LuLaRoe Has Won Me Over + Giveaway!

Some of you might remember a few weeks back I mentioned that I really didn't "get" the whole LuLaRoe obsession that seemed to be taking over the internet. I thought okay they make leggings, what's the big deal?! People kept adding me to Facebook events/groups and then I saw they had other items like shirts and dresses, but I still didn't understand what the big deal was. I would see all these notifications and seriously I was like, "WHAT IS HAPPENING?!"

So when I mentioned it on here, I had a very sweet reader (Hi, Jen!) comment and tell me that she was a distributor of LLR and would be happy to chat with me about it. She explained it better to me and I finally could see where the fun was in this business. Each piece is only made in a limited amount, and the people who sell it don't know what they are getting each time they order more inventory. So it's always a surprise for them, and always a surprise/unique experience when people are shopping their items.
This infographic is a BIT old so the numbers are slightly different now, but it helps illustrate how unique the pieces are! :)

Jen SO graciously offered to send me some goodies in exchange for a blog review of them. She stressed multiple times that she wanted my honest feedback no matter what I ended up deciding about the clothes. Well, I decided that they are FABULOUS!!! When I first looked at the options she had, I wasn't sure I'd find something I loved. There seemed to be a lot of floral or wild patterns and those aren't typically what I would wear. Yet the solids seemed too "safe" for my first LLR... decisions, decisions. After some thought and some digging through Jen's Facebook albums of inventory- I found the pair for me.

They're a fun pattern with colors I love, but not so crazy that I feel like people would stop and stare at my leggings in public. ;) Jen happily found me a navy blue Irma top that I think looks great with them. The clothes are honestly SO comfortable and I like that the neck is high on the shirts. An absolute must for carting around a baby or toddler, if you ask me. The leggings are the perfect thickness that I like and the top is long so everything is covered in the back.

The sizing can be a little tricky to figure out at first, but I feel like most Facebook groups do a good job of explaining how they work. Just be sure to check out the charts for each item before you purchase. The prices scared me a little bit at first, but now that I see the great quality of the items I feel 100% okay with the cost. The leggings are all $25 but don't you spend that (or more!) on a pair of good pants from LOFT, Gap, J. Crew, etc? Totally worth the money you guys. You all know I'm not a big spender but LLR clothes are worth every penny- promise.

My wardrobe has been in such a funk since having a baby and LLR clothes make me feel comfy and stylish again. Moral of the story: Jen rocks. I loved collaborating with her and will certainly be purchasing from her in the future. If it wasn't so close to Christmas I probably would have already bought a whole new wardrobe from her.

Lucky for you, Jen is giving away a mystery pair of leggings to one of my readers! You pick the size, Jen picks the pattern and color.  Just enter below and I'll announce the winner on Monday, December 5th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We Party Hard

The level of exhaustion I feel this morning is not one I have felt in awhile. Holy moly did we celebrate over the past few days. Jared, T and I visited both sides of my family on Thanksgiving day, visited some of his family the day after that and then celebrated an early Christmas on Saturday with my immediate family. T hung in there like a champ for the most part which was such a relief. He struggled getting to sleep some since he was overly tired, but once he was out he was out for the night, like normal. I know I'm biased but seriously, I have the best baby, haha. I joke with Jared that we shouldn't have any more because there's no way a second baby will be this easy! ;)

I loved being at my Mamaw's house on Thanksgiving Day. While a little piece of my heart is always sad that my grandpa isn't here anymore, it's amazing to see our family grow each year, too. There are now 4 great-grandbabies and another one due any day now. I love seeing cousins and aunts love on my little guy and getting to love on their little ones right back. Between all the chaos and laughter there was plenty of food and fellowship with my family.

