Friday Favorites & Lucky Finds

Friday, May 31, 2019

Today is a GREAT day! It's Friday, it's sunny, and the beach is imminent. ;) What more can a girl ask for? Did you all have a good *short* week? It was a stormy one here, but we made the most of it. I can't believe today is the last day of May! 

Today I'm sharing my favorite moments and finds from this week (and beyond -- I've shared a few of these on Instagram lately!). 

1. Muffins with my girls. It's funny how sometimes the seemingly small moments turn out to be the most cherished. This was my favorite moment from the week! Enjoying muffins and apple juice with my sidekicks (a KIND bar and iced coffee for momma) at the Starbucks in Target before grabbing a few things. I was immediately reminded of the quote by Annie Dillard, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." To me, it's these ordinary moments filled with simple joy that are the building blocks of our lives. 

2. Trying out the scarf trend (scarf found here). Have you all ever ordered something online, and the store sent a bundle of things along with your order that you didn't order (or pay for)? That just happened to me with a Target order I received. Along with what I paid for, they sent a few t-shirts. I brought them into my local store and explained what happened, and the woman looked so happily surprised that I would bring them back that it surprised me. Anyway! I guess I got a touch of good karma, because when I went to buy this adorable hair/neck scarf from Old Navy it rang out at less than $1.50 when I was fully prepared to spend ten bucks! Long story short, I think this is a fun and inexpensive way to spruce up summer outfits. 

3. A perfect tank top for ladies with baby bumps (or not). One more fun Old Navy find! It's been a struggle to find tops that fit my ever-growing bump. They are either not stretchy enough, or not long enough, and have you seen most of the affordable maternity tops there are out there? Pregnant people haven't given up on life, y'all! Anyway, I found these tanks at Old Navy and they fit perfectly. So comfy and can't beat the price!

4. Summer skewers. This is the most random favorite, a snap of part of our Memorial Day dinner (and I actually don't like shrimp, but we do these with chicken a lot during the summer!). Do you guys grill kabobs once the warm weather hits? It's such an easy and yummy dinner. Grab some nonstick skewers, like these, and get grilling.

5. Jasmine hair. If you know me, you know styling hair is not my strength. I need to step up my game a bit as a girl momma x3! These Target hair-ties I found in-store (I can't find them online!) recently make me look like a pro, and Carrington is obsessed with her colorful Jasmine hair. ;) 

5. Statement Earrings. Since I'm hair-challenged, I love a statement earring to make me feel a little fancified (I think I just made that word up) for nice events. Love these, another Target find. Bless that bullseye.

6. Is three kids the most "stressful" amount to have? Well, I hope not, ha! But this recent TODAY survey showed that moms of three are the most stressed. Which is funny, because I feel the least amount of pressure heading into having our third than I did having our first or second. If you have three kids, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! 

Also, this quote from the piece is spot on: "But the big secret of mom stress is that a lot of it comes from within. 75% of moms said they stress more about the pressure they put on themselves to be perfect than they do the pressure or judgment they get from other moms." 

7. My favorite lipgloss. If you haven't tried NYX butter gloss, get to it. It's inexpensive, the colors are great, it smells and tastes good, and goes on like - you guessed it - butta. From left to right the colors I have and use all the time are Creme Brulee, Angel Food Cake, and the clear lingerie gloss.

Have the best weekend!

Friday Favorites | Lucky (Walmart) Finds

Friday, May 24, 2019

Happy Friday! It feels good to be heading into a long weekend, doesn't it? What do you have on the agenda? We're headed to a wedding tomorrow (it looks like a beautiful day!) and then on Monday I have brunch and movie plans with a group of girlfriends. Not a bad way to kick off summer! But first... I wanted to share some recent fun clothing/accessory finds from good ol' Walmart.

Growing up in a more rural area, Walmart was the place to go. But really... we went to Walmart all the time after it was built. Steve and I even went to Walmart after our first date at the movies. I remember walking around the aisles with him and then getting a soda from the vending machine outside thinking this is nice. The stuff love stories are made of. ;)

Maybe it's the small town girl in me, but I can still always find treasures at Walmart. After a trip there I'll even get giddy at all of my ridiculously inexpensive, and yet super cute, finds. When people ask, "where did you get that?" I love surprising the heck out of them and saying Walmart! Ha! By the way, this is completely unsponsored. I've just found the best stuff there recently and wanted to share a few of them with you. Full disclosure: this post is for the girls. If you're interested, I can put together a post with boys' finds too!

