06.14.2017

Wellness Wednesday || 16 Healthy On The Go Snacks…. Annnnd, A Vitamix x Petunia Pickle Bottom Giveaway!

When Harper was little, staying inside was easy. We’d have story time, a little tummy time, a few songs, a couple of naps…. a thing of the past now that we have a full blown toddler on our hands. Now, I’m lucky to sit down for more than five minutes between the hours of 7:30am-1:30 (when that blessed nap arrives!!). With the beautiful weather that summer is bringing us, and little miss’ never ending abundance of energy, we’ve been planning lots of outside time with trips to the park, beach, and pool. With that comes a big appetite, and the need to plan ahead… from packing up our bags, to preparing all the food.

Given all of this, I was so excited to try out Petunia Pickle Bottom’s new Intermix Collection and Vitamix’s new A2500 Blender. I’ve been huge fans of both for years, and if they could make my life a little easier, I was open to any and all help. The new Vitamix blender allows me to create Harper’s favorite smoothie and acai bowl in multiple batch sizes, in a single round, which allows me a few options: store, serve, or take the blends to go. Its smart technology automatically adjusts to the container size I’ve selected and stops the blender when complete (read: I can walk away and finish something else…. multitasking at its finest!). I’ve essentially been able to create a week’s worth of smoothies and bowls for Harper that I can grab and go when we’re ready! For chic and practical storage, Petunia Pickle Bottom’s new collection is a create-your-own modular system of lightweight, easy to clean (yes please and amen!) bags and pods to help keep me organized and prepared. There are two smaller bags, the cool pixel bag (which is insulated allowing me to store temperature sensitive food) and the midi pixel which stores smaller bites…. I use both regularly and swear by them. I can’t stand being unorganized, and this system helps me prevent that…..

Of course, I have several tried and true snacks I add to these bags that I thought I would share with you today (some require a little beginning of the week meal-prep, some don’t)… just in case you’re looking for some healthy, on-the-go, snack ideas to prevent the hunger meltdown… from both toddler and momma…

Sliced Veggies (bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, zuchinni) with hummus or guac. I devour this and Harper does pretty well with the raw veggies… she mainly licks the guac and hummus off of them and takes small bites here and there….
Chocolate Banana Super Food Smoothie
Protein Waffles Topped With Almond Butter (new favorite almond butter)… I take these for Harper to nibble on all the time
Dairy Free Chia Seed Pudding
Acai Bowl
Dried Cranberries
Dried Mango Slices

Late July Peanut Butter Crackers
Turkey Slices
String Cheese
Ella’s Kitchen Nibbly Fingers 
R(x) Bars (chocoloate + blueberry flavors)
100 Calorie Perfect Bars (almond flavor is excellent too)
Fruit Slices: blueberries, raspberries, banana slices, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple
Siggi’s Yogurt (for Haper) Kite Hill (for me)
Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies 

Now for some fun! One reader will have the opportunity to win 1 Vitamix A25000 and The Petunia Pickle Intermix Collection (what you see featured here today!). Just be sure to follow @itsybitsyindulgences, @petuniapicklebottom, and @vitamix over on instagram. I’ll be sharing a photo later today with all the official requirements! Keep your eyes open!! 
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(Outfit Details || Leggings (wearing S) | Tank | Bralette | Harper’s Romper | Harper’s Shoes)


In collaboration with Petunia Pickle Bottom + Vitamix 

06.13.2017

Summer Style || Embroidery

Well, today (Monday evening as I type this) couldn’t have been any more different than the day I wore this dress…. I wore basic cut-offs and a new favorite ruffle front top (highly recommend, btw) and went to music and story-time with Harper in the morning…. only to have a completely different daughter return. My word! Limit testing left and right…. with a 20 minute show down when I asked her to clean up…. I used lots of “when-then” + “if-then” statements and did tons of bringing her back (she ran away whining each time….), but after 20 minutes she raised her white flag and decided she would help clean up…. then, when I went to pick her up for nap-time (which she didn’t want to go to)…. she sat down, threw herself back, and had the biggest knot in the back of her head. One call to the pediatrician, and a quick google search later, I realized she didn’t have a concussion, and that yes, she would go down for that nap. Yessssss….. 2.5 hours of quite. #RealLifeMoment

Ok, now onto this embroidered number. When I first started searching for a dress for my sister’s bridal shower, I wasn’t certain as to what exactly I was looking for. I thought I wanted something floral…. and thought about this dress. Then, I decided I wanted something completely different…. something more tunic like… but couldn’t find just what I was looking for. I considered this orange one…. as well as this yellow option. Then, I stumbled across this embroidered maxi. I was sold. Game Over.

