All you need is love

(I don’t know about you but I personally can’t think of anything else but this song when it comes on in the movie, Love Actually)

I always get a little bummed once Christmas is over, decorations are put away and there aren’t any continuous Christmas songs on the radio, until February rolls around. I don’t know if it’s the pretty colored king cakes, all the fun Valentine’s or the plethora of chocolates (especially after I had a very dry January, cutting out alcohol, dairy and sugar) but it definitely helps put me in a better mood. You can certainly feel the love in this household.

Okay, so I also have to share this little king cake-related story. This year, we got our king cake from a local bakery and since I didn’t see the traditional baby Jesus in the middle of the cake, I just figured they had ran out or something. No biggie. Well we cut into it that night and while I was eating mine, I bit down on something and was honestly freaked out it was something horrific that had accidentally slipped in because it was very hard and inside a very soft cake. Anyway, once I finally spit it out, I realized it was the baby Jesus! Naturally, I felt like the worst human being in the entire world (enter catholic guilt) but on the plus side, the girls enjoyed adding him to their babies collection and all was well. So the moral of the story is to keep an eye out for the baby Jesus when eating a king cake.

Hindsight is 2020

A few things I learned or was reminded of from the past pandemic year would be: 

  1. You can still be adventurous in a global pandemic, thanks to local treasures we were able to get to like Cascade Falls, Downs Park and our annual day trip to St. Michaels. 
  2. You can still have a hint of glam if you revisit an old highschool hobby of jewelry making from the comfort of your own home and essentially make your own accessories. 
  3. Getting creative took on a whole new meaning. For example, turning our backyard into a mini water park. We had slides, pools, water guns, splash pads, water tables and the girls had an absolute blast. 
  4. The power of perspective was always big for me but this year, having a roof over our head, food on the table and my families health spoke volumes.
  5. The old age saying that family and friends is everything, especially rang true last year.

Oh and more of a reminder but don’t forget to double check total quantities on your insta cart. That may have been more of a personal lesson learned but just the same, let’s just say I learned it. 

All that said, I’d love nothing more now to get back to things like school in the classroom, trips for business and pleasure that involve an actual airplane and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t enjoy a concert or a Broadway show sprinkled in there as well. Please and thank you, 2021.

Seabrook for the soul

In these covid times, we knew we wanted to get a trip in before school (or some version of it) started back up in September so we decided to head down to our family’s place in Seabrook, South Carolina and it was exactly what the doctor ordered. We were warned that the home was under a massive renovation and we could only occupy two rooms, a full bath and back porch but that is how badly we wanted to get away and looking back, it was one of our best vacations yet.

I loved our daily routine of avoiding the crowds so we were up at dawn for a beach walk at sunrise, fitting in some sort of adventure over lunch and closing out the pool in the evenings, which we literally had all to ourselves one night. My husband even scheduled our first family foursome of golf and I totally understand the addiction now!

One thing I would highly recommend is getting to a plantation when you are down there next. We visited Boone Hall Plantation with the girls and was blown away by all the history. Plus, if there are any Notebook fans out there, it was where a few scenes from that movie were shot, which was an added bonus. Not to mention you can’t be more socially distanced on a 700+ acre property. It was the perfect way to temporarily escape our global pandemic reality.

More arm candy from quarantine

Since I was unable to see a lot of the people I normally would this spring and summer, I started gifting some of my bracelets in the hopes I could be with them this way, around their wrist, making sure they knew I was thinking about them regardless how far apart we were. For example, a highschool graduate in our neighborhood who has been our babysitter since we moved here or a good friend who recently had her first baby out of state or a cousin who recently got married and a wedding I was crushed I couldn’t be at, since it involved flying. Anyway, I am hopeful the second half of the year will be better than the first but if not, I will also have some new arm candy creations of my own to remind me I was able to express to so many loved ones how much they mean to me through this fun hobby of mine.

