Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Stomach Cancer Awareness Month

November is stomach cancer awareness month and I will never stop providing information to others in hopes that it helps save someone else from going through what our family did.

No one ever expects to hear cancer and now it seems more and more young people are being diagnosed. I often wonder why this is? Is it the power of social media and just hearing about it more? Is it the chemicals all around us? Whatever it is, I see news of people being diagnosed all the time.

When Ray was sick we didn't hear of stomach cancer. Everyone would hear about breast cancer, but stomach cancer was unknown (at least to us). If maybe we had known what the symptoms were, what it took to diagnosis it maybe we would have caught it earlier. Stomach cancer is usually not found until it is pretty progressed so it may not have mattered.

The one thing I tell everyone is be your own advocate. He went to doctor after doctor thinking they were doing what they needed to do, but not getting any better. Tests were being done and he continued to feel worse. If we had known what test needed to be done maybe it would have made a difference? So much time was wasted on unnecessary tests and drugs prescribed.

I can't bring Ray back but I can educate anyone that will listen and hopefully it reaches someone that needs to hear it.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Halloween Thoughts 2019

This Halloween was different in so many ways. The girls are getting older and it really makes me sad. Never take for granted the days that they are little. Both being in middle school meant no Halloween parties, although both dressed up for school. I was a room mom every year except Summer's 1st year so it was a bit sad not having to run out and get supplies for the parties or organize anything.

On Halloween we always do a little party at our house and then my sister, brother, their significant others, and my bil all take them trick-or-treating while I pass out candy. This year my brother and his wife were in Brazil and my parents were with them. Their Grandma also just got out of the hospital and was unable to come see them either. It just felt a little different.

I guess I am starting to dread the day that they no longer want to dress up or go trick-or-treating.

Summer's Costume: Clearance find when Party City closed

Lily's Costume is linked:

Monday, September 23, 2019

Happy 1st birthday to my blog!

I did it! The blog has made it a year. Have I had gaps in posting? Yep, but I still made it! I have accomplished so much in this year too. I started this blog as basically a creative outlet and to put into words some of what I went through with Ray's cancer journey. Most people have said I was never really verbal about what the journey was like and what we actually experienced. I have gotten countless messages from people thanking me for sharing and that it in some way helped them or touched their own life.

When Love What Matters printed my story I connected with so many people that have gone through the same journey or just wanted to show support. Through the story being published members of a group that all have the gene found me and invited me to join their online group and I have learned invaluable information from them. This in itself was worth writing this blog.

The outfit sharing is a creative outlet for me. I love to style outfits and shop to find cute things or great deals. I love to dress myself and my girls. This part of the blog is most fun for me. Writing the Widow Wednesday posts leave me in tears quite often (as I have heard it does to the readers as well) so these are the posts I can have fun with. From finding the outfit, to styling it, finding the perfect location to shoot, and then writing the post it is time consuming but something I enjoy doing.

A huge goal for any blogger is to become a Rewardstyle and/or Shopstyle blogger and I achieved both this year! I never in a million years expected to be accepted so it was a huge surprise to me, usually you need large follower numbers and I have a small following but very loyal. I have built this end of my blog by staying true to me and products I believe in and truly love. My next goal is to build this into something more people find and read and continue to support me through using my links to shop (yes, I make a small commission when you do!)

If you have been reading here since the beginning or anywhere in between...THANK YOU! You have pushed me outside my comfort zone to share things I wouldn't normally share and given me an outlet for my creativity.

Outfit linked below as well as similar shoes (mine are old)

Friday, September 20, 2019

In-between weather days

This time of the year is so hard to dress for. Cool in the morning and evening and hot during the day. Either I like to layer or wear outfits like this. This dress is so cozy, (if you haven't noticed a common theme to my outfits) it is a brushed fleece material.

I paired it with these wedge sandals that I have had for a few years to dress it up a little. I could easily have worn it with flats, mules, booties, or even tennis shoes. I linked a few pairs that look similar to the ones I have on. I love this style, the buckles up the front really give an outfit some character, that otherwise would be rather plain.

