Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hope in the Midst of Darkness

Just in case you missed it on Instagram, let me start by saying that this is NOT a pregnancy announcement. It is actually the exact opposite of that. I was pregnant and I am no longer. In fact, today was my due date. 

I want to warn you that this is a rather long post and highly personal. It has been on my heart to share this journey not for your sympathy or for your heart to ache for my family, but to bring to light the suffering that is so seldom talked about that comes with losing a baby and the hope I have found in my faith. I hope my journey brings you comfort if you have suffered this tremendous loss or helps you better understand what a loss this heavy is like for those who may be suffering around you. 

Let's go back to May, May 23rd to be exact. I woke up, made breakfast for Tony, got him out the door and then went to take a pregnancy test. We had tried to get pregnant and my period was due that day. Of course, I could not stand the anticipation any longer than the hour I was awake and since I had purchased a box of three tests, I figured, why not? Three minutes later, there it was, "Pregnant". I think I talked to myself for an hour straight. All I said was, "No way", in a myriad of tones. Some of the "No way"s were said in disbelief, most said in excitement and some out of pure shock. I mean, this was really happening for us. There was a little tiny nugget growing inside of me. After my head stopped spinning, I instantly had fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of a miscarriage and just general fear. I mean, fear took me over. 

Over the next few hours, I calmed myself down and immediately started planning. Being the planner I was, I already had something in motion for how to tell Tony. Months back I had seen these coffee cups that you could get personalized and I had seen the idea of having "Baby Daddy" written in the bottom of the cup so when you have finished drinking, this (not so) tiny message would be there staring up at you. Well, Tony looooooooves coffee, so this was absolutely perfect. So, I had these mugs made a while back hoping that I would need them someday. We sometimes drink decaf after dinner so I knew that as soon as he got home from work I would have dinner ready and suggest that we have coffee and chat about our days after we ate. I did just that and dinner draaaaggged. I mean, I was about to bust at the seams with excitement. Finally, we sat on the couch and at the bottom of his coffee cup, he found out he was going to be a daddy. He did a ton of "No way"s too, we laughed and we cried and I secretly recorded it all (that felt really too personal to share given how things have turned out). 

For the next five weeks, I planned. Like I mentioned before, I am a planner like most have never seen. This baby's nursery was completely decorated in my head (boy and girl), I had decided on most of the major items we would have on our registry and we were already talking baby shower. This may seem extremely weird to you but that's just me. In the midst of all of this planning, I had fear. That same fear from day one crept into my mind and heart just about every single day. I prayed so much, but I let this fear take hold of me in the worst way. Now, understand that even before I got pregnant and before we ever started to try, I had fear about not getting pregnant and also fear of having a miscarriage. So, this was already something I had opened the door to long before it happened. 

I was feeling pretty good the entire time. I was definitely tired and got worn out very easily. I was constantly thirsty. which also meant that I had to pee all the time. I had nausea, but nothing I couldn't handle. Oh, and I was bloated, sooooo bloated. By the time I was six weeks along my pants were not closing all the way (comfortably anyways). I know this was not because I had a huge baby in me and I had not gained any weight. I just must have been retaining so much water (hence the little bump in the picture above). All in all, it was completely tolerable and so exciting. 

The day of our first appointment finally came. It literally felt like Christmas. I was nine weeks along and we were going to get to hear and see our baby. I was so anxious, like the kind of anxious where your whole body is shaking. I felt great all morning, though.

When we checked in at the reception desk the sweet young lady behind the counter beamed and congratulated us. This made me ridiculously giddy and I had not had any fear this morning. Then it hit me out of nowhere. My foot hit the first stair that led to my OB's office and my body got chills all over. Instantly I was riddled with fear like you could not believe. My head started spinning with all of the "What if..." questions I had ever had. I had to start taking deep breaths in order to not have a full blown panic attack. I was able to calm down enough for them to take my vitals and take us to our room. 

Shortly after, the kindest Physician's Assistant who was conducting our appointment entered the room. She was thrilled for us. I mean, beaming from ear to ear thrilled. She started asking us about ourselves with questions about the pregnancy weaved in. I asked her if we were going to get to bring home ultrasound pictures today and Tony asked a ton of questions (so great and so appreciated). Then she started. 

