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Hostess Gifts to Keep On Hand

Happy Wednesday, loves! 

There is nothing I love more this time of year than the feeling I get when the holidays are here. I can’t explain it, but you know what I mean. It’s a feeling of contentment. Happiness and joy and love and excitement. It’s everywhere, and I’m in love.
One thing I always make sure I have around the holidays is a stash of gifts – just in case. Hostess gifts, last minute gifts, you know the type. When the amazing team at Crabtree & Evelyn reached out and asked if I’d like to try out the Hands Delight Hand Therapy Trio, I was obviously on board with that. Ever since, it’s become one of my very favorite items to have and to give.
Since my husband and I always seem to need a gift quickly, we keep a cabinet in our office filled with perfect hostess gifts we can grab and take with us even when we haven’t any time. That includes our favorite Crabtree & Evelyn gift set.

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Crabtree & Evelyn Lotion Set
This is more than just a little amazing as a gift. First, who doesn’t love Crabtree & Evelyn products? Second, who doesn’t love a gift set with more than one gift in it?! It’s the perfect gift because people actually need it when the weather is cold and their hands are dry – and it smells amazing. Right now, all my readers can use promo code “MASHUP20” for 20% off your entire order – plus free shipping!
Wine/Champagne
Most everyone loves a bottle of something wonderful, so we keep a few of our personal favorites on hand all the time. We love a mixture of price points, too. Everything from a super affordable $25 bottle of red to a bottle of Chandon and Moët that’s pricier, but oftentimes more appropriate.
Candles
During the holidays, I love to keep an array of Bath & Body Works holiday scented candles on hand, but I also love Diptyque candles throughout the year. Why? People love candles! What’s not to love?!
Flowers
The only problem with fresh flowers is that they can’t be kept on hand. If we have time, roses or peonies – depending on the season  – are my favorite go to. If you have time to stop, always go for flowers!
What’s your favorite hostess gift to give or receive? Let me know in the comments!
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Subscription Boxes: The Christmas Gift that Keeps On Giving

Happy Monday, loves!

It is officially December, and that is officially exciting! We’ve been living our best lives over here the past few weeks, and I’ve been a little MIA. Last week was a crazy one. Thanksgiving was the week before last, and it was a beautiful week. Family, friends, food, and so much love. We have so much to be thankful for, and we certainly don’t take that for granted.

Last week was back to normal except not normal. Carter developed a viral infection that turned into a double ear infection that he shared with his twin sister. He was out of school 4.5 days (he left early Monday) and she was out the last two days of the week. It was a hectic week in general, but we made it work.

This week is just as crazy. I’m up even earlier than 5 am all week to get a few hours of work in before I have to be at the girls’ school to do my PTA board member duties with my PTA sister wives at the Gingerbread Shoppe all day, every day, and into the night Friday because of the Winter Festival with Santa. It’s the mom life, and I love it. It totally helps that my PTA sister wives are the most inappropriate, hilarious, completely insane, questionable, fabulous women imaginable – as am I – and we work very, very well together.

Because of that, I worked my behind off last week and over the weekend to get ahead on my deadlines so I don’t stress myself out this week, and I basically killed it. I also killed my second ever 5k this weekend – if you remember that I only began running the last week of April this year. I ran all 3.1 (except it was really 3.33) miles without stopping – in the pouring rain. I did 3 miles in 28:47 and finished overall in 30:58.14 – 99th place out of 206 runners. And I’m really, really proud of myself.

And then I shopped online for things. All the things. Because I love to shop, and I love to give gifts to the people I love, so Christmas is my jam. And while I was shopping online for all the things and my husband was going through his yearly tradition of wondering what kinds of gifts to get me since we buy what we want when we want it, I had a thought.

Subscriptions.

Subscription services are the best thing ever right now. Who doesn’t love to get new things all the time while paying a small fee for it? Boxes that show up on your doorstep filled with things that you love? It’s a win-win for everyone since these are typically the one gift that no one ever has.

That said, I’m going to share a few of the lesser-known subscription boxes that I think will become huge before much longer – and they’re not all boxes; some are just subscriptions – because I love them and have them at home. It literally is the gift that keeps on giving.

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photo from sephora.com

Play! By Sephora

It’s not like it’s a big secret that I’m totally obsessed with Sephora. It’s where I’ve done all my beauty and haircare shopping for the past 15 years of my life, and I was not about to pas sup this box when I saw it a few months ago. The box comes monthly, it’s small, and it has a few fun-size samples and larger sizes in the boxes. Every month is totally different, but you also get to fill out a questionnaire when you sign up for it that allows you to customize your personal needs (is your skin oily or dry? Do you prefer bright colors or muted colors?) so they always send you something you can use.