This bracelet is a HUGE steal. I ordered a few different ones from this retailer to try because although I love my Victoria Emerson one, it is expensive and broke. They have great customer service and sent me a new one, but I still was looking for another alternative. I have a few from this other retailer and I am impressed for the price.

This time of the year is my favorite though, so I am going to embrace the weather changes even if I have to change multiple times a day to keep up with the weather.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Important support

I know a few weeks ago I did a whole post on the support from my WTE mom group. I wanted to touch on the support from my other friends. I don't want to call out specific people because no matter how big or small the help it is all remembered and appreciated.

So often I get asked, "What should I do for someone that is going through the same thing?" and honestly every person is different. Different people need different support while going through this. We were fortunate enough to have the help of family and friends when it came to things around the house or help watching the kids, etc. We had good medical insurance and didn't really incur any bills from his illness. We regularly received calls and texts asking what we needed. People would drop off food and send cards.

At the time I would hate people asking how I was doing, because I wasn't sick. Looking back I realize how important that was. I know I probably just said "fine", but opening that communication is important. No one can understand that role unless they are in it. I never wanted attention on me, as I said I was "fine" I wasn't sick.

After Ray died the people that included us for a sense of normalcy and to get us back out. I won't forget the friends that invited us out to eat with them, to events, etc. Some of these same friends have been through some things now and I have always felt bad that I haven't been able to support in the same way. That is one thing I have learned. I can help other widows and talk to them, support them, or people that are sick, but when someone has lost someone I can't seem to face it.

I had friends step up and put on fundraisers for the girls. I can't say how much this means. A big fear for me is always how to pay for potential medical bills they may one day have. That money is all tucked away for when they should need it.

I could probably make this a very long post with everything that was done and the support we received but just knowing I had people to lean on and give us a sense of a normal life back meant the world.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Life Update

I know I said I would update on why I have been not posting as much and quite honestly I know it seems like to do a post all I have to do is sit down and do it or take a few pics and post but a lot of time and planning go into a post. My widow Wednesday posts can bring up a lot of feelings for me and can be emotionally draining at times. My outfit posts require time to put together the looks, find a location, shoot the looks, link the items, and finally write the posts.

My time lately was focused on the kid's last few weeks off of school. We took the trip to Niagara Falls kind of last minute after having a change in original plans and then when we came back I was dealing with the school.

I know I have posts about this and you can search my blog if you want to read them, but Ray was dyslexic and I believe both girls are as well. Since Kindergarten, they have shown signs. The short side of the story is they were tested in 3rd and 4th grade and neither showed a learning disability. When Lily entered 4th I had started a program on my own that showed success, as well as had researched a lot and knew it was dyslexia. After pushing she was retested (different measures were used) and qualified. Needless to say, not many in the schools even know what dyslexia is, yet statistics show 1 in 5 students have it, or what to do for a kid that does have it.

Lily entered a resource room class last year and made progress for the first time. I loved her teacher and her regular teacher, but before spring break her teacher went out on medical leave and the sub that was filling in wasn't there a lot because she was still in college. At this point she started complaining about going to school again, her grades were dropping, and her accommodations weren't being met. I had to contact the resource room teacher and explain.

Summer was retested again last year and again didn't qualify, but I had an issue with the testing and the results. I had a principal converse with me in ways that clearly showed he lacked knowledge in dyslexia and what a student that has it can achieve or will achieve and what it effects.

We went for middle school orientation and already things that were supposed to have been accommodated were not. I was then challenged about my concerns and again the conversation showed a lack in knowledge by the staff and I had had it.

I contacted the advocate who I had tried to reach before and she wanted to meet right away. We met and put in place a plan for both girls. This plan involves retesting Summer outside the school and also moving Lily districts. I didn't want to move Summer. This was such a hard decision to move her out of a school district she has been in since Kindergarten and friends she has grown up with. She seemed fine with the transition and I implemented the change of district.

Lily went to her old district for the first week of school and on Monday started the new one. She was really excited to go to the new school and I was for her. The staff was welcoming and the school seems much smaller and a better fit. She came home the first day crying and cried all last night and this morning. She complains the classes are too easy, yet the school said she tested as being in an even lower class. I am so conflicted on this change of schools and if this was a good move for her. I really feel like the districts don't know what to do with these kids that struggle with dyslexia. I think her reading and writing capabilities hinder her being able to show what she is really capable of.