I scooted down to the end of the table and placed my feet in the stirrups. She turned the ultrasound machine on and began poking around. It was quiet. She was quiet. Our baby was silent.

She turned the screen off and looked at us with glassy eyes and said that it breaks her heart, but she was not seeing what she should be seeing for how far along I was. There was no heartbeat. The baby was too small. I tried to hold back my tears and she could see me doing so. She told me that it was ok to cry and I instantly grabbed Tony and started bawling hysterically. My head was swimming in every thought I had ever had and every plan we had ever made for this baby. I sobbed and sobbed. She waited so kindly for me to stop and then told us that she wanted to make sure that what she was seeing was 100% accurate. I honestly did not have any faith in the tiny sliver of hope she offered us, but we left the office to wait for our next appointment with the more in-depth ultrasound at the hospital. 

As we got in the car I sobbed uncontrollably, but when I stopped long enough to hear more than my sadness, I heard "Thy Will" by Hillary Scott playing over the radio. God is so good. He knew exactly what I needed. For the rest of the day, I repeated the phrase, "Thy will be done", over and over again in my head. I knew then and I know now that this was all somehow part of His plan. I found out later that Hillary Scott wrote that song while she was dealing with the aftermath of her own miscarriage. 

Tony and I sat on the beach for about an hour. I just stared at the ocean and the waves as my heart shattered again and again. Tony held me and just loved me. That was what I needed most. 

We went home and waited until we had to leave for our next appointment. After my ultrasound, the sweetest doctor told us the same thing that the Physician's Assistant had earlier in the day. My heart broke again. I sobbed again. She also told us that they wanted to wait a week, have us come back for an additional ultrasound and compare the two to make sure there was no growth and that I had not miscalculated how far along I should be. The baby was measuring six weeks and three days. I wanted to be wrong with all of my heart, but I knew I wasn't. I'm a planner remember, and my cycle is like clockwork. I, in fact, have terrible ovulation pain and can even tell you which ovary I am ovulating from. I wasn't wrong. 

That sweet doctor also warned us that we would not escape unscathed by this as a couple. She told us that it was our choice if we wanted this to pull us apart or to help our marriage grow stronger. She was extremely adamant about this in the nicest way and it has really stuck with me all of these months. 

We went home and we cried and cried. I wanted to wake up. I wanted this to all be a dream. This baby was our baby and now every thought, every discussion, every hope we had for this child was ripped away from us. This was the most painful day of my life. Everything was dark... except for that little voice in my head that kept repeating "Thy will be done" over and over again. It was still there and it was not going away. 

The next day I felt hungover. No, not because I was, remember I still had to wait a week before we could be certain, even though I knew in my heart and mind that I was in fact no longer growing a baby. I was heartbroken in the most tragic way. The days that followed were quite dark as well. I cried at least once every hour and I just kept asking questions. I could not wrap my head around why this would happen to us. We have walked through this dark time with family members and although I was fearful of it happening to us, I never imagined that it would (because you just don't). 

We returned to the hospital for another ultrasound the following week and there was no growth. Although my body still thought it was pregnant, I was no longer growing that tiny little life inside of me.

In the weeks that followed, I started to heal, but the pain still lingered. Tony and I leaned on each other and had extremely honest conversations about how we felt. We grew together. We were always in agreement on each other's feelings and in what was next. The rest of the people we do life with supported us and loved on us immensely. So many friendships with family and friends alike shined brightly in this time and for that, we are eternally grateful. 

If this is you right now, please understand that people will not understand what you are going through unless they have gone through it themselves under the same circumstances. Do your best to give them grace when they just don't get it. Know that this will affect your life immensely and that the only hope you will have will be found in Jesus. I fully believe that we will be able to have children (God says so) and know that you can lean on your faith to do so. Use these horrible circumstances to grow your marriage. If you don't have a sweet doctor that explains how important it is for you to lean on each other, then tell your husband yourself. I mean, truly explain it to him in the kindest rawest manner possible. He is not a mind reader even though this would be the best time ever for him to be. Although it stings more than people can imagine, when someone asks why you don't have children yet, learn to smile and say "Someday, God willing". Lastly, although this will always be wound that can never quite heal properly, you will find peace and your days will get brighter. 

