Working Mom

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This is how I end up writing now days – to keep everyone quiet I just pile them on my lap :)

I’m appreciating a specific lull right now.

I’m married and we’ve pro-created so the lull I’m enjoying is related to the questions people often pester you with about your next chapter in life. (I.e.: “When are you getting married”, “When are you going to have a baby!?”) Well I’ve recently turned the page to a pretty big chapter, so I get to enjoy this temporary pause in the pressure passing acquaintances feel the right to impose.

I’m also back at work as of last week. I left on maternity leave curious as to what it was going to be like to return. I did have an inkling, and it turns out my inkling was right…

People would always ask if I was going back to work after having Jackson, and I (fully knowing myself and that I couldn’t be at home everyday) would respond with a confident, “Yes.” Most of the time I would get told I’ll probably change my mind, or how that was their plan and it was impossible for them to go back.

I’ve learned that when it comes to having a baby, there’s no shortage of free advice that gets doled out. Nor is there a shortage on judgmental looks when you answer questions and your answers don’t line up with how people think you should do things.

This past summer Dayton and I listened to a book on tape by a famous person who was talking about having kids. She started going into all the things people say and try to pressure you into doing because it’s how they did it, but she had a great saying that both Dayton and I have brought out several times in this whole process… “That’s great for you, but it’s not for me.”

Going back to work is for me. I’m not writing this because I’m trying to push down the guilt, I’m writing it so you can be encouraged in the decisions you make that you know are a part of God’s will. It’s Him, you and your spouse that are calling the shots, not the people you pass once a week in the women’s bathroom.

If staying home is where you feel God wants you, then that’s great for you! If using cloth diapers or not sticking the paci in your mouth to clean it off is part of your policy, that sounds perfect for you. If dressing your baby in Gator colors all day everyday is what you feel is best, then that’s wonderful for you!

…but it’s not for me. (Go VOLS ;)

Your Shoulder Wants a New Fall Bag

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Vera Bradley has been around for a long time. I remember as a teenager, sitting in my friends kitchen the morning after a sleepover and watching her older sister pick out her favorite bag from the Vera Bradley magazine.

I realize now that I framed that to sound like I was a teenager a long time ago – no, no, friends, that was fairly recent ;)

My point was it was popular back then (basically 5 years ago) and is still popular today. Those of you who were a teenager way way back in the beginning of the 2000’s probably remember it to.

The brand is known for its high quality bags, and up until recently carried them only in fun prints. Prints I always liked to look at because of their kaleidoscope-esque effect, but never wanted to carry because they didn’t reflect my style.

Well, some smart cookie over at Vera has suggested they break out of that fabric covered box and start making other options.

In the past several years, Vera has introduced leather, quilted leather and calf hair bags all to more fittingly reflect the style of the less girly among us *raises hand.

Pictured above are several options from these looks – notice a great range of style, size and color. Vera really nailed it with great options. The cheetah-print bag includes the calf hair and is so very beautiful.

The red Alexa shoulder bag would punch up any outfit like a bold lip – classic, gorgeous and won’t leave a mess on your coffee cup.

I especially love the cross-body options. They’ve done a great job of maximizing space in the small amount of bag. Both flaps in the black bag (bottom left) open up to different compartments.

And I’ve got to say they really nailed the taupe color (top left). I’ve looked far and wide for a great taupe colored bag and it turns out Vera Bradley is one of few to carry the color in what I consider to be a true taupe.

The good news is for all you pattern lovers, open any of these bags to reveal a gorgeous, colorful pattern inside which would go along way to elevate your mood every time you look in your purse.

Stop in and see these bags in person (and pet a calf hair bag or two) at the Vera Bradley in West Town Mall, right inside the Charming Charlie entrance!

Apps that Make My World Go Round

As weird as it is to say it because most days I still fancy myself a goofy 24 year old…I’m a working mom now.

And working mom’s need as many shortcuts and help as they can get. Two days into this process and I’m already well aware of that.

So I wanted to share some of the apps I rely on to help keep myself organized and looking amazing (yes, apps can help with that).

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1. Baby Connect

This app allows you to log feedings and poopings and all kinds of bodily functions of your baby so you don’t have to keep it all in your brain. You can connect the app with other people too, so my husband can look at this app on his Android phone (weirdo) and see when Jackson was last fed.

