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!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Liketoknow.it Day coming sunday!

What is Liketoknow.it (LTK) Day?

The app LTK has partnered with a group of retailers to do exclusive discounts this Sunday, June 23 through the app. The participating brands include:

Abercrombie and Fitch
Colleen Rothschild
Kendra Scott
Outdoor Voices
Serena & Lily
The Styled Collection
Urban Outfitters
Victoria Emerson

What is Liketoknow.it?

LTK is a shopping app. I have been using it even before I was an influencer on it. It is like a Pinterest for shopping for lack of a better way of describing it. It has a feed that updates that can be browsed multiple ways. You can browse the feed of the influencers that you follow, you can browse all influencers, you can browse by putting in search terms like maxi dress, or by using the categories on the top such as family, under 50, etc. Unlike Pinterest though, all the items are linked and shoppable. You just click the product and it takes you directly to the store to buy it! I also use the app for fashion inspiration to browse styles and save them to recreate later.

It is easy to shop the sale! All you have to do is:

1. Download the Liketoknow.it app
2. Shop!
3. When you click on a product that is part of the sale a popup will appear with the LTK day code for the discount, just copy the code, and paste when you make your purchase!

Starting yesterday, I have been posting in my Instagram stories (youngwidowedstylishmama) looks from the sale. I have been linking everything in my LTK profile on the app (youngwidowedstylishmama). You can get a head start by "hearting" looks that you love from stores that are offering the promotion to go back and shop when the sale starts on Sunday.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Blog update/ End of the school year!

I know my blog has been quiet, not for lack of things to post about, but because of the weather and how busy life has been. I haven't been able to keep up with shooting outfit posts because the weather here in Michigan has not cooperated at all. It is the middle of June and still pretty rainy and cool. I had some indoor ideas, but no one to shoot them if I am in them. Now that the kids are home my mini photographer can get back to shooting some looks for me. We already did one this week so look for a post soon! 

Plain busyness has also kept me from being able to post. The end of the school year is always so busy with dance recitals, end of year field trips, school activities, and photo shoots. It seems like time just flies after Easter. We also went on a cruise at the end of May which seemed to only make things go by faster. I am thinking of doing a post on cruises too. What to bring, helpful tips, etc. 

So that is a little blog update and why it has been so quiet, but I also wanted to touch on the end of the school year and this one in particular. This one ended a chapter for us here in the Chaptini household, we are out of elementary school. I am so sad about this. They say time flies and it really does. I can't believe both of the girls are done with the longest span they will have at a school and it went that fast. That just means the rest of schooling will probably go by just as fast. This also means we are that much closer to them being 18 and tested for the gene, which is something that makes me so anxious. I know I have talked about this before but while most kids are thinking about what they want to do in the future after high school I can't help but think about this being the beginning of what might be a long journey for them having to make a lot of other choices. College may not be a priority for either of them, but instead their health. Even though this is quite a ways away I just know how quickly it goes and it will be here before I know it. 

School endings used to be very exciting for us because Daddy would be home with us. My husband was a teacher, for those that don't know, and although he worked during the summer his other job and even summer school we would still see him more. 

School endings and ceremonies at school are just another time that I feel sad and think about how much their Dad is missing out on. I know he is always there, like on Lily's graduation morning my memory that popped up was a picture of us on her 2nd birthday (his last one alive) and some songs played that day that always make me feel like he had something to do with them coming on. In fact, the last little bit before school ended I heard a lot of songs on the radio that reminded me of him. I know I am lucky that the girls have a lot of support from other family that were at the graduation but it still made me sad to have to stand alone when they asked for parents to stand that were leaving the school that year. I know he would have been so proud to be there. 

Now that summer is officially here I hope to have the time to get back to my blog, because this is something i have truly missed doing!

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.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Single, only parent

A single mom. Something I never thought I would be. When I got married I knew I had met my person and would never be divorced and then that all changed. Ray had worked a lot and I was the primary caregiver, but he was a ton of help when he was around. He was a very hands on dad. He also was a huge help around the house. Now it was all on my shoulders.