Time & Tru is my favorite women's brand at Walmart. Right now they have the best straw totes for crazy prices. This one is under $20. 

This satchel would be a great every day bag in summer. Love the option of handles or strap and the straw detail. $22!

Need a weekender for an upcoming trip? I love the sturdy, expensive look of this faux leather one -- for $25!


Love this lightweight tie top and the sleeve coverage -- sometimes I don't feel like my entire arm hanging out, haha. The chambray is also really cute! Under $12

This is my other favorite style with a tie. I love the buttons and the crisp white linen (although it does come in a bunch of different colors) -- would be so cute with colored denim. Under $16

This top with crochet detail and 3/4 length sleeves looks so swingy and comfy. Under $15 and also comes in a sunny yellow!

In love with this adorable romper for under $18! You could pair this with sandals for a casual day or with heels for a spring/summer shower.

I've actually already shared this dress but it's that good. It looks like Vineyard Vines for under $15 -- sign me up.

Want to try the tie waist/ paper bag short trend but not spend a fortune? Here you go! Under $14 and come in a ton of colors, including this pretty pink.


How stinkin' cute is this girls' dress? You guys, it's $7.44.

I'm tempted to scoop these up for the littlest for next summer! Such sweet, colorful prints and this is my favorite type of outfit for a baby girl. So easy! The two-pack is UNDER $10!

This embellished t-shirt for girls is adorable. You can never have enough t-shirts! They carry several different styles/prints. $6.88!

I got this ruffle tank for C and it's even cuter in person. It reminds me of Lilly Pulitzer! I thought it would be a nice option with white shorts for dressier days. $7.46

Eyelet and striped perfection for baby girls! This entire set is on sale for $6.00!

Do you ever shop at Walmart? Have a fantastic MDW!

Pregnancy Update | Halfway There

Monday, May 20, 2019

I hope you had a fun weekend! The weather was insanely gorgeous here, and we enjoyed every minute of it. We got a ton of yard work done (and by we, I mostly mean Steve, because #pregnant), played outside nonstop, the girls splashed around in the pool, we hit up our local farm/playground, toured a pool, made a couple of Target runs (of course), and ate our fair share of ice cream. A weekend well spent, I'd say. :)

Last week marked the official halfway point in this pregnancy (though it's really more than halfway for us since I'll be delivering before 40 weeks) -- so crazy! So much has changed since my last pregnancy update at 13 weeks. Here's the latest on babe #3:

How many weeks: 21 weeks this week

How big is the baby: The size of a large carrot (about 10.5 inches long)

Total weight gain: 8 pounds

Maternity clothes: Yep! All stretchy waist bands and dresses, all the time.

How is sleeping going: It's actually going really well (knocking on all of the wood now that I acknowledged that). 

Symptoms: I've been so affected by allergies this season! I've never had allergies in my life, but it seems pregnancy has brought them out. Happily, I've been feeling a bit better the last few days.

Best moment this week: A healthy anatomy scan last Tuesday! Loved seeing our sweet girl moving around and hearing the positive news about her growth and development. Steve and I celebrated afterward with a gigantic bowl of banana pudding (the girls and I have been calling the baby puddin' pie ever since, which they just think is the funniest thing) in honor of baby girl being the size of a banana. Any excuse for dessert. ;)

Cravings: Tootsie rolls, cereal and milk, all of the cheese.

Aversions: Meat has been a little iffy. 

Gender: A sweet baby GIRL

What I miss: As many cups of coffee as I want, ha! 

What I'm looking forward to: I've been feeling strong and frequent kicks and movement lately, which I love, so I'm looking forward to more of that. We've also collected quite a few goodies for her nursery, so I'm looking forward to painting the walls and starting to get things set up in there.

Banana pudding to celebrate baby girl's 20 week size!

Love that sweet little face so much already.

Friday Favorites

Friday, May 17, 2019

Happy Friday! 