This box costs a grand total of $10.60 per month, and it’s so much fun. It always comes with 4-5 items all in the trial-size portions. Perfume, lip stick, mascara, moisturizer, and so much more. You even get a gift card that gives you 50 free Beauty Insider points to add to your next purchase if you enter it at check out. This box is my favorite because it allows me to try new things I might not otherwise try, and I can decide for 10 bucks if I love them, hate them, or have no feelings for them whatsoever.

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photo from art of organics 

Art of Organics

This box has become one of my favorites ever since the company reached out to me and asked me if I’d like to try it out. It’s all about clean beauty delivered monthly to your door. This box comes with two to four products every month, and they are beyond amazing. What’s even better – they are full-size products. No sample or trial sizes here, thank you very much.

Every box has a theme. It might be a hair care month. It might be a winter box. It might be a skin care box. It might anything, but it’s always amazing. You can choose to order one box at a time for $41.95 monthly, buy six boxes at a time for $39.95 a box ($239.70 one time payment) or buy a full year of boxes for $455.40 ($37.95 per box).

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photo from cosmobox

CosmoBox

Thank you, Cosmo, for sending this to our lives. It is the best. It’s a box with all of the latest and greatest in beauty, fashion, and lifestyle items. You get to try them out every months for a grand total of $29.99 per month. This box always contains more than $60 in goodies, so it’s a great deal. It is another on that lets you try new things for a great price – which is always a win!

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photo from the bouqs company 

The Bouqs Company

If you’re anything like me, you love fresh flowers. I cannot go without them in my home, and you will never find us without fresh flowers in most rooms. This is a perfect subscription for anyone who loves beautiful flowers. For $32 per month, you get to have a fresh floral arrangement delivered to your front door. It’s always different, always seasonal, and always makes you feel so much happier when you see it arrive. It’s your personal best, and you will love it.

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photo from target

Cat & Jack Outfit Box from Target

So…new moms. Here you go. You’re welcome, and you’re going to love this. If you know a new mom, this will cost you $40 per month. It’s all kinds of adorable Cat & Jack (you know the brand from Target) clothing that is delivered monthly – and they even send the next size up as your baby grows. They keep track of all of it for you, and it might be the best idea since, well, anything else.

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Rent the Runway Update

If you have someone in your life who loves designer clothing and accessories, you want to spend the $80 per month on this shipment. It’s four items that come to your door. You get to keep them for one month. You get to choose what you want so you always have four gorgeous news items in your closet to wear for one month. If they don’t fit, send them back and they will ship you new ones. Hate something? Send it back and you’ll get a new one. You get to choose what you want, how you want it, and you get to have it all sent to your door. It’s hundreds to thousands of dollars worth of designer clothes shipped to you every month.

The best part is that you can customize the shipment every month to meet your needs. Going on vacation? Get all the Lilly Pulitzer. Is it the holiday season? Order all the beautiful red dresses. You can update your wardrobe monthly without any commitment, and that’s what makes this the best box on the market.

Black Friday Shopping Tips

Happy Friday, loves!

I hope you all had the most beautiful and amazing Thanksgiving! Our home was filled with people we love, more food that we could possibly eat, too much fun and laughter, and probably a few too many cocktails. It was everything.

Now that you’re properly stuffed, adequately hating yourself for eating that 3rd helping of dinner, and feeling a little like you cannot do much more than roll out of bed – and we do mean roll – it’s time to talk shop. And by shop, I obviously mean shopping. I love Black Friday – though I don’t go shopping on Black Friday outside of my robe (and on my couch and with my coffee). One, because there is no sale worth the road rage I know I’m going to have today, and two, because today is DÉCOR DAY! Or, as we call it in the Raiford house, the best day ever.

We go buy our beautiful, amazing, insane tree. Every year I try to get one taller than the year before, but it’s really, really hard in Florida to find anything taller than 16-17 feet. My Christmas tree room, however, has 23-foot ceilings and huge windows, so finding the biggest tree ever is always my goal.

Anyway, we go buy the big tree. Then we come home and decorate it and the smaller tree in the family room and the master bedroom. The kids all get 3-4 foot trees for their bedrooms, and we do let them choose new decorations for their trees every year.

Then….we decorate. The Christmas music comes on for the first time all year. The hot chocolate is flowing. There are cookies baking (because the kids love that) and we are all having the best day ever. I cannot even – it’s my favorite.

Because I want you to also have the best day ever, I want to share with you my favorite Black Friday shopping tips.

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Stay Home

No, really. There is nothing better than sleeping in, drinking your coffee in your robe, and doing not a darn thing until you are ready.

