All you need is Love and a JORD Wood Watch

img_1956Valentine’s Day has always seemed a little silly to me. I never understood why society needed a designated day to celebrate love. After all, Ryan and I celebrated each other all the time with dates, sweet notes, random flowers, and just laughing and enjoying life together.

It sounds like it was all sunshine and roses because for the most part, it was. We very rarely had any sort of an argument and we did everything together! We wrote love notes; he brought me random bouquets of flowers; we had date nights every single night, even if that just meant we were at home; we took trips together; we watched entire movies together; we went on runs together; we went wine tasting like every other weekend.

Then we had a kid.

Ok, I started to sort of get it. But still, Valentine’s Day seemed a bit blown up to me.

Then we had a second kid.

And now, I GET IT.

I finally understand that Valentine’s Day serves a purpose: It forces you to designate time to celebrate your special relationship, even while entrenched (maybe even drowning) in parenthood.

Honestly, Ryan and I can barely have a conversation when the kids are awake and by the time they’re in bed, we are pretty drained. Our feeling of togetherness is constantly interrupted by a chatty three year old, diapers, picking up toys, cleaning up messy floors 700 times a day, the never ending laundry, the time-outs, the crying, the kissing of the boo boos, the frantic “what’s in Preston’s mouth!” It’s no big shocker why marriages statistically suffer after having kids.

We’ve had countless discussions about how important it is that we make time for each other, but that’s easier said than done when you have young kids. Never before have I cherished moments alone with Ryan like I do now. With one kid, all we had to do was put Porter down for a nap and boom, alone time. But with two, there’s a good chance their naps won’t overlap, giving you zero breaks and it’s exhausting.

Romance has become less grandiose and more about the tiny moments that the kids can’t take away from us, like when Ryan comes up behind me while I’m cooking dinner to give me a kiss; or when we bring each other drinks; the rare occasion when we write each other a note by the coffee pot; the hug that lasts way longer than normal even though Preston is fussing and Porter is saying something completely ridiculous; the offering to take one or both kids to the store so the other parent can get a break; the sharing of tasks when it’s time to get the kids bathed and in bed; couch snuggles during that small window of time between the kids going to bed and us passing out – this is what parenthood romance looks like for us.

And while I’m so very grateful for these sweet moments, it’s not enough. I want more.

I want more of Ryan all to myself. I want more of what we used to have, without giving less to my sweet babies. I want it all.

How the heck do we do this? Literally asking the question because I have yet to find the perfect solution. If you’ve found it, please comment below and tell me what you do. If it involves hundreds of dollars in babysitting money, your advice won’t help me.

I think the answer could be something really simple though; carving out time. If we want more time together, we just have to reserve it. It sounds so simple, so why can’t we do it? Even if it’s just a quick trip out to lunch, a picnic to keep it simple, a movie, a hike, whatever. All we really need is some quality time together that doesn’t involve our little humans we made. I want to recommit to this on Valentine’s Day.

I decided to give Ryan a JORD Wood Watch for an early Valentine’s Day present because it perfectly commemorates how important quality time is for our marriage to stay strong. I want him to look at the watch everyday and remember how much I love spending quality time with him. I gave Ryan this one, but there are so many awesome designs to choose from. It’s a unique watch because it’s literally made out of wood – I love that it’s sleek but rustic at the same time and Ryan’s obsessed. You can click on the links below to see all the different cool watches. I’ve even been eying the women’s line and I like what I see!

JORD Wood Watch Links:

Men’s Shop 

Women’s Shop

Luxury Wooden Watch
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This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own

Why I love Freshly Picked Moccs

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When I was pregnant with Porter and found out he was a boy, I became very focused on finding cute boy clothes. In my head, boy clothes meant ugly spider man shirts, onesies with teddy bears on them that say “mommy loves me,” bulky Velcro shoes that light up, and whatever other hideous thing you can think of.

Thankfully, all I had to do was a little Google searching to find cute, stylish clothes I now exclusively dress my boys in, aside from occasional ugly footie pajamas (pajamas get a free pass because they’re warm and not worn in public for the most part).

One of the first brands I fell in love with back in 2013 is Freshly Picked, and I wasn’t the only one. Since then, the brand has expanded and it’s become wildly successful.

