Friday Favorites: Summer Cocktails Perfect for the Weekend

Happy Friday, darlings!

It’s time for champagne, late nights, and fun in the sun. Kidding. It’s time for sippy cups and evenings in the pool and “New Baby Lasagna” night with our closest friends to welcome the newest babe to our little group.

I promise there was a time we were much cooler. Fridays meant coming home, getting ready for a date night, ordering a bottle of wine, staying out late, and having too much fun. Saturdays meant sleeping until 10, making Bloody Mary’s, going shopping, another date night, and Sunday Funday Brunch. Usually two or three times a month those weekends were spent in NYC, LA, or some other amazing city. Because we didn’t have kids and we were the bosses of ourselves.

Now we have four kids, they dictate our schedules (when did their schedules become more important than ours!?) and weekends look a lot different. But that certainly doesn’t mean we aren’t having fun. We just spend fewer weekends traveling and more time making our own creative cocktails at home pretending we are at a resort somewhere.

It’s pretty win-win.

When the darling people from Bruce Cost Ginger Ale reached out to see if I wanted to try a few decadent cocktails, I felt obligated to say yes. I mean, what kind of blogger would I be if I declined something like that?

All in the name of work, right?

Of course I wanted to try some delish cocktails, and Bruce Cost Ginger Ale did NOT disappoint. It’s weekend, darlings, and that means it’s time to take a screen shot, because you have a list to make to enjoy a few of my Friday Favorites…cocktail style.

Cold refreshing summer lemonade mojito.

Cold refreshing summer lemonade mojito in a glass on a grey concrete or stone background.

The Bruce Cost Ginger Ale Mojito

First, you’re going to need a few things:

  • 2 oz. of fine rum (pick your favorite, or try something decadent and new)
  • 4-5 oz. Bruce Cost Ginger Ale
  • 1 fresh lime (about 1.5 oz of lime juice)
  • Mint

You can’t make a mojito without some mint, but the muddling part is my husband’s least favorite. He loved learning this cocktail is made decorating your highball with a sprig of mint by standing it inside the cocktail. Fill your glass with ice, throw in your ingredients, give it a little mix, and garnish the side of your cocktail with slice of that lime. Voila – you have the perfect (muddle-free) mojito perfect for a day of fun in the sun.

Wild Hibiscus Cocktail - High Res

Wild Hibiscus Sharleen

Who doesn’t love a pretty pink drink for two? You’ll need the following:

  • 3 parts lemon-lime soda
  • 3 parts Bruce Cost Ginger Ale
  • ½ part wild hibiscus flower syrup
  • Bonus points if you can find wild hibiscus with which to garnish your glass

A tall glass is perfect for this pretty pink concoction, and you won’t even believe how simple this recipe is. It’s so simple even I can make it – and I can barely boil water! All you must do is fill your glass with water, add your ingredients, stir, and enjoy. You get brownie points if you have a fun straw to toss in. And if you have brownies, you also get brownies. That’s a win.

If you can’t spend the weekend basking in the sun on the North Shore of Oahu this weekend, you might as well make a drink that leaves you feeling as if you are!

*All photos and recipes are courtesy of Bruce Cost Ginger Ale

**Always drink responsibly. Do not drink and drive, do not binge drink, do not drink if you are pregnant, nursing, your doctor tells you not to, or you are not of legal drinking age, and do not forget to stay hydrated between cocktails!

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6 Simple Habits that Make Every Morning Better

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My magic number is 5.

5 people live with me whom I love more than anyone in the world.

5 is the number of minutes I always white lie about when I’m getting ready/on my way/being rushed.

5 is the number of times I have to repeat myself before anyone even attempts to half listen to me.

5 is the number of the month in which I became engaged to and married my love.

5 is the number of times prior to leaving the house in the morning I ask my husband why we even had kids in the first place.

5 am is the time I wake up.

5 is my magic number.

What can I say? I’m a morning person. I like to get up at 5 (30….45….) for about a million reasons. I’ve become such a morning person since having kids. I like the peace and quiet and the beauty of early morning. We have this amazing back deck that spans almost the entire length of our house, and it just so happens to face the sunrise. I love to sit out there and watch the sky change colors over the trees.

I like the quiet. I like the me time. I like that everyone else is still asleep and I feel like I’m getting some time to myself (something that’s so underrated when you’re a mom of four). I really just like starting my day on a calm and peaceful manner. I don’t like starting my day with the kids.

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Does that make me a bad mom?

You know what? I don’t even care.