I love it for logging poop (the only time in the world that sentence will make sense and not be embarrassing), because it helps me to know if Jackson’s got a blowout coming up.

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2. Groovebook

Maybe this doesn’t help my everyday organization, but it does make me feel better about myself. Of the thousands of pictures I take of this baby at least 100 of them will be in a hard copy every month because I’ve got Groovebook.

For $2.99 every month this app allows you to upload 100 pictures to a book and will send them to you in a book in the mail. It’s amazing and not only makes for the easiest photo albums EVER but also each one comes with a cute pattern on the front so I like to set them out on my coffee table.

Is it ironic that we went from wanting our pictures digitally to wanting hard copies now? Yes, yes it is.

Use the code “OGLE43″ to get a free one.

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3. WBIR Weather App

My husband makes fun of me for watching the weather forecast over and over again within the same hour. But I like to do that because it solidifies the weather in my mind and allows me to dress for it appropriately for the rest of the week.

This app allows me to sneak a peak at it in case I forgot what I watched without getting ridiculed ;)

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4. Lose It!

I can thank Jackson for the fact that I’m still not in my favorite jeans yet. Whaaa whaaaaa. But I will be able to non-sarcastically thank this app for getting me back in them.

Hold yourself accountable with this calorie counter. It’s got a great library of restaurants (the best, I’ve found, out of any of the other apps like it), and allows you to scan bar-codes of things you’ve eaten for even faster entry.

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5. OfferUp

It’s the garage sale of the 21st century – scrolling through people’s junk in an app.

Simply tell it what area you’re in and you’ll get to do all the browsing you want without the owner awkwardly watching you from deeper within the garage.

Pay the set price or make them an offer they cannot refuse.

If anything it will give you a break from duck-face selfies on Instagram.

Fall, Oh How I Love You Even More

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I usually like to celebrate fall the very minute it arrives, even counting down the hours we have left until we’re in the most glorious season of all. This year, however, was a little different.

Fall came in the middle of the night and I had just started celebrating not being awake with Jackson around that same time. But on the first day of fall, Jackson gave me a new reason to celebrate – he smiled at me for the first time!

He gave me the smile while I was making a poop joke, so I can imagine this boys sense of humor hasn’t fallen far from the tree :)

Every little milestone is so exciting and the fact that he reached this one on the first day of my favorite season makes me realize anew how much God loves us and cares about what we care about.

Now I can’t wait to hear him laugh!

Speaking of smiling, if you’re taking family pictures this fall or if your kids need a wardrobe refresh, check out my segment from the week where I talk about some really cute GAP Kids clothes and the new line that lets them be the designers!

3 Shopping Ideas for Fall

I feel as if I am in a rut when it comes to writing the first post about fall. I pretty much stick to saying how I’m not going to gush about the oncoming season, then follow it with something like, “Just know if fall were a drug, I’d have to check into rehab,” or something like that.

Well I’m not going to do it this year! (Crap, that’s the first thing I always say). Just kno…Ha, I have a serious problem as I didn’t start writing that to be cute. Uh…I’m stuck on where to go from here. Let’s just say I’m a huge fan of fall.

Fall clothes especially make me drool, so I thought I’d share some fall inspiration off my Pinterest board (titled, “Spiffy Fall Clothes” if you want to follow) and share with you my fashion plan for the upcoming season.

1. Shop in Color.

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I’ve made a rule for myself for fall shopping – I’m not allowed to buy any gray. It’s the safe color to get but doesn’t help when you’re feeling a pop of color OR when your closet is already full of gray (out of protest to the movie I refuse to do a 50 shades of gray joke here).

Gray is soft, it is wonderful and boy does it go with a lot, but there are times you want to stand out. Be bold! Join me in buying off the rainbow this season.

2. Stock up on cool.

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Anyone else as addicted to Fixer Upper as I am? That show could be the theme song to my maternity leave – I’ve been watching it nonstop. And forget getting inspired by Joanna Gaines’ ability to stage a home – lets talk about her ability to look so cute! She has a great style that is both comfortable but awesome at the same time.

I want to get better at buying things that will help me get dressed on Saturdays and be cute about it. This outfit with the stripes on the left is a great example. Cute and cool.

The sequence jacket is a great reminder to mix and match high and low. That also helps create a cool look and reminds me to bust out my sequence pants more often.

