January Goals – Accountability Post

Happy Wednesday, loves!

Can you believe January is over tomorrow? It feels like we were just ringing in the new year with our little loves and our best friends, but now it’s the end of the month. The days are long, but the years are short – right?

It’s been an exciting month in the Raiford house, but it’s also been a busy one. This past weekend was our oldest daughter’s first cheer competition of the season. They placed second – two points from first place! – in their division…and they ROCKED the mat. You have never seen a group of parents more excited or proud than our cheer parents this weekend.

It was SUCH a fun weekend. We went down to Tampa to one of our favorite hotels for the weekend with some of our favorite people and fellow cheer parents. The twins stayed home, but we took the big girls. Friday night was a date night for the adults to celebrate my sweet husband’s birthday. Saturday was a family day and dinner night with everyone, and Sunday was a family morning, coffee with friends, go home, unpack, load all four kids up in the car and head to Sunday dinner with our crew to celebrate the birth of our newest – and the very last – baby to the group.

Now it’s Wednesday, and we are headed out again.

I’m. So. Tired.

Packing. Unpacking. Repacking. Grocery shopping so our parents have plenty of choices around the house while we are gone – our parents always get together and stay at our house for us while we’re out of town, which we SO appreciate – but it’s a little more work for us.

But, it’s the end of the month – and I had some January goals. Did I meet them? Did I fail? Did I exceed them? I thought I might hold myself accountable and share them with you.

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Write and Publish 2 Blog Posts Per Week  – Exceeded

My blog is not my job. I love it, but it’s my personal page for sharing things that I love – and sometimes sharing some of the things PR agencies and companies want to work on with me that don’t work with my typical clientele and my regular ‘job’ creating web content for my clients.

However, I’m bad about putting the blog last when my schedule gets hectic, and I’m trying to put an end to that habit. So, I exceeded it by publishing three blog posts a week all month – and I am beyond proud of myself!

No Falling Asleep on the Couch – Meeting Expectations

My husband and I are so bad about this. We will put the kids to bed, shower, and lie down on the chaise to catch up on some of our favorite shows, but we get so comfortable with the recline position activated, and we always fall asleep on the couch…within a half hour of sitting down! And we will both sleep there until 11 or so. My sweet husband usually wakes up and wakes me up so we can go to bed, but it’s a nasty habit we’d like to stop. We did okay. We aren’t great at it – but we started off strong – and we are making it to bed before we fall asleep on the couch more often than not. We are a work in progress.

Two Yoga Classes A Week – Exceeded

Yoga is my favorite workout ever, but I sometimes skip one or two classes a week if I’m super busy. It’s an hour and 15-minute class, and I can run a few miles in a half hour and call it a day when I don’t have the time. I never skip my workout, but I will skip yoga in favor of something shorter, and I never fail to end up disappointed in myself. So, I made it a goal this year to make it to at least two yoga classes a week always – no matter how busy I am – and I’ve been to three a week all year. This week I will miss two because of travel – but my grandmother only has one birthday a year…and this is a HUGE one.

Be On Time – Failed. Big time failed.

I am random. I can get into the habit of being early and be excellent at it, but then I usually end up getting pulled into other things and it takes up more of my time than not. For example, when I’m early to the girls’ school, I usually end up being asked to do something that ends up taking me another half hour or so – and I don’t get home until almost 10 am. I find myself super stressed and overwhelmed when that happens.

When I get overwhelmed and stressed, I find myself sitting at my desk longer in the mornings working on ‘just one more thing’ so that I don’t feel overwhelmed if I get pulled into something else. I love to help and be active in their school, and I’m trying to find that balance. But, that means I’ve been late most mornings lately, and that’s also causing me some anxiety. I hate being late, and leaving on time with five little ones – I take my nephew to school every morning, too – means it takes only one “I have to go potty” or one quick conversation with a parent or a teacher at the twins’ school to put me three or four minutes behind – which means late.

Anyway, I suck at this one. Maybe I’ll be better in February.

Did you have goals in January to work through? Did you meet them? Or did you exceed them? Or do you need to work a little harder in February? It’s all right – there’s nothing wrong with falling short as long as you’re not giving up completely. You’ve got this!

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Saying Goodbye to A Bad Habit

Happy Monday, Loves!

What. A. Weekend.

Our sweet Addison had her very first cheer competition of the year this weekend, on Craig’s 36th birthday, and they rocked the mat! We got to spend the weekend at one of our favorite hotels in Tampa with some of our very favorite friends celebrating all weekend with the big kids, and we got to come home yesterday to our sweet babies, and we got to end the day celebrating the birth of our sweet friends’ new little boy with our group of people.

If that’s not the sweetest weekend, I don’t know what is.

However, there is something that’s been on my mind, and I thought I’d like to address that this week.

You guys, I’m not perfect.

I mean, I knew this, but it turns out that I’m not even remotely close. Okay, so I knew that, too (let’s not tell my husband…it’ll crush him to know the truth). So, I noticed something about myself, and I’d like to address that and then address a few behaviors of my own I’d like to change in the coming year. Some new goals, if you will.

