Hello *waves*

Hello again. It’s been a little while, eh?

Since it feels a kind of awkward to just jump back in, how about a [re]introduction and an update…

I’m Katie, the blogger behind Freckled Latte. I’m a 41 yr old mom and wife, living in NE Florida with my husband, two teenagers, and our goldendoodle, Junie. I like health/fitness, food, coffee, reading, travel, photography, and occasionally, I *try* to look trendy (but I usually fail miserably because deep down I’m a jeans and tee girl all the way). I’m also working on growing out my grays. #Grombre ladies unite!
*and apparently I use hashtags even when I shouldn’t. I don’t talk in hashtags, I swear.

My blog is where I blab about random stuff. To be honest, it’s mostly just whatever is on my mind, but I try to put some reviews, tips, share my latest finds, etc so I like to believe it’s not 100% useless drivel. I could be biased though. I like to make connections with my readers (if there are any out there). I blog mostly because it’s my form of documenting life. I don’t share everything here as some of my family members prefer to keep their life private (well, as private as this day and age allows).

Let’s catch up since I blogged last…

• I’ve traveled to Paris, London, Dublin, Cuba, New York, Vegas, and Quebec. I even started a travel blog, Wanderlust and Lattes. But I’m a little behind in posting. 🙈

• I got a new workout obsession. TWO, actually since I blogged last. Orange Theory Fitness and a Peloton bike*. I post about both in my Insta-stories. We also recently added the Peloton Tread to the family. If you have any questions about either, let me know!
*If you are buying a Peloton, you can use this referral code to get $100 towards accessories on purchaseGW3E68 

• Our goldendoodle of 7 years, Lucy, passed away from lymphoma in late 2017. We’ve since added another fur baby to our family. You can find her @junie.b.doodle on Instagram.

• I ran my second (and likely last) half marathon

• I entered my 4th decade

• My oldest just graduated high school and I could not be more elated

• I’ve been reading consistently, but I’m in a slump at the moment so I’ve been reading at a sloths pace. However, when I finally finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I flew through Waiting at Hayden’s. It’s a short, satisfying, easy, beach read so if you’ve been in a rut like me, you might want to check it out.

• Surprise…I’m still obsessed with lattes…even though my waistline has me drinking more black/semi-black coffee lately.

Cheers to the summer! And hopefully, more blogging!  😊

I’m sorry for what I said when I needed caffeine

 

This morning started off pretty calm…I got up earlier than usual, made the lunch sandwiches, clothes were clean, backpacks were packed. There are only 2 days of school this week so even though it was Monday, I wasn’t feeling too rough.

and then it happened…

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I find out that the 12yo wants to wear the pair of shoes that currently had one shoe outside with dog poo stuck to it. It’s 40 degrees outside and he wants to clean it off so he can wear that specific pair of shoes instead of one of his other pairs of tennis shoes. I tell him, no, he whines…he has “gym today and those are his athletic shoes!”…”I wiped them off last night, they’ll be fine!” Okay, bring it in, but if it’s too much, you’re not wearing them. He brings it in…there is still poo in 2/3 of the cracks of the shoe! Tell him absolutely not…he whines some more…puts on other pair of tennis shoes.

Crisis 1 averted. Crisis 2…

12yo tells me at 6:55am (we leave at 7am) that sister just woke up.

O.M.G.

Thankfully the teen is pretty quick when she chooses to be, we leave 10 min late, but crisis 2 is averted.

As I mentioned it was 40 degrees this morning. Mother eff’ing cold in this Florida girl’s mind. Do you think my kids thought it necessary to wear jackets today? Noooooo. I had to flat out demand that the one wear jeans instead of shorts and then they both got into the car with no sleeves! Hayden had gym so he didn’t get an option, he was taking a hoodie, but I may or may not have screamed, “I hope your extremities freeze off!” when the teen refused to get a jacket.

Thankfully, despite my short fuse and our crises this morning, traffic was heavenly so we left 10 min later than usual, but got to school at the same time we always do. The kids were in a great mood, I apologized for the things I said when I needed caffeine and we were all smiles by the time I kicked kid 2 out of the car.

Promptly headed to my favorite local coffee shop where their credit card machine was down, but thank God I had cash, treated myself to a vanilla latte and one of their new mugs!

Happy Monday!!

 

Back to blogland

Not sure if there are any of you still out there, but if so

Hello lovely blog readers!

I’ve started this post at least a dozen times over the past 2 weeks.

I’m slowly coming back to blogland. My motivation and desire to blog, or to even READ blogs, left me for a bit, but it’s slowly creeping back in.

I have so much, yet so little to say.

So for now, while I find a way to focus my thoughts, we’ll just leave it at…

hello

Weekly Highlights

Yes, that title really says, “weekly highlights” and yes, I’m talking about LAST weeks highlights.