I, of course, ran through my check-list… asking myself when, where, and how I could re-wear this dress again (I used to buy so many dresses… and only had one place to where them too….#WaistOfMoney…). I decided it would be perfect for a weekend getaway to the desert. Excellent for sunset cocktails at the beach (this is on my summer date night list). A no brainer for our trip to Hawaii in October (hello happy hour Mai-Tais). Pair it with a low block, open toed mule and a straw hat for a dressier brunch. Toss on a jacket in the cooler, fall months, with a cute pair of ankle booties (I can’t believe I just mentioned fall….)…. you probably won’t see me frolicking around in it at the park with little miss… but, it sure is a piece I know I’ll wear over and over again…..

If you’re looking to add something embroidered to your closet this summer (which I highly recommend) a few favorites include this off the shoulder dress, gorgeous floral smock dress (these colors are amazing!), off the shoulder dress (such an amazing price point),  stripe embroidered top (I own this one), and this gardenia button up top (own it too and love it… featured here). I also love these embroidered mules (own them in the oat color). Another similar option to my dress, that is on major sale, includes this maxi dress.
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(Outfit Details || Dress (4 color options, runs TTS) | Bralette | Sandal (sold out, similar)| Necklace | Sunglasses | Cuff (similar) | Tote (similar) | Pom Pom)

06.12.2017

Weekend Recap || “My Person”

(So much fun celebrating this lady…..)

When I was five, I found out I was going to become a big sister. I desperately wanted a little brother (I seriously have no clue why I was so dead set on this….) that when I found out I was having a little sister, I buried my head in the couch cushions and cried. Of course, that’s a story we’ve told many times over the the years with great fondness…. and despite my initial disappointment in having a sister, I can honestly say that I couldn’t imagine my life without her…..

I once saw a quote that read, “Because I have a sister, I will always have a friend.” For me, those words couldn’t be more true. Throughout the years, when I’ve felt most alone, upset, or anxious, I always knew that I had my sister… and, so, when it came time to planning her bridal shower, I wanted to give her a day that was meant to celebrate the beautiful woman she has become and the wonderful friend she is to me. We spent the afternoon with her closest friends, and family friends, showering her with love and sending her off into this new life stage of marriage…..

And while I know not everyone has a sister, and that a brother and sister relationship can be just as close, I simply hope that everyone can find that type of relationship in their life. The kind where you know that no matter what happens, that person is there for you. I guess you could call them “your person.” Sometimes we have multiple “persons”…. a “squad” you could call it. So, as we go into this week ahead, I feel incredibly blessed by the “persons” who surround me… and set my intention to let them all know how much I cherish their place in my life! I hope you’ll do the same! Have a great week friends! xx

(My mom assembled all of the flower arrangements in these gold vases… and the place-settings were adorned with these placemats and woven fans. My mom and I did the ombré napkins for my baby shower, and my mom wrote “aloha” on the fans with puff paint. All the pineapples were spray painted gold. We rented the glasses, and tossed these adorable pineapple swizzle sticks in them for an extra tropical touch. I opted for a lace table cloth to give it a little bit of a vintage feel.)

(We did a dessert bar, as opposed to a cake, and served shortbread cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, and vanilla + lemon filled macaroons. I loved the pineapple plates and palm tree napkins.)

