Baby Girl Nursery

Baby Girl Nursery
Baby Girl Nursery

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List
Summer Bucket List

Drugstore Beauty

Drugstore Beauty
Drugstore Beauty

J. Crew Spring Sale

SHOP: Trench Cape (l-o-v-e) // Striped Top // White Jeans // Loafers


SHOP: Striped Flats // Chambray Top // Chambray Shorts // Gold Bangle (under $20!)

SHOP: Blazer // Embellished Shirt // Tippi Sweater // Shorts // Snakeskin Espadrilles

J. Crew is having their annual spring sale!  Take 25% off regular priced items and 30% off sale items with code SHOPNOW.  I've mentioned before that I snagged these amazing fringe sandals that I'll be wearing on repeat this summer and I always love to stock up on the pocket tees because they're such great quality and come in lots of fun colors.  Another favorite for the warmer weather are their swimsuit cover ups!  So many cute options.

The sale goes through April 1st at midnight.  Happy shopping!

16

Girl Crush Book Review



Two of my biggest girl crushes came out with books this spring and I couldn't have been more excited.  As soon as I could, I placed advanced orders through Amazon and patiently waited for them to show up on my doorstep... and when they finally did, I wasn't disappointed.

I've followed Kristin Cavallari since the Laguna Beach days (ahh, the high school memories) and have been obsessed with Emily Maynard since she was first on The Bachelor a few years ago.  Both women are strong, gorgeous and put their families first which I admire.  I read each book in lightening speed and wanted to share my honest reviews with you today!


Balancing in Heels by Kristin Cavallari
For the first time ever, entrepreneur, designer and TV star Kristin Cavallari shares how she juggles all facets of her busy life with style and grace.  From outlining health and wellness, food, fitness, fashion, and her success as a businesswoman to more private matters of family, motherhood, and her relationship with her husband, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, Kristin leaves no stone unturned to give fans of Laguna Beach and The Hills all of the answers they're been looking for.

First things first, this book is pretty.  It's filled with gorgeous pictures of Kristin and her family, delicious looking recipes and of course, her shoe line.  It makes for a great coffee table book even after you're finished reading.  

Balancing in Heels starts off at the beginning of the Laguna Beach days and takes you up to the present of her family life - not in much deep detail though.  If you're hoping for any juicy, behind the scenes info, you're not going to find it here.  My favorite sections were actually the ones not about Kristin's personal life, but the ones about health and beauty.  You can tell she feels more comfortable discussing these things and shares a lot about what she's learned in terms of eating healthily and natural ways to care for your body.

Lots of pretty easy recipes are included which I appreciate and can't wait to try!  I also loved that she mentioned a few of her favorite products because lets be honest, the girl has amazing skin.  She attributes most of it to the real food based diet that they eat, but also recommends specific products that have made a difference.  I've already mentioned before that I started using this scrub after I saw an article where she raved about it, and now thanks to the book, I've ordered this serum and this oil.  There are also plenty of exercise routines and style tips throughout as well.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  It's a super easy read and while I didn't learn much more about Kristin's life than I already knew, I did take quite a few things away in regards to healthy eating and beauty/style recommendations which I personally always love.  I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a quick read that's interested in learning more about natural living.   

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


I Said Yes by Emily Maynard Johnson
Millions known Emily Maynard Johnson from her unprecedented double appearances on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.  Millions also know that neither of the relationships from those shows lasted much longer than a commercial break.  Overcome with embarrassment following her nationally televised failures at romance, Emily finally committed her heart to the only one she knew would never leave her empty and alone.  Abandoning her desire to be chosen by men and finding peace in the fact that she was already chosen by God, Emily found the joy she had been looking for in serving God.

If you watched The Bachelor/ette, you know that Emily has a pretty tragic backstory.  Her fiance died in a plane crash just a week before she found out she was pregnant with their daughter.  While she opened up a bit about this on the shows, I won't lie when I say I was especially interested in learning more about this heartbreaking time in Emily's life.  And of course, I was excited for any good dirt from one of my favorite TV shows.