I hope to be able to update this post in a few weeks with her progress as well as Summer's progress and where we are at with the districts.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Darker colors Fall Inspiration

I am back! Wednesday I will do an update post on what has been going on and why I have been missing on Instagram and the blog.

Today I wanted to share an outfit that I shot a while ago and haven't had a chance to post. Fall is by far my favorite season and I love the transitional fall weather. I love the cool mornings and evenings with the warmer afternoons. Sometimes it can be a challenge to dress for it and I just recommend layering!

Start with an easy base that you can add to and dress up or down. This dress is a great affordable find that can easily be layered. It can be worn with a leather jacket, cardigan, or sweatshirt over it.

I could also wear it with knee high boots, flats, booties, sandals, or even tennis shoes. I wore these fun Zara find from the sale to give it a pop of pattern. The Zara sale is over now but it is one of my favorite times to stock up on trendy pieces at a good price. These were under $15.

Below I will link the items that I have on and some other pieces that can be layered with this dress or shoes that would also go well!

Monday, August 19, 2019

End of Season Sales

I get asked all the time to share some of my shopping tricks. This is a big at the end of the season or off season. I get some of the best deals this way. Snow boots in July? Yes!!! My kids don't care if they are the prior season's stock. I score huge deals this way.

This dress is another example. I bought this at the end of the season last year at Target. I have actually bought quite a few things from Target this year with their new Wild Fable line, but before that I never shopped for myself at Target. I spotted a TON of this dress on the clearance racks. I grabbed one and tried it on and it was a perfect fit. Even the people in the fitting room and dressing room attendant all said this dress was made for me and I had to get it. I get compliments every time I wear it and the best part...I paid under $10 for it.

I am not much of a clearance shopper, but now I do head over and browse. You probably won't find me searching them unless I am looking for something specific. I tend to look for things that I can transition into the following season. Even though this is a summer dress the black color makes it something I would wear into the fall and even put a leather coat over.

This season star print has been huge too! I am glad I grabbed this when I did because it is on trend without breaking the bank.

Since I grabbed this last year I am going to link some other star print items that I love!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Widow Wednesday--9 Years

9 years. I can't believe it has been 9 years. For me the anniversaries of his death don't hit me as hard as the day he was diagnosed. Maybe being Christmas Eve and a holiday or maybe because when he died I finally felt he was at peace and not suffering anymore. I have always had a harder time with the anniversary of his diagnosis.

This year it fell on a Saturday, so we attended a memorial mass and dinner afterward. Normally, the girls and I will do something to remember him that day. Something he enjoyed to do or liked. This year it felt rushed with the mass. We made him a new flower for his vase and Lily and I took it to him on the way to mass. Of course this causes us issues almost every time. Not sure why I picked the top? It fell as I was trying to put it up and broke causing marbles to go all over (I use them to weigh it down). Lily was laughing and probably so was Ray. We ended up taking the old one apart and putting the new flowers in it and managed to get it up. It doesn't look great, but it is the thought that counts right?

Every year they say it gets easier, but it doesn't. You just learn to live with it and the hurt/hole. If you are a widow and reading this then you know no one understands the hole that this loss has left. Yes, other people miss this person but it is different for you. They continue with their lives, but it is a hole that can never be filled in yours. Even if you remarry this person will never be the father of your children or the person to fill all those hopes and dreams that you once made. No one else understands how your daily life is different, not just holidays etc.

Every year I think...Do I post about it on my Facebook and other social media? or do I quietly honor him on our own? Then I receive messages before I even make a post and think that I am sure others want to have a space to honor him too and remember him.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Widow Wednesday--WTE support

I came across the WTE website while pregnant with Summer and besides getting the weekly emails I never looked at the site. Fast forward to being a stay-at-home mom with a baby at home I had time on my hands and stumbled across their forums. I lurked for quite a while until I realized I had just gone through what most of the questions were asking since I was pregnant again so soon and was able to answer quite a few. I slowly started posting and recognizing names. After our June 08 babies were born we started a Facebook page to continue our group and it turned into more than just "baby advice/talk". We found our way onto friend's lists and now names had faces attached.

