Instagram Roundup: What I’m Wearing Lately

What. A. Month.

Busy is a gross understatement in our home these days, but hopefully things are calming down a bit in the coming weeks. This time of year is always such a crazy time for us with kids and their activities, and three of our littles have birthdays two days apart in March. And that’s just the beginning…and a little bit of my excuse for being so MIA these days.

I haven’t done an IG roundup lately, so here we go!

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{ Manolos | 7FAM Jeans |Black Tee | Slate & Willow Jacket is sold out so similar here, here, and here | similar YSL glasses | BaubleBar Earrings sold out similar here}

I wore this casual date night look a few weekends ago to an Orlando Magic game. Our best friends had a presidential suite, 12 VIP tickets, and a party bus with a driver to take us to the game and enjoy the night in total VIP style – and it was the most fun night imaginable!

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{ Tory Burch flats | 7FAM Jeans | Black Top sold out similar here | Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM |YSL glasses similar here }

Travel uniform. This is basically what I wear anytime we get on a plane. My favorite jeans – I told y’all I bought like four identical pair of these amazing jeans – comfortable flats, and black all day. This was the perfect travel ensemble to depart sunny Florida and land in frigid NYC a few weeks ago when we took our big girls for a weekend in the city doing all our favorite things.

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{ Similar dresses here, here, and here | Raybans }

This dress. This dress cost me all of $30 years ago when Lilly Pulitzer and Target introduced their collaboration. Everything was sold out while we were running errands that day except this little number. It’s one of my favorite dresses, and it’s not available. I had so many questions about this dress – and I did my best to find you some that are kind of similar!

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{ Faux Leather Leggings | Manolos | Tunic | Blazer |YSL similar here }

My other uniform. I hate pants, but I can get into the faux leather leggings all day everyday situation. Add this Lush tunic from Nordstrom I own in every single color ever, these suede Manolos, and oversize black glasses and I’m done.

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{Caslon pink tunic sold out similar here and here | 7FAM Jeans | Tory Burch Espadrilles sold out similar here and here | RayBans }

Sometimes I just want to have a little fun with what I wear, and color is all that and more for me. I’m a little bit obsessed with mixing bright pink with this pop of blue in my glasses lately, and it’s been something so many people have asked about!

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Happy Birthday, Babes: Answers to the 10 Most Commonly Asked Questions We Get About the Twins

Four years ago today we welcomed our last babies into our world. Our twins, Carter and Charlotte, were born. I was 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant when they made our debut at 3 lbs. and 5 lbs. They spent a week in the NICU, and we spent a week living at the hospital – unofficially in the room we were discharged from after two days thanks to the amazing nurses who offered it to us – and our lives changed.

Now they’re four.

Four.

I don’t even know where the time went. They are the sweetest babies. They have their moments, but we have been so fortunate with our sweet babes. They’ve always been excellent 12-hour nighttime sleepers. They’ve always been easy babies, well-behaved babies, and they don’t give us too much trouble. We are fortunate, and we appreciate every moment of their sweetness.

And in honor of their fourth birthday, I’m answering a few of the most common questions we receive about being twin parents and about twins. These aren’t Instagram-sent questions. These are walking through Publix with the twins and hearing questions from complete strangers we’ve never met in our lives. All. The. Time.

  1. They’re twins? But he’s taller than her! They don’t look that much alike!

Yes. This is true. Carter is taller than Charlotte. He’s also five pounds heavier, and he’s got a penis. It’s called fraternal. And yes, I’m sure they’re not identical. And yes, it’s possible to have twins who don’t look alike.

  1. Did you plan on having twins?

Absolutely not. Had I known I hyper ovulate, there’s a good chance we might have stopped before we had more than one at a time.

  1. Are they natural?

They’re not unnatural. I assume this is the “nice” way strangers ask us if we went through fertility treatments to conceive. To be frank, it’s a bit rude – and none of anyone else’s business. We all know where babies come from, so there’s that. But no, we conceived our babies very naturally. Did you want that visual?