At $60 a pair, I admit it took me a little while to bite the bullet and buy a pair for Porter when he was a baby; he didn’t have his first pair until he was about a year old. Once I had them, I regretted not buying them sooner because they are AMAZING. They made my life so much easier because they’re super easy to put on (even with squirmy baby feet), they’re made with real leather with solid construction, they’re durable, they’re stylish AND they stretch, so your babe will be able to wear them for longer than he/she would a more traditional shoe.

logo (1).jpgSince then, Freshly Picked has blown up. They’re so successful, they were able to reduce the cost of making some of the classic colors and they passed that savings on to their customers, because they’re awesome. They also frequently have sales, so you can always get your hands on a pair for less than $60. Check www.freshlypicked.com to see the latest prints and styles, and also to find the reduced priced moccs! Needless to say, my second son Preston has been wearing Freshly Picked moccs since his first month of life. Now that he’s almost 10 months old, he practically lives in them.IMG_2048 2.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I should mention that there are a gazillion knock-off Freshly Picked moccs being sold out there and I have to admit, I did succumb to ordering a pair once and the quality just didn’t compare. They didn’t fit his feet as well, the material felt cheap and they weren’t nearly as durable. I would take one pair of genuine Freshly Picked moccs over 10 pairs of fakies any day!

 

Post sponsored by Freshly Picked, but all opinions are 100 percent my own.

 

DIY Sofa Table

I recently decided to sell my coffee table and go with this round ottoman my friend found for me via @whimseygirldesign’s daily farmhouse décor deals, available at Wayfair. I was excited for the change, but I knew I needed to find an alternative place to put my coffee in the morning, and wine at night.

I follow several interior designers on Instagram; one particular favorite is Rachel at @shadesofblueinteriors. She’s definitely worth a follow if you’re looking for some inspiration. One day I noticed this sofa table behind her couch and I became obsessed. I asked her where she got hers and she responded letting me know that she and her husband actually built it themselves; she did her own design (as they often do), but pointed me in the direction of where she knew online plans were for something similar. You can find those plans here via @jennasuedesign and give her a follow because she’s also super inspiring.

Ryan and I have gotten pretty handy over the past three years of home owning, but building actual furniture is something we hadn’t attempted. Ryan’s a civil engineer, so he has the right skills needed to follow a design and I was confident he could do it.

Here are some pictures of the process from start to finish.

We definitely learned some things along the way and will be slightly altering the design if we decide to build another one. A friend of mine wants one, so we’ll likely tweak the design to our liking. Not to say there’s anything wrong with Jenna Sue’s – her design totally works.

I mixed my own stain to give it that rustic Restoration Hardware look. After I was done staining, I went back over it with 220 grit sandpaper to rough it up a little. I then used Finishing Wax and did another light sanding job to rough it up a little more. I used Benjamin Moore paint in White Dove for the legs.

Since I’m sharing so many of my favorite Instagram accounts for design inspo, I should also include Aly McDaniel at @thedowntownaly – her feed is super inspiring and it helped me style my new sofa table. Give her a follow if you like farmhouse décor and also her Instagram stories are hilarious.

 

How I Sleep Trained my Baby by Accident

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Before I get started with this, I think it’s important for me to make clear that I do not consider myself to be an expert mother. I get frustrated and yell sometimes (although yelling is something I’ve been MAJORLY working on). I do things I probably shouldn’t, like let my three year old have fruit snacks at 8:30 a.m. just to get him out of my hair; I let my BABY watch his big brother’s TV shows; I forget to send thank you cards after my son’s birthday (or I just never get around to it); I force my baby to skip his morning nap because I selfishly want to get all my errands done while my oldest is in Preschool; I prop my baby up on a boppy with a bottle so I can get some stuff done while he eats; I could go on and on about everything I do that I know some moms consider deplorable.

Today I’m going to share with you one thing I did right, but it was by accident.

My second son, Preston, started sleeping four hour stretches as early as two weeks old and I felt very optimistic that he was going to be one of those freak babies who sleeps through the night at two months old; and then he was and I felt like I hit the jackpot.

Then came his first cold, which lead to his first ear infection…then another, and another. It was downhill from there and we were back to waking up every two hours. After numerous failed antibiotic treatments, he had his ear tubes surgery when he was about eight months old. I naively thought that would be the magic flip of the switch to get him sleeping through the night because that’s how it went for my first son. I. Was. So. Wrong.

