Goin’ Back to Cali, Cali, Cali

My parents, my grandma, and I have officially mastered the four-day, cross-country vacation. This happened the first time in March 2017 and did a repeat this month — likely my final trip before baby arrives — and I couldn’t have asked for a better visit!

In truth, it will likely be a while before I can make another trip across the country to California, so I really wanted to make sure I could sneak at least another in before I hit the “do not travel” mark of pregnancy.

Last trip, the four of us managed to sneak in a Vegas trip; a trek to the beach; hikes; and more. This time around, we had a busy trip, too, but my tired, pregnant body was happy for some additional reprieves and rests at home, hanging out with each other and the dogs, too.

My mom and dad have started fostering dogs in Bakersfield to help prepare them as they transition from rescue to shelter to fur-ever home, so we were treated to EIGHT wonderful dogs: Cody, Reilly, Lexy, Zai, Denali, and Turbo (my parents’ dogs) as well as Sugar and Charlie, two fosters. It was honestly a puppy paradise full of dog snuggles, which is the best way to spend a vacation.

Plus, we also…

  • Searched for wild flowers and took in some gorgeous sights. California is truly breathtakingly beautiful. Even just a drive to and from certain places feels like an adventure because of all of the scenery to take in. We spent our first day there doing just that and it was great! Cali MUST be the king of rolling hills.
  • Conquered an Escape Room. I’ve always wanted to try an Escape Room, but never bit. It was so much fun to try one out with family. NBD, but we killed it in the Knight & Rook room at Bakersfield Escape Room.
  • Went on a Ross shopping spree. I am not so fortunate to have a Ross nearby, which is a true tragedy, so I love hitting up that store and spending lots of money when we’re there. This time, we were able to get some cute things for baby, too!
  • Toured Heart Castle. Bill and I toured Hearst Castle during our last visit, but my grandma and I didn’t get a chance to do so, so it was fun to go back there. We got an inside look at the stunning cottages! I fell in love with the roofs (and dedicated an Insta album to them here), but the entire place is magical and unreal.
  • Mused at the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. The seals are too cute to be ignored and given that we were already Hearst Castle, it made sense to take a look at these cuties again. Bonus: beach views!
  • Visited The Last Bookstore in LA. My mom sent me a link to this place a while back so it was a must-visit for me and I’m so happy we were able to make it happen. I love all bookstores, but this one was Instagrammable AF. Part bookstore, part art exhibit, it was like a slice of heaven for book lovers like me.

A great trip all around and so wonderful to see my parents. The next time they see me, I may have a little person around!

xo!

Being Fat and Pregnant

I’ve spent a lifetime hating my body.

I was a fat kid who turned into a fat teen who became a fat adult and I live in the U.S., where we are actively taught that being fat is not just unattractive, but unhealthy, worthy of ridiculedeserving of discrimination (even by medical professionals), and something you should actively be working to change at all times no matter what.

I also grew up in a household where I was told I was beautiful and didn’t have to change for anyone, while also knowing that these same family members were unhappy with their bodies, which very much looked like mine. And who could blame them? We are not immune from society and the world around us tells us that fat bodies are broken. I spent years trying to “fix” my body to make it something more appealing — not so much because I cared about my health but because I bought into this idea that my fatness meant I could never be worthy of good things. It didn’t help that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which made gaining weight breezy.

About two years ago I did lose a significant amount of weight for two real reasons: I was starting to experience some health issues; and my husband and I wanted to have a baby someday and I knew it would be easier if I weighed a little less. But I still never really appreciated my body. There was always something, I felt, that should change or be better.

Weirdly, getting pregnant has finally made it so I see the value in my body as it is.

I won’t lie: I still feel bad about my body most days. I’m putting weight on, obviously, and feeling much less confident in a body I had finally felt good in. I get down on myself because I don’t have the “perfect baby bump.” I fret over the fact that many well-meaning folks say they “can’t even tell” I’m pregnant. I stress.

But then I remember: I’m growing a person.

And doing that while actively battling against the odds of PCOS, which makes getting pregnant and staying pregnant hard.

Every day that passes feels like an accomplishment. Every tiny little kick feels like a victory, a reminder that my body is incredible as it is now, as it was, and as it will be.

