My Momma Got Married!

8:18 on 8.18.18 my mom got married!!

We traveled to Charleston, SC to be a part of her special day.

Bradley was the “Ring Bear.”

Brooke was the flower girl. We got her dress on Amazon. Miama Ivory Lace Tulle Wedding Flower Girl Dress Junior Bridesmaid Dress,Ivory,2T


They kind of stole the show!! They were so good and did a great job walking down the aisle together.

Joe escorted Jessica & I.

My grandma was escorted by two of my cousins.

My sister was close behind, but they didn’t need any help!

My Uncle Scott walked my mom down the aisle.

It was a bit hectic trying to coordinate a family shot, and this outtake was so funny.

We tried to get our family of 4, but at 8am in the morning, that’s asking a lot!

The ceremony was short, sweet & just beautiful.

Their first dance.

Cutting the cake.

Sisters.

My momma!

Ready for some Southern breakfast!

The DJ played all the Troll songs and we had fun on the dance floor. (although this may be Backstreet Boys ha!)

My sister grabbed a dress from David’s Bridal and my dress was from Venus.  I LOVED it and got so many compliments.  It was fitted underneath, but flowy on the outside, which was perfect for the beach. I thought I could wear it again next Summer! The ombre is so pretty. I got a size small.  Venus Dress

He also played our wedding song, “Then.”

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We finally got to meet Katie, a sweet southern girl my mom worked with.

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The wedding was beautiful and the weather was amazing!! It took place on Folly Beach at the Tides Hotel.  We welcome Mark into our family with open arms and are so happy for both mom and him.  Congratulations Mr & Mrs Williams!!

Fashion Friday: Date Night Look

If you follow me on instagram, you know how much hubby and I love our date nights! I have always loved getting all dolled up and even more now since it’s harder to spend time doing makeup and hair with little kids.

I’ve always been super picky about makeup; my skin is very sensitive and I can tell immediately if something doesn’t work well for me.

I still have yet to try eyelash extensions or even a lash tint/lift, but I do have an absolute favorite mascara– Younique’s Epic.  I do swear by an eyelash curler and I try not to wear mascara every single day, but when I do, I usually go with 2-3 coats of Epic.

Before

After-

I went with some Lipsense here; I love it for date nights because it’s easy to apply and long lasting.

Celestial Choker (gold)  & Gita Tassels (black) for my accessories.

I did my hair with a curling brush.  Similar here. 

As for my dress, OLD NAVY!! Simple black swing dress. {Under $15!!}

I wear a size small, I’m 5’7 135 lbs.

It was a little chilly this night, so I rocked my Express Moto jacket.  Shoes were a Target find last Summer!

Hubby wanted to take some photos in front of the cool brick wall after dinner…

When in doubt, find an affordable little black dress {LBD} and dress it up with some bling!  It’s probably my favorite look for date nights.   What’s your favorite date night outfit?

 

Bliss: Wine Bar

Last week I had a big night out–I went to a book club/wine night!  For some it may sound super dorky, but I honestly was looking forward to it so much and it was way better than I had even anticipated.

I have lots of gals who love to read in my life and one who lives local started a little “Book Therapy” Facebook Group.  We don’t have to read the same books, but when we do read, we share the books we love and can chat about them etc.

A new swanky little wine and dessert bar opened recently, and the owners are SO sweet, down to earth and just adorable.  I could tell they put so much time, effort, energy and thought into all of the details of Bliss.  (It helps that I love the name, since it was my maiden name!!)

The wife came up with the idea to have a little book club at the bar, and this was their second meet-up.  She asks trivia questions and there are even prizes to be won!!

I had literally just bought my copy of this book, Elin Hilderbrand’s The Perfect Couple, so it was simply meant to be.  The book, in my opinion, was an excellent Summer read!! It had mystery, love, and lots of characters to help you get lost in the story line.  I won’t give away anything, but if you love a good chick lit mixed with a “who done it” vibe, grab yourself a copy and enjoy!

I reached out to a few my girls and a good book & some wine were all we needed to hear!  I realized as I was driving there, how little of this kind of thing I do for myself.  I’ll workout, I’ll go on date nights with Joe, I will do my hair/nails etc.  However, I do not spend nearly any time hanging out with other mamas/women and talking about something I love so much–reading!

For $25 we got to choose a glass of wine, (I went with the rosé), a small plate (I did the pizza) and a dessert (chocolate all the way!)  How fun is this?!

The cauliflower crust was something I wanted to try, as it’s all the rage, and it was SO good.  I love pizza and this legit curbed my craving. Artichokes, broccoli, herbs…amazing!  I was hungry so I actually finished the whole thing! It very much reminded me of a thin crust pizza.

The desserts both looked to die for– I had a hard time choosing which to indulge in, but I went with the chocolate.  I could barely eat half, I was so stuffed from dinner!

The atmosphere is so chic and cozy!  Dark walls, funky light fixtures and cool sculptures create such a cool vibe.  I think it will make an excellent retreat come Winter months! I can totally see myself and my hubby curling up in a corner booth with some red wine, or even meeting some girlfriends out for some snacks and drinks.

I can’t wait until the next “Book Club” meeting! Not only was the place itself fabulous, but allowing all of us readers to indulge in ‘dorky’ conversation about all the books we have read, plus one particular book was so fun.  We all had our phones out taking notes and taking screen shots of what we should read next, where to find the best deals/free books and how some books are just so whacky!

Being a former English teacher, I was right in my element and had so much fun discussing literary elements, character development and basic plot summaries.

More than the book discussion though, it was the female bonding time.  I know, I know I probably sound super cheesy, but seriously!  All of us feel like, “The worst mom ever.”  We all are so hard on ourselves and live in our own little bubbles…but here, we can air out our frustrations of motherhood and this beautifully crazy thing called parenting!  We lifted each other up and gave support, we shared how sometimes we give cereal for lunch or pull the takeout card too often, and inspired one another to maybe give a little bit more.  Isn’t that what it’s about?  It was also so crazy to hear how a mom of a 15 year old girl feels, vs the current state of being a mom to littles.  I know that all too soon, it won’t be cool to sit outside with me by a campfire, so I’ll take the ‘being pecked to death by chickens’ as much as I can for now. (with some more breaks like going to Bliss mixed in!)

If you are in or near Rochester, certainly take the time and check out Bliss!!  I will be retuning for the Cava bubbly–one of my FAVES!  Oh, and I will definitely be utilizing UBER so I can enjoy more than one glass of these amazing wines.

Cheers!

Our Land: Progress!

I haven’t even taken a moment to share here how the land is doing!  I think about watching the sunset and the sunrise here, pretty much daily.  In my mind, I visualize how peaceful and even more beautiful life will be when we can eventually move.

We met with the guy who would do the driveway and he started his magic!!

Look how cool it looks from a drone shot!

We are thinking we may clear out a bit more, but for now we have a great spot to dump more dirt and fill.   We are going to need a lot because of the high bedrock!

Hubs got a new mower and has been clearing trails to get ready for hunting season.  He did not get any deer last year, so this year we are hoping for 2!  Mama needs venison to cook with.  We all miss it!

We also had amazing news, which I think I mentioned previously, the perc test passed so we can forge ahead on all things.

I do love our home and our neighborhood is nice, the convenience of everything is handy, but man I cannot wait to be in the middle of no where.

Our goal is to build come Spring, barring no crazy life happenings…so get ready for more posts on building and inspiration! If you have renovated or built a home, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and experiences.

I always joke around but the two main areas I want to make sure are perfect are the kitchen and my closet!!  There is a lot to research and figure out before we start breaking real ground.

Organizing {Purse}

If it’s one thing I’m trying really hard on lately, it’s staying organized.  I can feel that back to school rush is right around the corner, and this Summer I’m trying to s-i-m-p-l-i-f-y my life and take the time to keep things in order.

I even took 2 hours the other day to finally get trained on Quickbooks.  I went to school for a lot of years and learned a ton, but goodness it’s like learning a foreign language at first!!  I know that if I take the time to organize our business now, it will pay off in the end.

Just like keeping the kids toys in bins, my shoes in a shoe ottoman, recipes in a cookbook, dog toys in a basket, clothes hanging neatly in closets and folded in drawers…everything has a home and it’s so much easier to find what you are looking for, when you have it organized.

I have always loved big bags, but one problem that comes along with them, is the fact that you can never (EVER!) find what you’re looking for right away.

Since I just added this GM Neverfull to my purse collection, I knew I’d be needing some help.  It’s probably the biggest bag I’ve ever carried and while I love my MM LV, I never tried an organizer.  (Now that I have, I sure wish that I had done this a lot sooner!!)

Before it even arrived, I went straight to Amazon and ordered myself an organizer/insert.  I felt like the price was great and since I had the beige interior, I went with the beige organizer.

Girls, LIFE CHANGING!  Not only does it help hold the shape of the bag itself, it also keeps all the little things in their own compartment AND now I’ll keep the inside of my purse that much cleaner.  (Pens, lip glosses etc I keep everything mostly in a pouf, but now it’s in the organizer as well.)

I absolutely adore this bag and have a feeling if I didn’t have this amazing organizer, I would be searching all of the time for my important items, and they’d be lost in the big bag abyss!!

 

Grab yours today!!  For less than $20, you’ll keep your fabulous purse organized, clean, and hold the gorgeous shape of your bag.

Fashion (& Beauty) Friday

We made it to the end of the week, whoop!
My crew and I stepped out for lunch and did some running around.  It was the perfect 75 degree day, blue skies, sunny with a slight breeze.  We are cherishing our “family of 4 Fridays” as when school starts up, our eldest will be going all day!

I kept today’s look super simple–Express top, a strappy bralette & cut off shorts.

Stella & Dot Accessories: 

  • Love necklace ($24!)
  • Sparkle Studs ($19)

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For makeup, I have been all about Younique lately! {products used below}

  • Palette 1
  • Blush Stunning
  • Brozer sunset
  • Epic Mascara (only 2 coats)
  • Proper (brown) eye liner
  • Tinted Lip Bon Bon: Vanilla Milkshake
  • Lip Pencil in pudent
  • Liquid Lipstick: Sublime

 

For my actual skin care, I’m obsessed with Ever.  I switched from the regular daily moisturizer to the tinted and amazing is an understatement!  I don’t feel like I’m wearing any makeup and yet it gives off a subtle tint/glow.  I wear medium in the Summer.  I do this daily and no longer use my Bare Minerals tinted coverage any more.  For date nights, I use another foundation; I’ll share that separately.

For my book club/wine night, I got to dress up a little more!

Top: Banana Republic

Pants: Express

Bag: LV Neverfull GM

Shoes: Vince Camuto

Earrings: Gita Tassels, Stella & Dot

For makeup, I am loving this fab new lip combo!! (I have a serious lipstick, lipgloss, lip whatever obsession. I am a total lip-junkie and I totally admit it.)

The makeup gurus are swearing by using Prim (which is technically an eye liner) for a lip liner & then go over it will this bomb lip plumper gloss in Shandelle.

You can make it darker, if you apply more liner, but I started lightly for the first go around!

This is also a HUGE favorite of mine! Rose Water  It was on backorder and I was overly excited when it finally came!  It’s a toner and at my last facial, the girl told me I should really be using one twice a day since I do have bigger pores.  Not to mention, I feel super fancy spraying my face with it and it smells SO flipping good!! (Not like fake roses like other cheaper products, which I’ve tried but this is worth every penny!)

The other Friday I rocked my “Self Made” shirt (we still have the little girl version available!), new gold Essential hoops and are new Rhett necklace.  Note my killer selfie skills, (dog bowl, chair placement)

I have been back on the arm party bandwagon again!!

Intention bracelets, Renegade cluster bracelet and the Ansley cuff all S&D of course!

How true is this?!

Have a fabulous weekend friends!

Real Estate Investing: A Mini Rant

I would like to say that as I get older, I have truly started to mature.  I try to not let things get me all fired up as much as they used to.  I try to think before I speak and not let my emotions cloud my voice.

