10 Years of Parenthood: An Open Letter to Our Sweet Girl on Your 10th Birthday

Ten years.

That’s how long daddy and I have been parents. You, our sweet baby girl, Addison Grace, were born on this day in 2008. You came into the world a week before your due date, and only about six hours after you decided to make it obvious you were arriving. My contractions started late at night, and they were only 2 minutes apart in under an hour. You arrived less than six hours later – and I just barely made it to the hospital in time for an epidural and delivery! I haven’t forgotten that, kiddo.

I’ll never forget that moment. We got to hold our sweet baby for the very first time. Only 10 months before, we sat at our resort in Hawaii enjoying a bottle of champagne and celebrating my 24th birthday when daddy asked me if I wanted to have a baby. We’d been married three years, we’d traveled constantly, we’d built a house and then a home, and we were ready. Well, it took me a few days to decide I was ready, but you get the point.

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It was six weeks later when we woke up at 6 am. The pregnancy test box said I could start taking tests that day (six days early). I’d never taken one before, so I didn’t know what to expect or what might happen. A few minutes later, I was officially pregnant. That afternoon, we were at the University of Florida for a football game (it was November 17) and we went down to the sports shop, bought shirts that said “Gator Mom,” and “Gator Dad,” asked the family who were at the game with us to take a photo of us standing in front of our seats, held up our shirts, and waited while they all took a moment (we literally did not have any clue that you didn’t announce your pregnancy at three weeks and one day at that point…).

The next 36 weeks flew by so quickly. Our lives changed so much that year, and it was the most beautiful year of our lives. You came into our lives, and our entire world changed for the better. You were the easiest, sweetest little thing. We took you everywhere. Before you were six months old, you’d been to the Bahamas, Boston, Texas, Mexico, and Ohio. You spent your first birthday riding in your first limo, cruising Newport Harbor in an amazing boat, and enjoying a week in Orange County, California. You were the best baby (thank you for sleeping through the night and following our schedules and routines so well. I’m not sure I would make a great sleep-deprived human.)

{You when you turned two weeks old, you when you came home from the hospital for the first time and we put you in your swing, and you on the day of your first birthday}

You’ve given us so much. Laughter, love, happiness, joy. You are the sweetest girl, and you make us so proud.

You are the best big sister your sisters and brother could ever ask for. You are just like daddy in terms of your personality. You’ll do anything for anyone, you’ve got an unlimited supply of patience, and you are kind. You have a good heart and the sweetest soul. You’re a rule follower, and you never get in trouble. You are, quite simply, a complete joy.

It’s because of you we are parents. It’s because of you we have three more beautiful babies. And it’s because of you we have so much to smile about. Happy Birthday, Addison Grace. You’re 10 today, and that is huge. You are the most special little girl (almost big girl) in the world, and we love you more than we could ever put into words. You’ve taught us so much about being parents, and about love, and I want to share with you what you’ve taught me and what I want you to know on this day 10 years after you changed our world.

{Your first trip to the Lowry Park Zoo, on a boat cruising through Newport Harbor in Orange County, CA on your first birthday, and your first trip to Disney}

It’s the little things that matter the most

If you’ve taught us one thing above all else, it’s that it really is the little things in life. It doesn’t matter how many times we take you to Disney, or how many places we travel, or what we do, you are happiest when we sit down with you at the end of a day and play a game of cards or watch a movie with you. The big things are amazing, but you’ve taught us that it’s the simplest moments in life that are the best. We can sit down with you and google knock knock jokes and have the best time, ever. You make everything amazing.

Snack time is all the time

I just hope you always love being so active, and that you always love to join us in the gym for a run. Because, girl….you eat a lot. My parents always told me they one day hoped I’d have a daughter just like me for karma purposes (that would be Ava, if you’re wondering) and even though no one wants to hear their mother come out of their mouth, I hope you one day have a child who spends 11 weeks every summer asking if it’s snack time every 2.7 seconds. You’ll understand a fraction of my crazy, perhaps. Don’t worry, I won’t say I told you so.

{You and Ava when you were the very best of friends as babes, us when we were a family of four hanging out on Emerald Isle in NC, you and Ava in North Carolina, you and the babes in North Carolina, you and Carter on a flight to Texas)

What we do, you see, emulate, and believe

Our behavior is important to you, and we work very hard to make sure you’re getting the best of us all the time. We know you see what we do more than you hear what we say, and we are so inspired by that. We work so hard to make sure you learn how to be kind, gracious, and generous. We want you to learn to give back, to treat others with kindness even when they don’t deserve it in the moment, and we work very hard to make sure you know what’s right and what’s not.