I will never forget when the mail started to arrive from this group at the end of Ray's life. Multiple members of the group across the US and even other counties began to send cards and messages. These were from people I had never met. The outpouring of support was overwhelming, some included messages and others included gift cards for things for the kids and I. We received gift cards to grab dinner, have a coffee, or even go do an activity. It was such an incredible gift for us to receive.

I remember after Ray died I was asked by a mom that was more local to me if I would meet for lunch at the mall. I remember being so nervous. I had been friends online with this person for years, but had never met.

When we met I was given baskets full of "things" for the girls and I. I was so overwhelmed once again by the thoughtfulness and overwhelming support. Till this day I still have the spray from one of the baskets and every time I spray it it makes me think of this group and the kindness the girls and I were shown. They somehow pulled off this surprise by making an alternate group online and coordinating it all. I am not a person that likes to show my feelings, especially in front of people I don't know and I remember having a hard time remaining composed.

Till this day I remain connected with this group and really think they played a huge part in me getting through this time. They have remained a constant support in the years since and I am happy to call them all friends.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Summer wet hair styles!

Summer is usually filled with vacations, beach, and pool days and easy hair is a must for this busy mama. Just easy wash and go styles are helpful since mine takes so long to dry and style. The last thing I want to do after getting back from the beach and taking a shower is to have to dry my hair for an hour so I can go to dinner. I worked in collaboration with Jeni from Kimi K Salon and Spa in Rochester, MI to put together some easy, wet hair styles. 

Style #1

This style can be worn with or without a hat and if you wear a hat you can make it even easier and just do normal braids on each side since the top isn't seen. This is probably the easiest and quickest of the styles if you chose to do just normal braids. If you are a little more talented you can do french braids like mine are in the photo. 
Romper c/o Boohoo last year

Style #2

I just love this style! I feel it is so easy and looks perfect for even an easy wedding hairstyle. To achieve this look my hair was sectioned into 3 sections. The back section was braided and secured into a low bun. The sides were then twisted and wrapped around the bun and secured. That was all there was to it! 

Style #3

This style takes under 5 mins! What?! Start by making low ponytail. Make a hole in the middle of the ponytail and pull the rest of the hair through the hole. A little further down put in another hair elastic to make another ponytail and repeat the steps (make a hole and pull loose hair through the hole). Continue for length of the hair. We added a decorative hair tie to the bottom to give it a little extra.

Style #4

This one only sounds complicated and requires quite a few hair ties, but again can be completed fairly quickly. Start by pulling the top section into a hair tie and secure. The small pony that you made divide in half and pull each side under another section a few inches down and secure under that section as one piece with a hair tie. The pieces you separated will be one again in the hair tie. Continue with the remainder of hair. After the hair is all secured you can pull the pieces to separate them a little more. 

All these styles were completed very quickly and with wet hair! Thanks again to Jeni from Kimi K! 

Linked below are bathing suits and hair ties!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Anniversary

This week should have been our 13th wedding anniversary. Have you ever heard someone say that they knew from day one that they were the one? That was us.

It is crazy for me to think how our paths crossed before. We went to the same large high school, but had completely different crowds of friends. I knew of him, but didn't know him.

For one of my birthdays when I was in my early 20's, my friend invited her boyfriend and his friend out with my group of friends to the bar. I had quite a few of my girlfriends going and my boyfriend at the time. The friend that came with her boyfriend...Ray. How strange to think that only a few years later that friend would be my husband.

It wasn't until one of my friend's wedding planning parties that we were introduced and both single. I gave him my number after talking to him for a while at the party.

As I was driving home from work an unknown number was calling my phone. I never answer my phone in the car, especially for an unknown number. For some strange reason I picked up that call, and the rest is history.

Memories like these always seem to come up and especially around important dates. Our lives intertwined so many times before we officially talked and became a couple, yet once we did talk I instantly knew he was the one.