The more we grow our real estate company,  more people have started to come out of the wood work.  Now, I get it.  Rent-To-Own totally has a bad wrap in some cases.  There are bad people who take advantage of others in difficult situations.  I’ve heard horror story, after horror story, of money taken, houses sold out from under tenants etc.

Well, I’m here to say that our business is nothing like that.  If you know me (or my husband) you know our hearts.  You know we would help anyone in need and go above and beyond to take care of others.  Unfortunately, in this field we really have to state our intentions and prove ourselves, over and over and over again.  It’s okay, we totally get it and understand.

Recently we had a “Team Leader” of a local real estate agency write us.  She was concerned that one of her member’s clients were truly excited about our program and that we would be taking advantage of them.  My husband responded to the message and upon reflection, I can’t help but be disgusted by her tone.

“I sell high end properties. I don’t need to be paid for a client finding their dream home at this level.”

Yes, those are her words exactly.  As if anyone below a $500,000 home isn’t worth her time? Money? I’m not sure, but either way that kind of character is appalling.  I completely understand reaching out, checking in to see what kind of business we run etc, but to use words like that?  I’m sorry but I was raised to treat every human, just that: a human.  I don’t care what you do for a living, but when you start acting like you’re better than others, that is where I have a problem.

Interestingly enough, upon a quick Google search, it wasn’t but 5 years prior this same woman was in fact selling homes in the price ranges that we deal with.

So here’s the thing, every person’s dream home is completely different.  We tend to buy nice homes in nice areas, but are they $200,00+ homes? No.  However, we do our best to ensure that our houses have character, charm, even a cozy factor.  A nice backyard, perhaps a garage.  A fenced in yard.  Good schools. Safe environments. We create visions for families to move from the inner city or apartment buildings, to their very own homes.

While it almost could sound too good to be true, we really are here to help people.  Isn’t that what God put us on this earth to do? At the same time, yes, we are a business not a non-for profit but I can assure you that my hands get dirty, and that mine and my husband’s blood, sweat, and tears go into these homes.  The stress, the frustration, the money aspect, it’s a lot to juggle! Not to mention we do it all while he works 50+ hours, battling Crohn’s disease, and I am home raising a 3 year old and 5 year old, taking care of two dogs all with zero help from family, only paid help from sitters.

So no, maybe our homes aren’t worth a million dollars, but we are certainly making dreams come true.  From the bottom of my heart, I know what we are doing is changing lives.  As my mom put it, we are making magic.

I’d love to ask this lady if she can say that she feels the same?

Turning 37

I am 37!!

Holy cow.   I cannot believe I am so close to 40. (I still can’t believe I’ve made it this long without Botox, what is going on!?)

I have always loved my birthday ever since I was a little kid.  My parents did a great job of always making us feel special and enjoying our day (month!)

I remember growing up I’d request my mom’s Stuffed Shells and a homemade German Chocolate Cake.  Sometimes we’d go out for Mexican too!

This year we were supposed to go to an outside twinkling lights fancy dinner put on by one of our favorite local restaurants, Good Luck.  Unfortunately, as beautiful as a Summer that we have had, it was predicted to rain 7/24, the night of the dinner.  We were both really looking forward to it, and hope that we can try it again sometime!

We still kept our sitter and decided to hit up my favorite restaurant, The Revelry.    We go there a lot and love the staff, the food and the ambiance is always fun.   As soon as they heard we were celebrating my birthday, out came two glasses of complimentary bubbly.

Cheers to that!

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We started with the oysters (obvi!) and I went with the burger which did not disappoint!  Joe usually get Duck, but there wasn’t one on the summer menu so he enjoyed a pork chop.

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We kept laughing and saying, “it better rain if our other dinner got cancelled!” and rain it did.  Just drizzle, but still it wouldn’t have been enjoyable to sit in and try to dine on a wine pairing & 6 course meal outside!

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We went for a little drive around the lake and honestly listened to this Jim Rohn recording.  It’s a 20 minute listen and totally worth every minute!

 

I kept tearing up thinking how happy we were, how good our business is going and life is just getting better.  We reflected on my 36th year and the challenges we faced and how good it felt to be on the other side…

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On my actual birthday, my sneaky hubby set up a sitter and sent me to the spa for the day!  It was a really relaxing time away to recharge and spend time alone.

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He arranged to get out of work early and had fancy dinner plans with my family, but things happened and we ended up heading to Mexican & Margs.

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My sister was able to join us still and we made the most of it, because what else can you do when life throws curve balls?

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Both kids got a kick out of the Spanish “Happy Birthday” song and the sombrero they brought over.

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Not to mention the ice cream that accompanied the song and hat!

 

I’m not going to lie, I was on quite a “high” and so excited to turn 37.   I had this feeling of, “I can do anything and all things, and this will be an amazing year–nothing bad will happen and life is perfect–!”

But reality is, life is never perfect.   I will have moments of joy, sheer bliss, and bubbles of perfection, but rolling into my 37th year, literally on the day, we’ve experienced bumps in the road.  And while I thought I had my semi-perfectionist ways under control, I’m once again being put in my place, humbled and always continuing my learning and growth.

I have noticed that I have been severely hard on myself lately and I’m working through that; I’m leaning back into some meditations, breathing exercises, yoga practices & listening to my personal mentors, especially Gabby Bernstein.  I need to not judge myself for every imperfection, and go back to my ‘word of the year,’–

BE.

I believe that we are taught lessons over and over (and possibly over) again until we learn them.  So I will brush myself off, and get back up again.  “The enemy attacks those who are next in line for a promotion…”

So for 37, my major goals are to

  • live in the present
  • forgive (myself & others) quickly
  • stop comparing
  • be more grateful
  • stop complaining
  • be happy
  • rest, but don’t quit
  • work on my writing
  • nourish my body with food that is good for me
  • sweat daily
  • spend quality time with my children
  • continue working on myself
  • work on our real estate business
  • wake up early
  • stay connected, calm & centered
  • get outside in nature, daily, no matter what!

Fashion Friday: Color Pop

TGIF!!

It’s been a fun month celebrating Summer and my 37th birthday.  We love Summer so much and really  make great efforts to get out on as many date nights as possible.  We know all too well that pretty soon the snow will be flying and we’ll be freezing, trying to stay warm cuddled up by the fire!

For now?  We go out on the town!

I wanted to share some of my favorite looks lately.

Stella & Dot’s Fall collection came out and it’s to die for!  The Fall launch has always been my favorite (by far!) and this did not disappoint.

The Pegasus Earrings are just as gorgeous as they seem!  They are not heavy at all.

Lips- Lipsense

Makeup– Younique

Dress- Express

Where are my hoop girls at?!  Big hoops are IN and these are the same material as our hammered wired hoops, so we are talking super lightweight and add that perfect glam.  I’ll quote my girlfriend Elizabeth, she says they are “life changing.”  I would have to agree!  I ordered them in both gold and silver, they are that good.

One of our little nights out I opted for an LBD. This one is from Venus.com (it’s on sale for only $29.99!!)   These shoes are from Guess by Marciano and they’re not that bad!  (Similar here)

For my birthday date night with hubby I played around with our new Color Pop Earrings.  These are SO fun you guys!!  For $69 you get a million looks!! They are so lightweight, genuine leather and I adore the front facing hoop.  We have a similar pair for silver gals too.

I added the celestial choker in gold & the renegade cluster bracelet in gold to finish my look.

Makeup: Younique!—It’s the best.  I’m wearing the lip pencil in pouty and the liquid Stellar.  Blush, bronzer, everything Younique!

I chose a ruby red dress since that’s my birthstone and I know my hubby loves me in red.

I chose to rock the metallic gold long ones because my shoes had gold buckles and I thought they looked pretty with my dress.

See how creative you can get with these earrings?img_7093.jpgimg_7092

I have a feeling you’ll be seeing a lot of stripes with pops of color this Fall.

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THIS LOOK–Keeps popping up in my feed, so I have no clue what designer it is, but it gives me life!! I will be recreating this look over and over again once the temps start to cool.

Denim.

White top.

Gold jewels.

Saddle brown bag.

Shades.

Beach waves.

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Looking for a new saddle colored purse?  Meet the Kensington Tote!  Just in time for Fall, it launched in a stunning black color earlier in the year, but this gals is perfection.

We also have some gorgeous tops, this camo sweatshirt and our new Work Hard Play Hard bag.  (zippers are in and this comes in black too!)

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Shop this ENTIRE look on my e-boutique~

As a busy mama, I love the small daily essentials like the new LOVE necklace.  Gold or silver and just $24!!

How pretty is the new Mae necklace?  Custom handmade and woven beads.  It took a long time make and it shows!

Our fearless leader Jessica Herrin posted this gem on Instagram the other day.  Her arm party was way bigger than her coffee!

And for the gym run, this amazing Crush it Tote is still one of my favorites!

I have a mystery hostess show running, so some lucky lady will win the rewards from the show!! You can also score any of these gems half off when you spend $50.

I just love all of the new styles and am having so much sprucing up all of my old outfits with some fun accessories!  If you’ve got your eye on something and your wishlist is bigger than your budget, let’s chat about hosting an online style sesh!

Pre-K Graduation

Somehow, our little baby girl has graduated preschool.  Back in May, we had a small celebration at her school and it was adorable!

I was on the graduation committee and helped put together a fun little night for kids and parents, grandparents, friends and family.

Our girl loves animals (She really wants a cat) and says she wants to be a Veterinarian when she grows up.  Sounds like someone else I know!  (I always said I wanted to be that until I actually shadowed in a Vet office in High School.  We shall see what happens though!)

Each student received a little bucket with some fun Summer items to enjoy after school let out.  Another mama knocked it out of the park and really went above and beyond for our littles!

The theme was “Our Future is So Bright, We’ve got to Wear Shades!”  So much love and energy with this group of kiddos, I honestly miss taking her each week.

It’s a cute tradition where each child wears Dad’s white button-down shirt backwards and a sash.  I went into the classroom and helped put little hands on the top of their caps.

Delicious and adorable cookies were snacked on!

Their yummy cake!

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Mama was so proud of all of the hard work she’s done over the last two years.

Little bro hung in there pretty well…the ceremony was kind of tough for him but he was super happy about the cake!

Brooke and her bestie, LiviRose.

Brooke Lynn,

Your future is SO entirely bright.  You will shine amongst all of the stars.  I know that this is simply the beginning really, not just the end.  You have blossomed from a little three year old baby girl into such a big, intelligent, & compassionate soul.

I know that you get frustrated with the things that you don’t yet know, but if there’s one thing (okay, there’s many…) but one of them is that you don’t have to be perfect.  There is no such thing as perfection. It doesn’t exist.  My main hope for you is to always keep going and that progress is always more important than perfection .

Work hard, play hard and love unconditionally.  You will meet lots of different people in your life and they will all teach you a lesson, serve a purpose or at the very least, leave an imprint on your path.

Daddy and I know that whatever direction you choose to go in life, you’ll be successful and our biggest is wish is that you do what makes you happy.

For now, we urge you to play, slow down, and enjoy childhood. You’re such a good helper, big sister and constantly wanting to learn new things.

Your love for numbers, reading books, riding your bike, playing creatively with your animals and water is so much fun to watch as you grow.

We cannot believe our oldest is off to Kindergarten, but we are so grateful to be your parents.  It’s hard to believe 5 years ago we were stumbling around with a 6 month old and here we are getting ready to put you on a school bus.

We love you with all of our hearts and will always do the best we can at giving you the world.  Great job baby girl, on two wonderful years at pre-k.  Let’s have an amazing year at Kindergarten!

Love,

Mommy & Daddy

Side Hustles

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Ever wonder why your newsfeeds are filled with so many people “selling stuff”?  Over the last few years, direct selling companies have sky rocketed.  If you’ve followed me, you know I clearly believe in them and love being able to support other women by shopping from them! Clearly there are “right ways” and “wrong ways” to work your business, but since there is no boss breathing down your neck, you choose whatever you want to do!