My day sucks when the kids get up before me. This mama needs coffee, quiet, and peace or I’m less mom of the year and more “She could be on the 5 o’clock news,” and that’s not my style. There’s just nothing peaceful about rolling out of bed to four kids asking for breakfast (who the hell even eats within 2 seconds of waking up??), asking for glasses of water or milk, asking me to get something down for them to wear, and I seriously hate cold coffee.

My whole day is thrown completely off if I don’t get to start it on my terms, which is why I’m an advocate for setting the alarm and waking up before the littles. Trust me, waking up early is hard, but it’s totally worth it. I have 6 really, really, really simple life tips that help make mornings more productive – not including the early wake up – so you can really make the most of your day.

Set Up the Night Before

You know to choose what everyone is wearing and organize what you need for the following day prior to bed, right? Well, this goes a bit further. You’ve set out the kid’s school clothes, you’ve organized your handbag and chosen your own outfit, and now it’s time to sit down and relax. Kidding – now it’s time to set up what you need.

My husband is so sweet. He opens the Keurig, puts a K-cup in it, and even puts my coffee mug (upside down so no germs get in it) on the stand before we go to bed. In the morning when the alarm goes off and I jump in the shower, he even gets up and turns on the Keurig so it’s hot and ready for me to just push the button when I get out of the shower. It’s a really little thing, but it’s really nice not to have to stand around for a few minutes waiting on the coffee pot to warm up – and it’s extra nice to have everything you need already there.

Go to Bed Early

This isn’t easy for night owls, but going to bed no later than 10 pm is really the best. You’ll grow accustomed to it, I promise. I like it because it gives me a few hours after the kids go to bed to spend time with my husband in the evenings, but it also allows me to get 7 hours of sleep and still feel refreshed the following day.

You guys – it’s possible to live without dark circles under your eyes. I mean that. It’s a real thing, even for a mom of four. I promise.

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Prioritize Your Life

This isn’t a popular opinion, I’m sure, but we have to stop glorifying ‘busy,’ and start glorifying things like relaxed, and refreshed, and peaceful. I learned that from my kids, believe it or not. We are busy. We have four kids, activities, two careers, I run a business, we have a home, we travel, we have a busy social life – we are busy.

But when our kids started saying things like, ‘Why can’t we just stay home?’ to us on occasion in the past year, we realized ‘busy’ is not all it’s cracked up to be. You know what is? Spending time in our home enjoying it. We love our home – it’s our dream home, for crying out loud, and we were totally neglecting spending time at home. Our kids have learned to appreciate the simplest things in life more than anything, and it’s allowed us to prioritize what’s important to us, which is sleeping well, feeling good, and being productive. And guess what? It makes mornings and the subsequent day so much nicer when we are rested and well.

Clean Up

Some people can handle a little disarray. I cannot. But no one can deny it feels damn good to go to bed in a spotless house and wake up in the same spotless house each day. How much less stressed do we feel when we’re up and have nothing to clean, worry about, think about, organize, etc.? I promise you will wake up feeling good about life when your home is in order.

Find Your Jam

What do you look forward to most in the mornings? I’m extra productive in the mornings, so I’m go-go-go from the moment I wake up. But I’ve figured out my jam is getting out of the shower and sitting on my couch with my first cup of coffee in complete darkness with my First 5 App. I literally feel so relaxed and calm spending a little time with God in the morning.

And I love that quiet time. There was a time in my life when I rolled my eyes (secretly and without being disrespectful) at people who said they needed quiet time to reflect and meditate, but I was so wrong to judge.

You guys – it’s serious. It feels good to start the day that way. It’s impossible not to feel good when you have a productive, peaceful, happy start to the morning.

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Don’t Force It

Look, you need to get organized and wake up before the kids if you want to really start your day on a good note. But you also have to know your body. Sometimes you need more sleep. Sometimes you need that rest, and sometimes you need to do things a little off-schedule.

Don’t force yourself to have a good day when you know your body/mind/soul needs something else entirely. You know yourself, so listen to what your body is telling you. It’s okay to interrupt your routine sometimes, I promise.

What do you guys do to make sure your mornings are more productive and enjoyable? How do you get a head start on a beautiful day?

Summer Skincare: 3 Killer Masks Your Face Needs Right Now

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That’s how old I’ll be on my birthday in September only nine weeks from now.

I have no problem with 34. I look good, I feel good, I am good. But I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I have noticed major changes in my body/life/skin since my 33rd birthday almost a year ago. I thought it might happen at 30, but 33 was my magic number.

For years I did nothing but take basic care of my skin, and I’ve finally learned I have to get serious about my skin if I want to maintain a clear complexion and a healthy face. It’s important to me, and it should be important to you.