Preston had sleep regressed to the point where waking up was ingrained in him, even without the ear pain. After a couple weeks post op, he still wasn’t sleeping well and it occurred to me that we might have to actually “sleep train” our baby. Then Preston got sick again, and that idea got shelved. He ended up with a double ear infection despite the tubes, but this time the antibiotic treatments actually worked. Once again, I naively hoped that would do the trick and he would start sleeping.

Eeeeehhhh. Wrong again.

We were so desperate for sleep it never seemed like a good time to “sleep train.” We would instead just pop a bottle in his mouth to get him back to sleep as quickly as possible. It didn’t help that our toddler shares a wall with him and we were always afraid he’d wake up.

Then one random night when he was nine months old, I sort of snapped. He woke up at 2:30 a.m. like he always did, and something changed in me. I got up and instead of making a bottle, I went into his room, gave him his paci and Little Unicorn swaddle blanket that he likes to nuzzle his face in and I told him to please shut up shuush and left the room. The screaming intensified when I left and Ryan asked me if he should go make a bottle. My response: “NO! He’s almost nine months old; he does not need food anymore during the night and hasn’t for a while. He needs to shut up and go to sleep! I can’t do this anymore…he’s fine. He needs to figure it out. Humans sleep at night and he will do it too.”

After 15 minutes of crying, it intensified and I decided to go reassure him. I gave him back his paci and swaddler he had thrown, gently rubbed his back and told him it’s time to go night night. I went back to bed and the crying continued.

This time I waited 30 minutes. Reminder, none of this was planned.

30 minutes later, he was still crying. I went in and did my reassuring thing and went back to bed. Still crying.

This time I waited an hour. In my head I thought, “He’s fine. He’s safe in his crib, he doesn’t need to eat every three hours at this age.” 45 minutes later, he was silent. He slept until 6AM.

The very next night, he slept from 7:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Same story the following night every night since barring one or two exceptions. I’m sure I’m jinxing myself by writing about this, but I’m excited and feel like I need to share this for any tired moms out there who are hesitant to “sleep train.”

I just want to say this: It doesn’t need to be a big complicated deal. You probably don’t need to read an entire book about it. You might just need to let him/her cry a little. And yes, it sucks. It’s like nails on a chalkboard and your heart aches and you feel like you need to rescue your little one. But what are you rescuing him/her from? You’re not! You’re enabling their poor sleeping habits (in my opinion). That’s what helped me realize that it’s ok if he cries a little in order for me to start getting some sleep. Sleep deprivation is a real form of torture and my tirednesss was making me a worse mom.

So, I sleep trained my baby by accident. I have no clue if this would work for any of your babies, but I thought it was a story worth sharing.

 

 

*photo credit: Hilary Blair Photography*

 

Fire Engine Red for Christmas

I remember being pregnant this time last year, which is when I discovered Pink Blush’s line of cute maternity clothes. I literally Googled “cute maternity clothes” and it popped up. I was in love with their fashion forward styles and they were all super affordable. Their dresses made me feel confident and beautiful for my maternity photo shoot and again at my baby shower.

Fast forward to nine months postpartum and I’m still loving Pink Blush! They have an entire line of non-maternity clothes that are perfect for moms. I still don’t have my pre mom abs back (working on it) so I felt like I hit the jackpot with this dress: It’s my favorite bright fire engine red, it has bell sleeves (my current obsession) and it just made me feel pretty and classy. It helps that my friend Hailey and I got our make-up done at the MAC counter, which by the way  is something we definitely should do more often. I linked all my outfit details below if you’re curious.

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Pink Blush Dress

Topshop Purse

Kendra Scott Necklace in Rose Gold

Steve Madden Heels obviously I also need these in glitter rose gold

Men’s Gift Guide, written by him

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I started compiling a “men’s gift guide” earlier this month and it occurred to me midway through that it might be helpful to get a man’s perspective. I trashed my gift guide and asked my husband to compile one. Full disclosure, my husband is by no means a fashionista. He’s an engineer and he’s kinda low maintenance, other than his difficulty finding a good jean (he’s 6’5”, slim waist). When I reviewed his picks, I was glad I did this because there are items on here I never would have included. If you’re like me and still haven’t finished the bulk of your shopping, hopefully this list helps you cross your guy off your list!