If you know someone who is going through this, let them talk if they want, let them cry if they want, hug them, be silent with them and let them know that this is not the end of their story even though it may feel like it. Pray for them. We all need prayer. Whatever you do, don't brush over it. Please don't act like it didn't happen in an attempt to take their mind off of it. I promise you they will eventually heal and be as close to normal as possible, but you will not be able to speed up this process so don't hurt them by trying. Even though you don't realize it, their baby just died. That baby that they had hopes and dreams for is no longer and they have to go through a mourning process. It is not fun for you or them but this is where you can shine. Be there. 

I listened to "Thy Will" over and over again and truly proclaimed that I wanted nothing other than God's will to be done in my life. This is part of my story and my growth as a human being. It is what I have held onto in the midst of the heartbreak and now more than ever I pray that His will is done in and through us. 

I also recently heard an amazing quote from Pastor Levi Lusko on fear. He said, "Having fear puts faith in the enemy." He is so right and I have never heard it said that way. I mean, God tells us over and over again in the Bible not to have fear so if we do then we are simply opening the door for the enemy to win. I recite this quote and some verses on fear anytime I feel that door in my heart creeping open. Lately, I  have felt like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone yelling, "I'm not afraid anymore", at the top of his lungs in his front yard (sans running inside screaming immediately after)! God has healed my heart of fear. 

Because I have my faith to lean on first and foremost, I have hope in the future. I can't wait to hold my healthy happy baby someday and in the meantime, I am trusting that God's will is going to be done and I am NOT putting faith in the enemy. 

I hope this helped shed some light on a subject that is not talked about nearly enough and I hope that it gives you hope. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Laid Back With a Side of Sass

1. Earrings: Charming Charlie (40% Off) | 2. Bracelets: Charming Charlie (50% Off) | 3. Heels: Jessica Simpson (45% Off) | 4. Dress: Merona (50% Off) | 5. Scarf: BP (40% Off) | 6. Purse: Mossimo (25% Off)

I love the mix of comfort and sass that this outfit offers so much!! So, you have a super comfy laid back sweater dress along with a cozy infinity scarf to keep you nice and toasty, but theeeeeen you add in those shoes and BAM you are the sassiest little thing, but all while still being super warm and snuggly. Ok, maybe that was a little much, but still, that is how I feel about this outfit. I mean, I like it so much that I may just have to purchase it myself. I love these little purses that are everywhere right now. They are perfect to have around for when you don't quite feel like carrying a clutch. Simple gold bangles and hoops are such an easy addition to this outfit and they are also super versatile. This set of bangles also come with three silver ones and it is under $8 for the set. 

We are getting new carpet today, yay!!!! It has been such an undertaking trying to get everything out of the rooms in order to prepare for this. To add to the madness I decided now was as good of a time as any to clean out my closet. I'm not really sure what I was thinking, but we have about 10 large trash bags to take to Goodwill. As soon as the carpet goes in, we will be putting in new closet organizers. Have you seen/used the Algot storage systems from Ikea? It seems like a great way to get exactly what we want as far as practicality goes for our closets without breaking the bank. They even have a system online where you can enter your dimensions and build out exactly what you want. After you are done getting it just right, you click their "add to shopping list" button and it adds exactly how many you need of whatever product to simplify your shopping experience. I will definitely give you a full report on how everything turns out (hopefully sometime soon lol). 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Athleisure and Flooding

Top: Caslon | Leggings: Zella | Shoes: Nike | Tote: Street Level | Earrings: Nadri | Lip Pencil: MAC in Edge to Edge | Lip Color: Bare Minerals in Juju

