Friday Potpourri – Vol. 5

Hey all! TGIF! I’m so excited that this week is over. It wasn’t necessarily a bad week, but it was just off. I’m trying to resettle and get things back to “normal,” so I wasn’t as productive and didn’t stick to my usual routine. Here’s hoping for a great weekend and an even better week next week!

Last weekend was busy, but fun. We focused on some much needed family time. We took Mara to the park, hung out at home and went to the mall. I checked out a blogger event at Kendra Scott while we were there. I haven’t had alone time in awhile so Jesse took Mara while I went. It was so nice to be surrounded by pretty things and sip on a mimosa. There was even a stylist doing hair, so I took advantage of that. Afterwards, we all went to lunch as a family. It was such a great, relaxing day.

I also ran in the Monument Ave 10k on Saturday morning. I ran this same 10k back in 2015 and have wanted to do it again ever since. I didn’t train as much as I wanted (or should have) but I finished under my goal time (by a minute) and that’s all that matters. I’m thinking of signing up for another one at the end of the month to see if I can improve on that time. Plus, having races coming up keeps me motivated to run and do well. monument ave 10k 2017

I wish I had any news at all about the updates to the master bathroom, but I don’t. We have hit a bit of snag with the grout replacement. They have already been out once to fix some mistakes and now have to come out again. This means that we can’t paint or do anything really because we don’t want our work to get ruined by grout dust. I’m hopeful that this will be the last time they need to come out and I can move forward with my plans soon!

However, there is some news on the house project front. I’m finally going to reorganize our walk-in closet. It’s been in desperate need for awhile, but it’s functional so I never bothered. Now Jesse has a locker for his bow & arrows, swords and other dangerous objects, but it doesn’t quite fit. This means it’s time to rearrange and make things a bit prettier in the process! Wish me luck on the pretty part. I don’t really want to spend much money on a closet so I’m not sure how to pull that off. I can tell you one thing. I’m not painting the closet. Nope. closet

I’m hoping to get started on the closet this weekend, but Monday is Passover so it’s not super high on the priority list.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Pink and Gold First Birthday

I had so much fun planning Mara’s first birthday a few weeks ago. I decided on a simple pink and gold theme, inspired by her nursery and baby showers. We also ended up throwing two parties. A brunch party in the morning for Mara’s little friends and their parents (aka our friends) and an afternoon party with our families. The day was pretty hectic so my pictures from brunch are from my phone, but I did snap a few good ones before the afternoon. pink and gold birthday brunchThe dining room was my focal point for the party since that’s where the food was. I set the table using a canvas drop cloth and a yard of pink polka dot fabric. I used some gold striped vases that I made a few years ago for pink almosteria and number 1 balloons. I love using almosteria because it’s so cheap at the grocery store and lasts forever. I also made a tissue paper garland for the birthday girl’s highchair. pink and gold first birthdayIn the living room I hung a few tissue paper pom poms from the chandelier and decorated the mantel with white, pink and gold. The CELEBRATE banner was another Dollar Spot score, as was the pink candle and pink bottle. I stole the framed prints from the gallery wall in the master bedroom. I love the black and white WW2 postcard, it’s something we picked up in the Churchill museum in London a few years agopink and gold birthday decorationsI also made a little display using all of Mara’s monthly photos for the wall in the kitchen. They are actually still hanging up because Jesse and I love looking at them. It’s so crazy to see how much she’s grown and changed in just a year! first birthday monthly photo displaymonthly photos first birthday

For the brunch party we served assorted flavors of muffins (which I baked using a box mix), fruit salad and egg cups with red pepper, onion and sausage. I got the recipe online (can’t remember where), but in the future I’d definitely add more salt and pepper. I found cute little pink easels in the Dollar Spot at Target which I used to label the food. There’s nothing worse than thinking a muffin is chocolate chip and biting in to discover it’s blueberry. egg and sausage cups birthday brunchWe also had a little mimosa bar for the brunch party. I know that there’s an ongoing debate in the mom world about serving alcohol at your kid’s birthday parties, but we figured what the hell. It’s our party too, kinda. I mean she doesn’t remember it already. brunch party mimosa barIn the afternoon we had crackers and spinach dip, a veggie tray, pink lemonade and pizza. The pizza was nod to how much pizza I ate when I was pregnant. I had it at least twice a week. At least.first birthday pink and gold decor