Your daddy is the role model you’ll look up to when you take an interest in boys (which you better not do until you’re 76). He is what you want to look for in a gentleman. Someone who treats you with kindness and respect. Someone who opens your doors and stands when you walk into a room or leave the table. Someone who makes you laugh and smile, but someone who is also perfectly fine when you’re a mess. Look to daddy, sweet girl. He’s everything and then some when it comes to the kind of man you want to spend your time with. Anyone who treats you as anything less simply isn’t worth your time.

What we say is so important

You hear everything we say, even when we don’t think that you do. We hope you hear us when we tell you that you’re beautiful inside and out. We hope you hear us when we tell you how intelligent you are, how smart you are, and how amazing you are. We hope you hear those things, and we hope you know that those are the things we mean the most.

{You driving the boat in Tennessee, enjoying the only cow in Texas that doesn’t smell one fall, searching for shells two summers in a row in NC (I hope your future kids love doing that as much as you do every summer), scalloping, paddleboarding at the river house, and hanging out with our favorites on a summer evening}

Your love is unconditional

When we have bad days or my patience is wearing thin (usually with one of your younger siblings) or a stranger in public, you always love us. When I have a moment I’m not proud of, you still love me. Your love is unconditional, sweet, and so innocent. And I love that. I want to be more like you.

Life is better with babies

Like, really, really better. I never knew how much I enjoyed eating cold food, taking 7 hours to complete one conversation with another adult, or how much I loved spending time at Disney World until you came along. I could watch you do the same roundoff back handspring a million times a day and still think it’s the coolest thing ever. Life was beautiful before you, and it’s still unbelievable to me how much more of everything beautiful it is with you.

{You and G…because I know these pictures embarrass you, and we can’t get you to pose together anymore. Let’s see…Halloween, hanging out in North Carolina, bowling, at a resort in Orlando, and walking to dinner during another Orlando trip….I left out all the kissing pictures. I didn’t want to make it weird.}

We will always worry

It doesn’t matter where we are, where you are, who you are with, what we are doing, what you are doing, or how old we all are – we will never not worry about you.

When you’re in school and daddy and I are at home in our office working, I randomly worry that you’re eating enough at lunch (and your dad side eyes me and tells me that you have more food in your lunchbox than Publix has in one aisle). I worry that you didn’t hear me tell you I love you when I dropped you off. I worry how other kids behave and how you’re responding to them. I worry that you’re feeling sick or sad or confused or excited or what. And yet, every single day, I pick you up from the best day ever, and your smile is contagious. But, sweet girl, we will always worry about you.

We will always miss you when we are not with you

Always. Even when you and Ava and the babies make us so insanely crazy with your bickering that we cannot wait for a break, we miss you. We aren’t giving up our date nights or weekends away every few months, but we do miss you like crazy. We are always so excited to come home to you when we land.

{You make us so proud dancing, cheering, being Baptised, and choosing such sweet friends to surround yourself with}

There is joy in everything

Oh, Addison. You have taught us so much, and I love how much you’ve taught us about joy. With your smile and your sweet laugh, there is joy in every moment. You taught us that every moment is a good one, and that there is some sort of joy even in the saddest moments.

When I cried thinking about how hard it was going to be saying goodbye to great grandma when we left Texas last week, you put your sweet arms around me and told me it was okay and that you miss her, too. Even in one of my most difficult moments, you found a way to show me joy just by being you.

You are the best parts of both of us

Well, you’re the best parts of your daddy. I think you ended up with all my worst qualities, but you really do make them work. Never stop being like daddy. He’s the best person I know, and following in his footsteps is a very good thing. I’m sorry you somehow ended up with my OCD, and my anxiety about messiness and imperfections. I love that you have my perfectionism, but I hope you keep it a healthy situation unlike your crazy mama. Don’t let it make you cray, but if you want to keep thinking you want to be just like me when you grow up, I won’t argue with you. Just be like, 75% better than me and you’ll be all right.

