Friday, October 24, 2014

What I miss about blogging

A few days ago I was washing my hands in the restaurant of a local brewery during happy hour when a girl, washing her hands next to me, recognized me from my blog. How sweet it was to be be greeted by the name of my blog - what has for a long time been such a special pocket of my life. I introduced myself and embarassingly admitted that I had really been neglecting my blog lately. Her response was so kind - that really I shouldn't and that she always enjoyed reading.

Over the days that followed I really got to thinking about my blog. It has been easy to push it to the side lately with a new job for both me and Corey, an online TpT business that is booming during this busy time of year, giving the majority of my energy to 20 littles each day, re-focusing on my fitness, and being a good friend, daughter, fur-mom, and wife each day. I started by telling myself that I would take a couple weeks off while we got adjusted to our new jobs and it has been really easy to just push it to the side each week. And to be honest, I've hardly missed it at all.

This realization made me pretty sad because this blog has done so much for me over the past three (almost four) years. I wrote my first post at the time I was giving notice in my very first teaching job to move to New Jersey and the stress of leaving my job, my friends, and my family was weighing so heavily on me. It kept me grounded as I got settled into a new place and made me feel, as cheesy as it sounds, that I had some great friends that I was taking with me. It was so cool to connect with other brides-to-be during Bridal Talk Tuesdays and to share all of our wedding planning details. I was inspired in my outfit choices and home decor and journaled my favorite restaurants in NYC, shopping finds, new recipes, and just the ins-and-outs of what I was up to on a daily basis. It was really all about the connections being made and building friendships that withstood being moved around to follow Corey's job.

Because this blog has been so good to me in so many unexpected ways, I find myself feeling really guilty for abandoning it (and my connections with some of you, consequently - albeit unintentionally.) When I first started blogging, I loved reading fashion blogs because the outfits were all so original and inspiring. I loved reading about finds other girls had made when they went shopping. Now, my blog feed is littered with one hundred different posts featuring the exact same camel Tory Burch bag or crazy outfits marked c/o that I would absolutely never wear in public. I feel like blogging has turned in to such a business. I hardly ever see anyone posting about some amazing and unique bag or pair of shoes they found and I'm pretty sure half of the outfits I see are only making my newsfeed because the blogger is being paid to endorse them.

This makes me so sad and it makes me love this blogging community so much less. I have absolutely no problem with sponsored posts, referral links, or bloggers making a little extra money when they are endorsing something they actually love and want to share with others. I see so many comments on Instagram with liketoknowit links where girls are asking where an item is from and the blogger is just replying to tell them to check liketoknowit. I think it is awesome that advertising money is being spent by putting the products in the hands of actual real people (bloggers) but it makes me so sad to see girls refusing to share and trying to rack up every last cent. I really miss the connections and friendships and sharing ideas that used to be what blogs were about.

I do very much miss the blogging community, even if it isn't what it used to be, so hopefully I'll be back soon. What are your thoughts on blogging becoming a business?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Seersucker, Bow-ties, and the Southern Pup

All summer long, Riley has been sporting seersucker and a bowtie. Quite the Southern gentleman if you ask me. He had been wearing the same collar since he was about nine months old so back in the spring I decided it was high time we updated his wardrobe. 

There are a lot of sellers on Etsy that make custom collars but when I found The Southern Pup, I knew they were the ones for us. The reason was two fold - 1.) They are based out of Charlotte (#shoplocal), and 2.) The owner has two Cavs of her own.

The quality of Riley's new collar is so nice and the bow-tie is removable. We really just save it for special occasions - like when we are entertaining guests. It is easily washable and I have so loved how cute he looks in his new collar throughout the summer. Very preppy.
Now that fall is finally here, I'm going to be returning to The Southern Pup for something more appropriate for this time of year. I'm thinking madras?

