Fall Beauty Must Haves!

I am such a girlie girl.  I absolutely love makeup and all things beauty related.  I am not a beauty guru by any means, and I was brought up in a “less is more” household.  I was raised not really wearing any makeup.  Bonne Bell chapsticks, a little cover girl blush and my eye lash curler got me through high school.  In college I overplucked my brows and wore way too much white/shiny eye shadow.  Thanks to Britney Spears!

However, as I have gotten older I do find the joy in applying makeup and using great skincare products since I am 37, not 22.  I have never had Botox, but am not against it.

This past Spring I decided to switch from Mary Kay skincare to a more natural, botanical line which happens to be a Stella & Dot sister company.  Ever Skin Care has done nothing but better my skin!! I haven’t had any crazy breakouts and honestly feel like my skin actually has a glow to it.  I do use makeup wipes to take off my makeup with every night and I just started using this Trio into my routine.  I love the beauty water, which cleanses and removes makeup.  The brightening gel is amazing and I am really loving the priming moisturizing cream.

I also use their tinted moisturizer daily as I don’t like to wear a foundation. (not pictured)

They just launched a few matte long lasting lip colors.  I have been a HUGE fan of their plumping nude glosses for every day.

I tried this long lasting matte and it does last for awhile! I will say that I felt like it was a tad drying, so I need to work on keeping my lips moisturized.  It’s a super pretty color, this is Crush.

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My friend Jenna sold me on these two products!  This I saw HUGE results with.  An instant glow and rejuvenated face for sure!  They do sting a bit around my nose, but nothing terrible.  I don’t use them every day but when I do, my skin looks and feels fabulous.  It does have witch hazel which my friend Elizabeth told me could be a bit much on sensitive skin, but as long as I don’t use it daily it seems to be fine!

I was a really big fan of Younique’s Rose Water as a toner, but honestly after they changed the glass bottle to plastic, I was meh over it.  Jenna also recommended this to me and WOW!!  This stuff smells so good and I use it as a toner or even a mid day spritz to refresh!

If you are local, she knows her stuff and is excellent at what she does.  Show owns Mint Skin Spa in Spencerport and I swear, before the end of the year I am booking a lash tint and lift with her!!

The Younique gals never steer ya wrong!  Use the chapstick (vanilla) then line with Prim which is actually an eye pencil, followed up with a liquid lipstick called Stellar. Shop those products here!

And this is a bit blurry, but again I used Younique, it was palette 2!  Here I have on my beloved Lipsense, I believe in Sheer Berry.  I just love a good bold lip for date night!  I still curl my eyelashes daily and I am obsessed with Younique’s Epic Mascara.

Never forget the brow powder either! I got mine years ago at my brow place.

As for my hair products, I have been trying something new, which I will blog ALL about soon!  (Icy blonde, anyone!?0 I’m using the purple shampoo, by Joico found at Ulta or Amazon.  I curled my hair with my chi straightener.

And lastly, I may not be 19 any more, but goodness gracious I still love me some good old fashion Bath & Body Works Fall scented lotions.  They may have chemicals and I try not to use them all year, but once in awhile? Yes. Yes. Yes.

What are your current favorite Fall beauty must haves?!

CBD Oil

I’ll preface this post by saying, I am not a doctor nor do I have any sort of certification in the health world.  I do however love sharing what helps my family and I feel our best.

My husband has Crohn’s Disease and has dealt with it since diagnosed at 17.  He’s been on all sorts of medications and steroids, eliminated certain food and drinks from his diet and really watches his stress levels.

He saw a HUGE change in his overall health this past year when he added CBD.  First and foremost, for the love of all things, IT DOES NOT GET YOU HIGH.  There is no THC in CBD, it is NOT the same thing as “pot or weed” as most of us know it.

I’m still “new” to CBD, but I wanted to document n

It does not have to be smoked.  You can use a vape pen, or a tincture or it can be an edible like these gummies.

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The gummies my husband buys from a local CBDepot here in town.  They do taste yummy, but I don’t love the extra chemicals…

My husband was so kind and saved these for me to share, if you’re into visuals like this:

I know this is a bit blurry, but it explains how CBD can effectively work in our bodies.

I personally like this oil from Thoughtcloud, which I’ve seen others post about as well.  The quality is great and it’s super effective.  I started with this 750 mg bottle and just did a little drop under my tongue before bed each night.  I slept like a rock!!  I also noticed that my moods were a little more stable and the biggest difference for me was that typically the week before my period I was a MESS.  I’m talking, crying, angry, frustrated, hating the world, everything felt like it was crashing down on me.  I was making mountains out of mole hills and feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I really rely on holistic approaches, not that I’m against doctors and modern meds, but nothing that I was doing seemed to help.  I was getting ready to bring up my issue as possible PMDD at my next OB appointment because of how badly I was feeling.

Since adding this, I have felt SO much better.   It does take awhile (I’d say a few weeks for me) to start seeing a significant change. It’s not a quick fix, nor can you feel an immediate effect if you’re super overwhelmed or feeling a bit out of control.

I upgraded to the bigger bottle last time so that it would last me longer.

Does it make you sleepy?

I have taken it during the day and have had zero effects of feeling lazy, tired or unable to function. If anything, it has helped me focus and get whatever I was trying to accomplish, done.  I have even had really great workouts because of it!  You will not wake up groggy from taking it the night before either.

My husband and I have nothing but rave reviews about CBD oil.

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If you are interested, use this link to checkout Thoughtcloud! They are constantly running sales and promotions on their products.  I only wish I had started taking the oil sooner! Any of my friends who have tried it also have seen great improvements in their ability to sleep, better moods and less anxiety.  It is the FIRST thing I now recommend to people, along with Acupuncture, eating clean & healthy foods as well as exercise and rest.

Feel free to ask me any questions and I will do my best to answer you honestly, as always!

Stepbet Thoughts

My best girlfriend Ann joined a “Stepbet” and basically made me join too.  LOL!  No really, she encouraged me and said it’d be fun, all we have to do is meet our daily walking goal 4x a week and power goals 2x a week and you get a day off.  You put $40 into the pot and if you stick with it all 6 weeks, you get your money back.  If others drop out, you get a cut of their money split amongst the rest of the crew who stuck it out.  If you have an Apple Watch or a Fitbit, it will calculate your averages for you. Somehow my friend Nikki thought it’d be fun too, so she joined in! HA!

