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?

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Instagram Roundup: What I’m Wearing Lately

What. A. Month.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram Roundup: What I’m Wearing Lately

I have to share a secret you might have noticed; I have such a uniform depending on the season. Also, seasons are impossible in Florida. We had a kind-of winter for a few weeks. Just enough to realize we have nothing appropriate or anything below 60-degrees, and now we’re back to 50s in the mornings and 80s during the day.

It’s so difficult to get dressed in the morning in that situation. Layers are a serious thing right now, which is why you’re seeing me in my ‘this time of year’ uniform. Jeans – or faux leather leggings – and tees with a sweater or blazer over it.

And we can all agree I cannot get enough of these suede BB pumps. I feel no shame.

I’m trying to be a little better about IG roundups on the blog so you can have faster access to all the details you want without yelling at me about it via DM or email (I’m sorry!), and I’m going to try and post one every two weeks or so.

You’re welcome!

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{ Jeans, Pumps, Tee, Bag }

{Sweater is Old Navy and a few years old, so similar here, here, and here | Sunglasses are Yves Saint Laurent I purchased years ago in Hawaii and are currently sold out so similar here and here}

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{ Jeans, pumps, tunic }

{see first photo for sunglasses | I just ordered this scarf from Amazon for $15 but I can’t get the link to work. There’s a similar one here, but you can search grey and blue blanket scarf on Amazon and have it in two days for so much less }

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{ Faux-leather leggings, pumps }

{ Tunic is TopShop from Nordstrom but it’s sold out, so similar here and here | see first photo for sunglasses | Blazer is Forever 21 from like 12 years ago – I know – so similar here and here }

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{ Jeans, ballet flats }

{see first photo for sunglasses | Hogwarts tee is from Target, but it’s sold out. Similar here and here }

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{ Jeans, pumps, bag, bralette }

{ These RayBan oversize Aviators are sold out from what I can find, but there are similar here | Lush tee is sold out at Nordstrom, but similar here and here | see previous photo for blazer}

Also – to clarify a question I’ve gotten a lot recently, my Neverfull is the GM and it’s too big. I love it because I have four kids and 700-pounds of stuff to carry around between the six of us. If I bothered with the diaper bag, I wouldn’t carry it. However, I’m entirely too lazy and rushed to change out my bag regularly to be quite honest. I’d recommend the MM if you want a Neverfull.

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Handbag Shopping: How to Make Sure Your Splurge Doesn’t Give You Buyer’s Remorse

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Diamonds might be some woman’s best friend, but I prefer handbags. Of course, this really does surprise so many people since I rarely change out my handbag for anything other than date night. I’m a one bag at a time kind of woman, and I have my reasons.

  1. I’m a mom. I need the biggest bag ever to store my stuff and the things that belong to all four of my kids (and my husband’s stuff, though he will deny he asks me to carry anything of his).
  2. I’m a mom. I need every available second of my day for all the things that need to be done, and I don’t even have 30 seconds to change out my bag if I wanted to.
  3. I’m a mom. I need something well-made and efficient.
  4. I’m addicted to my Neverfull – and I don’t wanna carry anything else.
  5. I’m a mom. I need room for my booze (I’m mostly kidding about that one).

I love a good handbag, and I have a lot. I still maintain the LV makes the best bags in the world. I’ve got four of my own, my oldest being almost 14-years-old and still perfection. They’re so well-made, so sturdy, and I can’t even destroy them. But I digress. I’m talking handbags today not to sell you on the fact that Louis Vuitton makes the best bags in the business, but to help you decide on which bag you’re going to splurge.

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I believe in expensive handbags, because they’re the ones that last – and I wanted to share with you what to look for when you’re spending $1,000+ on a handbag so you don’t end up with serious buyer’s remorse.

Is the Cost Per Use Worthwhile?

The first question to ask before you splurge on a bag is cost-related. How much will it cost when you break it down by use? For example, the Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM I carry cost $1,340. I carry it every single day, and I have since Valentine’s Days 2016. 20 months. If you break the cost down by month, it’s cost me $67 per month to carry. Break it down by week for roughly 80 weeks and the cost is around $17 per week thus far. Break it down further by roughly 600 days and you’re looking at a total cost of about $2.24 per use so far. Basically – it makes the cost of this bag seem like nothing.

On the flip side, consider if you carry a bag only two or three times per month. If I bought this bag and carried it two times a month for 20 months, you’re looking at 40 uses. It’s now costing me $33.50 per use. If you’re going to use the bag long enough and often enough to make the cost-per-use reasonable, it’s a good investment.

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Will it still be stylish in a decade, two decades, 50 years?

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever buy a handbag that is too trendy as an investment piece. Nothing is a bigger waste than spending $1,000+ on a bag you won’t carry more than a year or so. It must be a bag that’ll be in style the rest of your life. Think classic styles, patterns, and designs from designers such as Prada, Gucci, YSL, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc. Steer clear of trends.

Does it give you what you need?

I have four kids and a lot of stuff to carry – my Neverfull is everything I need and more. It’s a perfect diaper bag/handbag. It’s perfect for travel. It’s perfect for everyday use. It gives me what I need, and that’s what makes it a good investment. If you’re splurging on a handbag, be sure it’s one that offers all you need without question.

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Do you love it?

If you don’t love it, don’t buy it. Take the time to go shopping. Try on the bag. Look at it. Compare it to other bags you also love. Pick the one you love the most. The one you can see yourself carrying the rest of your life and passing down to your daughter and granddaughter one day. If you’re only buying it because it’s the ‘It’ bag of the season, you’re going to have buyer’s remorse. Don’t pick the most popular, trendiest bag around. Pick the one that speaks to you and has your heart.

I’m a big believer in investment pieces you can carry for the rest of your life. When it comes to accessories such as handbags, spending some serious money is always a wise investment; but only if you do it right the first time.