Shop the Right Sales

Honestly, I never know where I want to shop the most. It all depends on the year, but I will share with you some of my no-fail Black Friday orders.

  • Nordstrom: You will always find great sales online on Black Friday on anything and everything
  • Bath and Body Works: Would you judge me if I told you I burn a 3-wick candle out in two days? Well, that’s what happens when you work from home. So, this day is a major candle sale day, and I load up since you can stack all those coupons they mail you.
  • Crew: I always find something majorly on sale here.
  • Dillards: I love Dillards on Black Friday because they have the lowest and most ridiculous prices on kid’s Under Armour apparel, and that’s all my son and my nephew wear, so I fill that cart!
  • Old Navy: When you have a 7-year-old who is as hard on her clothes as mine, you buy her stuff here, today.
  • Sephora: Honestly, they just had their 20% off sale twice in the past few weeks, so don’t be surprised if they throw something else out today. They always do well.

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Those are my favorites, but sometimes I find things elsewhere. It just depends on what catches my eye as I peruse my inbox that morning and see all the listed sales.

Don’t Stress

Listen, ladies, there are going to be a million and one more sales this holiday season, and some of them will be better than the last one. You will not miss out if you don’t buy something today. I guarantee you will find it still on sale in a week.

Skip the Hot New Items

You can’t find it, so stop stressing yourself out about it. It’ll be back in full stock at the beginning of January, and you will get it for less. Trust me.

Bake Something

Cinnamon rolls or French toast or something like that. It’s such a nice way to start the day, and you feel so good about life. Just do it. It’s how I like my Black Fridays.

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, loves!

Before the turkey goes in the oven, before the formal dining room table is set, before our guests arrive, I like to wake early and sit outside with a hot cup of coffee and my thoughts. I love the back deck this time of day (or the front porch or lanai if it rains) when the sun is rising behind our home. The sky is pink, and everything is quiet. The kids are still asleep, my husband may or may not rise to join me depending on whether I can get out of bed without waking him – which he doesn’t mind, but it always makes me feel bad.

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. Nothing is a problem on this day. All the things that bother me leading up to it are gone. The fact that there is an additional guest coming that no one bothered to mention to us, or the fact that everyone loves to gather in the kitchen and basically get in our way nonstop, or the fact that everyone wants to help us and all we want is for them to get out of the kitchen and leave things alone…they disappear. They aren’t a big deal (I mean, I’m fully aware they aren’t a big deal – ever – but I’m a petty kind of Type-A, so give me a little slack, mmmkay?). Everything is right in my world.

Growing up, all I ever wanted was a big, beautiful house in which my husband and I could host holidays, and the realization that the one thing I wanted more than anything in the world is my reality is my favorite feeling.

I also love today because our kids like to wake up and cuddle us before we prep our big breakfast and then dinner. They like to sit down and ask us what we are grateful and thankful for this year. Of course, we are always thankful for their sweet faces and for one another, but hearing them tell us that they are thankful for God or for us or for playing outside or for cookies or something else equally sweet and adorable makes us feel so good. We’ve raised four beautiful babes into polite, kind, loving little people – with enough sarcasm and dry humor to make them awesome. Pat on the back to us, please.

I always feel that I have so much to be thankful for, and this year is no exception. This year, my gratitude is just overwhelming (I know I say that every year). However, I really feel it so much more this year. So many beautiful things have happened this year that remind me of that and make me feel thankful every single day.

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There’s Beauty in Simplicity

Ask my husband or anyone who knows me well, and they’ll tell you I’m anything but simple. And they’ll tell you my taste is as far from simple as it gets. However, it’s the simplicity we’ve worked so hard to find this year that has brought me so much joy, and for that I’m thankful. Getting #backtobasics has been everything. While I’d like to say our calendar isn’t full all the time, that’s not true. We have for kids, careers, and a life that don’t allow for us to go unscheduled, but we have made it a point to avoid putting too much on the calendar. If we don’t really want to do it, we don’t do it.

The lack of planning every single weekend with events months in advance has been the most valuable experience. Even though none of our free weekends have been free at all, the ability to get up and say, “Let’s go to the Omni and take the kids to Disney for the evening,” or “Let’s book that weekend to go to Texas and see my grandmother,” or “What? Date night? We’d love to!” has been everything. We are more relaxed, we are happier, and we are enjoying the quality of our lives. If the past two weekends have been an example, it’s the simplest, most basic things that have the most profound impact and make for the most amazing memories. We are just so fortunate.

