Christmas is my FAVORITE holiday. I’ve learned over these past few years to start holiday shopping early so that I can actually enjoy all of the fun traditions and the season in general without having added stress. The girls are spoiled by all of their grandparents so luckily we get to keep gifting simple. Stockings are my absolute favorite part, but I will get to that in another post.
Even though the girls are each a few years apart (ages 5,7,9) they always want the same things, which makes my life so much easier! Here are a few of the items the girls are asking “Santa” for and a few things we are gifting.
Hopefully this is helpful in getting a jump start on your holiday shopping if you haven’t done so yet!
Over the years the phrases, “don’t blink” and “the days are long but the years are short” have gone in one ear and out the other. That is, until recently, when I actually embraced the truth in these words. As a working mom of three, our week days are very routine but are also filled with chaos- is that an oxymoron? Some days feel so long while others fly by. Regardless of how fast or slow a day is, I am finding that it’s so important to find simple magical moments with my girls every day. In order to find these moments I am forced (in a good way) to be more intentional and present. For example, the other night after we tucked the girls in bed, Harper came and asked me to lay and snuggle her for a few minutes while she fell asleep. Magical moment. When Ava says “Mama, I love you” at the most random times of the day. Magical moment. Emerson asking to read a book to me because she’s so proud of herself. Magical moment.
If we aren’t mindful of these sweet moments, they will pass us by in the blink of an eye. Slow down and don’t miss the magic.
Call me an old soul, but I love actual books you hold in your hands. I’m not a Kindle kind of girl. To me, there is nothing better than curling up in bed and diving into a great book! This also applies to coffee table books- hello, inspiration! I have been gathering coffee table books for as long as I can remember and have quite the collection now- it’s actually my signature way to decorate. You will find a stack of “coffee table” books with a shell or trinket styled on top in EVERY room of our house.
My mom, sister and I have always been into interior decorating and my mom gifts us the coolest books for inspiration with a handwritten note inside. These are books I love to display & will treasure forever. I have decided to follow suit because the sentiment is so special to me and this Father’s Day we got Nick “Lost Fish”. It was fitting as we took our first ride in our boat to celebrate the day. Now it’s documented inside the cover with the girls adorable little signatures.
While I can’t link all the books I have in my house because I would need 1/2 a day to do so …here are some of my absolute favorites. Enjoy!
As a Florida native, I seem to gravitate towards all things rattan, cane, straw and wicker for myself & our home. It just screams coastal vibes to me and reminds me of my favorite season, SUMMER! Here are some of my favorite accessories- all found on Amazon.
Home: When it comes to home decor I love a great rattan bowl filled with sea shells the kids have collected with a stack of books. This Island Hopping book is an actual dream to read through for inspo and looks so pretty on a coffee table.
Accessories: My straw hat collection continues to grow but my tried and true favorites are from Brixton and are such great quality. I am still a fan of the knotted turban headbands and these are so good for mom life with dry shampoo (don’t judge) or in a high bun. You can jazz up any summery outfit with these fringe or rattan earrings- super light weight. I’ve had this straw tote for a few years and it still looks brand new. This past weekend I carried this cross body to dinner and it’s fits all the essentials, but this clutch would work too!
Just talking about all these things makes me want to hop on a boat to the Bahamas- who’s with me?
Okay, so I know it seems really early to be talking about Christmas gifts but a lot of companies are already doing “Black Friday” sales and shipping is delayed due to Covid. It will feel good to be done early & enjoy the holidays without rushing around or stalking FedEx mid December.
Our parents spoil the girls so we try to do an “experience” or a few special gifts from us. We let them ask Santa for 2 gifts each that we leave unwrapped [they are still working on those lists]. Stockings are my favorite to fill up so I will do a separate guide for those soon! Here are my top picks for this year.
Can you believe there are less than 100 days left in 2020? While most of us celebrated BIG going into a new decade with fresh dreams and intentions, none of us could have predicted or prepared ourselves for the crap show that was to come in the first quarter (and the two after it). A pandemic. Virtually homeschooling our kids. Working from home. Running out of toilet paper (while potty training). Social distancing. Zoom calls. Masks. Drive by birthday parties. Washing hands until they peeled. You get the point.
This year has filled me up with anxiety, uncertainty and fear but it has also unexpectedly brought so much joy, gratitude, simplicity and peace into my world. Who would have thought living through a pandemic would give a person all of that? I love that this year has taught me to SLOW down and enjoy the little things. I have had so much more intentional time with my family, spent time outdoors in nature, learned to throw intimate birthday parties (yes, they exist), exercised daily to keep my mental health in check and most importantly grew in my faith.
I am determined to finish this year off on a high note and always remember this as the one that shaped me into the best version of myself. Here are five things I am going to focus on in these last three months.
