7.31.2017

Back To School Shopping at Kohl's

I can't believe we are two weeks away from going back to school. I really miss the good old days when kids didn't go back to school until after Labor Day.

In this post you will find back to school deals for boys and girls of all ages at Kohl's. I focused on school aged kids but threw some toddler pieces in there. I also included tops and bottoms that are uniform friendly. All depending on what your school requires of course. Most items are on sale at great prices. You can click directly on the image to shop it.

I also have another post with back to school deals at Nordstrom. Make sure you check that out.

Happy shopping Mom & Dad!

KOHL'S - Boys Tops



KOHL'S - Boys Bottoms



KOHL'S - Boys Jeans

KOHL'S - Girls Tops



KOHL'S - Girls Bottoms



KOHL'S - Girls Skirts and Dresses


KOHL'S - Kid's Shoes


KOHL'S - Backpacks



7.30.2017

Back to School Shopping at Nordstrom

Goodbye July and hello back to school shopping!

In this post you will find back to school deals for boys and girls of all ages at Nordstrom. I focused on school aged kids for the sizing. I also included tops and bottoms that are uniform friendly. All depending on what your school requires of course. These pieces are all on sale as part of Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale that ends August 6th.

You can click directly on the image to shop it. I also have another post with back to school deals at Kohl's. Make sure you check that out.

Happy shopping Mom & Dad!

NORDSTROM - Boys Tops



NORDSTROM - Boys Bottoms

NORDSTROM - Girls Clothing



NORDSTROM - Kid's Shoes


7.27.2017

How to Personalize a Destination Wedding







One of my biggest challenges while planning my destination wedding was adding personal touches to the decor and the overall feel of the wedding. I was limited to what I could bring with me to Cabo and it's hard to ship things because you can't 100% guarantee they will arrive in perfect condition for the big day. In addition to that we got married at an all-inclusive resort where the wedding package includes just the basics and it was up to me to add my personal touches to the decor. I did my research on local vendors and focused on finding the perfect florist because I believe that flowers can make or break a wedding. Luckily I found the most amazing florist and after that was set I focused on adding small personal touches that would make a big difference.

We chose coral and grey for our wedding colors early on. I knew I couldn't add too much coral to the decor or it would be overwhelming so I focused on adding touches of silver and grey. Our center pieces were made up of coral and pink floral arrangements in silver vases. Next to the centerpieces we placed silver candelabras and silver mercury glass votive tealight holders and candles that were lit at night. I had runners made for every table in a grey and white chevron pattern that added movement throughout.

My grandmother loves to paint and is very talented. I wanted to incorporate one of her paintings into my wedding so I asked her to paint a tree that we could use as our fingerprint guest book. We placed the guest book on a table and it became a part of the decor. It was both easy to travel with and a very personal focal point during the wedding reception. I will cherish this guest book forever and pass it down to my kids.

I hope my tips were helpful if you are planning a destination wedding or any wedding and were looking for ways to add personal touches to the wedding. Thank you for stopping by and don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions.


7.22.2017

Harvest Season in Napa Valley

Vineyard at Robert Mondavi Winery


Gargoyle outside of Castello di Amorosa 
Castello di Amorosa - Wine Barrel Room



When my husband and I were planning our honeymoon we wanted to visit a place that wasn't a beach location because we had just spent a week in Cabo getting married.  We settled on Napa Valley for the first week of August and it ended up being the perfect decision.  Little did we know we were arriving just at the beginning of harvest season. In Napa Valley harvest season begins in August and ends in October. The weather was warm when we arrived but there was a cool breeze in the air. We were there during the week so we avoided the large crowds. It does get a bit crowded on weekends.

I completely fell in love with Napa Valley. The food is amazing, the landscaping is green and lush and of course the wine is what it's all about. We made our rounds to a few wineries but I'll tell you about the three that really stand out in our memories.

On our first day in Napa we drove up to Oakville to visit the Robert Mondavi Winery. The drive up from Napa to Oakville was really beautiful. We made a pit stop at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville for a quick bite of their famous baguette and it did not disappoint. Once at the winery we took a walking tour that ends with a wine tasting. A tour guide walks you through the vineyard, cellar and barrel aging room. The history of the winery is impressive. We also learned just how innovative their wine making techniques really are. The wine tasting was a blast and we couldn't leave without buying a bottle of their famous Cabernet Sauvignon.

