January 2016 | Olive and Tate

Demo Day, Round 2

Oh yeah, you read that title correctly, we are gearing up for another round of demolition at Casa de Crazy.

Tomorrow begins a 3 day installation of new windows throughout our new house.


Here's what they currently look like:

 (obviously, we haven't tackled landscaping yet.)

And there are more. A lot more.
Honestly, these windows signal the beginning of the end of the massive renovation of our home and we are thrilled. The new windows will replace the most Brady Brunch feature of the entire property -  the long, thin, divided windows that grace the front of the house at three odd intervals. Those bad boys will hit the road and new, modern double hung windows with grids will replace them. One day soon, plantation shutters will finally protect the neighbors from seeing my lady lumps as I stumble to the fridge for the baby's first round of milk in the morning. If you live on my street, I know you are relieved thrilled to hear that your eyes will soon be spared.

And, just in case you have any sort of common sense and thought to yourself "hey, wait, shouldn't those windows have gone in, like, during the major renovation??", let me clear that up for you:

the answer is yes. 

But, construction is a learning process and sometimes you get it wrong. Sometimes it's your fault and sometimes the fault can be placed elsewhere and you'll definitely do it better the next time. 
edit: that's what my husband wanted me to say instead of saying mean things about our contractor.

So while the next three days will really be complete chaos, I am so excited to see what our house will finally look like. I've dreamed of knocking these windows out since day one and I might just ask to throw the first swing of the sledgehammer! 

P.S. I'm going to be live on Taboo Mom Talk this Tuesday at 8pm! You can register here to watch me talk too much about a really tough topic live and unfiltered. Wine is suggested.

The Alone Time Sneak

The older I get and the less time I have to myself, the more it becomes clear to me that I am an introvert.

I know it seems odd that I would have so little self awareness to not realize where I stand on the personality charts, but to be fair, I am really outgoing in social settings. I love public speaking, become more animated and sociable when I'm nervous and honestly get a kick out of making small talk. But once the crowds have parted, the last drop has been poured and the night is over, I find myself so incredibly drained that my body feels like I've just run a marathon. I simply cannot function until I have some time alone, in silence, to get myself together. 

Before I had the baby, I could always count on driving in the car alone to gather myself. I would use my commute to ditch the work stress and gear myself up for dinner, the weekend or even just one on one time with my husband (let me be clear here, it's not his presence that I needed to prep for, but the social interaction in general). But now? Now I am never alone. Ever. 

In the hunt for a moment of solitude, I've picked up some really bad habits that I don't think are doing me any favors - namely, staying up really late, watching TV, while Justin sleeps beside me. I know I should go to bed, that the baby will be up soon, that I function better with a good night's sleep, but the alone time is just so....delicious. I lay there sipping wine from what is most likely a plastic cup, watching a re-run of Big Bang that I can quote, and soak in the silence. No one needs me, a snack, a meal, a bill paid, a favor or a fresh bowl of water (that's for the dog, not the baby, just to clarify). 

Thinking about my late night hideaway got my wheels turning about the other ways that I sneak alone time and, as it turns out, some of them are down right shameful. 

So, without further ado, here are my top 5 ways to be alone once you become a mom.

1. get food poisoning
I got a fun little case of food poisoning from the local Mexican joint up the street and I can assure that my husband did not mind spending time with the baby out of the house to be away from all of the vomiting.

2. sleep in the guest room because "the dog is snoring too loudly"
She does snore. Sometimes. So does my husband. Sometimes. But sometimes I just hide in the guest room because I can sleep in the middle of the bed and not be touched by anyone else for an entire night.

3. "fold laundry"
I pile up the laundry on the living room sofa, secure the baby in his playroom (I can see him) and turn on an MTV marathon of Teen Mom. Nothing accompanies a session of folding laundry like the mind numbing bliss that is a Teen Mom repeat. Sometimes, my mind gets so numb that I forget to fold the laundry.

4.  clean out the car
Sometimes when I stop to fill up for gas, I take an extra long time cleaning out the loose odds and ends from my vehicle and tossing them in the trash. I'm talking one fry at a time, as many trips to the trash can as possible, all in blissful silence while the baby waits patiently for me in his car seat. 