I had never been more comfortable around a person in my whole life. We were complete opposites, but together seemed to bring out the best in each other. We seemed to balance each other out. We could talk for hours and about important details and life. We had the same goals in life and wanted all the same things. Rarely do you seem to find that. I never really say, "It wasn't fair" what happened but on days like our anniversary, I certainly do have those thoughts.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Same brands better deals than the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably already seen this post. These deals are so good though it was worth sharing to my blog readers that don't follow me on Instagram or missed the post.

When I was browsing the Nordstrom sale I noticed a lot of the included brands are brands that other retailers also carry. Out of curiosity I started flipping through some of their items to see what they were offering and was shocked at the prices and how similar/same some of the items are. Some retailers are also offering more of a variety of certain brands that Nordstrom has on sale.

If you are looking for a good deal or sizes that might be out already at the Nordstrom sale it is worth giving these retailers a look and seeing what they offer! Some of them are my go-to sites when I am shopping and offer great deals. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

1 day 50% sale!

Right now everyone is competing with the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and Amazon Prime Days. Ads are coming out left and right for different retailers that are running deals!

One of my favorite retailers for back to school shopping is running a 50% sale online, today only. They already have a decent selection of fall clothes and transitional items in stock. I picked up a few items last week for the girls when they were running a sale and I had an additional discount code for my birthday. Since I heard this sale was coming I decided to wait to add the rest to cart.

I am linking the items below that either I had my eye on or the girls had added to cart. I usually let them go through a site before I place an order and add what they like and then I narrow it down from their picks. This is a great sale to grab a few pieces for 1st day of school and even school pictures day.

I love that this retailer usually carries pieces in all categories (ladies, mens, and kids) that all coordinate or match. They also usually carry items with the same fabric even within a category so I can match my girls without them actually being super matchy matchy.

The outfits that they have on are new releases that are a great transition into fall!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! Honest Opinion and a few tips!

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is here and I am going to give my honest opinion on this sale. Part of being a blogger is being honest and true about products, stores, etc. So here goes!

What is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and What Makes it so Popular?

What makes this sale so popular is that it includes items that are for fall. The items are marked down for the sale and then the price increases after the sale. The items are usually a good representation of what is going to be in style for fall. It also includes a lot of basics and name brands that rarely go on sale. Part of what makes it so popular is all the hype from bloggers.

Who Can Shop and When?

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale opens to Icon and Ambassador members starting today 12:30 pm ET. Your status is based on your yearly spending at Nordstrom and cardmembers get advanced access to the sale. To find out your status log into your Nordstrom credit account and it will tell you. All card members gain access on the 12th at 12:30 pm ET and public can shop on the 19th. The sales lasts till August 5th when prices go up. You can apply now for a card to gain access. A lot of items DO SELL OUT during presale, but are often restocked during the sale. A TIP- if you see something you want and your size isn't available you can always exchange it later (even after the sale) if your size does come in.

My Opinion

So I used to be a HUGE lover of this sale. I would get the catalog in the mail and circle all the items I wanted to look at once the sale actually started. I would have TONS of items circled from stuff for myself to things for the girls. The last few years I have been underwhelmed with the selection offered. I haven't seen much that I can't find someplace else on a deal. Another TIP- most other retailers will also price match this sale. If you find something you like try another retailer they may be offering a similar selection at the same price. Nordstrom also does this throughout the year when it's competitors have a sale.

The catalog has been extremely small the last few years and I haven't found much to be excited about in it. I have seen bloggers that pre-shopped the sale and leave with bags full. A lot of the items I didn't see in the catalog so maybe the selection will be better once it is online and live. The kid's selection in the catalog was a one page spread this year. This is a time when I usually stock up on the items that don't go on sale for them ex: North Face fleeces, Ugg boots, Nike shoes for school I didn't really see much even promoted.

I also usually stock up on items for myself like Zella leggings, Hunter boots, Uggs, cardigans, etc. You can only own so many of these items though. I plan to look and see what is offered but like the popular leopard cardigan I see all the bloggers snatching up right now, I found it at Nordstrom Rack last year. Speaking of Nordstrom Rack another TIP I found a lot of what didn't sell from the Anniversary Sale last year at the Rack shortly after the sale! If you have one close you definitely should check it out.