I know I won’t feel beautiful and comfortable in this skin every day, but for some moments, I can. And, for the first time in my life, I am finally learning to appreciate this body of mine for its tremendous strength, for its growth, and for its resilience. To my body: thank you. And I’m sorry I haven’t loved you the way you’ve deserved.

Things I Did (and Wore) in February 2019

Thank baby Jesus that February is done and gone. I could deal with the winter if it was just, like, December and January. But that it extends into February? The AUDACITY!

I have serious pregnancy brain, too, meaning I can hardly remember what I did in the month. (Can still feel the harsh cold on my numb cheeks, though.) Thankfully, there are iPhone photos to remind me that I actually had a lovely time:

  • Celebrating Galentine’s Day with friends
  • Celebrating love on Valentine’s Day with my husband at our favorite tapas restaurant, Bocado (and, yes, we did take tons of photos of that food)
  • Enjoying Wormtown Brewery (beer for Bill, watching Bill drink beer for me)
  • Organizing the baby’s room and all of her magnificent clothes
  • Receiving the best gift ever for baby from a friend/colleague in the form of a Backstreet Boys hair bow (I’m just modeling it, I swear)
  • Fawning over our OG baby, Obi
  • Peeping up at the giant Super Wolf Blood Moon

Here’s what I wore, which was mostly just shades of the same thing…

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Shein, a place I actually do not recommend purchasing from because they cannot get proportions right and the sleeves on every single thing I purchased where a nightmare.
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: TJ Maxx

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Outfit details:

  • Dress wif pockets: 25 Central
  • Leggings: Kohl’s
  • Boots: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Target — dreamysigh. I just love this dress.
  • Cardigan: Target
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: TJ Maxx

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: TJ Maxx

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Outfit details

  • Top: Shein (again, DO NOT RECOMMEND)
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: TJ Maxx

And what I did through pictures!

BTW, I’m digging myself out of a backlog of posts, so expect a few in the next couple of days.

xo!

Getting Ready for Two Babies: A Girl and a Book!

What’s better than one baby? Two!

First: a beautiful, wiggly, growing baby girl that Bill and I are so excited to welcome into our lives. My due date is June 19, 2019, meaning there’s just 99 days until we say hello to her.

It’s been so much fun preparing for her arrival. Oddly, Bill and I feel calm and excited more than frantic and nervous. There’s a bit of that, too, of course (especially when I think about the delivery), but mostly we’re feeling organized and prepared in a weird kind of way that we never expected.

We’ve been completely overwhelmed by the love and support from our friends and families, each of whom have thrown themselves into helping is prepare for girl in all of the best ways.

Family has pitched in to help with things like the baby shower and getting the nursery ready to go. Friends have offered hugs and real advice and pitched in to generously gift or loan gently-used items for the baby. It has been such a humbling experience.

At times, it is a little stressful. There are so many things to check off of that to-do list in just nine months — plus, preparing for a baby shower (which is not quite my thing) sometimes feels like the end of the world. But we’re all slowly chipping away at things together and soon, we’ll get to have a little person in the world to say love and teach and watch grow and that’s a pretty amazing feeling.

And then there’s Book Baby. Like Baby Cunningham, Book Baby is still cooking. I finished writing my first young adult novel in December 2017. It revised and revised and revised… and then it sat and sat and sat. In August 2018, I thought: what the hell am I doing? Why am I sitting on this? What if I just… tried pitching this thing?

Aside from reading a few Google articles, I had no idea what I was doing. But I was floored when I heard back from a literary agent who was interested in my book.

I’m SO pleased to share that I’m officially represented by the incredibly talented Tamar Rydzinski and Context Literary Agency!

I’m even listed officially as an author on the site, guys. I just. NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE THAT.

I am still so shy and reluctant to talk about it because I’m fearful I’ll jinx things or no publisher will be interested in my book or it won’t go anywhere at all — but I want to someday teach my girl to be brave and sometimes bravery means sharing things that are scary.

My career as an author is very much still a work in progress, one that’s been slightly derailed by the exciting news of Real Baby, but I’m very much looking forward to nurturing both babies — which will each bring about new and wonderful challenges and enrich my life in ways I never thought possible.

To exciting things happening and a future that looks bright!

xo.

Let’s Do This, 2019

2018 was good to me. It is weird to feel like you’re thriving personally while the world is sort of crashing around you. I’m not immune to the terrible things that happen — but in my personal life, I’m happy and things are actually going well.