5. go to the doctor
Listen, we all know when you go to the doctor for a non-emergency reason, you are going to wait FORever. The last time I hit the OBGYN for an annual visit, I booked a babysitter for 4 solid hours and treated that doctors appointment like a spa visit. A hot coffee, a fresh magazine and some solid WIFI and I was happy to sit alone in a paper gown for as long as they needed me to wait. The dentist and eye doctor will also do in a pinch.

What can I say, I'm just living the dream.

The Scoop(s)

Let's talk.

It's been a little quiet around here because wild things are happening and I am the worst secret keeper ever. Add to that my extreme fear of counting my chickens before the hatch and then ending up with no chickens and you'll understand why I just hide until news is made public by all parties involved before I spill the beans. 

So, what's the scoop?

Well, you may have seen on my Instagram today that I've been asked to speak at the Creative Counsel Conference in Austin, TX! I am over the moon to take such a huge step and to have a captive audience that is required to listen to me babble for a set period of time. I'll be chatting about the ins and outs of creating an Instagram aesthetic that reflects your brand and inspires an engaged following. So many amazing topics will be taught (ahem, like these: how to stage a product shoot and how to edit those photos in a consistent manner, how to create simple yet professional looking Photoshop graphics for your website, blog or social media, how to turn Instagram into a revenue making machine and how to create a business that transcends through the trends) and I would love, love, love to see you there! 

You can read more about it here and see my profile along with all of the other Girl Bosses on the docket! Take a peek at the Conference Instagram account for all of the details (and pretty pics, of course).

Ok, so there's more.

One of my favorite bloggers ever, Colleen of The Lunchbox Diaries, is launching a brand new video series called Taboo Mom Talk.

When Colleen first told me about the idea I was so impressed by her ballsy plan of putting together strong, opinionated women that were willing to talk about real life motherhood that I just wanted to know when and where I could watch. Needless to say, she blew me away by not only asking me to participate, but also asking me to be her very first guest. Brace yourselves, it's going to be live, unrehearsed and unedited, just the way I like things.

Taboo Mom Talk will air on Blab (think a cross between Google Hangout and Periscope) next Tuesday, February 2nd at 8pm. Blab is a free social media service and you can participate in our convo by calling in or sending messages through the chat feature. You can register here for Colleen's Taboo Mom Talk video feed. We'll be drinking wine and talking about a topic that is crazy important to me, which leads me to one more thing.

I haven't published a post about motherhood on Olive and Tate in what feels like forever and there's a reason why. About a month ago, I wrote what I think is my most heartfelt and "put it out there" motherhood essay and it has left me feeling all of the feels (mainly, totally exposed). I know my words won't be met with complete understanding and will most likely absolutely draw some negative feedback, but the topic is incredibly personal to me and the post needed to be written. It took me 18 months to finally find the right words and now they sit in my drafts folder, waiting to be published.

And they will be, but not by me.

If the post is published before next Tuesday, I'll link to it and you'll know all about it - and Colleen and I will discuss it at length on Taboo Mom Talk. If it hasn't been published by then, you can pop over to our Blab conversation and hear all of the details before it goes live.

All that I ask is that even if you don't understand my experience or share similar feelings, you consider that maybe another mother you love knows exactly what I'm talking about. So, with her in mind, please try to be thoughtful in your responses and commentary. 

Here's a little sample:
 "In the hours and days after I gave birth I waited. I waited for the tidal wave of feelings, the rush of extreme love that every other mother was telling me I should be feeling. I waited and it never happened. I never changed."

So, that's the scoop. Well, I guess all of the scoops. I would love to see you at the Creative Counsel Conference or chat with you during Taboo Mom Talk next week! 

P.S. If you are a Greenville area blogger, shoot me an email at oliveandtate@gmail.com so that I can fill you in on something that The Scout Girl and I plotted today!

Snow Day Winner

Happy Friday! 