Laugher is the Best Medicine

I don’t care who you are, if you aren’t laughing as much as we’ve been laughing this year, you aren’t doing life right. There have been a lot of date nights and Wednesday night dinners and dinner parties this year that have been so much fun, so hilarious, and filled with so much laughter that every single one of us has forgotten we have a phone. No pictures. No tags. Nothing. Best nights ever. We’re doing life with some super fantastic people, and that’s what it’s about.

There’s No Time For Negativity

We all have bad days, annoyances, and stuff. Like, for example, I spent a few hours on Friday on the phone with Under Armour asking why the gifts I ordered on October 20th hadn’t arrived yet on November 16, only to find out that what I ordered was out of stock – no notification, but they did charge me. Then I hung up, called UPS and asked them why the Nordstrom package I was expecting that day went from being on the truck for delivery to being in Miami only for them to tell me someone messed up (um, obviously?) to then being on the phone with FedEx to ask if I can possibly reschedule the delivery of 51 boxes of fundraiser items because even though I told the fundraiser lady that this week is Thanksgiving and there is no one at my daughter’s school to accept the shipment, she shipped it for delivery this week anyway.

We all have our stuff. And it’s okay to complain about it. But it’s not okay to blame everyone else for your life problems. Most of the time, it’s your own fault you’re not enjoying life. You put yourself into situations that are just stupid, pointless, and take away from your life. It’s not anyone’s fault but your own, but many people don’t see that. They are always right, their opinion is always the correct one, and they know everything about everything all the time.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

This year has been so good for me minimizing that kind of interaction, and it’s been good for me to learn to put that kind of negativity away when I’m feeling it, too. That’s made me so much happier. When you just realize your own issues, work on them, and move on, your life is much happier. Listen, you can take a sandwich bag filled with pennies from a 6-year-old and count out $4 for them to buy a book at a book fair all while inhaling the overwhelming scent of marijuana straight from that baggie and complain about the fact that you’re just a volunteer and this is not your job, or you can laugh about it, pass it around for everyone to smell and then laugh harder when they realize what you just gave them. #lifechoices #truestory

You Do You, Boo

You know what? Do you, sister. Be yourself. Do what you love, what makes you happy, what brings joy to your heart. And love everyone else who does the same. What makes life so much sweeter is worrying about you. Don’t worry about anyone else, who they are, what they are, or that their preferences are different than yours. Worry about you, boo. If you’re like me and you won’t leave the house without some form of bold red lipstick just to drop off your kids, that’s amazing.

If you’re like two of my favorite ladies in the world who roll out of bed in the morning and have all the natural beauty and need none, that’s amazing. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks about you. And, hey, try to find some good people in your life who love you and your weird stuff. Remember this – people focus on things about you that bother them because they are insecure about themselves in the same manner. But, the truth is that most of us don’t care how you live, what you look like, or what’s up in your life – unless it’s funny. I love the funny stuff.

If this year has taught me anything, it’s that my own approval is all I need. And the fact that my people get that and embrace that is like finding an extra cookie in the bakery box when you thought they were all gone. #delicious

Focus on Quality Over Quantity

My husband and I have spent a great deal of time this year focusing on quality over quantity with our time and with our kids. We want our time with them to be present, focused, and engaging. And that’s what we love the most. It’s been good.

Early Bedtimes Are Everything

The kids. Us. Me. Listen, if you can be asleep before 8:30 p.m., do it. You won’t ever regret any of that. That’s my life goal nightly. And that’s why our kids have always had early bedtimes. Because I like to sleep. I like to wake up early, and that means I have to go to sleep early so I can get a full night of great sleep and be my best self. It’s how I live my best life.

Get Away Every Month

We’ve always been frequent travelers, but this year we made a deal that we would get away for at least a weekend every month, with or without the kids depending on the situation – and so far we’ve managed to exceed that goal. We’ve had 14 weekends away or trips this year, everywhere from the Bahamas to New York City to two trips to Texas to West Palm Beach to Tampa and Orlando. We’ve taken the kids, we’ve not taken the kids. And we still have a few more trips in the books before the year is over.

That time away has been priceless for both us and our kids, and we’ve loved it. There is nothing like knowing that at least once a month, someone else is going to uncork your bottle of champs and deliver coffee to you in bed in the morning. I consider that living my best life.

Get to Church and Spend Time With God

Do I need to add anything to that?

Smile

There might be a long list of annoyances in the everyday, but life is too good to complain about. So, stop complaining, look for the good in every day, and smile. You have a good life, you just have to stop focusing on the negative, make changes where you’re unhappy, and make everyday a good one. Trust me, you can do it. It’s a hell of a lot easier than you think.