Since my sister and her family were in town, we celebrated Christmas and exchanged gifts with them while they were here. It was so fun getting to watch my little niece's excitement over all things Peppa Pig and hear how grown up she sounded! It blows my mind how fast kids change- she is so smart and funny! We enjoyed gifts, plenty of  m&m cookies and laughing at my mom's creative gift tags.
The last few days involved lots of driving around and lots of house hopping but it was all worth it. I love sharing our little boy with our family and it's so special having another member in our family this year. I can only imagine the next month will feel just as crazy, but just as special :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving EVE, my friends! I hope some of you are already off work for the week, or at least get out of the office early today? Our offices rarely closed early for the holidays due to the nature of our business, but I won't lie- I'm pretty sure it's not all that productive of a day at workplaces anywhere today. How can you focus when you're already dreaming about the feast that you're about to have? I cannot wait to eat corn and mashed potatoes at my Mamaw's house tomorrow! And obviously desserts. Lots of desserts.
Last Thanksgiving with my Mamaw. And Baby T in my belly!
If you're going to be doing some shopping Friday (especially from the comfort of your couch!) don't forget to check out my Etsy shop! New releases will be out and we're going to have some great discount codes AND freebies so be sure to check out Instagram for those. Even if you're not necessarily a paper planner kinda' gal, lots of our stickers work great on an every day wall calendar, deskpad at work, etc. I personally use birthday stickers, date night stickers and appointment boxes on the calendar in our kitchen so Jared can easily see what we have going on, too. Okay- enough shameless plug. Just shop our sale! ;)
Last time Aunt B was here!
My sister and her family arrived in town last night and I'm so excited to get to spend some time with them in the next few days. They haven't seen T since he was about a month old and I know they cannot wait to spoil him while they're here. I got a glimpse of what my future holds when my sister texted me this picture from my parents house last night. My niece had been there less than an hour, lol!

I'm thankful for all of you for reading along, for commenting (or stalking! ;)) and for the blogging community. I hope you all have a fantastic holiday weekend with friends and family. 

A Thankful Week

I feel like my heart could just explode with love at any given minute this week. The holidays always remind me of how truly blessed my life is but this year I feel it even more. We kicked off the holiday season over the weekend celebrating Jared's birthday (the 19th) and his dad's birthday (the 20th) plus had our first Thanksgiving with family. Talk about a lot of celebrating rolled into one weekend!

We played games at our house Saturday night with Kayla + Caleb and I'm pretty confident it was my worst losing streak ever. I lost at Banangrams, Life and even Sequence. I blame mom brain and lack of sleep, but we still had a great time. Playing games is one of my favorite things ever and it's nice to be able to still make time for them with friends. Definitely the perfect 'night-in' activity for us to host.
Jared and I were typical newb parents and we packed everything we could possibly ever need for little T and spent Sunday afternoon at his parent's house. Delicious food, football, gifts, cake and lots of laughter rounded out the day. T only napped about 30 minutes while we were there which was a tad stressful on this momma, but he hung in there like a champ. When we finally got home that little boy crashed hardddd and was still recovering the next day, I think. Let's hope he can keep up with the rest of the busy holiday week ahead!

And yes, you might have noticed some Christmas decorations up there in those photos... it's true. This is the first year Jared and I have ever decorated this early. We have always done it the day/weekend after Thanksgiving but something got into us Friday night and we decided to put everything up then. I absolutely love putting our ornaments on the tree and enjoying all the memories that come with each one. Jared and I both have tons of childhood ornaments from our own parents and grandparents and we are looking forward to buying T his own first ornament this year!

I hope you are all counting your blessings this week and looking forward to a few days away from work soon! Cheers to this short, holiday week!!

A Good Friday Indeed

I'm going to cut to the chase this Friday morning and just say this. Y'ALL ROCK. I was blown away by the response I got to yesterday's post. Each and every one of you that commented (and those that didn't/couldn't!) just reaffirmed how awesome the blog world is. I appreciate all the encouraging and sweet words, and I agree with you all so much in regards to how and why things have changed over the years. I answered everyone I could but just to sum up for those stalking along:

- Blogging has definitely changed, but everyone out there is still awesome.

- Commenting from phones is difficult, especially with the Bloglovin' App. Cmon BL, help a blogger out!

- Paid posts kinda' suck, unless it's actually a good fit for the blog/blogger. I only do them on occasion and truly only try to write them if it's something I feel good about, relate to, or find relevant to my blog and my readers. I have a collaboration coming up with Uncommon Goods that I'm stoked about because I actually shop there and love finding gifts there this time of year. Stay tuned ;) 

But I think that's enough about blogging for now. Just know I appreciated the feedback SO much and it was nice to "meet" even more of you who have been silently reading along.