We're having a snow day in South Carolina which, at this point, is translating to rain. We have a hot little play date scheduled that involves Chick Fil A and newborn snuggles so I'm not super thrilled with the panic around here. Literally, Starbucks is closed (I have now mentioned that on three social media platforms, maybe it's time for me to get a life). Anyway, I hope everyone has a warm, wonderful weekend and that your pantries are stocked with all of the milk, bread and wine that Publix had to offer. 

And, now, a winner!

Congratulations, Nikki E.! You are the winner of the $75 shop credit to Elle + J
If today wasn't your day, don't worry, you an still use the code OT15 to save 15% an your Elle+J order!

Recent Beauty Buys: The Good, Bad and Duped

Confession: I really struggle to spend money on high end beauty buys. I think it's probably clear by now that I'd rather spend my money on Starbucks or ten thousand cans of dry shampoo. But, this mug isn't getting any younger and I need more products than ever to keep the under eye bags and unfortunate wrinkles + acne combo in check. When I find a great product, I'm happy to splurge on it and when I find a great drug store dupe I'm thrilled to brag about it.

Here's my latest round up of the good, bad and duped:

My friend Ashley had this little Revlon blush and bronzing palette (officially called the Revlon Highlighting Palette) when we were in Arizona and I basically stole it from her during our trip. I actually used it as an eye shadow palette and it's a great dupe to the key colors in the Naked3 Palette, but at a drugstore price. Bonus: it's perfect for traveling because you can use it as eye shadow, highlighter, bronzer and/or blush.

Verdict: worth it. 

Oh man does this fragrance smell Heavenly. Mod Noir by Marc Jacobs is light, floral, feminine, I'm obsessed. I love snagging the roller ball size in fragrances because I don't have to shell out as much cash and I can stash it in my make up bag or a cosmetic pouch in my purse. 

Verdict: smells perfect, roller ball size makes the cost more reasonable, glad I grabbed it.

I had grand plans when I purchased this L'Oreal Brow Stylist Sculptor but when I got home I was too bored with it to even bother really trying it out. One end is to fill in the brows, the other is to......snooze. I have dark, full brows and don't really need to do much in the way of filling them in so this pencil was just not in my wheel house. 

 Verdict: too much work for someone who doesn't care that much about brows

Now this is the kind of brow product I can get behind! The Maybelline Brow Drama is a simple brow mascara that is so easy to use, fills in your brows and shapes them a bit and doesn't smudge on your face. For someone who doesn't focus on her brows that much, this is a perfect addition to your routine. 

Verdict: loving it, using it every day

I feel like I was the last person on Earth to get on board with Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder. Honestly, I just thought it seemed like a high price point for a setting powder but when I spotted a smaller size in that damn impulse section around the check out area of Sephora, I thought it was worth a try. And, of course, I love it. It leaves my skin looking gorgeous and my foundation smooth. I also love the way the product is packaged to prevent spilling and waste of the pricey powder. 

 Verdict: Pricey but worth it. I'll be buying again, most likely in the full size. 

 I snagged the Maybelline Falsies Push Up mascara from Target on a whim and it was a waste of money. I know it's a drugstore buy but the quality of the mascara is basic at best. My eyelashes do not look thicker or longer - so, fail.

Verdict: Nope, doesn't rock my boat.

I love Kat Von D products. I wear her Lock It Tattoo Foundation every day (and rocked it hard on my wedding day) and think it's the best full coverage out there. Not surprisingly, the Lock It Concealer is also a win, covering blemishes with deep pigment. I'm honestly disappointed that I didn't purchase it until recently. Seriously, everything she makes is worth every penny. 

Verdict: Praise Jesus for Kat Von D

So, now that I've professed my love for Kat Von D products, I do have to say that, sadly, I am apparently allergic to her insta-famous Shade and Light Palette. I wanted to love it so badly but my skin broke out, my throat closed up and sadly my cheekbones are left less than sculpted. 
So, help a girl out, any recs for an amazing contour palette?

Don't forget to enter the Elle + J giveaway in yesterday's post!
Just a few more hours until the winner is chosen!

Dressing the Mom Body: One Dress 3 Ways + A Giveaway!

