14 years ago today on September 14th, we lost a very special man – my dad. And honestly, special doesn’t even describe the man that meant so much to so many people. He was truly one in a million, which is no wonder heaven called him home early. Although his time on earth was a mere 46 years – it was as if he’d already lived ten more lifetimes than the rest of us. He was just that kind of old soul and I am so lucky to have had his love and influence in my life for as long as I did. I still miss him like crazy and that will never change. But what has changed is the way I choose to honor him on the anniversary of his passing. Some years are harder than others, especially the early years, but what matters is how you use this time to move forward. So I decided to list out 14 ways that have helped my mom and me honor my dad each year his anniversary rolls around. I hope these help you if you’re in the same situation, and I know we’ll be swapping stories, looking through old photos, and reliving our favorite memories all day because that’s what he would have wanted.
I get it now. I mean, I realllllly get it now. I thought I got it before, but until you have a strong-willed child of your own – you never truly get it, do you? Who knows, maybe you were like me once – before we spawned a child like ours. Watching those other poor moms with their hands full, literally, not understanding how they could allow a child to behave that way. But before I get into exhibits A, B and C – I first want to say that I am strict. Like strict, strict. My first born knew how to say yes ma’am, no sir, thank you, yes please and follow instructions like a soldier fresh outta boot camp. But that’s just the thing – he’s what you call a “rule follower.” My second born – she’s what you call “the strong-willed child.”
Bday Onesie (handmade gift from aunt – ribbon rose tutorial here )
Well, it’s official. Our little Cha Cha turned one and is definitely not a baby anymore. She’s a walking, talking (although these days it’s more screaming), full fledged toddler. I always wished I’d had more of the baby months with my first – Garrett weaned and walked at 10 months old and mama was not ready for either. So hey, at least I got a couple more months with Charlotte, who just started really walking in the past week – on her first birthday, believe it or not. I keep joking what a strong-willed child she is, and she was gonna make darn sure she’d be walking by her first bday. Well played, Cha Cha, well played.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GetJohnsonsBaby #ChooseGentle #CollectiveBias
Ask any mom, and she’ll tell you that the transition from one to two kids is like waiting for a hurricane to make landfall. Ironically, Charlotte was born just 1 month before Hurricane Harvey hit my hometown of Houston – crazy to think its anniversary is in just ten days. So not only was I trying to adjust to having a second child, I had to pack up and evacuate with a three year old and a newborn – not knowing if we’d have a home to even come back to. We were fortunate to have family close-by and ended up having very minimal damage to our house. Needless to say, the emotional stress though that it placed on me as a new mom of two was palpable. I remember breaking down in tears at the only gas station I’d miraculously found that hadn’t run out of gas yet. A sweet stranger walked up and told me “It was going to be ok,” after seeing me alone with two kids with a car packed to the brim and no husband around for help (as he was traveling for work and due home the night before Harvey hit). I guess my point in telling you all this, is that we often doubt ourselves as mothers. Thinking we can’t possibly handle another child, and worry about all the little things – like giving them a bath, and choosing the right products that meet our high standards as moms. Luckily, this time around I’ve realized so many ways to cut through the clutter and go with brands that I trust for my baby. JOHNSON’S® is one of those brands.
Now you can try my fave JOHNSON’S® products via this photo – just click through to shop them at Target!
This post is sponsored by Basic Invite. I received compensation and a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.
Two years ago this month, I finally put pen to paper (er finger to keyboard) and started blogging again after a very long, very emotional, and very challenging 9 month hiatus (you can read more about it here). I had just quit my day job, moved my family back home to Houston, and literally had no clue what my life would look like 2 months from then, let alone two years. One thing I did know though, was that I finally had my future, my career, in my own hands for the first time since that wide-eyed 20-something took her first steps off the plane in NYC ready to embark on a whole new adventure (another story, for another day). So that’s what I decided to do – look at this new chapter in life as an adventure. I’d been given a second chance to write my own story, and pursue something I was truly passionate about, and I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity – since who knows when I’d get this chance again.
This post is sponsored by Evivo but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Our little Cha Cha just turned one, and for months leading up to her first birthday, I wasn’t thinking about what theme I wanted for her party (cuz cactus, duh, hehe). Nope. I was thinking about the dreaded “four-letter word” that every breast feeding mama loathes: wean. Thinking, how in the heck am I going to wean this “perfectly content to breastfeed her whole life” baby? This baby who touched a bottle for less than three seconds and decided I might as well be putting some foreign contaminate in her mouth. This baby who nurses with such ease that I honestly wonder if it’s cuz she’s my strong-willed child and there ain’t nothing she won’t tackle like a champ.
This post is sponsored by Pepperidge Farm, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
I can’t believe this is my little man’s last year of preschool. In fact, I really can’t think about it longer than two seconds without wanting to bawl my eyes out (phew, that was close). But instead of wallowing in my mom tears, I’m just gonna buck up, as the hubs says, and make the most out of our last year in pre-K. So to help kick our back to school routine into high-gear, I’ve teamed up with Pepperidge Farm® to come up with what I’m calling the “Trifecta” of all school routines. These three things are not only crucial to the survival of our sanity, but they also teach our kids independence, confidence, and ultimately sets them up for success in that dreaded first year of “big boy school” as we call it. So listen up mamas – cuz I’m only gonna say this once.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using the links in this post.
