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Along Abbey Road | A Lifestyle And Family Blog : June 2015


I'm Taking A Summer Hiatus

Hi, guys. 

I just wanted to pop in and let you know I am taking a summer hiatus from blogging. Well, blogging here on Along Abbey Road, anyway.

We have vacations coming up, I have a new food blog to which I am devoting most of my free time and energy, and I just feel like a break is much-needed right now. (Although I will most likely pop in every now and again to rant about something, and tell you what I am watching on Netflix, because that is important and definitely blog-worthy. There could also be a major Dubsmash montage. I apologize in advance.) 

I will still be on Instagram, and you can follow along with my food blog, The Butter Half, if you miss my ridiculous antics and have an affinity for delightfully horrible food puns and jokes. 

Big Gulps, huh? Alrriiight! Welp, see ya later!

But seriously, I don't know if anyone cares about this incredibly important PSA, but I just felt saying goodbye for now was the right thing to do—I hate it when people just disappear from the internet for significant periods of time without any explanation. 

Okay, now this is really goodbye. (Sort of. Until I feel another Netflix binge coming on.) Toodles!


Healthy Road Trip Snacks For Kids

Healthy Road Trip Snacks For Kids

Road trips were something I looked forward to when I was little. We'd pack up what felt like 20 suitcases and cram our huge family into our gold Dodge Caravan. My dad would take the wheel, and my mom would sit in the front with her bag of licorice and coloring books. My dad had this beautiful cassette tape case loaded with all of the best hits from Neil Diamond.

"Far! We've been traveling far!... They're coming to America! Today!"

That will forever be my road trip anthem, and I am grateful for those little things which made wonderful memories of our days on the highway to visit my grandparents in Utah.

In a few weeks we will be packed up in our van, cruising north on the I-15 to the very same house, but this time I am the mom sitting in the passenger seat. Crazy how the tables turn so very quickly.

One of the joys of road tripping are the snacks. I've had one too many stomach aches from eating complete rubbish, and have since changed my eating habits. Sure, we bring the chocolate milk and stop for a burger, but we make sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks, too. It's always worth it in the end.

Some of Luke and Wesley's favorite healthy road trip snacks are:
  • Strawberries
  • Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunnies
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Annie's Organic Animal Cookies
  • Annie's Organic Fruit Snacks

Healthy Road Trip Snacks For Kids

The Annie's Homegrown products are made with completely wholesome and non-synthetic ingredients, and their snack bags come in the perfect serving size bags for the boys. (And me! I cannot stop eating those fruit snacks! Sorry, little fellas.) I highly recommend them for your upcoming road trips. Also, you can join Team Annie's to get updates and become a part of their fun community.

Happy road tripping, my friends!

This post was sponsored by Team Annie's. Thanks for supporting the sponsors who help support our family. 

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Father's Day Barbecue Surprise

This weekend we're doing a double whammy and celebrating Matt's birthday and Father's Day with a family barbecue. We're going to grill hot dogs and patties, eat a huge chocolate cake, and swim until our hands are wrinkly and our hearts are full.

It’s going to be perfect.

The best part will be getting personalized Share a Coke bottles made for Matt. Let me tell ya, this guy is a diehard Coke fan and comes from a long line of Coca-Cola lovers. It adds that special touch to top off an amazing day. We plan to mix them in with the other bottles as a little surprise. I can’t wait to see the look on his face when he reads all of his nicknames on the bottles! Priceless.

When we were in Spain a few years ago, one of our favorite things to do was sit in the plaza and drink a bottle of Coke. Still to this day whenever we enjoy a chilled glass bottle, one of us will say, "Man, this reminds me of Spain!”

Needless to say, there will be all sorts of emotions mixed in with those personalized glass bottles of Share a Coke bottles.

This year, Coca-Cola offers the ability to personalize and purchase eight-ounce glass “Share a Coke” bottles on ShareaCoke.com. You can't go wrong with the glass bottle (we love to serve them at our Christmas parties), and it is guaranteed to make your celebrations so much more heartfelt.

Hope you all have a wonderful Father's Day!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Coca-Cola through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Share-A-Coke, all opinions are my own.