I started this post on Friday while I was killing a little time, before heading to breakfast with my SIL, by sitting in a local coffee shop, sipping my iced vanilla latte, listening to some oldies playing over the house speakers.

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Me at said coffee shop, killing time, trying to take a pic without looking like I’m taking a pic

 

I kept opening my laptop all weekend trying to finish this post before Monday, but here I am…it’s now Tuesday and I’m still working on it.

At this point I should just scrap the whole thing, but dang it, I already spent time getting this post together so I’m going to finish it…late or not! 😛

Okay, weekly wrap up commencing…

Last Wednesday was MAH BIRFDAY! Woot! I did a little Sephora shopping earlier in the week to snag my sweet Beauty Insider Birthday gift (super awesome NARS lip duo!) and then we went to dinner at Bonefish Grill the day of my birthday. Not to mention my little birthday breakfast with my SIL on Friday and I’m due to have a birthday breakfast/lunch with my mom soon! 37 ain’t half bad so far.

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My goofy kids would barely stand still for a photo.

 

Don’t laugh, but I finally took the time to figure out how to borrow e-books from library. All I have to say is…why did I wait so long?! It sucks that a lot of the ones I wanted had a waiting list, but I did find a couple that didn’t and I got in the virtual line for ones that I was interested in reading. Gold star to me for taking advantage of the resources we are privileged to have access to!

We have a local coffee shop that even though I had visited it once, I was still kind of intimidated by it. On the recommendation of a local Instagram friend I ordered an Iced Vanilla Latte and I am intimidated no more! I’ve quickly become obsessed…they’ll probably know my name by heart soon. On the up side, since I have to get dressed and go inside to order, no more driving the kids to school in my PJ’s.

I’ve been getting in some regular workouts. Not as regular as I should be because I’ve been super sore after each one and I don’t have nearly enough time to get in good shape for the mud run that’s happening in 3 weeks, but I’ll be in better shape than I am now!

Lilly Pulitzer for Target – Did ya’ll see the craziness that went down the morning LP went on sale at Target?! People done lost their minds. They are material items, ladies. Let’s all just take a chill pill. And don’t even get me started on the people who bought a crap ton of it so they can re-sell it! Err.

Thug Kitchen *warning* NSFW or kids who can read  – I don’t love the use of “thug”, but this website cracked me up. So much so that I’m even thinking about buying the cookbook.

Okay, I’m sure more happened that I wanted to share, but that’s the bulk of it and at this point I just want to get this post published and move on to more current happenings. 🙂

Your turn…What’s the latest in your life? Anything fun, cool, happy, crazy? Any good jams you’ve had on repeat?

 

Five on Friday

Whaddup?! I’m baaaaaaaack!

I’m finally starting to feel myself after being back in the states since Sunday. On Monday I thought I was doing so great…I didn’t nap, I woke up at a normal time, went to bed at a normal time, got dressed in real clothes, went out to lunch with my girl. On Tuesday the boy was home sick and we just hung around the house and chilled all day, but still no nap. Then I crashed on Wednesday. I took a 4 hr nap like I was drugged. I made myself get up, thought I was going to be screwed at bedtime, but no, I went to bed at a normal time. I’ve taken a nap every day since Wednesday, but today’s was only 1.5 hrs. I’m hoping this is the last day! I’m tired of napping and not getting much done.

While I have a buttload of photos and memories I want to share from Italy (which was ah-mazing btw), that post is going to have to be next week some time when I get the rest of my photos edited and have more time to write.

On my mind this week…

I recently started to try and figure out Google+ and man do I feel dumb. It feels so complicated! It tags my posts automatically, I don’t like that just anyone can put me in a circle and WHY are there people who I have no idea who they are, in my feed?! Argh. I found this tip article. Not sure how good it is, but clearly I need some help figuring out how to work Google+. If you have any tidbits please pass them my way!

I didn’t make a big purchase over in Italy, like I did in France, but I did make a purchase right before my trip. I ordered the THEIT camera bag and I love it! It was big and a little heavy with my gear, but so cute and NO ONE guessed it was a camera bag.

I’m not going to really get into much Italy stuff until I blog about it, but let’s just say that I was slightly spoiled by their Caffe Latte’s! I neeeeeeed to be able to make it JUST like they did. I only had one bad caffe latte while I was over there and it was only bad because it was too hot. All the other times, they served it at the PERFECT temperature for drinking! My only regret was not getting to have one more often.

Speaking of coffee…Starbucks is celebrating the 20th birthday of their Frappuccino by offering a Birthday Cake Frap from March 26-30th. I’m not sure if it’s being advertised in Starbucks, but if you didn’t know, now ya do! I haven’t tried one yet, but I will definitely be having one this weekend.