Emily goes deep in the book and shares a lot.  We learn about her life from the very beginning - her upbringing, her tumultuous relationship with her dad especially, struggles with shyness/fitting in and even an attempted suicide at one point.  I had no idea about any of this before reading the book, but it definitely made me feel for her even more.  She holds nothing back in sharing about the loss of her fiance (although I did think it was weird she NEVER mentioned that he actually proposed?) and what it was like raising her child as a single parent.

Bachelor fans will also appreciate the chapters covering her time on the shows.  While there isn't too much more than we saw on TV, she really explains how many reservations she had, which of course, they would never broadcast because they want it to look like a perfect fairy tale.  It was sad to read about the time following her failed relationships when she never left her house and had extreme anxiety/embarrassment about everything that went down.

But, that's all redeemed by the ending.  Emily shares about how she met her current husband and how all of these experiences deepened her relationship with God.  It's a beautiful story and I do wish she would have spent a little more time discussing her faith and her family now.  The ending felt a bit abrupt, but I still really enjoyed the book and learning more about her life story.  Again, this is another one I'd recommend to anyone who loves The Bachelor franchise, or honestly just anyone who is going through a hard time and can't quite see God's plan for them yet.

Final rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Have you guys read either of these books?  I have a couple more girl crush books I want to get into soon: Chrissy Teigens Cravings cookbook (I was drooling over it at Barnes & Noble the other day) and I just heard that Joanna & Chip Gaines are releasing a book this fall!  So exciting.
32

On My Radar

+ I am DYING over this off the shoulder pink dress.  It is so so so cute.  Also comes in other fun colors, like the periwinkle blue - I'll take that one, too.

+ I love a good bracelet stack, especially when tassels are involved.  Such a great price and it's always nice to support small businesses!

+ This white panama looks like the perfect lightweight summer hat.  The neutral color would go with everything, it's under $40 and has all 5 star reviews, can't beat that.

+ Clarins Eclat Minute Natural Lip Perfecter is a go-to lip product.  It's moisturizing (NOT sticky or thick) and looks great on everyone.  Plus the packaging is adorable.

+ Chanel's Jouse Contraste Powder Blush has been on my wishlist for a while now.  It would be a splurge, but the Golden Sun shade is just so pretty.
 
+ These Jeffrey Campbell wedges have been all over and for good reason - they. are. adorable.  They go in and out of stock frequently, so grab them while they're still available!

30

Easter Weekending

Good morning!  Hope you all had a beautiful Easter weekend.  I'm so sad it's over, but also kind of excited to get this week started to get on with our California countdown!  

On Friday night, we were supposed to have dinner at our friends house, but they had to cancel since they weren't feeling well so we kept things low key and just ate a restaurant around the corner from us.  I had to be up early on Saturday anyway for a really awesome Junior League day - volunteering at the Cinderella Project.  

A local bridal shop hosts this yearly event where girls from all over West Michigan can come in and choose from over a thousand prom dresses, shoes and accessories FOR FREE.  We got to be 'personal shoppers' and it was so fun to help the girls shop, watch them try on dresses and see their eyes light up when we told them how pretty they looked.  It was just a really cool day and I already can't wait for next year. 


The rest of Saturday was pretty downhill from there.  I actually hadn't been feeling very well when I woke up that morning, but no way was I going to miss the event so I went anyway.  By noon when I left, I was feeling terrible and went home and slept practically the entire rest of the day.  I have no idea if it was something I ate on Friday or a 24 hour bug that's been going around, but I was in rough shape.  I had to miss our neighbors birthday party which was such a bummer.  Nick still went and they had a really nice night while I spent mine on the couch, thinking I was dying!  

The only productive thing that came from my couch potato/social media stalking status was that I've decided what I want to do for my baby shower favors.  Nick's aunt decorates cookies and when I was scrolling through Instagram and saw these, I knew they'd be perfect!


Thankfully, Easter morning I was feeling a million times better.  We got up early, went to church with our friends, Nick made his Polish Easter brunch and then we spent the rest of the day outside.  The weather was absolutely beautiful - 68 degrees and sunny, you can't beat that for Easter in March (in Michigan).  We gave Brady a bath (he's been so itchy lately and no idea why), took a nice long walk, cleaned up our backyard and then did some cleaning in the house.


