It's almost the unofficial end of summer, even though in Miami it will feel like summer for another couple of months. I've shared my love of white shirts and white summery dresses before, and this shirt dress marries those two categories perfectly. It's casual enough to wear to a Labor Day BBQ but chic enough to dress up for brunch. And actually, it's not a dress at all - it's a tunic (and it's on sale)! I picked it up in the store thinking it was a dress and was surprised when I put it on in the fitting room and it was open all the way to my hips. I didn't think I would like it over pants, but I knew it would be perfect as a dress.
I asked my mother-in-law, who is an amazing seamstress, to sew up the sides for me, and this was the result! I was really happy with how it turned out, and it really was the perfect addition to my wardrobe.
One important thing for me right now is how nursing-friendly pieces are before I add them to my closet. Because this one unbuttons, it is really easy to nurse in!
I love this look for brunch! I paired the dress with a wide-brim straw hat, a red lip, some neutral sandals, and a colorful bag. White nails polished off the look and kept it really fresh and clean.
I've already been thinking of how I can transition it into fall - maybe a chunky oversize cardigan and some boots - even though right now it feels like fall will never come to Miami (and truthfully, it won't).
Go ahead, make those brunch plans for this weekend. ;)
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Growing up, I never had a pool in my backyard. It was something I always wished for, but a pool just wasn't in the plans for my parents. The closest we got was having a jacuzzi that we used to play in. When Eddie and I got married, we lived in a condo and there was a pool in our building. I swore I would use it all the time, but the truth is, I might have used it three times in the two years we lived there.
Whenever Eddie mentioned a pool, I kind of brushed it off and thought, "Eh, maybe one day." But one day came, and Eddie had Hiroki fromKiso Group come out and look at the backyard and draw up some plans for a pool. Honestly, until they started digging, I didn't really believe it was going to happen!
Our backyard is not huge by any means. But we hadn't really done much to it since we moved in. We had a gazebo, some furniture, rocks, and pavers. We put down new sod several times, but the backyard always became a muddy mess so we rarely used it. As a matter of fact, I always played in the front yard with Caleb.
Going in, we knew we couldn't have a huge pool. We wanted something we could cool off and lounge around in, and that the kids would be able to play in on the weekends and in the afternoons. We also wanted a table where we could entertain.
Eddie took care of the designing and I just gave my input on a few things I really wanted. Because I've had several people ask, the dimensions of the pool are 11' x 16' and the deepest part of the pool is 4 feet deep. We wanted a larger first step area for sitting and the kids to play and that is 1 foot deep. If you follow along on my Instagram and watch my stories, you got to see the whole process of this being built. But these pictures really show off just how nice everything turned out.
As far as the patio furniture we found some we loved at Target! I linked similar items below because they are sold out. When it came to the grass, we knew grass wouldn't survive back there because it had always been a mess in the past. To help with keeping the pool dirt and grass free and to keep the backyard looking nice all the time, we decided to go with turf. It has been one of my favorite decisions! We also planted a hedge of podocarpus around the pool equipment and around the perimeter of the backyard.
We have spent a lot of time in our backyard this summer, and a couple of days ago, we were all hanging out in there, there was some lounge music playing, and I really felt like I was on vacation at a trendy boutique hotel. It has become a great space for entertaining (and will be even nicer for entertaining when the weather improves!). And because of the turf, it's almost an extension of the house and we can be out there barefoot (which I loveeeee!).
Also, you know water safety is important to me, so we have several safeguards in place. First, our alarm goes off every time any door is opened, and we hear it all over the house. Second, there is a latch on the doors leading to the backyard that we make sure to keep in place when we aren't going in and out. We also have a pool fence that goes up when the pool is not in use!
Have a great weekend everyone! If you need me, I'll be sipping on some Rose by the pool. ;)
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A couple of weeks ago I flew from Miami to New York to attend a product launch event for JOHNSON'S. I documented some of my trip on Instagram, but I didn't mention something. That was the first time in over ten years - since before Eddie and I were married - that I had really traveled alone. I've driven to Orlando from Miami before and met Eddie there, but in the almost NINE years we have been married, I haven't had a reason to travel anywhere alone. Add to that having a child attached to me 24/7 for the last nearly 4 years, and well, there went the time!
I always have a little bit of anxiety about traveling - mostly when I am in the packing stage. The morning I was leaving to New York, my stomach was a mess, I was so nervous, and I packed and re-packed no less than 3 times. I texted my best friend, and told her how nervous I was and she told me, "Of course you are, you're leaving your kids and husband behind." In my heart I knew my kids would be fine and well taken care of. Eddie is an amazing, hands-on dad and is so good with both of them. Plus we had the grandparents lined up to help out, too. There was nothing to worry about.