Why choose a side hustle?

  • It’s fun!  If you love what you are ‘selling’ it never feels like a sale.  I adore sharing fashion and style, so when I finally jumped on board with Stella & Dot, it fit right into my passion.
  • You actually make money.  It all depends on how little or much work you put in, but I adore having my own little card with cash of my own.
  • You have something for just you.  I love being a mom.  I love being a wife. I love working the real estate gig, but this? It’s for ME!
  • Flexibility.  You never have to get stressed if you can’t find the time for it–do what you can, when you can and however you can.  For me, online style sessions are perfect so I don’t have to hire a sitter and leave my kids.  I just hop online after they go to bed and do a live!
  • Discount.  Whatever side gig you choose, you’ll most likely receive a discount of some sort.  For me, that’s a total win with adorable tops, jewels & accessories.
  • Freedom.  You can do it however you’d like, and I love having the ability to sell my gently used samples to ladies who are looking for inexpensive but cute (new to them) pieces!

I made a little video explaining a little more in depth why I love having this “job” and why after 2.5 years I have NO desire to quit! I may be busy and take pauses, but it’s not something I want to give up.

 

 

If you are looking for some new fabulous accessories, I’d love to chat about our Stylist opportunity.  If you’re looking to just host an in home or online style sesh, I’d love to do that too!

In the meantime, take a quick look at our current Fall collection that just launched…GORGEOUS!!

www.stelladot.com/ts/iq122

Birthday Wishlist

With July comes another year around the sun! I love my birthday and always have. There’s something about being born into this earth that seems so special to me.

I know a lot of people, especially ladies don’t like to tell their age or get upset about turning older…but I love it! Sure wrinkles and sore joints are not always fun, but I truly look at each year as it’s own gift.

I also have been wishing for a few things so I figured I’d share what’s on my list!

1. Candles

I’m obsessed with Bath and Body Works candles. I like Yankee too but man oh man, some of these smell soooo good! With two dogs as much as I clean, I can’t stand the smell of dog when you walk into a house. I feel like these help?!

2. Sleep mask

I got a free one awhile back with some VS pajamas. I have been wearing it more now that the sun is up so early, and it does help me sleep “in” until 6:30! #momlife #puppylife

3. Magnolia Table

I fell in love with The Magnolia story and the Gaines family. I related so much to them and love their core life values. I’ve been eyeing this cookbook since it came out and have heard nothing but great things about the recipes!

4. Journals

I feel like these are always on my lists…but I love them and use them all the time! From keeping notes to actually journaling, I believe everyone could use a journal.

5. Notepads

Magnetic or not, I could use some more cute notepads! Lists are what keep me (sort of) sane and I’m always jotting down things we need from the store or notes to the Sitter.

6. Good Bubbly

This was on my list last year, and it was that good it needed to be back on this year! I love a good dry rosé bubbly. I can’t drink cheap wine. If I’m going to indulge I want it to be worth it.

Brooke Dances

Our tiny dancer finished up her 3rd year at her dance studio in June.  She got to do two dances this year: ballet and tap!   She was such a trooper going to class each week and loved being on stage.

This photo was snapped after the rehearsal.  Lollipops were truly earned!

I love her goofy little faces and moves that she makes.  She’s not super serious and I love that about her.

Pure sweetness, all of them!

I didn’t order both ballet & tap photos because, man photos are not cheap!! Plus we have so many extras and I just took a photo of the photo haha.  But seriously, I think she’s trying to channel Taylor Swift!  She’s so tall and always striking these poses.  I about died when I saw this.

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Her tap photo was precious!

The shoulder lean, the hip pop…it’s innate, what can I say? Sorry husband!

Her other little friend Brooklyn.

This was such a great class and we are hoping to keep the girls together again next year.

I’m not ready to put her into competition classes yet; I remember how much time and effort that takes!! For now, I want her to enjoy the art of dancing.  Make new friends.  Gain confidence by going on stage–that adrenaline rush is like no other!!

While she wasn’t nervous to go on stage, she doesn’t like waiting too much! Luckily they found lots of smiles once they got up to perform.

Kissy kissy!

I still can’t believe I’m a #dancemom but I love it!!  I never would have imagined it being so stressful as a parent (I think it’s more stressful than being the dancer honestly!) I can’t believe her third recital is in the books.

I don’t believe in putting the kids in too many activities especially when they’re little, but she loves dancing and as long as she’s happy, dancing she’ll be.

I hope that she always loves dancing and that it never becomes too stressful where she can’t enjoy the moments and lose herself in the dance.

 

 

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Father’s Day and Family Time

Father’s Day is the last day of the “Tent Sale” and Joe gets to wake up and go move cars at 6:30 am.  Super fun!! He does get out early though so that’s always nice.  We kept things simple and got to visit my dad up at the hospital for a bit.  He was in good spirits and happy to see us.

We came back home and the kids played outside, Joe relaxed and watched them while I made dinner.  We tend to keep gifts simple on Mother’s Day/Father’s Day and I kind of let the kids pick out what they wanted to get him.

They settled on a Bocce set, which they’ve already played and loved! I guess Brooke is actually quite good and gave Daddy a run for his money!

I opted for a letter …I read it to him after dinner and may have caused some (happy) tears.  I needed to let him know how much we appreciate him and love him.  I couldn’t find a card that said all that needed to be said.

I wanted to make something new and special, since it was the first homemade meal in a long time for my honey and I know how much he loves lobster & pasta…so enter a Giada meal!  She never seems to disappoint.

Creamy Lobster Linguine Recipe

I added extra bacon (duh) and I cooked up 4 lobster tails.  The kids don’t seem to be in the mood for red sauce lately, so I served theirs ‘deconstructed’ with plain noodles and just pieces of bacon and lobster.  They loved the lobster!!

I also made Giada’s Baked Caprese Salad

It was heavenly and the Tarragon really gave it a special flavor.  Joe ate it for lunch and dinner the next day!!  (totally worth pausing the cleanse for!)

His first night off we went to one of our favorite local Italian restaurants.  Mr Dominics

The lobster risotto was good, a tad bit too much pepper for my liking though.

The kids missed him something fierce!

After dinner we walked the beach and let the kids just play.

We are getting them ready for our big beach vacation later on in the summer!

Not gonna lie, after solo parenting two weeks straight, this mama enjoyed some Sauvingon Blanc and a time out watching her loves.

We are happy to have Daddy home and looking forward to an amazing Summer 2018.

 

May’s Staycation

Bear with me while I backtrack a bit here on the blog.  I really love documenting our family adventures, big and small.  Life got a little crazy, to say the least, and I don’t want to miss out on sharing our lives.

For awhile now, Joe has been taking off a week in May.  Sometimes we go away, but often times we do not.  We did a staycation and did little mini day trips and fun activities.  The weather was gorgeous and we had a beautiful time!

We really wanted to take Brooke & Bradley to Niagara Falls, so we picked on sunny day and went.  Joe may have brought his drone and snapped this shot.

We only live about an hour and a half away, so it’s not too long of a drive.  We pulled in about lunch time so we had a yummy lunch at a sort of fancier place.  We don’t love using the phones, but after a longish car ride and now waiting for food, we busted them out!  Joe has them hooked on Angry Birds.

We walked around a little, saw the falls and then had some ice cream.

It was nice to just get out and walk around!  It is still mind boggling that there isn’t a stroller that we have to push around…

The kids were super excited and had fun!! Next time we go, we’ll cross the border. I just didn’t want to be gone too long as we have the puppy and the kids are still kind of small.

We hit up Chick-fil-A for the first time as a family!! Kids are obsessed with the play area and love some chicken nuggs, as they call them.  I was pretty stoked to try it out.  I have to laugh as well because Joe has had it many times before and was always like, “It’s just chicken I don’t see what the big deal is.”  He has eaten here more times than any of now that it’s in our town, mind you.  I think because it’s not super greasy and everything is clean, it overall just seems like better quality than a lot of fast food places.  I could be wrong, but I do love their Deluxe Chicken Sandwich and so help me, the diet lemonade! Oy.

We tried out a local artisan ice cream shop and they had Matcha ice cream!  It was heavenly.

The kids of course wanted Daddy’s.

Brooke had her final field trip to a farm that week and we did it as a family.  It was nice to have Joe there! Simple pleasures, but he misses so much because he has to work, so it was nice that we could enjoy it all together.

And the majority of the week was spent using the smoker and grilling, and eating. Repeat. Hence my need to cleanse! I thought I couldn’t love my husband’s grilled chicken wings more, and then I got him a smoker for Christmas.  I dream about these.  We rarely make enough, and are usually fighting over the final few.  It’s crazy how good they are!

The week was just what we needed to head into our busiest season…and now I have a few moments to collect my thoughts are share with you!

If he hadn’t taken this week off, then I am certain he would have burnt out for the Tent Sale and I would have gone completely nutty; but we made it!

We really limited our technology, worked on being present and did a little work for our real estate biz, because when you work for yourself, you don’t really ever get “time away.”  With that we also get perks, so it all balances out.  We also spent some time at the land, but that’s for another post.

 

Do you Staycation? What is your favorite way to spend that time?

10 Day Cleanse

It was that time again! I have really honed into what my body needs, how to fuel it properly, what I can and should not eat…but I am human!  Enter: Advocare’s 10 Day Cleanse.  I started my AdvoCare journey back in the Summer of 2013.  I could not lose those extra 25 pounds from having my first baby and everything I was trying did not seem to help.

I aim to do one cleanse every season (90 days). The last one I did was in January. 

I did the 24 Day challenge and even that first cleanse I felt so amazing!  It was the perfect match for my personality, and still is.  I love goals and simplified eating.  I realized the more ‘real food’ I ate, the better that I felt.   Throughout the last 5 years I’ve tweaked my diet slightly but over all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Day 1: I was at a number I hadn’t seen in a very long time.  Even around Christmas I don’t think I broke into 140’s! Either way, between not putting myself first, eating a ton of yummy food and not working out consistently, the pounds added up.  I’m not too hung up on numbers, but I was super sad that my clothes weren’t fitting.  It was time.

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I eat the same foods pretty much daily, and I try my hardest to eat 5-6 small meals.

Lean protein

Greens/veggies

Comlex carb

Fats

I treat myself to a protein shake after workouts.  I love adding 4 ice cubes, 12 oz of unsweetened cashew milk, 1/2 of a banana and a scoop of natural peanut butter. Delish!

Wraps are super easy and a great way to fill up.

I live by these little almond butter packets!

I treated myself to some sashimi for dinner one night.

If I didn’t make it to the gym, then I tried so hard to get in an at home workout!

More meal ideas…

One of my friends taught me awhile back that we should eat like a King for breakfast–the most filling meal of the day!  Break that fast with healthy foods.

Water is HUGE. I was feeling a bit of bloat and knew I had to start CHUGGING water.  You need to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water to keep those toxins out!

Left over smoked chicken wings.  They taste much better with blue cheese, but I behaved! Avocado is a cleanse life saver too.

I did ‘cheat’ on Father’s Day and I did not feel bad about it.  I wanted to enjoy some yummy lobster pasta and a little bubbly with my husband.  I did not feel my best the next day, so all the more power to not over indulge like that!

Once again, I re-learned how great it felt to be full of energy and fill my body with real food that nourishes my mind, soul and tummy.

I had patience, even during a STRESSFUL week of my husband working the tent sale, my dad having major surgery and me solo parenting for the whole time.
My shorts fit, my tummy is tighter and the number on the scale went from 141 to 134.

WINNING!!

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I don’t share to boast, I share to encourage.  Anything and everything is possible.  We are all a work in progress and while I may never have a rock hard, 6 pack abdomen, I have a healthy body that is working at maximum speed because I’m doing the right things at the very least, 80% of the time.

80/20 is SO helpful for me.

Eat clean, real, whole foods 80% of the week and allow 20% to be maybe not the cleanest. This means enjoy the ice cream cone with the kiddos, or the glass of wine, but don’t do it every day.