But ladies, listen; you’re not too late. I spent 33 years thinking I was fortunate I didn’t have to do much more than just wash my face with Clean & Clear (and under control! Ha Ha!) before it hit me that this routine wasn’t one that was benefitting me anymore. I may have been 33 when I realized just how important my skin really is, but I think I’m okay.

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With that in mind, I thought I might share a few of the simplest, most basic concepts with you regarding your own skin – as well as three of the seriously most amazing face masks I’ve ever tried (I have combination skin. It’s either bone dry or greasy enough to fry some chicken depending on the day). It’s not easy to care for skin like mine where it’s combo – yet dry and oily on different days.

I know you feel me, right?

Aging is no joke (I mean, I’m a 33-year-old brunette who had to go super blond because I’m 60% silver and there’s nothing like silver roots and dark hair, y’all). Whether you’re still going strong with your healthy young skin or noticing some changes in your own complexion, why not start taking better care of it yesterday? You only get one face, you know.

Wear Sunscreen

There’s no excuse not to wear it all over your body no matter where you are or what you’re doing, but you must put it on your face every day. It’s amazing when you can find some lotion and some makeup with SPF in it to keep your complexion pretty and young. Also, skin cancer sucks, so let’s not encourage that by skipping skin protection.

Wash Your Face

Don’t sleep in your makeup. It’s so disgusting, so dirty, and so filthy. I can’t even begin to tell you how bad it is to do this. Just wash your face every night. You owe it to your skin.

Wash Your Sheets

I’m going to assume you guys already wash your sheets every 2-3 days, and I’m just going to leave this here as a reminder.

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Wear a Hat

Bad hair day? Check. Hot? Check. Lazy? Check. Protect your skin? Check. Basically, hats are awesome, chic, and spectacular. Embrace them.

Hands Off

Don’t touch your face. Ever. Your hands are super gross. And don’t put your phone up to your face, either. Learn to embrace your vehicle’s Bluetooth or get some earbuds and use those. Your phone is probably the nastiest thing you touch, and you don’t want it on your face. Or your hands. Don’t touch your face, ladies.

Embrace Face Masks

I love my face masks! You can’t use them all the time, but you can alternate them, use them a few times a week, and get to know what works for your skin.

This Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask is everything after a long, hot day outside. It’s perfect following a beach vacation. It’s soothing, refreshing, and your skin instantly perks up. And it’s not even remotely messy.

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My Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal mask is spectacular. I use it on Sunday mornings before I get ready for church. My skin is brighter and my pore are practically gone when I wash this off in the shower. Charcoal masks are spectacular – but DO NOT think you can order one for $2 online from China and end up with healthy skin. Please invest in your face, ladies.

The Dr. Jart Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay is another favorite. It’s most helpful on days my skin is really oily, and I’d recommend it all day long.

One face, ladies; that’s all we get. Make it count!

Do you have any mask recommendations or other tips you utilize to keep your skin so fresh and gorgeous? I’d love to hear them!

Avocado Mango Salsa & Chicken Recipe: Under 5 Minutes and So Healthy

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I am not a chef. I can’t even cook. Seriously, last night I actually wreaked havoc in the kitchen when I stuck a pre-made Publix rotisserie chicken into the oven to warm up still inside its plastic container. I didn’t even know you couldn’t do that.

In hindsight, yes, I do realize plastic and ovens aren’t a good mixture. In the moment, though, I was not so fully aware. Anyway, dinner was still good, our ovens are not ruined, and the chicken was fine. Thank goodness, because I desperately needed something healthy and delicious after spending a long weekend in North Carolina with my family.

It was airport restaurant food, the most amazing fritters that ever did exist, and it was too much Starbucks for five straight days – and my father-in-law’s amazing cooking. And I needed something green and good for me. I can drink bloody mary’s and eat pineapple fritters all day long, but my body eventually tells me it hates me and needs me to feed it properly. I’m a creature of healthy-eating habit.

But about last night.

I insta-storied a pic of our dinner. It was our daughter’s 9th birthday. She wanted to go bowling last night and have a family night. We picked her up from tumbling camp and took her and the other three to the bowling alley, where they wanted greasy chicken, fries, pretzels, and snacks. Our bodies couldn’t handle it – so we came home and had cake, bathed the kids, put them to bed, and then made a healthy dinner.

And that’s when I added a photo of me cooking to insta-stories, and my DM box filled up faster than you can say, “Dinner,” and I don’t blame anyone. I made our favorite quick, easy, healthy recipe – and it’s just as delish as it is aesthetically appealing.