So, here’s how it happened. Two weekends ago, I was in Publix. Craig and I were having an at-home date night, and he ordered a couple of filets, and I ran to grab those and a bottle of our favorite wine. While walking through the bakery, a blonde woman walked right by me and said, “Hi, Tiffany! How are you?” and I think I spent like 3 seconds looking at her with a totally confused look on my face (if I got Botox, Craig, no one would know I was confused when I look at them….just saying) before I remembered my manners and said, “Hi! I’m well, how are you?” with a smile.

Here’s the problem – she’s not even remotely familiar to me. I don’t think I could pick her out of a lineup if you gave me one. I have no idea who she is, why I know her, or why she knows me and I don’t know her. She may look vaguely familiar, but I cannot for the life of me place her. And I certainly don’t know her name.

And then it happened again this weekend. Someone came up to me to speak to me, and while I recognize them and know I know them, I cannot think of their name. At all. Like, not even a little.

And I feel terrible about that. I felt thoughtless, and uncaring, and rude. And that is not my personality. And then it happened again. I was introduced to someone, and then five minutes later had no actual idea what their name was. I was JUST STANDING THERE LISTENING TO IT. And I couldn’t remember. And then I felt even more disgusting.

So, new goal for the year – remember people’s names. Make the effort to look them dead in the eye, smile, and say hello while using their name – out loud. I’m too damn old to be this thoughtless and impolite.

And on that note, there are few other things I’d like to change throughout the year, too. Little things, but things that are more polite and less thoughtless.

  • Walk away when people are speaking negatively about others
  • Do not engage in gossip, even when it’s not overly hurtful
  • Smile at strangers more
  • Be more timely
  • Offer more compliments
  • Speak positively
  • Listen more actively
  • Eat more bacon (I don’t think I have enough bacon, and it does sound like a lovely way to live my best life)

I don’t want to be the person who can’t remember people’s names. I don’t want to come across as rude or impolite or as someone who is so self-important I cannot be bothered to remember your name five seconds after we are introduced. It’s not cute, and I’m not down for it.

So, what are some of the other little goals you have for the year?

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, loves!

I love a good Friday, especially when it’s one that’s about to go into a super exciting weekend – and that is this one. It’s also extra exciting because tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. He’s turning 36, and he is aging so well. I’m so proud of the man he’s become – the best husband, the best father, the best friend. He is everything good in my life, and I’m just thankful every day that he picked me. Or that I picked him? Or that he tolerates me? Either way, I’m happy about it!

Because it’s Friday, I thought something fun would be just right. So, that means we’re going to do some Friday Favorites. They’re not all categorized or sitting pretty in one niche. They’re kind of all over the place, but they’re my favorites. So, I’m sharing.

My absolute favorite designers

I get this question from readers sometimes, and even from people in my ‘real life’ looking for some advice on which designers are the best. I mean, it’s such a personal opinion, but I do have some suggestions that work for me – and might just give you some sort of guidance on what to look at when you’re shopping for designer pieces.

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Handbags – hands down, Louis Vuitton and Prada. I bought my very first LV when I was 19, and I currently have five. I don’t buy many handbags, if we’re being honest. I don’t have the time or the inclination to trade them out every single day, so I tend to choose neutral bags that go well with everything and never go out of style. LV is where it’s at for me. I have two Speedy 30s, an Alma, a Mini Pochette, and a Neverfull GM. The Neverfull is my go-to – I bought it in 2014 right before the twins were born so I’d have a massive bag to carry all their stuff. It’s basically a piece of luggage I can carry every day, and I’m not mad about it.

In terms of clutches and evening bag – I’m all about Prada. The same for my wallets. I love a Prada wallet, and that’s all I carry. I’m considering a Double Medium. I have been thinking about a more structured bag for a while, and this one continues to draw my attention. We’ll see, but I can’t help but think this will be my next bag.

Business wise – I love Kate Spade. I have 7 or 8 Kate Spade totes. The very structured tote. I use them exclusively as a laptop case. I hate traditional laptop cases and their lack of appeal, but I need my laptop and my iPad when we travel, and Kate Spade makes a great structured tote. It’s also cheap, so I buy them in almost every color so I always have a fun one to choose from. I also have a couple of Kate Spade diaper bags. I bought my first when Addison was born, and I still use that same one every single day to carry the twins’ lunch boxes and stuff into their VPK class every morning.

Shoes – hands down, Manolo Blahnik. My husband gifted me my very first pair in 2005. We got married that year, and they were under the Christmas tree. I still have them. They’re timeless and classic, and I think I have something like 20 pair at this point. I also love Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, and Stuart Weitzman. In terms of everyday shoes, Tory Burch is my favorite because they are also timeless, classic, and they’re super affordable. You can ask for much more than a pair of sandals you can wear to the pool, the beach, travel, Disney, and every day wear that last 3-4 years and only cost $200. Talk about a bang for your buck.