Bring on Summer

We have made it through the Tent Sale!  I’ve been with Joe for 10 years now, so the actual sale is nothing new and through the years I have been able to keep a pretty optimistic outlook.  I used to dread it and hate him working so much, but one day it clicked.  He explained it to me that it is like his “Super Bowl.”  The biggest sale of the year where he will be able to make the most money and provide for us.  Now of course we have added two kiddos and now a puppy, and we still have Holly so life at home solo parenting is anything but easy! He works 9-10+ almost two weeks straight and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard.

But we did it.  We both put in the hours and time and somehow we are already on the other side!! It is nice that Father’s Day he gets out earlier and we can have a nice dinner and some family time.  Tonight will be his first weekday evening off in a very long time!

My father had his surgery and they did have to remove one of his lungs, due to cancer.  He’s home now recovering, but it’s not easy for him and I am still praying for a safe recovery.  He also closed his family business after it being in the family 138 years.

The real estate business is super busy and of course I was picking up most of that while Joe was working crazy hours.  I even closed a deal on one home by myself! That was exciting.

I stuck to my 10 day cleanse, (other than a built in cheat meal with Father’s Day dinner and some bubbly.)  I’ll post more about it, but I did lose inches and pounds!  Honestly, I think not drinking and eating the best foods possible was the perfect combo for that time; it could have been super stressful and I could have lost my mind but I was really in a great place!  A few meltdowns here and there, but considering all that was happening I’m super proud of myself.

We are now planning our Summer getaway for my mom’s wedding; we will be visiting South Carolina where she will get married on a beach.  We will get to escape to Savannah, Georgia just Joe and I for a few days! We plan on ending our trip in downtown historic Charleston.  It will be the first plane ride for the kids and our first true beach vacation as a family.  We are pumped!

As for the rest of this week?  We have plans to go to our little beach tonight, though kind of cool, dinner at one of our favorite Italian places and a family day at a local amusement park Sea Breeze on Friday.  This weekend we have a sitter for an evening–woot! Date night here we come.

I have got to say all of the work I’ve been doing on myself has landed me in a really sweet space, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.  Life is damn difficult at times but taking time to feed my mind with really great reads has literally brought me to new levels.

I know this little blog here has taken a back seat, but not for much longer.  I have lots of thoughts to share and now that I am where I am, it’s time to take off.  I would love to hear what you’re most looking forward to this Summer?

  • Summer Reading
  • Spray Parks
  • Date nights
  • Amusement rides
  • Family time
  • Blogging
  • Tanning (spray mostly!)
  • Outdoor workouts
  • Dining al fresco
  • Traveling
  • My Birthday
  • Our 8th Anniversay
  • My mom’s wedding
  • Kids going to day camps
  • Beach days
  • Living

Letting them be Little

Ages three and five are so special!  On one hand, they’re not little itty bitty babies, but on the other there is so much they can’t yet do! If there is one thing I constantly focus on, it’s letting them use their imagination.

In world of On Demand TV, iPads, phones, Kindles, etc…it’s so easy to let the hours pass by and let the littles indulge.  I’m not saying we never use technology, we do!  The kids love Angry Birds and have a ton of fun little learning games.  We just try to limit the time they’re on it, like maybe a little in the morning while some family members still sleep…or if we are stuck inside on a rainy day, or even if we’re just feeling low key.

BUT, as the weather has gotten nicer, we are teaching them that using your imagination is much more fun!  It’s amazing what they come up with on their own. The latest favorite was “pretending to fly a drone like Daddy.”

They were using this toy and running room to room, window to window looking for their pretend drone.

Time is fleeting; I remember being excited when our store got these new green carts and they could both sit & drive together…someone is getting too long and not quite fitting any more though.

Changing of seasons meant new clothes!  This boy outgrew all of his clothes from last year and we headed right to Wal-Mart to grab some cute and inexpensive shorts.

This one goes through phases; will I be a kitty? A puppy? A human? She’s also obsessed with the movie, Matilda.  Her personality is something else for sure!

We took them for the first official ice cream of the year.  Someone was not happy he had to wait for mama to snap a photo.

We signed them up for Spring Soccer.  They do pretty well! This dude hasn’t done any classes of any sort quite yet, other than mini camps at the Y in the Summer.  He loves dribbling the ball and scoring goals!

Her class gets a little more into game playing etc, and she’s pretty good too! Daddy has fun ‘coaching’ her from the sidelines already.

If it’s one thing that is super tough for me, it’s finding the time to cook healthy meals while working the real estate, keeping the house, the puppy, pre-k, dance class…it’s as if I world went from 0 to 100 real quick.  I found myself getting into the chicken nuggets and whatever zone. FAIL.

It may not be the BEST option, but since dance classes are the hardest nights, I try to keep it easy.  This night it was a run to Wegmans for a rotisserie chicken, carrots and Brooke loves shrimp.

We all know how important lean protein and veggies are, so we are working on that.  I also made yummy blueberry flax muffins the kids were obsessed with. I’ll share that recipe as I need to make more!

We helped organize flowers for the pre-k fundraiser, so Bradley got to sit in on snack time.  He fits right in!! I know he’ll be more than fine next year. I can’t wait to see him grow leaps and bounds.

Brooke loves shoes and we recently added some jelly shoes to our collection. Who remembers these!?

Batman helped me make dinner.  He loves stirring and dumping the ingredients in.  Actual forming the meatballs? Not so much.

In this crazy season of life, there’s not much I can control.  I can’t even keep my floors cleaned for too long with a puppy, but I’m trying to just keep up as best as I can, ignore the mess and focus on at least one clean spot.

Buying flowers/candles helps too.

I thought about getting rid of the stroller, but it seems we are just not quite ready.  I’ve been pushing this thing around for 5 years and it’s still going strong. They are a load to push but they still love it and man it’s a good workout!

They use my old phone to take photos/videos and there’s always a surprise or two when I check.  Selfies of her feet in her water table. I about died.

We had our last “helper day” at Pre-K and it was Teddy Bear day!

Her and her bestie at school.

The last time she’ll hug these puppets…

The last time she’ll ring the bell…

To have been able to step in and be there for these helper days is not something I will take for granted.  I sometimes get caught up in the whole, “I should be doing more” (thank you Pinterest) but I have to turn that thought around and focus on all of the good and positive things I have been able to do.

I think back to the little 3 year old girl we sent off to preschool two years ago, and I stare in awe at the beautiful and silly 5 year old that will be walking out.  She said she was scared of Kindergarten, and I understand that a new big building will be a little scary, but she will thrive and flourish.  I can’t wait for all of the new things she’ll learn and do in school.

We never know if he’s going to be Batman, Spiderman or Black Panther.  He even ran around the house as Captain America the other day.  He insisted that he had to sleep with this mask on…so I let him.  I then crept in and removed the mask for the night after he was sound asleep.

Being a momma is …

exciting.

scary.

exhausting.

magical.

worrisome.

awesome.

I could go on and on about what I thought motherhood would look like, but really you just have to welcome the season you’re in and just be. 

The more I try to primp, prod, fix, set up, worry and try to control, the worse off we all are.  If I can just get up each day with a happy mindset and just do my best, we all have a better day.  Sure there are times when I’m ready to pull my hair out (enter a 3 year old who is so tired he didn’t want to nap…and then he falls asleep in the middle of the hallway as opposed to his bed.)

I just keep telling myself, this is 3  or she’s 5.  It’s just a season.  You’re going to miss this. Life won’t be crazy all of the time .  I even go as far as to picture myself lonely and alone with nothing to do but read a book…and that usually makes me teary eyed, so I will give into one more bedtime song, cuddle or kiss.

I’ll embrace the mess that is.

This is what life and motherhood is about…the little and mundane moments that together create our very existence of memories.

Mother’s Day 2018

I still can’t believe that I’ve been a mom for 5 years.  It seems like yesterday I was just meeting Joe, but really that was ten years ago.

Crazy.

Sunday morning Joe got up with the dogs (after miss Bailey woke me up at 4:30!) around 7 and shortly thereafter Bradley woke up and then Brooke.  Joe wanted to go grab some breakfast for us and took Bradley.  It was nice to just lounge in bed with my girl!  Soon the boys were back with breakfast bagel sandwiches and my beloved Green Tea Latte from Starbucks.  It’s one of our favorite little traditions in the Summer–he pops out for a bit and brings back treats.

He knew I was out of my water bottles; I either lose them or I wear them out!! I’m loving the ones that keep your water cold all day.  Thanks babe!

Brooke gave me two cards and a potted plant she made in pre-k. So sweet!

We just had a nice quiet morning; Joe went and visited his grams with Bradley, and I did some dishes and got ready for our outing!

This year I wanted to go out for brunch at one of our favorite restaurants, The Revelry.  My dad, step-mom & sister joined us and it was perfect!  We enjoyed lots of oysters, cornbread, and I ordered mimosas & shrimp and grits.  OMG so GOOD!! Anyone have a good shrimp & grits recipe?? I need to try to make that at home…

The kids were excellent and loving their special tiki drinks, aka pineapple juice.  We went for a little drive afterwards and then home.  Joe took Brooke to grab some dinner items, while I cuddled with Bradley.  Heavenly!  Once he got home, Bradley ran downstairs and I was alone watching Fixer Upper for about an hour.  I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself!  It was weird, but enjoyable.

I came downstairs to quite a spread! My husband had his new smoker going, the grill, stove and sous vide.  Not to mention the chaos that is our children/dogs all together around dinner time.  I definitely giggled as I heard from above the noise.

 

Caprese salad, green beans, sautéd mushrooms, bone marrow with garlic crostini and a dry aged steak we picked up at the meat market down town.  Holy. Cow. It was so amazing! I couldn’t believe how delicious it turned out to be…even down to dessert which was a mini key lime pie he grabbed at Wegmans.

It was a beautiful day; no stress and full of love and relaxation…and full bellies!

The boys.

I am for sure one blessed momma.

Thank you Brooke and Bradley, for making me a better person.  I didn’t know the depths of love and selfless giving until I had you.  You two make our world a much better place by being in it.  Thank you for choosing me to be your mommy.

Meeting The Real Housewives

Saturday night my friend got us tickets to go see some of the Real Housewives at a nearby casino.  We were going to make it a real “Girls Night” and stay in the hotel, have a nice dinner, enjoy the show and SLEEP IN the following morning.  However, #momlife called and Brooke had dance pictures scheduled for 8:30 the next morning. #Awesome.  It’s all good though we made it work!  My amazing husband arranged to get out of work early so that he could drive me (it’s a bit of a drive and I didn’t want to drive home late alone). We had a couples dinner and he played some Blackjack, (and won!) while Ann and I were watching the show. In all honesty, the TV series itself doesn’t do much for me any more…and I can only tolerate it in small amounts, BUT I have always loved me some Teresa Guidice and I may or may not have read/own most of her books!

I decided to bust out the Loubs for this special occasion!

This girl and I have been friends since Freshmen year of college–straight up first day of school we met!  1999…we majored in the same field, Secondary Education English.  She may have taught me how to party and to rock confidence like no other.  I was her maid of honor 13 years ago, and she was mine 8 years this July. We live 2.5 hours apart and between jobs, kids, and life, we rarely get to see each other!! But when we catch up, watch out world!

Ann and her husband Brennan

My sweet hubby!!

Aside from the delicious bottle of Rosé bubbly we shared, and oysters, this dish was outstanding! Lobster, shrimp & scallops in a scampi sauce over asparagus.  I died! I will be recreating this dish in the future!

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We sat 2nd row, yes SECOND row!! She hooked us up with these seats!  The stage was set up much like Live with Andy Cohen and the whole bit was a Q&A sesh with our questions! One of Ann’s questions was picked!