The first week is a prep week and it doesn’t actually count. This is where I learned the value of charging my watch; it died a few times and that was bad. I am not gonna lie, the second week I ROCKED it!  I was walking the dogs, pushing the stroller, running around like a mad woman–all while the weather was nice.  However as soon as the temps started to drop, so did my activity level.

Now I’m not a stationary person to begin with; but I don’t hit almost 11,000 steps every single day either.  I’ve learned that this is harder than I thought!! There are days where you are stuck in the car, going to appointments or sitting doing work (chores, playing with kids, snuggling, etc) and there are also times where you just want to not walk!

I literally have 4 days left.  2 can be active and 2 have to be power.  I developed a small (yet annoying!) chest cold on Saturday, so my energy has been zero.  I tried to “rest” as much as I could while still getting in my steps Monday & Tuesday.   Today as I type this at 3pm, I’m at 5,322.  I still need to get to 10,781 by midnight tonight.

My friends and I have found ourselves doing jumping jacks, pacing hallways, running in place and just walking for literally NO reason.  I think it’s kind of hilarious and kind of obnoxious all in one.  I’m a huge fan of challenges, but man alive I’m ready for this one to be OVER! Why is the last week of something always the hardest?

If you’re reading, then please say a little prayer I’ll actually finish this last week; mama needs all the support she can get!  I so appreciate all of my friends who encourage me and to those of you stepping, we’ve got this!!  I will let you all know how much money I end up with at the end. #positivevibes

Here is what today looks like:

Here is a look at the whole 5 weeks that actually counted.

I must say there are a few pros/cons.

Pros- I feel like my legs are super muscular! My booty is looking fine too (according to the hubs! LOL!) I have not gained any weight and honestly, I’m enjoying carbs and yummy treats.  I’ve bonded with some good friends.  I feel like Superwoman when I complete each week.  I know I’m being healthier and getting outside with the kids, when I maybe would wanna curl up and be lazy.  I feel like I’m being a good role model for my son and daughter.

Cons– Really the biggest is maybe the stress of it this last week.  Getting sick sucks and I’m just tired! I don’t want to lose my money, so I must finish! The only other con is that I miss lifting weights and doing yoga.  If I’m “going to spend time being active” then I need my darn steps!

Have you or would you do a Stepbet?

#blogtober…the show must go on!

Hello hello!! I am not even sure who even reads this little space here.  In true life fashion, I have missed two days of my #blogtober challenge.  Le sigh.

However, I will not apologize.  Sure, I didn’t show up for myself, but ya know what?  It’s okay.  Saturday I started coming down with a little scratchy throat, of course the night where hubby and I were to have a fancy date night and be able to go out and be wild, crazy & kid free!

In reality, I ended up bumping the back of my head getting into his car and we were home by 9.  I felt like to total poo yesterday but it was nice to “rest” a bit.  I say that because let’s be real. Moms and wives don’t get sick days.  There is no time off.  I got to watch a few clips of Food Network in the morning and I didn’t have to  make dinner two days in a row.

Life is nutty!  I tried so hard to form the words to explain the benefits of CBD oil, but I just couldn’t get my sentences write, but I do promise to post about it.  It has changed mine and my husband’s lives so it’s that important I will get to it.

I just didn’t want to neglect my little spot here once again; I’m fitting in this tiny post in between searching for certain Land Trust agreement paperwork (So much paperwork in real estate!!) and going to tuck my little munchkins into bed.

We are all healthy, alive, well and good… Okay I’m not 100% there yet, but give me one more day I’ll be there.

So if you’re hanging on by a thread, I’m here to tell you, it’s all okay.  Push yourself just a little more, but not too hard.  Get some sleep. Drink more water.  Breathe.  You’ve got this; whatever it is, don’t give up.

It’s like my girl Rachel Hollis was saying this morning on her Live video with her husband Dave. (I was organizing my daughter’s dresser–out with the old and in with the new!)  Just because you ate a cookie, don’t beat yourself up!! We are here to build a better version of ourselves daily.  How do we do that? By being NICE to ourselves.  Yes, that means no talking badly to yourself if you didn’t get your blog done, or the workout in, or you yelled at your kid.  Just be better tomorrow.  Be sweet to yourself; she’s the only one you’ve got and you’ve got to be with her forever!!

On that note, stay healthy friends!! Wash your hands, use the essential oils and for goodness sakes, get some sleep.

See you on the flip side!

xo

Why I Started Blogging

Back in 2011 I went from working a full time teaching job that was about a 45 minute commute to and from my home, to staying home as a housewife.  I absolutely loved my job teaching English 7-12, but the stress of the commute and literally feeling like I NEVER saw my husband took a toll on us.  When Joe suggested I stay home and not go back to work, I thought he was kidding…turns out it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

While I was super happy and confident in my decision to stay home, I longed for some connection of other women who too were happily married and lived a not so average life.  I had always wanted to start a blog, but never found the time to figure out how to get it up and running.  Finally one day I just sat down and figured it out, thus launching Bliss to Bean.  Reading and writing have always been a passion of mine and as soon as I figured out Blogger, it was go time.  With the ease of our cell phones snapping photos and quickly uploading, I was sharing my heart on here in no time at all.

I immediately found a bunch of amazing girls, younger and older, who shared similar values or simply just loved sharing their lives on the internet.  I’ve learned so much and made some really amazing inter-web friends! It was super fun to post daily back in 2011/2012 and once I found out I was pregnant, it was a great way to share my journey.

I also have family who lives far away, so I knew that this online space would be a great way for them to see what we are up to and then of course once I had kids, it was nice to create a family diary of sorts.  I’ve waffled back and forth on whether to quit blogging all together.  I’ve taken breaks.  I have changed my content here and there…

But the reason I always come back is that I feel like I have something to say.  There have been a few times where people have reached out to me and thanked me for my honesty.  They tell me that they don’t feel so alone, or that I inspired them to have a better day.  I absolutely love this!!  I can only hope that more women feel connected to my writing, even if I don’t hear from them.

I’ve always been as honest and true here on my blogs, as much as I feel comfortable being.  There are some topics (like potty training) I feel are off limits.