{The summer you turned 7. We began your birthday month on the lake in Tennessee with our favorites. Remember when you jumped off that bridge holding Uncle Geremy’s hand like a champ?! We ended it at the Omni with all of our favorites, and the royal treatment for you, birthday girl. You and all your friends/cousins had your own table at dinner, your own waitstaff, your own cake, and your own fun}

Addybug, thanks for making us parents. Thanks for being the best. Thanks for being our family. Thank you for bringing so much light and laughter and love and happiness in our home on a daily basis. And thanks for not being too mad at us that you ended up with two little sisters and a little brother. We know they make you crazy, but it’s only because they love you so much because you’re so lovable.

Thank you for being a shining example of class. You might only be 10, but you are one of the most elegant, classiest people I have the pleasure of knowing. Your kindness shines through your eyes, and you are such a good person without even trying. I love how you always cheer people on, how you are so excited about their excitement, and how you always look to help when someone needs it. I love that you are such a class act. Never change, ever. The world needs about 7 billion more people just like you.

{That one time you and Ava asked us if you could join me and daddy the next time we went to NYC. Riding to dinner in a limo, taking photos with Lady Liberty, snapping quick pics in the hotel lobby before dinner, and shopping at American Girl. That was probably our favorite trip, ever. Daddy and I have spent 2-3 weekends a year in NYC for the past decade, but there was nothing like seeing it through your eyes for the first time}

We love you so much. All the time. No matter what. You’re our baby, and you will always be our baby. You are our greatest joy and every piece of our hearts.

Happy 10th Birthday, our blue-eyed beauty.

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#NSale Early Access Picks (Not Very Fall-Weather Related)

I am so late with this, and I know it. The #Nsale has been going on for basically a week now, and I’m just now getting around to sharing my purchases and a few other favorites. I have to tell you, I didn’t even shop the sale the first few days, and it’s almost open to the public at this point! Early access ends tomorrow, and here I am…today.

In my defense, I was gone for four days, and traveling with a family of six takes a little prep work. We did have the best weekend. I’ll be totally honest with you, though. I hate, hate, hate, detest, hate, really hate a lot the area in Texas where my grandmother lives. I mean, I cringe, die on the inside, and really pout a lot while we’re there. But, she’s my favorite person in the entire world – and that makes the trip so worthwhile.

It’s just so far out of the way. It smells terrible because of all the cows that line the highways for miles and miles. It’s all so orange. There are no trees. There is no water. The sky is not so much blue as it is a hazy color. And the smell….oh my goodness. My skin feels so dusty when I’m there. I guess we can say that I’m just not the country type. The Midwest just is not for me. I love that other people love that simple country living so much, but it’s not for me. I need my palm trees and my salty ocean air. I need the bright blue sky.

I need to smell fresh flowers and see color that isn’t orange. It’s just who I am. Oh, and I need to be close to fresh fruit at all times. You would not believe how many restaurants we went to where they didn’t have fruit or actually asked, “Why?” when we tried to order fresh fruit (and one restaurant didn’t have eggs benedict, nor had they ever heard of it).

We have to stay an hour and a half away from my grandmother’s house to even have a decent hotel, and even that is a stretch. There’s no four or five-star hotels for hundreds of miles, and the absolutely best we could do was a Hilton suites hotel where one person works at the front desk, you have to park your own car, carry your own luggage, and everyone goes downstairs in the morning to eat a free meal that looks like it’s been sitting outside for days and days. Thankfully, we found a Cracker Barrel and a Starbucks (even if neither had fruit or yogurt!). And my grandmother lives in a dry county.

Basically, it’s just not for me.

But, spending time with her is everything to me. We got to spend our Saturday night alone with her, my husband and I. My mom and dad were also in Texas visiting with my niece and nephew with them, so they kept our kids for us so we could spend the evening with my grandmother. She’s almost 100, and she’s the sharpest, most intelligent, most hilarious woman. Her mind is sharper than mine will ever be, and she’s lived a century. We had the most incredible evening with her – and our kids love the farm. The animals, the barn, all of it. I don’t even know who they are.

The flight isn’t bad, but the drive to her house is hours and hours, and that’s a long situation. Overall, everyone was super well-behaved considering we spent four days off schedule and without the creature comforts we are accustomed to. It was so hard to say goodbye…my heart hurts.

So, that was our weekend. We are glad to be home, and now I have to get back to work writing all the things. And bringing you my Nordstrom sale picks. To be honest, some of these things are just on sale. They’re not even part of the sale, but does that matter?

Also, you won’t find a lot of fall stuff on my list. Honestly, I live in Florida. I don’t get a fall season, so I don’t buy much in terms of fall clothes. I’ll still be swimsuit shopping for months, so you’re getting what I love that works for my life.