(Ending the weekend with a little family run to breakfast for some avocado toast… and chocolate milk for little miss… my tee, capris)
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We got creative this weekend working out with Harper… and used a lot of the tips we talked about in this post.  We have this ground turkey recipe on the menu this week, along with this shrimp stir fry recipe. I’m also planning on making this beauty smoothie a few times this week for my afternoon snack. On Friday, I switched my cardio up a bit and did this stair-master workout…. buns were on fire! I’m also considering trying the Tone It Up 7 Day slim down…. not sure yet… have any of you done it before?? I’m curious how their meal plan is!

Lots of great basics finds this weekend that I had to share with you! This stripe french terry ruffle sleeve tee is absolutely adorable (I bought it in the pink color), knot front sweater (so many cute color options, loving the blush and oatmeal), and this simple knot front jersey tank (again, so many colors to choose from). I also love this slit sleeve cotton tee and camo hoodie…. perfect with cut-offs and kicks for a busy day. I recently purchased this lace up sweatshirt… it’s seriously so soft.

I recently invested in some new workout pieces and am obsessed with these blush and oatmeal high waisted leggings (size up, they run tight….), this oatmeal sports bra (seriously so comfortable), mesh cold shoulder pullover (perfect for post-spin brunch), vintage zip-up hoodie, and this side slit tank. I’m also considering these neutral cross trainers or these pink tubular kicks (since I love my grey pair so much).

These blush slide sandals juuuuust arrived, and they’re so comfortable… and the blush is so pretty. They’re currently being price matched. I also think these slip-on huarache sandals are such a cute steal. The price is amazing!

J. Crew and LOFT also have some of the cutest items lately. J. Crew is offering 25% off this adorable ruffle wrap skirt (I am debating between the white and hibiscus), tie shoulder ruffle top with eyelet trim, flutter sleeve tee (in blush… but so many pretty options), and this cute graphic tee. LOFT has the cutest one shoulder top, color blocked maxi skirt, and floral mxi dress (love that it comes in a petite option).

For little miss, I found the cutest little stripe romper,  embroidered smocked tank, floral print romper, adorable blue and white tiered skirt, floral off the shoulder top, floral maxi dress, and this embroidered flutter sleeve dress.

06.09.2017

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Over the course of my career as a Marriage and Family therapist, I saw first hand how important the role of a father is in a family system. I grew up in a home with a strong fatherly presence, and it saddened me when I would speak with clients whose relationships were completely different… from absent fathers to abusive ones… it ultimately made me appreciate my relationship with my dad even more (I think at some level I always took my relationship with my parents for granted… until I grew up and had to become an adult on my own….). Knowing the significance of the role, it was always important to me to find a husband who would be just as present, both physically and emotionally, as my own dad was….

When TJ and I became serious, and talked about marriage and someday a family, there was never a doubt in my mind that he would be a wonderful father. From his silly disposition with younger kiddos (always seems to be able to make them laugh) to his unnatural ability to tolerate the repetitiveness that children love, I knew he’d be a natural. When we found out we were having a daughter, he quickly read through “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” to ensure he would be a fully present dad to Harper. She absolutely loves him, and it melts my heart to see their relationship together…. just as it does to see my dad become a grand-daddy….

Both of these men have a tremendous role in my life, and in Harper’s…. a gift, of course, is not what they expect…. but it’s just a small way that I get to show them my appreciation for all they do for me, Harper, and our family! So, if you have a father, father-figure, and/or a baby-daddy in your life… I’ve rounded up some great gift ideas that they’re sure to love!

Grooming: If you’re guy is into taking care of his skin just as much as you are, then you have to try out the Clarisonic Cleansing System (c/o) for men. It’s designed specifically for men to help them get a closer shave, healthier looking skin, and a cleaner beard (or five o’clock shadow….). It has two different settings and can be customized for each guy. TJ loves his… as well as this eye de-puffer (pretty much obsessed), and this facial moisturizer (both my dad and TJ love this one). When traveling, I this dopp kit is an excellent option… it’s a clean look, with the perfect amount of compartments to keep everything organized.

Tech Lover: If you have a technology obsessed man on your hands, TJ loves these ear buds (blares his rap….), and we love using our BOSE speaker on the weekends. I also think this iPad mini cover is super sleek… and how cool is this handsfree camera??… pretty much the perfect way to ensure the entire family gets in a photo!