I never try to come off as perfect or having it all together.  I share what works for me, what doesn’t, and honestly my main goal in life is to just be happy.  There are a ton of obstacles life throws at us, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you and you alone to create your happiness.

Some people think I should be making money off my blog and heck, if I could I would!! I just personally don’t want to turn into a sponsored ad every day.  If I find something that I love, I share it! If I find something that isn’t working, I may just share that too.  I also don’t want it to feel like a burden; I love finding the joy in blogging.  It’s no fun when it becomes tedious and work-like.

While the blogging community has changed A LOT over the last 6 years, I still smile when I see the “OG” girls that I used to really connect with… a lot of them are on instagram, but most do not blog any more.  There were real friendships made and during hard times and good, it was nice to have uplifting ladies in my life.

I set my brand new blog up in January of 2018 and had no idea what I was doing.  If I’m being honest I am still trying to figure out WordPress!  I just wanted to own my site and ensure that my words were safe.

I am not entirely sure where my blogging journey will take me, but writing makes me so happy and this #blogtober challenge has been so good for my soul!

If you’re ever feeling compelled to blog, just do it!! You never know what can happen until you just try.

Happy Friday friends!

Favorite Fall Recipes

We’ve had a bit of a heat spell here this last week, so not much Fall cooking or baking took place.  That’s ok! We had some cooler weather a little bit ago and looking at the forecast, we’ll have some coming up as well.   I absolutely love it when the weather does drop, to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen.  I find it so therapeutic to cook and bake for my beautiful little family.  Food is a major love language of mine!  When the cool temps come, bring on the warm and cozy comfort foods!

All time favorite Fall comfort (read, not healthy) food?  Mac & Cheese.  I am obsessed with the best ever, and I mean EVER mac and cheese: Over the Rainbow Mac & Cheese by Patti LaBelle.   It was a chilly Sunday a few weeks back, so hubby smoked some babyback ribs and slathered them in BBQ and while I didn’t have all 7 cheeses (yes, you read that correctly!) I did have cheddar & velveeta so I made do…plus I had half and half and wow.  Kids didn’t like it; I’m wondering who’s children they are??? But Joe and I really enjoyed!

Who doesn’t love chili on a cold day?  If you’re looking for a healthy and filling meal, check this one out!  Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chicken Quinoa Chili.  It made a TON so I froze some for later.  I will admit, I was the only one who ate it. Joe can’t do all that fiber and the kids didn’t like the flavor.

Kid Friendly:

Pizza Pasta Bake They loved that it looked and tasted like a pizza! It was a nice way to use up some pasta and cheese.

And an oldie but goodie, 2 (or 3) ingredient muffins~

1 box of spice cake

1 can of pumpkin

Chocolate chips

Stir pumpkin & boxed cake in a bowl, spoon into muffin tin.  Bake at 325 degrees for 18-20 minutes. I top with chocolate chips because why not?!

Family Vacation: Charleston, South Carolina

Back in August, we headed South for my mom’s wedding.  Her and Mark got married on Folly Beach, which is about 20 minutes or so from Charleston.   It’s a super cute little beach town with fun little shops, restaurants and of course an amazing ocean view.

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We stayed at the Tides Hotel, which is one of the only hotels on this beach.  We enjoyed our stay and the wedding was held here too!

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We grabbed a quick dinner since the 4 of us were starving from traveling all day.  This was our first “officially on vacation” photo.

The kids enjoyed their kid friendly strawberry daqs.

Brooke was LOVING all of the seafood!

That night we checked out the beach and the kids of course loved swimming in the pool.

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The next morning we headed out for some girl time!! Pedicures and a tea room lunch with the bride to be…my mama!

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Brooke loved it.

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My sis and I snuck out to grab a quick “Folly Vice” at the beach bar.  Gosh it was tasty!

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Later that night was the rehearsal dinner.  We all had dinner & drinks at the Pier which was next door to our hotel…I never did get to walk that damn pier! haha

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After that we played in the ocean…I mean, figured out who went where for the next day!

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The wedding was beautiful! If you missed that post, you can catch up on that here.

We had a semi-early morning the following day as well, as we had a carriage ride/tour to catch.

The kids loved their new hats.

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They did pretty well on the carriage tour, but it was hot (obvi) and history isn’t exciting to them yet.  They did pretty well though!

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We had so much fun and were very grateful that my mom and Mark put together this activity for us to enjoy.  We only wish we had more time to go back and explore the old streets and sights!

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They loved getting to pet the horse.

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After that, we walked the market, hit up the Charleston tea & spice shop –yum!! We also enjoyed a nice lunch together on a rooftop–which I am totally blanking on. Mom?

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That was our final night in Charleston.  I believe I ordered this AMAZING Low Country dinner that night, which happened to be at our hotel restaurant.

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When we got up the next morning, Joe & I went off to Savannah, which I posted about here.

When we returned, we picked up the kiddos and checked into a Marriott in historic Charleston.  It ended up being a good place to walk to a lot of places!  We walked over to this BBQ joint which was quite delish!

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We made sure to make plenty of pit stops for ice cream, because, vacation.

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The next morning Joe found this amazing little French breakfast place, it was SO good!

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Brooke & Daddy basically had dessert for breakfast.

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I was pumped to have some Orangina!  It has been YEARS since I had this.  I’m thinking the last time was when we were in Paris on our honeymoon, 2010!

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We walked up to the market, hit up a Starbucks and let the kids rest here and there.  We stopped at this old water fountain and of course read the history all about it.

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We found some little Raw bar and the kids sort of ate whatever it was we ordered them.  Joe really enjoyed his lobster roll & I had a divine glass of rosé and some ceviché.

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That night we had a fancy dinner at the Charleston Hotel.  We all got dressed up and walked there.  On the way, Bradley kept seeing these bicycle guys and was throwing a FIT because he wanted to drive one!  We promised him on the way back to the hotel, we’d get one.

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The kids were PUMPED for their big bowls of popcorn!

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Mark, mom & us

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Our fun little ride back to the hotel.

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Overall Charleston is not extremely kid friendly, as it’s just a lot of walking, eating, history, and repeat.  I thought our 3 & 5 year olds did amazing!! They dined out at fancy restaurants and kept up with most activities.  My mom and Mark took them to the Aquarium the day Joe and I went to Boone Hall Plantation.