  1. Did you just want to die when you found out you were having twins? I’d kill myself if I found out I was having twins and I already had two kids at home!

I’m here, aren’t I? So, no; I did not die. One baby is a beautiful blessing. Two is an amazing blessing. It might be shocking to find out there’s more than one baby in there, but it’s not suicide-worthy.

  1. Better you than me, right? Ha ha ha!

Yes, yes, and yes.

  1. Did your lives totally end when you had twins?

Nope. We lead a very fulfilling, beautiful life to be honest. It’s just a little louder, a little busier, and there’s a lot more hugs and kisses to go around, and we have a lot more laughter in our house. And we never worry about sitting by strangers on planes. We get the entire row to ourselves, and that’s a total win.

  1. How do you sleep?

Lying down cuddled up as close as I can get to my husband in my very comfortable bed. We are very schedule-oriented, so our kids have always been great sleepers. We’re not sleep-deprived. Even with newborns in the house, we weren’t. We’ve been very fortunate.

  1. Can you tell them apart?

I can’t get their names straight, but we’ve numbered them – so it works.

Really?! Yes, this is a serious – and frequently asked – question. They’re not identical. They’re not even the same gender. They don’t even have the same body parts. And besides, Charlotte has long hair and Carter doesn’t so it’s totally easy to tell them apart.

  1. Do they have the same personality?

No. They do not. Carter should have been named Joy. This boy is nothing but pure joy all the time. He’s always got the biggest, sweetest, most genuine smile on his face. He’s always got a hug to share, big kisses, and a massive smile on his face. Charlotte is a bit more reserved, and she has to love you a LOT before she’s going to kiss you or even share a smile with you. She also owns Carter and the big girls. Anything she wants, she looks at them and they make it happen. She’s a leader, and Carter is just along for the ride.

  1. Do you just love having twins?

More than anything! We were shocked, we thought it was a joke, and we weren’t sure how we’d manage two babies at one time with two bigger girls at home when we found out baby number three was baby three and four. But God’s plan is always greater than our own plans. He knows. He brings you what you need in your life and He knew we needed these babies in our lives even when we didn’t know it. He knew. And He was right. Our hearts are FULL.

We get to have the privilege of living in a household that is always filled with laughter – occasional bickering – and we are never without a little person with so much love for us that they can’t contain it. Our lives are full, and there is nothing quite like getting to watch these babies grow up together. We have so much goodness in our lives right now, and one day we will find our home filled to overflowing when our four babies and their spouses and their own babies come over for dinner, birthdays, and holidays. It’s going to be loud, crazy, and overflowing – and it’s everything we want in life.

Happy Birthday, sweet babes. You are loved.

Makeup Primer: Worth it Or Skip it?

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Happy Monday, loves!

This week makes me a little nostalgic every year. It’s the week three of our four babies have birthdays. Miss Ava turns 7 on St. Patrick’s Day, and our sweet, sweet babies turn 4 on the 15th. We’ve never had a “youngest” child turn 4 before. Our babies are all three years apart – except, obviously, for the twins – and the fact that they are our youngest and turning four this week is just heartbreaking. Time, slow down!

Also, just a quick note to point out I dislike daylight savings time. I like the shorter days, the darker evenings, and the lighter mornings. I recognize I’m the minority, but I really dislike this time of year when it’s daylight all the time. It just feels hotter and less like my favorite time of year.

But on a much happier note, I posted an Instagram story a few weeks ago with my new primer, and I had so many questions and comments about it. Not only did people want to know if I loved it, but so many women wanted to know why use primer, is it worth it, and what’s the point.

Primer – Can’t live without.

Primer is simple. It’s a base for your foundation. It goes on before your makeup, and it helps your makeup spread evenly (and it helps it stay put a lot longer than it does without). I’m very particular about my primer due to the fact I have pores the size of Texas.

I love primer, I always recommend it to anyone who asks what the one thing is I can’t live without (I can’t live with more than one thing, to be very honest), and I have four favorites I alternate between for different reasons – and they all make my pores look non-existent.