Grill Master: Both TJ and my dad love to bbq…. and have a libation while doing so. I love these personalized beer glasses, and both love their sphere ice cube maker (perfect ice cube for those gimlets). As far as actual grilling goes, these individualized meat thermometers are a great option, and this s’mores grilling basket is probably one of the best inventions ever (we do s’mores on the bbq all the time!).

Workout Fanatic: We’re a pretty active family, so it’s always a safe bet that something related to it will be a well received gift. I’m considering buying TJ another pair of his favorite shorts, and this tank for our hikes and spin classes. This is also an excellent half zip for post workout brunch, and TJ loves all classic Adidas so I think this hat would be perfect.

The Stylish Guy: Both TJ and my dad have quite the shoe collection… so I’ve always known that a good pair of shoes would be a great gift. TJ loves these everyday Nike kicks (he owns the grey color seen above), and he wears these sunnies daily. I also bought him this bracelet for our anniversary and he wears it daily.

Other Fun Ideas: Some things I have done in the past include purchasing tickets to a sports game (baseball game or future football game…) or an airline gift certificate for my dad (since he loves going to Hawaii)…. or, this year, a cute little picture framed of TJ with Harper and Harper with my Dad…. or a round of golf…. there are always ways to get creative for those you love!

06.08.2017

A Four Day Makeup-less Experiment + A Closet Basic Must-Have

I went make-up less for the first four days of the week. TJ headed out of town for work on Sunday morning, and since we do a lot of blog photos during the week, and I knew he wouldn’t be home, we worked overtime the week before and on the weekend. I thought, “Yes, no make-up this week…” Don’t need to touch my hair. I’m going au-natural and stretchy pants all week. I thought I would feel relieved…..

Day 1 was spent by the pool at my parent’s house. No make-up necessary, just some good old sunscreen on my face.  Only a bathing suit required. The quintessential summer uniform.

 Day 2 was pretty nice too. Took a 5 minute shower, put on some moisturizer, ran a brush through my hair, tossed on my leggings and hoodie combo, and out the door we headed. I thought, “I like this, I could get used to this….” When it came time to my evening skin care routine, it didn’t take nearly as long. Another bonus.

On day 3, I was feeling a little blah… thought maybe it was because TJ was gone and I was pretty exhausted from doing double duty. I assumed the no-fuss beauty routine was something that would make getting through the day easier. By the end of the day, I remember chatting with TJ, and feeling sort of negative about myself….. strange, not a feeling I usually have.

Today (so, day 4…. but Wednesday as I write this), I decided I was over the no beauty routine and went through my everyday make-up routine and freshened up my hair. I retired my leggings, pulled out a favorite pair of jeans, distressed tee, and utility jacket (it was June gloom chilly)…. and something shifted. I felt better. Almost immediately. The mere act of pulling myself together, putting effort into myself, lifted my spirits….

I realized that beauty and clothing isn’t vain, it’s an investment in yourself. If it helps you feel put together and fabulous, then it’s something worth putting time into. For me, the simple act of doing my hair, make-up, and putting on actual clothing makes me feel good… just like my morning workouts and eating healthy do. Which is why I’ve gone to great lengths to establish a 5 minute beauty routine (hair tutorial), and have closet basics, and go-to’s, that I can grab for those days when I’m on a time crunch, or just don’t want to put much effort into getting ready….

Between the jeans, tees, sweaters, sweatshirts, cut-offs, and jackets, I have a few simple dresses that I know are sure to be perfect for any occassion. Enter this simple, comfortable, and versatile t-shirt dress. It’s the perfect length for hanging out with Harper (hits just above the knee), but when belted, becomes shorter and a little dressier. I’ve worn it with sneakers and a denim jacket, and as is today for a lunch with my mom. Tee dresses are such an easy grab and go closet staple because it’s the only piece you need… no need to pair a top and bottom together…. literally, toss on, grab a cardigan, and go.

