Sunday, December 25, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas in New York


Earlier this month, we took Mary Tilman to New York City. I say that but really visiting NYC at Christmas has always been a bucket list item of mine. While it was cold and it was crazy, it was magical! Definitely an exhausting weekend, but I would do it again! The memories make it all worth it.

I wanted to provide a travel breakdown since I couldn't find any great resources when planning our trip.

HOTEL
We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in East Midtown. This was largely due to the outrageous prices for hotel rooms during this particular weekend. The location was actually really convenient and the room was huge for New York standards. While not a suite, the pull-out sofa was a nice-to-have. I much prefer to stay in Tribeca or Soho but with a little one, this location was great for easy access to the spots in Midtown.


RESTAURANTS
Grand Central Station | After an early room check-in, we walked over to Grand Central for a quick bite to eat. If you have never been, there are plenty of places to grab a bite although the fight for seats was the struggle. If you have a longer time to spare, eat at the Oyster Bar for some great fresh options. This is also a great spot to hop-on or off the subway.
 
Rock Center Cafe | The view could not be beat. We weren't rinkside but could see the ice skaters, lights and holiday decor from our table. The menu and environment were extremely kid-friendly which made me feel much better. The best part was we were already at Rockefeller to pop up and see the tree.

The Plaza Hotel Food Hall | We had a late breakfast so grabbed a flatbread to share. The food court was packed but had plenty of options to choose from...everything from sushi to seafood to pizza and sandwiches. The Eloise store is also located in the back corner, complete with her pink piano.

Landmarc at Columbus Circle | This was another great kid-friendly option without having to forgo a nice meal in the city. The restaurant is on the top floor of the Columbus Circle shopping plaza so you can shop if there is a wait.


ACTIVITIES
One World Trade Center | We ventured downtown our first afternoon and the worst part was the cold. Being right by the water, it was frigid and the wind was brutal. (Tip for families - if there is a wait, get one parent to wait in line, while the other passes the time across the street at the new mall). The process to get to the top is a little drawn out in my opinion but the view is incredible. Next trip (sans kiddo), I would love to visit the memorial museum.

Breakfast with Santa | This was hands-down my favorite part. The Santa was phenomenal and really spent time with the children. He was the actual Santa from the Macy's parade (or his twin). Mary Tilman was mesmerized and looked at him longingly which was a first for our Santa pictures. The food was pre-fixe but actually really good. The view was also incredible with a look out over Broadway and the Empire State Building.

Rockefeller Center & Fifth Avenue | Of course we saw the tree but so did the rest of Manhattan. The tree was incredible but it was packed! (Tip - I would not recommend a stroller). Mary Tilman loved the light show at Saks so make sure you stick around to watch that which plays every few minutes. I would also venture down Fifth Avenue at your own risk. There were way too many people for my liking.

Sightseeing | We did the usual haunts and the little one loved them. Go to the Natural History Museum early to bet the crowds and don't try to visit every exhibit. We also attempted to visit The Plaza Hotel but they closed the lobby for guests only. If you really want to see the decor, book a reservation at their sit-down restaurants for access inside. Central Park was also on our list but it was a swift walk to beat the cold. We chose a carriage ride for our little princess who proceeded to take a nap. If you can pass, I would as it is quite steep.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Three on Friday

- Three is really all I have got today -

Holiday Baking | This weekend is one of our only ones with no plans (although we have two neighborhood get-togethers) and baking is on the top of my to-do list. But...I am coming up empty with ideas and initiative. Oh to have extra time or an extra set of hands. Southern Living is my go-to and here are a few options:




Christmas Cards | I typically design our cards but chose to go the easy route with Tiny Prints. Well, that will never happen again! There was an 137 minute wait to speak with a rep yesterday which makes me feel slightly better that I am not the only one with issues. They are promised to be here on Monday so fingers crossed there are no more issues.


Baby Boy Nursery | I have known all things girl for 2+ years so shifting to a boy mindset is taking a hot minute. However, I am making a case for this amazing wallpaper. Just one wall isn't asking too much.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Number 2

Yep, we are expecting Baby Boy Williams in June 2017! 


How did you find out?
One week in late September, I was having awful cramps and just didn't feel right. A few days passed and things slightly subsided but I decided to take a test anyways. I need to also note my husband was traveling for work this week so I was exhausted but again chalked that up to my toddler. Well I took a test again and it was positive. Shocked in an understatement!

How did you tell your husband?
They say your second pregnancy is different and that is not a lie. The husband found out because he saw the test box in the trash. I know romantic right :)

What makes this pregnancy different?
This time around we now have a busy toddler to prevent taking it easy or resting. Exhausted is an understatement those first few weeks. Coupled with back pain and nausea, I am glad to finally be on the uphill swing.