Monday, September 29, 2014

On the Go with Ame & Lulu

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence Central for Ame & Lulu. I received product samples to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.
I feel like I am on the go more than ever before in my life. With my new job, I'm a lot happier, but my commute is still longer than I might prefer (albeit shorter than it was last year). With Corey traveling two or three days (and nights) a week, I am trying to take advantage of that time to plan at least one night of girl's time a week. And, let's not forget to mention barre classes and gym workouts five days a week. Oh...and running my store on Teachers pay Teachers. Because I'm always on the go, I have to tote a lot of items back and forth every day. Do you know what really helps with that - a ridiculously cute tote.

Enter Ame & Lulu's Easy Tote. Previously, I had carried an ancient sorority Vinyard Vines tote to the gym. While I do love that tote, it wasn't really large enough for me to fit everything I needed and it wasn't quite adult enough. Ame & Lulu was created in 2003 by Amye Kurson with one goal in mind - to be stylish while on the go. I love the preppy, colorful patterns and think they really do just that. No frumpy workout bag for me.

I work out almost every day after work. I've always really loved to workout but it became a necessity after one too many mid-meeting chocolates at my previous job. Yikes. I have a long commute to work so honestly, I'm exhausted when I get home. Even though I love working out, my couch is calling my name the minute I walk in the door. So, to end up at the gym instead of on my couch, I pack my Easy Tote the night before and head straight to the gym or to my favorite Barre studio. Even if I have to stop by my house to let Riley out, I make that a quick in and out and change clothes at the gym. Here is how my Ame & Lulu tote makes that possible.
I pack it with a super cute workout outfit. Being cute while working out really motivates me. That is one reason why I love this bag so much - it is a cute accessory for the gym. Inside my bag, you will find a workout top and bottom, my sneakers, yoga mat, water bottle, and iPad (because I have just started doing Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide for three of my workouts a week). I was also gifted the Ame & Lulu Essentials Insert, which I just love. Inside I keep deodorant, a brush, extra barre socks, and regular socks. I also drop my keys, driver's license, and debit card into the matching Key Pouch. I love that all three pieces match. I feel so put together, even though I am often running around acting a little crazy to fit everything into a busy day. Inside the tote is also a zippered pocket, which is perfect to drop my phone inside.  

The Ame & Lulu Easy Tote is available in seven colors. I chose the sugar and absolutely love it, although I think all of the patterns are cute while still giving off a mature, put-together vibe. The tote is large enough to carry all of my essentials. It would also be a perfect bag for my teaching supplies. It seems easy to clean so for those of you with children - it could work as a diaper bag as well. The Easy Tote is just one of so many cute, colorful accessories for the active lifestyle available at Ame & Lulu. The Yoga Mat Bag or Wine Caddy are next on my list. 

If you are finding yourself falling in love with Ame & Lulu like I have, you are in luck. Ame & Lulu is offering all A Carolina Mrs. readers 25% off with the code love25. What pattern would you choose?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Anthro Obsession


I've had a love for Anthropologie for quite a while now but clothes shopping recently has taken a back seat to home decor shopping. Really, I've done quite well taming my closet since we decided to purchase and build our home last year.

Now, the home decor is nearly complete (or at least for the time being), and I've had an itch to update my closet. I haven't even dared to set foot into Antro for months. Then, my friend showed up to happy hour at my house wearing this shirt...
I, of course, immediately fell in love. It was such an Elizabeth top. She told me she agreed and really encouraged me to head into the store to try it on as well. With her blessing, I planned to do just that. Then, as I walked through the door, an associate was just putting out the top below.

Swoon. As I meandered around the store, searching for the top I came in for, my arms soon became heavy with all kinds of gorgeous things to try on. See below.

It's the back of this top that really has the wow factor. How perfect for a Friday happy hour.



Calculating my month's TpT commissions (read: expendable income, no questions asked by hubs), I decided which pieces were necessities. Then, on the way out, I laid my eyes on this baby...