Side note: I know you can't really see it in this picture, but this blazer has been one of my best purchases e-v-e-r.  It's from the Gap and is the perfect navy, structured jacket.  It goes great with a blouse and jeans or with a dress like I wore yesterday.  While mine isn't too pricey, I think blazers are one of the best investments you can make for your wardrobe as they're so versatile.  I'm actually on the hunt for a white one for this summer, obsessed with this one.

Anyway, we ended the weekend with spaghetti and our first trip of the year to get ice cream!  One of my favorite Sunday night traditions.  And clean sheets which are just about the best things ever. 

Happy Monday, friends!

39

Five on Friday

Image via

Happy Good Friday!  This has been one l-o-n-g week.  Nick has been out of town for work since Monday and the week just went so slow.  While I did partake in all of my favorite single girl activities, I don't sleep great while he's gone and the house is too quiet.  And I don't have anyone to tell me to stop eating all of the Cadbury Eggs... so I'm very happy he's home and that he has the day off today - let the weekend begin!  We've got dinner plans with friends the next two nights, I'm helping with a local charity on Saturday and we'll do church + brunch for Easter on Sunday.  Good times ahead :)

to do
Tis the season for spring cleaning, this is a super comprehensive checklist.
Homemade cinnamon rolls are a great addition to any Easter brunch.
Paint your nails in the perfect shade of baby pink.
Catch up on the She Reads Truth Easter study.
Pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers - use these tips to help keep them alive!

to read
11 Photography Hacks for Bloggers
This home office makeover is everything I want mine to be... whenever I get around to it.
What's really in our toothpaste?  Kind of disturbing.
How to do NYC in 12 hours.
Just ordered this book and can't wait to dig into the natural beauty secrets.

to shop
I am on a fringe kick right now and am dying over this dress (and these sandals while we're at it).
The cutest - and cheapest! - acrylic wine rack for your kitchen.
I was crushing on this last year and so happy to see it's back in stock - perfect for on the go days.
Loving this bright tassel necklace for under $35.
I will take these in the Camel Suede, please.

23

The Second Trimester Recap

Today marks the start of the THIRD TRIMESTER!  

It's nuts - time is going so flippin' fast.  June is going to be here before we know it and that's both exciting and terrifying at the same time!  Overall, the second trimester was pretty good to me.  Around 17 weeks, I started to feel a million times better.  The nausea, exhaustion, and headaches of the first trimester (recap here) were slowly left behind and I felt like my normal self again which has been so nice.  I've royally sucked at doing any pregnancy updates so I thought today was as good as any to recap what my bump and I have been up to the last few weeks!

comfiest, cutest robe ever

How far along: 28 weeks, 0 days

Gender: Girl!  Although I do have these panicked dreams that she comes out a boy every so often.  Not that that would be bad, just we have very much prepared to have a girl... I mean the bedroom is pink.

The Bump: Finally showed up around week 25 and at week 26 was when I got my first 'when are you due' comment from a stranger.  Now I swear it gets bigger by the day!  I'm just hoping the dress I got for my baby shower still fits in three weeks!

Movement: Yes yes yes.  I felt the first flutters at 18 weeks, 6 days, but wasn't sure if it was the baby or if I was just hungry, ha.  About a week later, I started to feel movements more consistently and now it's allll the time.  Nick can feel her finally too and it's pretty wild to sit there and watch my stomach move all over the place.  She goes the most crazy after I have my morning orange juice!

Sleep: Pretty good, although fingers crossed I didn't just jinx myself.  I've always been a side sleeper, so I haven't had to get used to different positions or anything which is nice.  Now that the bump is getting bigger, it is getting a little more uncomfortable so I'm thinking about getting one of these wedges, anyone recommend them?  I also get up to pee about 1-3 times a night, but luckily am able to fall back to sleep pretty quickly.

Workouts: What?  Haha no... these have not been happening.  Although I do try and take Brady for a walk every day, that's about it.

Symptoms: Honestly, the second trimester has been awesome.  Barely any symptoms even worth mentioning.  A couple nights of indigestion (but that was probably because I over ate...) and some pressure 'down there' after doing a ton of walking in Colorado.  I have also had a lot of nasal congestion this entire pregnancy and still dealing with random breakouts on my face and back acne (this stuff has been a lifesaver for the bacne though).