A Question from Instagram

I have had people message me wondering how I get "credit" if they buy something. I do get a small commission on items purchased through my links. If you link through me on the tab I inserted above that takes you to the sale and anything you purchase from that visit I get "credit" for. You don't have to purchase anything I even actually linked, it just has to be a purchase from that retailer and I have to be the last person you linked from. I also receive "credit" if you shop through my links. I am incredibly grateful for those of you that do and have linked through me. This not only lets the company know that you value what I post but also me. It also lets me know what stores you enjoy and items.

So this is my general opinion and few tips for the sale! I will be putting together some of my picks once the sale does open. I might do a sneak peek on stories if I do make it do the store soon as well!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Workplace support during illness

Ray loved his job. He loved kids and the ones that were difficult were the ones he loved the most. Why? Maybe because they reminded him of himself when he was in school or maybe he just liked the challenge. He would get up early and go into school for breakfast every morning to socialize and help out. He would spend hours downloading songs from playlists the kids had made so he could DJ the school dances. If he knew a kid would struggling at home he would do what he could to help make things a little brighter.

His co-workers were a huge part of his life. They weren't just friends and co-workers but truly family to him. I can tell he was seen in the same light by his co-workers and students when he became sick. The outpouring of support was incredible.

At the time Detroit Public Schools would allow co-workers to donate hours to other staff that needed the time off. They would continue receiving pay during their illness, but their insurance would be cut. Ray made this his mission to keep the insurance active arguing that insurance when someone is ill is more important than even pay. Doctors, hospitalizations, and treatments are all extremely expensive and insurance was needed. After a lot of back and forth they did side with him and implemented as long as they had hours they would continue receiving their insurance. He received more hours than he even ended up needing to use. This was a huge display of kindness from his co-workers.

Letters, phone calls, and visits were all very important to him. The union rep from his school also sent him a card/letter updating him continuously. They weren't get well cards but rather funny cards. They were updates in life and what was going on with the rest of the staff. He looked forward to receiving these. She even continued to send them when she was out of the country over summer vacation.

While he was sick the community he was in had a support walk in his honor. I was overwhelmed by not only the money that was raised but by the participation in the walk. The local community all came together and the students made signs showing support and walked holding them. He received photos of all the kids and the signs. I still look at them today and think about how the kids that he loved so much all came together to show him the same support.

I still remember the students that came to his funeral. Parents telling us how they drove from Detroit to make it because their child didn't want to miss it. All the messages on facebook from students that found my account and wanted me to know how he impacted their lives. I still will on occasion receive them...9 years later.

After he died the school planted a tree in his honor and put up a plaque. They had a ceremony that they invited us to when they planted it. A year or two after he died we went to tie a purple ribbon to his tree for stomach cancer awareness month and when we arrived the tree was being watered. It meant a lot to all of us that even a while later the tree was being taken care of and hopefully would be part of that school a very long time.

His school holds a cultural event every year and we were invited to it the first year after he died. They had a wall decorated in his honor. This event was always something he looked forward to every year. Halls were decorated and they had an ethnic luncheon. It meant a lot to our family to be a part of the event.

I know that he will never be forgotten by the people that he touched in his short time here and the impact he made on his students is something that will live on in them.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Last year of my 30's

The last year of my 30's...if you had told me I would be in the position I am in 10 years ago I would never have believed it. I remember my dad telling me 30's was his favorite age because he had his kids and was in a good position at work with a stable income/future. I remember at 29 thinking my 30's would be the same. Instead my 30's were filled with learning how to do everything myself and finding the person I want to be. It has been filled with anxiety about just what the future will hold. I have learned so much about myself in the last 10 years. I am definitely stronger than I thought and able to do more than I ever imagined I could.

I thought it would be fun to tell a few things about myself in honor of my birthday and to get to know me better.

1. I am an introvert. I hate more than anything going to parties and being in large groups of people. I think sometimes I can come off as rude, but am just super shy. I hate being the center of attention and even had a small, intimate wedding ceremony because I didn't want everyone looking at me. Making small talk is extremely difficult for me especially if you aren't someone I know well.