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The Best Workout Music

The Best Workout Music

Music is the biggest motivator to get me off my butt and up and moving! Seriously, if it weren't for the J Lo Pandora station, I would be the reigning world champion in the sport of couch potato. I actually just saw a meme today which said, "No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch." I laughed out loud because A) if I am not running as slow as a tortoise then I can usually be found B) sitting on the couch being lazy. It was applicable to me in both instances. Go figure.

I am finally on Week 12 of the BBG, and I cannot believe I have actually completed it (almost)! Where did the time go? Not only were those three months of becoming more healthy, those were three months of my boys growing up. And here is the part where I get overly sentimental about life. Ack!

Looks like I need some music to cheer me on in all arenas of life. I will spare you my sappy, indie playlists for now. (We'll get to those another day, because I love a good playlist to serenade my general feeling of angst and ennui.) Today is about the opposite—it's the music that gets me amped on life and makes me want to do ninja kicks.

Jennifer Lopez Pandora Station. Yeah, I already spoiled the fun and told you about this in the beginning of this post, but it is like kerosene to my fitness flame. It includes all of the hits from the queen divas, namely Beyonce, Rihanna, Mariah Carey and J Lo. What more do you need in life, honestly? Jenny from the block will PUMP YOU UP!

Spotify Running. I just discovered it this week because I am an idiot and didn't run with my phone until now. BUT IT IS CHANGING MY LIFE. It detects your running tempo, which is how many steps you take per minute, and then it matches up songs with that tempo. Mine is 175 and the music always makes me feel like I am living in the world of Tron. Or that lasers are going to shoot from my limbs as I save the world. Who wouldn't want to feel like that? Is this what ravers feel like? Is raver even a word? Did you know the McCallisters are going to France? Is it cold there? Do these vans get good gas mileage?

Anything And Everything Katy Perry. Her music makes my heart soar. You might even hear me roar. ;) It also makes me want to run along the beach until I collapse into a huge pile of sand and let the waves take me away. Can we talk about the Katy Perry and Taylor Swift feud for a minute? I thought about devoting an entire post to it, but I suppose it has presented itself here and now, so we shall discuss. Here's the thing: I think Taylor Swift is a phony nice girl and knows how to play the part of the "teeheeiloveyouletsbebestfriendsfurrrrevvvvermeow" schtick really well. And I don't think it is genuine. I can't help but side with Katy Perry's tweet awhile ago (which was supposedly directed at Tay-Tay) about watching out for Regina George in sheep's clothing. There, I said it. I feel like the internet gods are going to offer me up as a sacrifice as an example for being a pop culture leper with a statement like that. Doesn't everyone love Taylor Swift? Sure, her music is catchy, but what kind of person throws EVERY SINGLE boyfriend and person who has wronged them under the bus for millions of people all over the world to hear? It's messed up, and definitely not something a legitimate sweet and nice girl would do. (Taylor Swift is not sweet! She's a scum-sucking road whore, she ruined my life!) Therefore, I am going to say I am team Kitty Purry. You have permission to love me or leave me, but it feels like the right thing to do, guys. Being honest isn't always easy! ;) I still think both of them have fun music for working out, though.

Justin Timberlake. The only time I have ever felt comfortable uttering the term "ride or die" is in regard to my sweet, darling JT. He could go off the bonkers deep end à la his ex-lady friend, B Spears, and I would still be as solid a fan as ever. Two things happen when I listen to any of his music: 1) I belt out the lyrics as loud possible and 2) I feel like doing sprints. Up hill. In the sun. Pushing 100+ pounds of tiny humans in a double stroller. Nobody in their right mind would do that, but those are the bewitching powers of Justin Timberlake's music, I tell you!

There you have it. I basically could have said pop music is my friend when I'm working out, but I like specifics—there is a lot of garbage out there in the pop world. (Like when Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton released albums. Yikesabee!)

I hope you find your motivation for being active and fit, and let me know if there are any artists, playlists or stations I need to add to my routine!

Image from the fitness queen and my amazing friend, Simply Sadie Jane!



5 Brilliant British Movies To Watch On Netflix This Weekend

1. The Duchess. Oh, Keira. You beautiful British babe. She is the queen of British films, is she not? What a fitting role for her to play! I have only seen half of this movie because this is not one to turn on while making dinner with children being noisy in background. This is one of those make-yourself-a-bowl-of-popcorn-and-watch-at-night-in-the-splendor-of-silence-with-subtitles kind of movies. Also, can we talk about the costumes for one sec? Incredible! I want to dress up as an 18th-century aristocrat once in my life before I die. Maybe Halloween 2018? Gives me a solid three years to prepare. I think that should suffice.