In other news? My main man's birthday is tomorrow! I felt a little guilty because it truly snuck* up on me this year... but I think it snuck* up on him too ;) I don't think I can really top his surprise Nerdy 30 from last year, gosh that was a fun night! We're low-key celebrating at home over the weekend and then Sunday we'll be doing a combination Thanksgiving/birthday get together with Jared's family. I can't wait to celebrate my favorite guy and hopefully have a lot of fun over the next few days. 
*I know you're supposed to say sneaked, not snuck... but I just can't bring myself to. The end.
Jared's 30th from last year. And a 9-week old baby in my belly!!

It's hard to believe it's actually time for holiday celebrations. While it's so awesome to think we have a new little buddy to enjoy this season with, I'm not gonna' lie- it feels a tad bit stressful too. How do you momma's handle the holiday chaos with a little one? I'm just picturing the traveling around, no naps, packing practically the whole world to go over to someone's house. Ugh- send help.

That's all I've got for today. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead of you. Happy Friday!!

What's Changed?

When this calendar year ends, I will have been blogging for FIVE years. Five, people! That blows my mind to think about. My blog design has changed more times than I can count, I've written on just about every topic you can imagine and I've seen a lot of blog 'phases' come and go over the years.

Last night I discovered that an old blog friend who had mostly left the scene was starting her blog back up again. I was so excited to see that! This was a girl I literally would not know if it weren't for silly me opening up a blank blog post back in 2011 and deciding I wanted to write about my engagement and wedding planning days. We bonded over all sorts of things and we enjoyed keeping up with each other's day to day, no matter how mundane it might seem to the outside world.

And that's what blogging was for me for a long time. A place to write about daily life, my job, fun places I went on the weekend and maybe share a funny meme or something I found on Pinterest. The comments would flood in on practically every post. And I'd respond to those comments. My blog email inbox would constantly be ongoing conversations with blog buddies, new and old. Heck, I could write a post about being old and never leaving my house or how much I love circus peanuts and receive dozens of responses from friends all over the country.

So what's changed? When did blogging become solely about monetization, likes, shares and pins? Don't get me wrong... I still apply for various paid opportunities and get super pumped when a cool sponsored post comes my way. I still run ads on my sidebar and do a couple other things to make (a tiny bit) of money from this blog. The fact that a hobby of mine can make any money at all is pretty cool, but I still continue to blog because I crave the friendship and the interaction that blogging originally brought me. I have real life friends now because of this space and that alone is my greatest "accomplishment" in blogging.

Blogging is where friendships are born! It's where I find great new recipes. It's where I can laugh out loud over something funny that happened to you at work. It's where I can get ideas for new places to travel to and where to eat when I'm there. It's where I can read updates on your kids who are older than mine and learn new tricks to try to get him to nap longer during the day. Blogging is this awesome conglomerate of people that I just can't quit.

I know people are still reading. The pageviews and stats still show that, and that's great! I'm so glad there are friends out there who come back time and time again to see what randomness I write about, no matter what stage of life I might be in :) But the comments and the interactions are less and less. Are we all just bored of talking to each other? Are we just too busy to comment? Would we rather scroll through Instagram to get those tiny snippets of life, versus take the time to read a wordy blog post?

I don't really have the answers to any of these things, but sometimes you just want to open up blogger and hash it out. At least I still feel that way. I don't feel (too) guilty when I write a post without any fabulous photos. Or if I don't have an image to be pinned or shared. This is my blog after all, and I'm proud of where it's been, where it is now and possibly where it will end up one day.

So, who's out there reading?? I would love to hear from you. Blogger, former-blogger, never-ever-gonna-start-a-blogger? How long have you been here? What makes you comment or not comment? I'd also love links to your favorite bloggers who still write and share like the good ole' days ;) The floors open!

Whirlwind Weekend

This weekend was jam-packed from start to finish and now that it's over I don't know where the time went!? Friday was especially great because Jared and I got to go on our SECOND date since T's been born! My in-laws were sweet enough to come over after we put little man to bed and we were able to go out for a few hours. I'm still not ready for someone else to put my baby down for the night... is that weird?! Luckily, he's got an early bed time so we were able to go grab Mexican food and take our time at dinner. 