2. I am the oldest of 3 children. I am a typical oldest child. I follow rules and my parents were toughest on me. My sister is 8 years younger than me and definitely grew up differently than I did.

3. I only applied to one college because I wanted to go to school where my dad. My dad had season Michigan football tickets my entire life and started taking me when I was around 8 and that was the only place I ever wanted to go to school.

4. I went to school for psychology, but took a ton of classes in communications, so I decided to double major. I was only a few classes away from also earning a marketing degree. I loved school and would have just continued being a student if I could have. I went on to pursue a master's degree in school and community counseling (I was doing both tracks) but didn't complete my practicum or internship to graduate. I had two babies at home and decided I wasn't going to return to work so I should just put it on hold.

5. Every job I have ever had was offered to me.

6. I drink Starbucks every day. I could eat McDonald's every day if my kids would let me. I prefer fast food and normal American food over any other kind of food. I am a huge donut/cake lover.

7. My Grandma was my favorite person and I always felt closest to her growing up. I loved spending time with her. She was the most patient, grateful person I have ever met. She was kind to everyone and just died a few years ago at 99.

8. I have a huge family. My dad was one of 11 kids so I have a ton of cousins. Everyone has always been super close but I always wonder if this is where my hate of large groups comes from haha.

9. I always wanted to go into fashion and that was my passion but I didn't want to move away. I thought if I pursued fashion I would have to move to NYC or California.

10. I love traveling and for most of my birthdays I have been on some sort of vacation. I have memories of vacations all over.

As I close out my last year of my 30's I am grateful for my family and friends and all the support they have shown me. I know I have gotten through these tough last 10 years because of them.

My outfit is sold out but linked a shirt I own in the same color, shoes, and bracelet below.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Widow Wednesday--July

July, should be the month of fun in the sun. Summer vacation is finally here and time to have some fun, yet this is one of the hardest months for me without Ray. I seem to be super emotional during this month. Maybe because when he was here, this was our time with him. Even though he was still working we would get to see him more. Technically, this was his summer vacation from work too.

I think the family vacations and daily outings are just another reminder of things he is missing out on. Things he will never get to do with his girls. They never got to have a real summer with him that they will remember. I see families at the park playing or taking walks through the subdivision. All reminders of things he misses out on.

I remember his last 4th of July he was wrapped in a heated blanket in fleece pants to sit outside and watch the fireworks. He always loved fireworks and really wanted to watch them. He was all skin and bones and so sick but wanted to be on the back patio.

For some reason my birthday seems to be a hard day. I remember my first birthday without him was my 31st and since on my 30th he was very sick I didn't really do much. For my 31st birthday a group of my sweet friends had a surprise party for me and my parents surprised me with a trip to Miami to see one of my best friends. I remember blowing out my candles on my 31st birthday and everyone saying make a wish and thinking my one wish can't come true. I was spending my birthday without him. Every year is just another reminder of a year past without him her and everything that he missed during that year.

July is also our anniversary. It is so weird to think I have been without him more years than with him.

Maybe because July was the last month I had with him that makes it hard I don't know. I am just so grateful that I can make memories with the girls and don't take one minute of it for granted.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

4th of July Style Inspo!

I can't believe 4th of July is already around the corner! The first few years of my life the 4th of July meant a huge party at my house that was a shared birthday party for my aunt and I.  Now I almost feel like the 4th of July is the start of the end of summer. Soon school supplies will be back on shelves and fall clothes will be hitting the racks. Nordstrom sale will be on every blogger's mind. Summer seems to fly after the 4th!

I bought this cute dress a while ago with the plans to shoot it as the weather warmed up and link, but of course by the time the weather has warmed up it is now sold out. I have scoured the internet for other cute USA pieces, some of which I own and others that I just think are really cute.

I have a similar pair of red flat sandals from last year that I loved to pair with my USA sweatshirt and to add a pop of color to other outfits. This year Target came out with a wedge pair and I had to have them. I will almost always buy a wedge over a flat because I am so short and last year it wasn't an option.

I am going to link below a bunch of cute 4th of July options and the pieces that I am wearing that are still in stock!