Joe and I had a drink at the Market Pavillion Rooftop bar that night and Saturday morning we went back home.

It really proved to us that we need to travel more.  Joe and I always went away a few times a year before kids and well, the idea of flying with babies terrified us.  We SO needed to get out and explore.  The kids are ready and it was so good for all of us to be in new places, get out of our routines and shake it up a little.

Not to mention, I really loved spending time with my mom.  We can’t wait to come back, or heck, just drop the kids off and keep heading South haha!!

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Happy Birthday to my Husband

41 years ago this man made his grand entrance into this world.  He is the definition of, “one of a kind.”  I’ve never met someone so confident, self-assured and positive in all of my life.  He is literally a glass half full kinda guy.

I wish we were able to whisk away to the Ritz Carlton, Toronto to celebrate again, but I guess a nice quiet Tuesday night at home will have to do.

He requested Man Pleasin Chicken for dinner and the kids are so excited to give him their gifts.  I’d have to say that year 40 was a huge year for Joe; he’s grown so much as a husband, father & business (man).

I still catch myself looking at him and feeling super sappy about all that we’ve been through and how much true love can endure.  We have such big dreams and goals, sometimes they scare me but I know there’s very little that frightens Joe.

Some of you may not know this about my husband, but he has Crohn’s Disease and this past year, he has truly found some BIG game changers on his health.  I will definitely share more on that later…(CBD Oil!)

As of today, I will have celebrated 10 birthdays with you.  You were 30 when I met you and and it still doesn’t feel like we’ve been together that long!

I am so excited for all of the adventures that await us in your 41st year.

May your day be full of love, your year be full of health, wealth, and most of all: happiness.  Brooke, Bradley, Bailey, Holly & I are very blessed to have you as our main man.  There is no one on earth like you, nor will there ever be another.  I’m so happy you chose me all those years ago and that I chose you too.

We make a good team, you and I.

Cheers to 41 baby!

I love you with my whole heart & soul.

Since I never blogged about it last year, I’ll share these memories right here.  Your 40th birthday at the Ritz, in Toronto.  It was a stunning corner suite king room. I can’t wait to go back again one day with you my love.

xo

Favorite Youtubers

I do love me some Youtube!!

I find a ton of inspiration from here.  Whether it’s meal planning, parenting, cleaning, reading or working out, there are videos out there for everything.

I really started getting into Youtube when I was pregnant with my first baby.  I wanted to know all things about pregnancy and being a new mom.  It was so helpful!

Throughout the years my faves are still on my to watch list. Here are just a few!

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Way to Relax

When the world feels like it’s spinning out of control, and it will at times, the best thing to do is stop– just take a time out.  I used to think in order to really, “relax” I had to have hours on end or even a whole day.  While that is really, REALLY nice, it’s not that practical when you’re a momma of two littles, two crazy dogs, a wife to a hard working hubby and a business owner.

I have learned to ‘pause’ and steal away moments in my hectic day to relax.

One of my favorite moments was July 1st.  I woke up really early on a Sunday and told my husband I just needed a little quiet time.  I had no idea where I was going, but off I went.  I hit up Starbucks for my beloved Matcha Green Tea Latté and found myself at the beach watching the sunrise.  Being present in nature, especially with such a beautiful display of God’s creation, I was more than relaxed.

If I am home and can’t run off alone, I will sometimes make a cup of tea, turn on some quiet jazz music and put away/shut off the phone.  The act of making a cup of tea is so serene to me.  If I’m feeling lousy, a little English Breakfast Tea, half and half & tsp of sugar can cure pretty much anything.  A cute mug always helps!  I’ve got my eye on this one!

 

If it’s nice out, I’ll go outside to sip it.  Even if it’s only 10-15 minutes, just taking a little break helps me out so much!

Bradley doesn’t always nap, but if he does I force myself to sit down (around 2 or 3 pm usually) and take a break.  A healthy snack, some essential oils & tea are a perfect way to break up the day.

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I also will scroll through some uplifting quotes to try and straighten out my mindset.

I firmly believe what we think about, we bring about.

If you focus on what you don’t want, you will get more of that.

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I am the first to admit, sometimes I get too caught up in #goals and #hustling I don’t stop to appreciate the life I have.  I need the reminder to stop and pause.  It’s a must!

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Another way I love to relax is curling up with a good book.  This is my current read for my upcoming Book Club at the Wine Bar.  Feared: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel

As per one of my last posts, I don’t watch a lot of shows on TV to relax, but I do have This is Us that I like.  (haven’t watched it much yet this season though!)

Blogging is a form of relaxation for me.

Pouring a glass of wine & cooking up a storm is pure therapy for me. It’s truly my happy place!

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I don’t do much crazy decorating, mostly because we’ll be moving soon and with two dogs and two kids, a lot gets ruined…but I do try to take time and make the house feel like a home.

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Cuddling with the kids is quite relaxing.  I also love snuggling with the pups when they aren’t too crazy, they too can be quite relaxing!

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Don’t get me wrong, a trip to the Spa for a facial, massage & pedicure are certainly some of my favorite ways to relax!  I just can’t afford to go there weekly, (darn!) so I find it so vital to sneak in ways daily to rejuvenate.  Filling my cup is so important to me.  When I provide self-care, everything runs a lot smoother.

What are your favorite ways to relax?

Do you have a book you can read again and again?

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I bet this answer will surprise some of you.

No!

I hate, no loathe reading books over again and again.  I don’t think I have honestly read a book cover to cover more than once!  I will read chapters or sections over, but I have never sat down and re-read books.  Can’t do it, won’t do it, don’t like to do it. (Although kids books don’t count!! I can basically recite most of our well loved childrens books! Especially, Go Dog Go.)

I also struggle with e-books.  I love the convenience of reading on my i-pad mini, but do not like feeling the pages turn!  It is such a struggle haha.

When I was teaching, I’d teach the same books each year (if I was in that grade level again) and still I could not bring myself to re-read an entire book.

Now that I’m older and have seriously limited time, my TBR (to be read) list is so long I can’t afford to read a book over and over!  Plus, I have set my lofty goal of reading 52 books in 2018 and I’m at 31…can I do it?!)