A few other favorites that I am loving include this mauve option, grey ruffle sleeve dress, basic cut-out tunic dress (lots of cute color options), and this knotted grey maxi.
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(Outfit Details || Dress (c/o), currently on sale!, black version | Cardigan (identical, same brand) | Sandal | Belt (similar) | Tote (very similar) | Pom | Sunglasses | Necklace)

 

06.07.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Refreshing Summer Cocktail + Tips For Imbibing Without The Bulge

About a month after I graduated college, my pants started to fit a little looser. I told myself that it was likely because I was incorporating more strength training into my routine… you know, gaining lean muscle. Ha. Now that I’m being honest with myself, it’s because I wasn’t at “Wednesday You Call Its,” The Pennant for pretty much anything on Thursdays… and I’m drawing a blank on Friday nights. Those cranberry vodkas, Micheloba Ultras (they’re only Ultra when you have one or two…), and jug wine evenings (not by myself….) didn’t help those jeans fit any looser…..

It’s been eleven years since my lifestyle looked even remotely similar to that (thank GOD), but, don’t get me wrong, I love a good cocktail now and again on the weekends. Now, I enjoy sipping my drink slowly, and savoring the conversation while doing so. That being said, I’ve come to perfect the way I take many of my cocktails, preferring them to be lower on the sugar scale and high in taste. I also prefer them to be a little on the lighter side (I really don’t need cocktails to be the reason for my pants fitting any tighter these days….)…..

All that being said, I’ve come up with a few tricks for imbibing without the bulge, and created a cocktail around these tips as well…. it’s pretty much my new favorite…. perfect after a day spent at the pool!

1. Clear Liquor: Pretty simple, stick with clear liquors, they have a lower calorie count. There are plenty to choose from, and you most definitely won’t be short changed in this arena…. vodka, tequila, gin…. just to name a few.

2. Low Cal Mixers: I hesitate to put “low cal” in there, because that isn’t a green light to use that artificial sweetener stuff. No, no…. My two favorite mixers are Zevia sodas + La Croix sparkling waters. Both are free from artificial sweeteners, but zero calories. Both of these were stocked at my sister’s Bachelorette party.

3. Use Fruit: One of the best ways to add a ton of flavor, without processed sugar and calories, is by using real fruit juice. As in, I stuck my grapefruit in a lemon juicer and collected the juice myself. It’s also amazing what these natural flavors will do!….muddling berries is also a great option.

4. On The Rocks Please: On the rocks is always a nice, light, and refreshing option…. and by on the rocks I mean my favorite blanco tequila with the juice of three limes and salt around the rim. Crisp, clean, refreshing, and light.

5. Water: Always good to have on hand, and always good to sip in between beverages. At least that’s my rule…..

Lighter Paloma 

1.5 oz tequila blanco
1/2 oz of agave nectar
2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
La Croix Lemon Sparkling Water or Zevia Lemon Lime Soda
Salt

Combine the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker… and, well, shake. Using the leftover grapefruit, rub it around the rim of your cocktail glass and then dip the rim in sea salt. Fill the glass with ice, pour in cocktail mixture, then top off with your preferred sparkling beverage (La Croix or Zevia). Garnish with something pretty…. just for fun! Sip and enjoy!
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(Post Details || Cover-up | Hat | Bathing Suit | Gold Rimmed Glass | Cocktail Shaker)

06.06.2017

Little Fringe Top + A Real Life Moment…. The Reality Behind Social Media Photos

Social media is an interesting beast. On the one hand, it keeps people connected, almost seamlessly. Yet, on the other hand, it makes getting caught up in comparison way too easy. So today, I thought I would share with you the crazy evening I had last night….

We live in a condo, and in order to get to our unit, we have to walk through a parking structure. That being said, the goal is to get back to the house in one trip…. regardless of how many bags you have to carry on your arms (I think the record is 10… held by TJ). Tonight, I had a diaper bag, purse, large heavy tote bag, and two grocery bags… along with little miss in my arms (she’ll run the opposite way if I put her down…). As we entered the house, Captain (our spastic labradoodle), jumped up to greet us. Between calming him down, putting Harper on the ground, and still holding the bags, I somehow managed to pull a muscle in my upper back. It now hurts to breathe.

