Sunday, March 13, 2016

On loving God and also pretty clothes {A Simply Bliss Boutique Review}

You know what's hard for me, friends? Like really hard? Balancing my desire to honor God with my thoughts and words and actions and my complete and total obsession with fashion and makeup and curling irons. 

Honestly, the line is razor-thin, and I fall mostly on the vein and materialistic side. But I think the struggle is made easier when companies like Simply Bliss Boutique recognize and honor the notion that our worth comes not from the world's validation of our beauty but from God's utter adoration for our hearts and our souls.

So when they reached out to collaborate, it was really a no-brainer because I'm such a huge fan of small companies who strive to honor God in an authentic way. And I also just really love their clothes. They've even got a curvy section with clothes that have a curvy fit or come in plus sizes. Which is so nice. 

They sent me two tops to try. This Trapeze Dress in Emerald is TO. DIE. FOR.

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When I pulled it out of the bag, I knew it was going to become a staple. The vibrant color, comfy fit, flattering hemline, and fun buttons combine in a really great way. I can both sleep in this top and also wear it to the office. Win.

They also sent the curvy-fit Choco Tassel Mint Top, and it's so comfy and fun.

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I paired it with my chocolate brown faux-leather leggings from Hue and some simple peep-toe flats, and I think this look works so well for spring.

Because they're amazing, Simply Bliss Boutique is offering two different promo codes for you guys. Use code LOVED for 15% off the Trapeze Dress in Emerald, and use code LOVELY for 15% ANYTHING in the Curvy section. Plus, they offer free shipping with orders over $50! I'll just be over here eyeing this tunic and this tank... :)

I received the above products in exchange for an honest review. As always, though, all opinions contained herein are my own.

Friday, January 22, 2016


It's me.

Ha. How many blog posts have you seen with that intro? I couldn't help myself, you guys.

I've been itching to come say hi. Not because anything big or important is going on. Quite the opposite, actually. Life is so quiet right now. It's beautifully simple, and I'm crazy for it. 

We spend a ton of time laughing at the crazy things Grace is saying lately. Micah and I were telling her last night that she'd need to go get her pajamas on after her movie was over, and she looked at us and calmly said, "I don't know about that, Mommy." Um, excuse me? She's such a little person.

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(I feel like she's legitimately judging my duck face in this picture.)

As usual, I'm dreaming of wandering away somewhere. My trial that was slated for March got pushed to May, and I'm all, "VACAY!" I'd love to make it down to Belize for a quick beach getaway, and I'm aching to see Scotland. I'm telling you... if it's not on your must-see list, it should be. Because this.

I had a ball in New York with my best friend. I took a zillion pictures that I planned on editing and sharing here at some point. We ate the BEST food and saw basically everything. And at the same time, nothing at all because there is SO MUCH to experience in New York. I feel like it's one of those places I need to go see every year so I can immerse myself in the small moments. And eat all the food.

I'm in the middle of yet another Whole30. I know it's probably annoying to hear about at this point, but it's going well. I've got a girls' night dinner at one of my favorite pizza restaurants tomorrow night and am THISCLOSE to just saying screw it and going for the good stuff. But I'd like to finish this thing strong, so I'm going to do my best to resist. #wishfulthinking

I mailed a friend a potato the other day, just for kicks. I don't know why, but I find this whole concept hilarious.

So how are you all, friends? What's been going on with you? I haven't been reading blogs as regularly as I'd like, and I miss you guys. A ton.

Monday, November 9, 2015



I'm long overdue for a post. Believe me, I know.

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But you know what it's like when you just feel like you have nothing to say? Like you've shared the most mundane details of your life for so long and so people must know all there is to know about you? I have felt myself withdrawing from this blog and other social media for a little while now, and I really have no good reason for it. It's not like I suddenly discovered an overwhelming sense of privacy. And there's nothing scary/hard/embarrassing going on in our lives. 

It's just that I don't feel very relevant right now. It's like I turned 30 and automatically became too old to be cool. (I'm obviously joking except not really.) I know I'll snap out of it. This space and community has meant too much to me for too long to disappear entirely. But I may be a little quieter than usual. 