We also did cupcakes and Mara’s smash cake in the afternoon. I baked the cake and cupcakes (from a box) and topped them with pink vanilla icing. I used ramekins for Mara’s cake and iced it more like a naked cake. Mostly to cut back on the amount of sugar.baby birthday smash cakeMara loved being sung too. I’m talking huge, wrinkly nose smile and clapping the whole time. She also LOVED the cake. There was zero hesitation. She just dove right in. She probably ate 1/3 of it before Jesse and I decided she had enough and took it away. first birthday cake smashWe were so exhausted by the end of everything, but were also very glad to have done it all on the same day. Like ripping off a band-aid. A gold, glittery band-aid. Speaking of gold and glittery, for her party I ordered Mara a shirt from The Humble Penguin. I messaged Ashley what I wanted and she made it happen. The shirt is actually available for anyone else that is interested too! You can use code mara10 for 10% off any clothes in the shop.Mara - birthday girl shirt

I seriously had so much fun planning this party. I’m excited for many more years of birthday party fun, especially when she can decide on her own theme.

Friday Potpourri – Vol. 5

Happy Fridaaaaayyyyyy!!! I’m so excited for this weekend! I have some fun plans with girlfriends tomorrow and then absolutely NOTHING to do on Sunday (other than run and go to the grocery store). I know that I will be busy getting things ready for Mara’s party, but that’s fun stuff. Mostly. I’m sure I will find a way to be overly busy and will be exhausted come Monday, but for now I choose to be excited.

I was originally not planning on posting anything today, but something hilarious happened to me last night. I went to a special blogger preview of the Southern Women’s Show here in Richmond with a few friends in the evening. We drank champagne, watched a few makeup demonstrations and mini fashion shows, and then networked. It wasn’t a very late event and we were in our cars to leave by 8 pm. I was excited to be home at a decent time so Jesse and I could catch up on The 100 and go to bed early #momlife.

Well, I got in my car and noticed a weird “wum wum” sound and my tire pressure light started going off. I had a flat tire. Completely flat. Luckily, two of my friends were leaving right behind me and stopped when I pulled over. I called Kia Roadside Assistance, since my car is under a year old I still have that service for free. They gave me a wait time of 30 minutes, which doesn’t seem that long unless you are sitting in your car with nothing to do. My friends ran out to grab some food, but I had to stay with my car until the repair guy showed up.

While I’m sitting in my car on the phone someone for the event space comes up to ask me if everything is ok. I explain the situation and he says “It’s a good thing I came over here. I almost locked the gates and you would have been locked in for the night.” I think my eyes popped out of my head! I didn’t even realize they closed this place up at night. I thanked the man and started rummaging through my event swag bag for something to eat. Keep in mind Lent, so I couldn’t get my friends to bring me back food. I found some popcorn and started munching. But then I got incredibly thirsty. Go figure. Then a lady that works for the event space comes up to my car with a bottle of water. Just out of no where. Of course I downed it and then had to use the bathroom. But by that point my friends were back and the repair man had shown up.

I sat in my friends’ car while the man worked on my tire. It took him about 45 minutes because he went ahead and plugged my tire. Which was nice because the Fix a Flat kit that came with my car has a speed and mileage limit. I would have had to take the long way home and would have taken twice as long. Once all was said and done and I was on my way home it was 9:30. I know that doesn’t seem that late, but it was to me. Especially when I had been looking forward to getting home early.

My friends and I are going back this weekend for the actual show. A group of us watch the show Pretty Little Liars and one of the actors will be there. Don’t judge. However, I’m thinking I may not drive myself there haha. I can’t afford to lose my whole day to random car issues again haha.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! Any fun plans? Or embarrassing tv obsessions you care to admit to?

