Remember

Hi, friend!

Happy hump day! Hope your day is going well.

First off, just want to say THANK YOU for stopping by my blog today. I get so much joy out of sharing a little bit of my heart here and I’m grateful to have you follow along.

I wanted to share a bit about how I stay on top of keeping some of my favorite moments alive. My kids say and do some amazing things on the regular (ok I think they’re amazing) and one of my biggest fears is that I’ll forget these precious little things they do. I want to be able to look back and recall the nuances of their personalities, especially as they develop so quickly through these early years. I also want them to be able to have some good reading material for when they’re older… wink wink.

So what I started doing is keeping a memory journal right by my bed. So whenever something they do is especially funny or cute, I write it down. I also like to write little love notes to them pretty frequently so that they can read about all the things I appreciated and loved about them as they were growing up.

I think the key here is keeping my book out as a reminder to keep adding to it and keeping it convenient by always having a pen close by. I mean what a HUGE inconvenience to actually have to walk to the kitchen to get a pen. Aint nobody got time for that.

I love love love these notebooks from Rifle Paper Co.

But remember you don’t have to make it complicated. Just start somewhere.

We are the memory keepers for our family so having these little moments written down for future enjoyment is so important!

Hope you have a fun Wednesday!

Laura

The Mondays

Hi, Friends!

Happy Monday to you!

Let’s talk about this day, shall we? It comes with a lot of mixed reviews. Some people love Mondays because it’s a fresh start to the week and a return to your regularly scheduled programming after crazy weekend shenanigans.

Others hate Mondays because they can be blah and mundane. Going back to “work” after the fun of being off since Friday at 5:02 can be such a drag.

I get it.

I don’t know about you, but I happen to fall into the camp of loving Monday.

I haven’t always felt this way.

I remember years ago when I’d get this feeling… I call it the Sunday Night Sink. Monday Eve hits and the weight of the upcoming weeks starts to ease its way into my mind, distracting my from the blissful weekend.

Then I had an idea.

What if I planned something I could look forward to every Monday? Something I saved especially for this day to give it a bright shiny new appeal. Something to get rid of the sinking feeling for good.

Nowadays, Monday nights mean Bachelor viewing parties with sisters and friends while eating mexican food followed by coconut ice cream.

Take that, Monday blues.

Even when the Bachelor or Bachelorette isn’t on, we still get together and watch The Voice, Dancing With the Who the heck is that, or a movie on demand. We don’t really care what we do. We just hang out.

Your Monday might look totally different than mine. Maybe you could start treating yourself to your favorite Starbucks treat on the way to work every Monday morning. Or maybe Monday could become family pizza night.

Who says all the fun has to be reserved for the weekend? Spread the love and give Mondays a whole new meaning.

Now what to do about Tuesday…

Here are a few of my favorite things I found over the weekend!

Laura

Hello bag – Kohls $14.99 // Straw hat – J Crew Outlet $14.99 // Zip Up Sandals – Target $24.99

Also, the inside of the bag is blue and white stripes. I repeat:
THE INSIDE OF THE BAG IS BLUE AND WHITE STRIPES.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!

In today’s edition of Friday Favorites… this super cute scalloped edge swim suit!

$12.99 WHAT?!

We have a date night coming up tonight and I am THRILLED about it. We have a new goal of only going to places we haven’t eaten at before. This is a big deal for two people who have been eating at Maggiano’s consistently for the past 15 years. But we are branching out beyond the olive oil and Parmesan (bless it) to explore new eats in our city. Wish us luck.

Saturday morning it’s birthday party time for one of Reese’s friends. Then Saturday afternoon we are heading to the airport to pick up my mom and dad. They’ve been vacationing in England for almost three weeks. My mom is my besty so having her gone this long has been the worst. But I know she’s having a blast so that makes it all worth it. And eating at OK Cafe on the way home from the airport won’t be too bad either. #favplaceinalltheland #givemeallthesweettea

Here are a few of my favorite things right now!