That said, I do have some favorite books that I certainly wouldn’t mind reading sections of.  I will forever love these novels and they hold a special place in my heart.

The Great Gatsby was a major turning point in my life.  I fell in love with literature my Junior year of High School.  The thematic elements, symbolism and imagery of this novel alone made me want to become a teacher.  Of course, it’s an excellent story and I certainly don’t mind that Leonardo DiCaprio remade the movie version.  Ol’ chap.

 

My favorite author of all time is Jane Austen.  If you’ve never read any of her work, it really is beautiful! I was slightly obsessed with her female characters and the intricate love stories of all those involved.  Oddly enough, I do not enjoy watching movies based on her novels!  Persuasion is my favorite book of hers.


I love love loved The Notebook! I remember being single, curled up in my big green arm chair, laughing, sobbing and wishing for a love like Noah & Allie’s one day… I loved this book so much I used a part of it during our wedding ceremony as a reading.

“The best love is the kind that weakens the soul, that makes us reach for more, that plants fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I hope to give to you forever. Poets often describe love as an emotion that we can’t control, one that overwhelms logic and common sense. That’s what it’s like for me. I didn’t plan on falling in love with you, and I doubt that you planned on falling in love with me. But once we met, it was clear that neither of us could control what was happening to us. We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me love like that has happened only once, and that’s why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory. I’ll never forget a single moment of it.”

And as for a recent read, this one.  Wow.  Tara’s memoir was such an excellent read.  It was one where I couldn’t just ‘rip right through it’ like some of my other books this past Summer.  I wanted to slow down, savor each sentence, each paragraph.  Her writing style is simply beautiful and her story is like no other.  It really resonated with me for many reasons; it really shows that how we are brought up and taught to believe does begin to shape us. However, if you can escape the crazy, you can make something amazing out of yourself.  The stories Tara shares are gut-wrenching and more than anything she makes you feel like you’re going through them with her.  I highly recommend it.

 

Is there a book you can read again and again? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

An Old Photo & the Story Behind it

I had my mom send me some old photos via text and this was one that made me laugh.  I was such a chubby cheeked little chipmunk!! I want to say I must have been around 9 or 10?  4th or 5th grade…

It was before braces and bras, I’ll tell ya that much!

I’m wearing my New Kids on the Block t-shirt as well as a watch.  I was a total fan girl and crushed hard on Jonathon!!

Hangin Tough, Step-by-Step, you name it, I knew it. I’d carry around my little yellow Sony Walkman and jam those cassette tapes!

This would be my natural hair color, which I still can’t believe both my kids seem to have.  I believe that I’m standing in my doorway to my bedroom.  Each of us three girls had our own rooms.  My parents had to put an addition on after the 3rd!

I’m holding my little hamster, Mikey.  We went to the mall and I believe it was Woolworths (I don’t think there are any around now.) They had the cutest display of Teddy Bear Hamsters.  I begged my parents for one, because you know a few cats and dogs weren’t enough apparently.  My dad said a firm no, but my mom for some reason I’m still unsure of, said yes! She hates mice and rats so I’m still shocked as to how I ended up with a hamster! (Kind of like me currently with reptiles…hell to the no!!   I just have that feeling Joe and the kids will come home with a Bearded Dragon or something creepy.)

Mikey was such a good little guy!!  He had this ball that he’d roll around in and he definitely took a tumble down our stairs once or twice. He was okay!! And his name?  Oh, I felt that if I named him after my dad, my dad would be okay with him! haha

Apparently it worked because later that year for Christmas, Santa made him a HUGE hamster cage…it was like a big condo for hamsters!  Mikey liked to escape/chew his way out of the top of the plastic cage, and I had trouble sleeping at night since they are nocturnal.

I think this picture sums up my childhood extremely well.  I think I was overall a pretty happy kid, my parents more than provided for us, loved us and encouraged me to always do my best.  I was never one to really follow a crowd, I kind of did my own thing.  I didn’t have a ‘clique’ and always tried to be nice to everyone.

I was, still am, a total dork.  I love that my parents kept my childhood innocence for as long as they possibly could.  I can honestly say that I do the same for my two and will continue to do it as well.  I was probably one of the last girls to wear eye liner.  (I started after I got married at 28).

Oh, the memories!

TV: Why I don’t Watch it

Yup.  I am one of the “weirdos.”  It seems like most people try to make small talk and ask what shows I watch and I laugh and say, I don’t have any.  (Ok, one.)

We actually have cable and to say that I never watch TV would be a lie.  I have nothing against it, but awhile back I realized I just don’t have the desire to get sucked into shows.  I feel like Steve Chandler’s 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself has something to do with it.  He said that when you watch TV, you’re watching others do what they love–they are living out their dream, while we basically sit like zombies. Now, I’m sure this post will get some eye rolls, but seriously, think about how much TV the average person watches…

l love a good movie and I do actually have one show left that I enjoy (This is Us), cue the tears– but long gone are sitting in front of the TV and watching episode after episode of The Real Housewives, or The Hills.  The kids do watch some TV, they actually prefer movies too lately which is funny.  They do enjoy Vamprina, Puppy Dog Pals & Fancy Nancy as of late.

So, what do I do with my time?  I’m usually just busy livin the #momlife #wifelife.  I cook a lot all day long, which then involves a lot of cleaning and dishes. While doing that, I try very hard to listen to books on audio, good podcasts, or catch up with friends via Marco Polo.  Sometimes I put on some music; lately I’ve been listening to country music.  (Getting ready for Luke Bryan later this month!)

I also love You Tube.  I just feel like I need to be learning things all the time so I’d rather be spending my time doing these other things.  I enjoy being inspired by other moms or women who decorate, cook, clean and enjoy life!

I also work on our Rent to Own business, read books for pleasure, play with kids, talk with my husband, walk the dogs, and honestly the only time I find to sit (or stand) to watch anything I’m folding laundry.

I also try not to watch the news.  I can’t even do the Today Show without rolling my eyes and boy I used to LIVE by that show.

I do check in here and there, but I try to fill my mind with really good thoughts, education or personal growth.  I know that we watch way less TV in the Summer because we are outside doing all the things.  Come cooler weather, we’ll throw on football games and cozy up by the fire…but even then I’m still usually in the kitchen with my jazz music going or something!

