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2017 WENDY CORREEN SMITH. Powered by Blogger.

Our Christmas Tree


On Saturday we put up our fake Christmas tree because there just aren't enough days to celebrate the most beautiful time of the year! Leading up to this weekend & after much debate, Ryan & I agreed we needed to do a fake tree this year. We absolutely LOVED going to the Christmas tree farm with Magnolia last year to pick out our blue spruce tree. We decided it'd be our tradition to go to the Christmas tree farm every year on the day after Thanksgiving to get our tree. And then our baby became a curious toddler & we added a puppy to the family. I knew that one of them (or both) would get hurt with a needle before the season was over. And I really did not want to vacuum nine times a day every single day, and trust me, it would have been necessary!

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Toddler Christmas Gift Ideas


Yesterday we had our first snowfall! Magnolia & I were leaving Target when we entered the winter wonderland. Her reaction to the snow was the sweetest with lots of "Whoa-OHHHHHs" as she stuck her hands up to catch the glitter falling from the Heavens above. She had other shoppers stopping to admire her excitement & to see the wonder in her eyes. She is my everyday magic!

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Trick-Or-Treating With Our Pink Poodle


Last night was Magnolia's first official night of trick-or-treating! I was so excited about all the festivities ahead that I burned our dinner & we ended up going out for tacos insead. In case you didn't already know this, a Dutch oven is not a good pot to use for simmering a big pot of chili. Our house stinks so bad! Before we left for dinner we got our baby girl & puppy dressed in their costumes. Magnolia was Valentine & Valentine was Magnolia. The photos we snapped were hands down the hardest photos we've ever attempted to date. A toddler is hard enough & adding a puppy in a tutu to the mix is just CRAZY!

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Our October Finale


Halloween is in three days! It's hard to believe October is already coming to an end. Our last weekend of the month was full of all the autumn goodness. Magnolia wore her pink poodle costume to music class, we watercolor painted her white pumpkin, we took a hayride with the Smith side of the family, & on Sunday she twirled around in the falling leaves at my sister's house! 
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Vanilla Honey Iced Coffee


The first time I had honey coffee was in Santa Barbara & I haven't had it again since yesterday! When I think about that trip to California I always think about the little coffee shop that made the best coffee using honey instead of sugar.

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An Autumn Saturday at the Pumpkin Farm


About 75% of our October bucket list was checked off this Saturday!!! We spent the cool sunshiny day at Johnson Farms, a 40 acre pumpkin & flower farm about twenty minutes from our house, doing all the October stuff. A country band was setup by the barnyard grill where the apple cider donuts were made & the songs were swept away in the air that smelled of cinnamon + sugar. We arrived just in time to watch the pig race & cheer on our pick as they ran around the muddy track. Magnolia was smiling from ear-to-ear the entire day as she skipped from the silo play yard to the corn maze to the play truck! Ryan was brave enough to take her inside the big kid fort barn & they found their way through the maze of tunnels. Lucky for her she has a cool & brave daddy because I wasn't going in!

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Ten Adorable Toddler Rain Boots


Fall is here & that means lots of rainy + cold days ahead!!! We are still going for walks on the trails by our house & we have plenty of outdoor adventures on our calendar, like the pumpkin patch & hayrides. Rain boots are a must!

We got Magnolia her first pair of Hunter boots for her birthday in February & this season they finally fit & she gets to wear them (over & over again!). They keep her little feet warm & dry, and better yet, she can put them on all by herself. 
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Mom Jeans + Other Favorites



I finally got some mom jeans -- ten inch high waisted!!! Everyone has told me how great Madewell jeans are & they really are that great. The girls at the store were so helpful, even when I said "I have no idea what size I wear" they helped me find several pairs that fit just right. Did you know if you take in a pair of old jeans to donate they'll take $20 off your new pair? This is the pair I'll be wearing over & over this winter. I also added to my Christmas wishlist a pair of button up + drop hem.