Shoes

Tory Burch slides, Tory Burch sandals, Nikes, Hunter Boots, Hunter Boots

I have a particular love for these rubber TB sandals. I love them for the beach, the pool, and to wear in the shower when we travel ( I can’t shower barefoot). You cannot ruin them! Additionally, I love these simple Nikes for the gym. They’re streamlined and clean. And while we might not have a lot of fall weather here in Florida, rain is always a problem. And I love my Hunters. Remember to size down a full size for the best fit.

Dresses/Rompers

Midi dress, shirt dress, pompom romper, casual dress, white romper

I love this sweet midi. It’ll pair well with a fun blazer and sky-high heels for a slightly dressier look, or with flats for a fun casual look. I also have this split-neck shirt dress, and it’s just a little see-through when it’s daytime. Wear it at night or invest in a slip! This romper is too much fun, and this knotted dress is so flattering on all body types. My favorite, though, is this all-white romper I’ll never be able to wear because, well, all white.

Jeans

7 For All Mankind One, Two, Three

You know I’m a diehard 7fam jeans lover. I won’t wear much else. And these third pair are my absolute favorite ever – I picked up two more pair to go with the three or four I already have. I love them that much. Actually, they might be all  you see me in ever again. And at this price, I might order a few more!

Tops

Black tee, stripe tee, sweatshirt

This black tee is one of my favorite purchases ever, and it’s so cheap! I also love this casual stripe tee to pair with a blazer and heels during the fall (if we get one) and this sweatshirt is perfect for running errands, cool mornings with my coffee on the deck, and evenings when there might be an actual chill in the air.

 

Your Next Travel Must-Have: Charcoal Whitening Powder

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Travel is one of my favorite things, but it definitely has a way of taking its toll on my body and my health. It’s so easy to eat fast food, it’s so easy to say yes to that second glass of red wine, and it’s so easy to drink all the coffee. I’m so guilty of using travel as an excuse to treat myself – and who doesn’t? – and then head to the hotel gym for a two-mile run like that’s going to make up for all the room service Belgian waffles and bacon.

However, the biggest problem I have when I travel is the damage I do to my white smile. Red wine and coffee. Coffee and red wine. We’re having fun, so the glasses of vino are flowing, and I’m exhausted being in a different time zone, away from my bed, and away from my carefully crafted routine, which means my coffee consumption becomes a problem. I’m sure I need coffee intervention, but that’s not the point here, right? We travel often, and I need something to keep my smile in check.

I take a lot of photos for social media and tiffanyraiford.com, and that means I need to be sure my smile is always white, which is basically impossible after 200 trips to Starbucks. I don’t always have time to wear whitening trays or head to the dentist for a whitening treatment. I need something fast, easy, convenient, and portable.

When the amazing people from Avistar asked me to try their charcoal whitening powder, I was excited. I’d heard such good things about this easy way of whitening in the past, and I was hoping it was the answer to my travel whitening needs.

The Avistar Natural Teeth Whitener and Detoxifier with Activated Charcoal Powder changed my travel life. I simply bring it with me on my flights, and I use it every day. The difference is immediate, and it helps me feel more confident in my smile when we aren’t home – even after a gallon of coffee.

The best part is that it’s so simple to use. I wet my toothbrush, dip it into the powder, and I brush for two minutes. After rinsing, I brush my teeth as usual – which helps remove the charcoal residue from between my teeth. My teeth are whiter and brighter, and my smile that much more confident.

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Tips for Use

Now that you’re ready to change your travel game face (literally) forever, here are a few things I’ve learned to make your whitening experience a little easier and less of a mess (hello, living and learning).

  • Whiten before you put your makeup on, so you don’t end up with charcoal powder on your lipstick
  • Don’t use a lot on your toothbrush. You only need to dab your brush in the powder for a very small layer. A little of this whitening product goes a LONG way.
  • Brush afterward. You can use it alone or you can put it on top of your toothpaste, but I found the best way to use it to make a smaller mess and to have the brightest smile is by using it first and then brushing afterward.
  • Expect a mess – unless you’re perfect, unlike me. Just grab a baby wipe or a Clorox wipe to have on hand while you brush. The charcoal does make a bit of a mess in the sink if you brush like me, but it wipes right up.

If you’re looking for a quick, efficient, and effective whitening method to use on the road, this is it. And you don’t have to reserve it for travel, either. You can use it at home. It’s easy, and the best part is that it has no effect on sensitive teeth. I have sensitive teeth, and I’m always hesitant to try new products. This one is perfect if you want to have the pearliest whites because you won’t feel anything.