It feels like such a treat to sit down for long, uninterrupted conversation these days and I soaked in every second of it. After eating we shopped a little, grabbed our holiday Starbucks drinks and ended the night picking up a couple items at Kroger. That's a hot date if I ever heard of one ;)

Saturday was a blur of errands, cleaning, meal prepping and fiiiiinally getting a mani/pedi that evening! I've had a gift certificate since April and just haven't set aside the time to make it happen. It was amazing and much needed though. I went at a weird time so I had the whole place practically to myself and it was so relaxing... I could have stayed another hour!

Another thing I got into this weekend was making baby food for T. We started solids recently and I bought a few jars for him to try out first. I bought BeechNut naturals, for anyone curious; I liked those because it's just the fruit or veggie, no additives or anything weird. However, now that we've tried a few things and T seems to like it ALL I knew it would be more cost effective to make stuff at home. It's actually pretty fun so far, too! I might post more about it at another time if people are interested- I googled a lot and talked to a lot of other moms about their homemade baby food adventures which was super helpful.

Lots of productivity, a good mix of relaxation and of course lots of family play time sums up the past few days. I cherish the weekends with my little family so much. They always go way too fast, but all I can do is hang on and enjoy the ride. The days are crazy, we don't sleep enough and figuring out an ever-changing baby is hard work sometimes but I wouldn't have it any other way. My two boys are my world!

Things That Have My Vote

How about a little light-hearted NON-election talk today? How about a few favorite items of mine that get my vote all day :) *Some affiliate links included, so I get like 2 cents when you click on stuff.

Bando planners. I have been an Erin Condren fan for about 4 years now... purchasing her planner year after year. I have nothing but awesome things to say about my EC planners, but I've been considering other options for the 2017 calendar year. Something a little smaller, a little more sleek perhaps. I've heard good things about these planners and since they are less than half the cost of my EC, I might just have to give it a go for next year.

Ulta Matte Primer. Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about makeup. I've been wearing the same stuff in the same way for yearsssss. I'm slowly but surely branching out though and about a month ago I finally got myself some primer. If it weren't for blogland I probably wouldn't even know what primer was, but this one has been working great for me. It's inexpensive (you only need a tiny little bit, it goes a long way!) and I feel like it keeps the shine to a minimum.

Huggies Diapers. Up until T was about 2.5 months old I was team Pampers. And then they started leaking ALL.THE.TIME. We have officially switched over to Huggies Little Snugglers (he's in size 3, already!!) now though and haven't looked back. Isn't is weird how every momma has a different diaper preference?

Nike Air Max. I'm a sucker for gray or white tennis shoes. I always have been. And I'm pretty tied to Nike in general. These are just SO lightweight and feel amazing on your feet. I have a colorful pair of them but I'm hinting around for this pair for Christmas ;)

Planner Stickers. Okay, shameless plug- but if you didn't know it yet I run an Etsy shop with another friend/blogger of mine. We have been working super hard behind the scenes to get some goodies ready for Black Friday and I can't wait to release them to the world. Plus, holiday stickers are right around the corner which makes me way too excited ;)

What FUN things are getting your vote this week??

Gettin' Artsy

I like to think of myself as a fairly crafty/artsy kinda' person. I could be totally wrong on that, but I like to think it anyway. I'm decent at drawing, I know the basics of crocheting, I have years and years worth of paper scrapbooks, and back when I had more time I used to make crafts a little more often. In college I took quite a few actual art classes for my graphic design minor, but it's been a long time since I'd picked up anything to really channel that inner-artistic side of me. So this weekend my sister-in-law, cousin-in-law and I hit up one of those fun, little paint night classes thanks to a fabulous deal on Living Social!

Since you can't paint on an empty stomach (that's totally a thing, I'm sure ;)) Kayla, Natalie and I grabbed some gourmet pizzas nearby first at A Tavola. Luckily we were able to get there before the dinner rush because it's a tiny, cozy little place. We ate more than our fair share of pizza before heading off to get our painting on.

Our entire night was an absolute blast! Obviously, I have nothing else to compare it to but we had the best instructor! This was my first experience with a painting class but Christine at Cheers to Art... you rocked. She was fun, helpful and had a killer playlist going for the whole night. Multiple times throughout the night I swear the whole class was singing along with her jams and Christine even allowed a few song/dance breaks in between steps of the painting.

