Friday, March 20, 2015

Springing to Style

Today, I teamed up with my sweet and beautiful friend, Emily at With Style & Grace  to show how we styled this floral tunic to transition into spring. We mixed some of our favorite winter pieces with the tunic to make it weather appropriate since it's still cool outside. 

We found this tunic from Belk but I've linked a similar version below, too. 

I chose to tuck this tunic into a pair of boyfriend jeans to increase the wear of of the tunic. I love the bright pop of spring color. Brights are a great way to transition into spring. The minute it gets warm in Georgia, I bring out my brights and floral prints. 

Emily does a great job of transitioning the tunic layering it with a denim jacket and pairing it with leggings and booties. I absolutely love her look! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Packing Smart

Anyone who knows me personally knows I am not the best packer. I will try to pack my entire closet for one weekend. Over the last couple of days the thought of packing for my upcoming week long trip to Sweden has my anxiety levels soaring. But I want to challenge myself to pack smarter and lighter for this trip. I'll be doing some shopping while I'm there so I want to make room in my suitcase. 

I've come up with a nice little template for packing smart! Before the packing begins the first step is to check out the weather. It'll be averaging in the 40s while I'm visiting.

The next step is pulling out the basics. With the basics covered, you are guaranteed layering options and a classic put together look always. Versatile pieces are the key when traveling.

Next, add some color to make ordinary outfits pop. I'll be throwing in some comfy cords and a couple of bright sweaters that will also layer well.

Functional and comfortable footwear is very important. I'll be doing lots of walking and sight-seeing in Stockholm so I'm making sure I pack my sneakers. A pair of leopard flats can dress up an outfit to and there is no sacrificing style.

Next is packing accessories. I have tons of statement jewelry but for the sake of packing light I'll be sticking to some classic pieces. I may pack one statement necklace to wear if we go out at night. A classic tote is always a way to go when traveling. It will go with every outfit and this tote can be worn as a cross body to free up your arms!

The last items on my list is outerwear.

This packing list is for cold weather destinations but I used this simple template to create one for warm weather too. I used the same principles and it made the task of packing not so daunting! Hopefully this post will help you guys traveling this spring and summer. 

Packing Smart for Cold Weather

Packing Smart

                  Packing Smart for Warm Weather

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ava Turns 5!

5 years ago I went for a routine pre-natal check-up. I had been on bed rest since Valentine’s day and seeing the doctor every other day. With each doctor’s appointment up until March 17th the doctor kept assuring us Ava was coming any day now. I reached 37 weeks finally and Dr. Robinson examined me. I was 4 centimeters and we were given a couple of options. Option 1) We could wait and Option 2) We could have the baby that day. We were super anxious to meet our little one and it gave us the opportunity to give Mimi (Noah’s mom) a heads up so she could drive down from Virginia in time for Ava’s arrival so we chose to go with Option 2.

I remember that day so clearly. We were told to head over to the hospital and get admitted. I knew the moment I was there I wouldn’t be allowed to eat so Noah and I picked up Chic-fil-a before heading to labor and delivery. It was around 2:30 or so when we got settled in the room. I wasn’t feeling any contractions even though the computer was saying I was. The doctor came in to break my water and shortly after I was given the epidural.

Labor was not bad at all thank goodness. The epidural worked so well I had to be told when to push. Ava arrived at 10:30 p.m. and she was just beautiful. I remember how white her skin was and her hair was so light. I was sure she would have jet black hair like me. She looked like a little porcelain doll. I don’t even remember her crying. Her eyes were wide open just taking in her new world.

Our lives have never been the same. Ava is one of a kind. She has such a fun personality. She’s definitely a daddy’s girl but super girly like her momma. Her smile and laugh are infectious and I know she’ll be giving Noah a run for her money once boys start to notice her.

This year she’s been attending pre-k. Her teacher tells me she’s a great learner. Recently they had a talent show at her school and she came home every day practicing her two songs. She was so excited for the performance and was a shining star. Her favorite day of the week is Fridays because its “dress down day”. She loves to pick out her outfit, which always includes a tutu.