I have always been the mom that prefers to have my kids with me. I never complain when they have a snow day or are on summer vacation. I love having them home. I mean why have kids if you don't want them around?

Do I have help? Contrary to what people seem to think (from what I have heard) my kids are normally with me. My parent's are retired and are rarely home and they are my main source of help. My girls are best friends and they love each other (more so than most siblings from what I can tell, they really have a special bond) but they do need time apart from each other. They need individual attention. When Ray was around he would take care of one while I took the other shopping with me, etc. As they grew older I figured we would do the same with activities, etc. but that isn't possible when there is only one of you. If one has something to do the other has to join too or go. For a while I would make them just go, but then started making those my individual times with them. On Sunday, Lily has yoga, I leave Summer with Grandma and spend the day with Lily. I will leave Lily sometimes and just take Summer to do things she likes to do. I rarely don't have at least one of them. The only time is if I am doing a photoshoot and they pretty much always go with me on those too.

They have gone to doctor's appointments, hair appointments, you name it. It is easier for me to just take them. They don't like to be left with anyone outside of my parents.

My "me" time is usually when they are at school. I try to plan what I can at that time and get done whatever I need to get done. Sometimes I am able to, sometimes I am not. When I don't they go with me.

My girls are very attached to me. They feel safe only around certain people. I don't push them to be around the ones they don't. I allow them to make up their own mind about what they want to do. I think as children that lost a parent they probably have anxiety about losing me. My mom said she felt that way growing up since her dad died when she was a week old. I remember one time leaving the girls a few days to do a photoshoot in Florida and when I came home Lily was running through the airport crying like she hadn't seen me in forever and telling me how much she missed me. I have never been able to leave them after that. The entire time all I could think about was how they would have liked to be where I was. Whenever my parents would pick the girls up from school they would come out and first thing they would ask is, "Where is mom?" I try to reassure them I am not going anywhere, but I know I can't promise that.

Vacationing I have always felt more at ease going with other people. I am tiny and look younger than I am and sometimes feel unsafe traveling without someone. Not because I think I couldn't do it, but for safety. Usually we travel with family or go to a destination we can meet with other people. This has worked out well for us so far and we have spent time with a lot of people we love by doing this.

I struggled when Ray first died with how to dress, etc. I have always looked younger than I am and thought maybe I should dress older, more mature. I started to lose myself by doing this. I also struggled with if I should wear my rings or not. I wore them for a year before taking them off. I will always be married to Ray. I would get asked quite often if I was the babysitter or 16. I hated that and felt the rings and dressing older detoured that, but I was losing myself.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Maybe wearing yellow will bring out the sun? Spring jumsuit and vintage boho bag review

The girls and I spent a few days in Chicago last week, so I didn't do any posts. We have been there plenty of times, but normally go into the city just to shop and stay in the suburbs. This time we spent the whole time downtown and did the touristy things we have never done before. We had a blast besides it being a little cold and rainy. 

We came home to two nice days of warmer weather, so I finally had a chance to shoot this jumpsuit. I bought it a while ago and since then it has gone on clearance and when I went to link it today it is almost sold out. I still decided to shoot it anyways because it is adorable on and linked a few similar options. 

I love bright colors for spring! This yellow jumpsuit caught my eye and I knew just what I would pair it with. I tend to wear a lot of jumpsuits and rompers. I love that they are easy and put together, but comfortable. I paired it with my white denim coat since it was cooler when I was shooting this look. The hat is an Amazon purchase. I love that it has adjustable strings in it to make it tighter. I couldn't link the shoes they are from Vici and no longer on the site. 

I also wanted to answer a few questions on my bag in this post since I have been getting quite a few about it. My bag is a Louis that I have owned for quite a while. I threw it in the back of my closet when the tie closure finally snapped after being tied one too many times. The bag is very worn (I tend to be rough on my bags and don't change them often). I had looked into just buying a new tie and another suggestion had been to get a scarf to tie through it. Then I came across vintage boho bags website. They revamp bags to resell or you can send yours to them to have redone. They sell bags all the time on their site and then a few times a year do a sale. I happened to catch them on a sale day and the bags sold out in seconds. In order to do a revamp you send them pictures of your bag and tell them what you want done. They send you back a quote and you can add or take off options. You also can pick the color of leather you want them to use. Once you finalize all your options they send you a final invoice to pay and instructions on how to mail it. I mailed mine at the post office with insurance on it. They tell you it takes about 3 weeks and I think mine took every day of that. I am so happy with how it turned out. I constantly get compliments on my bag and I wish I would have had the top braided too (I took that option off due to price and not sure how it would turn it). 