V. Sattui Winery is located in St. Helena. We didn't get to do a tour or tasting here but we did visit the artisan deli and picnic grounds. I will never forget the picnic we had here. We sat on a cute picnic bench surrounded by green vines and flowers. The deli food was fresh and their olive bar made my heart skip a beat. Their delicious deli food is meant to be paired with their wine so we picked up a bottle or four and had the best picnic. When in Napa... right?

Last but not least Castello di Amorosa. This winery is a new Tuscan castle built with old material flown in from Europe. Gargoyles, drawbridge, moat and all! As soon as you drive through the gates to this winery you are transported into the 13th century. The light fixtures and plumbing fixtures are all antiques. The designer in me was in heaven. We took the tour of the castle and chose the wine tasting paired with chocolate. This winery produces high quality delicious wine in the most impressive barely rooms I've ever seen. I became a huge fan of their rose wines. La Fantasia is one of them, a sparkling wine with aromas of cherry, exotic flowers and wild berries. Is your mouth watering yet? I can't even tell you how many bottles we brought home from this winery but we are still opening a bottle every year on our anniversary. Also, if you sign up for their wine club you get special invitations to lavish events they hold inside the castle. At the end of July they are hosting Hot Havana Nights, a Cuban themed event with dancing, music and Cuban cigars. In September they have a harvest celebration that includes a grape stomping competition. This place is an absolute must if you are in Napa.

I arrived in Napa a wine lover but I left with a true appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into making it. Every winery is equally devoted to making the best wine. If you're lucky enough to visit during harvest season you get to experience the entire process from beginning to end.


Castello di Amorosa Castello Website

7.21.2017

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!

Happy Friday! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is now live to the public which means you can shop this sale even if you are not a Nordstrom card holder. After shopping this sale for over a week I've realized that if you buy even just a coupe of staple wardrobe pieces it is worth shopping the sale. The beauty stuff is just too good to resist. Everything listed below are items I believe are worth shopping for. Many of these pieces are sold out BUT it is only day 1 of the sale to the public so I do believe everything will be re-stocked. I will keep on eye on it for you.

I'm working on all the other categories and will have them up as soon as I can but please remember this sale runs until August 6th.

You can click directly on the thumbnails below to go to the product page. Please let me know if you have any questions.

WOMEN'S CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES



BEAUTY





MEN'S




BOYS




BABY GEAR




HOME


7.20.2017

Kids Closet Makeover


Closet Inspiration from Pinterest

Before (YIKES!)
Installed Wire Shelf
After (Phew!)
White Wire Shelf - Lowe's || Baseball Cap Organizer - Amazon

Let me start off by apologizing for the bad pictures. I'm lucky I even have pictures of this process and I figured something was better than nothing. Okay, here we go.

Ryder's closet is not very large so when we found out I was pregnant I had to get creative with how we would use this one small closet for both babies. The before picture above is the complete disaster that was Ryder's closet after two years of holding on to baby stuff because maybe baby... one day. LOL! Well, that maybe baby came and he came quick. Ryder and Reed are 28 months apart so I needed to make room for crib bedding, toddler bed bedding, clothes, shoes and diapers/wipes for both babes. It was definitely time to get creative and organized.

Once I removed the bassinet from the closet (see BEFORE picture), I measured the closet's width, depth and height. Always, always, always measure any space you plan on changing or reorganizing. If you know the actual space you have to work with you can use every inch of it more efficiently. I know that sounds like common sense but sometimes it's just something you don't think of doing for a small space. After measuring I realized I had a lot more storage space in depth than I anticipated for so I started shopping for shelves and storage baskets that were deep. I initially wanted to do a white wood shelf like in my inspiration picture above but the wire shelf I ended up using was the exact size I needed. The width is perfect in the closet and it's a lot deeper than any wood shelf I could find. It's not the most attractive but it's in the closet so I truly don't mind it. If the wire shelves are just not your thing you can always have custom shelves made to fit your space. However, another thing I love about these wire shelves is that you can reposition them to different heights easily. I wanted to use the top shelf for shoes so I needed to make sure that there was room between the clothes and the top of the first shelf. Once we figure out where to install the first shelf the rest was easy and we were left with a small space below the bottom shelf where I could stick things like diaper packs. Talk about using every single square inch of space. I now store bedding in the striped storage baskets pictured in the after picture and everything else is neatly stacked on the shelves.