8 gifts under $80

Bluetooth headphones, $52

These are over the ear headphones designed for exercise; compatible with Android and iOS

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Phone Case with extra battery for iPhone 7, $50-80

This item is customizable (2 wallet alternatives or an extra battery)

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The Ridge Wallet, $65

Slim, sturdy, holds the essentials, replaceable elastic, and blocks RFID (wireless theft)Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 8.08.33 AM.png

 

Eddie Bauer Jeans (with flex fabric) $42

I love these because of the 2% elastane, which provides great flexibility in the fabric

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Leather Gloves (with finger touchscreen ability) $51-68

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Video Game for PS4 and Xbox One  $50-60

Voted Best FPS (first-person shooter) of 2016

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AAA Emergency Roadside Kit, $26

We could all be a little more prepared for a disaster right? haha

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Scotch, $79.99

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6 Red Lipsticks to Rock this Holiday Season

Guest post by my dear friend and talented make-up artist, Gina Marie Wheeler. You can read about her background in Voyage LA Magazine.

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Nothing says holiday makeup like a red lip moment. Everyone looks good with a red lip, which is why new and seasonal collections always include the timeless hue. There are a few common reasons why some people avoid the bold color and I’ve found that most of the time it’s just intimidation. I’m here to tell you, it’s all in your head. You can and should rock a red (especially during the holidays). MAC Cosmetics is my go-to brand when wanting extensive color options. The quality is superior to most and the price point is great. I’ve narrowed down the 300+ color options that MAC offers to 6 Lipsticks and 2 Lip Pencils. These colors can truly be worn by ALL.img_1561

PREP + PRIME LIPS

PRO TIP Before wearing any bold or pigmented color you need hydrated, soft lips. MAC makes this great lip primer that not only moisturizes, but eliminates feathering. Every lip product looks and wears better on top of Prep + Prime Lips.

Price: $17.50

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LIPSTICKS

LADY BUG LIPSTICK

“If you’re still feeling a little red lip shy, try Lady Bug, it’s sheer and effortless”

Yellow Tomato

Finish: Lustre/Semi Gloss

Price: $17.00
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DUBONNET LIPSTICK

“If you think of red wine as the perfect lip color, Dubonnet is your shade.”

Deepened Claret

Finish: Amplified/Cream Finish

Price $17.00

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DARE YOU LIPSTICK

“If you feel comfortable with red but still want to keep it natural, Dare You looks like a lip stain”

Deep Brown Red

Finish: Creamsheen/High Shine

Price: $17.00

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RUBY WOO LIPSTICK

“Ruby Woo is a cult classic; it’s been around for decades and is a true Pin-Up red, that makes every lip pop.”

Vivid blue red

Finish: Retro Matte/Very Matte

Price: $17.00

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STUDDED KISS LIPSTICK

“Punk rock lips have continued to stay on trend for the past few years, so if you like a dark lip or are ready to go a little vampy try Studded Kiss.”

Dark oxblood red

Finish: Matte

Price: $17.00

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CHATEAU M RETRO MATTE LIQUID LIPSTICK

“Liquid lipsticks are so popular, their pigment and stay power make them low maintenance and opaque perfection.”

Deep Red Wine

Finish: Retro Matte

Price: $21.00

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LIP LINERS

PRO TIP If you worry about feathering, or fading, get one of these amazing lip pencils. They are creamy and glide on nice and smooth but set and stay for 8 hours. Line your lips and fill in with your pencil prior to lipstick for ultimate wear and color. You can also wear this Pro formula liner alone.

DIVA PRO LONGWEAR LIP PENCIL

Intense Reddish Burgundy

Price: $21.00

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HE SAID, SHE SAID PRO LONGWEAR LIP PENCIL

Brick Red

Price: $21.00

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The key to the red lip is, let her be the star. Don’t think you need to balance that lip with a Smokey Eye… Red Lip look should include:

  1. Flawless Skin
  2. Groomed & Filled in Brow
  3. Bare Eye or Winged Liner
  4. Heavy Mascara or False Lash
  5. Light blush