1. Tan Wise: This tanning mousse is uhhhhh-mazing. Not kidding. It’s so great. You can get it from Sally’s or Amazon. I recommend the dark mousse for body and the gel for face. It gives a beautiful glow without making me feel orange. I’d recommend a tanning mit for application like this one on amazon.

2. Speaking of TAN… this bathing suit came in the mail and I love it! The quality is spot on. I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was my first time ordering something from China. I assumed I would probably end up with a scalloped oven mitt. Under $15 AND a great fit. Please and thank you. Just for sizing reference, I ordered a medium and in most suits I wear a small.

2. Hail Merry’s Macaroons: I have a sweet tooth. Ok. Not just one tooth. I think maybe all of my teeth are sweet. Dang it. So I’m always on the lookout for sweet snacks that won’t stack on the lb’s. These can be found at Fresh Market and Whole Foods and they are clean and YUM. You’re welcome. Oh, but don’t try to order them online because they’re way cheaper in stores.

3. Coconut Oil: It’s kind of crazy that the same stuff I took my makeup off with last night is what I used to saute my asparagus at lunch. But coconut oil has SO many amazing health benefits and uses. I fill a small glass container and keep it in my bathroom to remove my makeup at night time or before working out. Rub a generous amount all over your face and then use a warm washcloth to remove your foundation and eye makeup. I also add coconut oil to my favorite smoothie recipe. According to researchers, eating coconut oil helps reduce belly fat. So yeah gimme some more of that… the oil, not the belly fat. We get this kind from Coscto and it lasts us a long time even tho we use it for everything!

4. Nike Frees; I got new running shoes a few months ago and they have been the best purchase of 2016. Second only to the macaroons mentioned above #priorities. They are comfortable with or without socks and they move with my feet so well. Love. Them.

Hope your weekend is filled with lots of laughter, rest, and memory making.

Laura

Simple Tips for Drinking More Water, Eating Cleaner Foods, and Getting Your Workout On

I think most of us could say that we wish we were a wee bit more disciplined when it comes to the daily drudge of drinking, eating, and working out. Here are a few tips I’ve found to help keep me on track throughout the week!

Drinking More Water…

1. Drink as soon as you wake: As soon as I wake up and brush my teeth, I go ahead and drink two water bottles full of water. This comes out to be about 40 oz. Then as the day gets busy, as long as I can drink one more water bottle full before lunch, one before dinner, and one after bed, I’ve had at least 120 oz of water.

2. Drink from the same water bottle every day: I know it sounds crazy but if I don’t have my trusty water bottle with me, I just don’t drink enough. I love these you can get from target or order from amazon. They’re glass but also durable because kids.

3. Drink lemon or lime in your water: Some people hate the taste of water. I happen to love it but I also love the taste that citrus fruits add to my water drinking experience. So if you’re one of those people that rolls their eyes at the idea of having to drink more water, maybe this could help.

Eating Cleaner and Exercising More…

1. Incorporate Cheat Meals: I love food. Love. It. I also happen to love the typical southern diet of Chick fil a sweet tea and all the fried things. But not only do I dislike the way I feel when I eat a steady diet of this kind of food, I also don’t like the way my clothes fit… or don’t fit. So the way I’ve found to eat clean the majority of the time and enjoy the indulgences is thru a percentage system. I know it sounds funny but stick with me. If you’re eating 21 meals a week and 3 of those meals are “cheat meals”, then you’re still eating about 85% clean. That’s pretty dang good! It’s not all or nothing. Enjoy the foods you love but also try giving your body more of what it needs.

2. Define “Clean”: Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a ton of different answers to this question! Some people stay far far far away from dairy and carbs (I see you, paleo) and other people are all about greek yogurt and whole grains. But I think there are a few things we can all agree on. The unclean foods we want to avoid most of the time would be fried foods, white flour, sugar, and processed foods (anything out of a package). Trying to stick to as many raw fruits, vegetables, and meats on a daily basis will help to keep your body healthy and fit.