2. Mansfield Park. This list would not be complete without a Jane Austen novel-turned-movie, now would it? Mansfield Park is full of the common themes of mankind; morality, family, love, feminism, independence, tragedy. It's terribly dramatic and wonderful.

3. Jane Eyre. Ahhh, another gem. Mia Wasikowska (you might know her from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland) plays Jane Eyre, and I think she is brilliant (is my Brit lingo on point here?), so this movie was everything I hoped it would be. Again, it hits on all the usual themes as mentioned above, including mental illness. I know we all love Charlotte Bronte in our day in age because the topics she writes about are so relevant to society, but I always have to remind myself of the boldness, foresight and wit it took be writing about these things in her lifetime. Truly a genius, that one!

4. Call the Midwife. First of all, have you read the books? They are wonderful. And the TV series has been done really well in maintaining the storyline and nailing the characters, in my opinion. (I need a Chummy in my life.) If you love Downton Abbey, you will love this show.

5. Bridget Jones's Diary. I just realized after adding all of the images that I put these movies in chronological order. Not intentionally, but consider these movies a lesson in history—we'll call it A History of British Women's Studies 101. Anyway, Bridget is my favorite. She is the lovable, clumsy and pathetic heroine to whom I relate. Lying under the covers with empty Cheetos and Twix bar wrappers, wallowing in self pity? Yep, been there before... like 500 times. At least. You will possibly almost die of secondhand embarrassment watching this, but you will certainly be cheering for ole' Bridge by the end. It's a rom com classic. (And the sequel is on Netflix too!)

Have a wonderful weekend!

12 | 3 | 4 | 5



The Woman Behind The Lens: Kristie Hammer Of The Homesteady

One of the best things about "being online" (I feel so 90s cool saying that) is the community to which it connects you. In the Jojo Moyes book I read a few months ago, one of the main characters advised an angsty teenager to start a blog in order to "find his tribe." I loved it, because it is the exact thing that has happened to me. I've found my tribe, the people whom I connect with on many different levels. From the trivial love of celebrity gossip, to the dark underbelly of mental health issues, it has linked me to like minds and kindred spirits. One of those wonderful people is Hannah Wareham of The Homesteady. I wish we could be real life friends and I was beyond thrilled when she reached out to me to be featured with her wife for my first Woman Behind the Lens!

Hannah has the prettiest blog full of excellent DIY projects, good recipes and all things generally awesome. She and her wife, Kristie, live in western Massachusetts. They've been married for two years. (Look how adorable their wedding was! All the heart eye emojis!) Kristie works as a merchandising assistant at a local, independently owned home goods and gift store, and Hannah works in the communications office at a prep school. They love hanging out with their dog Samson, traveling (they just got back from Paris!), cooking and baking, and hitting up flea markets for treasures. They're also big fans of binge-watching pretty much anything (Hannah while crafting, Kristie while playing Candy Crush). They are both crazy about their families, too. As far as the future goes, they're excited to buy a house and start their family in the next few years!

Kristie also gets to put up with taking Hannah's pictures for her fashion DIY projects, so we thought it'd be fun to hear her take on this whole fashion blogging craze.

How long have you been the woman behind the lens?

Ummm...how long have you had your blog? Two years?

Hannah: Three years.

How do you feel about your role as the outfit photographer?

I like it. I think it's cuuuute.

Hannah: Why?

Kristie: This is an interesting conversation... I like being able to help other people see you the way I see you.

What goes through your mind when Hannah asks you to take a picture of her outfit?

Most of the time I don't mind. There are some times when I'm like, wait, I'm busy, I'm doing something. Most of the time I'm game.

How many photos do you generally have to take?

Like, 10 probably.

What's the most ridiculous thing Hannah has asked you to photograph?

She's laughing. I think the time we went in the freezing cold to that mural and I had to photograph you as people yelled at us out the window of their cars. That was pretty ridiculous.

Is Hannah bossy, or do you have a specific system down when taking photos?