And here we go.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 mango (I hate cutting mango, so I buy the fresh-cut mango in the Publix Produce section)
  • 1 or 2 handfuls of cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • Half a jalapeno pepper
  • Chicken (I usually bake boneless, skinless chicken breast, but lack of time sometimes calls for a pre-made rotisserie chicken and it’s just as good)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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The thing about this meal is it literally takes 4 seconds to make. Cut your avocado, mango – if you don’t buy the fresh cut mango – jalapeno, and cilantro and put it in a bowl. Next, cut your lime in half and juice both halves right over your mixture in the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, mix it all up, and put it in the fridge until your chicken is ready.

Put it over the chicken.

Eat.

Love.

Repeat.

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That’s seriously it – and you will not find more flavor in any dish. Nor will you find something as perfectly refreshing when you need a light lunch, a simple dinner, or even a side dish to put over your favorite white fish or inside a chicken taco.

I love tacos.

I hope you enjoy!

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Travel Tips to Make Packing and Flying Easier With or Without Kids

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Happy Wednesday, darlings!

I’m currently sitting poolside in Hawaii sipping cocktails with my love as we enjoy the sound of the ocean and one another’s company.

Kidding.

I’m currently running around like a madwoman trying to get my house ready for our house-sitters, the last details of our vacation handled, picking up snacks for the kids for our flight, checking into our flights, hoping the scale at the airline ticketing counter is broken…

I’m in vacay mode at the moment. And by vacay mode, I mean we leave today and there are still a million and one things to do, because prepping for vacation does require a vacation. Right?

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That said, I have a few moments (and I made a promise) to share some of my must-dos, haves, and tips for packing for a family of six – or any family or person or cat or whatever, really. I had a lot of questions the other day on my Insta-stories from you guys asking if I have any tips for packing for so many people.

Yes. Don’t.

Kidding. Kind of.

The other question I was asked more than a few times was how I pack for so many people and keep our luggage under-weight.

I don’t.

Not kidding.

I’m a chronic over-packer, and I have no shame in my game, my friends. But I do have a few tips that might help you get packed, organized, and make the most of your time before you leave and when you come home.

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  1. Leave a perfect house: Truth be told, I can’t handle mess at all. I can’t do it. I can’t leave my house to run the kids to school in the morning if my coffee cup is sitting in the sink. I can’t leave my house with anything messy, out of place, unorganized. Before we leave on vacation, I wash all the sheets and remake the beds so we come home to fresh beds, we wash all the laundry so we come home to nothing but vacation laundry, and we stock the fridge so we aren’t worried about shopping. Our house sitters know I need to see absolute perfection when we get home, and they’re SUPER great about making sure everything is perfect. It takes some serious stress off of traveling knowing you get to come home after a trip to a perfect house.
  2. Pack trash bags: I do this, because the little bags hotels leave in closets are not big enough for dirty laundry, and I can’t handle dirty laundry touching clean laundry. This also helps you find a barrier between shoes and clean clothes. Because, ew.
  3. Make use of all space: The best thing I can tell you is to make use of all your luggage space. I like to stick my swimsuits inside my hats and stick my hats on the bottom of luggage. One, it keeps them from becoming deformed while we travel – because you know it’s next to impossible to get a hat back to its original shape once it’s been flattened – and to use that space. I also stick all the kid’s socks and stuff inside their shoes to make more space.

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  1. Buy what you need when you get there: I don’t pack non-essentials. I’m picky about my hair products and bath products at home, but I’m fine using the hotel stuff or picking up diapers and wipes and things when we arrive to avoid packing so much stuff. I never pack swim diapers or sunscreen – that’s what Walgreens and Target are for, right?
  2. Mix and match: I am an over-packer, but I’ve learned that I can pack just a few swim tops and bottoms for all of us and we can mix and match. If we have a four-day trip, I pack two tops and two bottoms that all go together, and I remix them during the trip so I have four suits. Less packing, more style, easy.
  3. Skip the separates: With the exception of my husband and my son, you won’t find any separates in our luggage. It’s all dresses all the time. We just don’t even bother with anything else. Vacay is all about dresses, and it really narrows down what we pack.

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***My absolute favorite tip ever for travel – pack sample items. If you order from Sephora regularly, you know you get three free samples with your purchase. I always choose lotions, hair product, and perfume samples. I throw them in a drawer in my bathroom and go through them when we travel so I have little items that don’t take up much space and that can be thrown away when I run out. It’s less packing and unpacking – and it uses none of my baggage weight allowance!***

If there is anything I highly recommend when you travel, it’s dry shampoo. Always buy good dry shampoo (my favorite is DryBar, linked here at Sephora) because who wants to bother with shampoo on vacation?