Until Stella gets her groove back, here are some things you should know:

-- I finished my Whole30. I think I mentioned that I was doing a "lazy" Whole30, which meant that I disregarded rules I didn't feel like following. Gum being the main thing. I had also been taking Plexus Slim for about three months before I started (I swear I'll never, ever try to sell you anything -- pinky promise!), which has some stevia or something in it, and I didn't quit that. And I know I ate salad dressings/meats/sauces that had hidden no-nos in them, but I very rarely deliberately cheated. I just operated under the working rule that if it looked fine and wasn't obviously non-Paleo, I'd allow it. I dropped about 12 pounds, which was necessary.

-- I am FREAKING OUT about the fact that Lauren and I are headed to New York in ten days. In the best way.

-- I was in Charleston for work this past weekend and have decided that I want to move there. As long as everyone I know moves there, too. Who's with me?

-- I'm utterly smitten with this sweetheart.

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She's been extra funny and sweet lately. I just want to bottle it all up and save it for the days when I want to pull my hair out. :)

So anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still here in my little corner of northeast Texas doing my thing -- loving life and my family and Paleo cookies. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Taylor and other things... AGAIN.

Just felt like dropping in and saying hi for no good reason. None at all.

Life has been calm and quiet-ish lately, though we did drive about 24 hours over three days to get to Missouri and back to Texas for Micah's family reunion last weekend. It was about as nuts as it sounds. Grace was sort of a bear on the trip there (which we did in one day) but was an angel on the trip back. And we had fun seeing Micah's aunts and uncles and cousins for the first time in several years. But I am henceforth boycotting any road trips longer than three hours for next six months. My mama heart can't take any more.

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I'd say that Grace is, like, 90% potty-trained, which is kind of insane. Everyone says you have to let kids do it on their own timetable, and that has been very, very true for her. We're still doing Pull-Ups during nap time and at night, but she's sporting her Frozen underwear the rest of the time with very few accidents. Hallelujah and amen.

I'm going to see Taylor Swift in concert this weekend. Again! And I'm as excited as I was the first time around. Even more, actually, because I know how amazing she is live. There will be dancing and singing and red lipstick and fun with my best friend.

Speaking of my best friend. We booked a girls' trip to New York for November, and I am giddy. Like, SO FREAKING EXCITED. She has never been, and I'm always aching for that city. We've started making a "We Must See/Eat These Things" list, and here's what's on it for me.

– St. Patrick's Cathedral (since it was covered in scaffolding the last time I went)
– Stroll through Greenwich Village/Chelsea and eat/shop at Chelsea Market
– Serendipity for frozen hot chocolate (touristy, I know, but I've never tried it)
– Macaroons and/or gourmet donuts
– Spice Market for dinner
– Dinner on a rooftop

I just love that you can always experience something new in New York, no matter how many times you visit. We're staying at New York Palace, and I will very much be imagining myself into Gossip Girl the entire trip. (It's apparently where much of the show was filmed.) So that's exciting.

I'm on Day 12 of another Whole30. Ha. I know I crashed and burned on Whole30 #3, but it feels good this time, and I don't have any events coming up to tempt me. I've been a bit looser with the rules this time but have not had any legitimate, "Screw it all, I'm eating chips and queso today!" moments. And I made Paleo deviled eggs last night, and they are amazing. I'm fairly certain they'll be my go-to breakfast from now on. Which is just so weird.

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So that's what's up.

P.S. Gracie is still cute.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How we survived Destin with a toddler. . .

Man, you guys. If I could pick Dallas up and plop it right down onto the Emerald Coast, I totally would. Before we went there for our most recent vacation, I hadn't been since I was a kid, and I had basically zero memories of our time there. Which was cool because I got to discover it again through Gracie.

Bottom line: we had an amazing trip. Amazing. We went with my mom and stepdad, as well as Micah's parents and his brother's family. It was a big group, but I loved it. And having two sets of grandparents around to help with toddler mayhem was so nice.

