Friday, May 3, 2019

Mother's Day Gift Guide & What I really want

I thought I would put together a Mother's Day gift guide, but thought what do I love most and really want for Mother's Day? My honest answer is healthy, happy kids and homemade gifts from the heart. Those are what I really want. I love when my kids come home so excited to give me something that they made. Even the little notes I find around the house throughout the year make me know I am doing something right. For those that want to treat themselves or someone wants to treat them I put together a little gift guide. I included items for dog/cat moms and even step/bonus moms.

Most of the things I seemed to be drawn to were pampering items or things to relax. One of my favorite items I own is the steamer I linked. This little thing came in handy when I was between espresso machines. I would use my Keurig to brew espresso coffee and steam my milk in the steamer and make my own mochas at home. The girls like to use it to steam lemonade to make medicine balls. It is so easy to use and quick.

I love to read, so any book is always appreciated. I have been hooked on Elin Hilderbrand books lately. Every one I have read I don't want it to end because I feel like I am so attached to the characters.

A good "mom" graphic tee is always fun to wear. I found dog mom, bonus mom, and even some funny saying shirts to link. These are easy to throw on and when you just look like a mess and want everyone to know it is due to #momlife!

The camera is a HUGE splurge item, but that is what I really need! A fun, cheaper option is this camera we have one and love to bring it on trips and put together a little memory book with the photos.

A few of the stores that always have cute little gifts items like the name plate I linked, mugs, frames, candles, and jewelry are Charming CharliesFrancesca'sUrban Oufitters, and Anthropologie.

Of course, gift cards for Starbucks, mani/pedis, or other activities are always an easy gift. Thinking outside the box, like a gift card to do a cooking class at Sur La Table or maybe making a craft at a local retailer is something different and unexpected. A subscription box is also another unique idea. They have so many options of different boxes now you are sure to find something suitable. 

Whether the gift be big or small, store bought or from the heart I hope everyone has a nice Mother's Day and is appreciated in some way. Even if you have to spoil yourself!




Friday, April 26, 2019

We are going on a cruise!


For Easter, the girls were surprised with a scavenger hunt from their grandparents and in the end they received a message that they are going on a cruise! Last year when we went, we all wore coordinating outfits the day we got on the boat. It was so fun to all be dressed alike, but not the same or in matching t-shirts. We were stopped by multiple people complimenting our attire.

Of course, as soon as we booked the trip months ago my mom was asking if we were getting the outfits again. We purchased the outfits from Old Navy last year and I have been waiting for them to put out their new summer arrivals to get the matching outfits. They finally started to put out the pieces. As of now, these are the pieces that coordinate or match! The little girl's shirt on the bottom center was just added today, so more pieces may be arriving.

I purchased the dress on the top and plan to wear it with some wedge sandals and maybe a belt at the waist. Summer chose the bottom middle shirt to wear with jean shorts. She is my comfortable girl and of Lily, my dress girl, picked the dress.



Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Widow Wedneday--Friends Visiting while sick

While Ray was sick he had "good" days and "bad" days. The days we would say he was doing "good" didn't mean he was getting better. It just meant he finally had some strength and might have actually wanted to see someone.

He was very particular about who came over and when they came over. I am not sure if he didn't want them to see him sick or what it was. It was never something I questioned. I always tried to just do what he would ask.

People would ask all the time to visit and he would only allow certain people and at certain times. He had asked for a few people specifically. A few of his very best friends, a friend that would come and pray with him, work colleagues.

Ray didn't have Facebook so I was getting requests from a ton of people...friends of his, students of his, co-workers, etc. My private Facebook went on to accept a lot of people I did not know. Most looking for updates to his condition. Over the years I have received quite a few messages from people that he touched in some way. This has always meant so much to me. Facebook was my way to communicate what was going on without having to talk to a bunch of people or retell the story over and over.

The cards and other gifts sent while he was sick were very much appreciated. The offers of help. It is hard to know what to ask for but the pot of chicken noodle soup didn't go to waste or the card offering prayers was just as much appreciated. No gesture was ever too small or went to waste.

I have had over the years friends message me to ask what to do for someone that is sick or what to send and honestly, every person is different. Ray was always freezing and his heated blanket and fleece pants were his most used items. He relied on Slurpees to get him through his days. For a long time I couldn't have flowers in my house because they reminded me of him being sick because we always had flowers in the house while he was sick.

I think the thing that was most helpful was just letting him know you were there and praying for him. Reaching out with a text or a card. Allowing him to decide if he wanted to make contact, if he was up to it. I think more than anything he wanted to be treated normal and not sick. He liked when someone would come and watch a baseball game. He looked forward to the cards he received from his one co-worker that would come regularly (even when she was in Mexico for the summer she still sent them) that were funny cards and had updates to everything going on. I know he hated more than anything being sick and becoming weaker and less and less like himself. The sicker he became the less he wanted company.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Spring/Summer shirt recommendations!