So, that’s what I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for life lessons, for laughter, for the people in my life, for my faith, for the good fortune we work so hard for, and for our sweet family and the abundance of love that we have in our lives. We are overflowing with love and with people who make our hearts feel so full – and that’s what’s so important to us.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Remember, your irritating in-laws (or your own family) will be gone at the end of the day. So, if you’re currently struggling to find something to be thankful for as your mother tells you that you’re not doing this right or your in-laws make comments about this, go ahead and just be thankful that you don’t have to have these dinners every night, give them a hug, and tell them you love them even if they make you crazier than you want to be. The good news is that they probably already know they make you crazy, and they’re never going to stop. It’s called family, and they’re the best.

Life Lately & An Instagram Roundup

Happy Tuesday, loves!

What about this week is so magical?! I love Thanksgiving. I love opening my home to the people we love, hosting a beautiful dinner, spending the day in the kitchen with my husband. I love so much about it. I’m not even that bothered by the kids being home this week because the weather is so beautiful that they just want to be outdoors, and we are able to work with the doors and windows open. It’s just…pretty. I love it.

Life has just been good lately. I know I say that a lot, and I know my enthusiasm for life probably invites a few eye rolls here and there, but I don’t care. Anyone who has any interaction with me on a daily basis knows there are a few things that Make. Me. Crazy. (safety patrol parents. my sweet little nephew. Science fair projects. Just to name a few). But really, I have no complaints and most of those I do have are pretty simple, so that’s something to be happy about.

This weekend was a good one. It was one of those weekends we didn’t have anything planned – and we needed that. We’ve not been home the past month or so on the weekends, and we were just tired. Every night last week was late…we were just tired.

Thursday night last week was a late one. I went with some of my girlfriends to the United Way’s Little Black Dress fundraiser at a local winery, followed by dinner with some of my girlfriends I ran into at the event. It was fun, but it was also 11 pm before I got home! Friday night was family date night, but the kids asked if we could just stay home for once. We were all about that, so we just picked up Olive Garden to go and relaxed at home for the evening.

We also decided to host an impromptu Gator Game Day party at our house. It was very casual with a sub bar and quick snacks, and somehow our luncheon/game day party turned into an all-day event, but it was easily one of the most fun days ever. Like, the kind of fun that leaves everyone saying over and over “This was the best day!” It really was, and I loved every second of it. Sunday ended with another impromptu plan when we went to a local brewery to judge our friend’s entry and turned it into a date night. He’s opening a brewery of his own in a few months, and we loved supporting him with our best friends…and a great dinner! I don’t care for dark beer at all, but he makes the least disgusting dark beer (but if you do love a dark beer, you’d have been in heaven).

Now it’s Monday. The kids are home, the day is beautiful. I’m cramming a full week worth of work into today, tomorrow, and a few hours Wednesday morning, and I’m kind of banging it out like a Rockstar. And that was with a two-mile run this morning, so I’m feeling pretty good. Which brings me to the point of today’s post – an Insta-Roundup.

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7Fam Raw Hem Ankle Jeans, Tory Burch flats sold out similar here, cardigan, tee shirt $5.99 from TJ Maxx, Givenchy Large Square Sunglasses sold out smaller version here 

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7FAM jeans here, Manolo Blahnik pumps, BlankNYC vegan leather jacket, black tee $5.99 at TJ Maxx, Givenchy sunglasses linked in first photo 

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Nordstrom faux leather leggings here, OTK boots here, cowl neck sweater here, Givenchy sunglasses linked in first photo 

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Dress the Population sequin dress (also available on Rent the Runway), Christian Louboutin bow front slingbacks are old, but my second favorites here 

 

Modern Holiday Fashion with Crazy 8

Happy Tuesday, loves!

I am exhausted!

We had such a busy, fun-filled weekend, and I’m tired. Even though it was a long weekend, I didn’t get a lot of rest yesterday during the holiday. I mean, the kids were all home from school, so that’s basically the sum of all things unproductive. It wasn’t a holiday for Craig, so that meant it was up to me to keep the kids quiet so that Craig could work. They are really, really good kids 90 percent of the time, but they can quickly forget what an inside voice sounds like, and that drives me insane when Craig is in the office working. But, they get it with a few reminders.

Actually, we weren’t home long. I took the kids to see the Grinch (super cute) with one of my besties and her two littles, my mom and mother-in-law, and my niece and nephew, so we were gone most of the afternoon. And, randomly, I slept in, took a four-hour middle of the day hiatus to see a movie, and still got as much accomplished before 5 pm as I do on a normal day prior to 3 pm. I was impressed with myself – but, then again, if I tell a client I’ll have something done for them on a certain day, it’s done early. My business motto is always to maintain my excellent reputation by providing stellar work in the timeframe I quote. I cannot stand when a business owner doesn’t keep their word, especially since I’ve spent 10 years keeping mine without incident. (Off my soap box now).

