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My Alternative to Yoga Pants and a T-Shirt | Lilly Pulitzer Crystal Coast Popover, Lime Jeans, TOMS

Lilly Pulitzer Popover in Crystal Coast (on sale at Zappos!) | Lime Jeans from Target | Carolina Blue TOMS | Engraved Bar Necklace from 9th and Elm c/o | Layered Necklace from World Market

I don’t want to sound like I’m re-hashing the same thing over and over again, but when you work from home ON TOP of being a mom, it is really, really easy to not get “dressed.” No, I don’t mean be in the nude all day. That would be weird. I mean, it’s really, really easy to never change out of yoga pants and a t-shirt.

Don’t get me wrong, I love yoga pants and I love me a comfy t-shirt. But, there comes a point when you’re wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt day after day and you start to feel frumpy. You start to feel not pretty. You start to feel unkempt. And it just sort of spills out into other areas of your life.

One thing that having this blog has done for me is it has kept me accountable for the way I take care of myself. Every single outfit you see on this blog, I wear in real life. I know I shouldn’t have to say that… but it’s true. This blog helps me to get dressed in the morning. Even if I know I don’t have anything to do that day other than work and play with Lilly, I find that on days I get “dressed” and actually brush my hair, throw on some mascara and a lip gloss, I feel more productive. I feel more ready to take on the day. It just gets me in the right mindset.

If I stay in yoga pants and a t-shirt… I just feel lazy and unmotivated.

But, what do I do about days where I really do feel like just lounging around or just wearing something comfortable? Or what do I do when I know I’m just going to meet a friend for a playdate and I need to throw on something quick and easy? Well, there are a couple things I do…

My Alternative to Yoga Pants and a T-Shirt | Lilly Pulitzer Crystal Coast Popover, Lime Jeans, TOMS Continue Reading →

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Tips For Saving Money While Traveling & Why You Should Use a Travel Agent

image via my friend Kristin

I’ve mentioned recently that I’ve been very introspective and very reflective in the last few months. I’ve just been taking inventory of a lot of things in my life and where I’m placing my priorities.

However, above all, there have been a couple of things I’ve been hyper-focused on in the last few months that I guess I sort of need to just word-vomit about in order to continue the process of, well, thinking about them.

One is this idea of “unplugging.” I’m in sort of a Catch 22, or something. I work from home, and I blog, and I’m just a naturally “social” person, so I always feel like I have to be connected. But, I often feel like I have to be connected to the things I don’t want to be connected to, yet I’m disconnected from the things I do want to be connected to. I have to be connected to email and social media because, it’s the nature of what I do. However, since I work from home, there are times when I truly feel like I’m never “off work.”

I don’t feel like I get a break. I’m always either at my desk working or playing with Lilly. Well, Lilly’s play area happens to be right next to my desk. So, the spaces are in many ways, interchangeable. I don’t have an office I can leave at 5:30pm and forget about until the next day. And since Lilly is so much more active during the day, I’m working that much more at night now.

I don’t want you to hear this as complaining in any sense of the matter… this is just merely a statement of fact. I’m so thankful that I’m able to work for a company that allows me to work from home so that I can help support our family and also be home with Lilly. But, it definitely comes with its challenges.

So, I’ve been trying my darndest to really be better about unplugging. I’ve just been implementing little things here and there to “shut off” from the world and be present with my family and give myself a mental break.

I’ve been plugging my phone in the charger in our bedroom once my husband gets home from work and only checking it every once in a while to see if I’ve missed an emergency call or something like that. Or, I just shut it off all together. I don’t have it out at the dinner table, I don’t have it out while we’re watching TV… I keep my phone away so I’m not even tempted to look at it.

And with Lilly, I’m trying to do better about only having my phone out if I absolutely have to. Otherwise, it’s put away and I’m being present with her.

Cell phones (smartphones, in particular) are both the greatest invention ever and my worst enemy.

The other thing I’ve been thinking a lot about is the idea of having faith. John and I are in a season right now where we’ve had to make some big decisions about different things and work through some challenges we have been facing. I’ve always been the one to feel like I have faith and trust that God is going to provide – but sometimes, even I (the eternal optimist) become terrified with a decision or milestone or impending event that I know is going to bring about big changes.

I only share about 10% of my life on this blog. Probably even less than that. I realize it seems like I share a lot more… but I don’t. Honestly. And there have been some trials that John and I have faced recently that we’re trying to decipher what lesson God is trying to teach us. It’s all definitely brought us closer because we’ve had to talk things through, weight pros and cons, and prayerfully consider whether or not we’re making the right choice(s).