We signed her up for ballet/tap and she's loving every minute. Her first recital is this May. She went to her first sleep over this year too, such a big girl. Ava was super brave and decided on her own she wanted to pierce her ears.

She loves to ride her bike and is starting to watch non-cartoon girly shows. She is still pretty picky about eating but recently tried pepperoni and ham. Ava loves to perform. Her and Lily are always singing and dancing. My favorite is when she shows me yoga moves that she’s learned at school.

Ava is five going on twenty with the way she talks. She can be super serious and her facial expressions are just the best.

We are celebrating her birthday this year with a tea party theme. She’s been so excited to dress up and pretend apple juice is tea.

I can’t believe another year has zoomed by. I just want to freeze time and soak up this very special time in her life. We are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Airport Style

Airport Style

Next week I'll be traveling out of the country for the first time! Noah has work in Sweden and I thought it would be a great excuse to finally check a couple of things off my bucket list-- 1) getting a passport, 2) traveling to a different country. I don't know when I will ever get the chance again. My mother-in-law was generous enough to offer handling the kids so we could both go. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I've never left the girls for this long before (a whole week). But it makes for a great birthday present (my birthday is on the 24th).

Today I'm sharing my airport style with you. Since we are leaving warm temperatures here and landing where the average temperatures will be cold, it's important to be wearing the right outfit! We have two stops before reaching Stockholm so comfortable shoes is key. I ordered some new sneakers from J.Crew and I plan on breaking those babies out! Socks are a must for travelling on a plane. My feet are always cold on planes.

Layering is also a must. You never know how hot or cold it's going to be in airports, the plane, or at your destination. Layering gives you the option to be comfortable.

A tote is ideal for traveling. It's perfect for holding all your airplane essentials like water, snacks, magazines/books, passport, etc.

Shades. Sunglasses are the perfect disguise for tired eyes or when you don't care to put on any make-up for those early or late flights!

What's your ideal airport style?

Thursday, March 12, 2015


I'm having a rough day. I've been trying to prepare myself for this one year anniversary of my mom's passing but I'm afraid I don't know how to prepare myself.

As the day creeps closer and closer I am a wreck. This morning all I could think about is how normal everything was this day last year. I had no clue what I would have to face the very next day.

I've been playing out exactly how the events of last year, that Friday, went. The whole weekend really. I have lost grandparents and that was hard. But I had no idea how broken I would feel losing my own parent. I thought I would have 20 years or more before I had to even think about that.

I knew my mom was sick for some time but I never prepared myself for losing her this soon or in such a sudden way.

I feel like no one understands the way I'm grieving because besides my siblings, because no one I know has lost someone that has had the type of relationship we had to our mom. She loved her family with every fiber in her body and we all felt it. She was our rock and all I ever wanted to do was be just like her.

It's so hard not being able to hear her voice. Her house will never smell the same and no food will ever taste so good. I miss making fun of her and talking about what good shopping deals we found. She always had some new piece of jewelry to show us! I miss her long nails that would run through my hair or scratching my back. I miss the notes she used to leave us that would end with OK.

Ugh.... I miss it all.

I'm torn because not only is this a hard time for me emotionally but it's also a joyous occasion because my Ava's birthday is during the same time. I go in between feeling depressed and guilty. How can you be broken and happy at the same time? Well, I'm case in point.

I've decided to take this one year anniversary off work for personal reflection. I want to let my mom know I'm missing her. I want to be able to cry at the drop of a hat.  I'm going to let myself break down. And after I've dried my tears and snotty nose, I'll pick myself back up. Like I've been trying to do for each day since I lost her.

Out of my grief and this whole experience I've learned things. I've learned to not take my loved ones for granted. I've learned that time is running out everyday to live life to the fullest. I've learn to let go of the bull shit. I've learned I'm stronger than I ever thought I was. And I've learned I have some really awesome friends and family that have supported me through this difficult year.

So I will apologize in advance for all the sappy posts and pictures you'll be seeing in the next several days. It's part of my therapy.