• Moving my body for 30 minutes a day – I started training for a half marathon and the struggle is real in the heat but I love pushing for a goal.
• Tightening up my diet. I feel better when I eat gluten & dairy free so time to cut that back out. Also waaaaayyyy too much vino consumption this year so no alcohol during the week. When I enjoy wine on the weekends I will stick to Scout & Cellar, which has no added sugar = no hangover.
• 5am wake up. I have always been a morning person but feel like as a mom I have to be up super early to avoid craziness before school/work. When I hit the snooze button I am frantic and become the official chaos coordinator. There is something so calming when you are up before the sun and have a hot cup of coffee alone.
• Bible vs Social Media. I have gotten into a bad habit of sipping coffee and scrolling through IG or Facebook first thing in the morning. While I mostly follow people who inspire me, it’s still not helping me set my day up for success. Reading through Psalms will keep my heart, mind and eyes on Him.
• Wellness Routine. Eat, sleep, oils, repeat. Knock on wood but our gang is going on three years of using essential oils and plant based products and we have never been healthier. Consistency is key! I’m so excited to diffuse all the festive fall blends to support our immune systems + make our house smell cozy.
What are you focusing on as you finish the last quarter of 2020? Thanks for following along & wish I could hug you all! xo.
People THRIVE when they follow a ROUTINE. For kids, a routine gives them a sense of safety. For adults, it gives us a feeling of purpose. You feel me? After a Spring Break that seemed to never end we were SO off schedule. No routine whatsoever and this mama felt it.
I am happy to report that two weeks into “in person” school (sorry, I hate that I am even having to write that) – our routine is back and our family couldn’t be better. Here are a few things that we are so happy about having back:
1. Early bedtime– The girls get to watch a show from 7:30-8pm then off to the bunk-room where their diffuser is pumping all the sleepy vibes. Most nights they pile into one of four bunks (which makes my heart melt). Nick plays guitar & then after we get to watch a show or talk in peace.
2. High/Low– Thankfully my MILove picks the girls up from school until I get off work. Once those little babes pile into my car I immediately ask – “Ok, what was your high? What was your low?” I get so excited to hear their responses (still working on Ava)- she tells me she went pee & played play doh.
3. Friday Family Date Night– We love to end a work/school week off with a bang! This is our night to go out for pizza (our fav) or stay in and make pizzas! Wine included for parents for both options.
4. 5am Wake-Up–Up until Quarantine I was waking up every morning at 5am getting my workout done before sipping coffee and lunchbox making. That ended quickly once I was working from home, homeschooling and navigating this new reality. I started working out whenever I had time, which didn’t end well. Hello, excuses. This week I am back at it and my mood has already shifted. Tip: find friends with the same mindset and start an accountability group via texting so you wake your ass up (Amber & Kelsey)!!
5. Power Hour- I drop the girls off at school by 8am. Which means I have ONE uninterrupted hour before work to go to my favorite spot. Any guesses? Yes, the Starbucks parking lot. Once a week I buy myself & the person behind me a coffee but other days just bring my own. It’s my dedicated time to work on my essential oil biz or staging prep. I am lucky to say that I love my full time job, but wellness & interior decorating run through my blood and set my soul on fire.
This year is the hardest ever for parents to decide what’s best for their family (no right or wrong answer here!) Just happy to get back into a routine, and I’m sure you all are too! PS- packing lunches still sucks. XO.
It’s been a minute since I have posted anything over here. Mostly because that quarantine forced homeschool/work from home life took every last bit of my energy and by the end of the day all I wanted to do was drink wine and binge shows on Netflix. Once the girls were officially on summer break and my 9-5 work schedule resumed, I felt a sense of calm. Maybe a little too calm because if you know me, I do better when I’m busy and have a project or two happening.
Fast forward one week and we had drawn out plans to build chicken coop and had six new baby chicks on our back porch- Nellie, Mae, Alice, Goldie, Nora and Clara.
I never imagined myself as a mama hen holding dried meal worms and scrolling through blogs about chickens but here I am, and I love it. The girls absolutely adore the chicks and ask to give them “recess” out of the metal trough 24/7. We have an existing shed in the back of our property that Nick is building the “Chick-Inn” coop off of and we will transfer the girls within the next few weeks! Stay tuned.