Cravings/Aversions: Praise God that my appetite came back in the second trimester.  I never thought I was going to enjoy food again, but thankfully that has not been the case :) My biggest obsession is orange juice and cereal.  I could eat that for every meal and be very happy.

Missing Most: Deli meat, sushi, not feeling restricted in terms of certain activities, I can't stop thinking about champagne, my normal clothes!

Nursery: It's almost done!  My vision has come to life and I am in l-o-v-e.  All of the big pieces are in place: crib, glider, dresser, rug, light fixture - check, check, check.  Just need to choose wall decor and I'm sure we'll get a bunch of stuff to put in there at my baby shower.

Overall, I really can't complain and have been so thankful to have a relatively easy, textbook pregnancy so far.  There's so much to look forward to in these next few weeks - babymoon, baby shower, hospital tour, finishing the nursery - that I know time is just going to keep on flying by.  I'm hoping to document this last trimester a little better than the first two (try being the key word!) and I do already have a post about my pregnancy must haves in the works.  Cheers to a happy and healthy third trimester!

54

How To Get Light & Bright iPhone Photos


I think it's an understatement to say that a big part of blogging is photography.  It's a HUGE part.  Pretty pictures will draw readers in and make them want to come back again, along with growing your following on social media channels, most specifically Instagram.  I'll be the first to admit that photography is not my strong suit.  I'm trying to step up my game and while it's still a work in progress, one thing that has made a serious difference in my iPhone photos was downloading the app Pic Tap Go.  If you want to achieve the light, bright, airy pictures that you see all over right now, this is the app for you!

I'd heard about Pic Tap Go on a few different blogs before I decided to check it out for myself.  It's $1.99 and currently only available on iPhones.  I had previously been using VSCO Cam and while I liked it, I never felt like I could get my pictures as bright as I wanted them (without sacrificing quality).  So I figured what the heck, I'll give it a try.  And a couple months later, I officially love it and only use it - I actually even use it to edit pictures I take on my regular camera, it's that good.

Remember this photo?  It was edited in 4 quick, simple steps on Pic Tap Go and I thought I'd share with you how I got there.


1. Open your Pic Tap Go app and select the photo you would like to edit.

2. I always start with the filter Lights On first.  Always.  And make it full strength.  It does the best job of brightening up pictures that I've found on any app.  

3. Next is Cool It Down.  I find that when you really brighten photos, sometimes they can take on a yellow contrast.  The Cool It Down filter reduces that and makes your photos look more crisp and clean.  I almost always do this one full strength as well.


4. The Shadows filter is up next.  Just as the name sounds, it removes any unwanted shadows/dark spots from your photo.  I use this in a lighter dose as it can start to make your picture look grainy if used too heavily.

5. And usually last is Air.  I also use this filter in a small dose for one extra brightening boost before I'm done editing.


6. Hit the Go button in the top right corner to save your picture.  I like that you can send it directly to Instagram/Facebook/Twitter or just save it right to your camera roll, along with a few other options.

And that's it!  Super easy, right?  I've used this on 99% of the pictures I've posted since January and I think it has made a huge difference.  There are about 20 other filters you can use in the app too but these are the ones that I try and stick to each time.  I think it's important to use the same filters on all of your pictures (or close to it) to create a cohesive look for your blog and/or Instagram feed.  

Let me know if you have any questions and - shameless plug here - make sure to follow me over on Instagram @ka5ohare :) Happy picture snapping!

44

Face Mask Favorites

One of the first signs that I might be pregnant way back in October was my face suddenly freaked out for what I thought was no reason.  I went from dry skin that never saw a pimple (now I realize how lucky I was...) to combination skin with blemishes and random breakouts, and I'm still dealing with it almost 28 weeks later.  Pregnancy is glamorous ;)  

I've basically had to re-haul my skincare regime and one of the biggest things for me was making time for regular at home 'facials'.  I try to use a mask two times a week and a face scrub two or three times a week and can definitely tell a difference when I keep up with this.  It sounds like a lot, but the nice thing about masks are that you can throw one on at night for a half hour while you make dinner, answer emails or watch TV.  Not so bad and it's totally worth it to keep breakouts at bay!  Below are a few of my favorites right now...