Being a Girl Mom

Hey all! Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a great weekend and survived Monday! We mostly stayed at home this weekend, minus running errands on Sunday afternoon. Daylight Savings always screws with my internal clock though so Monday and today were super rough!

Anyway, I’ve mentioned before how I’ve gotten into podcasts lately. It all started with Young House Love Has A Podcast, which I really enjoy. I actually wish there were more home design podcasts out there. Or that I could get audio versions of my favorite blogs! Then I could “read” and catch up while doing chores.

I have a local podcast I subscribe to, Coffee with Strangers RVA. It’s great for learning more about people in my city and happenings around town. A few local bloggers have been featured too, which is always fun. coffee w. strangers

I recently discovered An Acquired Taste Podcast which isn’t really about much of anything. It’s just fun and entertaining. It’s run by three ladies from the Elvis Duran Morning Show (which I used to listen too in my working days), Bethanny, Sam and Webgirl Kathleen. On an episode from a few months ago (I’m still catching up) they talked about their alter egos, which strangely enough is something I’ve often thought of. My alter ego is definitely a total badass. She’s like Michelle Rodriquez but blonde. If you don’t know who Michelle Rodriquez is, she’s the actress that plays Letty in the Fast and Furious movies. She is a mechanic, can kick ass, is kind of bro but also sexy AF.

Even as a kid I’ve always wanted to by that kind of character. I remember being super pissed one time when a boy told me I couldn’t be Robin Hood because I was a girl. I decided that I would be a girl Robin Hood, who was even better because she could beat up all the boys while wearing a dress. Since I love Keira Knightly, I was obsessed with her made for tv movie, Princess of Thieves, where she was Robin Hood’s daughter.

Now that I’m a girl mom, I hope that I can encourage my daughter to be whatever she wants to be and not put her in a box. I’ve painted her room pink and gold, hung princesses on her walls and dress her in frilly things, but those don’t define her. She is my princess but that doesn’t mean she can’t be strong and empowered, like Princess Leia or Merida from Brave. She already gives me a run for my money with her fierce independence and adventuresome spirit. Mara - 1

I can’t wait to celebrate this girl in a few weeks and all the joy she has brought this past year!

Friday Potpourri – Vol. 3

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a good week! I’m finally feeling like my old self and had a pretty productive week around the house. I started on some spring cleaning and started working on a fun redesign for the blog. It will be a long while before it’s done, but it’s still super fun to work on. We’re supposed to get a cold front of weather this weekend, so I foresee lots of staying in and coffee. While I don’t want it to get cold, I don’t mind an excuse to curl up with a blanket and warm beverage.

Before you start thinking it will be a lazy weekend around here though, we do have a project in the works! If you follow me on Instagram (and watch my stories) you may have seen that we got our master bathroom shower regrouted. I didn’t take any before pictures because it was too embarrassing. Basically, the shower had reached the point that no matter how much I bleached and scrubbed the grout was never clean. So, we saved up the money and had it professionally replaced. You may recall that Jesse regrouted the shower in Mara’s bathroom but it took him months of work. He was unwilling to do it again for our shower. It was one of those how much is our time/efforts worth kind of situations. Anyway… now that the shower is done, I’m ready to give the room a facelift! So dark, so brown. Bleh!bathroom first stage

We cleaned out the bathroom so everything didn’t get dusty when they replaced the grout, so since it’s empty we are going to paint the cabinet this weekend. We love the white cabinet in Mara’s bathroom, so we are going to do the same in ours. I also want to go ahead and repaint while the room is cleared out. I will probably do that during the week during nap time. I’m thinking a light, airy green. I really want to add some more green to the house since painting over the green in the dining room.