It’s a win, but the fact that it’s sold on Amazon.com and you can have it in two days or less with Prime Shipping is a game-changer, for certain. It’s organic, too, so you needn’t worry about putting anything questionable on your teeth and gums.

You can’t lose, so why are you waiting to order?

Staying Healthy When Time is of the Essence

Happy Wednesday loves!

I have no problem admitting I’m vain. I like to look good. I take care of myself, and I like to maintain good health for aesthetic purposes. However, I really like to maintain good health for a few other – more important – reasons than just my outward appearance (though I believe looking good on the outside helps improve self-confidence, which helps improve my mood, which helps improve my productivity, which makes me a nicer person, which makes my family like me more, which makes me happier…it’s the circle of life, right?).

I don’t know if y’all know this, but I have four little babes – and I want to be around for a very long time. I have a lot of boys to tell them they can’t date, a lot of girls to smile at in person and tell my husband, “Oh, HELL no,” when our son can’t hear, weddings to dress up for, grandbabies to cuddle and love, and basically another 80 or 90 years of memories to make (laugh now, but longevity is a thing in my family, and my husband likes to make the very bad joke that I’ll be married to my second husband a lot longer than him because he’ll live an average lifespan to my 120 years. He’s so wrong, though. There can’t be two men in this world crazy enough to want to live with me).

Anyway, my point is that life is a little bit crazy with all we have going on, and this week is one of those weeks that just gets crazier – if you can believe that.

We haven’t been home in the evenings in well over a week, I’m in the middle of packing us up for a 2.5-hour flight to Texas, a 5-hour drive from the airport to the farm, and time spent with my amazing grandmother. I have clients, deadlines, and projects going on. Kids with sports and activities, and there is always fun to be had with our people. We were out late last Tuesday for the fourth, Wednesday because we had our regularly scheduled #wednesdaynightdinner, Thursday for a family exercise situation at the YMCA, Friday for family date night, Saturday on the boat, Saturday night for family date night, Sunday at church and the river house, Monday for hair appointments and cheer uniform fittings, last night for tumbling, tonight for #wednesdaynightdinner, tomorrow night for a meeting…do you see what I mean?

I’m up at 5 am, we aren’t getting everyone to bed until late, and then we’re passing out quickly after them, and I’m exhausted. I have to work ahead so I don’t have to take my computer with me while we’re gone, and that means doubling up my efforts. It’s a lot of prep and work (thank you Lord for sending me a husband who efficiently packs for himself so that I don’t have to) but it’s my life, y’all.

So…this is usually when I start to feel myself coming down with something, but I refuse.

We put a lot of emphasis on healthy habits and eating, and we always have. It’s just a lifestyle for us, and it works so well. We have more energy, we feel better, and we get sick infrequently, but weeks like this always challenge me as I run myself into the ground. So, I thought I’d share a quick blog post about how I make sure I stay healthy when life is like, “No, eat all the donuts and definitely go to Chick-Fil-A and get that warm cookie for dessert,”.

Keep Eating the Good Stuff

It’s so easy to decide to get all kinds of lazy when life is hectic. Drive-thrus, take out, and unhealthy eats are just easier, but that’s not how we roll. I maintain my regularly scheduled eating on weeks like this. Some of my favorite quick and easy go-to meals include the following.

  • Greek yogurt, fruit, granola
  • Strawberries, blueberries, oranges and raspberries
  • Lots and lots of water and coffee
  • Peanut butter with tiny chocolate chips when I want something sweet

For dinner, we almost always have something simple like fresh salmon with a lemon butter sauce, baked or grilled chicken with either a cilantro lime marinade or something like a mango/avocado salsa on top, filet, and we rarely ever have a starch. We are double up the veggie kind of people – not that we don’t love starches, but we reserve those for get-togethers and stuff like that.

We love to take our favorite guilty pleasure foods and make them healthier. For example, I’m a taco-aholic who could eat them all day, every day, constantly. Problem – I don’t like pork or really any form of red meat other than filet. So, we bake chicken, mix it with chile peppers, tomatoes, and onions, bake it, and put it in a taco shell. Amazing. I also love pizza, so we will do a cauliflower crust with baked chicken, tomatoes, red onion, fresh mozzarella, and some buffalo sauce – amazing.