Ok, fellow rockers of the Mom Bod, let's talk getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to buying clothing. Most days, I really don't need "an outfit" per say, but I still strive (strive being the key word here) to look cute and put together. One day a week I head to my very business casual office and, on a wild night, I need a cute little number for dinner and drinks. But here's the rub, I don't need outfits for the second two activities enough to warrant spending major cash on them. 

What's a girl to do?

Buy pieces that can be worn a million different ways and fit a million different scenarios thanks to a key accessory change ups.

And speaking of accessories, keep an eye on my statement necklaces throughout the post and plow your way to the end of my blabbering for a huge treat! 

Behold, my newest find: the Pleated Flippy Dress
The flippy dress is a great shade of burgundy (and also comes in gray), has a soft, tee shirt/knit feel, a very modest - to the neck - neckline and sleeves. I'm wearing a size Medium and could have gone up to a Large for length but don't forget that I'm 5'9"! You'll also note that I'm using pieces you've definitely seen before to accessorize the dress because that's real life, right? I like to add one new piece to my wardrobe here or there and use my favorite vests, shoes, jewelry, hats and scarves to make them work for my day to day life.

Mom Life

Layer the dress over leggings [mine are sold out, and I think being eliminated from production, but I'm dying to try these] add a military vest, blanket scarf, Converse, baseball cap and a cross body diaper bag c/o and then sprint the heck out of drop off and straight to the nearest Starbucks.

Work Life

Layer the dress over dark tights, add jeweled flats, a classic trench, tote and a statement necklace and you're ready to tackle a business day.

Social Life

(holy mom thigh!)

 Layer a fur vest [similar] over the dress, add booties, a little control top in nude, a jeweled clutch and a an over sized statement necklace and you're ready for drinks with the girls.

Can we please take a minute to discuss all of the fabulous necklaces in this post? They were all hand made by a fellow Elon Alum, Madeline of Elle + J! I adore her work and can attest that her baubles are in for the long hall - I've tossed them into suitcases, the bottom of my diaper bag and in my car cup holder and they are always in perfect condition when I lasso them back around my neck. 
The light blue beaded horn necklace has been my go-to for over a year when I toss on jeans and a tee and the navy beaded antler necklace is the newest addition to my arsenal.

And, because I love small shops and the makers that run them so very much, I have to brag on Madeline - she is an infant twin mom who expanded her team to include my freshman year roommate, Christine, who is also a twin mom to toddler boys! How either of these girls even have enough energy to put on pants is beyond me, and here they are turning out gorgeous jewelry pieces and running a successful business. 

Not only are they smart women and amazing mamas, they are also crazy generous because they want to give one of you a $75 shop credit to Elle + J! I'll announce the winner on Friday but if you just can't wait until then to shop, use the code OT15 for a 15% discount!

If you're having trouble loading the Giveaway Widget below, head to the Olive and Tate Facebook page here to enter! 

My 15 Favorite Trader Joe's Buys And The One Thing I Never Purchase

I promised this post a long time ago (and have had the photos in my phone for a million years) but with the holidays, it just seemed to never make the docket. But today is the day. I'm spilling the beans on my all time favorite Trader Joe's products and what type of items I no longer purchase (and why - hint: it's gross).

1. Flowers
If you follow me on Instagram, you knew this was coming (and you won't be shocked by #2 either). I love the Trader Joe's floral section because the price simply can't be beat. I usually grab longer lasting flowers like hydrangeas, roses and tulips. I actually never pick up a pre-made bouquet because I think you get more bang for your buck if you spend the same amount on two or three bundles and build your own bouquet.

Honorable Mention: the mini orchids make great gifts for teachers, friends, bosses, hostesses and the holiday boxwood wreaths (for $9.99!) are unreal.

2. Wine.
Duh. I made a collage of the ones I pick up most often. I really, really struggle to buy wine anywhere else when I know I can have an entire bottle for $3.99 from Trader Joe's.

3. Cheeses
There is no better cheese section than Trader Joe's. If you are hosting a get together or party (that isn't big enough to require a Costco run, who btw has an awesome cheese selection) I can't say enough about the TJ cheese selection. I grab at least one goat cheese on every trip and the slicing brie is the best thing ever invented (put it on a turkey sandwich with sliced green apples. yes, please).