Sunglasses – I don’t have a very specific favorite brand, but I will tell you that my least favorite is Chanel. I know…but every single pair of Chanel sunglasses I’ve purchased are total trash at this point. The lenses scratch SO easily – yet no other designer pair I own has the same issue – the color fades, and the logo discolors. Biggest waste of money ever, and I take excellent care of my sunglasses. My favorites have to be Givenchy, Gucci, YSL, and Ray-Ban. They seem to last a million years. When I’m spending $400-$500 on sunglasses, I want them to last longer than a year or two (sorry, Chanel).

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My absolute favorite snack

Okay, so I get this a lot, too. My favorite go-to snack in life is either a protein ball (I like to use steel cut oats, mini chocolate chips, creamy peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract in mine) or Vanilla Greek yogurt topped with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and the Publix-made granola in the produce section. You’ll never find me without one or the other.

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My absolute favorite thing about my husband

Since it is his birthday tomorrow and all….and this is an easy one. He doesn’t complain about anything, and I’ve never had to ask him for help with anything. For example, since the day we had our first child, he just changes diapers. I’ve never had to ask him to do laundry or to straighten up or to cook or to stay with the kids when I want to go anywhere. He doesn’t consider parenting a job or an act of babysitting, and he’s totally in 100 percent no matter what. I have zero complaints when it comes to him, and I feel so grateful for him when other wives say their husbands are ‘babysitting’ or ‘watching’ the kids while they do something, or when their phones ring incessantly because their husbands don’t know where to find their kids’ stuff or what to feed them or how to do this or that, or whatever.

I never take for granted that Craig will never complain about parenting or cooking or bath time or diaper time or homework time, or that he will never act like it’s my job to do those things and he’s just stepping in for me. I also never take for granted the fact that both me and the kids never have to question his love for us because he shows it every single day in his acts of service and his affirmations. He’s a total keeper – and I know it!

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My aboslute favorite go-to drink

Coffee. Water. Sangiovese. In that order.

Though when I’m more casually drinking something alcoholic, I prefer Pellegrino and Grey Goose. I’m not one much for mixed drinks (but I do like a nice Pinot Gris when I’m drinking white wine, a bloody mary or mimosa if we’re morning drinking or a Miami Vice if I am doing something mixed).

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My absolute favorite thing to buy when I shop

Flowers. I’m a sucker for fresh flowers in my home all the time. I can’t keep real plants alive to save my own life, but my fresh flowers and I know that we have about 5 to 7 days together before they die, so there are no expectations. So, I always have an array of fresh flowers. I don’t have a favorite – specifically. I do love peonies, but they’re so darn hard to find around here even when they are in season. Otherwise, my favorites change depending on the season.

Right now, for example, I have two vases of gerber daises and a vase of white tulips in the formal living room, a vase of white roses in the kitchen, a vase of colorful roses on the breakfast nook table, two vases of pink tulips on the dining room table, and another vase of pink roses on the fireplace. I like my flowers white first and foremost, but other colors depending on the season. Right now it’s all about soft pinks and whites. In the fall, I will buy a lot more yellow and orange and white. During the holidays, I will do red roses. Either way, I loooooooove to buy fresh flowers. They just always make me feel good and happy. And that’s what I love.

 

So, there’s my Friday favorites this week. What are yours?

Why Our Daughter Doesn’t Have Her Own Cell Phone

Happy Wednesday, loves!

I’m just sitting over here in a mild state of panic because the busy season of our lives is here. Do I say that every season? Probably, but this is different busy. This is cheer competition busy. And that means we basically move out of our home and live in hotels for the next two million days.

Okay, that might be a *small exaggeration.

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But….that’s neither here nor there. It’s an exciting time even if my inner tired-girl pretends it’s not. I’m dramatic. I know. And that’s not the point of this post, either. Does anyone else ever read my blog and think, “Her husband must legit be the most patient person in the world because when this chick tells a story, it takes her six hours and 7 other stories to get to any actual point.”? Back on track. Really. I promise.

Just before Christmas, I partnered with Life360 to discuss their cool new app. It’s all about keeping track of your family with the app, and it helps promote safety for all family members. Our family loves this app, and I’m sure we will extra super completely love it when our daughter gets her first cell phone in August.

That brings me to the point of this post – I had a million questions on Instagram about the cell phone situation. Parents who are concerned about when is the appropriate time to give one to their kids, should they be worried that their kids feel left out because their friends have cell phones and they do not, and so many more questions. I’m going to try and answer those based on our personal decision.

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No Cell Phone For Addison

She’s 10. Sorry, but there is not one tiny reason on the planet that our 10-year-old needs a cell phone. She is either with us, with her grandparents, at school, or with the parents of her friends. And believe me when I tell you that she’s not allowed to spend time with friends whose parents we do not know well and closely.

In short, there is not a time in her life when she’s not able to contact us. Her teacher has our cell phone numbers. We have their cell phone numbers. Her friends’ parents would never tell her she cannot call us or ignore our calls if she’s with them. That’s all there is to it. She’s not in the car with people we don’t know, and she’s not anywhere I can’t immediately get access to her or vice versa. She has no need for a cell phone. My husband and I are the only people she needs to speak to. That’s it.