Revision Skincare Black Mask
Purifying facial mask for a smooth, polished collection
This is the first black mask I've tried and I love it.  It's gentle on the skin while still deep cleaning it.  I feel like my skin can actually breathe after I rinse this mask off, if that makes any sense.  I've also noticed my pores look smaller the first couple days after.  I use this one once a week and bought it here from Amazon (it is legit).

Sephora Pearl Mask
A natural fiber sheet mask that perfects and brightens 
Yep, that's exactly what it does.  I won't lie, these sheet masks look pretty creepy on (do it when your husband isn't home!), but they totally work.  It really evens out my complexion and dare I say my skin actually looks glowy?  I use this one or the Tata Harper below once a week.

Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub
Natural exfoliation from the ocean with organic sea kelp and lemon peel extract
After hearing this is one of Kristin Cavallari's favorite beauty products and that it's under $10, I had to try it.  This product is not a mask, but instead a facial scrub - I use it a couple of times a week for exfoliation before my regular cleansing routine.  I'd recommend using it in the shower because it's muddy so it can get pretty messy!   I like that the exfoliating beads are gentle and how amazingly smooth my skin feels after.  

I will say that the first couple of times I used it, I did break out more than normal afterwards, but I'm pretty sure that's because it was actually doing it's job - pulling all of the impurities out of my skin.  I don't notice extra breakouts anymore.

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask
Enhances skins radiance by eliminating dull and blemished skin cells
I didn't want to love this as much as I do because it's pricey, but it's SO GOOD.  So good that I won't ever be without it now.  It makes my skin so smooth, soft and glowing and helps clear up some of the blotchy redness.  I also love that it's free of a lot of scary ingredients found in so many cosmetics these days.  I use it once a week.  

What are your favorite face masks?!  I'm always looking to try new ones!

21

Five Easy Ways to Refresh Your Home For Spring

Image via

Happy Spring!  Hope you guys had a good weekend.  We spent it in Chicago celebrating a couple of our good friends engagements with one of the BEST Italian dinners I've had in a long time at Topo Gigio.  The weather was freezing, but hopefully it'll warm up here again soon.  In the mean time, I'll just be pinning all the spring things on Pinterest and updating my Shop page with lots of pretty new finds!
  
Today I thought I'd share a few of my favorite ways to welcome in the new season in regards to home decor.  

1. Update Your Bedding
Time to take off those flannel sheets (I know, tear) and replace with fresh white sheets.  It's also nice to swap out the heavy comforters for a lighter quilt to prepare for the warmer months.  And don't forget to top off your new bedding with a few spritzes of my favorite room/linen spray!

2. Swap Out Throw Pillows
Florals for spring, groundbreaking.  But really, I'm all about the floral throw pillows right now.  They're bright and fun and can be a pretty inexpensive update to a room.  Lightweight fabrics like linen or cotton are perfect for right now.  Target is (always) killing it in the throw pillow department and I love this pretty splurge option

3. Greenery
I once read that every room should have a piece of greenery in it and that is one decor rule that I do agree with.  Whether it be fresh flowers, fake flowers or big ol' plants scattered throughout your house, I promise they will make you feel happier and your spaces calmer.  I'm hoping to try my luck at a fiddle leaf fig this year, but I tend to have a black thumb when it comes to plants.  Be sure to check out some of my favorite tips for keeping flowers alive though - that I can do!

4. Light & Fresh Candles
Swap out those heavy scents of the colder months for lighter and fresh spring candles.  Think lilac, magnolia, citrus, peony, cotton, jasmine.  Yes, yes, yes.  This classic is by far my favorite spring/summer candle and I'm actually burning it now as I speak/type.  You can never go wrong with Anthropologie candles - I want to try all of the scents from the Boulangerie line.

5. Paint
I personally think that spring is the best time to tackle some of those house projects you've been wanting to do.  Painting is the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to updating a room.  Crack the windows and let in some fresh air and break out those light, airy neutral paint colors.  We have Benjamin Moore White Dove throughout our house and both my husband and I love it.  