3. Exercising More: So many of us struggle on the regular to get into the gym. But nowadays there are so many at home workout options available that don’t take a ton of time but still offer great results. Even if you’re not ready to start a consistent workout routine, just start using dead time to get moving. I found some of my daily “dead time” is while I’m making dinner so I will just drop down and plank for 30 second intervals in between stirring. I also do the same thing while I’m giving the girls a bath at night. When we’re playing outside during the day, I’ll invite them to play “workout with mommy” and we will do jumping jacks, burpees, and sprints. They love it and it’s a great way to get my booty moving!

I have to constantly remind myself that big changes are the result of lots and lots of small changes. Do little things here and there and you’ll start to see a difference!

Happy Thursday!

Laura

House Updates

We are finally moved back into our house after a CRAZY renovation experience. Let’s just say that if you asked me if I’d recommend our contractor, I’d say (to quote Meghan Trainor) “My name is NO”.

But they’re finally out and we are enjoying being settled back into our little white house. I wanted to share a few before pictures of what the house looked like when we originally bought it in April, 2009 followed by the most current updates we’ve made this year.

The goal all along with the renovation has been to return this house to it’s probably never realized before glory. It’s technically a cape cod style but what I loved about it from the first time I laid eyes on it is that it has kind of a farmhouse feel. It also has some traditional elements so I suppose the best way to describe her would be an eclectic hybrid… or just confused. We’ll go with hybrid.

To get us started, just in case you’ve never seen the exterior of our “1980’s traditional cape cod farmhouse” stunner…

Our House  

Kitchen BEFORE
Kitchen AFTER
We used Benjamin Moore White Dove on the cabinets and went with a grey and white quartzite countertop. We changed the entire layout of the kitchen to make it more funtional. Moving the sink to the new bar gives me the ability to watch the girls outside thru the bay window while I’m making dinner. Love it. Most of the finishes in the kitchen are polished chrome. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to feel about this look but I LOVE. IT. Elegant without being stuffy.

Dreams do come true… in the form of big ol sinks and chrome faucets.

Sweet little bar area where the girls eat breakfast every morning.
We got rid of our microwave because we prefer the old fashioned way of heating our food. Seeing how this mini mantel came together just confirms that we made the right call. Sorry, convenience lovers!

The breakfast room before.

Breakfast room AFTER.
I prefer to call this the breakfast nook. Sounds so much cozier. Plus, the word “room” is far to generous for this tiny little space. It’s my favorite place to sit and talk with Matt in the morning before the girls get up. It’s also my current work area while my custom desk is being built in the den (stay tuned!). We added a new light fixture and furniture but that’s all it took to update this little space.

Dining Room BEFORE

Dining Room AFTER
New paint color, new flooring, farmhouse table, buffet complete with a Magnolia wreath because #joanna
We LOVE eating in this space. This Horchow chandelier was a splurge that I saved up for but it was worth every. penny. Love it so much!

Stairs BEFORE and AFTER
We had the old carpet ripped out and added stained stair treads to match the hardwoods.
I have some fun ideas of other visual interest to add to the stairs but that’s another naptime for another day.
My dad also built these awesome built ins with a bench and hooks. I’m always amazed at how we can take an idea of mine and turn it into a reality!

Den BEFORE

Den AFTER
My dad built these beautiful built ins around the existing fire place and I love the way they turned out. Now we have tons of storage underneath the built ins for DVD’s, games, Etc. 
Don’t mind the Bible verse sign I hadn’t hung yet when this picture was taken
OR the ironing board. Yeesh.

We went with this Jute rug from Target because not only do I love the look but it’s also super durable.

 That’s it for now! We still have lots of projects coming up that I can’t wait to share. That’s the beauty and curse of buying an old fixer upper. We have put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this house, but it’s been well worth it to see it slowly transform into OUR home.

Thanks for stopping by!

Laura