We had the best day Saturday. Craig managed to score four tickets to the Gator Game in the Bull Gator Suites, and it was SO much fun. We’ve been so spoiled this year with all of our major sporting events being in the suites, and I cannot go back to sitting anywhere else. I’m okay with that. It’s who I am as a person. We took our best friends with us, and it was a 12-hour day, and it was fantastic – but exhausting! Sunday we slept in and we celebrated our nephew’s 9th birthday by going bowling, which our kids love so much.

All in all, it was such a sweet weekend, and I’m good. Not restful after our whirlwind 48 hours in Tampa and Texas the weekend before, but it was still too much fun to care. Which, on the other hand, still leaves me exhausted!

Now that we are done with the weekend recap, I’m sharing one of my new favorite situations – with Crazy 8. When the company reached out to me to see if I was interested in shooting a campaign with them with my 10-year-old daughter, I was all for it. We love their clothing, and it makes all of us happy. I cannot stand when little girls don’t look like little girls – they already grow up too fast – but I also understand that our daughter is at an age where she wants to be a little more fashionable. She is a dream when it comes to choosing her clothes, and Crazy 8 makes it so easy for us to shop. She can find things she loves that are still appropriate and stylish that we are all okay with.

If you haven’t shopped their line yet, we highly recommend it. You can find Addison’s black shift dress and mules here and here. Her Lilly Pulitzer sunglasses are here. Did I mention it is beyond affordable, too? Her entire outfit was less than $50 – and both items are currently on sale, which means you can buy the entire outfit for less than $30!  How can you beat that?!

The Best Fall Closet Staple: The Basic Tee

Happy Halloween, loves!

I love Halloween so much! It’s one of my favorite holidays of the year with Thanksgiving and Christmas. Let’s face it, I just love this time of year so much. It’s cool and beautiful outdoors. Well, as cool as can be in Florida. It’s still in the mid-80s all day, but the humidity level is low and the evenings and mornings are perfectly cool. I’ve been running at home instead of at the gym because it’s so gorgeous to run outside this time of year. I seriously cannot get enough of it!

We get to party hard with the twins at their school today, trick or treat with friends tonight, and hopefully not have a late night. I’ve already been practicing eating all the Halloween candy – and I’m doing a good job of it.

So, we’ve already established this time of year is my favorite (I mean, how can it not be when I get to move my office outside to the lanai or the deck or the front porch every day? I don’t work inside these days). And now I’m going to share with you another favorite – a staple.

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{Michael Kors Booties, Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM, 7FAM ankle jeans, Givenchy Sunglasses, TJ Maxx tee, necklace from Tiffany & Co. Bracelets from Tiffany & Co. and David Yurman}

{Sidenote: I have the funniest story about these booties. I wore them to a Halloween party this weekend as part of my costume (we were Chip and Joanna Gaines) and I melted the bottom right off when I had my feet up on the stones surrounding the firepit! My sweet niece told me about it a second before my foot started to burn, and then my sweet husband almost died because I’m not known for my ‘affordable’ shoes…he thought I’d burned the bottom of a pair of Louboutins or Manolos or somethings. He was BEYOND thankful that it was a pair of inexpensive shoes! Be careful around the fire when you have your feet up!}

If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you might already know my style is classic. I love basics, and I totally have a uniform. I tend to gravitate toward classic pieces. Think Lilly Pulitzer all summer and basic tees with skinny jeans and blazers all winter. I like to dress things up with my accessories.

This year, I’m all about a plain pocket tee. I love it because I can throw it on with my Millers and my Neverfull and run out the door when I’m late. I can come home, throw on a blazer and my favorite Gucci belt, a clutch, and some fun heels for the evening. I can wear it with a long sweater and booties. I can wear it with my Hunters on a rainy day. I can pair it with anything to create any look I want in a moment.

If you look in my closet, you’ll see I have something like 30 basic black tees – my go to. I’m trying to be a little different this year, and I hit the jackpot the other day at – of all places – TJ Maxx. I found a beautiful Bordeaux, a basic dark grey, a light gray, a navy, a black, and a white tee. All the same. All for $5.99. And all of them with short sleeves and long. So, naturally, I bought them all. (I usually advocate for investing some money into your staples, but you don’t need to worry about your tees. For this price, you can wear them three times and come out a winner).

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{ Faux leather leggings, Manolo Blahnik pumps are old, Blazer, Prada Saffiano bag, Givenchy Sunglasses, Necklace from Tiffany & Co. }

Pair it With Anything

A basic tee shirt can go with anything you want it to go with. A blazer and skinny jeans. A pair of camo pants. A skirt. A pair of wide leg jeans. A pair of shorts. A sweater. Flip flops. High heels. Boots. Anything. It can be dressed up or down. That’s what makes it the best.