Thanks for putting up with me and this post.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Big Fake Wedding Savannah

This past Thursday I attended the most unique bridal show in the form of a big fake wedding! The weather was less than desired but it didn't stop the vendors and the production team from The Big Fake Wedding. Everything was beautiful and even though they had to squeeze everything inside, the event was a success!

My friends, Hannah and Mandy, both brides-to-be had a blast. The event started off with a wedding ceremony which consisted of a real couple renewing their vows. As we were waiting we enjoyed a peach champagne sorbet float from Leopold's. It was such a treat!

Every little detail was so fun and it was great to meet all the vendors that put together the whole night! The reception was complete with a dj, dinner, and wedding cake! In the reception hall the vendor stations were set up and we were able to visit with all of them. Everyone was so nice and helpful!

I would recommend this type of bridal show to all brides. It is such a great idea and so much fun! The team was so sweet and I'm so happy I was able to attend. Below are some highlights from the event!

Be sure to check out The Big Fake Wedding for more details!


The bride's grandfather missed the couple's first wedding so how special that he flew in from California to walk her down the aisle? So sweet! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mini Retreat: Hannah & Julia Take on Orlando!

I love a good girl's weekend. I love my kiddos and hubby but sometimes this momma needs a good "me-time" trip.

My friend Hannah was going to be in Orlando for work and it happened to be her birthday on Saturday. I wasn't going to let her spend her birthday by herself, so I tagged along and we made it a girl's weekend.

We did a little shopping on Friday and walked around Downtown Disney. We ate from food trucks and ended the night with a caramel apple for dessert!

On Saturday we woke up early and headed to Universal Studios/Island of Adventure. The forecast called for rain most of the day, but we put on our rain jackets and went for it. It turned out to be a great decision because we were the second people in line for the park, there were no lines and we were done with both parks by 12:30! That's got to be some kind of world record!

I think the rain is a great deterrent to most people wanting to spend their day at the park but it worked out so well for us.

I'm a huge nerd and I was most excited for Harry Potter World! I hadn't been back to the park since they opened up Diagon Alley and Hogwarts Express so that was pretty cool!

We ended the weekend with more shopping and dinner. It was such a great weekend! Here are a few highlights from our little getaway!

March is here

March is already here.  It is normally the month I get very excited for since Ava and I share the same birthday month.  But for the rest of my life it will be bittersweet.  Bittersweet since March is also the month my mom passed away.  March 16th marks one year and I’ve been dreading its arrival.

It doesn’t feel like a whole year has passed. If fact, it feels like it was just yesterday.  It feels like just yesterday I heard her voice, I touched her hand, I hugged her and laughed with her. It feels like just yesterday I talked to her on the phone and she asked me how the girls are doing. 

I don’t want it to be a year already because the longer time passes, the further away I feel from her, if that makes any sense.

I don’t think it’s true that time heals. I feel like I have lived with the same level of grief in my heart since that day we said our goodbyes. There are times when I'm feeling okay, and then the grief comes back with a vengeance the moment I hear someone talking to their mom or if I see something that reminds me of my mom.

My sister posted a quote about grief yesterday and it describes how I am feeling exactly, “Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes part of you, step for step, breath for breath.” I never understood the gravity of that until I lost my mom.
This has been a hard year. Thankfully, I have my kids to distract my mind from missing her. They have saved me really. Without them to make me smile, laugh, and love, I would be curled up in bed and a heaping mess.
But I know mom wouldn’t want us to be sad as this anniversary is approaching so I will try to enjoy all the good things this month has to bring too.  My baby girl is turning 5 and I’m travelling out of the country for the first time. I will concentrate on the good and keep her close in my heart.

My family is coming in town for a special mass prepared for my mom. I will let myself break down and then I’ll pick myself up again like I’ve been doing for the past 12 months.


Dear mom,

                I hope you are watching over us all. We still need you. Your grandchildren are growing and learning new things. Lily is just as funny as ever. I know you’re laughing with us. Ava is practicing ballet and she loves to perform. Her first recital is in May and I know you’ll be there in spirit.  We miss you every second of every day. Please pray for us. We love you!

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