How is Mary Tilman handling the news?
She was in denial at first and still calls him a baby girl but is much more loving these days. Her thing now is to give my belly kisses whenever I don't feel good. I have had to cut back on picking her up due to an issue spotted at my last appointment but other than that, she is soaking in this only child thing. The dogs however are going to have a rude awakening with two littles chasing after them.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Gift Guide | Stocking Stuffers





I love picking out stocking stuffers and since that is what the hubs and I are sticking to this year, why not provide some hints :) Other great stores are World Market, Target and Home Goods!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Gift Guide | Home Decor

Home decor is pretty subjective to your recipient but that doesn't make it any less fun to buy. I think staple pieces are are a great gift, whether that is decor or something for entertaining.



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Gift Guide | Something for the Girls

I have a love / hate relationship with holiday gift guides. Yes I love the extra ideas, no I don't like the three digit pricetag to give your neighbor a gift. Apparently some bloggers have money trees that they need to share with the rest of us.

Here are a few pretties for the girlies in your life. I tried to find various (reasonable) price points from a variety of stores. I may or may not have eyed a few for my own list.



Scarf Clutch  |  Notepad  |  Rings  |  Pouch  |  Pumps  |  Jacket


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

O's Favorite Things

I am just going to say it... I am not an Oprah fan. I completely respect all that she has achieved but Ellen is much more my style in the terms of a daytime talk show host. However, Oprah's annual Favorite Things list is pretty top notch.

Here are a few favorites:
Brain-Science Coloring Book - if you live a stressed life, get a coloring book. Just saying. | Poinsettia Cake - A pretty cake for a pretty holiday gathering.  | Rosemary - I love my herb garden so I can only imagine what people without yards miss out on. This is a great option if you kill plants frequently. | Grits Gift Set - You can't get more Southern than grits. | DROP Bottle - I am been downing water lately and love this new infusion bottle

Monday, November 7, 2016

Unintentional Hiatus

I apologize for the unintentional hiatus. Life has gotten in the way. Life is busy and tiring but we are making memories so that is all that matters. Last Saturday, we went to Nemo and Dory's house (aka the aquarium) and it makes me love seeing things through Mary Tilman's eyes. She doesn't have a care in the world and I hope it stays that way.

Here is a little recap on the past six weeks:

 The hubs got me the most beautiful flowers for our anniversary. I am a sucker for gorgeous blooms and these did not disappoint. If you are in the Atlanta area, Blooms of Dunwoody should be your go-to florist.

For our anniversary, the hubs also surprised me with a day date and a night out -- a little game of TopGolf followed by dinner at the Sun Dial. The food was great but the views were the best part. Too bad I wanted to faint during the 100+ floor glass elevator ride.

We also tacked on a trip to the mountains with Aaron's family. I would say little Miss thoroughly enjoyed herself by the dance floor serenade and dinner show at Dixie Stampede. If anything, she keeps us on our toes.

If we have a Saturday at home, we have been splurging Mary Tilman with her favorite breakfast -- chocolate covered doughnuts. As you can see she merely licks the doughnut with her entire face.

I vow to be ahead of the Christmas train this year and signed up for family pictures a while back. I opted for a J. Wills dress paired with knee highs, which made this classic clothing lover quite happy.

Halloween was celebrated in pink for the second year in a row, this year with a feathery flamingo. The headdress was a tad overbearing but she obligated to my countless photo requests.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Beaufort, SC

Beaufort, SC may be my town crush (is that a thing?). The sleepy little Southern town is full of charm, history and relaxation.


I surprised my mom with a birthday getaway and only gave her enough information on what to pack. Halfway through, I gave her a present to open and unveiled our final destination. Beaufort is a great girls getaway or romantic weekend retreat. Here are a few favorites:



ACCOMMODATIONS
 VRBO is my tried and true favorite when it comes to unique accommodations. Beaufort has several traditional hotel options in the more commercialized area and also boasts several bed and breakfasts. Our cottage was outstanding and the best part was the marsh view. This little rental was nicely furnished and had a great stocked kitchen (one of my rental pet peeves).


RESTAURANTS
Dockside | A great choice over the bridge on Lady's Island. In my opinion, the menu was quite similar to the traditional seafood restaurant but everything we ordered was delicious. The salmon and scallops were our preferred choices.

Lowcountry Produce | If Southern Living covered this little gem, I knew it must be good. Our lunch was super yummy and the little market was too cute. My chicken salad sandwich was a great choice.

Plum's | Water views get me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Plum's was packed at lunch so we waited a bit but it was worth it. My shrimp salad was divine making this a place not to be missed.