Where do I even start with all of this athleisure goodness? This top is all one piece and so comfy. It's not too thick so it will be perfect even as we head into spring. When I was purchasing it, from the pictures, I thought the bottom layer was a woven polyester but it is good ol' cotton and super soft. I really love that the neck is drawstring but not a hood. It's a little different and gives this top a bit of versatility. The leggings I have on are my absolute favorite. I have written about them before, but these are the high waisted version which holds everything in nicely and if you choose to actually be athletic in them, you don't have to constantly pull them up, unlike most leggings. I fell in love with these Nikes the moment I saw them. They are midnight blue and have the coolest faux leather finish to them. If you have not worn anything from Nike's "Juvenate" line before, they slip on kind of like a sock and they are so so comfortable for everyday wear. I picked up this tote the other day and absolutely love it for travel and anytime I need to carry a little more than usual. It is such a great size and bonus... It's reversible!!! I have the black side out in this set of pictures, but the reverse side is the most gorgeous cognac color... I mean, all the heart eye emojis ever. I am oh so appreciative of the athleisure movement! I love that companies are designing sweats that look great and make you feel great even when you want nothing more than to just be comfortable. 

Holy moly it has been a bit of a rough week. Last Thursday we got home from Reno and I definitely caught a cold on the plane ride. I was entirely down for the count on Friday. It was also pouring rain on Friday. I mean it rained like I have never seen before. Our home backs up to an environmentally protected mountain and our side yard just so happens to be the run off for all of the water on this side of the mountain. Somehow our side gate got pushed shut and all of the debris washing up on it caused a dam so our side yard became six-inch deep pool. Since the water had nowhere to go it started coming in. I wandered into our bedroom after being out in the living room for about an hour and our carpet was soaked. Water was everywhere. Tony came home and assessed the damage and rented a carpet cleaner to try to suck out the water and save the carpet. Long story short, it's just not salvageable and not worth the risk of mold. All in all, it's been a little rough but we are all safe, I'm feeling tons better and thanks to a local company with quick turn around, we will be getting new carpet on Friday. I was kind of wanting new carpet because of buckling that was happening in the master, so although I never imagined it would happen this way, it is definitely the silver lining. 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Yes, Valentine's Day Already

1. Coat: Who What Wear (50% Off) | 2. Clutch: Natasha Couture (33% Off) | 3. Ring: Hudson Moon (30% Off) | 4. Dress: Adelyn Rae (40% Off) | 5. Earrings: Twelve (50% Off) | 6. Bracelet: Hudson Moon (40% Off) | 7. Heels: Imagine by Vince Camuto 

Ladies, how many times have you heard, "It's so cliche' to wear red or pink on Valentine's Day"? I know I have heard it a zillion times, but all I have to say to that is "You do you boo!". I don't wear red or pink very often so for me there is no better occasion than Valentine's day to paint the town red in the prettiest red dress that happens to be red tagged (see what I did there lol). Personally, I love red and gold together. None of these items are in-your-face gold but they sure add another level of snazzy to this outfit. When I came across this coat while looking for the perfect something to warm you up on a typically chilly February evening, I got so excited. I love wrap coats and for under $30, I'm pretty sure we all need it. It also comes in a gorgeous grey if you want it for a different outfit. I know, I can't believe it either, but Valentine's day really is right around the corner, so get to shopping :)

We are home safe and sound from Reno (thank the good Lord) and we couldn't be happier. After a few flight delays and a flight change altogether, we made it home just in time for one of our favorite shows and the perfect bowl of popcorn on our cozy couch. Maybe it is just from being in the casino the entire time we were there, but my body just feels drained and so so dry. I am looking forward to plenty of humidity here in San Diego over the next few days with what they are saying is a storm like we haven't seen in ages. I really should have purchased those rain boots I've been eyeing!

I hope your weekend is as beautiful as you are!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Reno in White Jeans

Top: Gibson | Jeans: DL 1961 (same jeans without rips) | Booties: Mossimo Supply Co | Purse: Louis Vuitton Montaigne GM (similar bag here: Ted Baker) | Wrap Bracelet: Panacea (same brand, similar style) | Half Cuff Bracelet: Blushes and Gold | Bar Bracelet: Nadri | Ring: Nadri | Earrings: Nadri | Necklace: BP 

I picked up this shirt the other day and I couldn't stop thinking that it will go best with white jeans and it totally does. The loose knot makes this top super easygoing and it is so comfortable. It is a really light and super soft knit and the back is extra long which is also perfect for all day wear. I am still so stuck on these booties. I went all day in them and then paired them with a sweater dress for the evening and my feet weren't angry with me by the end of it which is definitely a win in my book. If you don't already have them, you need them in your life AND they are under $40! I layered quite a few of my favorite bracelets by weaving them in and out of a super chic wrap bracelet. To top this outfit off I added an extremely versatile pendant necklace.