Last year, I vowed to live 2018 with less fear and anxiety and I’m proud (and a little surprised) to say I’ve stuck to it — from small things, like trying to reach out to friends more, to big things, like deciding to try for a baby.

In 2018, I lived big and laughed a lot. I’m so, so fortunate for all of the adventures I get to embark on and that I get to do it with the love of my life and my very best friend by my side. Though there were some hardships — some difficult family circumstances certainly challenged me at times — for the most part, I felt like I was able to live the life I’ve always dreamed of as a kid.

I’ve worked on myself quite a bit in therapy, too, making personal strides, learning to better live with my anxiety, unlearning bad habits, and working on treating myself a little better. Plus, Bill and I proudly got our finances in order (a huge, huge accomplishment, going from poor college students to steady adults). We traveled to countries we’ve never been before and explored museums and drag shows and Disney.

And, I got pregnant.

Professionally, it was a big year, too — I got a significant promotion at work, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been at my job.

Shortly after, I finally started sending my completed young adult novel to literary agencies. And I’m so excited that one was interested; I’m now represented by Context Literary Agency! I’ve been writing stories since I was just a kid and now I have a completed book and, with the help of an incredible agent who believes in my work, I’m one step closer to making my dream of publishing a book a reality.

So, big, exciting things are already happening. Where do I go from here?

I think, in 2019, I need to work on little things that amount to a lot by working to appreciate everything while also being less affected by others. In short, I guess I’ve got to take learn to roll with it.

Speaking of appreciation, I’ll start by appreciating some of the wonderful things from 2018. (Some of these captions may be a little off because they’re part of old posts, but that’s OK!)

 

 

2019 is going to be one of the most significant years of my life — for myself, for Bill, for our relationship, for our family — and I can’t wait. To 2019!

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in December 2018

So long, December. Saying it’s been quite the month might be a little bit of an understatement! But first, a few of the things I wore…

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Kohl’s
  • Shows: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Target
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Julia
  • Cardigan: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Shoes: Rainbow

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: DSW

All right. Onto the big stuff:

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I’m three months pregnant!

Bill and I are so, so, so excited! We found out the news while in Disney World, the most magical place on Earth, which is perfectly apt. We confirmed the news when we got home from vacation and it was truly incredible having a little secret, just the three of us (four of us, counting Obi), for a few months. We waited until Christmas to share the news with loved ones, which meant I was already into the second trimester. Baby is now the size of a little peach (according to The Bump app)! It’s been magical and hilarious watching him or her grow into different fruit sizes over the last couple of weeks.

I’ll be frank and say we were incredibly hesitant to share this news publicly. As someone with PCOS, getting pregnant and staying pregnant is a challenge and there is a real possibility this pregnancy won’t be the easiest. But here we are, and so far so good (!), so we’re celebrating and taking everything one day at a time.

Seeing our baby on an ultrasound really helped make things feel real. Bill and I couldn’t help but get emotional watching our baby move around and, later that afternoon, we heard the heartbeat. It was one of the best sounds we’ve ever heard.

Our friends have been elated by the news, offering immense and significant support and love. Their outpouring of love has meant so much to Bill and to me and we really feel like we are so fortunate to be surrounded by good people who are so good to us.

Of course, family can’t wait to meet the little one! Here’s a peek into part of how we shared the news with family. Each of the soon-to-be grandparents and great-grandma got a card, a framed photo of the baby’s first ultrasound, and the announcement from Obi above. Everyone else got a onesie-shaped cookie with a tag letting them know of their soon-to-be status. It went so well and everyone seems really happy for us!

Aside from that super big news… here are some of the other things I did in December! Not pictured: Our beautiful, finished kitchen floor. Hopefully I remember to nab some photos soon. Also, yes: that IS a signed Spice Girls poster!!!

 

More soon.

xo.

What I Wore (and Did) in November 2018

It’s so far away from November that I barely remember what I wore or what I did, so I’m keeping this one short and sweet. The month flew by in a whirlwind for reasons I’ll share soon (but not yet) and somehow, it’s literally the end of December and 2018.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get many pictures during the month, though I did get to do plenty of memorable things, like…

  • Accompany one of my besties and my adorable nephew, O, to meet Daniel the Tiger
  • Vote
  • Travel up to Brattleboro, Vt.
  • “Graduated” from therapy (heeey, y’all, I’m kind of emotionally stable)
  • Nabbed another pair of “Hamilton” tickets because once isn’t enough
  • Had dinner with friends
  • Gave a presentation at work for many of our campuses
  • Started installing a new kitchen floor (OK, fine, I watched my husband and father-in-law begin to start on the kitchen floor, but I did paint most of the sunroom)

Here are some of the things I wore.