Now off to enjoy the rest of this beautiful weather today since I already see snow back in the weather app for later in the week!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Nightfall

I have always been afraid to be alone at night. I never minded Ray going out with his friends, as an introvert I preferred to stay home while he went out, but wanted him home before bed. As it would get dark I would get anxious and hear every little noise.

When he died I was suddenly alone in a house at night and would lay in bed petrified to close my eyes. Every little noise scaring me and waking me. How was I going to sleep?

Ray's brother decided to stay with us Tue-Thurs nights to help me out and so I wasn't alone. On the other nights we would go to my parent's house and stay the night. The girls weren't in school and I was able to come and go as I pleased so this worked. Slowly as the girls got older and in school I realized I needed to learn to be able to be alone with them.

My sister started coming over once a week and my bil continued to come over once a week. This gave me a little break, sometimes I would go to the store or just sit and do nothing for a bit.

This continued for quite a while until finally I realized that company was cutting into the girl's bedtimes and I also was sometimes frustrated with people always over.

I slowly became more confident in my ability to be alone with them at night and not scared of everything, waking up less and less at night. I still do on occasion, but not like I used to. I have had some scary situations and called people for help and luckily have a great support system that I can count on that will be over in .2 seconds if I need them.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spring Hair with Kimi K Salon and Spa

 Before with no makeup and straight hair!

I am so excited to share this fun project I got to be a part of with Kimi K Salon and Spa in Downtown Rochester! They asked if I would be a hair model for a spring style shoot they were part of for the local Rochester magazine. 

I plan to do a whole hair post soon, but for those that don't know I have been going to this salon for years. Jeni has made me blonde, dark, cut it short, put in extensions, you name it I have probably had it done! I have super thick hair that grows pretty fast, so I like to change it up often! 

I had really short notice on the shoot so I didn't have time to get my color touched up and right now I am in between my darker winter hair and my summer blonde. Anyone else hate that hair stage? I just want to be blonde again! The goal of the shoot was to create a spring hair style and braids are very in right now. Jeni decided to do curls with a sweeping braid across the front. This style looks so pretty and I think I can even recreate this on my own at home! It has such a boho vibe, which if you know me is right up my alley. 

The whole experience was so fun and I can't wait to see what the final photo looks like in the magazine. I will post it to my Instagram as soon as it is published! If you don't follow me on Instagram my handle is youngwidowedstylishmama if you want to follow along. I post a lot of style content on my Instagram that is all shoppable through the liketoknowit app!

**I want to thank Jeni Jubb at Kimi K Salon and Spa for the hair! It turned out amazing as usual. 

My tunic is Zara, shoes are Vici Collection, and my jeans are Abercrombie. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Widow Wednesday--What now?

When Ray was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer I knew he didn't have a lot of time and I didn't know what I would do after his death. Do I return to work? Do I move? How would I survive as an only parent? What would my future look like?

When he died I realized I just needed time. Time for it all to sink it. I felt like I was drifting through for the 8 months he was sick. There is no timeline in a cancer death. You never know when it will be. You try to prepare but how do you know what life will be like?

I had a just turned 2 & 3 year old that didn't really understand what was going on except Daddy was in heaven. They were super attached to me and had been shuffled around for 8 months. I had so much guilt over not being with them at a crucial time of development. They needed stability and to feel safe. After being a counselor that was one of the biggest factors I had felt were of importance in a child's upbringing. I just wanted to go back to being their mom full-time and doing the things I had planned to do with them.

Part of stability and feeling safe I felt, was keeping them in the home they were used to. I didn't think it was the right time to pick up and move. We had only just begun making this home ours when he was diagnosed. We were having it painted when he was in the hospital, the basement bathroom still had the tools in it from where he left off working.