Aren't the lace sleeves just perfect? With all of the lace and peplum, Anthro is really after my heart this season. It is safe to say I am obsessed!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Two Years





Today, Corey and I celebrate two years of marriage. I consider saying "I do" to be the best decision I've ever made. How special it is to find someone who completes you and makes your life better on a daily basis. We've accomplished so much in two years and I can't wait to see where life takes us in the years to come. Happy anniversary, Corey! I love you to the moon and back.

Corey and I enjoyed a week at the beach and in Charleston last week. I've tried to stay checked out from the blog and really dedicate my time to Corey, Riley and our home before going back to work. We are still adjusting to Corey's new travel schedule so I am trying to give 100% when he is home.

Today, on our second anniversary, it felt almost like a regular day. Corey woke up early to fly to San Diego for work. I started my new job and although it is a little closer than my previous one, I'm still making a pretty long trek each morning.

After a long first day, my car broke down on my way home and I had to have it towed. This is actually getting to be quite the regular. I found myself frantically calling neighbors to come rescue Riley and wondering if I could possibly pursue a career as a stay at home wife. Corey is in meetings almost all day and there is a 3 hour time change. It made for a long day.

Then, I finally got dropped off at home, covered with sweat and a blister the size of Texas on my heel from not having to wear anything but sandals for the last three months, and came inside to a dozen beautiful pink roses from my husband. What a sweet reminder that in marriage, we are choosing someone to do life with. Even on days when life gets messy or overwhelming. I'm a lucky, lucky girl that Corey is the man I get to do life with. Lots of love on our second anniversary!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Thoughts on a Friday...and a life update

Happy Friday, friends.

I'd like to thank those of you who commented or emailed me after my last post. Its good to know you are still there. :)

Life lately has really been the opposite of how I prefer my summer vacations. There has been a lot less lounging by the pool time than I anticipated and a lot more stress. Things are settling down now (at least until the start of the school year in a couple weeks!) As to where I've been...

Four years, four moves, five classrooms, and one little blog ago I sat heartbroken in my townhouse in Greenville, South Carolina because Corey had been offered a really great position in New Jersey. A week before I had been in total bliss. Just weeks away from completing my teaching internship, Corey had recently left a job where he wasn't happy to take a new position in Charlotte - putting him just a short forty minutes from my parents - and putting all of the people I loved the most in the same place. The icing on the cake was that I'd literally just been offered my first teaching job as a leave replacement for 1st grade starting after the holidays.

Just a few short weeks later, on the weekend of my twenty-third birthday, Corey moved to New Jersey and started an even better job. Somewhere in the nine months of long distance dating, I finished my master's degree and finished the school year with my sweet firsties, got engaged, and found myself living in Hoboken, New Jersey teaching at an innercity Newark school. A year of prayers later, I moved back to 3rd grade (the grade I student taught) in a fabulous district and found myself super happy. At the time, it was the only move I'd made for my own professional development (not Corey's) and I could see myself teaching there for the rest of my career...except for the fact that it was 700 miles away from my family.

If you've been reading for any length of time, you know what happened next. Corey was offered a new position in Charlotte. We moved back South, I accepted a job teaching 5th grade Gifted and Talented, and we started building our home. Which gets us all caught up until about six weeks ago.

My job here had been pulling at my heartstrings all year. A great position and opportunity but so, so different from my school in New Jersey where I had been so happy. Then, I was called by the district where I did that leave replacement all those years ago and asked if I would be interested in interviewing for a 3rd grade job that had come open unexpectedly. And all of a sudden I found myself coming full circle - back to my favorite grade in the district that believed in me since the beginning of my career.

On the very same day I accepted that position, I kid you not, Corey was told he was being promoted...to the Washington, D.C. territory. So here we were, facing another nine months of long distance (marriage, this time), another move, and another job search for me. Seriously, ladies...you can't even make something like this up.

More than once I was overcome with a sense of de-ja-vu. Knowing I would only have my job for one short year (and hence totally regretting my job change), that I would be seeing my husband only on weekends, and that I would be leaving good friends for the third time. Then, many sleepless nights and many prayers and exactly three weeks later, the local territory opened unexpectedly. And Corey was asked if he would be willing to take it instead since he already had relationships with many of those clients from his current position. To which, of course, he said yes.

