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!