I had weirdly always felt like the girls were "just mine." Maybe some premonition of what was to come? I don't know why because he was such a hands-on father and spent a lot of time with them. I did feel like I needed to navigate the world without him here though and learn how to do things on my own.

I had so many decisions and things that needed to be dealt with that working seemed to not be the right answer at that time. I had cars to deal with, finances, paperwork, etc. You never realize how much needs to be done or should be prepared for until someone does die.

I remember our first outing after he died was to the Armada Fair, with my Dad. It felt so strange to be going out and doing something fun when we just buried my husband...was it ok? Should I be out and having fun?

Summer had open house for 3 year old preschool 2 weeks after he died. I remember going to the school and showing her around and the room filled with all these parents, mom and dads. I remember thinking this isn't how it is supposed to be! He should be here...he would be so proud and excited for her. I remember thinking that I needed to tell the teacher about our situation. I stopped her in the room and introduced Summer and I and preceded to tell her that my husband had died 2 weeks before of cancer, and the tears started to flow and I kept apologizing. I had never cried to anyone when talking about it and why here? Why now? In the middle of all these people that don't know my story, I was so embarrassed. I remember her trying to comfort me and telling me she would be in good hands.

Navigating this new world wasn't easy and I never knew how I would react in different situations, my emotions were all over the place.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Spring Transition Outfit

A little Tuesday post today because I just never had time to sit down to work on this to post yesterday. I have been trying to do new posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but that seems to get thrown off quite regularly because of the kids, weather, other obligations, etc. 

We have had a glimmer of spring here in Michigan, but also still snow and cold. I crave to wear some new spring styles, but I also love being warm way too much! When shopping for a few new spring pieces I always try to pick stuff that I can still wear into summer. This is one of those outfits!

The shirt was a Target find. I love the boho style and I can easily pair this with shorts and sandals in the summer. It is a nice light material and reminds me of something that I would find in a more expensive retailer. I paired it with my black jeans and black backless heels (that are on MAJOR sale, I almost want the brown now too!!!) It still gives off that warmer weather vibe, but I still was able to wear it on a cold day. 

Speaking of a Target find, I can honestly say, I never shopped much for myself at Target until recently. They have really upped their game in the clothing department with all these new brands and styles. Prior I probably purchased 1 thing for myself in about 10 years at Target. Kid's clothes...that is a different story! I have always loved the styles for kids and regularly buy stuff for the girls at Target. I find myself browsing quite often to see what is new. I can usually find a great deal on something that is a great dupe for something much more expensive or a trendy item I don't really want to spend too much on. The order online and return to store is also very convenient. 

I also want to talk about my bag today too! Vintage Boho Bags is an online retailer that sells revamped Louis Vuitton bags or you can send in your old bag to have revamped. They offer all different types of ways they can revamp it. This bag was an old bag of mine that had been thrown in the back of my closet because the tie closure had broken from usage and I just never went to get a new one. I figured this was the perfect bag for them to work their magic on because who wants a Louis in the back of the closet unused? You send them a picture of your  bag and what you want done, then they send you a quote and invoice. You ship them the bag and a few weeks later they ship it back. I am so happy with how mine turned out! This bag is now back into rotation and fits me perfectly with the new boho flair. 

Now if the weather would just warm up so I can finally wear some of my other spring clothes comfortably, I would be happy!

As always all items are linked below to click and shop! I linked a few other tops that are similar and a dress that I love too!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Amazon Spring Dress Try-On: All Under $30

So, in all honesty, I never ordered much in the way of clothes from Amazon. Maybe the occasional item that I couldn't find in stock someplace else or that was cheaper, but that was all. Lately, I have been seeing a ton of posts with cute Amazon purchases so I decided to give it a try. All the items were prime and came in a few days and the ones I didn't like I easily printed off the return slip and dropped them off at the UPS store and returned. Only one item was such a fail (you can see it on my Instagram story today) that I didn't even remember to take a photo to do the collage. Just image these all worn on a beach or on a 75 degree day with a tan. So here goes...