Breakwater | I was torn between lots of options for dinner but chose Breakwater and am so glad I did. It wasn't crowded (probably due to off-travel season) but everything was spectacular. I ordered a caprese salad and scallops with risotto and both were outstanding.

Red Rooster Cafe | A great brunch stop with the sweetest staff. I recommend the breakfast burrito if you like spicy that early in the morning.  I will note that it was a little hard to find due to road construction but is attached to their sister seafood restaurant (go figure).


SHOPPING & ACTIVITIES
 Biking | Luckily our house came with bikes but you can rent through a few companies in town. This was by far my favorite part, considering I haven't ridden one in roughly 16 years. Biking is the best way to see the old homes up close and to really get a sense of how quaint this little town is.

Hunting Island | About 16 miles south of Beaufort, makes this state park a great afternoon trip. They have beach access, a marsh walk and historic lighthouse to visit. My biggest tip would be to pack bug spray. The mosquitoes were intense so we didn't last long.

Gay Fish Company | Located down by the state park, this hidden gem is your tried and true fish market. We bought shrimp (for a great price) that had come right off the boat. Another neat perk is their boats were used in Forrest Gump.

Sheldon Church Ruins | On your way in or out of Beaufort, stop by the Sheldon Church Ruins. They are gorgeous surrounded by huge oak trees and a great glimpse into years past.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Five on Friday



Friday nights at our house consists of dinner out (because I am in no way cooking), wine and a movie rental. I really want to see Me Before You but I foresee a few problems with that:
  1. I hated the way the book ended
  2. My husband will hate the movie
  3. I am 99.76% I will sob through the end
  4. My husband will think I am crazy for watching a movie in which I know I will sob in the end
  5. Aforementioned husband will have dibs on next movie choice

Trader Joe's is my happy place. Their wine, flowers, produce, wine, frozen meals and oh their wine. I knew one night this week would be a rush to cook dinner so I snagged a new frozen meal. Oriental food is my jam and this beauty did not disappoint.



Kid shoe shopping is the worst, especially when your diva princess two-year-old is very particular about her shoes. I try to order online but it is always a shot in the dark with sizing. In comes Laura and Molly Peas to the rescue! I found her sweet store on Instagram and may never buy anywhere else again. She went above and beyond measuring and advising this shoe-hating momma on the best fit and style. Shoutout to a great small business!


Anthropologie has 20% off today for members. Lucky me! I have to return some of the aforementioned kids shoes and Anthro is conveniently located next to Nordstrom (#winning).


Do any other mommas bribe their toddlers? Mary Tilman has been waking at 5:30 and it is killing my shuteye. This morning she bawled for Paw Patrol (oh the agony) and I bribed her with chocolate to give me five more minutes. I know it is so wrong but I am not pleasant before six a.m.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

thursday things

It is rare that I come across a "list" blog post and agree with every single one. I am Type A to a fault. I think my husband would agree that I AM this list. I am stressed until I complete a project and can not focus until the task is done. Case in point - my multiple to-do lists in my head, on my phone, my desk, etc. There is always something to complete, but when I do get away and relax I soak in every minute.

Bring on Fall everything! Clothes, pumpkins, football and the weather... I am tempted to rotate out my closet but fear I may sweat to death until October. (Side note - Am I late to the game in finding out that C. Wonder is a thing again?) 

This is a great reminder to just not care. Love the life you are living and the rest will fall into place.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

T.W.O.

This past weekend we celebrated our sweet girl turning two! My how the years have flown by, serving as a great reminder to cherish these sweet days.

Seeing as her birthday will ever be surrounded by a national holiday, we wanted to keep the party low-key. The hubs requested the opportunity to grill out so a pink gingham cookout was born. Props to our families for helping out tremendously and for everyone who help celebrate our little love. I will recap the entire party in a later post because what momma doesn't want more party planning tips to add to their Pinterest board :). 

On Sunday, we celebrated with a low-key day filled with presents, ice cream, the park and Mexican food. We also celebrated flipping the car seat in hopes to avoid car meltdowns from here on out. 


Reflecting on the past two years, they have been a world-wind. Mary Tilman is truly one of a kind. She is sweet, independent, funny and smart. She talks her own language and loves in her own way. She is adores "her people" and brings us so much joy. Don't get me wrong, she doesn't call herself Princess for no reason but as irritating as the diva-ness is, it is refreshing to know she will be able to stand on her own. She will make her own dreams and her own decisions but knowing I am raising her to make those right choices gives me peace. Being a two-nager is exhausting as there is rarely a "down" moment but she is always learning, always doing. Mary Tilman - you are so loved and make me so proud to be your mommy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ballard Designs

Like I am sure most of you may, I get a Ballard Designs and Pottery Barn catalog in the mail multiple times a month. But without an endless supply of money lying around, home decor is something that is one and done in our house for several years. Saying all that, it never hurts to dream.