As I was cooking dinner, I went to check on the asparagus in the oven. I was in a hurry, so I didn’t grab an oven mitt, and instead opted for a dishtowel. Well, as I was grabbing the oven rack to pull it out, the towel slipped, and I now have a nice branding of the oven rack on my thumb. All Harper could repeat the rest of the evening was “ouuuuch.” Thank goodness that was all I said.

In the midst of soothing the burn… my thumb was immersed in cold milk and I was madly searching for my lavender oil… Harper somehow got ahold of a bag of chia seeds. Yes, they went everywhere…. and Captain wanted a piece of the action too.

TJ was out for the evening, so I was flying solo.

Let’s just say, I’m ready for bed as I type this (since I write all my posts the night before…)….

Yes, I realize that there are situations much worse than the one I just painted. Yet, I guess the point in sharing it was to paint a very #RealLife picture… behind the well curated photos, crap goes down…..

Ok, so, all that aside, I’m still loving fringe as we head into the summer season. It’s a perfect way to dress up an otherwise basic outfit… or a fun addition to an already fabulous piece of clothing. Given all that, this top was made for me. For starters, it’s white (love anything white). It’s soft. It’s practical (since it can also be worn on the shoulders). Annnnd, it can be dressed up and down…. so, it fits my versatility criteria (just toss on some cute heels or wedges…)…. It’ll be on heavy rotation all summer long.

A few other fringe favorites I have my eye on include this summer sleeveless cardigan, black fringe sleeveless knit, white tassel trim tee (such a cute basic), adorable fringe slides, tassel trim embroidered tank, and this fringe canvas tote (so. cute.).
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(Outfit Details || Top (c/o) | Jeans | Sandals | HatThumb Ring | Tote | Pom | Sunglasses | Necklace)

 

 

06.05.2017

Weekend Recap || All About Balance

(Sunny skies all weekend long)

I’ve always heard the quote “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content…” and had mixed feelings about its meaning. Does a Sunday well spent mean running errands, meal prepping, cleaning, and doing laundry? Or, does it mean fully embracing and enjoying the day off…. doing whatever your heart desires?? Each situation offers a different type of contentment…. The former goes into the work week feeling accomplished and prepared for the days ahead… though, maybe a little short changed that one weekend day was spent running around?? The latter leaves your heart and mind feeling full… but likely a little frazzled as the work week starts…..

Over the past few weekends, I’ve found myself balancing out the two different meanings. A quick trip to the grocery store on Sunday, followed by a lazy day at the pool with the family. Sure, I start the week with a longer to-do list…. but I’d never trade in the memories of that Sunday “well spent.” It’s taken me a while to find that Sunday balance…. I used to see Sunday as another work day… almost dreading it. Since embracing this more balanced approach, I’ve come to relax a bit more, and feel more content as the week begins.

All that to say, we all have to find our own balance in life…. in all aspects. So, as we go into this week ahead, I’m going into it with the intention of just that. Finding balance where I tend to lean to an extreme. Would love to know where you’re going to try to find balance this week too!

Have a good one friends! xx

(Post Soul Cycle breakfast date)

(My fav way to start the mornings….)

(Saturday night bubbly)

(Poolside all weekend long…. Tunic, shorts, tote, sandals, Harper’s sandals, hat, romper)
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In wellness news, I’m starting to think about meal prepping on Sundays. I used to do it a while ago, but felt as if I waisted a lot of food, so I stopped. Yet, I’m trying to fine tune how I go about it and started by making a few chicken breasts, roasted sweet potatoes, and spiralized some zucchini for the week ahead. Ever since little miss dropped to one nap, I feel as if making anything decent is more difficult. Hoping this helps. I’m working on re-vamping my grocery list, but you can see my old one here.

I found a few of my favorite items on sale over the weekend and wanted to share them with you. The summer knit I wear all the time is about 50% off (and available in all sizes), new favorite one shoulder black top (which I’m saving for a sushi date night this coming Friday evening…), super soft ruffle chambray tank (an extra 40% off!),and this peplum olive green top (extra 40% off) last featured here.