Like I said, I’m not anti-TV but I certainly think, like anything, everything best in moderation.  If you feel like you have “NO TIME” just take a look at where times goes.  I am guilty at falling down the FB or Insta rabbit hole and have to catch myself and such, but I just don’t have Netflix or find myself having that habit of being a couch potato.  Growing up I wasn’t much of a huge TV or video gamer, so I guess it may just be in my nature.

Instead of TV ideas…

  • read a book
  • go on a walk
  • cook a meal
  • listen to a podcast
  • write a blog
  • exercise
  • play with kiddos/pets
  • work on a side hustle
  • write in a journal
  • have meaningful conversations with my husband/friends/family

What are your thoughts on TV?

My Favorite Season

Well, this isn’t a hard one for anyone who knows me.

While there are many reasons I love living in upstate New York, one of them happens to be the changing of the seasons. There is something so beautiful as the leaves go from green to red, orange and yellow…as they crisp up and the ground freezes, and the grass becomes covered with snow.  The way the birds come back in early Spring and the buds appear on branches, and it finally gives way to the hot bright sun that is Summer.  I love that we experience all four seasons!

But if I must choose one, I have been and will always be in love with Summer.

The feeling that I get when I open the door and I take that first breath of hot sticky air.  The way the green grass grows to such high heights!  The feel of a soft Summer breeze unexpectedly.  The smell of sunscreen, burgers on the grill and a hot pavement.  It’s always going to be my favorite!  I love being able to not wear a million layers, come and go with ease and slowing down to savor the season.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the slowness of a cold Winter’s night.  All bundled up, cozy in a blanket, sipping hot cocoa by our fire…ok or some Merlot.

But Summer?  Late nights driving around with my love with the top of the corvette down are so fun.  Joe grilling dinner and then all of us piling into the truck to go find a place to watch the sunset–the beach.

Bare feet, wet hair, sandy messes piling everywhere.

Sticky fingers and faces full of ice cream.

The way my babies smell of sweet sweat.

Meals outdoors, long walks, chalk driveway drawings, bubbles, building sand castles.

Sitting in our garage with the smoker going and smelling the hickory do its thing.

Fireworks, family gatherings, outdoor fire pits and running around in the back fields.

No real bedtimes, no real place we have to be…

I’m already starting to miss all of it!  But that’s the beauty about the seasons; they are here, do their thing and then roll on by.  Fall is in full effect, rain will turn to snow and soon I’ll be playing Christmas carols.

I don’t hate anything about our weather, other than the true lack of sunshine, which of course is the biggest reason I love Summer.

That big ball of burning fire feels SO good on my bones.  I blame it on being a Leo, but there is something special about that sun and if I can’t have it all year, I’ll just have to go after it come those winter months.

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What is your favorite season?  What makes it so?

Boone Hall Plantation

While down in South Carolina this past Summer, Joe and I really wanted to check out a plantation.  We figured the kids would be too little and it just so happened that my mom (Grandma) and her new husband Mark (Grandpa) wanted the kiddos another night!

My mom said of all the plantations she could think of, Boone was the place to go.  It also happened to be filmed in one of my favorite movies, The Notebook, so I just had to see!

Obviously the home is stunning, and learning the history of what it’s been through the years was quite amazing.  You can’t help but just stop at the gate in awe.

The Avenue of Oaks was also quite breathtaking; I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

As much as we enjoyed our day together, it was quite a somber experience.  The deep history of slavery was all around us.  I swear I could feel something a little different in my soul.

It was such an odd feeling, admiring the gorgeous home and beautiful views, but my heart was heavy thinking of all the people who were considered property here.

The trees were so old and breathtaking.  The little smokehouse below fascinated Joe, since we love our little smoker so much, how crazy that’s how they used to preserve their meats etc.

I had a hard time even smiling while standing in one of the slave cabins; I still have trouble wrapping my brain around how humans treated other humans so inhumanely.

But I suppose that is why we teach history, so we can learn and not repeat past mistakes.  My favorite part of the day was the Gullah presentation.  A lady sang and shared stories of her people. I had no idea that when the slaves would go out into the plantations and work, they’d often sing a song; this song would many times tell a story of what would be happening later that night or day, like an escape.

Above you can see the water way; that was the main source of transportation back then as there were no roads.  Slaves would try to escape that way, but it was so difficult!

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It was interesting because I was just finishing up a book, Small Great Things and it delved quite deeply in racial issues, white supremacy and was quite fitting for me to be thinking about all of it as I walked the cabins.

When I got home, I started a fiction book on slavery, which was honestly quite hard to stomach at times.  Again, I felt the importance of reading it as it is part of our history and it’s history that schools don’t really teach…we definitely give the watered down version to our students, understandably so.

If you’re ever in South Carolina, I’d make time for a stop here at Boone.  It’s one of the memories from our trip that continues to pop up in our minds and hearts.  Joe and I have had many beautiful discussions about it and how grateful we are to be living in a time period like today.

Introduction

Hello!!

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Photo: Summer vacation Folly Beach (I’m a Summer girl!)

If you are new here, I’m so happy you stopped by my little space here!  I’d love to connect with you, so please leave a comment!  If you’ve been following for awhile, welcome back.  I’d love to hear from you too!!  I started a blog back in 2011–(feel free to stalk me here, I totally don’t mind; I’d do it too!)

I am a 37 year old woman married to the love of my life.  We have been together 10.5 years, married for 8 and have two kiddos (a 5 year old girl and a 3 year old boy). We also have two crazy dogs!  I stay home and my husband works crazy hours.  We have a very 1950’s style marriage and I couldn’t be happier.  (I’m happiest in the home!)

It wasn’t always this way…back in 2011, I decided that teaching English 7-12 for 8 years was good enough, and I’d give it a go staying home as a housewife.  Boy did that get a lot of looks and comments!

My husband Joe and I decided that he worked enough hours and if anything, it’d make more sense to stay home because my district looked as though there’d be cuts in a year or so anyway.  I had driven about a 45 minute-one hour commute to and then another 45 -1 hour home each day.  It was about 2 hours of my life daily and as much as I loved the students and the school, it was a lot.