I also pack each of the kids their own backpack to use as a carry on through the airport, and I put new coloring books, crayons, little activities, toys, their tablets, and fun snacks in them for the kids. This way they have something to keep them entertained on our flight they’ve never seen before, so it’s all new and exciting for them. You have no idea what a bag of M&Ms can do for my twins – who pretty rarely get any junk food to eat!

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If you don’t use apps for airlines, use apps. Check your luggage. It’s so much easier to make it through the airport when I can use my watch or phone for boarding passes, and when we don’t have to carry so much stuff. We also always check the kid’s car seats so we don’t have to rent them with a rental car (here’s a fun tip – car seats always fly free with airlines, and you get a fun bag to put them in to keep them from becoming dirty and disgusting).

Keeping My Travel Style Simple Chic in the Airport

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Few things stress me out more than figuring out what to wear to the airport.

First world problems, I know.

Listen, I’m certainly not complaining about the traveling we get to do or minimizing any actual, real, valid life problems – I’m merely stating a simple fact. I have serious issues figuring out what to wear to the airport.

I have too much dignity to go anywhere in my pajamas.

Pants dictating the temperate across my rear-end aren’t my jam (hottie).

Leggings make me feel like a mom, so those are out. (Yes, I know. I am a mom. Geez.)

Will I be hot? Will I be cold?

I’d love to wear a dress and keep it simple, but we all know passengers would see more of VS underpants than my actual face if I did that. So – no.

It’s always about comfort, functionality, and style for me. And jeans. Because so far this year I’ve spilled my Starbucks down my leg on two flights and avoided serious burns only because of my jeans. I thank the jean Gods for that one. Anyway; airport style varies, and you should really dress for you. When we fly and the kids aren’t with us, it’s easier for me to dress. When they are with us, I find myself gravitating toward darker colors so they can’t make a (noticeable) mess of me if they spill something.

Says she who spills her coffee every single time.

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Not Your Mama’s Jeans

I’m a dark wash girl all the way, and I looooove a good pair of quality jeans. 7 For All Mankind is my favorite, but I do love some Rag & Bone. These are my favorite skinny jeans, but I also like these boyfriend jeans, too. They’re comfortable, they wear well, and they are super flattering on all body types.

Not-So-Basic Tees and A Sweater/Blazer

On top, I like a basic tee. Layers are helpful, so I like to bring either a sweater or blazer with me. Blazers are for the times the kids aren’t with us, and sweaters are for when they are with us. Why? I don’t know, really, but sweaters just say “Good mom” and blazers kind of say “Bad-ass” to me. Since “good mom” and badass kind of go hand-in-hand, the sweater says it all when the kids are in tow.

Try this sweater, this blazer, and this one.

I like my tees longer in the back and tucked in up front. I never wear a belt when I travel, even though I miss the opportunity. I already have too much stuff with me to want to spend additional time disrobing at security, to be honest. Nordstrom always has my favorite basic tees, and I’m linking this one, this one, and this one for you, too. They’re fab. And each one is a little bit more than basic. It’s comfort on a brand-new level.

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Shoes For Comfort and Style  

Flats, friends. I once navigated the LaGuardia a 5 am in a pair of 4-inch Manolos sicker than you even want to know after having entirely too much wine at the Plaza the night before, and I regretted every moment of that day. Hashtag true story. Hashtag lesson learned.

I’m a big fan of my Reva flats – but now you’ll need to go with the Minnie ballet flat – and my espadrilles. I don’t love sandals or flip-flops in the airport, though. My toes are always cold – and in case you didn’t know, I always spill my coffee. Feet safety first, y’all. But really, choosing the right shoes that are both comfortable and a little unexpected can really make a boring outfit a little more exciting.

PS – My Tory Burch espadrilles (pictured above) are on sale right now for only $79!

Accessories, Accessories, Accessories

Wear the belt, girlfriend – I won’t, but I should. Earrings, hats, great shoes, great sunglasses, great handbags; it’s all you need. When you have the right accessories, you’re going to love how you feel even when you’re in a basic white tee and some skinny jeans. Personally, I think a bigger bag is perfect in the airport for all your little extras, but I’ve seen women in their smallest crossbodies rocking them like it’s their job. It just depends on what you prefer.

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So, now you know that I’m all about simplicity and ease when I travel. I need to be comfortable and not worry about how many people might see my lady bits, but I need to feel confident in what I wear, too. It’s helpful when the kids are with me and I need to bend over to pick things up, get 396 things out of the overhead bin, and I spill my coffee all over myself they make a mess and I’m their victim. What’s your favorite go-to travel item?

Three Great Sales You Don’t Want to Miss Before They End

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I’m in serious get sh*t done mode over here. It’s Monday, and I killed 23 articles, 10,200 words, a half-hour intense cardio workout at the gym with my handsome husband during lunch – and I spent 30 minutes sitting on the deck in my bikini working on a tan.