Black Dress--This dress has a super cute fit and gathering on the side that make it really flattering. It is an easy basic that can be dressed up or dressed down. I paired it with these wedges, but easily could have thrown on some flip flops. I have it on under the kimono in the second pic, but think it would be really cute worn with a jean jacket and baseball cap! This dress has 24 options to pick from! You can chose from multiple colors and sleeve lengths and it is under $20!

Palm Kimono--This is one of my favorite purchases from last year. I already owned this and wore it on vacation last summer, but included in this try-on because it seems to be a favorite for a lot of people. I posted it on my Liketoknowit. recently and it was a popular item. I wore it over my swimsuit last year, but it can easily be worn as a layering piece over a dress or even jean shorts and a tank. This is a steal at under $17!

Pink Dress--This dress runs really short. I am super short and it is a perfect, short length on me. I tied the belt at a weird spot now looking at the pic I took, it should have been moved up, but it is a cute little dress. It looks much more expensive than it is...again only $20 and comes in 4 colors.

Peach Dress--This dress looks like a Free People dress, but at a fraction of the price. It is a thinner material and you would have to be mindful of what you wear underneath it. I included a pic of the front and back because I think the back of the dress makes it. It has a tie that you can adjust to make the back tighter and not droop. I personally was a little nervous about the back and chose to return this, but I have seen a few other people posting this dress and it makes a beautiful dress for family photos or even to wear on a beach vacation. This one comes in 5 colors and is under $30.

Floral Romper--I saved my favorite for last! This was actually one that I added to the order "just to try" and didn't intend to keep it and it ended up being my favorite. The fit is so cute. The length is perfect, not too short or too long and the elastic at the waist makes for a flattering fit. The entire back is open! I love the long, flowy sleeves and paired with some neutral heels make it a perfect spring outfit. I think I may wear it for Easter even.  This one comes in 2 colors and is under $25.

I did a whole try-on with these items and will be uploading the video to my Instagram story today for you to see them on along with a little more of a review. I also linked the shoes, but the tan ones are almost sold out. I posted these in my shoe picks when they first came out and knew they would probably sell quickly and they did. You can shop all these looks by clicking on the pictures below, it links straight to them!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Widow Wednesday---Still not over

The days following, I just wanted over with. I hate being in crowds of people that I know. I am very anxious and even for our wedding I chose a private, immediate family only ceremony and a reception for all afterwards and that was only because that is what others wanted. I hate any type of attention or showing any feelings in public. I am a pretty private person when it comes to those things.

I remember lots of visitors showing up dropping off food and sympathy gifts/cards and offering to help. It was well received since everyone was at my house trying to put together photo boards and funeral stuff. I remember being very hands off and not wanting to deal with any of it. I just wanted it all over and to go away and be alone.

Looking back, as a private person, I needed that time to take it all in and grieve and with so many around I wasn't able to. Instead, I did nothing.

We decided to hold off for a few days to do services since people were traveling in to make them. I remember going to the mall and buying shoes because I knew I would be on my feet a lot and didn't have any comfortable dress shoes. I remember using it as an excuse to get away and do something normal. Even that experience wasn't normal having to explain to the salesperson what I was looking for and why.

I spent the next few days taking more anxiety meds than I had during the entire illness. I was truly trying to get through the days showing as little emotion as I could. I remember calling my next door neighbor the wrong name! I was so embarrassed after but I truly was just existing at this point.

How do you act at your husband's funeral? I had 2 young children that were also running around and not really understanding what was going on. There is no manual for this. If I had to talk too much I knew I would lose it and that wasn't an option. I plastered a smile on my face and walked around. I remember a few things happening during the viewing that I felt Ray's presence and put a smile on my face because I knew he too was laughing.

You also never really know how many people you have touched till you die and it is too late. He had students make their parents drive from Detroit to be there, co-workers, friends, old teachers, coaches, you name it and each with a story. Still to this day I have people reach out to me to share things. Old students of his find me on facebook to tell me how he impacted their life. It really means a lot to see and hear how he impacted so many people.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Privileged Door

I have worked for my friend for quite a few years now creating with her for her Etsy shop called Privileged Door. Everything is handmade and put together. Her husband hand cuts all the wood bases and we finish the rest.