Alright ladies, I’m finally posting my first-ever hair tutorial video! I’m so excited to be sharing with you something I’ve always been passionate about – playing with my hair 🙂 Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved experimenting with hair styles. Unfortunately for my parents, it started at five years old when I decided to sneak into their bathroom to “experiment” by chopping my long locks into what I must have felt was a sweet ’80s shag. Yikes. Lesson learned, and never did that again. In fact, I had hair down to my bottom for most of my life until a modeling agency convinced my mom to cut a whole “4 inches” off to my elbows, and I thought she might cry a river the size of the Amazon. We even held a candlelight vigil for the fallen hairs…ok, ok, that last part I made up…or did I, mom? 🙂
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using the links in this post. I received a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.
It’s crazy to think it’s been a year and half since we moved into our first home, a true fixer upper (you can read more about it here). The house was built in the ’70s and literally hadn’t been inhabited for 6 years, so to say we had our work cut out for us was an understatement. Since taking on a huge project like this can feel daunting, especially when you agree to take on the bulk of the work yourself (plus one incredibly handy father-in-law), my hubs decided early on that we would tackle each room one by one and work our way through the house. Since none of our eyes could stand looking at the varying shades of mustard-colored walls and lovely cream-colored trim much longer – we started with painting the living room first a neutral, natural tan and trim/built-ins white. It was also an excuse for me to go knob shopping, aka my happy place, aka the easiest way to completely transform any piece of furniture, kitchen/living room cabinets, etc. Truth be told, I’ve always had a healthy obsession with cabinet knobs, and back in the day (pre-kiddos) Anthropologie’s home section had me like a kid in a candy store (cue overly dramatized heavenly music) 😉. We ended up finding these Allen + Roth matte black cabinet pulls at Lowe’s, since my father-in-law had the genius idea to open up a business account (we’re officially 3M Residential) which saved us 5-10% off every time.
The last piece of the pie, and what we knew would be the main focal point of our living room, was the floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace. But you can see from the “before” photos below that it needed a lot of work and was missing a crucial design element – a mantel. In grand “Fixer Upper-style” tradition, I’ve always loved a rustic cedar, shelf/mantel. But when we considered how large the actual fireplace was, which took up a whole entire wall, we realized that a more traditional full-sized mantel was the way to go. We agreed that white would look best and complement the built-ins we’d just painted the same color. We also tossed around white-washing the brick or just painting it white since the previous owners hadn’t used the fireplace properly and all of the brick around the opening was stained black. Instead we found some brownish/black, rustic porcelain tile that we used to frame the opening and knew it would contrast nicely with the white mantel. You can see the final transformation in the photos below.
Once the structural renovations were complete – it was my turn to step in on the décor side. As you can imagine, after a cross-country move, me not working fulltime, and a baby on the way – my decorating budget was definitely on the frugal side. But much like how I approach fashion styling, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to look stylish. My first rule is to look at what you already have. Chances are you already have one or two key pieces – in this case it was a large black beveled mirror and candle holder/candle – that you can start styling around. That way, all you have to do is fill in the gaps by purchasing a few more trendy items that can easily be switched out from season to season, like pillows, blankets, baskets, etc. And finally, you just have to know where to shop. I spent months scouring the racks at HomeGoods, Hobby Lobby, and At Home to name a few, looking for the just right, perfect accents for our fireplace. Yet it was still missing something.
I love plants, but I am not the best with them – which used to keep me up at night in my early twenties, wondering how I would ever be able to keep a tiny human alive. Rest assured, I do and I am 😉. However, I knew an artificial plant would be the best choice and there are so many out there now that look just as good as the real thing. So I was super excited to partner with ThermaLeaf®, a company that specializes in fire retardant artificial foliage. They were kind enough to gift me the perfect snake plant I’d been searching for, that was the final touch our fireplace needed. My sweet neighbor, who works at a plant nursery and has quite the green thumb, even commented on how real it looked and how much she wanted one. I will say, I’ve since had to move it to higher ground after a certain very curious 11-month-old decided it was great fun to pull all the moss out of its pot 😉. Luckily it’s such a versatile mid-sized plant that it pretty much looks great anywhere.
You can shop all of the items I mentioned via the links below, and I’ve also included several of my top picks for similar products. Hope y’all like it as much as we do and stay tuned for more before/after fixer upper reveals in the coming months!
So excited to share another video I filmed for ABC13’s “Mirror Mirror” with my lovely friend Rebecca Spera – who recently moved on from the network to start her own businesses, and be home more with her toddler and new baby. I can totally relate, since I made the same leap just two years ago after leaving my Digital Marketing Manager role at Los Angeles magazine. Since then, I’ve been able to focus more on growing my blog and personal styling services, while being able to spend more time raising my 4 year old and almost 1 year old (can you believe Cha Cha’s 11 months old today?!).
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since transitioning from “full-time working mom” to “part-time work-from-home mom” – it’s finding those #momlife hacks, as I like to call them. One that I’ve perfected over the years is my 5 minute makeup routine that takes no time at all, yet leaves you looking pulled together when you’re in a pinch. Watch the video below to see my 6 makeup tricks and read the story here on ABC13.