The Birthday Prep Edition

Praise hands for a week of good health in this house! 
We were able to round out the last week of July without anyone getting sick. So, we spent this week at summer camp, many afternoons spent in the pool, and time to simply soak up the goodness of summer. This is exactly how I imagined how summer break would be.

To the highlights!

I never did a smash cake session with Marcus and regret it immensely. With Julia I simply had to make it happen.
We headed off for the hills of Hollywood last weekend for a few family photos and a smashing of the cake. I am dying to see what our photographer, Sarah, captured because Julia did not disappoint!!

More Birthday Prep
It's mind boggling that in nine days Julia will be ONE. Most of my free time has been spent doing all the things birthday.

The Science Center!
Birthday prep aside, we've been soaking up the lasts bits of summer fun before school resumes.
The kids and I snuck away to the Science Center for several hours one morning/afternoon, and it took so much convincing to get Marcus home. 
The USC Rose garden is right next door. I figured we could frolick through it a bit. The kids weren't nearly as into it as me. But it was pretty and the smell! Holy cow, it was so fragrant and amazing.

Fro-yo and Oreos
Bedtimes are fairly non-negotiable, regardless of season. But indulging in deliciousness? I've been pretty relaxed with those lately. Clearly the kids aren't enjoying the sweet treats.

Today we're off to enjoy some time at the beach and a weekend without plans!

Cheers to the weekend!


M & J Monday

Big Brother:
My little eyes are watching
All you say and do
And when I grow up big and tall
I want to be like you
My little ears are listening
To everything you say
I am learning how to grow up
To be like you someday
So be careful how you teach me
To be the person that you are
You're a knight in shining armor
You're my brightest star
~Patsy Gaut

Little Sister:
My little sister is a nuisance,
My little sister is a pain.
If it was up to me 
I'd leave her outside in the rain.
But don't you tease my sister,
Or be mean to her at all.
'Cause I'll stick up for this little girl,
'Cause she thinks I'm 10 feet tall.
~Patsy Gaut

Happy Monday!


Confessions Pt. IV

It's been quite some time since I last did a round of confessions. I thought this week would be as good a time as any to get a few things off my chest.

On to it. Shall we?
1. Julia's birthday party is rapidly approaching. Scott may or may not have asked politely for me not to go over board. While I tried really hard not to, I'm pretty sure I've failed in my attempts. I can't help it. I freaking live for this kind of stuff. Plus, the little lady only turns one once. I know she won't remember any of it, but I sure will. Plus, who says it's wrong to want to have these memories for myself? The first year of life is certainly one to remember (for momma and baby), so why not celebrate big? Here's a peek at a few things that are in the works... 
2. I don't want to use this space to complain, but can our house catch a break this summer? It seems as if once one kid recovers from an illness the other one turns around and catches the same bug, or something equally as awful. We've had bouts of the stomach bug, fevers for days, ear infections, relentless teething, and cases of HFM. This is not quite how I envisioned spending our summer days, and I may have thrown myself a pity party because of it all...
3. Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen is my favorite baby "fragrance." I'm pretty sure I like the smell of it better than actual baby lotion. 

4. We have yet to go to the beach this summer. Refer to point number two for reference. 

5. I love the days Marcus has summer camp. Being with my babies is the best, but I know most days camp is way more fun than I am.
6. I'm pretty loyal to my make up brand and rarely (never) stray from it. But, the Influenster L'OrĂ©al Voluminous VoxBox was on point this month. I'm especially digging the lash primer and shadow colors. 
7. While I love blogging, and reading others blogs, I actually appreciate when bloggers *don't* post every. single. day. If all my favorites blogged every day one of two things would happen: 1) I'd never get anything done besides read blogs 2) I would completely skip reading blogs altogether. Last week I posted four times and I honestly felt guilty about so many posts that I just skipped a Friday 5 Edition. How does anyone come up with that much (good, quality) content to post so often? Some of my favorite bloggers post once or twice a week. I like to think we're pretty busy, and do an assortment of fun things. But, there's just no way I could post every day. Not to mention, I don't have time to post that frequently. 