If you watched my Instastories the other day you know that this closet was such a mess that it was giving me anxiety but, that was only because Ryder got into the closet and pulled everything out to find a toy that wasn't even in there to begin with. After the closet makeover this closet has remained organized and I can always find things quickly. This is so important when you have kids. I hope these organizing tips were helpful. I know with kids things can get crazy messy sometimes but, if everything has a place and everything gets put back in it's place it just makes life easier.

7.16.2017

Fall Must Haves On Sale

I know all you've heard from me lately is Nordstrom Nordstrom Nordstrom and sale sale sale but, who doesn't like those words together right? This post is all about the items that I got to see in person yesterday. I usually stock up on boots mid-way into the fall season but now I'm all set and it's only July! These are all new fall items discounted before the season starts. Such a great deal! Also, I didn't love the handbags online but fell in love with them in person. This early access sale ends on the 21st but the sale goes on until August 6.





7.14.2017

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 7/14 UPDATE

So after shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for a day and a half I have another round of goodies to show you. I may or may not have bought 90% of this stuff (yikes! don't tell my husband). Some of these items are sold out but I am listing them in the hopes that they will be restocked. Everything is super affordable and cute. I'm ready for you fall!!

TOPS, SWEATERS & DRESSES


1. Pocket Tee This tee is perfect for layering!
2. Side Slit Tee The perfect tee and it's $15!
3. Adidas Crewneck Sweatshirt Who doesn't love an Adidas sweatshirt for under $40!
4. Topshop Patch Sweater I am going to wear this sweater every day all day!
5. Bell Sleeve Dress I can't wait to layer this with a cardigan or vest in the fall but might just wear it now on a cool summer night.
6. Ruffle Sleeve T-Shirt Dress This dress went FAST. I really hope they re-stock because it is so cute and comfortable.

SHOES AND ACCESSORIES




BOOTIES

These are all on my wish list. Love love love!

PANTS


1. Ripped Cropped Skinny Jeans - The price! Grab them now while you can.
2. Faux Leather Mixed Moto Leggings - These are too cool!
3. Spanx Faux Leather Leggings Apparently these sold out FAST last year because they are amazing. So sliming and perfect for fall.

7.13.2017

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Happy Thursday! I stayed up last night to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale early. I sorted through thousands of items and have rounded up some of my favorite and affordable options for you. This is seriously like Christmas in July because the deals are ridiculously good.

The anniversary sale early access goes from today through July 20th and then the sale opens up to everyone on July 21st and goes through August 6. In order to shop the sale early you need to have a Nordstrom credit card or debit card. It is so worth it to shop the sale early because everything goes FAST. Check back here periodically for updates on shoes, sweaters, menswear and so on. Happy shopping!!

ACCESSORIES FOR THE HOME

1. Miami Leaf Shower Curtain
2. Persian Cypress Area Rug
3. Caitlin Shower Curtain
4. Chenille Geo Comforter Set
5. Gold Starburst Mirror
6. Rolling Bar Cart

WOMEN'S TOPS


1. Ruffle Front Poplin Shirt
2. Eyelet Ruffle Tank
3. Double Ruffle Sleeve Blouse
4. Ruffle Cold Shoulder Top


HANDBAGS



1. Tory Burch Frida Swingpack Leather Crossbody Bag
2. Rebecca Minkoff Small Love Embroidered Nubuck Crossbody
3.Rebecca Minkoff Small Love Nubuck Crossbody
4.Vince Camuto Suede & Leather Crossbody



7.11.2017

Our Sand Ceremony & How We Included All Of Our Guests

Glass jars filled with sand from Cabo


Our wedding guests pouring sand prior to the sand ceremony

Sand Ceremony

Ryan pouring during the sand ceremony

Wedding reception
As we wrote our vows and coordinated our ceremony with the reverend that married us we decided it would be fun to include a sand ceremony. A sand ceremony is a type of unity ceremony that symbolizes the unity of two families into one. The bride and groom each pour a different colored sand into one container to show two different colors blending into one. You can also include family members in this ceremony. Each person included pours different colored sand into the container. As the sand is poured vows for the sand ceremony are read. This quickly became a way in which we could include Ryan in our ceremony. As we planned it further we figured out a way to include every single guest in the ceremony.

During a sand ceremony the sand is usually poured into a vase but, we had to travel home with this meaningful wedding momento so I decided to get creative and we used a shadow box instead. I had to create something that wouldn't break during our trip home but also something that would look nice as a decoration in our home. As the backdrop inside the frame I used a picture we took on the beach during our engagement weekend getaway. I painted the shadow box white and glued a large wooden "A" (the initial of our last name) to the front of the shadow box. My husband cut out a piece of wood that covered the top of the frame and then made a slit across the top where we could fit a funnel in to pour the sand thru. Our shadow box was simple but definitely did the job. You can personalize your container with your wedding colors, initials and so on.