Basics. My favorite. I snagged this pretty little white ruffle top over the weekend and can’t wait to pair it with my favorite cut-offs. I’m also loving this stripe cami, chambray tie waist top, and this grey cold shoulder ruffle sweatshirt (lightweight material…. super comfy). I’m also loving these white perforated kicks, grey cross training kicks, and these amazing woven white flat mules (#obsessed). Also, if you’re looking for a pair of white slides for summer (highly recommended) I love this double strap slide as well as these white slide sandals.

My sister’s bridal shower is this coming weekend and I’ve narrowed down my dress options to this gorgeous embroidered maxi (in the taupe and blush color), paisley maxi dress (love the color), and this crochet maxi. I’m wanting to pair whatever dress I get with these amazing fringe sandals, but I’m also looking at these, more budget friendly, slides.

 I’ve also been on the hunt for a great budget friendly one-piece swim suit… and in the search came across this adorable ruffled, deep back, option (in black and peach), striped off the shoulder suit, and this ruffle one shoulder suit.

06.02.2017

Summer Wardrobe Staple || The Little White Dress

There are a few staple items I go in search of at the beginning of every summer season…. pieces that I know will create my summer “capsule” wardrobe. A little white dress is always on top of the list. It’s the perfect item to take you from day to night and casual to dressy. Wear it with sneakers during the day, and a low heeled sandal at night…. make it casual with a denim jacket, and dress it up with a few favorite accessories and something leather or suede….

As I look at my choices over the past few years, they’ve all had similar features…. most are above the knee, looser fitting (well….. there is one body con…. but that hasn’t been worn since I was pregnant……), and have a feminine element to them…. all of which, I believe, makes them versatile enough for any situation. When I stumbled upon this little white number, it fit the criteria and I knew it was “the one.”

A few other little white dress favorites, ranging from ultra casual to a little dressier, include this adorable ruffle cut-out dress, this lace-up shirtdress, oversized bell sleeve dress, lace mid dress, layered frill shift dress (so.fun.), and this lace bell sleeve fit and flare dress (the dressiest of them all).

 I’m pretty much ecstatic that it’s Friday…. Harper has been molar teething this entire week, so I’m ready for a little relaxation! I hope you all have a great weekend!!
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(Outfit Details || Dress (runs TTS, wearing XS) | Slides (on sale) | Denim Jacket (c/o) | Tote | Poms | Earrings, more colors | Sunglasses)

06.01.2017

Wellness Series || 7 Ways To Deal With The Lows In Life

I wanted to start this post with “Sh** happens….” then I thought it was too forward… then I realized, that’s life. Stuff happens. We’re let down, we have setbacks…. failures even, timing of situations doesn’t workout, tragedy occurs, our minds drift to negative spaces, and so much more can, and does, go wrong. In my 20’s I had a hard time with all of that. As I was working to establish my career, lasting friendships, romantic relationships, and a strong sense of self, all of the above happened. I experienced significant loss in my life…. through death and the ending of relationships. I was rejected from jobs. I had professional failures too. I’d spend days dwelling on the negative, feeling sorry for myself, obsessing over things I said, and going over countless ways I coulda, shoulda, and woulda handled a situation… or ways I would have liked someone else to act differently. Yet, as I moved through my 20’s, and well into my 30’s, I began to feel more settled. I started to worry less, and came to take the good that life gave right along with the bad that was dealt. I’d always heard people say the 30’s are the best years… I never knew why… and then, when I stopped to reflect on where I was, realized they were. Life doesn’t get any easier (trust me)…. I think I just matured.  I came to look at situations differently, different values took priority, and I used the techniques I always knew would help me get through the anxious and sad times in my life…. I felt more confident using them… and simply, I grew more confident in who I am as a person.

 I used to be a Marriage and Family therapist, and so much of what I did on a daily basis was dedicated to listening and helping empower people to manage their lives in a more functional manner. I never sought to solve their problems (that was their job), but instead, looked to give them the tools they needed to be successful in life. They were the same tools that I had begun to use regularly. Escaping uncomfortable situations, never experiencing sad days and weeks, and avoiding anxiety just isn’t possible. At some level, these uncomfortable situations serve a functional role in our lives. What I realized was that it’s how we deal with them that matters the most. And, since crap happens to all of us, I felt like sharing some of the tricks I use to help me get through those less than perfect moments in life……..