'tis the season for hot chocolates & lattes & Starbucks!!! Can someone please tell me why I just now added the Starbuck's app to my phone? I could have had over 74 free lattes by this point in my life. Three pink drinks for Breast Cancer Awareness month & I really want to try the Iced Pink Macchiato.

Boots, let's talk about boots. First, I have a serious love of rain boots for Magnolia (&me!). They are easy to slip on her & darling at the same. If you sign-up for emails with Hunter you'll get a discount code. Magnolia & I will have a matching red set under the Christmas tree. Nordstrom Rack is the place to look for discounted rain boots, like this glitter pair for less than twenty bucks! Also, for me, I've got my eye on these warm & cozy Ugg boots.

On Alexa we've been listening to Look Up Child by Lauren Daigle. Her voice will give you the chills.

A few weekends ago my niece wore this dress, with black tights, to Papa's birthday party. I really wish it came in Magnolia's size. All the little girls need a bit of sequins in their life this holiday season & you cannot beat that price!

Over the weekend we took Valentine to Petco for a self-service bath & blow dry. It was ten bucks & worth every single penny to save a huge clean-up at home. They provide towels, shampoo + conditioner, & even brushes. We brought her stuff to use, but it was really nice to have their towels available & no mess to clean up afterwards.

33 Halloween Movies to watch with a big bowl of Bewitched Halloween Popcorn.

Lastly, have you heard of Rocksbox? If you love jewelry, but hate clutter, this is for you! They send me three pieces of jewelry from my Wishlist, I wear them as long as I'd like (one day or for months), I send them back (free postage), & they send me three new pieces. You can get your first month for free to try it out with code: WENDYSBFF32  

XOXO
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A Funeral, Birthday, & Wedding Kind of Weekend


This weekend we had a funeral, a birthday party, & a wedding. Talk about action packed whirlwind kind of days! We had family from both sides in town for all the gatherings & it was so nice to get to see loved ones that we don't get to see on a regular. In between all the events, I managed to get our home ready for fall, we drank coffee in bed while watching Tinkerbell as the rain pounded our windows, we ate way too much candy corn + peanuts, and we also baked & ate way too many pumpkin spice cookies, Magnolia did dance performances on the fireplace hearth, we cuddled with a wet doggy because the rainstorms never stopped, we regretfully Googled Valentine's favorite treat the Bully Stick (don't do it!), & Magnolia now takes our face in her chubby hands before giving us the tiniest + sweetest kisses.

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A Modern Farmhouse - Parade of Homes


This weekend with Pumpkin Spice Lattes in hand we twirled around beautiful new construction homes --- well Magnolia did most the twirling! And Ryan & I did the latte drinking. All three of us were oohing & awwing!!! We did the Parade of Homes, first time for me, and something Ryan grew up doing. I have no idea why I never went on the tours before because it was so-much-fun. The entire weekend was all Ryan's idea & I'm really grateful he encouraged us to do them. Now we will probably go every year. We have been seriously talking about selling our home next year & building a custom home, which made the tours even more exciting for us. So for the most part we looked at homes in our price range, with the exception of the one I'm sharing today. Sunday morning we toured a modern farmhouse that you'd think Chip & Joanna Gaines flew to Kansas City to do for Summit Homes! It was way out of our price range, but let me tell you I took hundreds of photos because I want to be copycat & incorporate many of the elements into our next home. I told one of the realtors we met with, to tell his builder to make a smaller version of this house, because I really need a slice of this pie! I'd be happy with 1/3 of this house. They didn't miss a detail.

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Weekend: Plaza Art Fair, BBQ & more


Every year I mark my calendar months in advance for the annual Country Club Plaza Art Fair - hands down the best Kansas City event of the year. My mom started taking me when I was in middle school & I can only remember one year that I missed it for something much better (my first date with my Ry!). This past weekend was a merry one with lunch at one of our favorite BBQ spots while Valentine went for her first grooming, the art fair, lots of time on our back deck, & a Sunday evening drive!