Tony and I have been in Reno since Sunday for the Western Fairs Association Convention. We attend this convention every year for his industry and it is a great time. Tony and his brother have been getting some work done without the distraction of the fairs being open and we all get to have some fun together. Now, I don't know about this Reno place. I mean it is really cold here and after only seeing the inside of a casino and convention center for several days, it's a bit much. We will be heading home tomorrow and I will definitely be ready for it. It is supposed to snow quite a bit on Thursday so say a little prayer that we don't get stuck here. 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Orange Chicken Meatballs and the Best Brown Rice You Ever Did Have

This is one of my favorite meals to throw together and one I have been meaning to share for a while. It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but there is not much prep work so it is actually quite quick to make. This dish is inspired by orange chicken, but with the twist of meatballs which definitely makes it healthier and super moist. It is a dish that I have made for quite a while and has morphed quite a bit over time. I'm not exactly sure where it originally came from, but it is a staple in our household. I also wanted to share my method for making brown rice because my version is actually edible (LOL). This recipe morphed out of my mother-in-law's method for making white rice and she makes THE BEST white rice. Not to toot my own horn but this brown rice is so good that my sweet husband asks me every time if I am sure it’s brown rice and that is quite a feat if you ask me. 

Before you do anything else, promise me that you will soak your rice for at least 15 minutes if not longer. It makes the BIGGEST difference. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. To prepare your meatballs simply add all of the ingredients except the olive oil (full ingredient list below as well as easy to follow numbered directions) to a bowl and mix well. I typically get in there with clean hands since it is a lot easier than trying to fully incorporate everything with forks or spoons. You could use a food processor if mixing with your hands isn’t your thing.

Set aside the meatball mixture to work on your rice for a minute. Rinse your rice well and set aside. I like to use a sifter to really let the water rinse all of that pre-soaked starch. Place a large saucepan over high heat. Add coconut oil and let sit until fully melted. Add dry rice to coconut oil and let it sizzle for about a minute mixing it around. Add water and salt and give it a stir. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling lower your heat to low and let simmer until all water is absorbed and the rice is nice and fluffy. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet by placing over medium heat. While the oil is heating roll chicken mixture into balls that are about one inch in diameter. Once your oil is hot but not smoking place your balls onto the skillet. Give them a minute to brown on one side and then turn them to the opposite side and let them brown there as well. The entire meatball will not be browned but that’s ok as you will be fully cooking them in the oven. You may need to do this in batches depending on how large of a skillet you have. Remove the meatballs to a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy clean-up and try to place them so one of the unbrowned sides is face down on the cookie sheet (if that makes sense). Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature is a minimum of 165 degrees. 

While the meatballs are baking make the orange teriyaki sauce. In a large, deep skillet add 2/3 cup water, orange juice, sriracha, ginger and honey and heat over medium heat until simmering. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and three tablespoons of water in a bowl and mix well to make a slurry. Heat the mixture for a few more moments until the mixture becomes thick and syrup like.

When meatballs are done remove them into the skillet with the orange teriyaki sauce and stir them to coat. Serve over brown rice and top with scallions and sesame seeds if you so desire. Tony likes about a zillion sesame seeds so right after this picture was taken he added about half the bottle to his along with more sriracha :) I so hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do.


Chicken Meatballs:
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely minced, densely packed
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 egg
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Orange Zest
1/3 cup orange juice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 scallions (white ends only), finely chopped 
1 ½ cups panko crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil

1.5 cup dry brown rice
1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¾ cup water

Orange Teriyaki Sauce:
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 teaspoon fresh ground ginger 
½ cup honey 
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons water

Optional Toppings:
Sesame seeds

1. Soak your rice for at least 15 minutes in a bowl of water 

2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

3. To prepare your meatballs add all ingredients except the olive oil to a bowl and mix until all ingredients are entirely incorporated and set-aside. I typically use my hands. 