This definitely isn’t going to be a quick “makeover” situation. It’s a “the room is already emptied so let’s just do the big stuff” situation. I have plans for changing up the room even more, but I also have some events and a 1st birthday party to plan (and pay for) this month. Maybe May would be a good goal to have things more “complete”…

Speaking of the 1st birthday, I can’t believe my baby is almost a year old! Where has the time gone?! I’m super excited to be working on her party, and I’ve already decorated a few things around the house to get prepped. It’s not totally insane to prep three weeks early right? I’m doing a simple pink and gold theme (like her nursery) so the prep just looks like spring decorating for the most part. birthday flat lay

I’m also using the party as an excuse to start brightening up the living room. I’ve talked about making the house more cohesive as far as design is concerned and that means adding more color to our mostly grey living room. I doubt it will be anywhere near finished by then, but getting started is half the battle! Living room sofa setup - Copy

Anyway, I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! Hopefully I will have some house updates to share next week!

Baby Proofing is Taking Over My Life

Well, it’s official, Mara is on the move! She’s been crawling for a few weeks now, but not very quickly. Now she is a bullet! I can’t turn my back for 5 seconds before she has found something to get into. About three weeks ago she started pushing her toys up against the furniture so that she could more easily climb chairs and bookshelves. Yesterday, she discovered stairs and took her first steps. With her constant exploring and speed, it’s time we start baby proofing.

When she first started crawling a purchased a large playpen from Amazon to keep her in while I went to the bathroom. Jesse and I are trying to break the habit of calling it “The Cage” so that no one calls Child Protective Services on us. For the most part she doesn’t mind it, especially because the bars are easy for her to pull up on and use for walking. She did figure out how to open the lock the other day, but kept opening the door on herself and couldn’t get out. Nothing a few zip ties can’t help though.

The large fireplace means that we definitely had to invest in foam bumpers. They aren’t my favorite thing, but for a space that large I didn’t really see another option. Now if only I could keep her from climbing onto the hearth and playing with the wood stove…

We also put foam bumpers on the coffee table. Mara learned how to peel those off in a day though. We’ve secured them with Gorilla Glue for now, but we have plans to convert the coffee table into an upholstered ottoman sometime in the coming weeks. The glass top is definitely not conducive to a kid that loves to smash her toys on things and there is no point in investing in new furniture right now.

The things that are really annoying are the cabinet catches. I keep forgetting about them while I’m cooking or unloading the dishwasher. I know it will take time to get used to them and that they are WAY better than Mara crawling around emptying my cabinets while I’m trying to do stuff. We did put locks on the cabinets with cleaning chemicals and dangerous items, so that makes me rest a little easier.

I haven’t put up gates yet, because I have the cage play pen for when I leave the room, but I know I will need those before too long. We also still need to anchor a few pieces in her room. She never plays in her room, but with the way she likes to climb I’m thinking she will be climbing out of her crib in the next few months. I’m so thankful for such an adventurous and spunky girl, but man does she keep me up at night with worry.

Also, can someone come out with a line of baby proofing products that are adorable, yet affordable? All this foam is really cramping my style! Nate Berkus needs to get on this! He can expand his Target line! That’s where all the tired, stressed out, but still trying to keep it together, moms shop.

Alright, I’m off to wrap my child in foam padding…

Pssttt… The links are NOT affiliate. I’m just nice like that.