Pedestal Dining Table - I love the contemporary look of a pedestal table paired with traditional chairs. This would be perfect in a well-lit dining area.

Light Pendant - This pendant is perfect for that french rustic feel.

Decorative Quills - I mean who doesn't love a decorative feather. Kidding aside, these look like the perfect addition when you need that something to finish a space or complete a table.

Coffee Table - Acrylic seems to be everywhere these days and this table does not disappoint. Again another contemporary addition to a traditional space.

Side Table - I would love to redo our master bedroom and get a larger bed. I am also loving the look of these side tables next to an upholstered headboard.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Random Wednesday

I have been off-the-grid and I will own it. Life is busy and August is really outdoing itself with travel and event planning. Nothing like have a trunk show and two-year-old birthday party back to back but I can't wait to see the outcomes.


I like to take pictures of my kid and get really lucky when she pauses for .2 seconds. I nicely coerced her into taking a picture last week wearing this precious set I snagged during all these awesome summer sales. Little English is a brand we carry at J. Wills but I didn't launch with their spring/summer line. You best believe when they put this sweet bloomer and crochet top on sale I snagged those beauties for the next few months and next year.

I got a new planner and am not ashamed to say I am a planner-lover. I also love all things Rifle paper so this was a win all around. The best part is the hard cover but light-weight feel. The check-list style daily portion also makes my type-A personality feel at home.

Card Against Humanity truly is the game for horrible people but it sure can make you laugh.

Our annual college reunion happened last weekend and it was amazing...except for missing one lovely lady :(. Girls weekends are so good for the soul to get away, have some serious laughs and just catch up on life. Gosh I miss these ladies so!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Asheville, NC | Travel Guide

Before our trip to Asheville, I scoured to find local guides or inside tips. Well those are few and far between so I thought I would share our favorites:


HOTEL
We stayed at the Omni Grove Park Inn and it was fabulous! The resort is huge but the history behind it is unbelievable. At least ten presidents have stayed there along with famous stars, athletes and authors. But, the views are the best part. I am a sucker for a good patio and this one did not disappoint.

My tip is to ask for a room in the historic part. While the bathrooms are TINY it is kinda cool staying in an 100+ year old piece of history. We enjoyed many beverages in the hotel which have a great view on the sunset terrace or grab a rocking chair by the President's Lounge in the Sammons Wing. You can look over the mountains and watch the golfers.


ACTIVITIES
We did what any tourist would do and tour the famous Biltmore estate. The home is, of course, gorgeous but it was HOT. The nationwide heat wave did not spare the mountains and it was pretty miserable. I felt a little woozy during one part of the tour due to no AC, no breeze and trekking up all those stairs. I recommend visiting in Spring/Fall.

That afternoon, we ventured to a newer part of the grounds for Aaron's clay shooting lesson. Given as part of his birthday gift, I thought it would a fun experience. All excursions take you to a gated part of the grounds where you can fish, shoot or offroad in the Land Rover experience. Aaron's instructor was so down-to-earth and I was pretty impressed by my man's shooting skills.

Another activity in Asheville is the breweries. I think the stat is they have more breweries per capita than any US city. Here are the few we visited:
  • New Belgium - This just opened and was my favorite. I like their beer and the tasting room was pretty impressive with a great view of the river.
  • Green Man - We didn't get a welcoming vibe here from the staff or location so left after a quick taste.
  • Wicked Weed Emporium - This place is known for their sour beers. They are beers that are transferred to a bourbon or wine barrel for a period of time. Not my favorite place but a cool experience. They also had some tasty apps for us to have a mid-afternoon snack.
  • Catawaba - This place was just okay but convenient for our trek around the Southern Slope area.

RESTAURANTS
The Admiral | Favorite place by far! Although, get reservations a few weeks in advance, as I booked three weeks out and there was only one slot left. This nondescript restaurant has its parking challenges but it is a must visit. We got the fried escargot (it was surprising delicious), scallops, curried fried chicken, brussels and dessert and they were all excellent.

Blackbird | Located right in the middle of everything, this place was packed. We got the ceviche, burger and seafood risotto. While all great, not my most memorable meal ever. I recommend grabbing an Uber if you go on the weekend because it was packed.

Corner Kitchen | Another must on reservations but a great little spot in Biltmore Village. We got the Turkey and Chicken sandwiches and both were excellent! From the menu, it looks like they also have a great brunch.

White Duck Taco Shop | A must on the itinerary, but go early! We arrived 10 minutes after opening and they were packed to the brim when we left. All the tacos we tried were amazing and the cheese dip was not too shabby on the cheese dip scale either.