4. To make rice, using a sifter rinse your rice well and set aside. 

5. Place a large saucepan over high heat. Add coconut oil and let sit until fully melted. 

6. Add dry rice to coconut oil and let it sizzle for about a minute mixing it around. 

7. Add water and salt and give it a stir. 

8. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling lower your heat to low and let simmer until all water is cooked in and rice is nice and fluffy. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

9. While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet by placing over medium heat. 

10. While the oil is heating roll chicken mixture into balls that are about one inch in diameter. 

11. Once your oil is hot but not smoking place your balls onto the skillet. Give them a minute to brown on one side and turn them to the opposite side (ok to do in batches). 

12. Remove the meatballs to a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature is a minimum of 165 degrees. 

13. To make the orange teriyaki sauce, combine 2/3 cup water, orange juice sriracha, ginger and honey into a large deep skillet and heat over medium heat until simmering. 

14. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and three tablespoons of water in a bowl and stir to make a slurry. 

15. Add the slurry and heat the mixture for a few more moments until the mixture becomes thick and syrup like.

16. When meatballs are done remove them into the skillet with the orange teriyaki sauce and stir to coat. 

17. Serve immediately over brown rice and top with scallions and sesame seeds if you so desire.


I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Rainy Day Chic

1. Sweater: Vince Camuto (60% Off) | 2. Bag: Merona (50% Off) | 3. Earrings: Simon Seabag | 4. Boots: dv (60%Off) | 5. Beanie: Halogen (40% Off) | 6. Jeans: Articles Of Society (40% Off)

We have had what seems like the rainiest winter season ever. I keep joking with Tony that we are living in Seattle, not San Diego. I almost purchased this sweater a while back, but it was a bit on the pricey side. It is much more affordable now that it's 60% off, but it's going fast. It is super soft and perfect for that slouchy look. Skinny jeans balance out how loose the sweater is and these ones are a great deal right now. There is nothing better than an OTK boot on a rainy day and these are sooooo ridiculously affordable that you can't really go wrong. Did you know that when fully clothed the majority of your body heat escapes via your noggin? Well, it does, so throwing a beanie on not only covers three-day-old greasy hair, but it also keeps you super warm. These earrings are a favorite brand of mine. Even on sale, they are a bit of a splurge, but they are of great quality and super versatile. I love this bag (also crazy affordable) and it comes in a zillion colors. 

We went up to visit my dad and grandpa last night in northern San Diego County and had the sweetest time. It is so interesting to watch their relationship grow from one of father and son to one of two adult men. They haven't had the easiest transition in their relationship but recently it has become one of understanding and mutual respect for each other as individuals which is something I can definitely appreciate. Last night also made me miss my grandma. She would have had so much joy in seeing how their relationship has progressed, but all I can do about that is be thankful for the time we had with her and try my best to be an example of the love she always showed us. Just promise me that you will hug your people a little tighter today and do your best to try to understand and respect them as individuals even if that is nowhere near what you may want them to be. 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Big, Chunky and Sleeveless

Sweater: Merona | Shirt: BP | Jeans: Joe's | Booties: Seychelles | Purse: Louis Vuitton Montaigne GM (similar bag here: Ted Baker) | Necklace: BP | Earrings: Nadri | Ring: Nadri | Lip Pencil: MAC in Absolutely It  | Lip Color: Bare Minerals in Juju 

I was on a Target run the other day and as per usual I spent about 10 times what I intended to spend, but this sweater was the product of that and I have just about been wearing it ever since. It is so chunky and thick that it makes you feel as if you are wrapped up in a cozy blanket. I am also loving this color right now. It is very similar to the scarf in this post.  It goes so well with black and brown tones and almost everything in between. I paired it here with my go to scooped neck long sleeve and the jeans I have been wearing far too often. I am seriously in love with these booties that I debuted here last week. They are super versatile and pretty comfortable. 