Dining Room Refresh

Happy Friday everyone! I’m happy to report that I FINALLY snapped some photos of the newly-painted dining room! I absolutely love the lighter blue on the walls. It makes the whole room feel lighter and fresh. traditional style dining roomThe painting only took two days (shout-out to Mara for napping like a champ that week!) and like I mentioned previously I used Olympic’s Turquoise Mist. I like this color because it’s pretty. I mean come on, that’s why we pick colors right? But to get more design-y I also like how during the day it’s light and bright, but it becomes even more deep blue at night. I also chose this color because it is similar to the color on the legs of my color blocked dining chairsdining room springIn true home decorating fashion, one project often leads to more. I now plan on white washing the legs on my upholstered chairs to make them more cohesive. I’m also going to repaint the upper portion of the walls before too long. I think the white is a tad dingy and is a little warm for the cooler colors in the room. But that is another post for another day, back to the pictures! farmhouse style tableI’m obsessed with the pendant light that I found for this room. I was in Lowe’s buying my paint and while I was waiting for my paint to be mixed I wandered down to the lighting section just to have a peek. I’ve known I wanted a drum-style shade pendant light in this room for a long time. I envisioned two hanging over the dining table, but I knew that would probably require hiring an electrician. That meant it would be a long while before I got what I wanted. Enter, Lowe’s lighting section. I saw this pendant hanging from the display and thought, “Hmm… I really like that. It’s a drum shade, but with three lights inside I would probably only need one instead of two…” Then I saw the box for the fixture. It was on clearance for only $35! I walked over to the pendants, priced out the pendant kit and shades which would be 3x the cost for two, not to mention the electrician. I snapped a few pictures for Jesse, got his blessing, and plopped it in my basket. I can’t tell you how good it feels to replace something I truly hated with something beautiful.Kichler pendant light dining roomNext in my refresh came the art. I have plates hanging on the walls on either side of the window. They are an ongoing collection and I really love the colorful, eclectic mix. Since I buy the plates as I go, I was only looking for smaller pieces for either side of the French doors. I kept contemplating what I’d like to put there, scoured Home Goods and Minted for something I liked but I felt kind of bleh with it all. But then two prints I already owned caught my eye. It was these Han & Leia prints that I bought for Jesse for Valentine’s Day several years ago. They were hanging on a small wall between the living room and the hallway, where they often went unnoticed. I decided to move them to the dining room where they’d be more appreciated. star wars prints dining roomThe frames were red, but I painted over them with some Modern Master’s Metallic Silver paint I had in my paint stash. It was a simple, five minute upgrade but I’m so glad I did it. The prints always make me smile, and nothing reflects who Jesse and I are better than Star Wars. It’s always fun to find an adult/classy way to bring our nerdiness into our decor without making the house look cheap or juvenile. (I bought the prints from the ReImaginationPrints shop on Etsy, they no longer carry the ones I own, but there are still a ton of cute options. I also own this one.)dining room refreshIt feels nice to have this room come together even more. Especially since I spend so much time at home now. I also do all of my blogging from here now. It’s nice to look up from the computer at pretty things that I love as I sip my coffee and pray the baby will stay asleep just a little longer. Which is exactly what I’m doing now. Except pretend I’m not in my pajamas and that I showered today. Olympic Turquise Mist - dining roomThe dining room is also so easy to decorate for Spring. The bright colors already shout Spring, so I just have to add a few flowers and colorful tchotkes and call it a day. It has me ready to take down the Valentine’s stuff in the living room and replace it with springy items. Or I may just get a head start on decorating for Mara’s birthday party at the end of the month. How has it been a year already?!

spring dining table centerpiece

In case you’re interested here’s a source list for the room (no affiliate links): Paint-Olympic Turquoise Mist, Table-DIY, Chairs-Craigslist (here’s something similar), Upholstered Chairs-Target, Pendant Light-Lowe’s, Bar-DIY, Star Wars prints-ReImaginationPrints, Curtains-IKEA (I can’t find them online, but still see them in the store sometimes), Plates-HomeGoods, PierOne, Target, GoodWill and yard sales.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’ve got some chores to work on, but we also plan on hanging out with friends and chilling at home. Wish us luck as it’s our first weekend not being able to go out to eat!

What We’re Giving Up for Lent 2017

Hey-o! Good news! We are still alive! Last week was super rough for Jesse and I. He had a flu-like virus that wasn’t actually the flu and I had bronchitis. Let me tell you (if you didn’t already know) keeping up with a baby while you feel like death is tough. It’s even tougher when your meds give you extreme insomnia. I’m still recovering from the lack of sleep bit, but at least I’m not coughing incessantly anymore!