It was pretty entertaining and the crowd was fun.  Teresa, Ashley & Brandi were really down to earth! Ashely is hysterical and Brandi is a bit of a #hotmess but hey, aren’t we all? She is definitely more on the raw/raunchy side.  Teresa was really quite calm and really cool.  She did mention “camp” which I giggled at because, girl, I love ya but jail is jail.  She did say however, she often wonders if she should have done the show or not.  I can’t imagine putting my life on display like that for all to see…it takes guts I tell ya!

We decided right before we went in to do the “meet and greet” which just meant getting a few hugs and photos.  The cost supposedly went to a charity, but when do we ever do stuff like this? Never.  I am not mad about paying a little extra for this experience!

Ann was the first in line to get her photo op!

I can’t remember exactly what we were all laughing at but I could have stood up there and talked to them for awhile!

I really wanted to hug T and I totally #fangirled and told her how I have all her cookbooks and that she’s totally my favorite. As I went to walk away after photos, I did tell her good luck and that she’s a great mom.  Lord knows us mommas always need extra support. With her husband in jail, and just losing her mom, I can’t imagine how hard it must be raising 4 girls on her own.

They were all so nice!  The only bad part was how quick it went! I could have curled up with another glass of bubbly or two…

I think it was Brandi who said something first, but the next thing I knew, they were all complimenting me on my hair! LOL

The all wanted to know who does it and how does it look so healthy! I about died.  I get my hair inspiration FROM The Real Housewives so it made my night.

As I turned to leave Teresa asked, ‘hey what’s your name?!’ I replied, “Jenn!” And they all said, “Bye Jenn!! Thanks for coming!” It was totally cool, I can’t lie!

Thanks again B for an unbelievable night!! I don’t know if we could top this one…but I’m willing to try!

PS we totally went back and forth months on what to wear!! Ann went with a hot little Express lace jumpsuit & red moto jacket & and did my black moto jacket & leggings from Express and Banana Republic top.

Accessories: Stella & Dot baby!

Curling wands = big hair!

Sunny Weekend

For the first time in what feels like forever, (cue the Frozen song) the sun was shining!! I swear it gave everyone an extra pep in their step and the extra smiles on everyone’s faces.  It wasn’t hot by any means or really truly that warm, but man we could escape outside for some fresh air and vitamin D without freezing our tails off!

Friday was Brooke’s ‘Helper Day’ and Joe wanted to go in to spend it with her.  Our Pre-K is parent run, so every day there is a parent in helping and one of the student’s has a special turn at being the class helper. They had tons of fun!

I made it to the gym 2 days in a row and was trying to snap a sweaty selfie, even though I wasn’t sweaty any more.  Brooke insisted she be in the photo with me!

Friday night we had our fist Book Club meetup.  We were hoping to gather around the corner at the cute wine bar, but it was super packed and there was no room….so we moved to Bar Louie which was also really busy, but fun nonetheless!

It was hard to talk about books in a loud place so we made the most of it but decided next time we will gather at someone’s home.

It did prompt me to start making more time for books again.  I have been listening to my audiobooks but I have not been making the time to pick up actual books.  I am almost done with this and am SO anxious to see where it is headed! Saturday was the perfect combination of cuddling the kids, getting to the park for a little fresh air and resting. My body needed it.

And in puppy news, she’s doing so great!! I’m not gonna lie…it’s been a challenging few weeks of adjusting at times.  Bailey and Holly love to play but they do get a little aggressive so we have to make sure they can’t fight over certain toys or get too rough with each other.  She’s just 12 weeks old and we have had her for one month.  Puppies are a lot of work but as we continue to work with her and train her, she’s really fitting in well.

I wonder how long she will fit on this bottom step for…

Sunday was kind of a laid back day.  Joe got up early to run some errands for the houses and the kids and I resumed positions reading/playing with ipads/kindle.  I made a big breakfast and we did a little Target run, had sushi and visited our friends’ baby Aiden.  The kiddos got to play outside and it was so nice to feel that sun!

We wrapped up the weekend with grilling chicken for the week, I worked on the Pre-K Newsletter and walked the dogs one more time.  It was refreshing and just what my soul needed; we need more weekends like this.  Summer, please hurry!

After such a long stint of cold crappy weather, I am so grateful for the sun.  I think this may be the 4th day in a row of sunshine and we are not taking it for granted!

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Happy Monday Friends!

Girl Code {Book Review}

TGIF lovies!!

I don’t know about you, but this week tried to kick my butt.  Seriously.  I am super glad Friday is here so that we can get to the weekend! It continued to snow all week, nothing stuck but my booty is frozen from trying to get the puppy to go outside and I’m so over it!

I am extra excited that our first book club meet up is tonight.  We are hitting up the wine bar around the corner from my house and I’m sure that it will be awesome to get out for awhile, chat bout #momlife, girl talk and I’m pretty dorky so I’m sure that we will talk about books too!

I have my list of books I’ve read so far in 2018.  This book, Girl Code was book 11 of 52!

I have the hard copy that my girl Lindsay gifted me, but I just never made an effort to pick it up, so I decided to try it on audible and I LOVED it!! I am so glad that I have the hard copy honestly, so that I can go back through from time to time.

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Clearly the author had me at her blog/brand, “The Champagne Diet.”  You know I love me some celebratory bubbly and if you’re a girly girl like me, her verbiage will speak to you too.  She is witty and cleverbut it’s not all glitter and champs.  She really is a fantastic business woman; there is something powerful about a female entrepreneur. She is also a Master Life Coach and just has so much valuable information to share.

 

What I loved most about this book were the interviews with other leading ladies.  Each gal had her own little story to tell and it’s nice to know we girls are never alone.

As per usual, the English teacher in my comes through and I had several quotes speak to me.

The first quote was, “Her success is not your failure.”

Whoa.

She was referring to those moments where we scroll through social media and find ourselves getting mad or jealous when we see other girls living their best lives. You know, that girl who promotes to the highest level in her company.  The bombshell who is flaunting her perfect body on a beach in the Caribbean. Whatever your trigger is, realize that just because she succeeded at something, doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

I guess I had not thought it through like that, but yes!  Sometimes I do find myself feeling awful, simply because she’s making a dream come true and I’m probably in day old sweats, 4 day hair and cleaning up poo.   Maybe I’m not exactly where I want to be (literally or figuratively!) but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure!

Each of our journeys is so unique and it’s super hard and tempting to compare ourselves to others on social media.  The highlight reel is great, but it took a lot of hard work, sacrifice and dedication for these people to get to show off their rewards.

“Why be envious when you can have the same, or not more?”

I feel like that kind of piggybacks off of the first quote.  Jealousy comes in all shapes and sizes, but instead of sitting there hating on someone, turn it around and really think about it.  What’s stopping you from having what she has?  Couldn’t you even have more? There is no limit in life.  We can make as much money as we want, there’s certainly enough to go around.  Most of these #bossbabes are most likely not choosing #netfilxandchill, so if that’s what you find yourself doing on a weekly basis, maybe it’s time to switch out some habits.  That’s what I tell myself when I start seeing posts and feeling less than.

“They don’t serve champagne at pity parties.”

Which leads me to my next favorite quote from this book.  Sure, you have a moment where you’re down and not feeling super fabulous.  I try to tell myself, it’s ok! Feel what you are feeling, but then get over it.  Sitting around moping and crying and doing the whole, “whoa is me” thing doesn’t get us anywhere.  Misery loves company, so you’ll attract that low vibe energy and miss out on some amazing opportunities.  I love me some champagne, so if I wanna be poppin bottles, I can’t cry too big of a river.

The last thing I took from this book was really what Oprah would call an “Aha moment.” The concept of a “Seasonal purpose vs a life purpose” really resonated with me.  Sometimes I get all caught up in “my purpose” and start a freak out session.  I dwell on the fact that thousands of dollars were spent on an Undergraduate and Masters Degree to teach here in NY.  I taught English for 8 years, but don’t really any desire to go back into that teaching world now.  I know that raising our babies and staying home was/is my purpose.  As we are nearing the end of that ‘stay at home’ period, I’m starting to really develop a new vision of where I want my life to go and what I’d like to spend my time doing.

This idea of a seasonal purpose just makes so much sense to me.  We are evolving creatures and the more we learn, the more we grow.  Our minds can take us anywhere and if we place all this pressure on ourselves to only have one purpose, it just sucks the fun out of life.  This is my opinion at least; I love knowing that I can keep developing into better versions of me and that as I grow older, my life’s purposes will too.

I haven’t read her other books yet, but I am definitely keeping them in mind! I love a quick listen, and this was a great one to hear.  If you’re in direct sales or in business for yourself in any fashion, I highly recommend this book.  If you’re not into champagne and some of the couture glitz and glam, I think you could still get something out of this book, if you have an open mind. It clearly spoke to me and I will be flipping through these pages again and again!

 

Happy reading my friends!

Getting a Spray Tan

I figured I would start out the week with a really fluffy post!  I’ll attribute it to my husband and I watching the Jersey Shore Family Vacation last night…what a train wreck! It really opened my eyes as to what on earth was I thinking watching that all of the time?!  We barely turn on the tv and last night, as Joe built a fire (yes, we are still having Winter here in Upstate NY) we just decided we needed to turn our brains off.

Anyway, back to the spray tan–which I would recommend 1000x over and over! Whether you have an event you want to have an extra glow for or you enjoy looking sun-kissed, it’s totally worth the money!

I have only done two.  One was in October before we went to Toronto for Joe’s birthday and the other was right before the Ugly Disco.  Since then I have been applying Jergen’s fake tanner a few times to just keep the glow going a little longer.

I haven’t seen or felt the sun since September I bet.  Sure, it pokes its head out, but there is something about getting a little healthy color from that big old ball of fire.  Since that is not an option and tanning beds have a bad rap, the spray tan is the way to go!

I chose an Organic spray both times.  I am sure you could totally get a decent tan at any place offering them, but I do have a special spot for small businesses in my heart.  The most recent place I went to was Glow Tanning.  The girl was a riot and she chose my color for me: “The Champagne of Spray Tans.” Girl spoke my love language!  I knew enough to “prep” ahead of time and ran all my errands that day ready to be sprayed!

First Day with the tan–I don’t even wear makeup.  I feel like it looks super dark!!

Once you find a place you’d like to try, ask them for any specific prep they need you to do. Most likely they’ll tell you the following, but I’m not an expert.  You could always consult Google too!

The Prep

Any waxing should be done 24 hours prior.

Otherwise, this is what to expect of a spray tan!

  1. Shower in the am and wash your hair! I forgot to do my hair so my first shower after spray tan, the second time, I felt like was too long as it takes FOREVER to do my hair. I highly recommend being able to do a quick rinse/shower the day of your event.
  2. Exfoliate I prefer a sugar based scrub, but anything with a little grit will work! You really want to sloth off those dead skin cells to get to the newest layer of skin.
  3. Shave You want to make sure you’re primed and ready to get the solution on your skin.
  4. NO LOTION This was super hard for me!! I am a lotion girl and I hate the ‘dry feeling’ of no lotion. However, if you wear lotion prior to getting the spray tan, it may mix and cause blotches or it simple won’t allow the spray tan to stick.
  5. Wear black/loose clothing You most likely will get spray tan on you, even if you try to air dry/fan dry a bit before getting dressed.  Wear something baggy if possible and definitely black. I was even told to forgo the bra. Ok!
  6. Bring a makeup wipe I tried not to wear a ton of makeup the day of my spray tan, but I did have a little tinted moisturizer on so I made sure to bring wipes to get it off.
  7. You can wear bottoms or not.  They usually tell you to do whatever you’re most comfortable doing.
  8. Go the day before your event. I personally find the best color to be the very next day. The first day I looked pretty dark! I didn’t feel the need to wear makeup and I just looked like I hopped a plane from the islands. The tan will last about a week, if you drink a lot of water and slather that lotion on continuously after the tan!
  9. Be prepared to spend a little money. I paid $40 and tipped the girl, but again this was an organic solution, it lasted a week and I didn’t get messy trying to prep myself for days with bottled lotions/sprays at home.
  10. It all has a ‘scent.’  Again, I found the organic solution to be tolerable, but it still had that ‘fake tan smell’ if you’ve ever dabbled in fake tan before.