What are you most excited for in this new season?  

35

Babymoon: Booked!


California, here we come!

In a couple of weeks, we'll be getting away for one last weekend to the Terranea Resort, just south of the hustle and bustle of LA, and I seriously can't wait.  It's going to be a quick trip because I honestly wasn't even sure we were going to be able to find the time to go.  Every single weekend has been booked with stuff lately and is the same going into April/May, but I finally decided that you know what, this trip for the two of us was more important.  So we cancelled our childbirth class (I'll just wing it ;)) we were scheduled for that Saturday and booked a long weekend getaway instead.  Best decision ever.
 

After a million and one Google searches and reading all the Trip Advisor reviews, we decided on staying at the Terranea in Ranchos Palos Verdes.  It's a Mediterranean style oceanfront resort on 102 acres and it looks heavenly.  Golfing, trips to the spa, delicious restaurants, relaxing, swimming = my idea of a perfect time.  And getting to spend 4 days with Nick just hanging out will be the best.  Like a little honeymoon all over again.  I've only been to California once a few years ago and while we probably won't leave the resort too much (it doesn't look like we'll need to with everything they offer!), if you have any MUST DO recommendations near Ranchos Palos Verdes, send 'em our way!  

To keep my impatient self in check until we leave, I'll stay busy doing what I do best - shopping, of course!  I'm on the hunt for maternity shorts and a swimsuit (this one is the cutest) and I love this fringed swim cover up, in pink of course.  The price on this floppy hat is too good to pass up and this off the shoulder dress is a MUST have!  $26?!  I'll take it in every color - fingers crossed it accommodates the bump that is very real at 27 weeks now.  I've also been lusting over this lightweight striped scarf for a while and these tassel earrings would be a fun accessory to any outfit.

So, so excited.  See you soon, California!

All images via Luxatic

42

Off Week Confessions

Image via

I confess that I'm having an off week.  And would like to go back to bed, please.

Nothing terrible has happened or anything, it's just one of those weeks and sometimes you gotta let it out, right?  I've been SO tired after the time change and the weather has been weird.  Rainy and windy and both warm and cold which leads to all the fun allergies.  I'm behind on all things blogging - email, posts, commenting.  And I took the glucose test yesterday which wasn't fun.  I had the orange drink and while it didn't go down too badly (just super syrupy!), I felt like crap within 5 minutes of finishing it.  So. Much. Sugar. = nauseous and dizzy, but it did ease up within a few hours, thankfully.  Now fingers crossed I passed.  Although with how this week is going, not getting my hopes up, ha!

I confess that I'm a little too obsessed with checking my baby registry now that the invites have gone out.  People have started purchasing things (like this is THE CUTEST THING EVER) and it makes me so excited!  

I confess that I almost cried when I realized these shoes were back ordered until May.  It's been a hormonal week ;) But I had big plans to wear them to a couple baby/wedding showers I have in April (with this dress, if it fits!) and so it totally bummed me out.

I confess that a little part of me was hoping that Jojo wouldn't end up with Ben (even though she was my fave), just so she could be The Bachelorette.  And my wish came true!  Can't even wait for her season, I think it's going to be such a good one, if for nothing else than to drool over all of her amazing clothes.

I confess that (speaking of The Bachelor), I finished this book in about 3 days.  Full review coming soon!

I confess that I miss wearing real clothes.  My leggings have been on non-stop repeat since about November and I never thought I'd get sick of them, but I am.  I can't wait come July to rock something like this crop top and these shorts - is that mother appropriate wear? Haha

I confess that this recipe is the bomb and we've had it twice in the last week.  Delicious and easy which are my main two requirements for weeknight dinners.

I confess that overall, life is good.  I don't want to sound like a complainer at all - things are going really well.  I've been feeling great, this pregnancy is flying by, the nursery is coming together and the weather has been unusually warm.  Just sometimes it's nice to vent :)  Happy Friday eve, friends!