Anyway, on to the point of today’s post: Lent. I shared on here a few years ago that I started participating in Lent with my former office in solidarity for one of our coworkers. It became a tradition for the office, and I’ve kept up with it since leaving that job. For me it’s about self-betterment and usually what I give up is health related. This year it’s health and budget related. Jesse and I are giving up eating out. I can’t tell you how much money I waste a week on Chickfila or Starbucks, or how often meat in the fridge goes bad because I didn’t feel like cooking it and opted for take out instead.

The plan is that we will simply eat before going out to run errands or whatever. If we’re leaving before meal times then we will just pack something to eat. I already pack food for Mara when we go out, so I can just take a bigger bag and pack something for myself, or Jesse and I, as well. I’m really hoping that once Lent is over we will have created a habit of being more intentional with our eating and meal planning. This isn’t to say we never want to eat out again, it’s just so easy to “forget” to eat and then make bad choices once you’re starving.

I’m also planning on giving up soda again. I’ve gotten in the bad habit of drinking soda in the afternoons for an extra caffeine boost and I’d like to focus on drinking more water again instead. I did pick up some Crystal Light to help me out when I’m in the mood for a little added flavor, but I’m going to try to stick to just water and coffee (there’s no way I’m giving that up!) for the most part. I’m not giving up wine/alcohol like I have in the past, but I am going to reserve it for more special occasions. Plus, that means I can still go out to restaurants with my girlfriends and not be the annoying chick that only gets water. I never turn down a girls’ night out when it comes up, which isn’t very often.

This year the end of Lent (Easter) falls on our anniversary, so we are going to use the money we save from not eating out to go on a really nice date. Last year our anniversary was the week we got home from the hospital when Mara had her surgery, so we only went to a quick dinner. By quick I’m talking 45 minutes. I was so anxious leaving her, even though she was with my mom, that we went to a restaurant next to our neighborhood, ate and left. It will be nice this year to spend more time together at a nicer place.

Wish us luck! I know it’s going to be tough, but oh so worth it! I’m curious, if you do lent, what are you giving up this year?

 

Finding Time For It All

I’m sure many of you can relate to this post just from reading the title. Our lives are constantly being pulled in 1,000 different directions. We all want to end each day feeling accomplished, but without the burnout. When I left my job to be a stay-at-home mom I had grand visions of all that I could accomplish during nap time. I imagined a picture perfect house and a garage brimming with DIY projects. I saw myself making the bed every morning, showering and fixing my hair. All of this while keeping up with my favorite shows and regular exercise. Now, I’m laughing at myself. Maybe some women can pull all of that off, but that is not me. Most mornings I drink my coffee in an exhausted stupor and don’t get going until Baby Girl goes down for her morning nap around 10.

I’m usually overcome with guilt in regards to my lack of “Productivity” but one of my personal goals for this year is to get over myself. There are more important things than being overwhelmingly busy. Like spending a relaxing evening with Jesse. Or taking the time to crawl on the floor with my baby. And they mean so much more than being productive. For my own satisfaction, I do have small goals for each day, they are just less lofty. Bringing Up Bebe

I’ve been reading a book about French parenting, Bringing Up Bebe, and the author (who is an American living in Paris) talks about the amount of guilt that American moms carry. She shares a story about visiting an American friend who proclaimed over and over again “I’m a bad mom.” These proclamations were for things like not feeding her child an all organic lunch or not involving him in enough extracurricular activities. While reading those words makes me roll my eyes and think that lady needs to take a chill pill, I have to admit I say those words myself way too often. Just after New Year’s Day I had an awful cold, possibly a sinus infection (I never went to the doctor) and spent two days in bed. As I coughed up a lung I kept thinking that I was failing as a mom. I wasn’t paying attention to my child enough and she needed me. Mara could have cared less. She was happy spending time with Jesse. I know not every mom can relate to “taking a sick day” for many that’s not an option, but the point still remains that we are often too hard on ourselves. Jesse has gotten in the habit of saying “You’re a good mom” or “You’re a great wife” instead of I love you. He thanks me for all I’ve done around the house or for dinner. And I can hear him in the other room say to Mara “You’ve got the best mom”. These words mean so much to me. They make me pause, and think about the fact that I am a good mom. My child is loved and her basic needs are met. I’m doing pretty good.