Any color. Some color. Like, even a little bit of color on my Norwegian paste.

With a laptop tan line. Because – let’s face it – I don’t have the actual time to lay out and work on my tan with all my deadlines and clients. So I have a laptop tan line. Pretend you don’t notice, okay?

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Anyway, we board a flight to North Carolina next week for some family fun along the Outer Banks with the littles, and we can’t wait. But that means there is so much to do before I can even think about packing and getting ready for that.

So.

Much.

To.

Do.

But, I’m a nice person and I wanted to share with you a few sales you have to hit up before they end. You’re welcome, and you’re welcome.

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Tory Burch Semi-Annual Sale

You guys – shop NOW.

Right now.

This sale ends tonight. TONIGHT. It’s a great sale, too, because you get to shop styles already one sale (hey hey!) and take an additional 30% off sale styles when you enter code EXTRA30 during the checkout process. Who can resist some TB? No one.

Bloomingdales The Deal and Steals Event

I love Bloomingdales, and you guys don’t want to miss this sale. It ends tomorrow, so you want to shop now. There are some exclusions, but you can shop the sale and take an additional 25% off items included in the sale for a much more exciting price. After all, full price is way less exciting than 25% off. This is an online only sale, so you get the added bonus of shopping, sipping, and skipping the whole pants thing. Hashtag win.

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Pottery Barn Kids Super Sale

I don’t actually know when this one ends – it’s been extended (as always) so it could end tomorrow or today or whatever. Either way, now is the time to hit up PBK for your kid’s back to school backpacks and lunch boxes, or all the adorable stuff you need for your new baby’s nursery. I always order my kids’ B2S stuff during the sale – the savings are unbeatable! It’s 20% off everything – full price and sale items!

I’m done with my orders (for now!) and trying to wind down my day so I can pick up the twins from school and come home to grab the girls and my husband when he signs out for the day so we can go bowling with the littles.

Happy Shopping, Friends!

Friday Favorites: 4 Easy Ways to Make A Statement When You Have No Time

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Sometimes you just want to make a statement. Sometimes that statement is a big one. Sometimes it’s a small one, and sometimes it’s just the icing on the cake.

I love cake.

When it comes to style, we all make our own personal statement. Mine is borderline lazy. I need to feel put-together and well-dressed, but I don’t have much time most days. With a business to run, a husband to make out with, and four very cute kids, sometimes I have about half a second to make myself look as good as the kids (whom I spent an hour dressing meticulously…except for Ava. Ava dresses Ava. Please give Ava credit for Ava…I don’t want any of that!).

The secret is simple – own all the Lilly Pulitzer because it’s fun and pretty and feminine and because it takes a half second to throw on a dress and cute shoes. But when I don’t have the kids with me, it’s more of a game on kind of situation. I still like simple. I like monochromatic looks with a pop of color. I like simple ensembles with great accessories. I’m a classic kind of girl, but I love to make a statement.

It’s not always easy to figure that out, but sometimes you can make a big statement and a massive style impact with one item that’s so simple it’s underrated. Trust me – with no time and a great deal of vanity, I know a thing or two about making a statement. That’s why today’s Friday Favorites are all about the simplest ways to make one.

Statement Jewelry

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A long strand of pearls knotted at the bottom is one of my favorite ways to make a statement. It’s classic, but it’s also fun and fearless. Since I don’t typically wear much in the way of jewelry, it’s big for me to wear a statement piece. My jewelry all has meaning to me, and I keep it very simple.

You’ll know I’m making a statement when you see me in my pearls or when you see me in big, colorful earrings. The secret with the earrings is I like to keep them cheap. I don’t care if they break, I don’t care if they’re trendy and I never wear them more than once, and I don’t care if they get all kinds of messed up in the ocean or in the pool – but they do make such a fun statement when the rest of my look is simple.

I love Bealls Outlet, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Target for statement jewelry. Let’s face it, the cheaper the better when it comes to things I won’t wear often!

Statement Shoes

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Again, I’m a sucker for a classic nude pump, but sometimes I like to make a statement. Anytime I have no time or I don’t feel good in anything (you know that week every month, ladies), I gravitate toward black. Black skinny jeans, a black sweater or tunic, a black top with a black blazer. All black.

But I like to mix it up with these gorgeous sometimes red, sometimes fuchsia, sometimes pink and gold heels I found at Bergdorf’s two or three years ago. They are the one pair of shoes I receive the most compliments on, and I love them.