38

9 Pretty Spring Bags Under $100

The first day of spring is THIS Sunday!  I can't even believe it (this year is going so fast), but I'm so ready for it.  Whenever a new season rolls around, I get an itch to switch up the bag I'm carrying.  I'm ready to retire my black bucket bag that served me well this winter and instead pick up something neutral, soft and pretty.  I rounded up 9 of my favorite picks and best of all, they're all under $100!  So don't feel too bad if you buy two... or three.... of them ;)  Which one is your favorite?


H&M Fringe Shoulder Bag // Steve Madden Bbianca Crossbody // Sondra Roberts Snake Embossed Clutch
Rebecca Minkoff Leo Clutch // H&M Backpack // H&M Structured Handbag
Sole Society Oversized Tote // Sole Society Studded Crossbody // Sole Society Emmie Perforated Hobo
26

Photo Management Organization

image via

The Monday after daylight savings... always a rough one.

How were your weekends?  We stayed pretty busy over here which is becoming the new norm.   Nursery progress was made, Nick's family was visited, way too many episodes of House of Cards were watched (such a good season so far!) and  I also started the super exciting process of organizing/backing up all my pictures on my computer.  

Our current laptop is about to die - literally any second - so we're getting a new one this coming weekend and I needed to get my pictures in order ASAP.   I've done an absolutely terrible job at backing things up the last few years and would be devastated if I lost my pictures from college (although about 95% of those should never see the light of day again), our honeymoon or when Brady boy was actually a tiny guy.  I've put doing this off long enough and getting a new computer was just the kick in the butt I needed to figure out what the heck to do with everything.

First up, I organized ALL of the photos on my computer.  It was a b*tch, but it's so nice to have them all in their dated, alphabetized folders.  Makes my OCD side happy :)  Every single folder is named in this same format: year, number month, month name and what's inside.  So for instance, the folder that contains all of our Hawaiian honeymoon pictures from August 2013 is labeled like this:

13 08 Aug HAWAII

Easy enough, right?  I like doing the numbers first because it keeps them in order by date, which is easier for me to remember than what I may have titled the album.  I plan on moving photos over from my phone/camera on the first of every month going forward and will organize them right away now that I have a good system in place.  I use Dropbox for easy transfers from phone to computer and this eye-fi card for camera to computer.

Next up, backing all that hard work up.  I ordered this external hard drive in 1 TB as it can hold basically a million pictures and it's really easy to use.  Just plug in your USB cable from your computer to the hard drive and transfer your files on over.  I'm also going to look into an online site like a cloud or something to back things up onto.  Those honestly still make me a little nervous, having all of your memories dependent on another website.  I just feel better having my photos on the actual hard drive I have in my hands, but the online option would be a nice double/triple back up.

But, my blog photos.  I have no idea what to do with all of them.  I need a better solution.  Right now, when I use a photo from online, I just right click and save it onto my computer in a massive folder called BLOG.  It's a big jumbled mess.  How do you save photos that you use for your blog?  I've been reading a lot about Photobucket and think I might start using that.  Please give me all your tips!

Let me know if you  have any questions about this, I know it can be a chore to get all of your photos organized, but it's so worth it to have peace of mind that your memories are safe.  And I'm sorry to bore you with such an exciting topic on a Monday ;)   I'll be back tomorrow with some pretty bag eye candy for spring!  

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Five on Friday


Just a few photos from an awesome week!  The weather has been absolutely gorgeous - unseasonably warm for March in Michigan, but I am not complaining.  Our sunny temps reached 75 degrees on Tuesday so we hit up the dog park for the first time this year and got fro-yo.  It was the best and has me so anxious for the official start to spring.  8 days!  

What do you guys have planned for the weekend?  We're trying a new pizza place and then hoping to get in a couple more House of Cards episodes tonight and tomorrow we're trucking over to the other side of the state to see Nick's family.  Hope you all have some fun plans ahead!

to do
Grab a Peach Green Tea Lemonade from Starbucks - they're back!
Wash your makeup brushes.  Blah, I know, but this mat makes it super, super easy.
Make these spicy shrimp tacos with garlic cilantro slaw because they look amaze.
Change your clocks, we're springing forward one hour!
Call a friend, just to say hi.

to read
How to decorate a fireplace mantel.
Everything on Cara's blog - I have serious hair envy.
The ultimate Palm Springs travel guide.  I would like to be there right now, please.
Don't let the ugly packaging fool you on these products, they're 'damn good'.
Why Nancy Reagan was the ultimate First Lady.

to buy
This lightweight scarf that is only $10... in every color.
The best price around for a faux leather pouf.
My new favorite organic brightening facial scrub.
The perfect striped shift dress for spring.
Our nursery's light fixture is on sale - and on its way to us!