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A Fall-ish Kind of Weekend


The cool air with hints of autumn arrived in Kansas City this weekend. The leaves are starting to fall & Pumpkin Spice Lattes are a good excuse to go for a morning drive in our comfy clothes. After we lost our October baby I mentally prepared myself to feel sadness with the arrival of my favorite season. I feared that I wouldn't have the typical warm & fuzzy feelings that refresh the soul as the cool breeze comes. Just as the seasons change the soul can heal. Each day I still think about our baby gone too soon and my eyes still tear up if I get deep into thought about what could have been. This weekend brought about a sense of relief. Saturday started with a chilly morning rain shower & afternoon drizzles. The sky was gray & the pavement was decorated with wet colorful leaves. We spent the day together doing the ordinary with happy hearts & thoughts of all things cozy & slow. The sadness I feared with this season didn't arrive.

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19 Months


Our girl turned 19 months old on the third of September! Waking up to her bright soul every morning comes with the best surprises. She is just full of so much of everything sweet.
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Bringing Home Puppy


Eleven days ago our family of three headed to the airport to pickup our newest family member, a furry one, named Valentine Lollipop! She was an 11 week old, ten pound, white standard poodle that came all the way to us from Las Vegas to make us a family of four. It was love at first sight & it was quite obvious her soul was a gentle one. Yesterday she turned 12 weeks weighing in at 10.6 pounds. We think she's going to be on the smaller side.
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Instagram For the Soul & Five Accounts to Follow


Hello dear ones! Instagram is by far my favorite social media site to lose track of time on & truly to be inspired. I love getting to see into the lives of other people, especially the ones vacationing in far way places like Le Sirenuse & Atrani, Italy (places I'd never even heard of before!). It's fun to see into the homes of creative souls & to find small shops that work passionately to share their talent with the world. Social media gets a bad rap sometimes, but there is a lot of beauty to be found on them too. There are thousands of accounts that work to be a resource for women & to inspire us to live with purpose. Today I'm sharing my Top Five accounts to follow if you want to find God's word in beautiful little squares while cultivating an intentional walk with God.


1. Morgan Harper Nichols
Everyday she makes art & writes words as a daily practice of generosity. She asks followers to submit their story to her & then she randomly selects names each day. Her account is colorful & rich with words to brighten your soul.

2. SoulScripts
This account is a community, movement, & resource to equip women to live with purpose. They say "your brokenness is welcome here." The SoulScripts blog is a great morning read with a hot cup of coffee. 

3. The Daily Grace Co.
Equipping women in the word. Not only should you follow their Instagram account, but their website is full of resources, prayers, verse cards, Be Still (a magazine), a free book & so much more.

4. Coffee & Bible Time
Their whimsical bible doodles plus free Bible notecards are super cute. They'll inspire you to study the Bible & then to study more to find LASTING TREASURE.

5. Daughter of Delight
Everyday devotionals for the everyday woman. It's a refreshing feed. This is one I have saved for later, "While a little faith may bring your souls to Heaven, a lot of faith - clinging to God despite your circumstances - will bring Heaven to your soul." - Skip Heitzig

There you go friends. I hope you find a few new accounts that will bring joy to your soul. Please share some of your favorites with me!

XO
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Magnolia's First Time at the Movie Theater


We took Magnolia to the movies for the first time this Saturday. With her ability to stay seated on the airplane combined with her love of movies we figured she'd really enjoy it & she sure did. The moment we stepped foot in the lobby she started to run towards all the candy that was conveniently located at eye level. Sheer excitement ran through her little body as we entered the movie theater to see Disney's Christopher Robin.
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18 Months