When I started working for her I was only doing the moss covered wreaths. Surprisingly, the biggest seller are Shamrocks! We would literally work day and night trying to send out all the orders. Now I am also working on pip berry and boxwood wreaths.

These wreaths are truly designed with so much attention to detail and care. As I mentioned earlier everything is handmade even the bases. Each one is different and unique since they are handmade. Both of us are perfectionists and spend a great deal of time making sure they look amazing before they are shipped. They are rustic and beautiful classic wreaths. Each holiday has its own collection and they can be personalized for weddings d├ęcor!

I am going to link some of my favorite or best sellers below! Just click photo to shop!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Looking for something to do?

I have really been struggling with getting any new posts up on the blog lately. The weather has been cold, and snowy which is making it hard to shoot outdoors. I have some fun spring outfits, but can't wear them in the snow to shoot. I was planning to do a hair and skin/makeup post but haven't gotten around to shooting anything for that either. I have been keeping up on my Instagram a little more and posting daily outfits or items I have purchased or plan to purchase, although I love to be able to have them on and styled for you to see!

Today's post is a little different than my normal. I have done a few posts highlighting things I like to do with the kids or spots I like and this is another one of those posts!

Last weekend, the girls and I went to Eastern Market to check out the soft opening of the new Mitten Crate storefront. If you aren't familiar with Mitten Crate they are a Michigan-made product subscription box. They recently expanded their website to sell items individually and now decided it was time to open up a shop where you can buy individual products or even make your own box to send. 

The store is located at 2478 Riopelle in the white Beau Bien building. The store was being used to produce jam and will still manufacture the jam and sell it, but also will be used for Mitten Crate. 

When we went to check out the soft opening last weekend Mitten Crate had only been in the building about 24 hrs, so they weren't completely set up how they plan to have it, but did have a lot of products on display. I was told they will have individual products to purchase and a station to create your own box once they are finally settled. 

I have sent these boxes to relatives out of town and even as gifts for hard to buy for people that don't really need anything. Everyone has loved to get a little taste of Michigan!

If you are in the Eastern Market area check them out! This weekend is their first official weekend open. They are such a cute little shop and have some big plans!

Mitten Crate website for more info or to shop online--Click here!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Welcome to the weekend!

Anyone else's kids count down the days till the weekend? Our weekends are usually packed, but they still can't wait till the weekend comes. 

This girl right here is all about the weekends and always loves to wear shirts that declare her love, so when I came upon this little jacket I had to get it for her. It is also part of a mom and me matching set so I also grabbed the matching one for myself! 

She is my casual girl that loves to live in jeans and tennis shoes, so that is how we completed her look. I wanted her to wear no show socks but after much arguing I gave up. She wore a pair of my Golden Goose dupes for the shoot that are currently sold out, but I was able to link other options. I think this is a perfect outfit for a little tween!

The jacket is from one of the stores I reviewed previously in another post and I just wanted to give an update on this retailer. I had also purchased a dress from here and I always wash everything before it goes in their rooms. It came out of the wash with little holes all in it, even following the directions. I ended up deciding it wasn't worth sending back and tossed it. I wrote in my reviews about what happened and within 24 hrs I had an email from customer service asking if I could provide a photo of the damage, which I couldn't because I had tossed it. They emailed again and said they would refund my purchase. I totally stand behind this company and the customer service I have received. I find trendy clothes at great prices and the service I have received has been great. I know people are scared to try it being a China based company but I have never had any issues. 

So on that note...have a good weekend! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Final Day

The final day started like any other. Since the fever, he had been in and out of it. Sometimes talking a little crazy, but most of the time still there and even getting out of bed to use the bathroom and shower.

One of the things they don't tell you is if you buy burial spots etc before death, it is cheaper than to do it after. My Dad had decided it was probably best if I went and finalized details since we could tell the end was near. He had gone with other family members to look at funeral homes and cemeteries but wanted me to make the final decisions.