What are your weekend plans? It looks gorgeous in these parts, and we're excited for one last "free" weekend to do with what we please before summer mayhem begins (which I'm also looking forward to, but the occasional quiet weekend is always welcomed, too!). :) We got a mulch delivery this week so we'll be working on sprucing up the outdoors, spending plenty of time playing, doing our usual grocery pick up, and maybe attending an open house for the pool we're looking at joining for the summer. Oh! And there's a neighborhood garage sale tomorrow morning. If I can get my act together, we might put a few things out so we can begin clearing and cleaning.

Today I'm sharing five favorites from the week:

-Our homemade macaroni & cheese was a hit -- here's the recipe, if you missed it!

-Yesterday I shared what books I've read lately. What should I add to my to-read list?

-My two not-so-secret places for inexpensive dresses (because #girlmom): H&M and Walmart. Both have such adorable and quality dresses for $5. FIVE! Check them out, you won't be disappointed.

-I read this article recently (not a brand new piece, but I happened across it) on comparing ourselves to others, why we do it, and why we seek it. I thought it was a fascinating perspective, if you're interested in reading!

-I also recently read a piece of advice that caused one of those "wow" moments. It was: Stop hurting your own feelings. How many of us can relate to that? Dang.

Hope you have a beautiful weekend! 

READ RECENTLY | 5 Books I've Finished (Plus One in Progress!)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

One bonus to the sickness and rainy weather we've been experiencing around here for the past couple of months is that it's been the perfect excuse to get some reading done. Once spring/summer rolls around, I tend to gravitate toward equally lighter books -- thrillers, love stories, etc. But I also always love a good biography/autobiography. 

Ever since (finally -- just a little late to the game!) downloading the Kindle app I've been ending the night with a book, and it's been really nice. I'm currently about halfway through It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, but here are some others I've read recently:

Read Recently

Verity (by Colleen Hoover)

From the description: Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity's notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn't expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity's recollection of the night their family was forever altered.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen's feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife's words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

My take: This was one of my personal favorites of the group, probably tied with Where the Crawdads Sing (completely different types of stories and writing!). I read it the quickest out of all of them -- in fact, I couldn't put it down until I finished it. It has a great mix of mystery, creepiness, and romance. It does get pretty dark at some points, but not dark enough that it turned me off from this twisted story. 

The Wife Between Us (by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen)

From the description: When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement -- a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle. Assume nothing. 

My take: In the case of this book, the marketing strategy definitely worked! The purposefully non-descript description of this book reeled me in and made me want to see what the assumptions were; what was real and what was not. I thought the storyline was pretty compelling, but I did get a little bored with the writing style after a while. I felt like I couldn't really relate to the main character. The BIG twist didn't come until the end, but it was an interesting one.

Where the Crawdads Sing (by Delia Owens):  

From the description: For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

My take: Wow. I really loved this book... it was unlike anything I'd ever read. The detail in the writing was absolutely stunning, especially when it came to describing the details of the marsh and all of the creatures that inhabit it. I wasn't sure if I was going to get sucked in at the beginning, but I was less than a chapter in when I was hooked; it was suddenly easy to be transported to this entirely different world, life, and experience the author describes so beautifully. I laughed and cried both tears of happiness and sorrow. Highly recommend!

The Couple Next Door (by Shari Lapena)

From the description: Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years. 

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

My take: This is the type of book that keeps you guessing and then throws in little hints, twists, and turns throughout so you're never quite sure who you can trust. I was actually a bit surprised at the way it panned out but it was an entertaining read and I flew through it pretty quickly!

The Woman in the Window (by A.J. Finn)

From the description: Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
My take: This book was very well written, but man, I felt like it took a loooong time to get to the really juicy, fast-paced, good part. I'd say I was about 75% through the book before it really picked up. I understand that the author wanted to really establish the main character and why she was the way she was before jumping in, but I did feel like it dragged at the beginning to the point where I was tempted to put it down or skip ahead. The ending was shocking, though, so it was worth getting there!

Becoming (by Michelle Obama)

From the description: An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

My take: This one is still in progress! It's a hard copy and it sits on my nightstand so when I've had time or needed a break from suspense, I've picked it up and have really been enjoying it. No matter your political views or affiliations, Michelle Obama is a smart, accomplished, and interesting woman to read about. I've always love reading about strong women and their backgrounds (what shaped them into who they are now, and who they are constantly evolving to be). Reading about others' journeys and things they may have overcome (Michelle talks about miscarriage, marriage, motherhood and so much more) provides me with perspective and renewed hope.