The key is to find things you love that don’t take much time to make, and then make them a lot healthier. It helps you stay feeling good and not falling apart because your body hates what you’re putting into it.

Don’t Skip the Gym

This one is easy for me. I love how I feel when I work out, so missing a day at the gym is not something I allow often. The good news is you can take a half hour and just go with it, and that’s amazing! Take a walk, go for a run, do a yoga work out on your computer. I do two to three days a week of intense yoga for an hour. I do three to four days a week on the treadmill. I run 8 miles a week minimum, and I’m working up my minimum to 10 miles a week. I also mix in another class such as HIIT (okay, once, last week) here and there to try something new. Just don’t skip the workout. It’s so important.

Take a Break

Sometimes you just need one. I know I do. I like to take a break, drink some water, read a little. Sit on the porch and watch the sunset. Sit on the deck and watch the sunrise with some coffee and whatever Bible study I have for the week. One thing that’s always been helpful to us is definitely our Wednesday night dinner tradition. It’s like 10 years of a mandatory mid-week break. We either host our friends or they host us. The kids get to play, we get to have an adult conversation (which is definitely appropriate and mature….), and force ourselves to put work away for a few hours. Maybe it doesn’t seem like much, but it’s like therapy when you’re a workaholic with a hundred kids.

Find Motivation

Sometimes I get tired. I lack motivation and the desire to do anything. I know once I get started I’ll be fine, but it’s the getting started part that sucks. So, I start writing down things I already did today on my to-do list for the sheer satisfaction of crossing them off.

Brush my teeth. Check. Wake up. Check. Shower. Check. Drink coffee. Check. Kiss husband. Check. Kiss babies. Check. I mean, my to-do list sometimes looks like a hot ass mess of WTF, but once I see more items checked off than not, my brain forgets that things like ‘Breathe, check,’ are not actual accomplishments and my bad-assery kicks in and I get things done.

What do you do to stay healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally when you’ve living la vida loca (but the boring kind of la vida loca, not the music video kind where you’re on a yacht poppin’ bottles and living it up)?

Formal and Fabulous in Gold Sequins on Date Night

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Happy Monday, Loves.

Can I let you all in on a little secret? Well, it’s probably not much of a secret, to be quite honest. I was born in the wrong era. I mean, so wrong. I would have lived large and well in the 20s or 30s. I was born to dress for dinner. I was born to live my best life in fancy dresses sipping champagne and listening to beautiful jazz music.

One of my favorite things to do when we are out of town is dine. I love amazing food, and Craig and I seek out the most amazing restaurants in the world when we travel – I can’t tell you how spectacular some of the places we’ve been really are. On the downside, eating anywhere around our home is such a letdown. I want all things fancy. But, that’s why we travel…to find good food and so I don’t waste all these expensive shoes on school pick up and drop off.

When the Jamaica 10 decided to book a cruise for our kid-free trip this year, I knew that I wouldn’t get amazing food (cruise ship food is the worst), but I did know I’d get a spectacular chance to dress up on formal night. And I was not missing a moment to dress up like I was on my way to the Oscars.

Gold.

Sequins.

Boujee.

And I loved Every. Single. Second. of it.

In addition to dressing up like it’s my job, I was in my happiest place right inside my husband’s arms on the dance floor. He is so dapper, and such a beautiful dancer. He also sings to me while we dance, and he couldn’t stop telling me how amazing I looked. Vain Tiffany didn’t hate the moment, at all. In fact, I was reluctant to even leave the dance floor to go to dinner. I could have stayed there all night.

My dress was my favorite dress of all time – and guess what? I rented it! Yep! I rented this gorgeous Badgley Mischka gown from Rent the Runway, and I was so beyond happy with my rental and experience. I have zero need for a formal gown in my life other than on the cruise, and we all know I won’t wear it again anyway, so investing in one seemed pointless. Renting one, however, seemed perfect. And it was.

So here are all the outfit details (including a few you can purchase if you’re not into renting).

Badgley Mischka gold sequin gown – I rented it from Rent the Runway, but you can find the same gown here. Earrings are from Target here, and my white shoes are Manolo Blahnik found here

I also found three more similar gold sequin gowns in a much more affordable price range here, here, and here.

Craig’s Outfit Details Here – Ralph Lauren jacket here, similar here and here. Ted Baker dress pants here and similar here and here. John Varvatos dress shirt here, and similar here and here. Magnanni Gerardo shoes here, more affordable version here and here