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Middle School and the Cell Phone

My husband and I have gone over this so many times that I cannot even begin to tell you how many hours we’ve spent discussing this. When do we get her one? When we do go that route, and how do we handle it when she’s got one?

The simple answer – when she goes to middle school in August. It’s a different world in middle school. She’ll be in a different school, and she won’t be nearly as close to us as she is now. She’ll be involved in school-related activities rather than the extracurriculars we sign her up for now. I won’t be taking her to practices and meetings – she’ll merely stay after school for those.

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Additionally, she won’t be with many of the kids she’s with now. The kids she’s with now she’s been with for a million years. We know them. We know their parents. I know all her teachers, her principal, and the administration, and I communicate regularly with them and pop into their classrooms often. I am actively involved in both the PTA and in Safety Patrol at her school, and I make it a point to be near my kids as often as possible when they are at school. I’m probably too involved, but I’m not opposed to being a stalker when it comes to my kids. #worstmomever and proud of it.

However, when she goes to middle school, she’s going with a few of her best friends, and a bunch of kids from a different school. She’s not going to the middle school that is fed from her current school. So, there will be more kids, different kids, different teachers, and I’m getting the distinct impression parents who make themselves at home at the middle school aren’t nearly as welcome as they are in the elementary school. So…she gets a cell phone.

I want to know she can get in touch with me throughout the day. I want to be able to text her and tell  her that she’s going home with her best friend’s parents when we have a last minute change. I want her to know she can text me and let me know if practice is cancelled and she needs to be picked up at pickup. I need to know we can communicate, and I have a feeling it won’t be as easy as it is right now.

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I mean, I can pick up my phone and text her teacher now and tell her that I’m going through the pick-up line in the afternoon rather than getting out and coming into the school to get her because it’s pouring and I’m not ruining my hair, can she let Addy know? She responds yes, sends the GIF from FRIENDS where Monica’s got the ‘fro going on, and we laugh and laugh and laugh (I mean, what a fun teacher, right?!).

I don’t think that’ll be the situation in middle school. So, she’s getting a phone.

Stipulations

You didn’t think she’s just going to turn 11 in July and get a cell phone without any rules, did you? We love rules in the Raiford house. Uncool rules like the kids can’t get up and run around in restaurants, and they have bedtimes every single night – even the weekends – and they have to sleep in their own beds and stay out of ours, and they have to eat their veggies, and they have to be respectful and do their homework and make good grades and use manners and pick up after themselves and clean their rooms and put their laundry in the laundry room and play outside instead of watching television and read books and be decent, kind human beings.

We love rules.

Good grief – there I go again.

Back to the point. There are stipulations with the cell phone situation. For one, she cannot have any social media accounts. Again, she’s going to be 11. No child needs social media at 11. It does no good. It brings no value. It does nothing for her brain.

She cannot have any apps other than school-related apps. It will have parental controls, locks, and a password she’s not allowed to discuss. She’s not allowed to store phone numbers in it except for ours, our parents, and a few of our close friends’ numbers.

Final stipulation – and this is the BIG one.

When she comes home from school in the afternoons, her cell phone goes into our home office and she doesn’t get it back until she goes to school the following day. That’s the rule. She gets it when she is not with us, and that is it.

What does she need a cell phone for at home? She has a tablet. She has a laptop. She has a smart tv. She also has homework, and she has the great outdoors, and she has sports and family obligations, and friends to spend face-to-face time with.

So, while other kids are busy texting and getting lost in horrible, awful, terrible things the internet has to offer, our child will not be learning to take duck-face selfies or posting to social media. She’ll be reading books and playing outside with her siblings, and going on bike rides with us, and enjoying family trips, and having innocent fun.

She’ll grow up soon enough. Why encourage that? There are too many kids her age far too mature our taste. We like our sweet, innocent little girl just like she is. We aren’t trying to rush her into growing into a teenager just yet.

But, don’t think for a moment her entire phone will not be filled with selfies of myself and my husband and our little ones making stupid faces and doing other embarrassing things so she’s always thinking about us. Oh, and I cannot wait to pick up my personal ring tone for her.

Listen, Raiford and I became parents for the sole purpose of one day being the most embarrassing parents ever. It’s been 10 years, and our time is finally coming. Let us have it. It’s our dream.

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So, when should you get your child a cell phone? I can’t answer that question for you. I can only tell you why we chose the situation we chose, and I can only tell you to ask yourself if you feel it’s necessary and safe. Your decision is a personal one, and that’s the beauty of parenting. You get to do you, boo, and I get to do me, and we get to high-five and embarrass our kids and complain about how stupid we are when they ask for math homework help. #goals

Monday Motivation: Never Miss A Monday (In Whatever You’re Doing)

Happy Monday, loves!

You know the saying, never miss a Monday? So well-said, if you ask me. However, I’m not convinced it applies only to workouts. It’s everything.

