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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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.

Florals: Pretty Even in the Fall (And Always Gorgeous on Date Night)

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{ Dress: Charles Henry (old) | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik (old) | Crossbody: Prada }

People ask me all the time what I love most about my job. Is it working on my own schedule? Is it working from home? It is being my own boss?

It’s Monday. I really love Monday. It’s a fresh start, it’s a relaxing day, and I love that it’s all on my terms. I do keep a strict schedule for myself, but I like it that way. And today is Monday – and it’s a good Monday. It’s a good Monday because all four kids are back in school. They’ve been home for 10 days. They missed six days of school because it was closed due to Hurricane Irma. Our schedules didn’t change once the hurricane – and all the anxiety it brought – passed.

People always say it must be so nice to get to work from home so we can be home with the kids, but let me just tell you this. Working from home with kids at home is like “Bring your child to work day,” every single day. Think about what you do for a living. Now imagine going to work in your office every single day with your kids present. How much would you get done? How would your sanity be?

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Fun, right?

Imagine a full – and unexpected – week of kids being at the office with you and that was our week. Never mind that half of them were sick all week, and that everything in Florida was closed, there wasn’t any gas, and we couldn’t really leave the house all week. It was rough.

So….this Monday is a pretty Monday in our house!

It’s made even prettier because it’s coming off a lovely weekend. We had two kids relapse Saturday night with their fevers and coughs, but they’re better. Friday night, though…it was pretty good. My husband knew it was me suffering the most while the kids were home.

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You see, I work for myself. He works for someone else. He cannot choose his hours and work when it’s convenient for him. The kids were home, and that meant I was the one getting up every 7 seconds to make snacks, wipe little bottoms, clean up messes, get everyone ready for naptime, play games, and be there for them while he worked.

That meant very long nights stuck in the office for me after he was finally done working and could care for the kids so I could catch up on my deadlines. It meant we basically spent the week like roommates in passing, caring for the kids and basically surviving.

He knew I was one, “Mommy, mommy? Mom? Mommy? MOMMY!” away from taking the top spot on the evening news, so he very sweetly called my mom and asked her to babysit Friday night, made reservations at our favorite local restaurant, and then he asked me out on a date (I loooooooove that!). So that’s what we did.

And I needed it so badly.

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And I’m sharing my date night outfit with you, because I’m obsessed with it. I love a good floral and some serious statement shoes. This dress is two seasons old (It’s a Charles Henry I picked up at Nordstrom in summer 2015 and CANNOT get enough of…I mean, it has pockets!), but I’m linking a few similar floral dresses for you.

Florals are so hot this fall, and I love that people are finally realizing they aren’t just for spring. Floral is pretty, and it’s for all seasons. So here are a few of the most fab floral dresses of the season you need in your closet. This one This one is perfectly casual, this one is so flirty, and this one leaves just a little to the imagination!

What’s your favorite date night consist of?

3 Summer Staple Splurges for Every Mom on the Go Who Wants to Look and Feel Put Together and Stylish

Happy Tuesday, friends! We are fresh into the second full week of summer vacation, and boy are we struggling to grow accustomed to our new summer schedule. The twins will stay in in school all summer, but the girls are definitely making our jobs a challenge. I’ve been working from home their entire lives, but this is Craig’s first summer vacation as a work-from-home dad and he’s learning the struggle.

Camps, sleepovers, play dates, and finding time to work in between – oh my! He has set office hours at home, so it’s non-negotiable for him, but he’s definitely seeing how difficult it can be for me to rearrange my schedule so often to accommodate theirs sometimes!

I can only play so many rainy-day games of Uno or Go Fish or Candy Land or Monopoly, for real. Right now we are in our office working and listening to them across the house in the family room arguing over who is definitely going to draw the lollipop during their game of Candy Land (someone is definitely cheating).

While they’re actually leaving me alone entertained in the family room, I thought I’d share with you a couple of my favorite summer must-haves. It’s hot in Florida. We sweat a lot in Florida. It’s hot in Florida. I’m a 30-something mama of 4 who can’t function if I don’t feel put together, yet I can’t stand to be in the closet for more than 3.2 seconds on a weekday morning deciding what to wear.

That said, I have three summer favorites for your closet that might just be the answer to your every fashion problem – I’m a big believer in buying the classics and items that never really go out of style…I get it from my grandmother!

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Lilly, Lilly and More Lilly 

Yes, we Floridians and southerners are a little obsessed with Lilly Pulitzer, but it’s for several good reasons. Let me elaborate:

  1. It’s hot here and we sweat a lot, but you can’t tell when you’re in so many bold, beautiful patterned dresses.
  2. How do you not feel pretty in something fun and fabulous?
  3. They’re light and airy.
  4. They’re so stylish.
  5. They’re so easy to wear without spending too long deciding what to wear when you know you don’t have that kind of time.

I just love LP. I mean, honestly – I’m addicted. My go-to dress is the Essie. I have them all – I buy the new ones every time a new pattern or color is introduced. The gorgeous pink one will actually arrive tomorrow on my front doorstep and I can’t wait!

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Tory Burch Sandals 

With four kids, flats are my summer go-to. It’s so much easier when we have them, especially since so much of our time is spent at Disney World where walking is a way of life. The Miller Sandals are worth the price every single time – but there are so many other options that cost far less and still last forever. Also, I love some TB espadrilles, and my newest pair just so happens to be on sale RIGHT NOW so check it out if you’ve been coveting a pair of your own. I seriously get so many compliments on these every time I wear them.

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Cross-Body Bags

9 times out of 10 I’m carrying my Neverfull GM, but I do love a good crossbody during the summer. With four kids the Neverfull is a must most every day, but summer means being a little more carefree. When I’m not carrying the Neverfull, you’ll find me carrying one of my favorite cross body bags to keep my phone, my brightest pink lipstick, and my cash-money – kidding, I totally bring my husband along with so he can hold the $$ and the keys!

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My TB cross body is from last year, and it’s out-of-stock, but there are so many adorable ones available right now at a variety of price points. I love this one, this one, and this one. My husband also surprised me with a gorgeous Prada crossbody that I’m in love with. It’s a little small – but perfect for date nights and Disney days. Mine is sold out now in most colors because it went on sale about a week ago – big time – but there’s still a red one available that I was able to find (MAJORLY marked down) and I also love this one, this one, and this one if you want to spend a little more on something that’ll last a lifetime.