We had such a sweet time in Palm Springs with the family. The twins were absolutely precious for their 1st birthday and they had quite the turnout. We played with bubbles, water tables, and even jumped in the bounce house. We stayed at a house around the corner from Tony's brother's house with about 14 family members in addition to us. It was a lot of fun to get to wake up and have breakfast with everyone and play cards and pool until late at night. There were definitely plenty of memories made. 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Few Of My Favorite Things

This is a super random post, but there are a few things in the last couple of months that I just can't live without and I thought the start of the year would be the perfect time to share them with all of you. Not only are these items things I think you will love as well, but this also serves at a catalog for me to look back on.

First up is my favorite mask! I use BB Seaweed about once every four days or so. If you have been hanging around these parts for a while, you know that I struggle with hormonal acne and this mask has helped so so much. Hormonal acne HURTS and this helps to calm my skin and helps reduce the length of my breakouts as well. If you are not too familiar with Lush's Fresh Face Masks, they are made using all fresh natural ingredients and zero preservatives, so it is literally food for your skin. In turn, they expire about three weeks after they are made, but I have never had a problem using them before they expire because of the size and how often I use them, so don't worry. Lush also has a great recycleing program. If you bring in five of their empty pots you get a free fresh face mask.

Oh you guys!! These chocolate chips are uh-mazing!!! Just like every other person, I used to use Nestle Toll House chocolate chips for all baking purposes. Well, thank goodness one day our local grocery store was out of them and I resorted to buying these. Ever since, I have used Guittard. Recently, I went to the store and figured why not try Toll House for the sake of tradition. Huge mistake! I knew there was a difference, but side-by-side my old faithfuls were downright disgusting. The moral of this story is spend a little bit extra and these chocolate chips will change your life. 

This shampoo is the reason my blonde stays so blonde. I started using it about six weeks ago and it has worked wonders for my hair. I have used purple shampoo for a long time, but this one is in a league of it's own. It has kept my blonde sooo champagne versus buttery and yellow. I typically lather it into my hair every other time I wash and let it sit in there while I shave my legs, but ease into how long you leave it on because it is powerful stuff!

I swear by this face primer. I put it under my liquid foundation daily. Unlike other primers I have used, it is thick and almost paste-like. You really have to smooth it into your skin with a brush otherwise, it will ball up quite a bit. I have heard that people do not like it because it balls up, but you just have to use a tiny amount and use it properly. The results will be worth the extra effort. It looks like you are practically wearing a filter. 

I bought this Bose speaker for Tony for his birthday a couple of years ago and I have pretty much taken it over. It is Bluetooth capable of course and pretty darn small, so I tote it all over the house so I can have amazing sounding music in any room at any time. We also always take it on vacation because it is so light. It is great for relaxing with glass of wine on a balcony overlooking the ocean. 

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoy each of these items. 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Black & White & Warm All Over

1. Jacket: BP (40% Off) | 2. Booties: Steve Madden (50% Off) | 3. Dress: Almost Famous (30% Off) | 4. Earrings: Nordstrom (40% Off) | 5. Purse: Merona (50% Off) | 6. Bracelets: Wakami (25% Off)

I love pairing black and white with warm hues and this outfit delivers that to a T. The all over but understated plaid dress is a great way to bring a print into this mix without being obnoxious. Camel and olive are such complimentary colors and these booties will go with just about any warm toned look. The patch details on this fun utility jacket make it seem just a little more vintage and no one hates that. To round out this daytime look, I went with simple gold accented jewelry pieces. All of these items have quite a bit of versatility and they are all a great deal right now! 

So, we didn't end up leaving for Palm Springs yesterday but we are headed there in just a bit due to a change in our plans. This change was really no big deal whatsoever and has worked out great, but does anyone else just have a hard time changing plans? It's like something inside of my brain has to eject itself from the official plans box, slowly swim over to a new plans box and then take it's time settling in there before I am completely fine with the new agenda. This whatever-it-is that is happening usually comes along with a totally ridiculous bad attitude while it's going on. It must be because I am such a planner, but I just have this mental block about any plans, small or huge, being changed. Now that whatever-it-is that happens inside of me is all settled, I am totally fine with the new plans and practically mad at myself for even questioning the changes, to begin with. I wish I could just fast forward through the letting-it-settle period because it is rather annoying and such a waste of time. Maybe that should be what I work on in 2017, being a more go with the flow kind of gal. If not for myself, I hope this changes naturally when kids enter the picture, because I know those little cuties are pretty darn unpredictable.