How did I spend my time? Well, I certainly enjoyed it! It was a nice buffer for what was to come, I’ll tell ya that much!  I perfected my cooking skills; think Food Network star worthy dinners 4-5x  a week. Yeah, that kind of backfired once I had kids, haha!  Hubby was like, um….and I was like, ya here’s another pasta dish!  I feel like now that we’re into a groove, my oldest is in Kindergarten and I have one in preschool 2 days a week, for 2 hours each, I have my head on a little more straight.

That said, we also decided to change up our side hustle a bit.  We had accumulated some rental properties, but decided to get into the Rent to Own business.  It’s awesome!! It’s also a lot of work; don’t be fooled.

We have a total of 9 properties and some amazing tenant buyers we are able to help out.  They are able to rent out one of our homes until they’re capable of getting a mortgage.  All they really need is a down payment & to afford the monthly rent–it’s so awesome to help people like this!

I still try to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner daily for my family.  It’s not easy, as my husband has Crohn’s, the kids are, well, kids and don’t eat Kale & spinach readily, imagine that!! My diet works best if it’s lean proteins, lots of veggies, some fruit & complex carbs.  I enjoy food, do NOT get me wrong!  I love burgers, tacos, steaks, grits, fries–and a good old mac and cheese!  However, I’ve learned how my body best responds to food and I definitely plan on sharing that in some blogs. Stay tuned!

I am a Stella & Dot Stylist as a very part-time hustle.  I just love the accessories and helping other women feel a little more confident and cute! It’s nice to connect and talk fashion with fabulous ladies.

I absolutely love to dance; it’s probably my favorite thing ever.  I just love moving and grooving to the music. Luckily my hubby and kids love it too. In fact, that’s one of the biggest things I look forward to with the cooler months ahead: Dance parties!

I am not perfect, nor do I try to be.  I make a ton of mistakes, learn as I go and try to enjoy every moment of this crazy ride called life.  Blogging is a way for me to keep my memories alive, share in hopes of helping another, and cherish what I’ve been given.

You may find me all dolled up in red bottoms, rocking an LV, or I may be in days old hair, sweatshirt & walking our land in the country.  We are really hoping to build this coming Spring and I am beyond excited.

As for religion, all I can say is that I am spiritual.  I feel like that’s a whole post/topic in and of itself, but I’m on journey that is for sure! There’s so much ‘wrong vs right’ when it comes to “being a Christian” I honestly find it ridiculous and a bit hypocritical at times.  I do love Gangster rap, I tend to swear from time to time & I love short dresses.  According to some, I can’t love Jesus too, and if that’s true, then okay. (Yes, I love me some Rachel Hollis.)

I have put blogging on the back burner for many reasons/excuses, but here I am ready to rock and roll this October.  Here’s to an awesome week!

Don’t be shy, say hi!  I’d love to read and follow some new blogs.

Prompts for Blogtober

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I’m so pumped to blog every day in October!  I feel like this will rejuvenate me in so many ways and I have been receiving so much positive feedback about going for this.

My friend Nikki will be blogging, be sure to stop over and say hi!  She has two adorable daughters and is so real.  Her blog My Life to Our Life is full of fun family activities, #momlife talk, fitness, essential oils & other fabulousness!!

I’m going to link up with Loving Every Day Life most days, but I did come up with a few topics I felt like sharing and delving into a little bit further.

Here is my list!

  1. Introduction
  2. Boone Plantation
  3. Do you have a favorite season? List 3 things that you love about it.
  4. Why I don’t watch TV Shows
  5. An old photo, explain it.
  6. Do you have a book you can read over and over?
  7. Most loved ways to relax?
  8. Favorite YouTubers?
  9. Joe’s birthday!
  10. Charleston, SC
  11. Go to Fall recipe?
  12. Day in the Life
  13. CBD Oil.  What is it? Benefits?
  14. Beauty Must Haves
  15. Why did you start blogging?
  16. Favorite Quote
  17. StepBet Thoughts
  18. What is your go to perfume or scent?
  19. Share a #tbt
  20. Do you have any hobbies?
  21. Favorite Song?
  22. SAHM Thoughts
  23. Weight/Diet–Real Talk
  24. What’s one place you’d love to visit?
  25. Seven Instagram Accounts to follow now!
  26. Fashion Friday #ootd
  27. What are you currently reading?
  28. What made you smile today?
  29. Motivation, Inspiration, Encouragement
  30. 10 Facts about you
  31. What does Halloween mean to you?

Fashion Friday (Feeling Fall)

The weather here is so wonky!!  It’s been as high as 90 degrees and down to mid 40s.  I just try to dress cute and accordingly, but I’m usually sweating or cold…#cantwin

We went out for a quick family dinner one night and I threw on some AE jeans, an Apricot Lane tank, some Target nude heels & a necklace my mama made.

If it’s been super warm, I’ll rock some cut-offs, botties & wrap a flannel around my waist.

On a cooler day,  I rocked our new Camo sweatshirt and dressed it up with the Sutton. As for the booties? I actually scooped them up at Walmart, of all places!?

This was my chosen September nail color.  It was called “Rubble” and they said it was an OG Shellac–and wouldn’t last long.   Well I’m sitting here typing this 9/28 and it’s still on.  My nails have grown out, but it’s still stickin!

It was a bit warmer for one weekend so I embraced Summer for as long as I could.

I did sneak out and do a little shopping– I had not shopped at American Eagle in forever! I found a few styles I loved; this top, the flannel (seen in a few photos!) and these jeans.

These pants are SO comfy!

Date nights have been simple…moto jacket and a dress!   I will go with open toe shoes as long as I can!

I also invested in some new leggings, mine were shot!!  I adore this new chambray top from Old Navy as well.

I added the celestial choker & some statement earrings for a little pop of fun.

My bestie’s sister in law has some fabulous leather earrings in her Etsy shop! I saw my girl wearing a pair and had to have some.  I went with Cognac.

In hair news—

I had been going ever 4 weeks and it’s just a HUGE time and financial commitment.  I also was looking for a bit of a change, so I decided to do more of an ‘icy blonde’ with a darker root.  I felt I was a little too gold and brassy, and the roots are horrendous! This way, the goal is to space out my hair appointments longer (6 weeks +) and I am using the purple shampoo on the in between.  So far I am LOVING it!