So here we are, both with new jobs, but in the same city. And we are thankful. So, ladies, this is what I've been up to lately. Thanks a ton for your patience and support!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Changes


Happy Wednesday, friends! If you've noticed my recent absence (I don't think I've ever gone so long without posting), you might guess things have been busy around here. And that they have. There are some big changes coming to the W household in the coming weeks. And no - we are not pregnant!

These are actually the kind of changes that bring stability and we are excited. More to come soon, friends. Thanks for sticking around. :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Love Affair with a Chair

Ever since we moved into our home in December, I have had a new obsession with accent chairs. In our teeny tiny Hoboken apartment we had little room for any furniture but the basics so I am especially enjoying this aspect of decorating our new home.

My favorite accent chairs adorn our sunroom. I loved them ever since I saw them online a year and a half ago but didn't think I would be able to convince my husband to let me purchase them for a dominant space in our home. I thought he wouldn't like the fabric-covered buttons. It turned out, though, that Corey actually really liked them. Why? They brought the perfect touch of modern and fun to an otherwise traditional linen tufted chair.

Each button is covered in a different fabric. This is so neat because no two chairs are exactly the same. I love what a statement an accent chair can make and how much they can really brighten a room. This is my favorite space to sit and drink coffee in the mornings. Riley is also completely obsessed with this space. 

In an effort to help promote One Kings Lane's statement chair campaign, I wanted to share with you my favorite accent chair from our home.  One Kings Lane's A Complete Guide to Modern Chairs is a great resource for how to style statement chairs in your home and has really inspired me to think outside the box. I have now moved along to search for the perfect chair for our home office.

Looking for home decor inspiration? Check out One Kings Lane's Resource Guide. Or get an invitation to shop the deals here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

5 on Friday

Happy Friday, friends.

I'm posting a little later than normal today. Better late than never? I'm joining in on the 5 on Friday fun today to share some of my favorites from this week. 

I used the last drops of  my beloved Lancome foundation earlier this week to look put together enough to head over to the wall. I've been hearing great things about Estee Lauder's DoubleWear foundation so I picked up a bottle of it to try instead. I may or may not have been swayed by the Lilly Pulitzer gift with purchase. Meet my new beach bag, which will spend a lot of time pool side with me this summer. 

On of my most favorite things about having time off work during the summer is being able to have lunch dates with my sweet husband. While I love teaching, it can leave me feeling stretched really thin and feeling a little guilty for the time I have to spend away from my home and husband. Lunch dates in the summer are such a sweet, sweet treat. This week we finally got to try Crisp in Dilworth and it was so delicious. 

I have recommitted myself to barre this summer after being really slack with it for the last two months. When I'm tired and stressed, a good workout is the first thing to go, even though I know deep down this is counter-productive. I've been back to going to Carolina Barre & Core three times a week and then doing a 30 minute cardio + Barre 3 mini workout twice a week. 

I treated myself to a mani and glass of wine last night. Usually, I do my own nails but was feeling the need to be pampered. The color is Mod About You (I think) by O.P.I. and although I usually am totally loyal to Essie, I really like it. 

I've been taking this sweet boy on lots of walks and we've done our share of snuggling on the couch watching HGTV this week but he spends most of his time staring out our back door. Ever since we visited Corey's parents in Florida this spring, Riley has been absolutely 100% obsessed with trying to catch frogs. What a silly boy.

Happy Friday, friends!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Lust List

Now that the school year has officially ended and my work clothes have been dry cleaned and returned to my closet where they will stay until August, I feel like I have absolutely nothing to wear each day. Granted, I am spending my entire mornings in workout attire, but I still definitely feel my summer wardrobe needs a major refresh. I've got a few gorgeous pieces on my radar right now.





What summer items are you currently lusting over?