Making these decisions is so hard because you don't want to be making them at all. We started at the funeral home and I had to finalize casket details etc. Then we moved onto the cemetery. I had never known till I Ray, he wanted to be buried in the wall and not the ground. I am glad he chose this because going to visit with the girls so little, has made it more bearable to be indoors especially in the winter. Even deciding on this detail there are so many options. Which building, what floor, what height, where in the building, room for 1 or 2 caskets? Who knew there were so many options?

I had a lady from the cemetery drive me to the building and decide on a place. I chose a spot overlooking the library and park because he loved kids and I knew he would want to be facing those things. The girls also know exactly where he is from the outside and whenever we drive by they wave and throw kisses to him. When we returned to the main office to sign papers and finalize details I will never forget what the lady said to me, she asked if I wanted a single or double casket space and then followed it up with well you are young and pretty so you never know where life will lead you so a single is probably best. I will never forgot those words. I know in her mind she probably thought it might make me feel better, but nothing matters when you are burying the love of your life. You aren't thinking of anything but your future slowly fading away. It was one of the worst things I remember hearing while he was sick.

As I was signing on the line to finalize the details my phone was ringing and it was Ray's brother Samy. My Dad was like you should probably answer and he all he said was you should probably get home. I knew at that point he had probably died. Instead of breaking into tears I almost smiled because if anyone knew Ray they knew he would save a buck whenever he could and he literally waited till I was signing on the line to die. One of my greatest fears was being there when he died. I absolutely didn't want to be around when it happened. I almost felt like he waited for me to be out of the house and saving a buck.

When I returned home his whole family was there and they had already taken all the tubes out of him and cleaned him all up. He finally looked at peace for the first time. I remember being so incredibly sad but at the same time at peace that he finally wasn't suffering anymore. All those tubes, and medication, and being all skin and bones laying in that bed day in and day out. After I said my good byes the funeral home took his body away.

The hospice came in and took away the bed and machines and my mom had a friend's son that owns a carpet cleaning company clean all the carpet. The next day everything was set back up in the room as if nothing had ever happened. It was eerily quiet, but for the first time in months I was able to relax without worrying when he was going to die.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Waiting on Spring--Tween Fashion

I was missing in action again on the blog since the girls were off school for mid-winter break. We spent one night in Frankenmuth for Summer's birthday, but mainly spent the week at home doing low key things. Summer is a homebody and prefers to be home, but Lily likes to be out and about like me. 

Since we were home I did find some time to shoot a few things I had been wanting to shoot for the blog with the girls. I frequently get asked where I shop or find things so I hope these posts are helpful for ideas on where to buy clothes for tweens. I am constantly finding cute things in the smaller sizes and it makes me so sad that they have outgrown that stage. 

My girls are complete opposite in terms of what they like to wear and will wear. Lily is my carefree little hippy child and loves to stand out and is unique in her style. I love shopping for her or with her because she is more like me. We prefer trendy items and pieces that others don't have. She was worried when one of her favorite stores opened in the area that other people would now be shopping there and she wouldn't be able to anymore. Luckily for her, I haven't seen many wearing her stuff and she has been safe. 

This outfit is totally her on a casual day. She has always loved Rolling Stones shirts (I think she just likes the tongue sticking out) so she had to have this one when she found it in her favorite store. Band shirts are a great graphic tee to layer or wear on a casual day and are seen everywhere right now. The exact one she is wearing is sold out from Zara, but I did find one to link that looks almost exact and some other band shirts.

As soon as we spotted these jeans online we had to order. I mean, they are flares and will be a great jean to transition into spring and summer with a sandal. So how could we not buy these?! 

These shoes are a Golden Goose dupe for girls. She was obsessed as soon as we found them online and we had to order. We ordered her normal size in these and she loves them. They come with another pair of laces if you want to switch them to a pair you can tie, but she loves that the sides zip and she can just throw them on and zip them up without tying. They had them in a few different styles, but she loves the glitter. We haven't had any issues with the glitter falling off.  

As I am sitting here typing this post thinking about how sad I am mid-winter break is already over, I can't help but be excited that in a month they will be off for spring break and we will be able to make more memories. Hopefully the weather will be getting warmer and I can start shooting some spring looks soon!