Magnolia at 18 months could not be any sweeter. It's been a while since I sat down & wrote about her & the soul that fills our days with so much happiness. Yesterday I was looking at photos of her from last summer when she was just a little baby that I carried everywhere. Then last night we went out for Mexican with some of Ryan's coworkers & on the way to the car she walked the streets of the city holding both of our hands. Moments like that often stand still when I'm watching her grow right before our eyes. Then this morning I woke up to her walking (in her sleep sack) in our bed next to me & she just about fell on my head. She gave me a little kiss to say she was sorry for almost smashing my face with her 22 pound body! Her personality is growing about as fast as her body & it's fun, really fun getting to know her. God picked us to be her parents! I think about that often & I pray that each day we are doing our best raising her into the girl God created her to be. 
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Our Family Vacation to Indian Shores, Florida


Last week Ryan, Magnolia & me, along with my sister Haley & her two girl's Mylene & Adalyn took a family beach vacation to Indian Shores, Florida. We rented a two bedroom beachfront condo & spent as much time as we possibly could with our feet in the sand. We rode the waves, looked for seashells, soaked up the sunshine, built sandcastles, napped under the cabana, smelled of sunscreen with salty hair.
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Unanswered Prayers, Trusting In God's Perfect Timing & Rainbows


When I first met Ryan he was traveling every single week for work. Monday thru Friday gone. I remember telling him that I could not live like that. I couldn't handle him being gone that much. It felt like a long distance relationship in which I only got to see him on the weekends & holidays. He applied for other positions that would bring him home & we even thought about moving to California in order to get him off the road. All the while, deep in my heart, I feared he was only doing this to make me happy. I was worried because, as much as I knew he wanted to be at home with me, he also really loved his work. He loved getting up on Monday morning & heading to the airport to venture out to a new city. We prayed & we prayed & things didn't work out the way I had hoped during those first few years. He stayed in his current position & continued to travel often.
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Dallas Baby


Two weeks ago we loaded up the car & headed south to the great state of Texas! The road trip went way better than we had expected. Magnolia is a girl that loves to travel. If she wasn't jibber jabbering in the backseat then she was snoozing. We had the iPad ready with her favorite movies for the moment when she just couldn't take it anymore. When we were about two hours away from our hotel she started to fuss & we pulled over & surprised her with PupStar World Tour. Happy camper the rest of the way, it was impressive.
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Magnolia at Magnolia


Last week we loaded up the car & we took a road trip to Dallas. We listened to the Mark Chestnut song, We're Going Through the Big D, over & over again. We changed the words to say, we do mean Dallas. Magnolia is a travel rock star. She fussed for one minute when we were about two hours away from our hotel. We had the iPad ready for that moment. We popped it on to the backseat & played her favorite movie PupStar World Tour. She was a happy camper for the rest of trip. We were blown away by her ability to sit in the carseat for over eight hours. Ryan told her if she keeps it up we're road-tripping to California. Not sure I can even handle that!

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Stationery & Invitations by Basic Invite


Opening the mailbox to find a beautifully addressed note brings about the warmest of feelings. To pull apart the envelope to find the surprise inside, whether it be an invitation to a celebration, or a note to say thank you, or simply a handwritten card to say I'm thinking of you & I love you, it's a little act of kindness that carries so much beauty in our rushed lives. I don't know about you, but I know it's tempting to just send a text or Facebook message to share what used to be delivered through the mail. No matter how busy life gets, I'll always be drawn to fine papers & stationery. And that brings me to today's post. Basic Invite is an online custom invitation company with tons of affordable & stylish designs. I'm excited to tell you about them.


Custom Samples: They are one of the only paper companies that allows customers to order custom samples before placing a final order. To be able to feel the quality of the paper & see the custom colors before committing is a big deal! When my samples arrived my expectations were definitely exceeded. The paper is so nice & the color is rich & vibrant.



Almost Unlimited Colors: Okay for me this was the funnest part, after picking from all their stylish designs. All the design elements can be color customized & they have every color in the rainbow (180 different colors). No kidding I played around with the colors for hours because it gave me instant previews. Most paper companies do not have websites this advanced to allow custom element changes & instant previews. Every last detail could be changed! That's why you'll notice mainly pastel pinks & blues in my samples.



Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes: What is the first thing you see when someone sends you a beautiful card? The envelope! And Basic Invite has over 40 different envelope colors to pick from. Another perk: they're all peel & seal!

Address Capturing Service: This is a really cool feature. They offer an address capturing service that allows customers to share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media format to request their friend's & family's addresses which will be stored in the customer's account & can be selected during the design process. At Christmas they offer this recipient address printing at no charge. You can guess where I'll be getting our Christmas cards this year!

Foil: Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and even rose gold.

Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off all orders with coupon code: 15FF51

Before I end this, I have to share their adorable sailor baby shower invitations. You have to go look at all the sweetest nautical designs, like this Baby on Board one. Cute Cute!

What does your handwriting say about you? A graphologist's analyzation here.

Yours Truly xo
Wendy

This post is sponsored by Basic Invite - all opinions are my own.  
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Bubble Baths & Bedtime Routines


Bubble baths are something Magnolia & I equally love, for different reasons! I like to lay back & unwind in the hot water while Magnolia likes to blow bubbles in the water & splish splash until I finally tell her to stop! 

As she's grown our bedtime routine has changed & today I'm sharing our favorites things that go along with our nightly rituals. 
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A Poem For My Daughter - Paint Rocks With Rainbows


I've had a poem bookmarked in my phone forever. When I look at these photos of Magnolia I think about her soul & all I hope I can teach her. This poem by T. Guinery is a special one & one that I had to share here for you to read as well. 


Paint rocks with rainbows, sketch the 
female form, write words awoken at
midnight, dance until it's dawn. Paint
my walls magenta, cook a cake to watch
it rise, open all the windows, create gifts
to say "surprise!" Eat meals by candle
light, just because why not? Sip rouge
beneath the moonlight, skinny dip and
cafe hop. Sing to my Creator, knock on
Heavens door, sing hallelujah, keep my
heart growing more. Kiss my loves in the
morning, again amidst the day, sway upon
my to-do list, know when it's called a day.
Listen to that still small voice, dance unto
its sound, love this life I've been gifted,
knowing I've been found. Trusting in
the greater plan, I leave my agenda slow,
having not a worry in the world, because
he loves me so. 




Right before our eyes our Magnolia is blooming into a little girl with a bright personality & filling our days with love & joy. Heaven sent she is! 

xo
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8 Reasons I'm Adding Rocky Mountain Oils to My Collection


As you probably already know, we've been using & loving essential oils for a long time. It all started with my Young Living starter kit. When I ran out of my all time favorite - Frankincense - I thought it was time to research other essential oil brands. After reading article after article & looking over all the brand websites I found one that I thought I should try. Rocky Mountain Oils. Today I'm going to tell you all about the main reasons I decided to add RMO to my collection. I think you'll like all them just as much as me.


1. Quality
Quality should always be the #1 focus when comparing oils.
Their mission is to improve the quality of life for each customer by only providing the highest quality of oils. Their S.A.F.F.E. promise is a guarantee that the oils are 100% pure, natural & authentic. They are free from of synthetics & fillers. The coolest part is the batch # on the bottom of each bottle. You can enter the number on their website to find the third party GC/MS test results report.

2. Cost & Shipping
Who loves free shipping!? We all do! I absolutely love that I can go online, order the oil I want & not have to worry about spending $9+ on shipping alone. I was shocked to receive my first order in two business days. RMO offers competitive & affordable pricing. Take a look at the Blend of Rose, it's perfect for those that don't want to spend $200+ on a small bottle of Rose.

3. Product Selection
They have oil singles, blends, kits, roll-ons, skincare & more. The AvaShield product line offers home cleaning & personal care products, such as toothpaste, cleaner concentrate (similar to Thieves cleaner concentrate), & foaming hand soap. You can compare their product blends to Young Living & DoTerra here.