I think ours turned out great and it is definitely something we'll do again! I'm always guilty of just doing what's easy or comfortable or convenient for girls nights or date nights. Same restaurants, same dinner/movie combo or whatnot... but it was fun to mix it up and do something new. I absolutely loved getting to be creative and will be proudly hanging my painting of the Cincinnati skyline up in our home :) 

Currently: November Edition

Another fabulous edition of the Currently link-up is happening today. This is always one of my favorites to participate in so you should check it out! Anne and her cohost Catherine would be happy to have you join in, so hop on over to their blogs already! ;)

Currently I'm...

Discovering: How much I love my Kindle Fire. I always thought I'd be a paper books only kinda' gal, but it's SO awesome and convenient to check out ebooks from the library this way. I get so pumped when I get a notification that there's one available for me. Plus, it's nice to have a little tablet I can use around the house for various other things. PS- Does anyone have a case for their Kindle that they love? I was eyeing this one and I might just ask for it for Christmas ;)

Celebrating: A new fresh month. I always love when a new month rolls around because it feels like I get a clean slate. It's the first full month without Jared coaching football so it'll be nice to have him around more again- I kinda' like the guy ;) Plus this month includes his birthday AND Thanksgiving so I'm pretty thrilled that November is here.

Starting: On new stickers for the holidays. It's hard to keep up some days but our Christmas and festive stuff is going to be done and in the Etsy shop soon!

Wearing: Some clothes I haven't fit into in months. Wahoo! It's taken 5 months but I'm finally back to pre-pregnancy weight and darnit, it feels good! Don't get me wrong, I'm still pretty eh... fluffy (?) but at least pants with zippers are fitting again.

Googling: All things baby food! We started T on solids last week and it has already been SO fun. I know technically they say to wait until 6 months- but he was just so hungry ALL THE TIME and our pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to start now. So I've been googling anything and everything about making baby food at home. Meal time is getting more fun and definitely messier over here ;)

Go link up and/or tell me what you're currently up to this month!

Hello, November!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween. We passed out candy at our house with some family last night and it the perfect low-key celebration we needed. T was dressed up like the cutest little pumpkin ever and lasted about 20 minutes into Trick-or-Treat before I put him to bed. He was just taking it all in and I loved showing him off. He was a big hit with our neighbors ;)

I was quite proud of myself that I managed to only eat ONE piece of Halloween candy the entire night. Candy is my weakness and most years I'd sit there and probably munch on those sweets all night but I contained myself. I did make the Pioneer Woman's popcorn balls for everyone so of course I had one of those too- but that was it! I kept my sweet tooth (eh, teeth?) in check for the most part and thankfully there is no leftover candy to tempt me.

Now I'm totally the one who is always "WAIT! Don't start the Christmas stuff yet!" but last night I was guilty of thinking ahead too. I told Jared it was officially his favorite time of year now! That guy loves Christmas more than anyone in the entire world, I'm sure of it. But don't worry, we won't be decking our halls or putting up the lights just yet. There is a lot of fun to be had in November that I'm looking forward to. I always have to remind myself not to rush from holiday to holiday, from life event to life event, from milestone to milestone. It's easy to do but I need to soak in the now.

In November I'm looking forward to...

A fun girl's night on the calendar. We're doing one of those painting classes which I've always wanted to do and never have! Scheduling friend-time in advance is a necessity as an adult.

Celebrating Jared's birthday. We had so much fun at his 30th last year and I can't wait to have fun again this year. Not sure what we'll do but it will likely be a bit more low key ;)

Thanksgiving, of course! My sister and her family will be in town and I can't wait to see them. We'll be doing an early gift exchange with them while they are here so that will be fun, too.

Family photos. Since T will be 6 months old at the end of November it's time to get some actual photos done of all three of us. Hoping we can catch the perfect weather for a mini-photo shoot.

Cooking/Baking. I've admitted it more than once, but since T's been born I have been slacking in the kitchen department. When I do cook, it's been the same ole' things and I have been uninspired to say the least. The cooler weather and holidays have already sparked my interest though and I'm ready to bring out the recipe box and I'm looking forward to making new things again.

What are you excited about this month? Are you listening to Christmas music yet? I won't turn that on until Thanksgiving is over!