In addition to coffee, I have recently become obsessed with Teavana (Starbucks owns Teavana if you didn’t know. I didn’t until I was in there recently). I really want to like more than just iced black tea and I always try Teavana’s tea samples when I pass, but none have really tasted that good to me. Until the other day. It was a Youthberry + Orange tea blend, just slightly sweetened and it was delicious! Then I saw how easy it was to make it and I was hooked! Now I’m on a mission to find more flavors that I like. I want the whole tea set up too with the special pot and rock sugar.

K, I’m off to grab dinner while my hubby is headed home from the airport. I’ve only seen him for 1 day since I got back from Italy. Can’t wait to hang with him tonight.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

 

Slug Day

I have been desperately seeking a super slacker day since the kids got out for Christmas break.

You know.

The kind of day where you eat junk, sleep, watch tv, do nothing you’re supposed to do.

Just be a total slacker.

Today is that day.

Not completely, but for all intents and purposes, I’m calling it my slug day.

I’ve been sick for the past few days, but today I’m feeling almost well. There is nothing that HAS to get done today.

I actually slept most of the night. Which is a stark contrast to the last two nights where I tossed and turned all night and was constantly grabbing tissues to shove up my nose.

I woke up, surfed online, Hayden woke up, we watched The Polar Express (Caitlin woke up sometime in the middle of this), I napped, we ate lunch, watched an episode of Merlin, the kids went to chill by themselves upstairs while I surfed some more and watched my dvr’d reality tv.

It’s been a good day so far.

I still got dressed and am doing a few chores around the house, but it’s still been a pretty slack day.

The hubs called around lunch time and asked why I didn’t answer his phone call a couple hours earlier.

Uh…I was napping.

Totally busted. 😛

Now I’m about to grab a Starbucks and settle in to watch one of my favorite holiday movies…

ELF!

Three days before Christmas probably isn’t the best time to take a slacker day, but I’m doing it anyway.

Besides, there’s far too much stress this time of year. I needed a little down time.

Not recovering from a sickness downtime.

Not recovering from a teen sleepover downtime.

Just downtime because I don’t want to do anything and I want to actually enjoy not doing it!

Tomorrow craziness will commence.

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The 13th Gift // Book Review

13th gifl

Yay! I finished my Christmas book before Christmas!

The 13th Gift is the true story of how 12 anonymous gifts help a family through a difficult time. The author, Joanne Huist Smith, has been walking around in a fog of grief and sadness, barely parenting her 3 children, since the unexpected loss of her husband. When the first of the gifts arrives on her doorstep, she’s not too happy about it. In fact she’s pretty annoyed. However, over the course of 12 days (12 gifts), this family not only survives their first Christmas without the patriarch of the family, but they start to heal.

I loved this story! It was like reading Chicken Soup for the Soul, but better. It had heartbreak and sadness, but also some really great feel good moments. You could feel the author’s grief and struggle and then you felt when it shifted, and the fog started to lift. Overall it’s a sweet story that made you think about the real meaning of Christmas. It’s not about getting the best toy or latest electronic gadget, it’s about being kind to one another and reaching out when you see someone in need.

If you want to read an uplifting story this season, definitely check out The 13th Gift. You won’t regret it.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. All views in this post are my honest, unbiased opinions.

Blogger Talk

I feel pretty comfortable with this blogging thing, but I’m well aware that there is a lot I don’t know. I stumble upon things on my own all the time that I need to learn, but sometimes, I get surprised.

Like this weekend, when I got an email about my linkbacks to a clothing store.

Apparently there’s this thing called a “nofollow” attribute and Google (other search engines as well possibly) is cracking down on links they consider unnatural or manipulative. The clothing store emailed me to ask me to either change my links to add nofollow or remove the links all together.

Thankfully I only had about 15 links to change, but it was still a pain.

So, tell me, fellow bloggers, how clueless am I?  Have you heard of adding the nofollow attribute to your links?

I’m still a little confused to when I should add the nofollow part. Like, should I always do it when linking stores?  I thought it was good to link back to the original source, but maybe I should add nofollow to everything?  I’m not trying to get better Google rankings when I link, but if I like something and linking to it helps their ranking, then I would want to help.  Then again, if it hurts their ranking, it’s not helping when I link without the nofollow.  Geez louise, I just confused myself more.  😛

In case you haven’t heard of this before…here’s the link on Google about their policies and here’s a little infographic I found.

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Save Me, San Francisco (part 2)

What’s that, you say?  You want more Golden Gate pictures?  Sure thing!

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Okay, that miiiight be all of them.  Who am I kidding…I still have more, but I think that might be all of the ones I’m going to post.  Those last two photos are from the sand staircase at Baker Beach.  It doesn’t look like much, but it’s was a killer!  Especially after our long hike at Muir Woods the previous day!