Look For Quality

I’ll be honest and say I don’t believe the shirts I bought at TJ Maxx are high-quality. I’ve never heard of the brand, and they were only $5.99. However, that’s so cheap that it doesn’t matter if they don’t last a lifetime. You only want them to last if you’re spending some money on them. These are cheap enough that I won’t care if I only get a few wears.

What I do recommend looking for with anything you buy is at least a good quality. These are soft, and they are not see-through. They don’t seem to pull, and the seams look good. If you find a shirt without those qualities, it’s not even worth your $5.

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{ 7FAM jeans, Tory Burch Espadrilles sold out similar here, Black tee from TJ Maxx, similar here , SugarFix by Bauble Bar Earrings from Target, Givenchy Sunglasses, bracelets by Tiffany & Co. and David Yurman } 

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Bold

Basic colors are fun, but bold colors are also fun. Fall is a beautiful time of year to try some darker colors such as this great Bordeaux. You should also be excited to try them with new prints, and don’t be afraid about being too casual. I love a good mix of high and low. For example, I have a date night outfit planned that includes a pair of $9 camo jeggings and a $6 black tee shirt (both TJ Maxx) and a pair of Christian Louboutin So Kate pumps. Talk about high and low. Don’t be afraid to be bold.

What’s your favorite basic this time of year? Drop a comment to let me know!

Weekend Recap & Great Hair Days with Sexy Hair’s New Control Me Thermal Heat Protection Formula

Happy Monday, loves!

I don’t know about you, but I am so excited for the beginning of a new week. I feel so refreshed and relaxed after such a great weekend with my loves. Friday night was all about relaxing and unwinding at home. We were all tired after a busy weekend before and a beyond crazy week, so we put the kids to bed early (at their request) and Craig and I sat down together to watch a movie (Ocean’s Eight, and it was great!).

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Saturday we woke up to Florida Fall weather. It was 64 degrees, and you know our doors and windows were open! We drank our coffee on the lanai and it rained a little. We took the kids to the Pickin Patch with family, our oldest went home with her cousin for the day, and we partied all night at the annual Boo Bash. We all wore costumes and had so much fun. It was a long day, but Sunday was a much more relaxing situation.

We missed church because we overslept by accident. I think we needed it, though, so I don’t feel bad about it. Craig spent the day outside with Carter – that boy would live outside if we allowed it – and I took sweet Charlotte shopping for the day. The big girls requested that they not do anything, and we were fine that they wanted to spend the day in their bedrooms savoring their time alone, their books, and their tablets.

It was such a sweet weekend. I know I say that a lot, but I believe in appreciating how much good we have in our lives. We are blessed to have lives filled with wonderful friends, family, and good fortune, and we don’t take that for granted.

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And, I just have to say that part of my great weekend had everything to do with my hair.

Seriously.

No, really.

I had the best hair weekend, and it’s all because of Sexy Hair.

Sexy Hair sent me their brand new “Control Me” thermal protection working hairspray, and it’s beyond amazing. Now, I will say that I am a hairspray snob. I either straighten or curl my hair every day, and I live in the Florida humidity (and on the Gulf Coast, so that means that gorgeous breeze is ever-present). My hair needs the spray, but it also needs a little protection from all the heat.

This is amazing.

Not only does it smell SO much better than hairspray, the Control Me hairspray gave me the most fantastic hold, even though it’s a medium hold. My straight hair was perfect until I curled it, and then my curls stayed put the rest of the weekend – even in the sunshine, the wind, and the rain!

Sexy Hair’s Control Me hairspray defends the cuticle up to 450-degrees, and it gives the most natural hold. My hair wasn’t stiff nor did it feel gross at all – and it does that for 72 hours. I love knowing that I can heat style my hair while still protecting it and keeping it amazing simultaneously.

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Because I love the product so much, I’m partnering with Sexy Hair to offer all my readers a 15% discount on your purchase at sexyhair.com using promo code ‘SEXYHAIRCONTROLME’. I promise you will love it, so go buy it!

And don’t forget to have the best week ever. I know I will.

Trvl Porter is Changing the Travel Game: No More Packing, No More Overweight Luggage Fees

Packing. 

It’s my least favorite thing in the world to do. Ironic, considering how much we travel. This month alone we’ve already been gone two weeks out of three and we still have one more trip to take. We love to travel, whether it’s to Disney for the weekend with the kids or we are hopping on a quick flight somewhere to spend the weekend in one of our favorite cities (hey, NYC) or across the country to spend a long weekend on our favorite coast (Orange County, anyone?).