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rosy and Ruffles

Sweater: BP | Jeans: Joe's | Booties: Seychelles | Purse: BP |  Earrings: Nadri | Ring: Nadri | Lip Pencil: MAC in Absolutely It | Lip Color: Anastasia Beverly Hills in Crush

When I saw this sweater I fell in love with the color... and then I saw the ruffles (love!!). It is a super lightweight knit, so perfect for throwing a coat over for these chilly days we have been having (yes, even in San Diego). I picked up these booties the other day and I absolutely love the slits on the side and the overly chunky heel. The heel is so thick that it almost looks like a wedge which is super sassy. I have been using this tiny black and gold purse throughout the holidays for everything from a day of shopping to New Year's Eve. It is a great little purse to have around when you don't want to lug a big bag and it can be dressed up or down. I tried a new lip combo out the other day and love it. The creaminess of MAC's Prolongwear Lip Pencil makes long wear matte lip colors a little more user and life friendly. I was able to eat a meal without the lip color cracking or having half of my lip naked at the end. If you have worn this type of lip color before then you know that's no simple feat. 

We are heading up to Palm Springs tomorrow to celebrate the twin's birthday. I can't believe they are one already. I mean, the older I get, the clearer it is just how fast time flies. The whole family is heading up to celebrate those cuties including my mom and Brucy. My brother-in-law rented a house down the street from their place so about 13 of us will be staying there which will be great. We are going up a little early to help get ready for the party and/or just play with the babes so their parents can take care of stuff. It should be a really fun weekend. I will definitely be posting some pictures on the gram so keep an eye out.

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Monday, January 2, 2017

My Year in Review

You guys!!! It's 2017!! Where did the time go? Does anyone else feel like when you talk about anything that happened in the 90's it was still only 10 years ago? I don't know why my brain can't handle that we are 17 years into the 2000's. Anyways, this has been a great year. It has had it's ups and downs for sure, but I am so happy with where we are and what we are doing. I, like every other blogger on the face of this earth, was reviewing all of the highlights of the past year and wanted to share a few of them with you.

One of my favorite memories of 2017 was a surprise sailing date with my sweet husband. We had such a beautiful and relaxing day on the bay. San Diego Sailing Tours did a phenomenal job and I highly suggest using them if you are ever in San Diego. 

Another highlight for us was our quick trip to San Francisco and Napa. I was born and raised in California and I have never been to either place so it was one of those trips that just needed to happen. It was also a sweet surprise from that handsome guy for our anniversary. Because of some work obligations it had to be a pretty quick trip, but we made it happen and it was a blast. We hope to go back sometime soon. 

As far as the blog goes, it was a fun year and getting accepted into the RewardStyle program was a goal that was met. I struggled at the beginning of the summer with direction and interest for more reasons than many of you know, but I made the decision to pick myself up and fully reassess everything. I have been and still am trying to focus in on what the future of this blog should be and I am looking forward to 2017 as a year to really refine those thoughts and ideas. 

Our 2016 fair season was record setting! It flew by, which is something I have never said before, and Tony had so much growth in terms of refining many of the roles he plays in his company. 

We went on an incredible vacation when we got off the road and were able to rest and reconnect after a very busy five months on the road. You can read more about that wonderful getaway here. After getting back from this trip, we turned around the next week and went to Vegas with Tony's entire family. It was truly one of our best trips as a family and it provided so many good memories for all of us. 

Another huge moment in time happened when we became Godparents to this little cutie. Hannah is such a blessing to her mommy and daddy (Tony's brother and sister-in-law) and we are so honored to be her Godparents.

Last, but definitely not least, I think we had one of the best Christmas seasons ever. Everyone was together, on amazing behavior and my step-sister got engaged.

As I look back, I know there were a few not-so-fantastic times in 2016, but most do not even come to mind unless I try hard to dig them up. It was a beautiful year. We are so thankful for God's grace and love and we cannot wait to see what He has in store for us in 2017!

I hope your 2017 is as beautiful as you are!

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