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cilantro Lime Flank Steak Tacos

Last summer, Corey and I were perusing the aisles of Costco one Saturday morning when we came across a flank steak in a cilantro lime marinade that looked simply delicious. We picked it up, grilled it the next day, and made tacos. What a delicious meal it turned out to be. Recently, I set out to recreate the marinade and we have enjoyed these delicious tacos several times since.
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice from one lime
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt, to taste (about 1/2 tsp.)
  • 12 oz flanksteak
  • Corn tortillas
  • Desired toppings
Combine cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Stir, then drizzle over flanksteak. Place in the refrigerator for several hours.

Grill to desired doneness while heating corn tortillas in the oven. Dice steak into small pieces and place inside tortillas. Top with your choice of toppings (pickled onions, cheese, and salsa are my favorites) and enjoy!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Jumpstart your morning

If you know me, then you know I couldn't make it through the day without my morning coffee. It is sad, but true. I am addicted to caffeine. I seem to always be in a rush, having my mornings calculated to an exact science. There is no time to stop at Starbucks before my fifty minute commute. I simultaneously make my coffee, a tervis tumbler of water, and my lunch at the same time. Thankfully, my Keurig gets the job done pretty fast. Just the way I like it. 

Real Cup coffee recently contacted me and asked that I review some of their products. This was, of course, right up my alley so I eagerly agreed. Days later, I received a shipment of delicious coffees in a variety of roasts, including a few fun flavored varieties, and hot teas. The variety in this pack was truly impressive.  
What I really liked about the coffees from Real Cup is that there were lots of different flavors to choose from. Granted, I can be a creature of habit (read: don't mess with my coffee routine), it is always nice to try a couple different flavors. They were all good. The Marley Coffee bold roasts and vanilla velvet flavored coffee pods were my favorite. I love that these are available in both variety packs or in bulk in the flavors you prefer. And oh, the convenience of having them shipped to your door!

I received my second shipment of Real Cup coffee this week and I have to say it was a lifesaver when they arrived on a crazy, hectic day when my supply was running low to know I wouldn't need to brave the grocery store for coffee for the rest of the week. If you're a coffee addict like me but haven't tried Real Cup before, I highly suggest you give them a try now.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Blogger Wine Night

 
Several weeks ago, Dee and Rachel hosted a wine tasting party for a small group of Charlotte bloggers. It was so sweet of them to include me and I had such a fun time catching up with some great ladies. As busy as things have been, I've been really out of the loop with all things blog-related. I'm crossing my fingers that this gets better in the coming weeks but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for the school year.

The idea behind the party was so cute. Each guest brings two bottles of wine. One of them is entered into a wine tasting contest and the other is added to the prize bucket.

All of the wines are put into brown paper bags and marked with a secret number. Each guest tastes all wines and rates them on a scale from 1 to 10 in the red and white categories. The guest who brought the winning wine in each category gets to take a prize bucket of wine home.


This was so fun! These two lovely ladies brought the winning wines and would you believe the winning red hailed from none other than...Aldi?!?!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DIY: Burlap Monogram Wreath

I recently crafted this wreath for our front door. I have to say I am really happy with the way it turned out although making it was definitely a labor of love. It wasn't so much difficult per se as it took me a while to figure it out and get into a kind of rhythm. Then, I kept running out of burlap. It would have been beneficial to have read a tutorial before I purchased the supplies and decided to give it a try.

I originally fell in love with this wreath on Etsy, which is absolutely gorgeous but was marked at $85.00. It is so pretty but I was absolutely convinced I could make it myself for less. 

I found my plain burlap at the Michael's just a couple miles from our house but had to go on quite the hunt for the chevron burlap. I ended up finding it at Hobby Lobby.

I ordered the monogram "W" from this Etsy shop and painted it white to match the burlap. It was only about $7, which I thought was quite the steal, and shipped super quickly.


This tutorial gave taught me how to make my bubbles and once I got those down, the rest was a piece of cake. The perfect activity while sipping on a glass of white wine. Didn't it turn out pretty adorable?