Personally, if I miss a Monday with anything in my life, I feel as if the rest of the week turns into a big ol’ mess. Whether I sleep in or I miss a workout or I put off something I need to do on a Monday, it throws my entire week off track in about a million ways.

I should really get it together and not let that day dictate my entire life, but I suppose I’m not that mature.

That said, I do like Monday. It’s the January 1st of my life. A fresh start, a new week, a new beginning. Again, I’m not mature enough to do that any other day, apparently. Oh well; we can’t all be perfect, right?

If you’re struggling with the Mondays, I have some advice that might help you find your motivation to never miss a Monday. I’m talking workouts at the moment, but you can take this advice and apply it as needed to any other aspect of your life.

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Ask Yourself One Question

How will I feel when I’m done?

Boom. There you go. You’re welcome. I’ve got nothing else for you.

Kidding. Kind of. It’s all you need to do. Sit back, ask yourself how you’ll feel when you’re done, and be honest.

When I ask myself how I’ll feel when I’m doing with a workout, I have one answer – amazing. When I ask myself how I’ll feel if I don’t work out, I have one answer – fat and lazy.

And that’s my main motivation. Ask yourself how you’re going to feel, and then decide how you want to feel.  You do realize you’re in control of that stuff, right?

Get it Over With

I like to do things I don’t like to do first. That helps me get them done so that they don’t go to the wayside. It also lightens my mood when I’m doing with something I wasn’t excited about. Not only do I feel accomplished it’s over and done with, I feel so good that I’m done thinking about it for the rest of the day.

Create A Vision Board

What do you want from your life? Put it on a vision board. Every time you feel unmotivated to do what you want to do, put that vision board in front of you and ask yourself if you’re willing to give up what you want for the day or if you’d rather conquer it and take that step to get closer to your goals.

Hold Yourself Accountable

I tell my husband my goals for the day every morning and ask him to please kindly heckle me when I don’t get them done. I ask him to judge me, to make me feel bad, and to give me hell.

He doesn’t. (I mean, what a meanie).

But, telling him makes me more accountable because then I feel as if I have to do it or I make myself feel like a failure in his eyes (not that he would ever make me feel that way). Tell someone. Post it on social media. Do something to hold yourself accountable so you don’t let someone else down.

Make Like Nike

Just do it. Come on. You’re a bad ass motherfucker. Now get it done.

Buy This, Not That: How to Make Your Outfits Look More Expensive

Happy Friday, loves!

Is it just me, or is this month basically flying by without any real slow down? I cannot believe we are already more than halfway through the first month of the new year, but I guess I should considering how much faster time goes by with four kids than it did before.

I’m loving it, though. This is an exciting year for me and my family with all that we have going on, and it’s so much fun to live through it a day at a time – even if it feels like those days fly by. Since it’s Friday, I’m going to keep this short and sweet and basically to the point.

Y’all know that I love high-end fashion. I love designer shoes, bags, and sunglasses – I’ve been collecting Louis Vuitton handbags since I was 20 (though I’m super guilty of rarely carrying anything other than my Neverfull GM the past two or three years). I have more Louboutins and Manolo Blahniks than most people have clothes. I loooove high-end designer fashion.

Mostly accessories – though I tend to always spend more for designer basics. Jeans, dresses, and coats (that I really only need for our twice-yearly winter trips to NYC). Other than that, I’m good buying the budget-friendly version of most things. If it’s trendy or it’s easily replaceable, I won’t spend much on it. It’s those classic pieces I cannot live with if they’re poor quality.

Because I like to mix a lot of high-end fashion with low-end items, I get a lot of questions about making cheaper pieces look expensive. The truth is that it’s so much easier than you imagine. You don’t need to have designer items to make your outfit look expensive if you’re on a budget. You just need to know how to shop for pieces that don’t look cheap – and how to mix and match.

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Buy A Long Coat, Not A Short One

If you buy a long coat with a classic cut, you can make any winter ensemble look more expensive. Just be sure you’re not buying your long coats from the trendy shops you see on Pinterest or Facebook. You can get a good quality long coat with an affordable pricetag at Nordstrom, Macys, Dillards, and even H&M.

Try this one, this one or this one.

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Find a Tailor, Don’t Settle

Do not settle for pieces that don’t fit well. It doesn’t matter if you spend $500 on a dress or you spend $15 on it. If it doesn’t fit you well, it looks cheap. Find a tailor. Become her best friend. Have your clothes hemmed and fitted to your body type.

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Know What You Can Pull Off, And Don’t Be A Victim

So many women look gorgeous in those high-waist, wide-leg culottes. I, my friends, am not one of them. As much as I love them, you won’t find me in them because I know that I cannot pull them off. Know what your body can handle, and don’t deviate from that path. You cannot pull off every trend that comes your way. Know thyself.

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Wear Pointed Toes, Not Round Toes

I just don’t love a round toe when it comes to a classic heel. If you’re going to look high-end, the first thing you should do is throw on a pair of great shoes, but make sure those pumps have a pointed toe. They’re instantly more flattering because they help elongate your legs rather than making them appear squatty. They just don’t work – and they never look upscale.