  1. Origins Original Skin Pore-Perfecting Cooling Primer

This is my newest primer, and it’s amazing. It’s spectacular when it goes on not only because it’s so light, but because it’s so cold and refreshing. I love this one when I’m doing my makeup early in the morning and need a quick wakeup call. It’s light, it lasts all day, and it makes my pores shrink instantly.

  1. Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance

If you’re going out at night and want to look perfectly dewy and fresh, this primer is the answer to all your life problems. It’s my favorite for looking glam at night, but I don’t typically wear it during the day. It’s perfect for night because it’s just a little shimmery and provides my skin a perfect glow, but it’s sometimes too much during the day.

  1. Dr. Brandt Pores No More

If you want my favorite primer of all time, it’s this one. It’s my go-to most of the year. It’s perfect in the summer when the weather is hot and my face is a little oilier than usual. It doesn’t dry me out, and it leaves my pores looking non-existent.

  1. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer

Anytime my skin is too oily, this is my go-to. It’s oil-free and amazing, and it’s my favorite primer when I want my skin to look as flawless as possible. I just can’t use it when my skin is a little drier in the winter/spring here in Florida because it doesn’t offer as much moisture.

I love a good primer, and I swear by it. I can always tell if I accidentally forget my primer when I do my makeup because it looks less than ideal after an hour or so. I can put on primer and look fresh and amazing all day long. Without, I’m good for a few hours.

If you’re on the fence, I’d start with the Smashbox. It’s my favorite, and it’s so good on so many skin types. It’s totally worth it to add an additional step to your morning routine.

FAQs: Answering a Few of the Most Commonly Asked Questions I Get On Instagram

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Hey, y’all! Happy Wednesday…and happy cooler weather, Floridians! I’m so happy to have this gorgeous 70-degree high situation back in my life. This weekend was spectacular – and in more ways that one. We had a house full of kids and family all weekend, and we got to spend a child-free night being treated like VIPs with 10 of our very best friends all night long. It included a party bus (with a bathroom on board, which is always perfection), a suite at an Orlando Magic Game, and entirely too much fun.

Did you know flossing is more than just what you do after you brush?! #funfact

I don’t know if it’s because I’m trying to use Instagram Stories more often these days or what, but I’m getting so many more questions that I usually get via DM on Insta, and I thought I might take a moment to answer a few of them. When I start to notice a few of the same questions come through over and over, I try to just address them publicly so it’s a little easier than sending dozens of the same replies.

So….here we go.

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  1. Are all four of your kids yours?

Yes! I don’t really know why I get this question so many times, but I’ve had a few “you look too young to have four kids,” “do you have a blended family,” and even once or twice, “it’s just so uncommon to see a couple with four kids who all belong to the same two parents,” in the DMs lately. Yes, all four kids belong to me and to my husband – together. We will celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary in two months, and we will have a 10-year-old as of July. Our Ava turns 7 this month, and our twins turn 4 this month. They’re all ours.

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  1. What would you say is your personal style definition?

Lazy chic. Honestly. I’m lazy. I have four kids. I have a business to run. I have a husband and a house and the kids have about 7679377 extracurricular activities, and I still like sleep. So I like to go for lazy, but I’ll call it classic simplicity. I love fashion, but I like to spend as little time in the morning as possible figuring out what to wear. I’m a uniform kind of girl. Give me a Lilly Pulitzer shift and a pair of Tory Burch sandals and I’m dressed for the summer. Give me skinny jeans and a tunic with a pair of heels, and I’m dressed the rest of the year. I have a uniform – and I’m okay with that.

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  1. A lot of what you link is really expensive. How do you decide what to splurge on and what to save on?

Style is very personal, and that’s what makes it so amazing. I like a good mixture of high and low-end pieces. I’m not a very trendy person – and that’s all right – but I do love classics. I spend a lot on the basics: jeans, LBDs, shoes, and handbags – and sunglasses. Anything not designed to last a lifetime, I don’t spend a lot on. Maxi dresses, rompers, tee shirts, tunics, and things like that don’t get much of my money.