The day we arrived in Cabo we filled the mini glass jars (pictured above) with sand from the beach at the resort. The jars were labeled with custom labels that read "Chris and Melissa's Wedding" and the date of our wedding. As guests arrived to our wedding they were handed these glass jars so they could each pour sand into the shadow box. Next to the box was a sign that explained the sand ceremony to them. We asked that they pour their sand first to symbolize a foundation for our marriage. It was a small token of our appreciation for joining us on our destination wedding trip but it meant a lot to us.

During our sand ceremony we poured the sand as we read additional vows each promising to do everything to keep our family together. We then surprised Ryan with vows especially for him as he got to pour sand into the shadow box. We also gave him a tiny wedding band that would remind him of our family whenever he wore it. He did not take that ring off for the rest of the trip. It was the cutest thing and really made him feel like he was a part of the wedding ceremony.

At our wedding reception we had a table for the sand ceremony items. Guests could continue to pour sand into the shadow box if they had missed their chance to do so before the ceremony. We also had enough mini jars filled with sand that guests could take home with them as a wedding/trip favor.

A sand ceremony is perfect for any outdoor wedding it does not necessarily have to be a destination wedding. I've linked some of the items that I used below. Happy wedding planning!

Shadow Box - Michael's
Mini Glass Jars - Amazon
Colored Sand - Sandsational Sparkle
Wooden Letter - Michael's


7.06.2017

Baby Milestones & The Pressure To Meet Them w/ UPDATE


I am dreading Reed's 9 month check up tomorrow because he doesn't stand or crawl yet. Isn't that insane? He's 9 months old! Our pediatrician might say he is perfect but I am going in with the notion that he is behind on things. Ryan didn't crawl until after he walked and he didn't walk until he was 14 months. He didn't even walk, he got up and ran one day and that was that. He is now 12 super athletic, so smart, so handsome and just perfection in my eyes. Ryder always hit every milestone "on time" but potty training has been a struggle. Is that even a milestone? (Insert major eye roll here) I know all of this and yet I am worried.

The pressure we face as mothers and parents just doesn't seem fair. We already face so many other challenges in today's society why do our children have to develop at the same rate as everyone else's?   I know that we as humans hit development milestones around the same time but no two babies are the same. Reed isn't moving around much but you should hear him baby talking. He is 9 months and his word count is nine. That says something doesn't it? If he doesn't like something he objects and he imitates us constantly. All those are milestones he has met but I know tomorrow the focus will be on the ones he hasn't. So here I am typing out all the milestones he has met as to prove a point to someone. The pressure!! We have gone through so much with Reed already I don't want to hear that he is "behind". What if he isn't the fastest runner in his class or doesn't walk for months to come. Should I sit here and worry everyday when everything else is perfect? I know he doesn't need physical therapy but it's going to come up. I'm dreading this appointment guys!

I've had family members suggest that he be in his walker more when they don't even know what his day to day is like.  We exercise his little muscles daily but I am too tired to defend that point to anyone. I try to brush family members off because they aren't professionals but then my pediatrician says things and I just can't help but be annoyed by the pressure. It feels like its pressure to worry for no reason. Like in the hospital when you give birth and it's either you breastfeed or you're some kind of evil mom who doesn't want what's best for your baby. It's just not right. I always tell my fellow moms not to worry so much because EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT and look at me now.

That was a really long rant you just read LOL! Thanks for making it this far. I just want other parents reading this to know you aren't alone. We all worry, our babies are all different and in the end it all works out. I kind of just talked myself off a ledge didn't I? Anyway, I'll post an appointment update tomorrow. Have a goodnight everyone!

********UPDATE********

Our pediatrician is on vacation, unbeknownst to us, so we ended up seeing another pediatrician who I actually really liked. Reed is 21.5 lbs and 28" of perfection! This pediatrician thinks he looks great and is not at all concerned about crawling. The standing however might be of concern. Reed will support his weight for just a few seconds and I guess subconsciously that's really what I was worried about. He pushes himself around in the walker so there really should not be an issue but we made an appointment to check him again in one month. This parenting thing is no joke.
Anywhoo! I'll stop worrying... for now! Happy Friday and happy weekend!!