A few pics from our weekend in Toronto–I loved this glow!

I did add a little extra bronzer lotion to my legs too, which had glitter. Needed extra for the disco!!

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Have you spray tanned before?  Do you have a favorite place?  I’ll share some of my at home fake tan products in another post, since I don’t see Mr. Sun coming out any time soon!

 

Kid Free Weekend

We didn’t get a break from puppy training, but we are so grateful that my dad and stepmom took the kiddos Friday til Sunday.  It was Ugly Disco time and we had not had a kid free weekend since Joe’s 40th Birthday up at the Ritz in Toronto!  We were a little excited to reconnect, enjoy some delicious food & get our boogie on!

We hit up our favorite restaurant in the city, The Revelry.  We ordered our drinks at the bar; Joe’s favorite is the East Ender & I was super excited that they had brought back Rosé! We dined upstairs and had some fantastic oysters! They were so good, we ordered seconds.  We also tried the Corn Gnocchi –TO DIE FOR! Joe always orders the duck and this time I went with the butter poached lobster tail.  It was out of this world–black truffle sauce–the thought of it is making my mouth water at this very moment…it is that good.

I felt like wearing some snazzy Gita tassels with my LBD.

The next day we hit up a late brunch at McCann’s Local Meats.  We’ve had lunch here several times, and we always see photos of the Saturday brunch.  Since we had no plans, we knew we’d try it out after seeing it on Facebook. If you’re local and love meats, you’ve got to try it out.

I am a sucker for Eggs Benedict, and this was so savory, and creamy.  It was the perfect mix of sweet and salty and the ham had an incredible flavor.

Joe had the buttermilk pancakes, and I may have had more than just a few bites.  I couldn’t believe how good they were!

 

We went for a nice quiet drive, which has always been our thing.  Car rides are a great way to connect, talk and really hear what the other person is saying.  It’s not easy when our 3 and 5 year old are always chattering; life with littles is super tough sometimes.  That’s why moments like this and weekends like these are really special but also necessary.

He said I was weird, but I love this profile view of him. Something about the collar and his smile; it gets me every time!  I hope you know how happy you make me baby.  I love being in your passenger seat.

We cruised over to our land and talked about where the house will be, how far over the barn will go and how much dirt we’ll need.

I tried to take a quick disco nap but the new pup was barking non stop. (Probably because she slept on me while I zoned out on the couch.

After my attempt at napping, Joe ordered sushi takeout and then it was time to get ready!  I bought this outfit last year and I felt no need to buy anything new. I used as much curling spray, hair spry and glitter I could get my hands on!

Joe loves channeling his inner Rick James and bounces those curls all night long.  We have gone to the Ugly Disco quite a few times now, I actually want to say this was number 7? It’s for a great cause and we love supporting the Golissano Children’s Hospital.  Why would you not want to dress up in 70’s garb and boogie all night?!

The real stash and sideburns were a real treat!

I just felt like playing around with my iphone filters…haha

I was really playing around with my diet before this so I think I may share what I did to get into “disco dress” shape.  I by no means work out 7 days a week for hours on end, nor do I only eat salad.  I believe in the 80/20 rule and have started to dabble in some intermittent fasting. Anyone want to hear more about that?

My other #1 trick is get a good SPRAY TAN!  I went to Glow Sunless Tanning. The girl did a great job and their organic solution was awesome.  I’m also thinking of doing a blog post on how to prep/what to expect from a spray tan. (I was nervous before my very first one!)

Had to snap a selfie of me and my boa! I mean really, how often can you rock a boa?!  We danced til midnight or so, grabbed an Uber and totally hit up Steve T Hots for a Garbage Plate.  We have not done that in YEARS…so bad for you but oh so good.  Never heard of a garbage plate? Check it out… 

Sunday we had a late start, I took a nap (GLORIOUS!) and we drove out to get the kids.  We missed them and they had a great time, so it was happiness all around.  I knew I’d be in no shape or have zero desire to cook.   I also knew after all of the eating and drinking, we would just want simple: enter chicken in a slow cooker.

My attempt at being healthy once again: brussel sprouts.

I know that I’m barely making the “Monday cut off” deadline that is in my head for blogging.  It’s 11:03 and I’m about ready to hit publish.

I legitimately had zero time for myself (other than a quick shower!) from the moment my eyes opened until about 25 minutes ago.  I desperately needed that kid free weekend, more than I really knew.

Yesterday I could have done the dishes, washed, dried, folded laundry.  Grocery shopped. Blogged. Cleaned up all of the mess that is a home filled with dogs and children, but instead?  Instead I took that little nap on the couch with both dogs.  Something I’m not sure I’d ever be able to do if kids were here, because they’re usually on me!  That gave me so much determination and push to just keep going today.

And tomorrow? I’ve got a whole lot of new stuff going on and I am excited and nervous all at the same time.

 

Fashion Friday: March Looks

TGIF!!
I have been super busy puppy training, potty training and living my best life! {see last post!} Haha. I really needed to just sit and breathe for a moment and talk about some girl stuff–aka fashion!  Plus, we have the Ugly Disco this weekend so we are pumped BOOGIE!

I’m a total Summer girl, but I really try to embrace the 4 seasons. That said, this girl is OVER Winter.  Ya heard, mother nature?! It just hit me this past week; the cold, snow, wind and biting temps–enough already! I told my husband, it is time to think about moving…

Anyway, some looks from these past few weeks…

Layers for the win.

I adore this kimono from Apricot Lane Boutique.  I also love layering with this super soft white tee from Banana Republic.  Accessories are the perfect way to dress up any plain outfit! I think that they are vital for us to really create our own style.

PS If you still haven’t tried a Matcha Latté with soy from Starbucks, get on it!

I am digging the lilac trend, so I busted out my 3/4 cardi and layered it with a cross tee from Amazon.

 

I’ve been staying warm with turtleneck sweaters, but channeling warm weather with these Rose statement chandelier earrings! Obsessed is an understatement.

Graphic tee– I have my girl Rachel design my shirts; I love that she is basically my personal designer!  Check her out at Simply Mama Boutique

Sweater Cardi – Express.

Constantine feather chandeliers – S&D

Always be sure to have some cute aprons to keep your clothes free from stains whilst cooking!! A glass of Cab is always helpful too.

I adore this new bracelet, earrings & the new on the go tassel phone charger.  It looks so cute on a bag and you always have a way to keep your phone charged. If you’re like me, you probably have a dead phone halfway through the day!

I do love hitting up the gym, Align Pants from LuLuLemon & my hubby gifted me this sweatshirt for Christmas. I think he got it at Macy’s. My favorite sneakers are Nike.

Sparkle studs– $19, make ya holla!

Eve Bib- Stella & Dot

Gold Engravable bangle -S&D

Sweater – Express

Lips: Lipsense

Hat, Earrings & Celestial choker- S&D

Sweater: Vintage Guess

Lips: Pink Dust Cosmetics (vanilla latte combo!)

Constantine Feather Earrings, Celestial choker- S&D

Long Cardi- Jane.com

I went for a pale pink mani in March. I love how they look with our Intention bracelets!

Twinning with my mini me in our Stella & Dot “Self Made” shirts!  It’s never too early to teach her it’s important to be independent.  She can do ANYTHING and so can I.  Don’t forget that ladies, it’s NEVER too late to reinvent yourself, change the way you’re living and becoming the best version of yourself!

She took some photos of me with the new Ava backpack too…I think she needs to be my personal photographer!

Speaking of, this backpack is bad ass.  SUPER convenient to be hands free with kiddos and it’s so cute!

Lil B had a “Beach Day” at school and I was the helper.  Gita Tassels for the win!

This may be my favorite necklace still, the Terney. I also loved how my hair came out!! This Amie Lace sweatshirt is so comfy but still stylish enough for date night (which is why I’m all dolled up!)

I had so much fun with boots, scarves, sweaters, layers…but enough already.  Bring on the heat!! I am ready for shorts, flip flops, air-dried hair and sunshine.

What were you wearing in March? I’d love to hear!

Enjoying the Journey

It’s a windy day here this Wednesday of “Spring Break.”  However, the term Spring must be used loosely here in upstate New York.   It’s a chilly 39 degrees and I do believe that as I type this, there are snow flurries.  Not surprised dear April…

There’s a to do list a mile long, mountains of laundry to be folded, a workout to be done, a shower to be had, but you know what I just did? I made a cup of tea.  I made a cup of English Breakfast tea with a splash of heavy cream & a drizzle of honey. (I have a disco dress I’m preparing for, otherwise I most likely would have used a teaspoon of sugar.

I woke up this morning, not really knowing where my day would take me; the blessing and curse of a “Stay at home” lifestyle.  On one hand, I feel as free as a bird and on the other, there’s so much to do I don’t really know where to begin.

Life has been quite crazy for some time now; little ones will do that to you.  We’ve been married 7.5 years and celebrated 10 years, (a whole decade!) of dating.  Yes, I do consider that even though we are married, with two children, we are still dating.  Marriage is like any other commitment in life; you get out what you put in.  There are days and weeks where we feel like we are spinning our wheels and treading water.

Raising babies, building businesses and still staying true to oneself is not for the faint of heart.   I often times ask myself wouldn’t it just be easier if…and I could list a hundred things to remove off of my plate to try and make myself feel less ‘busy’ or ‘stressed.’ But then what?  Would I be bored?  Would I feel incomplete?  Would I be searching for that “something more” that I know creeps up when we least expect?

I’ve heard it said that the devil attacks those next in line for promotion.  That when things are hard, they tend to get really hard.  You’ll want to quit, give in, stop trying and just throw your hands in the air and scream.  Go ahead and scream dear one, it may help…but do not quit.

I’ve mentioned before on my blog that the setback is often the setup for what’s next to come.  I’ve been feeling all of the things, going through a lot of emotions and feeling like OH MY GOSH WILL THIS EVER GET EASIER?  I’m talking in parenting, in relationships, in eating well, working out, feeling confident, and even in day to day things like the washing machine not working right.  I don’t know if it will get easier, but it’s all part of the plan.  If one more person tells me to “Enjoy the journey!” I may yell back “I AM!!” but that’s only because I truly am trying.  I am enjoying the snuggles of my wee ones, amongst the chaos of potty training and cleaning poo all day long.  I am loving the puppy breath and playfulness of our sweet girl, while cleaning mess after mess that she makes.  I am ecstatic to fit in any alone time with my husband, as I know that our love must come first so that our family can thrive.

But I’m also saying, damn girl, This shit is hard!

I’m just here to tell myself, and maybe you, that it’s all okay. The feelings, the tears, the stress, the laughs the joys…it’s all part of it.  One day we will look back and miss the precious moments.  I can’t say I’ll miss the poo and mess, but I will miss mostly everything else about this time.  I will probably ask myself how on earth did you not go completely insane? How did you do it?  More importantly, my kids may ask us when life is hard for them, how did it you survive?

I will them…

Faith

Gratitude

Patience 

Laughter

Love

Focus

Perseverance 

Help

The last one is the one I struggle with the most. I always try to do everything by myself, but this life is teaching me that nothing amazing is done alone.  I hope to delve further into these topics in future posts; I am always trying my hardest to be real and raw with my readers.  There is no smoke and mirrors here. No photo-shopped life snapshots. I am on this journey with you and am here with open arms and an open heart to learn alongside you.

May this first Wednesday in April bring you peace, love and comfort.

All my love,

Jenn

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March Favorites

Here we are in the beginning of April, so I figured I’d share a few my favorite things from last month!!  March is typically one of my least favorite months.  It’s SUPER long. STILL cold and just overall crazy!  This past March didn’t seem to stray too much from that!