What about you? What books have you been reading? Any favorites?

Mother's Day Weekend

Monday, May 13, 2019

Happy Monday! It's another rainy one over here, but I don't mind a rainy Monday; it kind of eases us into the week. I've been a bit MIA again over the past week or so because illness struck again. Oh yes. Carrington had a fever Saturday night - Tuesday morning and Hadley had one Monday - Thursday. We're not sure what caused C's, but H was diagnosed with a double ear infection and tonsillitis. UGH.

Anyway, all that to say that it was another crazy week of plentiful doctor appointments and not-so-plentiful sleep. I was so grateful that Hadley turned a corner and felt 100% better by the weekend. It's the worst seeing your babies sick.

For obvious reasons, we kept Mother's Day weekend low-key. Saturday was a beautiful day, and we spent it being really productive both inside and outside the house. We cleaned, mowed the lawn, picked up groceries, assembled our new double stroller, did laundry, and just generally caught up with life, which was much needed. We even made it to the playground in the afternoon, and then cooked up some homemade sausage macaroni and cheese for dinner. 

The new wheels!

Sunday I woke up to the wind howling, the rain pouring down, and my family downstairs cooking me breakfast. Steve whipped up a cheese omelette with a side of sautéed spinach and crispy bacon. For dessert he made coffee cake muffins. The girls were so proud to serve it all to me on a trey (complete with iced coffee), and of course quickly grabbed their own forks and helped me finish all of the food. ;) 

The rest of the afternoon was relaxing. I took a nap, watched Full House with Carrington (all of my dreams coming true right there), played with the kids, snuggled the pup, and after Hadley's nap we headed out to an early dinner at our favorite burger place. Dinner took a while to be served, so the restaurant offered to buy us our meals. Can't argue with that! Steve took the girls over to Barnes & Noble afterward while I walked across the shopping center to Destination Maternity and tried on a few things. I've been wearing the same three tops, so I was happy to scoop up two new everyday shirts to add to the rotation!

It was a truly perfect and much-needed weekend. Now on to tackle the week ahead!

PS - With all of this sickness/being quarantined, I've been doing a lot of reading. Stay tuned tomorrow for reviews of what I've read recently!

Hello May

Thursday, May 2, 2019

I am not usually one that likes to wish away time, or certain months, but my goodness I was beyond ready to see March and April go. Goodbye! So long! See you never again!

Yes, things can always be much worse -- and I am thankful for perspective. I am thankful for so much. But once in a while I think you're also allowed to unapologetically acknowledge "well that wasn't our best couple of months." 

Basically, illness. 

Sickness after sickness buried in the cold grey clouds and rainy days of early spring. It started with an ear infection for H, moved on to the plague for me (no fun especially while pregnant and trying to care for two little ones, and work), then H had a horrible cold, then she threw up, then C threw up, then H got another ear infection, then C got pink eye, then H got pink eye. And in the middle of all of it, our beloved Layla pup became suddenly and extremely sick and, honestly, I thought I might lose her. 

I kept saying to the girls, we just have to make it til May! May will be better! And here we are, and things are getting better. And all around us, much more dire things are happening and I feel silly for wallowing even a little. So we will lift our tired heads up and move ahead into the warm, beautiful months of spring and summer with grateful hearts.


In that spirit, there is SO much to look forward to! Here's a look at our spring bucket list:

We've already crossed a few things off, like our Easter egg hunt and playing in the sprinkler. C chose her own packet of flower seeds at Home Depot the other day and we plan to plant those, plus some strawberries -- fingers crossed we can help both to thrive! I have the blackest thumb. 

Dutch Wonderland is a kids' amusement park a couple of hours away, where we're from, and we have a few free tickets to use there. We'd love to take a day trip to Baltimore or DC, and spring cleaning will be 100% necessary. Both inside and outside. ;)

May is our anniversary month, and we're also looking forward to celebrating Mother's Day. June will bring our annual beach week (YAY!), birthdays, and other fun plans. These are some of my favorite months -- so much to get excited for!

What's on your spring bucket list? Are you looking forward to May?
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