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Think Basics, Not Basic

If you want to look expensive, try the basics. Think wrap dresses, fitted jeans and high-quality tee shirts with a blazer. Add classic pumps to an outfit, or get a few fitted oxford shirts. Keep your jewelry simple and sophisticated. Add a pair of oversized sunglasses. Get a structured bag. Stick to basic colors, and take off that last layer of whatever. Less is always more.

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Show Off One Body Part, Not All of Them

The quickest way to look cheap is to put every body part you have on display. Keep it classy by keeping everything else modest and only showing off one asset at a time. If your hemline is short, make sure your neckline is high. Show off those gorgeous legs, but keep everything else under wraps. If your neckline is plunging, make sure the length of your dress or skirt is at or below the knee. For example, a plunging neckline in a fitted sheath that hits just below your knees is one of the sexiest yet most sophisticated looks imaginable.

My gorgeous grandmother always told me that you attract what you put out there. If you want to be treated like a lady with class and elegance and attract people of the same nature, dress like one. If you want to attract low-quality people who treat you as such, dress like one. It’s that simple.

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Remember That You Attract What You Put Out There

Here’s the deal – your personal style choices are just that. Personal. Don’t let me dictate what you wear. However, always remember that you do attract a very certain type of attention when you walk out the door based on how you dress. Keep that in mind, and you’ll always be a step ahead of the game.

2019 Fitness Challenge with BBG – Adding an Additional Program to My Workouts

Happy Wednesday, loves!

So, I did a thing.

Well, I’m working on a collaboration with a company, and I did a thing, and I’m really excited about it. Y’all know that I’m big on being fit and toned, eating well, and being healthy in general. Not that I don’t love me some vino and some decadent and unhealthy foods, but I really place so much importance on being fit and toned.

Listen, I’m 35 years old and my metabolism isn’t going to carry me forever. I love to work out. I love the endorphins and the rush I get after a good workout. My mood is good. I have so much more confidence, and I have zero problem putting on a bikini. I love the feeling of knowing my size and that I can fit into whatever I want to wear. I love that. I love have abs, and I love having a muscle and being toned.

And I’ve developed a serious passion for both running and yoga.

I like the gym, too. I work out at the YMCA when I’m not running at home. I take a very intense yoga class at the Y 2 to 3 days a week, and I use their machines and equipment there, too, when I’m not working out at home. I like a nice variety – but I’ve been a little bored with my standard workouts. Well, bored might not be the right word.

I told my husband before the new year began that I wanted to find a fun new way of working out to add to my running and my yoga. I love both, but I know that I have to add something to it and change it up a bit to make it effective. I’m at a plateau where I love my body the way it is, but I’m not feeling the additional challenge or seeing results in other places because I’m doing the same thing – though yoga is different every single day.

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So, when a collaboration with Kayla Itsines and the BBG workout was presented, I was all over it. I’d been checking the internet – I love you, Pinterest – for new workout ideas and routines, but nothing seemed challenging. When this opportunity came about, I decided I’d give it a try. I love to work out, I love to try new things, and I’m always up for mixing it up.

The idea of 28-minute workouts every day is also exciting to me. I want to be stronger and even more toned, so this is something I’m excited to try. I’m excited to share more with you as I get started. I only just started this week as the program just went live – and that’s exciting.

I’m not going to give up running or yoga. I’m not replacing either, and I am using a combination of the at-home workouts and the gym workouts. I don’t think everyone does that, and it’s certainly not required, but it’s something that I’m excited to try. I’m always up for new things, and this seems fun. I don’t know if I’ll love it. I don’t know if I’ll dislike it, but I do know I’ll see myself through all 12 weeks – because I don’t quit.

Here’s what I’m hoping to get from this workout program.

  • A new appreciation for variation
  • More strength
  • More toned
  • the ability to run further
  • more stamina
  • change
  • a more well-rounded workout

 

While yoga and running give me what I want and what I need, I also love variation and exciting new things – and that’s something I’m going to enjoy. Basically, I love a challenge, and I’m excited to try something new that I’ve never done.

2019 is all about adventure for me, and I’m considering this my first step to trying new things and adding to my life. Here we go!

National Clean Off Your Desk Day: Tips For Getting and Staying Organized

Happy Monday, loves!

Super fun fact: Did y’all know today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day? Well, it is; and I cannot think of a better Monday vibe. If you know me, you know I’m all about organization and cleanliness and all things OCD when it comes to being neat and clean and all that fun stuff.

Basically, this day speaks to me like no other.

I love organization. I live for cleanliness.

Isn’t that just ironic when I’m the mom of four? I’ve been instilling in my kids since day one that cleanliness is a real thing – not that Ava gets that, but she keeps her door shut and I avoid her room like the plague. Her idea of clean is too cluttered for my taste, so I just don’t go into her room. I want her to be independent and her own self, but she’s actually killing me.

Fortunately, the rest of my people are clean. And my desk is always clean. My office is always clean, to be quite honest. The kids aren’t allowed in our home office since we both work from home and we both have so many important items in our office.