But then I thought, "What if something happens to me?" I literally created dozens of scenarios in my mind and stressed myself over things that, were they to happen, would be completely out of my control. Finally I snapped myself out of it, took a deep breath, and put my fears in God's hands.
Off I went, to do the airport on my own, get an Uber on my own, check into a hotel on my own, figure my meals out alone, sleep on my own, and attend an event where I didn't know anyone. But something happened along the way there. I relaxed. I enjoyed myself. I listened to music. I walked alone. I enjoyed silence. I walked like I knew where I was going. I met up with a friend for drinks and stayed up later than usual. And I felt good about it. I missed Eddie and I missed my babies, of course. I thought about them every moment. But doing this on my own made me feel capable, and it made me feel like I had a little bit of my self back.
When I was in college, I went to New York with three of my girlfriends. On our last day, we were tired and went back to the hotel room to nap. Well, I ended up being the only one who woke up from the nap and needed to eat, so I left the hotel and wandered around Times Square on my own for a little bit. The next morning my friends gave me some grief about going out on my own, but I never once felt uneasy about doing it. This whole trip kind of made me feel like that.
I have this fear of growing older and being so reliant on Eddie that I am incapable of doing things on my own. Eddie loves to take care of me, and I absolutely love that about him, but I don't want to be in my 60s and scared of doing things because someone else always did them for me. And while I don't want to leave my husband and kids all the time, I think doing it was really empowering for me.
Some of you might be thinking - what a baby, I do this for work all the time! And girl, do I salute you, but I have never had to travel further than Orlando for work, and even that was with coworkers. So for me, this was a big deal. But it was a reminder that I can do things I'm not always comfortable with, and that sometimes, stepping out of my comfort zone can be more rewarding than I anticipated. For me, this wasn't just a "work trip". It was about finding a little piece of myself, and growing in a way I didn't know I needed to.
So the next time you get a chance to do something that is new to you - don't hesitate. Take the step. I don't think you'll regret it.
P.S. As soon as I decided to go on this trip, I went looking for an outfit. I found this look at New York & Company - it was on a mannequin and I loved the combination of the polka dots and stripes. (Shop the look below.) I also loved the movement on the pants, but this bold of a print mixing was also outside my comfort zone - so you could say I tried several new things this trip!
I scheduled a shoot with Lauren of Laurel Creative and when we met up to take these photos, it was raining! (You can probably tell in the first couple of shots if you look really closely.) But we stuck it out, and got it done in under 30 minutes. I felt like a sweaty mess and my hair lost all it's curl after the drizzling rain stuck to it, but I still love what these photos represent (And hello, how amazing is that taxi shot?!).
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Disclosure: I've partnered with PerfectFit Meals for this post.
As a mom to young kids, I don't often have a ton of time to prepare meals for myself on a daily basis. Most days I'm okay with leftovers or some eggs for lunch, but sometimes I want something different. When PerfectFit Meals reached out to me, I thought this was something that I could really fit into my day-to-day.
Unlike a meal delivery service, I can find these at my local Publix grocery store, and I can keep as many or as few on hand as I want. They give me the option to have a nutritionally balanced lunch, designed by a dietician, and filled with the same ingredients I might use at home.
They are sealed for freshness, so they don't have to be frozen, and they take less than three minutes to heat up and be ready to eat. They use a process called high pressure processing to kill off bacteria and make the food safe to eat and keep in your refrigerator longer than most meals. All of the meals I tried were delicious, and I was actually able to eat them all one-handed because of the way they were prepared.
My husband actually tried some of the meals as well and he was really impressed with the taste. While some of them have a higher sodium content than I would like to consume on a really regular basis, they did have some options that had a lower sodium content. If you're worried about sodium, the Roasted Pork Loin meal has the lowest sodium content of all the meals and was so tasty (it was actually my favorite!). I also don't eat a diet high in sodium, so that's not really a concern for me if I'm eating a couple of these a week. They have a couple of Paleo options if you're on a Paleo diet. A couple of the meals (like the Turkey Skillet Scramble I'm pictured eating) had a little more of a kick than I'm used to, but they were still good and didn't have enough of a kick that it affected Chloe when I nursed her.
I thought the meals were filling, and hearty enough that I wasn't hungry afterwards. The meals didn't taste like they had been sitting around forever, either. I can honestly see myself keeping a few of these in my fridge for the days when I realize it's 2 pm, I have to pick Caleb up from school, and I haven't had lunch yet. Because they are ready so quickly, they're just a really good option so I'm not eating fried eggs or peanut butter and jelly five days a week (clearly I have a very grown up diet lol).
So if you're struggling to eat a balanced meal a couple times a week, grab a couple of these and keep 'em in your fridge. I don't think you'll be disappointed! You can find out if your local grocery store carries them here.