Beads, baths and baking

Let me preface this with I know we all have had to cope differently throughout this whole ordeal but I am someone who has to be productive if I’m essentially told I can’t do the things that would normally make me productive on a regular basis and need to find new things to make me productive in this new normal so if I had to sum up how I’ve needed to unplug from homeschooling, housework, emails, cooking, cleaning and more during Covid I would have to say it’s through the three B’s …beads, baths and baking. I picked up an old hobby that I used to do in highschool while making mixed tapes so my pedicure could dry and that was jewelry making. I noticed a bracelet style that was trending and a retailer that made them but that I personally did not want to pay the price for so started making for friends and family and it became a very much needed distraction from all things global pandemic. These are some of my creations. 

When I say baths I do literally mean soaking in a lavender bubble bath but also just any sort of self care whether that is a face mask or teeth whitening strips or a body scrub. I am still very aware that I need to stay healthy to do all the things a mom needs to do on a regular basis but especially now since I’ve added homeschool teacher to my hat rack. Have I mentioned teachers are my hero? Because they are. 

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I am also a very detailed, thorough, process-oriented kind of gal which baking requires a lot of. It also doesn’t hurt that I have a major sweet tooth. We’ve made everything from chocolate chip cookies, zucchini muffins, homemade peasant bread, carrot cake muffins and easter egg brownies to name a few. Let’s just say my waistline and I haven’t exactly been seeing eye to eye since quarantine started but I blame all my baking inspirations that I follow on instagram like Ina Garten, Giada and Cupcakes and Cashmere. Hope everyone is hanging in there!

Easter in quarantine

I admittedly could not help myself this Easter on the mommy and me matching front. Even before all this corona virus stuff went down, something told me I didn’t want the girls to get too old where it’s no longer cool for their mom to dress like them so I had a sense of urgency this Easter to finally act on it. Even though we had nowhere to be on Easter Sunday and tuned into Easter mass from our couch in pajamas and slippers and had a box of crackers for communion, I insisted we change into our Easter Sunday best. Now, doesn’t mean sweatpants weren’t changed back into shortly after but it did make me feel hopeful, thankful and blessed especially on that day of all days.
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Tradition is big for me especially when it comes to holidays and I was a little worried I couldn’t pull it off without all our family around but thankfully my parents had instilled a lot of tradition around this holiday and every holiday that I knew how to make it special all on my own from a special breakfast to hiding the baskets and even got a makeshift picture with the bunny from a photographer friend.
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I can already tell this time with just us as a family is one thing I will definitely miss once we’re back out in the world, having to keep up with all the things, so I’m soaking it up as much as I possibly can.
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A love for glam

So I’m fully aware that any sort of glam has sorely been missing from my page but also love that my name holds me accountable to the fact I do have a love for glamorous (which is even a strong word for my daily life) things even though majority of this month was spent in my knee length north face, ugg boots and my restoration hardware robe when I was at home because I am always cold but today is a new day! 😂
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I found this top from another account I follow on Instagram and thought it would be perfect going into February for any Valentine parties, a casual date night and might even work for a work trip I have next month in Miami, FL in, and don’t hate me if you’re in colder climates but 70 degree weather. Fits true to size and very comfortable but could probably have even done the extra small and been fine too. Could do either denim or black pants with either a bootie or flats but could also dress it up with a black or tan heel. Plus there’s a tassel!
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I’m not going to lie, I get a little nervous stepping out of the stay at home mom life and back into the corporate working world mom life after a few months away from it but I honestly pinch myself that I get flown to these beautiful locations and hope it never ends! Key Biscayne, here I come!

Vienna, Austria

I recently had the opportunity to go to Vienna, Austria for work. It never dawned on me to have this city on any sort of bucket list but if it’s not currently on yours, it should be. Now it may have helped that it was sunny and about 70 degrees when we were there and staying in an amazingly historic five-star hotel but you could just sense how regal the city must have been hundreds of years ago.

If there are any Sound of Music fans out there, I always remember how Baroness Elsa von Schraeder was from Vienna and her level of class, sophistication and even a bit of snobbery makes complete sense that they casted her from Vienna. If you haven’t seen the movie, you need to just based on the fact it’s based on an incredible true story. A must-see!