3. Buy textures.

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These pictures make me think two things: I can’t wait to wear my leather pants again, and why does every girl on Pinterest have thighs that don’t touch? Girl please. Let a cheeto or two introduce your one thigh to the other for crying out loud.

I do love the left picture and how she’s wearing an all black outfit, but the different textures make it less boring and more awesome. So if you’re stuck with buying the same color and can’t get out of the rut despite your best efforts, shop for that color but in different textures so your look is multi-dimensional.

Also, the picture on the right proves you can layer/add textual interest with more than just your fabrics – this gal did it with some great bracelets for a cool vibe.

What are your plans for shopping this fall?

Be sure to check out this and other boards on my Pinterest!

Reap the Sew

I’ve been on vacation this past week. Yes, vacation after maternity leave. High five!

So to prepare for being a bit preoccupied by babies in bathing suits, I’ve got this post (and video) for you from last year. It features a great boutique here in Knoxville (well Powell to be exact) that has all kinds of great pieces including shoes and accessories. They’ve got their own space off of Emory Road (117 E. Emory Road if you must know) and are run by the nicest girls on the planet who just celebrated their one year anniversary of being open for business!

Read all about it, then go check them out and follow them on Instagram for updates on their inventory! @reapthesewboutique

P.S: This year I also did a little dance after seeing pumpkins in the grocery store for the first time…

I’ve been not-so-quietly squealing with joy all weekend at the thought of fall being right around the corner. I may or may not have sang and danced a little when I got my first glimpse of pumpkins outside the grocery store (which may or may not have incited “you’re crazy” comments from my husband).

I know it doesn’t at all feel like fall is anywhere near our part of the world, but the great news is that doesn’t mean we have to waist our money on new summer clothes we’ll only wear for a few more weeks. Nor does it mean we have to sweat it out by immediately sporting scarves and boots. There is a happy medium, and I talk all about it in yesterday’s segment from the morning show.

All of the clothes featured are from a great local boutique called Reap the Sew. They’ve got a great selection of trendy boho pieces that will work in your closet regardless of your style! I was super excited to pick up some great colorful accessories while dropping off the clothes from the show yesterday.

reap the sew jpg

These earrings and necklace (along with the necklace I talk about buying in the clip) are going to add a great little dash of color to my constant barrage of black/white/gray. I’m especially excited to work that necklace with the orange accent into a game-day look!

Fall is a Great Excuse for New Shoes


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There’s a cute pop song by Paolo Nutini called, “New Shoes”. One of the lines in the song goes, “I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything is right.”

That’s a good way to put it. Even if the new shoes are peaking out about one inch from long pants, it’s a fun feeling to put them on for the first time.

Fall is a great time to re-evaluate your shoe collection and freshen it up a bit. I wanted to bring you some shoe inspiration to get your juices flowing, and I wanted to bring it to you from Rack Room. I most often venture in there when I’m at the mall with my husband, which is rare – so rare he asked me where Profits was one day :-\ “They’re not in the mall any more, Grandpa.”

He refuses to park any where but right outside of the Sears tool section. He swears you can get the best parking space there. I think it’s because he has to walk through the tool section. I’m certain he wouldn’t be so adamant if that door lead to ladies underwear. Nevertheless, his stance on parking always leads us right past Rack Room Shoes (as it is right outside of Sears) which gives me the opportunity to browse.

After putting this list together, I’m probably going to find myself parking in the Sears tool section as I now want each and every one of these shoes.

How gorgeous are those pumps? I have found that patterned pumps come in handy more often than black ones, especially if you’re like me and don’t wear a lot of pattern up top. They add color and contract and make simple outfits look pulled together.

I love the detailing of the taupe booties. That leather sliver really livens them up. And speaking of livening up, I bet your instinct is to grab the same old black flats when getting dressed for work, but not try some red ones! It would be like adding red lipstick to your look without staining your coffee cup.

Those low black ankle boots will be a staple in my fall wardrobe this season, as will easy sneakers like those Converse. Both shoes will allow me to look cute even when I’m going more casual.

Go get you a good parking spot and check out all the great options Rack Room has to offer at West Town Mall :)


Introducing: Jackson

Seven weeks ago I was still trying to imagine what his little face would look like, and how unconditional love for my child would change me.

Now that he’s here, I’ve stared at him for so long his face is always in my brain, like a light imprint that shows up when you close your eyes . And I can tell you that all of the blood, sweat and tears it took to get him here was worth every minute.