I do spend a lot on certain pieces, but they are pieces that last a lifetime. Much of what I wear are things I’ve had 3, 5, 10, 12 years and still wear/carry like it’s brand-new because quality is ALWAYS better than quantity. I don’t consider the staples or classics a waste. It’s personal.

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  1. What’s your workout routine?

Simple – I move my body. I belong to my local YMCA, and I stop by three mornings a week after I drop the kids off at school. Those days I do a mixture of cardio and weights. I prefer machines like the elliptical or treadmill, and I always look up different challenging 30-minute routines on Pinterest to make each work out different and challenging.

Two days a week I go home for a few hours to work and then I head back to the Y for an hour-long yoga class. I love and adore my yoga classes – they are amazing. I feel so good, so strong, and so amazing afterward! If I can’t make it to the gym one day, I just run a mile through our neighborhood. I hate to run, so that’s always my motivation to get to the gym when I don’t feel like it!

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  1. How are you so thin even though you have four kids?

Honestly, I think it’s a combination of good genes and my diet. I don’t ‘diet’ per say. I just like to eat healthy. I have an occasional sweet tooth I don’t deny, but 90% of the time we just eat healthy. We like our meals very simple, very filled with fresh ingredients, and very healthy. We season and bake those small chicken breast cutlets (maybe tenders? Publix, what do you call them?) we buy in the meat department and then roast some broccoli and add a salad or something for most meals. We do different variations of things like that most nights.

During the day, I love Greek yogurt with a lot of fruit and a little granola, oranges are my go-to snack (Well, cuties…I can’t eat an entire orange because it’s too big!) and I will have a spoonful of peanut butter with a few little chocolate chips on them if I need some energy or just want something sweet. We don’t eat a lot of red meat – just filet – and I can probably count on one hand how many times a year we have a starch or bread side with dinner at home. We double up on our veggies.

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  1. What size are you and how tall are you?

I am *almost* 5’3, but that really surprises people. I wear heels 90% of the time, so I always seem taller to people until they see me in flats for the first time – and then they’re shocked. My size depends on what I wear as well as the designer.

  • I wear size 25 jeans
  • I wear an XS top
  • I wear size 37.5 or 38 shoe (it depends heavily on the designer and the style)
  • Dresses are either size 2 or XS

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  1. Are your kids active?

Yes! Well, Addison is. She keeps us busy. Ava tried some sports, didn’t like any of them, and prefers to read and write and create art. Charlotte and Carter aren’t four yet (next week!) so we’ve missed being able to sign them up for anything, though they will start playing tee ball in the fall. Addison, however, needs to be active all the time.

She’s in running club two mornings a week before school. She takes a gymnastics class, two advanced tumbling classes, three dance classes (lyrical, hip hop, and ballet), and she’s a competitive cheerleader. Her gym closed last year when the season was over, but a new gym is beginning a competitive squad this summer, so she’ll take that back up in a few months.

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  1. You’re always saying your husband is super hands-on, but is he really?

Yes! I always say he’s the best mom I know! He is SUPER hands-on, and I kind of hate to even call it that. He does 99% of the laundry, he packs the kids’ lunches, he makes their breakfast and gets them dressed for school, and he cleans up any messes along the way throughout the day. He cooks, he cleans, he gives baths, he does homework. He just does whatever needs doing when it needs doing. He’s a dream, and we make a really good team!

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  1. You have a lot of date nights. How do you get away with that?

We have my parents and my mother-in-law all very close to us, and we just ask. They love the kids, and they know having four kids is a handful, so they’re always happy to help. If they’re not free, they’ll offer an alternative night instead. It’s a great situation, the kids get to spend time with their grandparents all the time, and everyone is super happy. We try for date night every other week, and we mostly succeed.

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  1. How do you travel with your kids?

It takes about a day of packing to pack for a family of 6 and get it all right – and that’s the worst part. We’ve never not traveled with them. They’ve been flying, staying in hotels, and traveling since they were all born, so they just know how it’s done. They are well-behaved, too. They might have their moments at home or whatever, but they know the expectation in public, and they know how to behave at dinner, on a plane, in the airport, whatever. I think it’s just so second-nature to them. We also make sure they have plenty of snacks, coloring books, books, and other activities to keep them occupied in their own carry-ons so they’re never bored.