So to all my mom friends out there, YOU’RE A GOOD MOM! Thank you for all that you do. Even if your kid wore mismatched socks to school today, or you had fast food for dinner last night. That doesn’t matter. Tomorrow is another day. Today you survived and so did they. Great job! Mama insta

And even if you aren’t a mom, this applies to all women. It’s ok if you don’t cook or skipped the gym today. As long as you are trying, that’s all that matters. You can do it, you just may not be able to do it all at once.

I’d like to encourage everyone to give themselves a break this week. Carve out 30 minutes somewhere for yourself. That can be 30 minutes at the gym if you’re one of those crazies that relaxes while working out. It can be 30 minutes in the bathtub with a glass of wine. Or my personal favorite, 30 minutes laying on the couch watching tv. It’s only 30 minutes and you deserve it! You can’t make time for it all, but you can make some time for you. Treat yo self!

Creativity is Catching

One of the best things in life is good friends. It’s even better if those friends are super creative and they inspire you when you aren’t feeling very inspired. Seeing my girlfriends out there hustling and embracing their talents just lights a fire in me. I come home from hanging out with them or seeing their latest works online and it pushes me to embrace my creative side. I have four good friends in particular that are inspiring me lately.

First, is Ashley, owner of The Humble Penguin. Ashley and I met online via blogging and have stayed in contact via social media over the years. She has a cutie just a few months older than Mara. The Humble Penguin is her awesome Etsy shop where she creates and sells adorable baby clothes and mugs/tumblers. The Humble Penguin

If you follow me on social media then The Humble Penguin should sound familiar to you. Mara is a brand ambassador for the shop because of how obsessed I am with the clothes. I seriously don’t know where Ashley comes up with some of her ideas, but I love them! Mara and I’s latest swag are these matching Mean Girls t-shirts that say “On Wednesdays we wear pink.” The baristas at our local Starbucks freaked out the last time we wore them. IMG_4010

Follow Ashley of The Humble Penguin on Facebook, Twitter & Insta: @humble_penguin. And shop here.

Next is my best friend and college roommate Lindsey. She has always been super artsy and creative, and now she’s finally started an Instagram account for some of her stuff. I can’t wait until she has a full out shop filled with her creative ideas. I have quite a few paintings and handmade cards from her that I’ve kept over the years. It’s great having friends that can make homemade gifts. Littletown Letters

Follow Lindsey on Insta: @littletownletters

Another good friend of mine, Caitlin, recently started her own fashion and beauty blog called Stone Style. Caitlin is the friend that always looks so freaking cute and you want to buy all of their clothes so you can also look cute. But that ends up making you just look like a creeper, so you buy similar stuff instead. Since a lot of you don’t see Caitlin all the time or have mutual friends, you can buy her exact clothes without being creepy. 😉 Seriously, check her out and show her new blog some love! StoneStyle

Follow Caitlin on Insta: @_stonestyle and check out her blog.

Last, but certainly not least, is Tori, owner of Tori Watson Photography. She is an amazing photographer, and you’ve seen her work here on the blog before. Her photography business is thriving and she is just a #girlboss. I love the way she can capture little details and turn them into exquisite art through the lens. She also is incredibly trendy and makes me jealous of her vintage shopping skills. Tori Watson Photography

Follow Tori on Facebook and Insta: @toriwatsonphoto. Plus, check out her blog!

Sorry for the shameless friend plug, but these girls are basically why I’m still giving this blog a go. I’ve spent time with them (or chatted via the web in Ashley’s case) over my long blog break and their enthusiasm for their projects has me excited about mine again. Their enthusiasm for their businesses and creative projects made me miss the days when this blog did that for me. So, here I am trying again. The blog has a bit of a new spin to match my new life, but the whole point is to have a fun, creative outlet.

Have a good weekend y’all! It will be warm and sunny in VA again, so I’m super excited to get outside. Also, dining room update coming at ya next week. Still need to finish painting!

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