We are not big breakfast people so skipped that but did eat a dinner at the Grove Park our first night. It was good but we had a wait a bit, so get reservations if you are planning to eat in one night.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

savor the small moments



What is that saying? You don't know what you have until it is gone. I think the saying should be... You don't know how precious the moments are until they are gone.

Having little Miss Mary Tilman has not been without life-changing moments. Those moments you think I will never sleep in again or I will never have that skinny mini bod I had on my honeymoon. Those moments you think, will I ever get to use the bathroom alone or will I ever get the Paw Patrol song out of my head. But those moments pass way too quickly. 

Little Miss is turning two in a month and I feel like the waterworks are starting. I don't remember that little bitty newborn or that crawling infant. We have full on conversations now and her one-liners make me laugh, but I yearn for the long days back. I yearn for those three months I never left her side. I yearn for those memories back. Those fleeting memories are a distant past.

My baby (my toddler) my how each day is long but the years are oh so short.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Contentment


Sometimes, I look at my toddler and am in awe how she can never sit still. She goes from one activity to the next at lightening speed, never really savoring each moment. I look at her and see me. 

I can keep myself busy (as can everyone these days). We are too busy for a date, friends weekend or a night to ourselves. We are too busy to sit because there are chores to be had, a business to run, love-handles to get rid of (aka work-out). I look at myself and see the moments I am not cherishing.

My resolution this year was to be content and it is more of a struggle than I prepared for. How can I be content when I am always looking for the next big thing? How can I be content with the now when the future is looming? Contentment has now become mandatory because when I think of the yesterdays and don't remember them. I don't remember the little things that make up the big. I don't remember the moments that amount to truly living.

"Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

thursday thoughts

Why is it already 12,000 degrees? I love being outside but hate being hot, so you see the dilemma I am currently in. August I may become a hermit.

Toddler words amaze me. Some days we get complete sentences and other days we get one-liners. I threw something in the trash yesterday and got "Good job momma." Another day, she informed Winnifred (the bulldog) who was sitting outside in the aforementioned heat, "Winnie, get in this house right now!" It is now apparent I have to watch my tone.

Yesterday was a tough personal day for me. I won't get into it but am reminded that words are the things that comfort me. "Comparison is the thief of joy"

Monday, July 11, 2016

Zoo Day


Having been on the go for the past several weekends, we decided to take Mary Tilman to her happy place, the Zoo. This kiddo loves anything animal so she is right in her element. We talk about the zoo before our visit, squeal while there and talk about it for days after.



In case you are ever in Atlanta, here are some tips for our (in my opinion) a pretty awesome zoo:
  • If you live in Atlanta or see yourself going more than two times a year, buy a zoo membership. It is definitely worth the money.
  • Go early! They open at 9:30 and we are always there on the dot. The afternoons are packed and make it very un-enjoyable. 
  • In the summer, go early! Did I say go early? It was VERY toasty this last weekend so I couldn't imagine going at 2:30 in July. For an air-conditioned break, visit the reptile house or the treehouse across from the gorillas.
  • If you want a close up view of the gorillas, go to the elevated deck platform past the viewing house. You get to see much more from that angle.
  • The petting zoo is my least favorite area but the kids seem to love it. They usually have goats and sheep but this past week they added two hairy pigs. I have never seen a little girl smile so big than when a pig oinked at her--really makes me feel loved :) 
  • The train. While a kid's dream, it is very low to adult standards. It is a pretty poor train ride resulting in a quick jaunt around the playground and splash pad.
  • The pandas are the biggest attraction being that you can only view them at three US zoos. The viewing room gets pretty packed so plan a visit in Spring or Fall when they are out in their habitats during the semi-cooler weather.
  • While we have yet to partake, you can fork over some cash for a special encounter with the tiger, elephant, panda, tortoise or a few other animals. The website says that ages two and under are allowed to watch but not participate. Either way, it would be pretty neat for people of all ages.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Dressing the Littles

Mary Tilman has been voted best dressed at school and that makes this momma proud. While some mornings are a battle and she has grown quite the opinions, I (or Aaron) generally just pick whatever fits for the day's activities.

I frequently get asked where I get her clothes. I would be remiss without saying my mom and mother-in-law have generously made or bought a good portion of her clothes and I am forever grateful for that. Although, now owning a children's boutique I get to play dress up and dream of ensembles quite frequently now. To be honest, I buy with an eye for what I would personally dress my children in.