#1 Favorite–

I would say the biggest favorite of the month of March was getting our puppy Bailey.  She is also the biggest adjustment and so much work!  She completes our crazy little family in ways I almost had forgotten about.  When we got Holly, we had Sadie.  For the last 3 years Holly has been an only dog, and honestly I haven’t been the best dog mom.  With two kids, 4 and under, life was nuts!  We are nuts for getting another fur ball, but we love her so much.  My husband and I laugh at how we will look back at these times and just shake our heads.  I need to make sure I keep blogging about all of this beautiful, messy, chaotic life of ours.

Accessories–

LOVE these Rose Chandeliers. Obsessed.  I think because it’s still freezing and grey outside, any pop of color helps beat these Winter blues.  I am all about the statement earring trend these days.  Toss on a black shirt, add a fun pair of earrings & bronzer and go!

Booties-

I ordered a pair from Jane.com but they did not fit.  My friend Shelby swore these pretties from Target were comfy and a must have! She was on the money.  I normally am a solid size 9, but she suggested I go down half a size and I did. 8.5 fits perfectly without any socks.  Score a pair here.

Drink:

This was even more amazing than I anticipated. Joe gave me this for my birthday and I was saving it for a celebration. We had a particular house that was, well, tricky to say the least, with our company, 585 Rent to Own.  I said back in the Summer, that when we sold said house, we’d pop this bottle. I’m not sure if it was the taste of sweet success, or just really good champs.  I’ll sip to both!

Hair:

Two things–One, a high pony.  If I’ve curled my hair (or even if not) I am loving throwing it up in a high pony tail.  I think it still looks chic, but effortless!

Dry Shampoo–

This is THE BOMB.  Seriously, I didn’t understand why girls swore by dry shampoo. I had tried a few different kinds and nothing really did much for me.  My friend Stephanie is a mama whose hair is gorgeous.  I had been wanting to try Monat for awhile and I am so glad I did! The scent of this alone is to die for.  I can go 3 days comfortably…I workout and I hate my hair smelling weird or funky, so I can’t go much over 3 days, unless I wear a hat! I will definitely be ordering more of this no doubt.

Quote:

My phone screen for the month.   I try to stay motivated/inspired and this quote stuck with me.  I find that if I change up my phone screen it helps! It’s not always easy to stay positive.  I had a goal this month for my S&D biz and I knew it wouldn’t happen by itself. I have to wake up and make efforts every single day, if I want my dreams to come true.

Podcast:

I love audiobooks, but sometimes I like a quick little something something to listen to.  I’ve been trying out different podcasts and THIS one speaks to my heart.  I could barely get through my workout because I was SO motivated. I wanted to get right down to work on our Rent to Own Real Estate business when I listened to her the other day.

Day:

As I mentioned, March tends to be a tricky month.  Since we were doing a whole lot of work and not a whole lot of playing, I pulled the plug on the last Friday of the month and made us go to the spa.  We got a couples massage and it was SO beneficial.  As much as we are all about the hustle, man you just need to pump the breaks a bit.  If you don’t take the time to step back, relax, rejuvenate and unwind, you’ll burn out and go crazy. During our quiet massages, we BOTH had experiences where we learned something.  Sometimes the best thing to do is sit in silence and let it work its way out. Running multiple businesses, raising kids, getting a new puppy & Joe working full time doesn’t really allow for much “quiet” time other than us passing out from exhaustion! This is something I will make us do more than once a year.

We didn’t even take the whole day ‘off’ but scheduling this time to feed our souls and physical bodies was worth every penny and moment.

Song:

We are getting ready for the disco, so naturally I am listening to that Pandora station!  It’s really hard to be in a bad mood when you’re listening to this.

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Superhero:

My son.  I was having a rough day and may have teared up a bit.  On one hand, I was mad at myself or letting him see me cry, but then the most beautiful thing happened.

“Don’t cry mommy, I am a super hero.  I can save you!”

My heart is still fluttering from hearing that; he’s a lot of work at 3, as most little tykes are.  I know that I’m doing a lot of things right when I hear and feel compassion like that.  Baby boy, your heart it so sincere.  I know you’re a tough little cookie, but your sweet heart is love. You radiate so much compassion. Stay this way always.

 

Tiny Dancer:

She marches to the beat of her own drum, this one.  It’s hard to tell her what to wear, as she has a style all her own.  She loves dance class, but does think ballet is a tad boring.  Tap is her favorite!  I told her to smile for a picture for daddy, this is what she gave me.  I can’t get over how tall she is!

Brookie, you have grown so much (and not just in height!) Since adding a puppy, you’ve shown so much patience and responsibility.  I thank God you’re so understanding and supportive.  I worry you’re a little too like mommy; I want you to have fun, be little and not try to grow up too fast! I love your creative soul and all the joy you bring to our lives.

Book

I have read my 9th out of 52 books for 2018!  This was FANTASTIC!! I love Oprah.  It reminds me of my childhood, as my mother always watched her.  She is full of wisdom and interviews the best people; this book is life changing.  It has introduced me to new authors and I feel myself growing more spiritually and mentally.  I love that feeling.  Oprah reads it, so you’ll be soothed by her voice too!

Humor.

Laughter will get you through so much; lighten up, take risks and enjoy this crazy ride called life! It’s not always easy, in fact most days it’s downright freaking hard, but always worth it.  I just can’t choose that third row; I was born for the front row.

Weekending {With a new Pup}

Oh my gosh; a new puppy is so fun but man oh man, it’s kinda impossible to get back into a groove or routine!! I hate excuses, but I will admit blogging is always the first to drop when life gets hectic…oh well. I’m here today!

Wednesday I took little man to Starbucks after dropping off Brooke to preschool.  He was so good!! Spidey of course came with us.  We just needed to break out for a bit and take a break from puppy time! Haha

Thursday the kids came up from the playroom with this whole setup.  They said it was my birthday and we had to sit down and enjoy tea and cake.  You better believe I stopped myself from whatever “busyness” I had going on and let them sing Happy Birthday to me.

I will say that this book has helped me SO much.  I cannot say enough good things about it.  I would love to go in depth, but I’ll save that for another time.  Oprah reads it herself so it’s an excellent audible!

 

 

These two have started to really bond!

Sunday we had a little Birthday party to attend; she won 1000 tickets!!  The kids had so much fun and it was from 10-12 which was the perfect time.

Sunday afternoon I made a yummy pasta with sausage and paired this delicious Cab Franc with it.

PS Target has some SUPER cute pajamas out now! I am always in Joe’s pants or ratty old shirts, so I picked myself up a cute top and some shorts…because I know it will be warm soon!

I have to say that my husband knows me better than I know myself too.  I told him I needed some “time” but couldn’t even explain what I needed time for–so Sunday afternoon he told me go to Target… we needed a few things and I really did need some alone time.  It’s crazy as a mom, we just give and give and give…and give some more.

I can’t explain why I need my alone time but I do.  And I know that I need more than just an hour at the gym.  Sometimes I feel bad for that, but then I realize that if my cup is empty, I cannot pour from it.  So thank you babe, for pushing me outta the house yesterday and giving me some time!

I do adore this little furball. She may keep me (and the rest of us!) on our toes for now, but she fits right in perfectly.

I cannot believe we have had her for a week!

She certainly bites, so we all are very careful–she has SO many toys!  She’s an angel when she sleeps, so most of the kids’ kisses happen when she’s not awake.

In random news…

I swear this “WTF” weather app is the best! I have to just laugh at our weather lately. I think it will warm up tomorrow though!

Bailey the Puppy!

Back in November Joe and I decided we were ready to add a big dog back into the mix.  If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know we used to have Sadie.  She was my dog before I met Joe, but she had epilepsy and unfortunately at 7 1/2 years, we had to say goodbye.

We were put on a waiting list and anxiously awaited for our puppy!  Finally on January 24, she was born! We started visiting her at 2 weeks old and she and she had two other sisters. 

At 3 weeks, the other family who had first pick chose their puppy and we got to choose from a darker or light colored puppy.

In a lot of ways, she chose us.  She nipped at Bradley’s pants playfully and fell right to sleep in Brooke’s arms.  It was hard to pick at first, but then we realized she was the one.

It was so incredible to see her each week and how the kids looked forward to playing with her and holding her.

She is the cutest little puff ball.

Daddy loves her so much.  (I’m still not sure who’s more excited, the kids or Joe!)

Sunday 3/18 we got to bring her home.  She turns 8 weeks Wednesday, but with work, it’d be hard to get her until late next week.  Ready or not, here she comes!

So far so good; I think I must have lost my marbles…having a three year old, five year old, a 7 year old dog and now a puppy?!

I think laughter, humor mostly, grace and wine will help!  No really, I want to savor this time as much as I can, as I know just like babies, they grow up so fast!! It will be hard, this I know.  The potty training, the chewing, the crying, the energy…no joke I know it will be crazy town over here.

But Joe and I both grew up with big dogs and we are dog people.  We want our children to experience the same bonds that we had with our amazing dogs.  Yes, they bond with Holly but there is something bigger about a large dog.

Plus, Holly seems SUPER excited to have a new sister/friend!  I can tell she’s already wishing she were a bit bigger to rough house with and play.

Love & Fear

 

It’s probably not a surprise that I love self-improvement books and thoroughly enjoy reading and listening to authors who preach all about how to better ourselves.  Gabby Bernstein is one of my favorites.   Even listening to her voice seems to help me breathe better, feel less anxious and I find myself easily becoming centered.

Her newest book Judgement Detox is a good one.  It talks about how we are all guilty of judging, (even her) and that we are all coming from one of two places:

LOVE  VS FEAR

If you are coming from a place of love, you are welcoming others, circumstances and understanding we are all intertwined.  There is no drama, gossiping, feeling victim to, or being upset.

When we come from a place of fear, we are apt to believe certain people are out to get us.  We may find ourselves judging one person in particular, and just becoming stressed, sick, or annoyed more often than not.

It’s our birthright to be happy, joyous, blissful.  If we are not feeling like this, there is something triggering us.  You must take the time and figure it out.

We all have down days, off weeks and just bad months even!  But it’s vital to our emotional & mental health to figure out how to get out of that funk.  Often times, the breakdown is actually setting us up for the breakthrough.

Let me say that again, if you feel like everything is against you and there’s no end in sight–hang on sister, there is something MONUMENTAL just lurking around the corner.  I promise you.  You’re not going through all of this, whatever it is, for no reason. Nope. Nah-uh.  There is something great and big, even DIVINE in you.  Hang on tight and buckle up.  See where it takes you, breathe through the journey and know that you’re almost to that ‘next space’ you’re supposed to be. Trust me.

Don’t give up.

I’m saying all of this because a few weeks ago, I was in tears. Upset, crying, frustrated, angry, yelling more than usual…it was bad.  Want the honest truth?  I started questioning myself on whether or not I should be back at work.  I felt so defeated, low, and just that what on earth am I doing feeling…but I stuck with it, breathed through it, cried it out, talked with my husband and close friends and family and I can say that now I am 100% feeling much better.  I have a clarity and purpose within me that I didn’t feel then.   I would scroll through social media and compare and judge and feel so low.

Now I have a vision, a clear mind and I can definitely say that I feel stronger.  I have no desire to run away from my ‘problems’ and am willing to work harder on myself so that I can live my best life.  I have so much to give and sometimes we forget how important our role is as a wife and mother.  Don’t lose sight of that!

It’s helping that I focus on gratitude.  At 11:11 every day I have an alarm on my phone that goes off.  I stop what I am doing and say out loud what I am grateful for.  Whomever is with me gets to tell me too!! It’s really helpful, especially even when you’re having a heck of a day, and having a hard time finding good in anything–there is always something to be thankful for.

It’s also really magical to view your life from an outsider’s point of view.  You probably have everything you once wished for.  You may be living a life that other people could only dream of.  It’s just really important that we step back and breathe in our moments and realize how special our lives really are.  Sometimes when we are in the daily grind, we miss seeing the bigger picture.

If you stumbled across this post, perhaps it was for a good reason.  I believe we are all connected and someone wants you to take some times and find the gratitude amongst our crazy world. Everything you are, and everything you have at this exact moment is on purpose and for a good reason.

