Baby Showers: Over the Moon with Gratitude

I’ve been feeling super grateful lately, especially as I’ve celebrated Baby C with not one but two baby showers recently.

Truth be told, I was dreading my baby shower. I do not do well as the center of attention in a room full of people where all eyes are on you. That’s one reason Bill and I straight up eloped

But I knew my family was really excited about the addition to our family, so a baby shower felt right. I was feeling really, really fortunate that so many of my loved ones wanted to share in our joy and to celebrate me and Bill and our soon-to-be new addition to the family. And that deserved a little celebrating.

So, with the help of family, we were able to pull together a truly lovely baby shower that kept some traditions in tact and bucked others.

There were no games, the venue was described as “different” by some, and little to no pink despite 1) us having a girl and 2) pink being my favorite color. But we kept the important things: good company, good food, and good gifts. What more can you really ask for?

I got to do it all again, too, when my work family threw me a baby shower, too—and on my 31st birthday, to boot! Talk about a celebration.

Bill and I are still feeling so humbled by the outpouring of love, kindness, generosity, and support from the crew of wonderful family and friends around us as we’ve inched closer to Baby C making her triumphant debut. They say it takes a village, and we have felt that so hard these last few months as everyone has reached out to figure out how they can help—from sharing their gently-loved baby items to pitching in to help with house projects to contributing to baby’s wardrobe or nursery or straight up offering good vibes.

To our people: thank you. Baby C has no idea how lucky she is!

xo.

What I Did (and Wore) in April 2019

Let’s be honest: the last few months have been wrapped up in All Things Baby. Even before I got pregnant, I told myself I wouldn’t let myself get so wrapped up in having a baby and becoming a mom that I’d forget about myself, my hobbies, and my life.

Though I haven’t done anything of those things, I did slightly underestimate just how much time goes into getting ready to have a baby. There’s a lot to do to get ready and I worried I’d hate it or feel like it didn’t fit in with my life at all or that it would be hard, but the transition has felt surprisingly… right.

As a natural planner (and overanalyzer, overthinker, etc.), I’ve liked making lists and having concrete things to work on as Bill and I have prepared to welcome a baby into our lives. But I guess I hadn’t realized how much things have shifted until I’ve looked back on what I’ve been up to and realized that much of it was centered around this new little life.

Bill and I have had lots of conversations together about how we want to make sure that we maintain our identities, both as individuals and as a couple, even after we add a new person into our family. We’re so excited to meet her, but also don’t want to completely change the life we were already really, really happy in. I can already feel the collective eyerolls from some parents: “Well, just you wait!” But we’re trying to look at having a baby not as something that will change everything about the life that we had before, but as something that will make the amazing life we already had even better, richer, and fuller in ways we hadn’t imagined before.

Obviously a lot of our time will be focused on that little thing called “raising a child.”

But it’s also important to us that we exist as people outside of our parental identities. I think that’s important not just for our sanity, but for hers, too. She should have two fully realized people as parents, who have interests and hobbies and friends and full, robust lives so she can determine what she’d like her full life to look like, too.

It’ll be an interesting balance as we forge ahead.

Especially when April was a month where our activities were pretty heavily baby-focused:

  • Took a “babymoon” to NYC
  • Buying myself a “push present” (AKA just spending money on myself) in the form of a beautiful new Nikon camera
  • Teaching myself to use said beautiful new Nikon camera
  • Feeling baby move regularly for the first times and capturing it on video
  • Taking some new headshots for my author life 
  • Getting a fresh new haircut
  • Desperately trying to teach myself how to do a salon blowout at home—and failing
  • Setting up the nursery
  • Savoring Beychella AGAIN with the release of the Homecoming documentary (love you, Bey)
  • Working a lot
  • Celebrating baby with a baby shower! 

The babymoon ended up being a blast. With me in my third trimester, we didn’t want to venture too far, but we also wanted to have a nice little weekend where we could focus on the two of us and get away from all things baby. (Sorry, boo thang.) We settled on New York City because I really wanted to take a trip down memory lane at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The story goes like this: Bill and I were friends before we dated. Senior year of high school, we shared a mutual friend, an English class, a gym class, and an art class. In art class, senior students traditionally took a field trip to NYC to check out some of the museums there, so sometime in the spring, he and I were part of the group of students who traveled up to the city. We found ourselves at the Met, where we were given an assignment (pick a piece of art to write something about), and we eventually ended up exploring part of the museum together.

I still remember what I was wearing—a white tank top, a pink stripe shrug that tied around my waist, some jeans. It was chilly inside the Met. I made a comment as such. He offered me his jacket.

I like to say, “And the rest is history,” but the truth is this: I turned him down on wearing the jacket, but I feel like a little piece of my heart opened up that day to the possibility that, hey, this cute guy might like me.