But I hate packing. It takes me an entire day to pack for a trip, even if it’s just my husband and me going. When we bring all four kids – well, it takes an entire day and evening. I’m precise. I keep our toiletry bag packed all the time, replenished when we get home from any trip with the items I keep in our basket of extras in the bathroom. Extra loofahs, travel shampoo and conditioner, travel body and face wash, deodorant, hairspray, dry shampoo, you name it, I have it in my basket of extras.

But the clothes packing situation is my biggest nightmare.

Thankfully, Trvl Porter just changed the game for me. When Stefanie, the founder of Trvl Porter, reached out to me a few weeks ago to see if I would like to try their brand-new, groundbreaking service, I was all in. My husband had already planned a surprise weekend getaway for my 35th birthday, and I was game.

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{ Dress Halston Heritage via Trvl Porter. Shoes Christian Louboutin}

What is Trvl Porter? 

It’s a game-changer, that’s what. Seriously, imagine packing for any and every trip you take without actually packing anything. You bring your shoes, your undergarments, makeup, and your favorite accessories. That’s all.

You pack nothing else.

Trvl Porter packs the rest for you. No more packing or unpacking. No more overweight baggage fees at the airport (y’all don’t even want to know how much my husband and I pay for that small problem every flight we take). No more taking time out of your already jam-packed schedule to pack for your business trip, vacation, weekend getaway.

How Does it Work?

You create an account online with Trvl Porter. You input your trip details (where, when, what, how, why, whatever). You tell your personal style concierge what you’re doing and where you’re going, along with your sizes. They’ll create a custom wardrobe for you to approve, and they’ll email it to you a week before your trip.

Once you approve or change your designer wardrobe choices, your stylish ships your order to your hotel. You pick up your items upon check in. They’ll be with the concierge. When you check out, you give the items back to the concierge in the pre-addressed, pre-paid envelope provided, and the concierge mails your items back for you.

It’s that simple.

What Do I Wear? 

Anything and everything. You tell your stylist what you need and where you are going. From casual vacation clothing to upscale business attire, you pick. Designers such as Diane von Furstenberg, Halston Heritage, and more provide designer clothing for you to wear – and none of it is your responsibility to pack, unpack, or even launder.

Does it get any better than that?

It does not.

My experience with Trvl Porter was spectacular.

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{Hotel Bathrobe – Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Orlando}

In fact, when there was a small mistake in the shipping process for my items, Stefanie Nissen, the found of Trvl Porter called me herself – from her cell phone – to ask me what she could do to make it right. I still got my clothing in time, and she was amazing. I fell instantly in love with the dress I chose, and I received compliments on in all night long.

The process was simple, streamlined, and easy.

And a total game changer.

Even though I don’t mind unpacking. Honestly, I don’t. I always have our entire family unpacked, laundry going, and everything organized within half an hour of getting home from any trip. It makes life so much easier.

If you want to try Trvl Porter, do it. All of my followers and fans get a special discount for signing up if you enter HEART-TRVL at checkout it. You’ll get your first item free of charge, which is a $200+ value. Try it. You will not regret it!

Living Life and Enjoying Every Second

Hey, loves!

I know, I know. It’s been a minute. But, I have a good excuse for not blogging in a second.

I was enjoying my life. I’ve been a little social media MIA off and on, too. It’s been nice. Life is busy for this mom of four/wife/person who does it all. This season (fall) is always so busy in our house, and sometimes we need a break.

Literally, though, it’s so hot that I just want to go into some sort of hibernation, or maybe I want to pack and move anywhere with something like real seasons. It’s almost 100 degrees here during the day, and a frigid 85 at night. Can you see my eyes rolling? No, you cannot. They’re dripping in sweat and half closed as a result.

But, back to my situation.

I’m just letting y’all know that I have a ton of new content coming in the next few weeks. I’ve been working on a lot of campaigns recently, but those take second place to my clients and their needs (and boy do they have a big need this time of year, not that I’m complaining since that’s what I love the most) and the kids and their needs.

Anyway, I’ve been mom-ing. Wife-ing. Traveling. PTA-ing. Safety Patrol-ing. Writing. Writing. Writing some more. Running. Yoga-ing. Traveling. Traveling some more. Living. It’s been fun, overwhelming, stressful, hilarious, and all the things in between. I just wanted to tell you guys I didn’t just turn 35 and forget all about you, so stay tuned next week. The content is coming, and it’s going to make you all wish I’d go back to my silence….or not. Because I like to think I keep you all entertained with my stories. No? Is that just me? Am I that much of my own biggest fan?

I’m okay with that, too, you know.

Xoxo,

Tiffany