual and is so cozy and warm, without feeling bulky. I'm obsessed. What they say: "800-fill FeatherDry down gives you water-resistant warmth in this cozy vest with such flattering style lines, we find ourselves reaching for it again and again.(shown in Black, $148)
    8. Reptile Relay CapriWhy I like it: I have these capris in black and in this fun reptile print and love each of them. The banded bottoms add a sporty touch, while the mesh ventilation behind the knees is perfect for a sweaty yoga sculpt session. Despite these being considered "mid-rise," they stay up nicely and fit me more like high rise. LOVE! What they say: "Our customer-favorite, ultra-flattering, performance-fitted tight for running, training and basically everything else. "Reptile" patterned capris are made from RECYCLED POLY, a supremely sleek fabric made from post-consumer plastic bottles. (Fun fact: that's approximately 8 bottles saved per garment!)(shown in Flint Grey, $74)
    9. High Rise Chaturanga CapriWhy I like it: These are the perfect, no-nonsense capris. High waist, so they suck you in and keep everything locked and loaded, and sleek fabric that goes with everything. There's nothing not to like here! What they say: "Our go-to tight for all things yoga and everything else comes in a high-rise fit for a triple dose of performance: keeps everything tucked in, offers a secure, stay-put fit, and creates the longest, leggiest look. Made from our exclusive PILAYO® fabric, our go-to for every workout.(shown in Navy, $64)
    10. Aspire Ankle PantWhy I like it: These pants are so comfy and breezy. Another item on my wishlist, they are a great alternative to leggings or jeans on a casual day. They can be worn scrunched for a capri length or worn down as an ankle pant - it's a win-win! What they say: "The Featherweight Stretch™ (silky sleek fabric that's so lightweight, it feels weightless) pant that goes from studio to street thanks to a sporty chic tapered leg that scrunches up for more breathing room.(shown in Jasper Green, $79)
    11. Quest Metro Slouch PantWhy I like it: Another wishlist item - these pants are a great casual alternative to sloppy sweatpants or joggers. I wouldn't feel embarrassed running errands in these babies! I also love the zipper pockets and "fully adjustable NeverEnd drawstrings at the hem that let you cinch and tie to the fit of your liking." What they say: "The yoga-pant-comfy METRO style made to give your jeans a day off with handy pockets, sweet seam lines and super stretchy fabric that supports your love of adventure.(shown in Black, $89)
    12. High Rise Chaturanga TightWhy I like it: These are the same style and feel as the High Rise Chaturanga Capri, just in a full-length tight. These are my go-to for everyday wear, workouts, lazy Saturdays... you name it! These are a must-have. What they say: "Our go-to tight for all things yoga and everything else comes in a high-rise fit for a triple dose of performance: keeps everything tucked in, offers a secure, stay-put fit, and creates the longest, leggiest look. Made from our exclusive PILAYO® fabric, our go-to for every workout.(shown in Black, $74)

    There you have it! Did I miss one of your favorites? Where's your favorite place to shop? SHARE your thoughts below and leave a COMMENT! :)

    xo Cait