Arm candy is always a good idea!

I had to snap this “Basic” pic.  My current fave from Starbucks is a Chai Latte with soy, one pump pumpkin.  YUM!

What are you loving fashion wise this fall?!

Savannah, Georgia

After mom & Mark’s wedding,  they insisted on keeping the grandbabies for a few days while hubby and I went exploring!  My mother has talked of Savannah for quite some time now, and knowing what big foodies Joe and I are, she and Mark knew we’d have a ball dining at some fantastic places and soaking up all of the rich history of the South.

Mark brought us to the airport so we could pick up our rental and then we were off! We were quite hungry, as we didn’t have breakfast and by now it was time for lunch.  We used TripAdvisor to find us some down home southern cooking, and find it we did!!

We had fried okra, hush puppies, fried shrimp, scallops and the best garlic & butter soft shell crab ever!!  (this is the point in the trip where I started giving ZERO cares to calories; you only live once right?!)

Ravenel Seafood!

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There were no public restrooms and the little old lady came out and showed us how to eat it; we must have Northern folk written all over us.  It was quite the experience and we enjoyed ever second!

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We soaked up the kid free time by listening to history on you tube about how Civil War went down.  We were intrigued to learn about Savannah’s history and were fascinated by the stories.

We chose The East Bay Inn for our stay.

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It was beautiful!! We got the King Suite and the decor was to die for.  I felt like royalty!

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This charming old city has a lot of spook to it, if you ask me.  Joe doesn’t believe in it, but as rumor has it, there is a ghost named Charlie here that stays on the 3rd floor (our floor).  I was a little obsessed with learning more about him and apparently he worked in this building in his young 20’s and died falling out of the window of the 3rd floor.  (Not our room though!)  We did get to look inside ‘his room’ and it smelled so weird!  Our room smelled fresh and light…

As for any encounters with the ghost, I believe that I did.  I did not recognize it when it happened though; when we checked in we were seated in chairs at the front desk.  Joe was sitting to my left.  At one point, it felt like someone grabbed my right side as if to tickle, and I looked around and saw nothing.

It wasn’t until I was riding up the elevator later on that it dawned on me, that could have been Charlie!! The staff said he was fresh with the ladies…

This architecture though!!

We loved the room, it was a little noisy being right on the street.  Other than that, everything was very well kept and the staff was amazing!! (I even left my new ipad mini there, and they shipped it back up to me!!)

We need to travel more…it’s so good for the soul!

We walked around a little bit and of course I grabbed a Matcha frap from Starbux.

We walked down to Riverstreet and man, ladies do NOT wear heels haha!

The old buildings were so cool to look at.  We had dinner at Vic’s on the River the first night.

The Spanish Moss and the trees…

Our Inn has a complimentary happy hour.

Cheers to a hot hot day!!

I got all dressed up and just felt an odd presence when I snapped this photo.  I think it came out kind of eerie too!

Horribly blurry, but Hot Damn!! These Shrimp and Grits were to die for!!  I may have licked the plate…jk..maybe.

We asked around where we should grab a drink, non tourist style and we were sent to this basement of a place!  It was pretty cool, and they only had “red or white wine” so I decided to be brave.

I ordered the bottom drink, as it was the only truly native drink to Savannah.  I could not finish it, or I may have puked, but goodness it was cool to drink history!  According to the paragraph below, it was served to George Washington and he awoke with a hangover so severe after drinking too much of the punch, he vowed never to return to Savannah ever again.  He never did!

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Voila!

The next day we knew we wanted to hit up the Trolley tour as we heard nothing but great things about being able to ride around and listen to the stories and then you can hop on and off all day.

The fountains!

We had a fancy little lunch in what used to be a funeral parlor…

Sweet y’all…it’s the real deal!!

I loved the decor and furnishings…

We did do a mansion tour and wow, how incredible it was to hear and see!  This house was one of the FIRST to have indoor plumbings for bathrooms–even before the white house!  Calhoun Mansion.

You could feel the history, the butlers, the slaves, the rich…

That night we dined at The Olde Pink House.  (Thanks again to Katie & her hubby for the recommendation!) Best. Dinner. EVER.  The server was absolutely fantastic and did an excellent job at explaining all of the fabulous dishes and history of the house.

This fish was out of this world–literally I have never had something this like.  Tangy, sweet, buttery, smooth–incredible.  Not pictured, the collard greens, the most amazing mac & cheese, grits and whatever Joe ordered!

This was from the Ming Dynasty!

Breakfast the final morning was a little French bistro, Café M.

Delicious chai latté!

Fancy cheese & egg on a croissant…

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Our final stop was back to River Street Sweets for some pralines and peanut brittle.  I shed a tear when I finished the chocolate praline.

There’s much debate over which city is better, Charleston or Savannah?  While we adored Savannah, Joe and I agreed that Charleston still has our hearts in the South.  Someone said Savannah’s like Charleston’s little sister.  It’s hard to compare them as they are both so different, but we enjoyed every second!  I can’t wait to bring the kids back when they are older and can appreciate the history and the culture.

Blogtober

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I may be crazy, okay I know I am, but I do know that writing is one of my happy places and that I do not frequent it often enough!  I have participated in Blogtober in the past, one I completed 100% and the other I did not.  If you’ve never heard of it, it is when you blog EVERY SINGLE DAY from 10/1-10/31.

I started blogging back in September of 2011 and I can’t tell you how amazing it is to go back and read the blogs I have shared.  From just being married, two pregnancies, vacations, milestones, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, family– it’s so incredible to read my thoughts and see how much I’ve grown (or stayed the same.)

The point is, this will be just what I need to launch me back into the swing of blogging.  Upon Googling, I found Laura Morningstar’s hosting a “Blogtober” on her fabulous blog!! She shares tips on how to get started, keep going & some prompts in case we run out of things to write about.   I am excited to get to know her and some other bloggers as well.  She’s a fellow tea drinker and we all know there’s no bad time for tea around here!

Laura Morningstar: Loving Life Everyday

Check out some of her prompts to blog along!  I plan on creating some of my own and definitely using some of hers as well.

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Have a fabulous Wednesday!

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.