I love these with all black, and sometimes I love to really make them pop by adding a scarf to the mix. My mother-in-law saw the scarf in the photo a few years ago and decided it was perfect for me – and she was right. It was made for these shoes with the same colors, and pairing them together makes everything stand out.

If you can make a statement, do it by choosing one color on the top and bottom and adding bold accessories. Bright shoes are great. Bright shoes and a secondary bright accessory are everything.

My Manolos in the photo are old, but I am in love with these, these, and these.

Statement Lips

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If you know me at all, you know I go nowhere without a bold lip. Statement lips are my serious go-to, and how much easier does it get than throwing on a shade of red or pink or whatever color you prefer? I get so many compliments on my lipstick I’ve had to give out the designer and the color names so many times I can virtually recite the URL to each page on Nordstrom’s site.

People love a bold lip, but I think most people are a little intimidated by it. They want to try it, but they can’t get past the concept that a bold pink or bright red has no place on a Tuesday morning dropping the kids off at school. I beg to differ. A bold lip is everything.

Confidence

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Ladies, listen; you can make the biggest statement of all by just being comfortable in your own skin. At the risk of being just a little TMI-ish right now, here I go. When my monthly visitor (to whom I am so appreciative of because the Good Lord knows a fifth baby or another set of twins would actually kill me) is in town, I’m a mess.

I’m emotional. My feelings are easily hurt (read: I’m a big bitch) and I swear I gain 48 pounds of bloat (48, 3, whatever). I feel unattractive, I have zero confidence, and I’m not my best version of my best self). I can put on my favorite outfit anytime this week and feel horrible in it, receive zero compliments, and feel gross.

I can put it on three days after my visitor is gone for another month and hear a half-dozen compliments in one night – and I swear it’s my confidence. I suddenly feel much prettier, much happier, and much more like myself. Maybe it’s because I’m actually smiling and happy and appear to others as a normal human versus an angry dinosaur with an attitude…I don’t know.

All I know is you have to have confidence. If you don’t feel 100% perfect in something, take it off. You’re never going to pull it off without the confidence to rock it. I don’t care how trendy, fashionable, or overly-worn by every single supermodel, celebrity, or Instagram fashion blogger it is. You don’t feel good in it, no one thinks you look good in it.

And that’s all I’ve got for you on this gorgeous Friday. I’m off to get my 95 percent silver hair done, and then it’s a fun-filled weekend with my little (huge) family – and I can’t wait! What are your weekend plans, and what’s your favorite statement piece?

Three Insanely Motivational Podcasts that Will Change Your Life

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I have this serious thing with sarcasm, wit, and intelligence. A good mixture of all three really brings me such joy and entertainment, and I find it applies to every aspect of my life. I don’t particularly care to spend time with people who don’t appreciate all three – not that there’s anything wrong with people who don’t care for the same things as I. If you’re a little sarcastic, very witty, and you’re smart – you’re my people.

And that applies to everything, especially when it comes to my self-development. This year has really been a year of self-development and growth for me. I’m taking the business I’ve grown over the past 9 years and expanding it into territories that make me nervous (my personal blog and openness with the world, for instance), growing my client base even though I don’t have the time for that, and really taking things even bigger and better than they are; at least, that’s the plan.

One thing I made the decision to do this year is focus on personal development. It occurred to me that all the little people in my house are all growing, and growing with them is something I really wanted to try. More focused time with the kids. More personal time with my husband. More free time to make spontaneous decisions. More deliberate choices so we aren’t missing out on the things we really want to do with our lives.

Personal growth – for me – has certainly meant spending more time with God, saying extra prayers, and really putting a focus on myself. What don’t I like about me? What can I change about myself to grow and set a better example for my kids? If I were to meet me tomorrow, what would I think of myself? Overall, I like me – I mean, shouldn’t we all like ourselves? But there are a few minor tweaks I’d like to make, and I’ve been working on those this year.

That said, I’ve found spending time with me each day has been imperative to that change. I can’t do it alone – and things like yoga, quiet time, and listening to some serious killer (hashtag) bossbabes and women I really find inspirational, powerful, and kick-ass have all been so good to me this year.

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I’ve finally learned about the Podcast. It’s nothing new – but it’s new to me. I’ve been listening for a few months to a few podcasts, and I’m loving them. Listen, I get to laugh, learn, and listen, and I always leave a podcast with a new sense of inspiration, motivation, and purpose – and I love that.

Also, it helps to throw in my earbuds in the car to drown out the endless, insufferable, torturous sounds of Anna and Elsa and Olaf and Kristoff, and that irritating little bastard Prince Hans. I mean, the movie is spectacularly adorable, but listening to it play on a loop in my car for the past 700 years will be the death of me.