I guess, through all this rambling, I’m just trying to say that it’s all about perspective and keeping our eyes on God and trusting that His plan is greater than our own. Because it is. I know that the next few months are going to be awesome and scary and wonderful and terrifying all at the same time… but I know that He works for the good of those who love Him. Which means that we will be just fine. In fact, we’ll be more than fine. We’ll be great.

What about you? You struggling with anything similar? How do you handle it? 

How do YOU unplug? Do you have this problem, too?

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One (Lilly's 12 month update!) (4)

My sweet baby is a year old today. There really aren’t even words to describe what I’m feeling. Her birthday means more to me than my own birthday. I was just thinking the other day… heck, I didn’t do anything for my own birthday. I just was born. Lilly’s birthday, however? I WORKED for that ish. No joke. I will do the best I can to put into words what I’m thinking and feeling…

Dear Lilly,

Over a year ago, I wrote you a letter on your due date. There was so little that I knew about you then, but at the same time, I already felt like I knew so much. Sure, we didn’t know if you were a boy or a girl yet, but we knew we loved you. We knew you were spunky and a rule breaker. We knew you couldn’t sit still. We knew you were comfy right where you were. And it’s funny because, outside of my belly, over the last year, you have been all those things and so much more.

You have brought more joy, more life, and more light to our lives than I can even possibly express. You can barely speak and communicate yet (although you are getting better with your signs!), and yet you tell us so much every day. You look at everything with eyes of wonder and joy. You smile at everyone you meet. You laugh at the simplest things. You find fun in even the most mundane details. You are truly the epitome of a happy little girl.

As you grow and change I see so much of myself in you and so much of your daddy in you. I also see so much of my mom in you. You’re strong willed. You tell us when you love something and you MAKE SURE we know when you hate something. You are decisive. You are also crazy. And I love it. You get so excited over the smallest things! Something shiny, snack time, the dogs barking, the moon… it doesn’t matter… you find excitement in everything.

I want to thank you for all that you have done for us over the last year. Thank you for teaching me patience. Thank you for teaching me about giving, and sacrifice, and selflessness. I know this is going to sound bad… but in a lot of ways, you’ve taught me all that is wrong with me… but I’ve seen the ways in which I know I need to continue to grow and learn and change. You’ve taught me to be a better person. A better wife. A better mother. A better friend, daughter, sister.

You’ve brought me closer to Jesus.

I knew I was going to like being a mom, but I honestly had no idea how much I was going to love being a mom. Your mom. I love being your mom.

I love you, Lilly Eileen. So much. This much. So high. To the moon and back.

Love,

Your mama.

One (Lilly's 12 month update!) (5)

Lilly’s 12 Month Update!

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RECIPE | Healthy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Casserole (1)

I loooove broccoli and chicken casserole. It’s one of those meals that is a classic. It’s always delicious, it’s always comforting, and it always seems to hit the spot. I haven’t made one in a long time and was in the mood recently. However, since I’m really trying to be more intentional about the health and nutrition of the meals I make at home… I was trying to avoid making casserole with cream of or condensed soup or canned soup of any kind. Most of these casseroles have some kind of soup in them… and when I went to pull the Cream of Broccoli soup out of the cabinet I looked at the nutrition facts and almost fainted when I saw how much sodium was in there.

I know, I know, I’m falling prey to the “OMGERSH SODIUM IS THE DEVIL” stuff… but seriously. I just had no clue. Anyway. I was bound and determined to make a delicious casserole without all the bad stuff. So I found a couple recipes online and then just decided to try on my own and this is what came out. It ended up being REALLY delicious! And I can name every ingredient in it. Yes, it has a ton of cheese, but hey, I like cheese. If the cheese is the worst part about this recipe, then I’m dealing.

RECIPE | Healthy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Casserole

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20 Ways to Become a Financially Responsible Adult | Molly's Money

If this is your first time here, Molly’s Money is a series I write on this blog that includes all things personal finance. Got a question about money that you want answered? Leave it in the comments below or email me!

It’s no secret that I’m really, crazy passionate about getting your personal finances in order. When your personal finances are out of whack, it really throws everything out of whack. You get stressed. You feel stressed. You get frustrated and angry. Some people even become depressed over their finances. I know… I’ve been there.

I’ve learned a lot over the last 10 years and there are things that I’ve learned along the way that I realize are key to becoming a financially responsible, grown adult. So, here’s a list of 20 things that I’ve learned and 20 ways to become a financially responsible, grown adult.

20 Ways to Become a Financially Responsible Adult

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Messy Fun: DIY Edible Finger Paint for Babies (18)

The last month or so Lilly has become extremely curious. About everything. She is not a fan of sitting still whatsoever and she’s pretty much learning faster than I can even begin to imagine. It’s crazy how much has changed. I mean, I know it’s inevitable, but it’s amazing to see with my own eyes. Well, I’ve been trying to come up with a lot of different fun, interactive, hands-on activities for her.