She's laughing again. I wouldn't say she's bossy, but she knows what she wants out of these pictures. She's an aggressive director. Right? She tells me what she wants and how she wants it. Mainly because I'm still learning the photography bit of it. She has more of a photographer's eye than I do.

What time of day do you usually take pictures?

Golden hour! (Haha, she's imitating me!)

When Hannah asks you to take the pictures are you:
a. happy and willing 
b. begrudgingly doing it because you don't want to deal with the consequences of saying no 
c. indifferent 
d. none of the above
e. no comment 

I would say A. I'm more A. Not when I'm making dinner though.

How would you describe Hannah's sense of style? I think overall her sense of style is unique but also classic at the same time. Those two things shouldn't make sense together, but for her they do.

Do you have any other input or thoughts you would like to add?

I guess I like doing this because I'm learning something which I never thought I'd be interested in learning, the camera work and photography. It's cool when I get a good shot of her that she likes. It makes me proud of it, too. Yeah...I'm a good wife. (Laughing)

Yeah, you are Kristie! Aren't they adorable? Be sure to stop by Hannah's blog, and find her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!

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6 Fun End Of School Year Traditions To Do With Kids

School's out for summer! Or it almost is.

I remember how excited I would be for summer vacation when I was a kid, and I can't believe Luke will be starting school in just a couple of years. It's weird how quickly time passes, and might I add, a little freaky. My memories of elementary school are crystal! How do we make time stop?

Anyway, I wrote a cute, little roundup of fun end of school year traditions to start with your kids on Parenting.com. (Hint: it includes water balloons and the cutest summer reading list packet you will ever see.) Come read it here!

I can't wait to start these with our boys. Happy summer vacation!

Image sources 1 & 2

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Say Hello To My Little Food Blog

You guys, I went and did the dang thing. I started a food blog! Call me awesome, or call me crazy, but I have never felt anything so right. (In regard to blogging, that is.) Something deep in my soul and guts tells me this is exactly where I should be, so I am taking that as a good omen. And let me tell you that it already off to a fantastic start. (Wordpress is INCREDIBLE, by the way. Sorry, Blogger. I still love you though.)

I've been sharing recipes here for a couple of years now, and have grown to love food styling and photography. Like, I-want-to-marry-you-and-live-happily-ever-after kind of love. But, I didn't want to turn this blog into a food blog. Heaven knows it doesn't need another category change. Remember how Along Abbey Road started as a fashion and personal style blog? And then it morphed into a mommy blog, as all blogs do after a gal has a baby. Right?

So, you're going to run two blogs? How do you do that as a mom?

I already get that question all the time about having one blog in general, and I have a series of posts up my sleeve for that topic specifically, but that will come another day. (The short answer is naptime and running on four to five hours of sleep.) Yes, I will continue to write here, but I am definitely going to spend a hefty amount of my time at the food blog for these first couple of months in case you wonder where I've snuck off to. (The Caribbean doesn't sound bad either, come to think of it. Should I start a travel blog, too? JUST KIDDING.)

Does this alleged food blog have a name?

Of course it does! Thanks for keeping me on track. The name is... drum roll please...

The Butter Half! The world's punniest food blog! Everyday I'm trufflin'...

(Get it?)

By the way, that is the blog's legitimate tagline. I know, I have a way with words. I'll be here all day, ladies and gentlemen. A human pun-generator. Pun Master Flex, they call me. (I can't help but say all of these things in a Schmidt voice in my head.)

This blog is supposed to be fun, light-hearted and about my cooking journey. I am definitely not a fancy chef or anything, but I would like to improve my cooking and baking game. And I would love for you to follow along and be my butter half. (See what I did there? Hardy har har!)

Come check out my welcome post here, subscribe and connect on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for gorgeous food photos, updates and behind the scenes. Thanks for your constant encouragement and support, my fellow gourmands!



Life Doesn't Have To Be Perfect (And A Free Printable)

The idea of "perfection" is something I struggle with. It's an incredibly subjective word, and we each hold our own belief of what perfect is—the perfect home, the perfect physical appearance, the perfect marriage, etc. My perfect isn't going to look like yours, and vice versa. But I think that ideal can be a huge catalyst for the comparison game.