1. Will This Matter…..???: Let’s be honest here, most of the crap I worry about will never have a lasting impact on my life…. yet, so often, I waste my time with it, inappropriately evaluating it’s importance. So, I routinely ask myself, “Will this matter in a week, a month, or a year?” It puts things into perspective pretty quickly. It also helps me prioritize where to direct my time and efforts. If something is going to ultimately matter in a year from now, then it likely requires more of my time than something that I won’t give two thoughts about in a mere 7 days. The number of likes I get on an instagram photo will not matter in a year from now…. but, a health concern will. Prioritize.

2. Plan Something Fun: I’ve always believed that the best way out of a lull in life is to schedule something to look forward to. I used to recommend it to clients all the time. It’s one of the quickest ways to help me deal with blah life situations. A quick weekend getaway is usually my favorite… not always financially possible, so a few other go-to’s include a favorite workout class, time to read my favorite book or Netflix series (current favorite is 13 Reasons Why…. and, yes, I schedule that stuff….), a long walk (or cocktails) with a girlfriend, a family hike on the weekend, or an at home date night. Scheduling in “fun” is a sure way to provide a little break from a negative life rut.

3. Phone (or text) A Friend: I think it’s so easy to isolate when difficult times arrive. Yet, the very act of isolating can often perpetuate the situation. I always find that chatting with TJ, calling a friend, texting my mom, sister, or dad is typically a good way to shift the tide in a different direction. It might not make the feeling go away, but it’s a good feeling when you feel supported and heard.

4. Evaluate My Evaluation: For both times of worry and sadness, I’ve found that taking a look at how I view the situation helps me gain perspective. Am I magnifying the negative? Minimizing the positive? Or, am I reading another person’s mind… thinking I know what they thought of our conversation/interaction? Am I creating a catastrophe, where it’s really only a minor blip (you know the saying, “Creating a mountain our of a mole hill…”). I’d say 90% of the time I can identify that I’m doing one of those four things, which helps me do the opposite. Notice something positive, acknowledge that I have no clue what the other person is thinking and that I’m putting my personal thoughts/opinions on them, and quickly look at a situation for what it is (just because Harper didn’t sleep through her afternoon nap doesn’t mean that we’re going through a huge sleep regression).

5. Take Charge Where I Can: I find I often feel worse when I feel as if there is nothing I can do about a situation. There are always variables outside of my control, so being able to identify those is a good starting place (can’t change those, why waste precious energy on it….). After doing so, I’m able to make a list of the ways I can actually illicit some sort of change. What I’ve come to realize is that I can always control myself, and make good decisions. Whether that’s how I respond to someone, how I treat my body, or how I take care of myself mentally. Ways I typically choose to take control are by eating healthy, working out, putting effort into relationships that are healthy and reciprocal, apologizing when I’ve hurt someone…. the act of doing something to better a situation often helps me feel less helpless (which is never a good feeling). Also, recognizing that some variables are outside of my control helps me minimize the amount of responsibility I feel in certain situations (I’ve come to realize that I tend to overemphasize my level of responsibility in any given situation).

6. Faith: I personally don’t believe in chance, and everyone has their own faith and spiritual journey. I use mine, and always encouraged my client’s to do the same. I turn to faith for answers that I can’t explain, for guidance during the difficult times, and for hope…. no matter what one’s faith, there are typically guiding principles that direct in difficult times…. which can be a great source of comfort.

7. Accepting: Sometimes this is just the best answer. By accepting I am simply acknowledging that sometimes life sucks and that there is an ebb and flow to circumstances. Without the downs, the highs wouldn’t seem as special and everything in between wouldn’t feel “normal.” Acknowledging that this is just “a temporary spot” helps everything feel less overwhelming…. and often, in the moment of acceptance, things can turn around. I can start to see more clearly and use the strategies mentioned above.
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(Outfit Details|| Tank | Leggings | Sweatshirt | Shoes | Sunglasses)