Disney World. I feel like you either love it, or you hate it. I grew up going to Disney World with my family several times a year (Florida native over here) and have the best memories! I knew once I had a family of my own I wanted to create those same kind of memories. It’s so nice being able to take an impromptu weekend trip to Orlando when its only 3 hours away. When Harper was 2 years old we decided to take her on her first trip and it was indeed, magical. We’ve been passholders ever since. There is just something so heartwarming when you see your kids light up from excitement at Disney. Yes, it’s hot as heck, the lines are hours long, and the princess bubble wands that light up cost as much as your weekly grocery bill. However, there are a few hacks to make your time a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable. I’m no expert but can tell you what has worked for us each time. We are already booked for our next trip to kick off summer break and can’t wait to share our experience at the newest Disney Resort, The Riviera! Here are my top 10 tips + tricks to do Disney right:
Get Annual Passes. If you go to Disney twice a year this makes the most sense. We have found that not packing all the rides into one day helps us to feel less stressed. If we only go on 5 rides and head back to play at the pool, we don’t feel guilty. For our girls we also alternate each year between a birthday party or family Disney trip for a night so we definitely find that we utilize the passes enough.
Stay on Disney Property. In my opinion this is the way to go when you have little ones. They provide transportation to and from the hotels which is huge and the overall experience and feel is “Disney.” We typically stay at Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Resort – they are our favorite. We made a bad decision (well, it was actually really good) and stayed at the Four Seasons as part of the girls Christmas gift in December. OMG. If you ever decide to splurge, this is the place to go. The service, food, transportation to parks, rooms and pool were over the top. Warning- once you go Four Seasons everything will feel like the Motel 6 after. 😉 When I booked our upcoming trip I did first look at Four Seasons but almost fell off my chair when I saw the prices for May. We are super excited to explore the Riviera Resort- I have heard only good things!
Bring Snacks & Bottled Water. We bring a backpack filled with Uncrustables, bottled waters and LOTS of snacks to avoid meltdowns at the parks. Waters are overpriced and if your kids are picky eaters like ours its best to pack known crowd pleasers before they have Mickey Ice-cream or cotton candy.
Buy Disney Treats at Target or Amazon. Do yourself a favor and buy a few “Disney” themed items for half the price on Amazon or at Target. I love surprising the girls and having treats when we get to the hotel that they can play with (princess bead making, coloring books, barbies, etc). We usually get suckered into a treat at the park but we don’t go overboard.
Fast Passes & Dining Reservation. Don’t skip this step. Set up your Fast Passes and make dinner reservations as soon as possible. Especially if you want to do a character breakfast (Ohana at the Polynesian Resort is a must) or dinner. There are a ton of great options at Disney Springs too!
Take a Nap. Staying on Disney property allows you to have “Extra Magic Hours” so get to the park early, but plan to head to hotel around 2pm for naps. Then you can head back to the park for dinner or after dinner for shorter line times and fireworks.
Stock your Hotel Fridge. We usually eat breakfast at hotel before parks and because our kids wake up at sunrise. We bring bananas, cereal, milk, granola bars, etc. to keep in the room so they don’t get hangry!! We also bring adult bevs for when the kids are napping. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?
Keep your Magic Bands. Until recently, Disney sent you Magic Bands for each trip you booked. We always lost them post vacation but now you have to pay to replace them. So, make sure you collect them from your family and keep in a safe place for your next trip.
Download the “my Disney Experience” app. It is so helpful to see wait times for rides, park maps, your fast passes and so much more.
Outfits. Naturally, I have to touch on this because I love dressing the girls in matching clothes while I still can. We find cute Disney tees at Old Navy, Gap Kids and Target. Mickey overalls from Pepperkids are darling, Eli and Emery have custom shirts, and June and January have comfy solids that pair with Disney graphic tees.
Alright friends, as always thanks for following along! If you haven’t been to Disney yet I hope this helps in making your first trip a magical one.
A few months ago Nick and I were talking about how we haven’t hosted an ADULT ONLY party in years. In fact, it’s been about 7 years because #kids. We decided to claim NYE ‘19 and host a soirée going into the new decade. If you know me at all you know I LOVE throwing parties, even though they are usually for my girls. Either way, I usually go all out! Nick and I put a list together of our closest friends and I got an adorable invite made. Then the planning began…
I knew from the start that I wanted to create an entire charcuterie table because it would offer so many different options of snacks for everyone throughout the night. I bought everything from Trader Joe’s + Costco as it was most cost effective. We even got all the champagne, wine and beer from the two stores. I am not gonna lie, I was a little nervous that the table would be tough to put together but it was so easy (with help from my sister + BFF). We covered the table with craft paper and placed boards down that would have the meat and cheese on them. I had a festive champagne tower as the center piece and we just started loading it up!
My mom convinced me to have “Nothing bundt Cake” as the desserts and they did not disappoint. The leftovers didn’t go to waste 😉
I used our farmhouse sink as a giant cooler for all of the drinks. We had a separate tub for the champagne and a small “mule” area- which was a huge hit for the guys.
We had three cornhole games going allll night, major fireworks and fire pits to hang around. It turned out exactly as I had hoped and we had a blast ringing in 2020 with our friends!