For example, I don't consider myself to be exceptionally organized or meticulous when it comes to cleaning. Yes, I keep my house generally "clean" but not spotless. The floors are swept, the dishes are usually done at some point in the day and the counters get wiped, but that's about it. The bathrooms are realistically only cleaned once every two weeks, and laundry will forever be my arch nemesis with its ever-present piles following me around. Toys and rogue socks cover the floors and there are fingerprints all over the fridge and windows. But this isn't my idea of a "perfectly" cleaned homed. And when I see families with children who are able to actually keep their throw pillows and rugs in immaculate condition, and nary a smudge on the wall I am absolutely gobsmacked. HOW DO THEY DO IT? It's up there with having magical powers, in my opinion. I am truly mystified.

But then there is the flipside. There are definitely people out there who don't tidy up like I do (thanks for making me feel better about myself, Hoarders—God bless reality television!) and deep clean maybe once every four months. No judgment, and to each their own, but the point is that my idea of being generally clean could be "perfect" to them.

I think this can be applied to all facets of life. We all come from different backgrounds, possess different priorities, and have specific preferences. That makes for widespread variation, which is a great thing!

But then comes that sneaky, poisonous comparison and it doesn't believe in reason and logic. It forgets all of the beauty in life and the ample blessings, and hones in with a laser-sharp precision on what is wrong with my life. I will never have pencil thin arms and legs. I have adult acne. Somehow my kids are always crying and melting down when every other child is exhibiting behavior worthy of sainthood. Hell, I even get into weird moods where I am agitated because my walls are beige instead of bright white. I mean, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. And then I realize how ridiculous I am and say to myself, Abbey! Child, you live in one of the most beautiful places with a great roof over your head, and you and your children are strong and healthy. Shape up, or ship out, girlfran!

That's where this beautiful printable comes in.

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful." -Annette Funicello


I've printed it and have it proudly displayed on my mantel to remind me when I start getting all "woe is me" and that nonsense.

My talented friend, Carli, did the hand-lettering. There are two 8x10 prints available. The black ink with a white background or the inverted version. These will only be available for two weeks, so be sure to hurry and get yours printed. (Tell your mom, sisters and friends!) Also, you should follow her on Instagram for more inspirational quotes and sayings. She will eventually be opening a shop, so stay tuned for that as well! Download the free printables here:

Perfect and Wonderful Printable White
Perfect and Wonderful Printable Black

Here's to living our lives to the fullest, doing our best to live in the moment and embrace who we are, flaws and imperfections included!

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Fit Mom Progress Photos (Weeks 4-8)

I can't believe it has already been eight weeks since starting the Bikini Body Guide challenge. Two months down, and one more to go! On the left is week one,  and the right is at the end of week eight.

I took pictures of each week, but kind of fell into the mindset rut of, My body isn't changing. This is all for nothing. I'm going to go eat a whole box of Oreos now, k bye. Such a tragic pity party, I know, but then when I compared my photos, my mind was blown! I've lost at least three inches on my belly. (See my progress photos from weeks 1-4, too!)

This front angle doesn't look like much of a transformation, but as I said above, my stomach is SO much flatter. Also, my butt, hips and legs have toned up and slimmed down immensely. I don't know if you can tell, but in my before photo on the left my right arm is kind of obscuring my hip. It's a habit when I pose for pictures I think, to trick the camera into making me appear smaller than I am. Take note that there is some definite muffin-top taking place, and I am happy to report it is melting away.

Today is the beginning of week nine. The end is in sight, and I am thinking I am going to continue with the Bikini Body Guide 2.0 when I finish this first one. (But I might be crazy for going ANOTHER 12 weeks!) I've come to grips with the fact that I am a mom and my body will never look ridiculously chiseled and Victoria's Secret worthy, and that's okay. But, I can be my healthiest, strongest self. I am feeding my body mostly good foods still and trying to drink the suggested eight glasses of water per day, but I don't feel guilty about indulging in a treat or eating a juicy burger with fries every once in awhile. All things in moderation, right?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am happy with my progress. I am proud of myself for making it this far and for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I am mentally, emotionally and physically stronger, and I want to live the best life I can. And goshdarnit, I think I'm doing a good job!

Sending you all the motivation and good vibes your way if you are working to make a change in your health, too! Peace and love, friends!

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