Namasté.

Meal Planning 101

Oh my gosh, you guys!! I have always been a good cook. Sure, I’ve made some not so great dishes, but overall, I love being in the kitchen, one of my love languages is serving my cooked food, and I think I’m pretty darn good! However, I feel like a total flop in the kitchen lately.  STRUGGLE BUS. Call me silly, but I keep hearing this “still small voice” to get into the kitchen.  Get back in there, cook wholesome foods, involved my kids and be okay with that.  Yes, I sometimes feel like it’s Groundhog’s Day and I’m unloading the dishwasher for the 30th time this week, but I know my work here is important.

Since we’ve been “working ” more, I’ve come to realize how dang hard it is to get a good meal on the table. I am not in the mood to meal plan, because sometimes I feel like it’s a waste of time. Half of what I cook isn’t eaten or I don’t get to cooking it…but this has got to stop!  I figured if I just took the hour or so to research new meals, schedule it out and hold myself somewhat accountable, I may be better off.

I feel the madness in me from not being consistently in the kitchen.  So, today I sat down and made a “March Menu.”  Granted, it’s a little more than a week into it,  but I wrote down 6 meals for each week left in the month.  I thought I’d try it this way, as opposed to giving each meal a day.  I just came up with 6 meals; they can be interchanged with a lunch.  I chose only to do 6 because usually there are leftovers or a lazy day, where we’ll go out or eat sandwiches.

Tips:

1. Set Aside Time

The hardest part for me is time.  I only have so many hours in a day (as do we all) and selfishly, I don’t always love having to choose between meal planning & reading a book, blogging, or whatever…clearly I interwove blogging and planning into this one; winning!  I am hoping an hour of planning saves hours later of me trying to scramble and figure out what to feed my troops and eliminates the stress and worry that comes with it.  I used to do it every Sunday, but I’m going to try this new once a month tactic. I will report back to ya!  Some meal planning essentials: Wine & Green Tea.  I kid…I kid…

2. Print off Recipes

I literally printed off a few new recipes. (You see, that was one of my excuses. I’d “like” a recipe, or write it down but then really never get back to that site…) I love the internet but I’m such an old school, write-it-out kind of girl! I placed my 3 week menu, the printed sheets, and my week one grocery list on a clipboard.  I’m thinking I may just buy a new binder; that’s how I started. I would print off a favorite recipe and place it into a plastic sheet, and sorted them all in a binder.

3. Plan Meals out or cooked by someone other than you.

I know that I get burnt out in the kitchen, so that is another reason I only wrote 6 meals per week.  We love sushi takeout and Joe does love to grill. I just need to prepare and buy the food to be grilled! I’m excited that it’s getting warmer out…life gets easier when we aren’t hibernating. Look at the calendar and see what birthdays or holidays are coming up.  Can you get together with friends and host a potluck? You’ll not only be inspired by new foods, but you may find a recipe you and your family really love.

4. What you focus on increases.

Whenever I feel something is off balance, I will shift my focus on that subject. I am well aware that there is no such thing as “perfect” or even “balanced” but I feel like for the most part, I have a nice ebb and flow on things…and lately, there not enough love flowing in my kitchen! So, I’ve been trying to watch more you tube videos, putting on the Food Network in the background, and spending a few moments consciously pulling up recipes etc.  I strongly believe what we put out there, comes back to us. Plus, I always learn something from my favorites on Food Network!  Go dust off some of those cookbooks and show them some love.  I bet you’ll re-discover a family fave!  Please share with me, I’d love to know!

5.  Keep it Short and Simple (KISS)

Try to do a theme each week.  Maybe it’s Meatless Monday, or Taco Tuesday.  I chose to do “One Pot Pastas”.  I also went through my cupboards to see what spices I had etc. I love Tastefully Simple and I knew if I just took a few minutes to go through what I had, I would throw together a list in no time.  Don’t overcomplicate, don’t feel like you have to whip up lavish dinners, and who cares if it flops?! There’s always pizza, but at least you tried!

Totally pinched for time?  Stop in the store, pick up a whole rotisserie chicken, bagged salad and a fresh loaf of bread.  It’s better than going fast food and you still are making efforts.

I am nowhere near perfect, but I know if I put in a little more effort, it will be better.  I am waving the white flag and saying hey mama, I too serve Dino- nuggets and fish sticks like the best of them.  However, I know that if I can make a little effort, I’m opening my kids’ minds and doing my very best.  You betcha this kid friendly pasta meal is on the menu!

Oh, and have fun!! I know the days are long, but the years really are short!! Take a few minutes and throw together a little something special for your loved ones.  My kiddos go crazy for hot chocolate with marshmallows.  My husband also loves breakfast in bed; giving them yummy foods makes me feel good putting smiles on their faces. (Boxed muffins are a big deal to little and big kids!)

Workouts

I am admittedly terrible at sticking to a workout routine.  I love schedules, and yet I can’t seem to follow them!! Between pre-k, appointments, sicknesses, weather, it’s impossible for me to stick to one thing.  I am probably way harder on myself than I should be, but I really feel like a better human being when I sweat on a regular basis!

I FEEL a million times better when I workout and I also eat a lot better too.  My goal is to workout 5x a week.  If I end up moving more than that, great!

I did invest in a membership to the YMCA.  I think it has done wonders for the kids to get out, play with other kids, sweat it out in the “Mystery Cavern” and for Bradley to be around other grown ups.

It’s also incredibly nice to have an hour or so to myself where I can blast gangster rap, listen to a podcast or just zone out to You Tube.

What if I don’t want to work out?

Just go walk on the treadmill.  If you’re going to watch a show, then why not burn a few calories by walking?  Even 30 minutes of walking will probably make you sweat a little, and you may be inclined to walk more.

I don’t have time.

None of us do.  We just have to make the time. If it’s 5 minutes here, or 15 minutes there, it all adds up.  Start small and increase as you become stronger.

Check out this article via Prevention magazine; it talks about the benefits of simply walking! Walking Benefits

I have zero motivation.

I will totally admit when I have an event to attend, a vacation to go away for, or Summer…I am certainly way more motivated than in the dead of Winter (now) when we are covered in layers upon layers and leggings. Oh those damn leggings with the elastic waist! It’s great until you try to zip up a pair of your favorite jeans…

You can also make your friends hold you accountable; it’s much easier now with the fitbits and Apple watches.  Join an actually accountability group, hire a coach or purchase from a Beachbody or AdvoCare coach.  These things work people! Only if you want them to of course.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t workout.

I need this one right now.  It’s been over a week since I went to the gym.  On Saturday I did a 20 minute yoga flow and truly felt my shoulders burning, but I haven’t done much else other than walk the dog a bit.

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Find a workout you LOVE.

For me it’s a mix. If I could do Zumba every day, I probably would, but that’s not in the cards for me!  I try to go every Tuesday at the Y.  Sometimes I miss it, but man when I get my dancing in for the week, I am a happy happy girl!

I try to workout based on my mood. Some days I really want to lift weights, other days I’m really into yoga. There are even some days I just want to walk with the kids outside or run around at the playground. At the end of the day, and even at the end of the week I think it’s important to look back and just see that we have exercised in some sort of capacity.

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Get Outside.

I hear ya sister, it’s cold and probably not sunny all of the time.  I am such a hermit when the cold weather hits, but when it’s at least 45 and sunny? I really try to make an effort.  I do attempt to play in the snow with the kids too, but I’ll be honest I am more beach bunny than snow bunny.  My dog sure doesn’t mind a little cold, so on Sundays if it’s not too bad out I’ll take her for a nice long walk.

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Try a pre-workout drink.

I am obsessed with pre-workout. I love both Beachbody and Advocare’s.  I find the energy uplifting without a crash and it DOESN’T bother my belly! Yay! I will even drink this stuff if I need a kick in the pants and need to function…I can’t drink coffee, and green tea only does so much for me.  This is made with a green tea leaf extract and I think it’s mixed with a magical potion to create a perfect balance of ‘get-er-done’ and zen.  Odd, I know. Trust me on it though!! Spark is too rough on me and I just love the taste of this.  I add one ice cube and sip that baby like it’s my morning cocktail of energy.  {You can get your pre-workout here.}

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Take photos.

I can’t tell you how many times I will sit there feeling sorry for myself and I don’t wanna workout bla bla bla, and then I’ll scroll through some of my old insta-story photos and instantly become motivated. I didn’t want to workout then either most likely, but I did it, I felt good and I know that I can do it again. I also think it inspires other people, which I always enjoy doing too.  It’s also nice to see progress happening, whether it’s a flatter tummy, more defined arms or clothing fitting a little nicer. With all of our social media options, find a place to hold yourself accountable and share your photos. Or just take them and store them in your phone.

Reward yourself. 

I had been dying for a pair of LuLulemon yoga pants for quite sometime. I vowed that once I dropped my baby weight (the second time around) and stayed at a consistent size/weight I would treat myself to a pair.  Warning: They’re addictive! Hands down, these are THE BEST and most comfortable pair of pants. I could live in them daily.   Maybe it’s a spa day, a manicure, a new pair of sneakers….dangle some sort of carrot in front of your face, so that you stay motivated to achieve your goals.

(You can find them here.)

Motivation doesn’t last.  It ebbs and flows, some days I am ready to kill it and others I want to pull the covers over my head and stay there all day.  What works best for me is to remind myself that my overall health is what’s important.  Yes, I want to feel and look good but ultimately I tell myself I have this one body and I must take really good care of it.  We are not meant to be sitting all day; we need movement and to feel the oxygen going in and out of our lungs.  We have to push ourselves and also enjoy exercise.

What are your tips for staying active?  Do you have a favorite workout?

Fashion Friday: February Looks

Happy Friday!

We are totally snowed in–no school, no hair appointment, no traveling of any kind! I’m okay with that, and may have asked the universe to slow me down, so thank you mother nature!

I get asked where I like to shop, so I have included some of my February looks and similar styles for you to view.

I have been on a curling kick lately.  My hair is super thick and really a lot of work, so I try to do it up when I can, but it does take time.  I use my older Chi straightener and curl away from my face.  It kind of creates this big curl, semi-Farrah Fawcett look and I’m obsessed.  I have one like this.

Date Night look:

Old Navy Swing Dress (similar here)

Faux Fur vest- Similar

OTK boots–similar

Mina Draped choker is 1/2 off right now!! I LOVE this necklace!

‘Mom’s Day Off’ look:

Audrey Statement Earrings

Charlotte Druzy Pendant

Free People top Similar

Mom on the Go Look

Park Slope Scarf– Out of Stock, similar here

Nila Chandeliers–Out of Stock, Similar here 

Kari Layered Necklace in gold

Girls Night Out:

Cold Shoulder Top- Forever 21 Similar here

Sparkle Studs ($19!)

Diedre Double Horn Pendant

Janson Horn Pendant

My friend Shelby hosted #redpinkweek around Valentine’s Day on instagram and we had fun wearing those festive colors!

Date Day/Taxes Done

Sweater: Express (Similar here)

Earrings: Constantine Feather

Arm Party:

Anda Intention Bracelet in Strength & Courage

Nicholette Stretch Bracelet

Starbucks: Green Tea Latte with soy

Open House Look:

Black sweater dress– Kohls *admittedly, 9 years old!, (similar here)

Natia Necklace

(Arm party from above)

Date Day look

Black Top: Amazon

Audrey Statement Earrings

Celestial choker in gold

Baby Shower Look

Terney Necklace

Top –-Apricot Lane Boutique

The Addy poncho can also be worn as a cardigan (not shown).

Cece Earrings

Celestial choker (daily staple!)

Bonus: Cute boy photobombed

The Addy poncho as a boatneck…

OR off the shoulder…

Seriously though…with free product, discounts, and GIRL TIME built into the biz, how can you not at least try it on for size? I’m coming up on my 2nd year Stella-versary—

I can’t believe it!

And of course, my mini me. This was her Valentine’s Day look~

Dress: Old Navy— currently on sale for $8!