Here are some of my lessons learned with toddler wear (infant wear was a completely different ballgame):

Smocked / Southern Clothes
  • If not bought by the aforementioned awesome grandmothers I like to shop around. I also usually don't prefer busy prints especially while she is still so little. Another preference is something unique that not every other kid on the playground would wear.
  • Lately I have had horrible luck with the Facebook auction sites, although I have purchased from them all (Smocked Auctions, Southern Tots, Cecil & Lou, Southern Smocked). While the price is great, the product is either a lower than expected quality or extremely late. For the sake of class I will leave their name out, but I recently ordered a precious outfit that was promised in late April and it arrived mid-June. The customer service was extremely lacking with the only offer of consolation was to cancel the order all-together. I love this little site and think their line is so sweet, but don't think I can continue ordering from there.
  • Some great sources I have found are Zulily (although shipping takes forever), Smocking Bug and local Atlanta boutiques.
  • Brands we love | Viva La Fete, Sunshine Kids, True, Mom & Me, Petit Ami, Dondolo, Little English, Proper Peony, Prim & Proper Clothing, Beaufort Bonnet Company, Shrimp & Grits
Play Clothes
  • If hanging around the house I usually throw a t-shirt on her and some shorts. If I know school is going to be a messy day, then we usually wear an appliqued shirt and short set, courtesy of those great grandmothers.
  • Brands we love | Baby Gap, J. Crew, Ralph Lauren
Pajamas
  • Before kids, I had no idea they go through so many clothes. Now most of our wash consists of pajamas. Mary Tilman wears a new set every night because it either has the remnants of yogurt from breakfast or smell of a pee-pee diaper (gross but #reallife)
  • About 95% of our pjs are Hanna Anderson. While on the more expensive side, they last forever. I purchased Baby Gap pjs for a while but was not impressed on the quality.
  • Since opening J. Wills, I have grown to love Petit Plume. Again slightly more expensive but MT's current size will last her well into next Spring. Also a perk is they are truly pajamas made with a flame retardant material. (Newly learned tidbit - if they are called "loungewear" they don't met gov. regulations on safety guidelines).

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

words | princesses



Yesterday before heading out to school and work, I asked Mary Tilman about all of her friends. She named every one of them, so I said, "Well what is your name?" She looked at me, nodded her head and said "Princess". My first thought was oh goodness what have I done?

Fast forward to school drop-off and her teacher laughed when I recounted the story. She said during circle time last week, Mary Tilman said "Princess" when it came to share her name. 

I laughed, texted and called because I thought it was cute and funny. But then I thought am I setting bad example? Am I enabling her to think she is of the princess mentality who can do no wrong? Did all those times I call her beautiful, pretty, smart and a princess backfire on me? Call it society's mom-shame or my self-shame but I felt confused.

Yet... I want my daughter to think she is a princess. I want her to dream and hope and aspire to be something amazing. If she wants to be a princess, go for it. She may not be royalty but one day I want her to be a princess to someone, be it her husband or her own children. I want my little girl to dream a big dream and let no one stand in the way. 

Maybe this little princess of mine is on to something. Unless you truly believe in a dream, it won't ever come true.

Friday, July 1, 2016

confessions

These are my confessions.... 
Does anyone else think of the Usher song when they hear that line? 
No? Okay maybe just me (go to the 1:30 mark if you want to relive 2009).



My husband's internal body heat is 1,027 degrees. He is like a heater. I now know why people in 1950 slept in separate beds. They were tired of waking up in a pool of sweat.

People with family close by... you don't know how lucky you have it. A spur-of-the-moment date night, I wouldn't know what that was. The latest movie release - seems like the last movie I saw in theaters was Titanic (just kidding... slightly).

I like to think of myself as a nice, sophisticated Southern woman. But, crazy drivers can bring out worst in people. Atlanta was just rated one of the worst accident-prone cities and I can see why. No logical person would attempt to merge across six lanes of traffic... oh but they do. ALL.THE.TIME.

#adulting - This will be my hashtag of choice in a few weeks. The hubs and I are headed to Asheville for a weekend getaway and it is needed big time. Did you know Asheville is home of more breweries than anywhere else in the country. Could be why this was the destination of choice for the hubby... just saying.

Torture - children's cartoons are right up there with toddler whining. If I watch another episode of Paw Patrol, I may cut off our cable.

I have worked out three nights in a row this week. Before you roll your eyes, that is huge for me. My entire body aches but I am hoping my sore muscle limp goes un-noticed. I did however go off the deep end last night when we popped in our local burger joint.

Mary Tilman loves Justin Bieber. Her face literally lights up every time she hears his songs. Some may judge my parenting expertise but the Biebs comes in mighty handy when you need two minutes of solo time.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

inviting

We have gone back and forth on hosting a second birthday. While I was dead-set on something with just family, something tells me to plan one while I can still pick out the theme. My future looks like princesses for several years.

With any good party theme, comes the invitation and I am a sucker for a good invitation. While most of our festivities' invites are designed by yours truly, there are some pretty talented people out there to choose from.