4. Frozen Fruit
I keep a huge variety of the frozen fruit bags in my freezer at all times to make smoothies for the baby. Pineapple, the cherry blend, mixed berries and strawberries are a must. I add spinach, water and yogurt and know he's getting at least some nutrition to cancel out all of those chicken nuggets.

5. Turkey Meatballs
These are perfect for a toddler. I microwave them for lunches or add them to the gnocchi (#9 below) for dinner time.

6. Balsamic Glaze
This may be my all time favorite TJ find. It is heaven on grilled asparagus, roasted carrots or smothered all over my all time favorite recipe, Bruschetta Chicken.

Honorable Mention: the olive oil in the adorable can from the very first photo in this post
(that does actually have a nice flavor)

7. Frozen Waffles and Silver Dollar Pancakes
Another toddler mom win. Breakfast is served in the right portions and with no prep work because this toddler mom is not a morning person - a tip I learned from Britt will help in the morning shuffle - dust with powdered sugar instead of syrup to skip the sticky clean up.

8. Gnocchi
This is an absolute must in my house. We keep it in our freezer at all times because there is no easier, faster, more delicious week night meal. It's the perfect serving size for two adults (or two adults and a toddler) and if I want to beef it up a bit I'll add the turkey meatballs or serve with grilled chicken breast. The other night I cooked a few basil chicken sausages that I had in my freezer, chopped them up and tossed them into the gnocchi and got the thumbs up from Justin.

Side note: he adds parm to his, I add feta to mine!

9. Parmesan Asparagus Risotto
Another permanent option in my freezer - to beef this one up I'll grab frozen shrimp, sear them in olive oil and garlic and them toss into the pan of risotto as it's finishing up. Obv, you can add chicken to this or it makes an amazing side to pork tenderloin.

10. Frozen Rice
Nothing is easier than these frozen bags of rice. Enough to serve two, cooks in three minutes in the microwave and the texture is awesome. We prefer the brown and jasmine but they are all good!

11. Corn Chili Salsa and Corn Chip Dippers
Holy Hannah do I love this corn salsa. The first time I had it I managed to eat like the entire jar. At a friend's house. So classy. It's a tomato-less salsa that is sweet and spicy and makes a killer dip, too!

And P.S. I like the corn chip dippers better than Frito's.

12. Traditional Meatloaf
This is the perfect dinner for nights when Justin has to work late. I warm this up for him and he loves it - a perfect man meal that isn't super time intensive, especially when he never knows when he might be able to sneak out of the office so I have little warning to prep.

13. Spiced Cider
This is a seasonal item for Fall but I buy two or three bottles when they hit the shelves. It smells like perfection when heating on the stove and mixes perfectly with winter rum for a spiked cider.

14. Cheese Sticks/Straws
I've made the Paula Dean Cheese Straws from scratch many times but I probably never will again because these cheese straws are so good. Trust me on this one, I'm southern, I know what I'm talking about when it comes to Cheese Straws.

Honorable Mention: the pita crackers in the pic - I love the regular and wheat! 

15. Mandarin Orange Chicken
We love a ton of the Chinese food style frozen meals but we always come back to the Mandarin Orange Chicken! Seriously, dinner is ready in minutes when you microwave a bag or two of the frozen brown rice and pour a glass of wine.

And what I never buy:

I've tried many, many times to give Trader Joe's a chance when it comes to produce, but time after time I am disappointing or plain grossed out by rotten apples, moldy grapes or soggy spinach. I once turned over a bag of green apples in the store and saw that they were so moldy and rotten that there was brown liquid all over the inside of the bag. Not a good look. I will say that Trader Joes has an amazing return policy (even if you simply don't like something you can return it - and they'll let you open and sample anything in the store before you buy), but who has time to drive back to the store to show off moldy grapes? It's easier to just steer clear and grab produce at the grocery store when I head there to stock up on paper towels, detergents and cleaning products.

After narrowing down this list, I could probably do a second post of seasonal faves but I'll spare you and save it for another day! 

Any Trader Joe's items that I must try??