If you are dying for something new and witty and sarcastic and straight intelligent to listen to in order to drown out the sounds of torturous children’s movies grow personally, let me recommend my favorite podcasts. You won’t find better.

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Becoming Fearless Podcast – Style Collective by Annie Spano

This is my favorite to date. Annie is so open, so much like me in terms of her Type-A, plan it out, think it through, and work hard to make it happen kind of personality. She interviews some of the most inspirational and amazing women imaginable. They’re from all walks of life, with different backgrounds, and different educational paths, thoughts, and insights – and they’re all total badasses. You can’t help but listen and leave inspired.

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Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast – by Lauryn Evarts Bosstick

Lauryn is so unapologetically herself. She wants what she wants, and she’s not afraid to get it. She’s fab, and I love her podcast. She and her husband talk to guests, they talk to one another, and they have so much insight into the world of business and motivation, and their repartee is always entertaining. There is always something to take away from every podcast episode – but it’s not always what you assume you’ll take away.

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She Did it Her Way – by Amanda Boleyn 

This is such a good podcast for anyone who is looking for inspiration and motivation. Each of the guests is able to provide a unique outlook on the world of entrepreneurship and business, and the lessons you take from each episode are so unique, yet they apply to every aspect of your own life. How can you even beat that?

What are you listening to, reading, or using to develop your own personal growth and mindset this year? I’d love to hear some recommendations!

In Need of Last Minute Fourth of July Inspiration? Here Are My Fourth of July Favorites

Happy Birthday, America!

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sitting here work, work, working away the day before the Fourth of July, and I have no complaints. The big girls are at a sleepover, the babies are at school, and I’m using this day as a chance to catch up, to work a little bit ahead in anticipation of our upcoming vacation, and to get organized. I needed this day!

It was such a fun weekend! To recap just a little, we spent Friday night low-key and casual at home. We had plans every night last week that kept us out late and meant late bedtimes for everyone, and we were mentally and physically drained.

Saturday was busy. We loaded the kids in my SUV and headed to Tampa for the morning. Some of our very best friends host an amazing Fourth of July party every year – I mean, guys, you should just understand they grace us with a PRO fireworks display without the hassle of joining thousands of people and crowds and parking problems, etc…it’s amazing – and I like the fam to match. Unfortunately, the dress I bought myself was the wrong size and I needed to head to Lilly Pulitzer to get the correct size, so it was a shopping day.

Saturday evening was so much fun. Our friends put on the best show. I literally cannot even express to you the amazingness of their show. The kids had a blast – and they wore us out. Twins are no joke, you guys. We did nothing all night but watch them in the pool, playing outside, and running after them as they used their energy and sapped ours completely!

Sunday was a day of rest and relaxation. We took the big girls to see Despicable Me 3 – which was beyond adorable. They’ve been so excited for so long. Of course, we’ve been excited about it, too. We really enjoy the franchise…I won’t even pretend we don’t.

Tomorrow we’re doing the low-key pool day thing with my in-laws. My father-in-law is in town for the week, and we’re headed to spend the day with his side of the fam so the kids can spend a little time with their grandfather – which they are SO excited about – but not before we have to run back to Tampa so I can take my favorite bracelet to Tiffany’s to have the clasp repaired. My wrist feels empty without it.

Today, though…it’s all about catch up, work ahead, get it together. I have a few new clients and contracts to deal with, and I need to get my calendar organized like you don’t even know.

In honor of tomorrow’s Independence Day, I wanted to share a few last minute Fourth of July ideas with you. I know some of you are still figuring out what to wear, what to make for your friends or parties, or even what to drink – so I’m sharing a few of my Fourth Favorites for your last-minute shopping list.

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Last Minute Fourth of July Outfits

I fell instantly in love with the Star Struck print by Lilly Pulitzer and knew immediately it would be our Fourth of July print. I bought the girls these shorts and myself this dress for the Fourth and everyone loved it (my dress runs TTS and I’m wearing an XS. The girl’s shorts all run a little big, but they have pull tabs inside I was able to use to make them smaller)! My husband and our son sported Patriotic Under Armour I picked up at our local Dillards.

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Fourth of July Cocktail Recipes 

You can make this with or without the alcohol depending on your preferences, but I thought this was the most fun drink when I was looking up something light and fun to drink. I’m a sucker for a good sangria, and how much fun is this recipe I found online?

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Fourth of July Decor 

We don’t host a Fourth party in our house – we are Halloween party and Christmas party people over here. But, I did order these fun napkins from Crate and Barrel just because they are so adorable. And, really, I’m in love with anything they offer me.

I’m super excited about the Fourth and a laid back day of fun in the sun with the family! What are your plans for the Fourth?