The drive:
We did the 11-hour trip from Dallas in two days. (We spent the night in Baton Rouge at the most disgusting La Quinta you could ever imagine, but that's a story for another day...) I stressed so much about the long car ride and spent an obscene amount of money on Amazon and the Target Dollar Spot on things to entertain her. But the portable DVD player and iPad we purchased specifically for the trip were the definite winners. And her Mamaw, who sat in the back with me and entertained her.

Where we stayed:
We rented a beachfront house through VRBO. 

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We opted for a house rather than a condo partially because the group was so big but also because Micah wanted to bring the boat, and parking with a boat can be tricky. It was right on the sand along a great stretch of beach with several other houses and no big condos around, so it was ideal.

The beach:
Speaking of the beach...

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It was incredible. I've never seen so much variation in color in one place.

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(There's Micah! He and his dad drove the boat up the shoreline and came to say hello. It looks so small out there!)

The water was gorgeous, and the sandy was sugary white. The only thing I didn't expect was a strange attack from biting flies one afternoon. They got Gracie pretty bad, and she was very aware of bugs from that moment on. But they left us alone the rest of the time.

What we did: 
Mostly this.

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We spent the majority of our time playing in the sand and waves on the beach. The main source of Grace's entertainment was a huge bag of sand toys that we carted down to the beach every morning. Other than that, she "painted" with her Mamaw and read books. It was surprisingly easy to keep a kid happy at the beach. Who knew?

I slept nearly every day while Grace napped, which was glorious. I also read this book. And we went to the Gulfarium in Fort Walton, which was cool and awful. I just feel so terrible about the way all of the animals are cooped up. I don't know the circumstances of this particular place and where they source their animals from (maybe they're rescues that can't be reintroduced into the ocean for some reason?), and it all looked very humane, but still. Something about it just makes me sad.

We drove over to Seaside one morning and fell in love with the picturesque town (it's where the movie The Truman Show was filmed!). It has a fun, little town center with shops and food trucks and a quick walk to the beach. None of the buildings can be over three stories tall, so everything feels so homey. I'd love to stay there at some point.

At night, we played games together or crashed early from all the fun in the sun. I loved sitting out on the back deck after Grace went to sleep when it was dark to listen to the waves crashing in. And I even slept out there one night!

The rest of the time?

We were eating.

What we ate:

The food was delicious. Overpriced at times, but very very good.

My favorite dinner spot was the Ocean Club near Sandestin. We ordered the special, but EVERYTHING looked good! The restaurant is pretty dated, and it's your typical "fancy" food with steak and fish and other seafood dishes, but it is all executed well. Great for a date night!

We loved the Hog's Breath for lunch. Excellent BBQ and seafood there. I got the fried shrimp, and it was some of the best I've had. AMAZING homemade tartar sauce, too.

Harbor Docks was also really good. Micah and I shared a fried seafood platter and a sushi roll that was good but weird. They have a surprisingly great sushi selection there!

The Back Porch and Louisiana Lagniappe are apparently owned by the same folks, but we found the latter to be much better. Pricier too, but delicious.

We got donuts at The Donut Hole, which were mediocre at best. But the actual breakfast looked AMAZING. We meant to make it back to try something but never did.

In Seaside, we had grilled cheeses from the Meltdown food truck, and they were soooooo good. When we go back, I'm itching to try The Shrimp Shack, which was just across the street from the food trucks. They have lobster rolls there which are basically my love language.

The moral of the story:
We had an incredible trip.

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Just getting to spend time together as a family with the people we adore was wonderful. The beautiful water and sand in the background were really just icing on the cake.

And Gracie did so much better than I expected. The last two days were dicey, as she was way off her routine and extra grumpy. Putting her down for naps and bedtime was significantly more difficult than usual, but I chalk that up to not being in her own bed and the fact that she didn't like missing play time with her cousin and grandparents. Mostly she was a dream.

So we'll definitely be seeing you again soon, Destin! Stay beautiful.
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