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Confessions

image via

Happy Thursday!  One more day till the weekend, woop woop.  In case you haven't heard, my friend Jess over at The Newly has brought back a weekly confessions link up!  It's happening each Thursday, if you want to join.  They're some of my favorite posts to read (and write), so I highly suggest you do ;)  Here we go!

I confess that we have six boxes of cereal in our house right now and nothing makes me happier.  I wish I could blame it on being pregnant, but I've always been a cereal freak.  Favorites include Special K, Cinnamon Life and Reeses Puffs (but I never let myself buy them, ha)!

I confess that I recently picked this guy up and truly have no idea how to use it.  Will someone come teach me?  Or direct me to a good Youtube tutorial?

I confess that I'm constantly checking to see if this dress is back in stock.  The black and white, the sheer overlay, the side slits, the pleats - okay I'll stop now.  Love love love.

I confess that I still haven't watched any Fuller House episodes.  Must. Do. ASAP.  Can't wait for the throwback cheesiness and I'm already so excited to hear it's been renewed for another season.

I confess that we did our taxes last weekend and I cried.  I didn't even know it was possible to owe as much as we do.  Blahhhh.

I confess that my Shopbop order came in and I'm returning almost everything.  Such a bummer, but hey maybe good after the taxes fiasco?  Haha the one piece I'm keeping from my order is one I'm super excited about - this dress that I'll be wearing for my baby shower (in champagne)!  Check that off the list.  Wishing I would have seen this jacket last week because it's so cute.

I confess that despite my post yesterday, my email inbox is out of control.  It's on my to do list for this afternoon so don't be surprised if you get finally get multiple responses from me, sorry!

I confess that I forgot how much I love this stuff.  It's THE BEST hair deep conditioner.  A little on the pricey side, but so worth it.  They do have a sample size at Ulta now so you can try it before making the full commitment.

And that's all I've got for today.  Make sure to head over to The Newly and link up your confessions as well!


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Increase Your Productivity With One Simple Technique


Anyone else struggle with productivity?  I do and I have a feeling I'm not the only one.  For me, it's especially present with blogging.  I get so easily distracted by Pinterest, Instagram feeds, Bloglovin', etc. that it can take me an entire day to write up a post, respond to emails and visit my favorite blogs.   Crazy.  I was starting to feel super overwhelmed when I came to the realization that blogging really doesn't have to take that much time - I just needed to learn to manage my time better.  

That's where the Pomodoro Technique comes in.  It's a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals of 25 minutes (called pomodoro's), followed by 5 minute intervals of rest.  It claims to maximize your focus and 'creative freshness', allowing you to complete projects in less time and with less effort - sounds pretty great, right?  I put it to the test for a solid two weeks and here's how it went:

+ 25 minute work intervals weren't long enough.  I was just starting to get into a groove with whatever I was working on, when my timer would go off signaling the 5 minute break.  I decided to increase my pomodoro to 60 minutes followed by a 10 minute break and I found that much more productive.

+ During pomodoro's, I ONLY work on the task I've assigned myself.  I turn off the TV, I put my phone in the other room (this is huge), I close my email and Bloglovin' screens and other tabs.  No distractions.

+ During the 10 minute breaks, give your brain a rest.  GET UP from the computer and move.  Make a cup of coffee, let the dog out, stretch, whatever you need to do to to be able to come back refreshed.

The results: I love this.  It helps me so much and I honestly save a crazy amount of time just by limiting distractions. Blogging to-do's that used to take me up to an entire day (!), have now been whittled down two hours/pomodoro's each morning because I'm actually focused on the task at hand while working.  I've even been able to work ahead in the afternoon by taking pictures or scheduling out posts.  Or just spend the time stalking Instagram ;) It's been really great.  

Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique or tried it before?  What's your favorite productivity practice?  
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