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I was super excited to be gifted this T-shirt from actress Yara Shahidi’s “Eighteen x 18” campaign and to wear it on Election Day. We turned it TF out!

Outfit details

  • T-shirt: Eighteen x 18
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Sweater: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Old Navy
  • Pants: Marshall’s
  • Boots: Rainbow

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Thanksgiving looks!

Outfit details

  • Sweater: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Old Navy
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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“[H]er hair is so big. It’s full of secrets.”

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Kohl’s
  • Boots: DSW

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Shout out to my visible belly outline (VBO), which I’m still learning to be OK with.

Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Julia
  • Sweater: Old Navy
  • Tights: WeLoveColors
  • Boots: Rainbow

A super brief glimpse into November through pics.

 

 

Until next month (which is just days away). xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in September 2018

Work has been intense. September was my first month where the semester was in session and I was in my new role managing all of the social channels for the institution where I work. One week, I put in so many extra hours that I worked three full extra days. It’s been a lot, but really rewarding! For the first time in my career, I’m getting paid to do one thing well. I mean, managing every aspect social media for a large brand is hard work, but that’s always sort of been a thing I’ve had to do on top of a lot of other duties. Now I get to just focus on that and I love it!

What’s helped keep me sane from all of the hours I’ve been working has been all of the fun Bill and I have been having in our down time. We had lots of mini adventures in September — everything from exploring a new winery to going apple and pumpkin picking; venturing to the new casino in town to a quick day trip to Brattleboro, Vt.; spending time with friends to supporting the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 sisters.

Plus, the leaves have been changing (!) and we’ve been embracing our favorite season (!!) and we booked our next vacation: DISNEY WORLD AT HALLOWEEN. I’m over-the-moon excited!

Here are some of the outfits I wore during the warmer-than-I’d-like September.

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Fashion to Figure
  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Cardigan: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Payless

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A new look I feel great in!

Outfit details

  • Kimoni: LuLaRoe
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Tieks
  • Tank: Old Navy

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Ross
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Tieks

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I was REALLY FEELING this fall look — the first boot opportunity of the season!

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Vanity Fair (only $8 — such a steal!)
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: Payless?
  • Earrings: 25 Central

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Kohl’s
  • Boots: DSW

 

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Not a full outfit pic, but I just wanted to show off this amazing Lion King sports bra (which looks like an undershirt!).

Outfit details

  • Sports bra: Hot Topic
  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Leggings (not pictured): Old Navy
  • Shoes: Tieks

Plus, here’s a look into what I did in September.

With the craziness of September behind me, I cannot wait for the rest of October. Hamilton (!) and Disney World (!!) — here we come!

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in August 2018

Things have been interesting — a mix of good, bad, and stuff in between. At work, August was one of the busiest months I’ve had as it led right up to move-in weekend (arguably the most hectic weekend of the year for marketers in higher ed!). At home, Bill and I have done a little bit of travel, but we’ve been working really hard to get our finances in order — and KNOCK ON WOOD it’s working. Yay!

In August, in between all of the work (and there was a lot), I had lots of fun. Bill and I went to see Queen Bey and Jay’s On the Run II show, which was incredible. We’ll ignore the fact that we were stuck in traffic to and from the venue and that we missed our beloved Chloe x Halle’s performance because of it, but the show itself was everything. Obviously. It’s Beyoncé! (And Jay Z.)

We also visited Cape Cod for the first time, spending a weekend in Provincetown and Wellfleet, both of which we loved. Originally, we booked the trip because we had tickets to see our favorite drag queen, Trixie Mattel, perform her stand-up show. Unfortunately, Trixie cancelled on a few shows, including ours. We’d already booked the hotel, though, so we just enjoyed ourselves in the Cape. It was so much fun! It was raining when we arrived but held off for the rest of the weekend so we could explore the area. We especially loved the Cape Cod National Seashore (the views were beautiful) and everything about P-Town. We’d love to go back.