Speaking of Muir Woods…it was only our 2nd day in San Fran, but it was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a little while.  The trees were ginormous and it was so quiet and peaceful (up on the hiking trail, not on the touristy main strip), we even spotted a couple of deer thanks to my hubs’ super sonic hearing!  We followed a trail that we knew would take us up, but omg, at one point I thought my heart might explode.  And then an older guy and an older couple came up and I suddenly got a burst of energy.  😉  I don’t super love hiking (bugs & dirt aren’t really my thang), but my hubby does, so like the ever so sweet wife I am, I participate to make him happy.  I’m so glad we got there early though because when we were leaving around lunch time, that place was cuh-razy!!

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I didn’t have many touristy things planned during our trip, but I did have several ideas of where I wanted to eat/drink.  Some of them didn’t pan out (maybe next time!), but the ones we made it to, did not disappoint!

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The Slanted Door won the James Beard award for most outstanding restaurant so of course, we had to eat there.  Thankfully when I realized I needed to make reservations, there were still a couple of times available.  Our reservation wasn’t until 5:30pm (the perfect time IMO since that’s when they open back up for dinner), but I’m glad we got there early because a line starts to form at the hostess stand and you have to wait in line whether you have reservations or not.  Our meal was delicious, the restaurant was beautiful and the service was great!  The waiter was really helpful with what items were gluten free or could be made gluten free.  We ordered the spring rolls, organic chicken, caramelized wild gulf shrimp (NOT gluten free according to our waiter even though I’d read differently online, but I ate them anyway, hubs did not), cellophane noodles and jasmine rice.

Blue Bottle Coffee was another place I had to visit.  I even knew what I wanted to order…the New Orleans.  Coincidentally, they were 1 block from our hotel!  Score!  I never had a problem with a long line, but I tried to go at off times.

Susie Cakes wasn’t one I had read about, but we ended up eating lunch at Blackwood with some friends and SusieCakes was across the street.  Both were  unexpected, but both were equally delicious!  I’m lying…while Blackwood was really delicious, my cupcake was beyond yummy.  I’m pretty sure I did the whole, bite and moan thing.   I tried taking a photo of the cupcake, but I ate it too fast.  😛

Other eating places worth mentioning…zpizza (I think they’re a chain, but they were right around the corner from our hotel and they offered organic ingredients as well as a gluten free crust!) and our last night in town, our friends treated us to a great dinner at Epic Roasthouse.  If you want a steak, that is definitely the place to go.  My hubs said it was the best meal our whole trip!

K, I feel like I left important things out, but if so, I’ll just have to make a [part 3].  After a day in San Francisco, I was saying I could totally live there and my hubby was thinking the opposite.  lol.  Oh well, it was fun to visit!  I’ll definitely be going back and will likely take the kids to all the touristy things we missed this time.

Comin’ at ya…

with my weekend recap and some randomness…on a Tuesday.

Say whaaaa?!

I know, right.  Randomness should be my middle name.  😛

So, this past weekend I travelled to Atlanta with a pack of middle schoolers.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the greatest traveler.  Once I get to my destination I’m usually okay (sometimes even great!), but the preparation sends me into a tailspin of anxiety and stress.  I was super cranky on Thursday because 1. I didn’t want to go (bussing it for several hours when I can’t do anything but stare out the window + going to a theme park  isn’t my idea of a good weekend) and 2. I was anxious about the bus ride (please don’t let me get sick, please don’t let me get sick).  I hem-hawed until the very last minute, but ultimately, decided just to drive myself because my stomach was completely jacked before we even got on the bus.  We left out Friday morning, had a whirlwind of a weekend involving a concert at a church, vocal competition and TWO trips to Six Flags, then back home by Sunday night!  Shew!  Then I spent Monday catching up on my ZZZ’s and my daughter got sick.  Fun, right?!

Fotor0401203228[the obligatory selfie, rides that Caitlin went on and cherry blossoms!]

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I’ve had my eye on the Project Life products for several months now and I’m finally getting around to getting the supplies to get started.  I used to love scrapbooking, but it got to be more about the design of the pages and less about the photos.  Not to mention that it took too long to drag out all my materials and then put them away again.  There are definitely PL pages that are super scrapbook-y, but I don’t plan on doing more than sticking some photos in the page inserts along with a few cute pre-cut papers and a little journaling.

IMG_2593[my first album!]

Now to order pictures so I can start filling the pages!

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I saw this Louis Vuitton bag on a blog post last week (then crazily enough, also in person on my trip to Atlanta), and it’s officially on my lust list!

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 9.09.58 PMLouis Vuitton Neverfull MM

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And, just because it’s late and I’m snacky, and despite the fact that I’m getting back on the healthy train and back in the gym VERY soon, I want this cake batter puppy chow something terrible right now!  YUMMMMM!

copyright freckled latte 2017
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