To be honest, Lilly gets bored really easily, so it’s a constant game of trial and error to see what she likes and what she doesn’t like. At the same time, I’m trying to find activities for her that are really tactile, if you will, to get her learning with her senses and experiencing new things. I have a dear friend whose son is in Montessori preschool, and I’ve gotten a lot of ideas from her and from Pinterest for Montessori-type activities.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to do some finger painting with her because I knew it would be something she’d enjoy, but because she still eats ANYTHING that is put in front of her (seriously, anything. If you don’t want it to go in her mouth, don’t put it in front of her), I am hesitant to let her play with regular finger paint. So, I looked up a few different “recipes,” if you will, for edible finger paint that’s safe for babies to play with. I found a few different ones, but the easiest one I found that I could make with things I already had in my cabinet was just a can of sweetened condensed milk and food coloring.

Messy Fun: DIY Edible Finger Paint for Babies (1) So, I got out four little take and toss containers, poured in some sweetened condensed milk, a few drops of food coloring in each, mixed it up, and then we went outside because I knew this was going to get ridiculously messy. I put her on a tarp, gave her some spoons, and a little poster board and let her go to town.Messy Fun: DIY Edible Finger Paint for Babies (2)

If you decide to do this activity with your little one, be prepared for MESS. Like, a lot of mess. And sticky mess! I had a towel on-hand to wrap her in when it was time to go inside and I basically took her right to the bath. Also, since it is just condensed milk and food coloring, it’s so sticky so I don’t know that it will “dry,” per se. So, don’t plan on doing this and creating actual art. I did it more for the fun and the activity of it… not the end result.

Anyway, I took a BAJILLION pictures of the whole thing, so I thought I’d share some of Lilly’s messy fun (I had a REALLY hard time narrowing down all the cuteness):

Continue Reading →

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So Domestic: A Freezer Meal Party (1)

A few months ago, my friend Lindsay got the idea to throw a freezer meal party. I was so bummed I wasn’t able to attend the first one because I heard it was a blast! So, I knew that I was going to make the next one, by hook or by crook. Lindsay sent out another message to some friends and fellow moms about hosting another one at her house, and the day and time worked out perfectly and I was able to go!

What in the what is a freezer meal party, you ask? Basically, everyone picks a freezer meal recipe (or really any recipe that can be made and then frozen – hello, Pinterest!), you bring enough ingredients to quadruple the recipe, everyone meets at someone’s house with their accoutrements, you cook the meals, wrap them up, and then everyone leaves with four already prepared meals to stick in the freezer for later!

I realize you’re thinking… uhhh, you go to a party to COOK? How is that fun? I can’t even begin to explain how much fun it was! I didn’t even really realize I was cooking. It was just a bunch of girlfriends, hanging out, having some yummy drinks, laughing, chatting, catching up, and cooking! We had so much fun, that we are going to make it a regular, monthly thing! And I’m pumped, because the next one is going to be at our house!

The daddys keep the kids, moms hang out, cook, and play! In some ways, my twenty-year-old self is smacking me in the face and laughing at my severe case of domestication, or something. But honestly, I don’t even care. I love it. I love where I am right now. Domestication and all.

I will also say, I’m now totally on a freezer meal kick and want to make ALL THE FREEZER meals. I read that this one woman only cooks one day a month! WHAT?! I don’t think I’m that ambitious… yet, but we shall see. Haha! Never say never?

I made this recipe for Quesadilla Casserole (surprise, something Mexican!) I hope it’s good, because I didn’t even take home my own recipe. Everyone else’s looked so good.

Here are some pics from the day: 

Cooking up a storm

So Domestic: A Freezer Meal Party (3) Continue Reading →

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STYLE | 8 Ways to Wear Gold Glitter Loafers (5)

For pretty much most of my life, I was not a fan of gold. I never wore gold jewelry, gold accessories, gold nail polish… nothing. I just didn’t like it on me. I don’t know why, really. And I don’t know if it’s the change in trends, my age, change in style preferences or what, but in the last year or so I’ve really come around on gold and I wear it all the time now. In my jewelry, accessories, nail polish, and shoes – I am a big fan of gold. I think it looks so classy!

I remember almost two years ago (it was November 2012) I laid eyes on the cutest pair of gold glitter loafers at Target. They were on sale for like $14 or something at the time and I said to myself, “Yes, you need to buy these shoes.” At the time, I had absolutely no clue how I would wear them – I just knew they were cute.

Well, it turns out they’re pretty much one of my favorite pairs of shoes ever and I wear them all. the. time. They’ve become such a versatile pair of shoes in my closet! As fall is approaching and we’re starting to think about fall fashion and whatnot… and of course since I’m in North Carolina and it’s still scorching hot, we can’t forget about summer… I thought I’d share a little roundup of eight of my favorite ways that I’ve worn my gold glitter loafers. Some of these looks are way back from late 2012. Oh yes. Throwback! But not really.