It’s so important to understand the importance of an uncluttered, clean desk. Before I get to my clean desk tips, I want you to know what a clean desk can do for you.

  • Make you more motivated
  • Make you less stressed
  • Give you more time
  • Make your life easier

A clean desk means you’re not overwhelmed the moment you sit down.  You’re not spending valuable time searching for things, cleaning things out, or feeling like you cannot get organized. You’re more motivated to work at a clean desk. You’re less stressed when everything is neat and tidy.  Your life is easier because your mind is as uncluttered as your desk.  You’ll get more done, and you’ll get it done more efficiently.

How’s that for clean your desk of day motivation?

In honor of #nationalcleanoffyourdeskday I’m offering you a few tips that might help you keep things neat, clean, and as minimalistic as possible.

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Get Rid of It

You know you don’t need everything in your desk. Go through it with a trash bag on hand, and throw that junk away. Throw all of it away. What you cannot throw away, find a file or scan it or something. And that goes for everything on top of your desk, too.

Sign Up For Online Billing

If you’re looking for a simple way to keep your desk clean, try signing up for online billing. This keeps your desk clean and uncluttered because all of those bills you get each month go right to your inbox rather than your mailbox. Additionally, this is so much safer for your financial identity – keep that personal information out of your physical mailbox – and your desk cleanliness.

File It

I advocate for digital filing if you can make that a thing in your life. Scan it and create files on your computer in which you keep all your important stuff so it’s not in files around your office. Our home office is as uncluttered as you can imagine, and that’s because I keep everything digitally filed. We have our desks, we have one decorative table and lamp, and we have a sizable cabinet with a few shelves and a big cabinet. We keep as much on our computers as possible, and everything else gets filed into pretty files in the cabinet.

Make it A Habit

The best way to clean your desk is to keep it clean all the time. Put a trash can by your desk and put trash in it right away rather than shoving it in drawers. File things immediately rather than putting them in a ‘to do’ pile. You can make it a habit after a few weeks if you really dedicate your life to keeping your desk organized.

You don’t have to work from home to have a clean desk. And you don’t have to stop at your desk. Organizing your life makes it that much sweeter, and we are big advocates of a sweeter life.

Best Beauty Buys of the Year

Happy Friday, loves!

It’s Friday, the kids have been back in school for a few days now, I’ve had some serious quality time with my husband this week, the weekend is officially here; my mood is stellar.

It’s Friday, so I’m going to make this quick and just round up a few of my favorite beauty purchases. I’ve mentioned before – to an extent – how much my skin has changed in the past few years. I hit 35 in 2018, and my skin is still changing. I’ve changed my skincare and even my makeup routine, and so far, so good. I’m really impressed with a few purchases I made in the past year – some after a few fails and some on the first try.

I put a lot of weight into the reviews of a product, and I tend to stick to classics. I’m not a ‘fad’ or ‘trend’ kind of girl in most aspects of my life, but especially not when it pertains to my skincare. I value my skin, and I work hard to keep it looking good. That said, here are a few of my absolute favorite skincare must-haves.

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Beauty Blender

I just switched from my all-time favorite powder foundation to a liquid foundation in the past year. My skin just couldn’t handle the powder foundation the way it did for so long (though I love, love, love and recommend it to anyone whose skin can handle it before that whole age situation hits). I cannot believe I lived my entire life without ever using a beauty blender until 2018.

But, I also learned that you cannot go the cheap route on the blender. You must buy the real thing, or you’re not doing yourself any favors. This is one tool that will change your life, but the cheap version falls apart, doesn’t handle the job well, and it leaves your skin looking less than flawless. Do not try to save here.

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Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask

I’m a weekly mask girl, and this is the one I use weekly. For my skin – pores, *eye rolls* – this is the best. It’s perfect for what I’m looking to achieve, and you absolutely cannot beat the price point ($28). I highly recommend Clinique for your skincare needs – it’s an established brand with a long history of making women feel gorgeous, and it’s one that you cannot go wrong with once you find the mask that works for you.

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Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator

Florida weather is weird, and my skin dries out so hard during the fall/winter months. We also travel a lot, and we spend quite a bit of time in the air. This also makes my skin thirsty. Of all the moisturizers I’ve found, this is by far the absolute best of the best. I use it every single morning after I shower before I put on my makeup. It’s a dream come true.

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Clinique Smart Night Custom Repair Moisturizer

Nighttime is a great time for your skin, but only if you’re using the right nighttime moisturizer. This one is a dream come true – literally. It’s everything you want at night to keep your skin firm, hydrated, and looking younger than ever.

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Belief Moisturizing Eye Bomb

I’m going to be honest and tell you I only use this a few times a week. I’m fortunate that I don’t suffer from many fine lines and wrinkles at this age, and my crinkly laugh lines are not something I’m looking to get rid of. But, this is great when my eyes are feeling tired – which they do a lot with four kids and a business.

What are your favorite beauty buys? I’m loving so many these days!

Hitting Reset on Your Body and Mind When You’re In A Funk

Happy Wednesday, loves!