8. Speaking of blogging... Day In The Life posts are my least favorite posts to read, or write for that matter. #sorrynotsorry
Phew. Now that that's all out there I'm feeling a bit better. 

Care to share any confessions today?


M & J Monday

And above all,
watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don't believe in magic
will never find it. 
 ~Roald Dahl
Happy Monday!


The Picture Perfect Project {{7}} - Shutter Speed

Month seven! Crazy to think we're over half way through this project.

Skipping past the pleasantries and heading right into this months portion of the project: shutter speed! I've always admired photos where water seems to actually be flowing, or when light is pictured as you would see it in real life. So, this month I took a little time to learn just the very basics of shutter speed, and then capturing a few photos with a slow shutter.

I can't tell you what settings I used for any of these photos, mainly because I was playing around with the camera, and didn't record anything because I was trying to simply photograph the moments as best I could.

There's clearly some work that needs to be done with focusing. But, I really loved the way these turned out. I'm particularly fond of the large photo of Marcus (upper left). The way the sparkler light highlighted his face just enough to see the s'mores smudged around his lips, the way his little eyes - though dark - still captured the wonder he had while playing with the sparkler. I might have to find a frame for that one.

Rushing Water!
We took family photos near this waterfall, and before our session began I played around and managed to capture this little gem. Another one I think may need a frame or canvas.

Another month where this project pushed me to try something new, and learn a little bit more about my camera. Success!

Share your PPP and link up with us!


Fix #7

Time for another round of dress up and play fashion blogger!

For this Fix I asked my stylist, Raquel (hiiiiii!!), who nails my fixes each time, to send me a maxi fix. Specifically I was looking for dresses that would work for a multitude of reasons: to run errands around town, to dress up for an evening out, to be able to keep up with two kids while keeping me covered and comfortable. Per the usual, Raquel did not disappoint.
I love that Raquel takes the time to look at my posts on each fix, as well as browse my Pinterest board for ideas and inspiration. She's THE BEST!
I could have *easily* kept all the maxis, but this month I needed to be a bit more budget conscious (I am deep in the throws of planning a first birthday party, and that currently trumps my wardrobe).

On to the threads!!
Giilli || Jessie Knit Maxi Dress
This maxi fit like a freaking dream.
The color is just gorgeous. I love blue, and this shade is totally me. The v-neck and fabric are nursing friendly, can I get an Amen. The length was spot on, I wore wedges for the pictures, but could have easily switched to flats, no problem. And the detailed cinching at the bust was the perfect pop of texture to give the dress a little boost.
I wanted to keep this dress SO BADLY. But, it was just too similar to the Gilli dress I received in my last fix.

Verdict || Returned

BRIXON IVY || Janella Romper
The print of this romper is perfectly summer. But. I knew before I tried it on that it likely wouldn't make it on to a hanger in my closet.
It's cute enough, particularly with the 5 and under crowd. But, just getting into it was quite the production (so much wiggling, shimmy-ing, and shaking). I can only imagine the fiasco it would be trying to quickly use the restroom. With two littles running around the house I have all of .8 seconds to get in and out of the bathroom. This romper wouldn't allow for such a feat. It's also a bit short for my liking. I'm not fond of my legs, and something a little longer would leave me a little more comfortable.

Verdict || Returned

Gilli Arisha Striped Dress
The Gilli brand has my heart forever and ever. Everything I've ever tried on from them is so soft, and comfortable, and cute. This dress is no exception.
The cut of this dress is unlike any that I have in my closet, and I have very few everyday dresses that are this length. I love the twisted straps, giving a unique touch of detail. It's also nursing friendly, which is always a thumbs up in my book. And, navy and cream? Here's my money, Stitch Fix.
This will be perfect for running around town, a trip to the beach, or even out with Scott (who wants to baby-sit?).

Verdict || Kept

Loveappella || Jesse Knit Maxi Dress
I won't even pretend that the print on the style card didn't scare me. I thought surely this one would go right back into the return bag. And this, my friends, is exactly why I love Stitch Fix...
The empire waist is all sorts of flattering. The length is perfect. The colors! Oh my gosh, the colors are so bold and I just love them. I didn't think I'd like the cap sleeves, but guess what? I do. The fabric is so soft, with just the right amount of stretch (another nursing friendly dress, *praise hands*). This dress was made for my closet.