1) Love Lucy Design - This is the cutest little Etsy shop and even has a great Instagram profile. I love this little barnyard invite, if only the hubs would go for a mobile petting zoo.

2) Cameron Norris - I have one talented college roomie. Cameron is the sweetest thing ever and is one talented lady. This dino party is just the cutest for little boys.

3) Paper Etiquette - How cute is this British theme? It would be perfect around another royal birth or wedding... or even the perfect excuse for high tea.

4) Lemonade Moments - I am dying to do a Fiesta themed birthday. I can see it now - crepe paper, pinatas, tacos and margaritas.

5) Twinkle Little Party - This is precious for a summer pineapple party but would also be a great housewarming invite.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Five on Friday

I have vowed to get in shape. However mother nature has been limiting my runs due to the 99 degree weather at dusk. Saying that, I reignited my love/hate relationship with Tony Horton. This new video is amazing and I have only done one. Yep I am sold. 

 I love this new dress from Banana Republic. Actually, I would love a place to wear it as it would look out of place at Chik-fila-A. All you people with exciting, traveling lives should totally get this dress and wear it in various exotic places.

The only TV I watch these days is Paw Patrol or reality TV. I got caught up on the Southern Charm finale and it left me with an epiphany: They are all crazy... every one of them! But really, I love the show and all their #realworldproblems. It actually makes me feel better about my drama-less life.

J. Wills is having a summer sale! Stock up on precious pieces for now or next year! Our Fall collection is coming in as well so snag some of the cutest little outfits before they are gone!

 Tomorrow is the husband's birthday! We love birthdays in our family, so much so that I try to pull out the most embarrassing picture I can find and post it to Facebook. Unfortunately I think I have used them up after 11 years together but I am holding out hope on finding a gem.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hacks {ikea hacks}

Ikea - a man's vision of a Swedish deathtrap.

I, on the other hand, am completely fascinated by it.  Yes their furniture is not the highest quality but we have plenty of their pieces around our house that have carried us from college to now.

Our two newest pieces are pretty great buys. The first is a large sectional sofa in our basement (aka doggie den) that is perfect for that space. It also doesn't break my heart when it gets dirty because the slipcovers can easily be popped in the wash. We also chose an Ikea dresser for the nursery and I am still very pleased with it. With a quick change of the hardware, it looks like a million bucks.

Ikea hacks are all over the internet and some of them are mind-blowing. You would never know it came from Ikea after a little elbow grease and imagination. Here are a few of my favorites:



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Dad Day


Oh man, this guy. We don't do public displays of affection, we don't do mushy. But oh man, this guy is an amazing father.

I don't tell him enough. I don't tell him how much is support means but gosh I am thankful. Thankful for his calming spirit yet the ability to be firm when warranted. I am thankful for his shoulder to cry on and his contagious grin to laugh with. Sadly I think I am more thankful for his lending hands when they aren't there (two weeks of straight travel can teach you that).

I am thankful for him, especially when I see that look in our daughter's eyes. That look of love, a love that will last forever.

There haven't been many girls in his bloodline. Saying that, there haven't been many hairbows, pink or baby dolls. There haven't been bloomers, smocked bikinis or princess castles but this man, this preppy, boys-boy has embraced all things girl. He has embraced all things his daughter.

I see this man being front row at ballet recitals, being that dad at a pop star's closest tour stop, being the tough father figure greeting her date for the first school dance or being that sentimental father-of-the-bride before taking a long walk down the aisle.

You hear everyone say they love their spouse more after having a child together. I think it is more of a greater respect. A respect, a silent acknowledgement, of we have got this. We can rally through lost sleep and temper tantrums as long as we are a team. To me, having a lifelong team mate brings that warm and gushy feeling.

So.....Thank you Aaron, my team mate. Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Banana

Let's just be real, Banana Republic had a few bad years. Everything was drab and slightly depressing. I love black clothes and their instant slimming abilities, but I also love a pop of color here and there.

However, they have been knocking it out of the park these last few seasons. It could be my favorite neon green or it could be the 40% coupons, but whatever the reason I have become a Banana fan again!



Envelope Clutch | Again with the clutches but this one is sleek and classy - perfect for a night out.

Flutter Sleeve Dress | I am not a print person. Seriously, you won't find too many printed items in my closet. However, I do like a pattern or two and this fuschia / blur-ple combo is a winner.

Vee Top | This chartreuse, neon green color is currently my favorite. I looks better with a tan which is a sad work in progress. Anywho I love the dressy look of this top, perfect to dress up or down.

Lace Shorts | I have become a shorts lover and these are great. This navy version would look perfect with a white blouse and wedges.