The next weekend, my cousin, Adam, got married and we had so much fun at the wedding. It was great for Bill and I to spend time with my close family and let loose. I also think Bill liked watching me get super drunk and dance terribly and now he has video evidence which he can blackmail me with until the end of time! Also in August, Bill and I visited the Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival, a staple of our respective childhoods (we both grew up in the same time) but an event we hadn’t been to in years. It was a blast and great to be back in our old stomping grounds.

Here’s a look at some of the outfits I wore throughout the month!

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless

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My Beyoncé outfit! It was 90 degrees out in the evening and I wanted to look cute without dying from the heat.

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Outfit details

  • Body suit: Rainbow
  • Shorts: Rainbow
  • Shoes: Amazon
  • Earrings: BrunoMars.com (not a joke!)

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Shorts: Rainbow
  • Shoes: Converse

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Fashion to Figure (when it was still really good!)
  • Shoes: Payless
  • Giant-ass ring: Norwegian Cruise Line

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Faces
  • Shoes: Amazon

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe
  • Shoes: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: 25 Central
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless

Here’s what I did through photos.

 

All in all, a good month and now I’m OVER-THE-MOON that it’s September. Fall is my time, y’all. Bring on the pumpkin spice!

 

What I Wore (and Did) in June 2018

June was kind of a chaotic—though overall good—month, with a jumble of unexpected family things going on (that ultimately ended well and resulted in visits from my parents!).

At work, I was able to start my new role and I’ve loved it so much. Though I really enjoyed my previous role, getting back into managing social media feels like exactly what I’ve been meant to do. I missed it a lot in the short time I was away and, though I was a little rusty at first, I’m feeling back in my element.

At home, Bill and I celebrated our 12th anniversary and 3-year wedding anniversary, which is crazy to think about. How is it that we’ve known and loved each other for 12 incredible years already? I knew and loved him back when he was just a kid in gym class teaching me how to play tennis (I was terrible at it) and when we were goofing off in art class. Now we’ve built a beautiful life together and I couldn’t feel more loved and celebrated.

I also had lots of fun in June:

  • Spending time with friends, which I love saying, because for the first time since high school I have friends I regularly hang out with again (!)
  • Having an “Auntie/Nephew” babysitting adventure with the wonderful little O
  • Enjoyed time with my mom and dad as they visited from California. For the first time in two years, I got to see my dad on Father’s Day and my brother and I took him down to Niantic, Conn., to check out the Book Barn, my favorite book store.
  • Took a half day to myself and wandered around Northampton, Mass.
  • Had an incredible anniversary dinner at a wine and tapas bar called Barcelona with Bill where we ate and drank a bunch (including some pre-dinner drinks at Bar Taco)
  • Got selected as one of the lucky few who got to purchase tickets to Hamilton in Boston (!) and then BOUGHT TICKETS TO HAMILTON IN BOSTON (!!!), which will be part of Bill’s 30th birthday gift and OH MY GOD I’M SO EXCITED!!!!
  • Watched the sun set during the summer solstice with Bill and Obi
  • Celebrated my writer friends with a beautiful Writer’s Row dinner at my friend Judy’s house (Peanut, Judy’s dog, is the cutest)
  • Went to an incredible drag brunch show and then spent the rest of the afternoon in Northampton, Mass., with Bill, where we shopped and got delicious ice cream
  • Caught up with my wonderful friend, Steph, and hosted her at my house and made the most first-ever charcuterie board
  • Celebrated the 4th of July early with sparklers

Is it stupid to say I’m overall really happy with my life right now? It’s one of those things I don’t think about that often, and I’m almost fearful of saying it out loud or even thinking it or writing it because I worry I’ll jinx it. But I am. It feels good and I’m so lucky.

And here’s what I wore!

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: 25 Central
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Shoes: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Skirt: LuLaRoe Cassie
  • Shoes: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Julia
  • Shoes: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Target (who doesn’t love Britney Spears?!)
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless (?)

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Shrug: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless (?)

 

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Faces
  • Shoes: Payless (realizing I wore these a lot this month!)

Plus, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include some outfits from my husband, who started a new job this month and has been looking super fly.

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Outfit details

  • Blazer: Target
  • Button-up: Old Navy
  • Pants: Old Navy
  • Shoes: Target

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Target
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Shoes: American Rag

And here’s what I did in photos (summary above):

 

Until next time!

xo.