Verdict || Kept

Gorjana || Tamora Pendant Necklace
The only piece in this fix that left me underwhelmed was this necklace.
With exception to the Arisha Stripped Dress, I wore the pendant in all of the photos above.
While the piece is pretty enough, I just don't have a need for necklaces right now. Currently there are so many necklaces that just sit in my jewelry box. I know they likely won't see the light of day until Julia no longer wants to pull on shiny objects, and put all the things in her mouth. While no fault of stylist Raquel's, as I'm nearly positive I have accessories marked as 'ok' in my style profile, I think I'm going to have to remove jewelry until I can safely wear it without worrying if Julia is going to try and make a snack out of it.

Verdict || Returned

Though I only kept two pieces, I really wish I could have kept all the clothing items!

So, did I keep the right pieces? Should I have forgone the extra cupcakes for Julia's birthday and kept all the clothes?! Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Still haven't given Stitch Fix a shot? What are you waiting for?
For $20 a box, a personal stylist will hook you up with some fun, cute clothes. If you love what's sent your way, the $20 is then applied to your total. Don't love anything? The $20 is about what it would cost you in gas to head to the mall. Toss in the mandatory Starbucks you grab while shopping at said mall, and you've easily spent $20+. Not to mention, you get to have a little fashion show in the comfort of your own home (it is so awesome to be able pull pieces from your closet and jewelry box to see if they'll go well with a Stitch Fix item). Wins all around, if you ask me.

Give it a shot! It's honestly one of the most fun things I've done for myself in a very, very long time. It doesn't hurt that my wardrobe is seeing some major improvements from it as well.
Click here to get started on your profile (pssst, making a profile is free - you aren't charged a styling fee until you receive your fix).


2016 Summer Birthday Exchange

When Liz announced the Summer Birthday Exchange I was so excited to sign up! This is the first exchange I've been able to do for Julia since she's been born. When asked for a list of items that Julia may like I couldn't believe how stumped I was. I've been so used to boy things for so long! And, believe it or not, there aren't many toys that are just for Julia, or have been purchased just for her (so many are baby toys we saved from when Marcus was a baby).

For this exchange - which was done Secret Santa style - Julia and I were paired up with Ashley and Waverly. I had the best time browsing all the girly things (a snapshot of what I'm guessing our future toy hunts will look like) and selecting a gift that I hope Waverly loves. To see what we sent their way be sure to hop on over to Being Brickner and check it out!

Amanda and her daughter Lily, from Tickled Pink, were paired up with Julia. Lily, who is just about the cutest and sweetest thing ever, selected the most perfect gift for Julia...
A Little People Disney Princess Cinderella's Coach! I have to add that Cinderella was one of my favorite Disney movies/princesses growing up, so I was thrilled when I saw this!

I had Julia help me open the actual gift, which resulted in more wrapping paper ending up in Julia's mouth than anywhere. But, once the coach was out of the box it was pretty obvious Julia was smitten with her very own toy. I mean, it sings, it's on wheels, and it has moving parts (the little mice in the back go up and down when the coach moves)! Basically, every little lady's dream.
The Cinderella's Coach is one of the first toys Julia gravitates to each morning, and it one of the toys that stays out of the toy bin all day long.

Amanda and Lily, thank you so much for the most perfect gift for Julia!

Also, a huge thank you to Liz for coordinating this exchange, it was so much fun, and we look forward to it next summer!

To see the rest of the exchange participants be sure to click on all the wonderful ladies and their littles below.
Ashley and Waverly // Being Brickner
Elizabeth and Mason // Chasin' Mason
Laureen and Tyson // Chateau Deveau
Brittany, Charlie, and Maddie // Just Another Day in Paradise
Desiree and Julia // Macke Monologues
Natasha and Ethan // Schue Love
Sarah and Brantley // Seeing All Sides
Vanessa and Arden // Sunflower State of Mind
Julia and Myles // The Everyday Momma
Traci and Charli // The Hallway Life
Amanda and Lily // Tickled Pink
Laura and Liam // tiny toes, little nose
Whitney and Brielana // Work It Mommy