Today's post I am going to highlight some of my favorite tops for Spring/Summer! If you know me you know I like to shop all different price points and styles, although I do have some go-to stores that I browse pretty much browse daily to see what is new.

My favorite stores to browse are SheinASOSBoohooNastygalVici CollectionRed Dress BoutiquePink Lily Boutique, and Zara because they usually have new inventory daily! They have the trendiest items and I can always find something unique. 

I also have stores that I tend to rely on for tried and true favorites. Some of these include ExpressJ. Crew & J. Crew FactoryNordstromNordstrom Rack, American Eagle , Abercrombie and Old Navy (and their affiliated brands). I, of course, shop at other stores too based on what I am looking for but these are some of my favorites. 

Some of the top trends for spring are eyelet, animal print, floral, stripes, button front tops, and tie dye. Kimonos are also making a statement this season and I think they look great paired with jeans or shorts and a basic, like the Express cami, underneath. 

For some classic pieces I look to Lilly Pulitzer. They are an easy go-to and can be dressed up or down. They scream summer with the bright colors and can be paired easily with white denim, etc. The pullovers make a great layering piece with jeans or shorts especially if you are on vacation. They are classic and never go out of style. 


I also love a great graphic t-shirt or sweatshirt. There are so many options out there right now you can almost find them to say anything. The boutiques I linked above have a ton of great options. 

I like to have on hand a light white sweater like I linked because they can easy be thrown on if you go into a cool building or on a breezy night and go with pretty much everything. 

A chambray top is also something I always own. I like to wear it paired with patterned shorts. The one I linked has a pretty ruffle which can dress up the outfit a bit. 

Button front tops can be found on pretty much every site right now too. I purchased a button front sweater tank from American Eagle, but it appears to be sold out now online. I wish it was still online because it has just the right amount of stretch and is so flattering on. 

For the past few years I wear bodysuits a lot! I love that they stay in place and tucked in. I don't find them uncomfortable and think they give a nice clean silhouette. They can be found on pretty much any site at multiple different price points. 

The last thing I included with tops are lace bralettes because I love to wear these under low cut tops or dresses, etc. I don't like the thought of my bra showing so I either wear these or a bralette.

Hopefully my little round up is helpful and if you are looking for more ideas let me know! I am always happy to do some digging and find what you are looking for!



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Doing a good job?

I constantly ask myself, "Are the girls happy? Am I doing a good job?" This to me, is the most important thing in my life. When Ray was sick I told myself I want them to live the life they would live as if he were still here. Obviously, him not being here, they are already living a completely different life. I just don't want them missing out on things or not having what I think is a "normal" life.

I question myself if I am doing a good job. Are they happy? Do they each get enough attention and what they need from me? This is why I try to spend individual time with them. They are such completely different kids with such different interests. Summer much rather be at home and Lily loves to be out and about. Summer doesn't like to hug or kiss or sit by me. She doesn't show her emotions or feelings as much, but I can tell she is a kid that feels so much.

This morning I woke up to a note on my computer, a four page note to be exact from Summer. Telling me everything I needed to hear to know that she understands my position and that she is doing exactly how I hope. Little reminders like these remind me of the job I am doing and that I have two great kids. In some ways I think they are mature being their years, especially Summer. This child has always seemed so much older than she is. From very young so much responsibility was placed on her and at times I look back and feel guilty. She is very wise and such an old soul. Nothing gets past her. She calls those her detective skills.

I constantly thank God for giving me two girls (which is all I ever wanted) that are such good, well behaved kids.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Easter pastels






I had a shoot the other night and about an hour before I needed to leave I thought...we should shoot something quick before they get to the location! It was actually nice out and I had been wanting to shoot this Easter look. So I got her ready in about 10 mins and we were off haha. We ended up forgetting her coat and accessories in the rush, but I am going to link them so you can see what I would have added to the look to complete it.

She picked out the dress a while ago when we were in the store. I love the length and the off shoulder sleeves. The button front is so on trend right now too. Purple and pastel (to me) is so springy. I thought this would make the perfect Easter dress. We added the little hat, my Grandma used to say you always need an Easter hat, and of course she picked out jelly shoes to wear with it.

Ok, so her hair...I did it in about 10 mins! I even impressed myself. This is almost the same hairstyle that Jeni did on me for the photoshoot I was in. Would me making a video to show how to recreate it interest you? I am always looking for new ideas on what people want to see on my blog and Instagram. This is such an easy look to recreate and she was stopped a few times and complimented on it.

Now, if the weather would just catch up to the month I would be happy! She had been begging to wear a dress and it lasted about 2 days and now we are back to cold and snow.


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Shopbop buy more sale!


Shopbop sale has a few more days left and now is the perfect time to stock up on items that rarely go on sale. They carry all the best brands! Whether you are looking to load up on basics or splurge on new sandals or tennis shoes they have a little bit of everything.

I linked a bunch of the items I have or brands that I love to shop when I am on Shopbop.