The One iPhone Setting that Will Save All of the Data

 The title of this post should really be "I'm about to change your life" but I thought some of you might expect a post about figuring out time to shower or how to make your home brew taste like Starbucks. Sadly, I can't work miracles but I can tell your about the easiest change of all time that will literally cut your data usage by gigs each month without changing any of your phone habits. As a bonus, it will also save your battery life like a boss.

Ok, wanna know the secret?

It's all in the Background App Refresh.

What is Background App Refresh?

Well, it's a sneaky little setting that allows your phone to constantly refresh all open apps whether or not your are connected to WIFI. That means that all of the apps you forget to manually shut down are constantly sucking down data by refreshing themselves to be current, even when not in use. Sound scary? Imagine if you leave your map open - it will be constantly (and I mean constantly) pulling data to refresh your current location as you go about your day. News apps will be pulling headlines, gossip sites will be loading the latest celeb nip slips and Facebook will be constantly running those cute little videos of cats riding Roombas all while you blissfully fold the laundry or pretend to pay attention in that meeting.

And here's the real kicker: Apple and the cell providers are no fools and have that bad boy automatically set to full blast. Luckily, it's a super simple fix to turn off but you have to know where to look and that you need to manually squash the refresh action. 

To turn off Background App Refresh:

Open your Settings App -->


 Background App Refresh 

Slide the green button to the left

and then it should look like this:

Note that you can turn on individual apps to utilize Background App Refresh if you so desire but swiping them all to No Way, No Thank You will save your data and battery usage without you missing a beat.

Bonus Tip: you can turn off the cellular data per app - I turn the data off for apps that I really don't need to waste gigs on like E!Online. If the data is off, it literally cannot load on your phone unless you're logged onto WIFI. 

And in case you don't realize it, you need to manually close all of your open apps in order to prevent them from draining your battery. To do so, double click on the home button and swipe each open window up. Otherwise, the apps are running in the background and kicking your battery life to the curb. 

Now go forth and use that data on things that really matter like stalking the best guacamole recipe on Pinterest and then never making it.

New Look

Well,  well, well, look who got herself a new outfit!
I haven't updated the look of the .com since before she was a .com, so I thought it was high time to shake things up around here.
I'm in love with the new layout by MunichParis Designs - especially the new nav bar that holds all of my social media icons and the over sized sliding images that link to my most recent posts. If you aren't into all of the fancy gadgetry, just scroll down and you can read my posts in their regular format. If the design looks a little off, make sure you are running a newer version of your software - it looks prettiest with the freshest operating system.
And, yes, I kept my hand made, chicken scratch title because I just couldn't let that thing go. I originally doodled my (then under wraps) blog name to show a designer what I was envisioning and we popped my graphic in as a place holder. After a while, my doodle turned into a logo and I can't seem to let it go. Get comfy, chicken scratch version of Olive and Tate, looks like you're here to stay.

Dressing The Mom Body

Mom Uniforms: The Put Together Edition

This may seriously be the most "put together" grouping of Mom Uniforms that I've whipped up. And honestly, all of the pieces are stupid comfortable, basics and a great price point. So basically, I crushed it. Let's get down to business, shall we?

Oh, and hold on to your hats, if you make it to the end of this post, you'll be rewarded with the worst ever dress Anthropologie has ever sold slapped onto this girl's Mom Body. Yay!

Buttoned Up
 Tunic wearing a L | Necklace | Flats similar | Denim

Holy Hannah, do I love this outfit. This is may be the easiest top of all time - lightweight, the sleeves aren't too tight in the upper arm, the buttons don't gap and the material is super soft. I also snagged this for half off but it is worth every single penny of the full price cost ($59.50!). I feel put together, appropriate and never once tugged at any rogue part of me or stashed anything back where it was supposed to be at any point while wearing it. Buy it. You're welcome. 

Layered Up

Sweater wear a L| Vest wearing a L| Necklace | Scarf | Necklace | Jeans wearing a 30| Boots

God, those boots. Thank all of the things for wide calf boots. I'll never go back to regular calf again. Anyway, the new piece in this ensemble is the winter white sweater -which I snagged for half off right after Christmas (even not on sale, it's a great deal at under $60). It's warm but not thick, a pretty shade of white (not too bright) and has side vents that keep things from bunching weirdly around my gut. Nobody needs bunching around the gut, trust me. 