The story to getting Jackson starts in 2012 when we first decided we were ready for kids. Before that time I knew I was too selfish to have a baby and I was good with waiting. Once we decided it was time, it was scary but very exciting.

Within the two years of believing for this little one we experienced great loss. Standing in faith to bring a baby into this world regardless of what my body was telling me was the hardest walk I’ve ever had to walk. But I thank God for His Word and the story of Abraham. Because if Sara can have a baby in her old age, I knew nothing was impossible! And praise God He never fails.

Fast all the way forward past a some pretty heavy fruit cravings and a much anticipated baby belly, to two days before Jackson was born. I was scheduled to have an induction on Thursday, July 30th, but I wasn’t dilating very fast so they wanted me to come in the day before that on Wednesday. Our bags had been packed and next to the front door for almost a week and a half so needless to say, we were ready with a capital READY.

With the car loaded, our little dog taken care of and literally every detail at both our jobs wrapped up, Dayton hits the button to close the trunk and we are on our way. As he’s doing that, my phone rings and I have the craziest most unexpected phone call of my life – the hospital is full, too many people went into labor in the last 12 hours, they’re postponing inductions.

We unpack the car and go back in the house. One of us may or may not have cried.

Later on we laughed because most of the time people’s delivery stories include not being ready and rushing out the door, but ours includes being overly ready and then getting rejected from the hospital. Alanis Morissette can write her another irony song.

It wasn’t until noon the next day that there was finally a room available at the hospital and we could go in. Sparing you a large load of details…they broke my water at midnight on Thursday and Jackson arrived at 10:26 am on Friday. I hard-core pushed with every contraction for a total of 3 hours.

Just the other day we got the bill for the epidural. My husband asked if I would pay that amount again. I said, “Don’t tell the doctor, but I would pay twice that.”

I remember thinking at one point that I was going to be pushing for the rest of my life. I thought, “This is it. Everyone will go about their lives and I will forever be in this room trying to get this baby out.” Spoiler alert: I’m not pushing any more – Jackson finally made it out. We both had to take some time to recover from the whole labor process, but thankfully we are all doing just fine.

He has a lot of hair and some major cheeks. Needless to say, I’ve spent the majority of my maternity leave just staring at him :)

A big thanks to both Southern Roots Photography and Taryn Yager Photography for these awesome pictures!

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To read about my pregnancy, click here, here, here, and here!

Stripes, Chambray and a Teeny Bit of Camo

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This past Sunday was Jackson’s first trip to church. I wore my bright heels so that people would remember that I still existed ;)

Really, I was happy for him to take all of the attention. I was just excited to get all fancied up. As nice as it is to lay around in your pajama’s, sometimes getting dressed up for a couple of hours helps you appreciate laying around again.

Aside from all of that, I was very excited to wear this great striped skirt I picked up for $10 at Ross. Target has one a lot like it and I was planning on getting it, but it was $30, so I saved $20 at Ross just by walking in the door!

A patterned A-line skirt like this will go for MILES in my closet. I can dress it down with this chambray shirt and statement necklace (that I got at the Walz-Mart, by the way), or I can pair it with a black top and make it look more like a dress. I can wear it with tights and a blazer in the fall, and a long sleeve shirt and booties in the spring. The options never end.

Here’s one like it from Express, and here’s a great chambray shirt from Ann Taylor.

A Long Printed Kimono for the Win

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Sure these baby carriers are great – you can carry baby hands-free all over the place! There’s just one downfall…

When baby’s not in said carrier and you’ve got it strapped on, it looks like you’re into some really kinky things. That’s why I’m so very grateful for this black printed long kimono from Pink Blush Maternity. I can have my carrier on but thanks to trendy maternity clothes like this, I can hide all of the straps of the baby carrier and not look like I’m about to skydive.

Kimonos like this are breezy and comfortable and the pattern allows me to keep the rest of the outfit simple. When you’re strapping 8 pounds to the outside of your body in the summertime, simplicity is good.

Also, I’m a big fan of the kimono vibe – cool and laid back. Like you’re saying to the world, “I just threw this on and now I look amazing, deal with it.” Another big bonus? This is the perfect thing to stock up on with a pregnant belly as it will always fit.

Go check out Pink Blush and see all the great maternity clothes, maternity dresses and kimonos they have to offer. They also have great non-maternity clothes which comes in handy, unless you’ve got 19 more pregnancies to go…