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  1. You don’t share a lot of photos of your kids on IG. Why not?

I use Instagram primarily for business purposes. It’s where I post collaborations, outfit of the day photos, and where I share my blog. I share pictures of the kids on occasion, but it’s a very public platform so you won’t see much about them. I use Facebook for my family. It’s private, and it’s where I share stories and pictures of the kids. Although, I’m a little bad about that because I don’t really use Facebook unless I remember I have some photos I want to share with my family or I’m with friends and everyone is tagging me in photos – then I remember!

  1. Where do you shop?

Online. Believe it or not, I don’t love shopping in person. I really don’t have much time to shop in a store, and most of the stores I like aren’t anywhere near me. I also find I become easily annoyed going navigating the layout in any store when I could literally just filter my search online and have all of exactly what I’m looking for in under 3 seconds – and without needing to put on pants or a bra.

As for where I shop, I’m simple. It’s either from Lily Pulizter, or it’s from Nordstrom. I rarely shop elsewhere, mostly because I don’t know how things will fit, or I’ve had to return one too many things because it’s just not what I wanted when it arrived. Nordstrom and Lily keep my game strong, though I do love Bloomingdales and Saks, too.

Classic LBD: The Perfect Date Night Look

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My husband and I are big fans of date night. While we can’t quite squeeze one in every week with our hectic schedules, we do manage to sneak out at least every other week. The rule in the Raiford house is never to allow more than two weeks without a date. We are more than 16 years into our relationship, and we like to credit regular date nights for keeping the spark alive and the romance in our marriage.

We love date night!

With four small kids and more extracurricular activities you even want to hear about, it’s imperative we have a small break to focus on our marriage and just enjoying one another’s company. I like to dress up on date night, and one of my favorite go-to date night ensembles is a classic little black dress. I’m always a fan of the classics, and an LBD tops my list.

The single best thing about any LBD is the classic nature of this dress. The key to finding LBDs that last is to choose a classic cut and fit that never goes out of style. I believe in spending a little money on your LBD since it’s a timeless staple.

{ DvF dress is old, shoes are Christian Louboutin “So Kate” }

The one I’m wearing in this photo is 12-years-old, and I still love it more than most of the dresses hanging in my closet. It’s a classic black Diane von Furstenberg I bought in California in 2006. It’s a timeless wrap dress made just a little more fun with the slightly masculine collar and the pockets.

Give me all the dresses with pockets.

With spring in the air, many people forgo black in favor of brighter colors, pastels, and light and bright. While I’m always a big believer in dressing for the seasons, nothing quite competes with an LBD, and I’m sharing a few of my favorites – all entirely worth the splurge as you’ll wear them forever.

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Diane von Furstenberg – $398

This DvF is the epitome of a classic wrap dress. It’s flattering on every body type, and it’s beyond timeless. This is the one dress that will never, ever go out of style or make you feel anything less than spectacular in it.

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Adrianna Papell – $130 

This Adrianna Papell sheath is a classic silhouette, and it’s so affordable! If you want to save a little money on an LBD but you’re worried about quality, Adrianna Papell is a brand you needn’t worry about.

DSquared

DSquared2 – $384 – $576

It’s just the perfect fit, and style, and that’s what makes this LBD such a timeless investment.

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Diane von Furstenberg – $428

Sometimes the best way to wear your LBD is with a little color and a pop of fun – and this DvF is all of the above.

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Tadashi – $245 (marked down from $408!)

A little lace goes a long way, and this Tadashi is on major sale!

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Diane von Furstenberg – $256 (marked down from $428!)

This fitted beauty is the epitome of elegance – and look at that price! This is one that will sell out quickly, so hurry up!

PS – If you check Nordstrom Rack, they sometimes have DvF dresses on MAJOR sale. If you find them at the right time, you can really pick up some amazing deals.