Can you believe we are officially nine days into the year already?! It’s amazing, isn’t it? I swear to you, it was just New Year’s Eve, and I was just rounding out the last day of the year. It was such a fun way to end the year, too. We had a Gator Game party at our house on the 29th, and our friends’ daughter – our honorary fifth child – stayed after they left Saturday night for two nights. We made plans to make no plans on Sunday, so we were super lazy, but Monday was a busy day.

It was NYE, and it began with a family morning. My girlfriend called me that morning to say she was going to join our afternoon movie date and take back her daughter from us that afternoon, and she wanted to know if I wanted to go get lunch first. We had a fun lunch on the water – in the 80 degree temps – and then we took the girls to see Mary Poppins with another friend and her kids. After the movie, the girls and I ran home, rounded up the twins and Craig, and we went to our friends’ house for a very low-key NYE party. It was all kids and fireworks and fun, and we enjoyed the new year in the best possible manner ever.

And then it was January 1. And then I blinked, and now it’s the 9th already. Life is about to get hectic for us because of Addison’s competition cheer schedule and all our travel, and we are trying (and failing) to keep our schedules light for the next two weeks so we feel prepared for that.

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It’s been a bit of a blur so far, and I know it’s so easy for us to feel a little bit lost this time of year. The holidays are over, we are all kind of holiday-hungover from all the fun and excitement, and we are working so hard to get back into our groove. It’s not like a big secret that the only thing I like about January is that it brought me the birth of the love of my life (happy almost birthday, handsome). Otherwise, I legit don’t care at all for this month. It’s a weird transitional month that doesn’t really bring much to the table.

And I always feel a little bit like I’m in a funk in January. I don’t love that feeling, so I’ve been working hard to avoid it this year by resetting not only my body, but my mind as well. If you’re also in the same weird post-holiday, pre-spring funk, here’s a few things you can do to help reset your body and your mind.

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Work Out

I cannot tell you enough just how good it is to work out. I don’t like to miss a day of exercise because I love how good I feel after. Happy, free, light, airy, enjoying life more. It’s a nice feeling, and it’s not just my feeling. You always feel better when you release those endorphins. Do it.

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Date Night

We have always been big on date nights – with four kids, you have to be. We make it a priority to enjoy at least two dates a month without the kids. Sometimes that’s dinner with friends. Sometimes it’s date night just the two of us. Sometimes it’s a Sunday afternoon grocery store and errand trip. Sometimes it’s a weekend away. Whatever it is, make time for more of that.

Drink Water First

I love water – aside from coffee and wine. And I cannot even tell you how good I feel drinking a big cup first thing when I wake up. I fill up my big Yeti cup at night and leave it by the coffee pot in the mornings so that I can drink it before I grab my coffee. And I feel so good when I do.

Pamper Myself

I’m a fan of a facial and a massage, but you can do it at home, too. I highly recommend investing in a great face mask to use once a week (my favorite is the Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask). Not only is this a good habit to adopt all year, it’s a great way to pep yourself up when you’re in a funk.

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Change Your Routine

Okay, this is big for me. I’m not a routine-changing kind of gal. I prefer my routine and my schedule, but sometimes the best thing I do is say screw it and change it all up. Sometimes that means walking away from my desk and spending the day doing what I want. Reading, heading to my favorite local hotel for a bucket drink and a day by the water, brunch with friends, a trip to Starbucks and Nordstrom. Something, anything.

Eat Better

Here’s what I really think the issue is this time of year – I spend a few weeks not eating my normal diet. Totally my fault, I know. My body is so accustomed to a healthy diet that I get all kinds of out of whack and in need of a healthy cleanse this time of year. I love the treats around the holidays. I might not eat cinnamon rolls all year, but you better believe I’m all over them at Christmas. There’s something about holiday food that I definitely enjoy for a few weeks around Christmas. The rest of the year, I don’t really care too much for it. At Christmas, I give myself all the green lights for eating whatever.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not mad about that. I eat well all year, so I don’t mind spending  few weeks eating all the junk. But, I do feel it when it’s over. It’s like Christmas ends and I’m like “Oh, wait, I don’t actually love those things,” but I will never not eat them this time of year. My funk this time of year is quick to hit the curb when I just treat my body right again. More homecooked meals that are good for me. More fruit. More veggies. More good stuff. It helps tremendously.

geoffreys

Go Play

When you are in a funk, just get outside and play. My husband and I love to golf, and that always helps. We love to get outside with the kids and play baseball, run, take walks, play whatever. Ride bikes. Go Swimming. Go do something that makes you feel like a kid again. It does wonders for your soul.

Say No

  • You don’t have time
  • You’re not into it
  • It doesn’t make you happy
  • It’s not worth your time
  • It’s not adding to your peace
  • It’s not for you
  • You just don’t want to

If any of those things go through your mind when someone extends an invite or you’re asked to do something, say no. Nothing will help you get out of a funk faster than being good to yourself. No is a complete sentence, after all.

Happy 2019, friends. I hope you’re all living your best life so far.