7.05.2017

Destination Wedding Pros and Cons

Passport Invitations
Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Reception

Our wedding guests lighting wish lanterns on the beach at the end of our reception.

You're on cloud 9 because you're engaged and now it's time to plan your wedding. You've always wanted a destination wedding, but now you have to actually think about what goes into planning that. The entire time I was planning my wedding I wished I had just one person I knew that had already had a destination wedding and could help me through the entire process. Not a wedding planner but someone I personally knew that would be honest with me and give me their advice as a bride. Well, now I am here to be that for YOU! If you are planning a destination wedding, a wedding but in the back of your mind you keep picturing a destination wedding or you know someone planning a destination wedding then keep reading because this is for you.

The first thing I would advise you do is make a pros and cons list of having a destination wedding to double check that you really want to go that route. If you really want a destination wedding nothing is going to stop you from having that but being prepared for the things you have on your cons list will really help out in the long run. Following is a list I put together of my pros and cons now looking back in hindsight. I am going to list as many crucial things as I can think of but please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Pros
1. Beautiful location for a wedding. - Duh right? This is why you're choosing a destination wedding to begin with. It will be all you dreamt of and more. I will never forget the sound of the ocean as we said our I do's.
2. Intimacy - A destination wedding usually means a smaller guest list creating a very intimate event. This was ideal for us because all we wanted to do was celebrate our love with those closest to us. We ended up having 50 guests and it was perfect.
3. Our wedding felt like a week long vacation trip not just a one-day event. - Although we only had a rehearsal dinner and the wedding it felt as though our wedding was a week long vacation focused on us getting married. It was really special.
4. People who attend your wedding really want to be there. - Let's be real! It takes a lot of effort on your guest's part to attend your wedding if it is out of town. Your guests will end up being a special bunch that you will create memories with that will last a lifetime.
5. Unique - Your wedding will be unique and who doesn't want this? I know every wedding is different but I am sure our Cabo wedding and the vacation our guests had will forever stand out in their memory.
6. Having a special place to travel back to for anniversaries. - We are coming up on our four year anniversary this month and we still have not been back but I honestly cannot wait. I look forward to visiting Cabo again alone with my husband but also with our kids so they can see where we got married.
7. Wedding Theme - The location of my wedding made it really easy for me to pick the decor and wedding colors.

I honestly have a million more pros to list but then this post will go on forever and I want to give you an even pros and cons list of important things to think about.

Cons
1. Weather - Not living in the location where you are getting married can make weather a challenge because you really don't know what to expect. Not that anyone has control over weather but I definitely would have pushed my ceremony time back a couple of hours to avoid the heat. My guests were literally melting so we tried to make it quick. It's funny now but it was unbearable at the time and I kept apologizing to everyone for the heat. LOL!
2. Having sick or elderly family members or friends who can't travel. - This is a touchy subject and very personal. I had to remind myself that although my family means the world to me it was my wedding and a destination wedding is something I had always dreamt of. I had to be okay with very close people to us not being able to attend. I am very grateful that everyone was so understanding.
3. You have to be okay with your guest list constantly changing. - I sent out my save the dates one entire year before our wedding. I wanted people to be prepared but also a lot can change in a year. Some people were all in at the beginning and then ended up not being able to make the trip.
4. Tons of coordinating!! - I honestly feel like a wedding planner can only do so much when it comes to a destination wedding. You and your partner have a lot of coordinating to do to make sure all of your guests have all the information they need. I used a travel agent that helped me book rooms at the resort for our guests and so on. We also jam packed our invitations with information. If you have your ceremony in one place and your reception at another you have to coordinate transportation for all of your guests with someone locally. Same goes for the rehearsal dinner or any other group events planned. It's a lot of work but so worth it.
5. I used local vendors for everything including hair and make up and it was a little nerve wrecking to  meet everyone in person just days before the wedding. Everything turned out great but I did a ton of research on every vendor before booking them. Also, my first couple of days in Cabo were completely booked with vendor appointments to discuss last minute details.
6. Lugging everything to your destination - It's hard to ship off a package full of important things for your wedding so you will end up carrying a lot of things with you on your trip. If you are traveling outside of the country you have make sure everything you're packing for the wedding will easily pass through customs.
7. It's pretty impossible to save a piece of your wedding cake to freeze and eat on your anniversary. We weren't big on this but if it's important to you it's something to think about.

If you're still reading this you're AWESOME and thank you. Please remember I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. I will be sharing more wedding planning tips this month so make sure to check back.