At some point, he asked me to hang out with him and his friends and go see a movie (Mission Impossible 3, in case you were wondering) and we had a really, really fun time. So, I got brave, too, and invited him to my birthday party, where we spent quite a bit of time chatting that night and having a good time.

Days later, with our senior year winding to a close, we swapped yearbooks. I wrote a totally boring, run-of-the-mill, “stay sweet” over the summer kind of message, but when he handed me my yearbook back, he told me not to read it right away.

When I worked up the courage to check out his passage, it turned out there wasn’t a message at all, but lyrics to a song by my then-favorite artist John Mayer:

Your phone was really broken
I tried your number twice
And if you need confirmation, baby I understand
It’s alright if you want me to…

The next line, left unwritten: Tell you you got my only heart.

RIGHT?!

And then, over AOL Instant Messenger, Bill asked me if I’d ever seen the movie Hustle and Flow. When I said no, he asked if I’d like to see it. I said yes. We set up a date for June 17—which is now our wedding anniversary, too, and could also be the day when we said hello to our little coconut. (My due date is June 19.)

So, yeah, it was nice to be nostalgic and take that trip down memory lane at the Met, even all pregnant and swollen as I was.

We also spent our baby moon with stops at the American Museum of Natural History, Hayden Planetarium, Levain Bakery, and Shake Shack (obviously). It was a really nice weekend.

As for some of the things that I wore, you’ll notice I started taking less body photos as my body has grown to accommodate the baby bump.

Sigh. Obviously part of that is feeling uncomfortable in this New Body.

And part of that reason is because I’m in the same 5-10 outfits over and over again because that’s all that fits!

We do what we can. 😉

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Outfit details

  • Scarf: Payless (I think?)
  • Tank tops: Old Navy
  • Cardigan: Forever 21
  • Leggings: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Shoes: Nike

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Outfit details

  • Tank top: Old Navy
  • Cardigan: Old Navy
  • Purse: Marshall’s
  • Necklace: 25 Central
  • Leggings: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Shoes: Nike

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe
  • Cardigan: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Dress: 25 Central
  • Shoes: Payless
  • THAT. HAIR. THAT. BLOWOUT: Ochoa Salon in East Longmeadow

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Hair: Ochoa Salon

xo.

What I Did (and Wore) in March 2019

Last I wrote, I’d just taken a trip to California. It was great to see my parents in their element and to spend some time in the sunshine, which I desperately craved after an already long winter.

And now as I write this it’s like, summer, dudes. Because apparently I can’t keep up with hobbies!

But I am super grateful for phones at this point in my life because I can look back on March and see what I did, and it was a pretty good month.

Anyway, what was I up to a few months ago?

  • Traveling to California to visit my parents before Baby names her debut
  • Seeing “Queer Eye”’s Tan France live at Smith College (yes, he was just as lovely and good looking in person as you imagine!)
  • Getting a 3D ultrasound of Baby (these things are kind of freaky, right?)
  • Planning the nursery
  • Celebrating our first baby Obi’s 7th birthday—Bill and I tried to give him an extra special day, as it’s his last birthday before he has to be kind to his baby sister, so we were a little extra (see pics below)
  • Seeing the first signs of a baby bump
  • Nabbing the newest iPhone
  • Celebrating some fun news with my husband
  • KonMari-ing the crap out of the house after binge-watching the Marie Kondo series on Netflix
  • Spending quality time with friends and my little nephew, O

 

 

(Side note: WHY do the circular image galleries look all stretched out on WordPress?!)

What a great month, y’all! And I captured almost NO outfit photos. Here are a few, though some are not the traditional mirror selfies.

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Outfit details

(Probs needed an undershirt beneath this tank top, but oh well.)

  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Sweater: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Target
  • Shoes: Nike

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Outfit details

  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Target
  • Sweater: Mom’s closet, duh
  • Shoes: Nike

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Outfit details

  • Tank tops: Old Navy
  • Cardigan: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Nike
  • Dog: Rescue — adopt, don’t shop, y’all

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Outfit details

  • Scarf: Hearst Castle
  • Cardigan: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Shoes: Payless

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Tracking a small baby bump!

Outfit details

  • Maternity top: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Maternity jeans: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Shoes: Payless (RIP)

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Outfit details

  • Top: Marshall’s
  • Dress: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Shoes: DSW

Also, shout out to my goddamn phone for helping me keep track of what I’ve done with my life and when. Remember when you used to have to keep track of everything by journaling? Or, like, remembering? Now, I feel like my phone and its photos offer such an in-depth look at my life—at what I was doing, wearing, feeling, experiencing, and exploring—that I rarely need to write, which is good and bad because writing is kind of my first love.

Photography seems to be one of those things you can just kind of do. Writing is one of those things I have to actively make time for.

So, when things get hectic, guess which one falls by the wayside?

Don’t worry, though, writing. I’ll always come back to you.

xo.

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.