Fringe Sandals | I was gifted these for my birthday and that are as amazing as I imagined. Super fun and pretty comfortable.

Peplum Tee | Tees have become my weekend friend when I don't want to be that grunge mom rocking a fraternity shirt from 2006. (I will note this still happens more than it should)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dream

I think it is human nature to take the easy way out. We always look for the shortcut or the fastest means to an end. We use apps to save time and we will hire help if it frees up some more minutes in the day. The easiest way is not always the best.

Sometimes the hard thing is the right thing. Standing up for yourself, letting go of stained relationships, starting fresh. But sometimes the hardest thing is to follow your dreams.

Starting my own business is that dream. Of course I have others but it is the biggest. I have learned that starting your own business is all about putting yourself out there. You have to put your all into something because you own it, you created it. The curse of putting yourself out there is the comparison that comes with it. You compare everything; second guess everything; become doubtful about everything. Comparison becomes a devil of sorts and it digs. It digs at your confidence; it digs at your vision.

But, just this week I had an epiphany of sorts. This little dream is mine. This little dream is up to me. This dream is what I make of it and I choose to continue fulfilling that dream. I will be the first to admit, this little dream has cost me sleep, hours of free time, workouts, nap time relaxation, time with my family but this dream has given me so much more. Confidence. Assurance. Optimism. This little dream has opened my eyes to how lucky I am to have an amazing support team.

If you stayed with me thus far, I encourage you to dream. It doesn't have to be a business. It can be that trip of a lifetime or a new hobby. A dream is what keeps us moving forward and becoming the best versions of ourselves. Because really, a dream becomes the promise of tomorrows.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Toddler Favorites

Oh toddlers... how thee's attention span is quite small. Mary Tilman has a few favorite toys but we only play with them for 47 seconds before moving onto the next thing.

I love other blogger roundups so I know you are pining for my list :)


Spiralin' Seas Water Table | During the summer months, you can find us out back with this awesome table. Mary Tilman thoroughly enjoys soaking herself with cups of water. Really though, she would actually suffice with a water hose but we try to keep it classy around here.

Crayola Color Wonder | Mary Tilman is in a major color phase. Every night while prepping dinner I hear: "Momma, Color. Dada, Color. Color!" The magic of these color wonder markers are that momma's carpet doesn't get touched and little bit creates a masterpiece. Win, Win!

Bathtime Numbers | Disclaimer - I found this set at Home Goods but it has been a major hit during bathtime.

Johnson & Johnson Bubble Bath | I think toddlers are hypnotized to think bubbles are the best thing ever. I can't walk into the bathroom without hearing BUBBLES! In all seriousness though, I think bubbles are a momma's best friend during a bath boycott.

Disney movies | We are finally into a movie phase...can I get an amen? Movies make car rides home less panic-inducing and make everyone happier all around. The Jungle Book happens to be the current favorite and I am A-OK with that.

Books | Our bedtime ritual consists of three books and I savor this snuggly time. On the Night You Were Born makes me tear every time #sappymom

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Clutch

I have been loving all things embellished lately - tassels, pom poms, embroidery. I also happen to love clutches but they are quite limiting once you add your wallet, phone(s), lip balm, lip gloss ... you get the picture. That doesn't even account for the little who has more baggage than me. Sigh.

But if I was in the market for a clutch, which will be in about 10 years, I would snag these beauties.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Post-vacay Blues

We just returned from eight days in Destin, Florida and it was a MUCH NEEDED trip away. Who doesn't love sand, sun, drinks and QT with friends and family?

I want to throw it out there that whoever said family vacations were relaxing must have been extremely exhausted to even think that. After a weekend spent with friends, we were truly not prepared for the never-ending whirlwind named Mary Tilman. This girl is nonstop but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Mary Tilman loved the beach to an extent. She refused to enter the water without you and found consistently pouring buckets of water on herself to be the most exciting. At least she managed to look precious while being a handful :)

The pool, however, was her element. She jumped off the side maybe 359 times. We literally had to pull her out of there kicking and screaming, much to the entertainment of bystanders.

She also loved the camera and decided to model on our beach walk to dinner. And from the above photo, I say model loosely as she was easily distracted by airplanes in flight.
 
  
While at the beach, we celebrated my birthday at a favorite Harbor Docks. I wanted sushi and we both wanted cheap child entertainment - boats coming in and out of the harbor.

One night Mary Tilman donned her favorite pajamas during story time on the balcony and I grabbed a few photos. I thought it was the sweetest picture because she loves her "babies" so.
 
 I also learned to never take my eyes off of her as she literally ate my eyeshadow... and looks rather proud of it.

Another dinner save by goldfish crackers and something to look at, this time beach-goers at the Back Porch.