Every time I get to Europe, which is never as often as I hope, I try to remind myself of a few things when I go back to the states. There are several things I admire that Europeans do on a daily basis that I always want to incorporate into my every day life. First, don’t be afraid to use your legs to get places. Second, I love how they don’t have a lot of “stuff” like Americans do and don’t seem to get caught up in all things excess which could be because space doesn’t physically allow there but still admirable. Third, I love that they stop to enjoy meals with friends or family. All the rushing, daily grind and urgency seems to or at least it looks this way to me, it seems to go away for those couple hours and I love that so much. Lastly, a cute, classic, tailored blazer with a scarf goes a long way. Their style always looks so incredibly effortless.

Here are some fun pictures from the trip. If you’re a history buff, you’ll be in heaven. I highly recommend trying the torte from Hotel Imperial, the Schönbrunn or Hofburg Imperial Palace or any winery off the Blue Danube Valley, to name a few. 

Rent the runway

I know this is not new for a lot of you but Rent the Runway was new for me this year and was a very successful “Glam Today” moment so had to document it because these moments don’t happen often. I finally decided to try Rent the Runway for a couple events I had this past Spring and think it might be the best invention ever. I’m just sad I didn’t think of it myself.

We had a charity gala event that I knew was going to be next level dressy so I had to step it up. (Full disclosure: I did have to commit a couple hours on a Friday night to scroll through all the dress options on the website and filter for the season, style and length but I thought it was worth it.)

So for those who haven’t used it before, you select your dress (you also have the option of picking accessories as well!), the date you would like it to arrive and the date you will drop it off with the free return postage. I’m always a little skeptical thinking things like, “will it arrive” or “will the zipper be broken” or “will there be a stain on it”? Fortunately, my dress arrived in great shape. I even liked the backup style I chose and packed it all back up Monday morning and dropped it at my local UPS store. It could not have been easier.

Next, I had to or should I say wanted to do all the pre-event glam and let me tell you, I left no stone unturned. I did everything from the mani/pedi, spray tan and eye masks down to the hot rollers. Granted, I was absolutely exhausted at the end of the day but I cherish these dress up nights, especially with my husband, so much because they do not happen as much as I’d like, as least not for this momma.

I think it’s so cool you can even use them similar to how you would use stitch fix, who sends you clothes based on your personality! Here’s my dress from the charity event…

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Disney World

I’m finally coming down from my Disney high a couple months later and am able to accurately reflect on the whole experience. Like anything in life, if you want something to turn out amazing, you’ve got to put the leg work in and this was no different. I will say my type A planning did pay off in this case.
There were 13 of us so we had to be pretty on top of coordinating logistics but here are a few lessons I plan to pass on to several friends planning Disney trips of their own…
Lesson 1: Take that 180 day out dining deadline seriously, especially if you want the highly sought after character meals.
Lesson 2: Take the 60 day out fast pass deadline seriously as well if you want the most popular rides.
Lesson 3: If you have a dining plan, make sure to use all your meals, quick service meals and snacks or it’s just money down the drain.
Of course, this all depends on whether you have the dining plan, what your budget constraints are or how long you plan to stay.
But speaking of your stay, if you’re overwhelmed on where to stay, I’d suggest watching this video on YouTube. I follow an awesome account called The Bucket List Family on Instagram and at one point in their travels they were asked to complete a challenge called 30 stays in 30 days in Disney World that gives you a great idea of all the different properties they do have. Fortunately, you can customize it however you’d like and however works best for you and your family so take all of the above with a grain of salt because there really are 1,000 different ways to slice it.
Depending on how hard you want to go, I found it very similar to childbirth in that it is definitely painful at times but when you look back, you have nothing but the fondest memories for it all.
But my all around takeaway was it was an amazing trip (notice I did not call it a vacation) and look forward to the challenge of trying some new things when we return and all members of our family meet height restrictions. 🙂
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