Tunic Love

Tunic wearing a L| Necklace | Hat | Denim wearing a 30| Booties 

Can't stop, won't stop with the Anthro tunics. This one is going to Phoenix with me this weekend for the National Championship Game and I can't wait. In fact, I am so impatient to wear it that I slapped it on the second I got home today - just minutes after purchasing. Heads up busty ladies - I am wearing a large in this top and will need to wear a minimizing/non-padded bra to ensure that the buttons don't gape. But the fact that it's a bit longer in the back meaning I can wear it with leggings makes me perfectly content to rock a sports bra under it. If you aren't into the off-set plaid, the top comes in three other patterns that are all adorable.

Zipped Up

 Top wearing a L | Denim | Booties | Scarf old | Necklace | Leggings | Sneakers 

The best part about this sweater/sweatshirt hybrid is the back. I've worn it twice recently - once to MDO drop off in my sweats and baseball cap and once when I was pretending that I showered but really picked up my jeans off of the floor and pranced around in a wedge in order to fool people into thinking I tried. I'm wearing a large in the top and I'm a fan of the length - I really hope I don't accidentally shrink it in the wash.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: 

The Anthropologie Fail 

So, this dress is really cute on the hanger. It's not even that bad online (and before you ask, yes, I'm sure that I'm not wearing it backwards - that key hole you see in the listing photo is basically just a slit in the fabric in real life.) But somehow, this dress manages to oddly create volume on my stomach while suffocating me in the neck and maybe being an awkward length (keep in mind that I'm 5'9" so imagine this one a petite girl). I really couldn't believe how many parts of it are just plain wrong. The only redeeming factor might be if you are smuggling a small and thus still secret bump in the work place. Seeing as I am just smuggling my old baby belly, this is a big fat fail for moi.

Any questions about fit or sizing? Feel free to ask!

Maybe This Will Be The Year

A new year. A fresh start.

I guess I should make a resolution, pick a mantra for the year or start working out. 
Maybe this will be the year that I stop wearing leggings 6 days a week (ok, fine, 7) or the year I drink more water than Diet Dr. Pepper (or wine). Maybe this will be the year that I'll lose that last 15 pounds or keep my acne in check. Maybe I'll use real shampoo more than dry shampoo or stop going to Starbucks in order to save money.

Or maybe I'll rock out 2016 just as I am. 

Maybe I'll work harder to dress my body in a way that flatters me and makes me feel effing amazing. Maybe I'll remind myself to enjoy the moment, be grateful and lighten up while giving myself an inch of grace when I'm overwhelmed, tired and just not feeling it. 

Maybe I'll stop drinking the Two Buck Chuck and reach for the $5 splurge bottles instead. Maybe I'll walk with the baby to Starbucks instead of driving across town to the drive through. 
But not when it's raining. Or cold. Or windy. Or hot. 

Maybe I'll learn to balance all of the roles I've taken on, learn to say no when I really don't want to do something or let criticism roll off of my back. But if I try and stumble, that will be ok, too. 

This will be the year that I forgive myself for not being perfect, for just being me in all of my crazed glory.


For those of you who really appreciate a list, I do have some hard and fast goals for the year.
Some are boring, some are secrets and some are really fun!

2016, Home:
Finish that God forsaken living room design.
(seriously, does anyone want to help me do this? I'm so over it)

New windows and window treatments

Maybe, just maybe, consider a bit more construction 
(yep, I said it)

2016, Family
Travel more as a family, even though it's exhausting

Spend more time focusing on my marriage

2016, Blog
Start the Asked and Answered series again

Continue to always be honest, reflective and try not super worried about the negative feedback

See my work published on Scary Mommy (again!) and HuffPost

Continue to develop relationships with other bloggers and seek out local bloggers

2016, Personal
Work on developing my SAHM network of friends

Live life after bedtime.

And there you have it, an overachievers guide to handling New Year's resolutions!
(please tell me you hear the sarcasm)