You can click underneath each picture to take you to the original post. 

STYLE | 8 Ways to Wear Gold Glitter Loafers (1) Continue Reading →

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August Stitch Fix Review (What I Got & What I Kept) (7)

*This is not a sponsored post. This post does contain a referral link, so if you sign up to try out Stitch Fix, I will receive a credit towards my next fix, but that’s it. :)

I’m back for my monthly Stitch Fix review!

I’ve started scheduling my fixes for earlier in the month and I think I’m going to stay on the “early in the month” rotation for now. I know I just did my July review like, two weeks ago or so, but hopefully I’ll be on a regular schedule going forward. Not that you care or anything… haha!

As usual, I will share what I got, what I thought of it, fit, sizing, price point, quality, and whether or not I kept it! And, of course, these are taken in my backyard because I like to photograph my reactions as I try things on!

Without further ado: 

Towne & Reese “Cammy Faceted Stone Teardrop Earrings” – $34

August Stitch Fix Review (What I Got & What I Kept) (2) Continue Reading →

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In Over Your Head in Debt? How to Know When it's Time to Consolidate. | Molly's Money

If this is your first time here, Molly’s Money is a series I write on this blog that includes all things personal finance. Got a question about money that you want answered? Leave it in the comments below or email me!

One of the most common questions I get asked from readers is how I went about consolidating my debt when I was working to become debt free. I’m not going to rehash my whole story on how I overcame $36,000 in debt and how I became debt free, you can read about all of that here. This post is more about how I knew it was time to make a change and why I decided to go with consolidating my debt through NovaDebt. In essence, this is pretty much a NovaDebt review. This post is not sponsored. NovaDebt has no idea I’m even writing this. I just get SO many questions about NovaDebt that I felt it was time to devote a post to them.

How I Knew It Was Time to Consolidate My Debt

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DIY Clothespin Mirror Picture Hanger #ValueSeekersClub #ad (5)

*This post is brought to you by the fabulous people at Dollar Tree. All content and opinions are 100% my own!

I can’t believe that in less than two weeks, Lilly is going to be ONE. I really am in disbelief. However, despite the fact that I’ve been in disbelief about my daughter turning a year old, I’ve been planning her first birthday party for like, four months. It’s a weird catch 22. Or something.

As I have been planning out her party, I’ve been finding fun DIY projects and crafts along the way to help snazz up the decor at her party. I’ve also been trying to find a clever and cute way to display pictures of her to show people how much she has grown. You know, as if they didn’t already know. Haha!

DIY Clothespin Mirror Picture Hanger #ValueSeekersClub #ad (1)

And, on top of it all, I’ve been trying to do everything on a budget… because that’s how I roll. I found this adorable project for a “Clothespin Mirror Picture Hanger” on Dollar Tree’s Value Seekers Club website that I knew would be PERFECT! The Value Seekers Club is a club through Dollar Tree that is free to join and you get access to a ton of really cool and unique craft ideas, recipes, decor inspiration, tips, contests, and more. The content changes every month and you can save or print the different project sheets right from online.  Continue Reading →

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BEAUTY | An All Day Makeup Look with Neutrogena (14)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AllDayLook #CollectiveBias

I’ll be the first to admit that I do not take the time to do a full-face of makeup on a daily basis. Because the truth is, ain’t nobody got time for that. Or, I guess some people do, but I don’t. I mean, I love to do my makeup… I looooove playing around with makeup. I love trying different looks! I just don’t always have the chance to. BUT, when I do take the time to put my face on (which I’m getting better at actually taking the time), I tend to lean towards quick, easy, classic looks that can last me all day. (Examples here and here of past makeup tutorials I’ve done that show exactly what I’m talking about).

From the time Lilly wakes up and we’re going out for errands, or lunch, all the way till dinner time or even if I have any events or things to go to after Lilly goes to bed.

Well, I hit up my happy place, Target, to pick up some products from Neutrogena to create a really simple, easy, all day makeup look. I’ve used Neutrogena’s foundation, face wash, and eye makeup remover (and wipes!) for years… so I was excited to create a look around their products!

Anyway, here are the five products I picked up for my all day makeup look:

BEAUTY | An All Day Makeup Look with Neutrogena (2)

Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Watermelon | Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Makeup | Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blends Bronzer | Neutrogena Nourishing Eye Liner | Neutrogena Healthy Volume Waterproof Mascara

Now, here is my finished look. This whole look took five minutes… tops. Keep reading for a step-by-step tutorial. :)

BEAUTY | An All Day Makeup Look with Neutrogena (3) Continue Reading →

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