4. No Membership Requirements
You don't have to join in order to receive membership discounts. You can go online & order whatever you wish, checkout with your credit card or PayPal, & the product(s) ship for free & fast. Super easy & convenient. After talking to my friends & family about YL for years this was a big factor in their buying decisions. It was just too hard.

5. RMO Oil'ty Club Rewards Program 
If you wish you may join the Oil'ty Club. You'll get points for every dollar you spend, when you create an account, on your birthday, and for liking their social media pages.

6. Safety & Education
While other EO companies shy away from giving functional usage ideas, you'll find suggestions & ideas on the product pages. They have a blog & an Essential Oils 101 page to help beginners learn along the way.

7. Website
Modern & easy to use website.

8. Pre-stickered Bottles
The top of each bottle is labeled & great for organization.


I'll be posting more about my experience with Rocky Mountain Oils in the weeks ahead. I have a long list of new diffuser & roll-on blends I'm going to create with all the oils I've added to my collection.

Please let me if you have any questions at all.

xo
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Bottling Up the Memories


Who is that girl?


In two days our baby girl will be 16 months old. Over the last few weeks I've been making all these mental notes of memories I have to remember.

All the new things she can say now: I love you, baby, blue, oh shit (we cannot deny that one), let me see, a mumbled up version of Skidamarink-a-dink & so much more that I'm trying to make out...
Just the other night during the thunderstorm that was startling her, she came over to me & put her little hands on my legs, looked me in my eyes & whispered a full sentence. She stared in my eyes waiting for a response to which I didn't know what to say. She then whispered it again. It was the sweetest little moment. Later that night we had a huge rainbow over our house. I couldn't wait to show her the colors in the sky straight from the angels in Heaven.

Our darling little soul has a darling little temper. When she's made she'll squeeze her fists really tight, clench her face, & shake her arms. I probably shouldn't be in love with her temper as much as I am, but geez it is freakin' cute when she shows all her emotions.

Speaking of emotions. She has a wide range of emotions. Ryan always says she got that from me. She is not short on facial expressions or any form of expression for that matter.

Being in the nude brings her happiness! I cannot keep a diaper on her & in the evenings after dinner before her bubble bath I usually let her run around in her birthday suit for a little bit. I can tell she enjoys the freeing feeling of no clothes.

We already have a favorite mommy + daughter weekly date. Starbucks + Target. We both love the Vanilla Bean Frap with caramel drizzle & almond milk, also the Double Chocolatey Chip Frap with almond milk. We can wander around Target for hours sharing a Starbucks Frap --- usually I have to beg for a sip.


To her baby dolls she is the best little mommy. She pats them on the back, feeds them, changes their clothes & hugs them tight.

The laundry room is her playroom. She has an obsession with closing the door & hiding. I pretend like I cannot find, although a few times I really did lose her in there, & then I'll hear a scream or laugh. I'll knock on the door asking to come in & sometimes she'll even block me from opening the door. Is this a preview to the teenage years?

She finally got over her fear of walking in the grass. She loves the pool. Her cousins make her laugh in a special high pitch screaming type of way. Magnolia is a glam girl that likes a nice pair of sunglasses, bracelets, barrettes & top knots. And good shoes too, of course. Her love for dogs is still as big as her heart.

Strangers comment on three things the most: her blue eyes the color of the ocean, her thick & curly hair, and those plump oh-so-squeezable cheeks.

At 16 months I've finally got her on a nap routine. Hallelujah. Now if only I can get her to sleep through the night. Goals!

When we pray before meals she'll cross her fingers.


She gives real kisses now. I thought I'd miss the clicking sound she used to do when she "kissed" us, but now I'm even crazier about her real kisses. My heart can barely handle it. She's also a pro at blowing kisses & waving goodbye to the ones she adores.

You should see her face light up when her daddy gets home from business trips. There really is no one else that can make her jump for joy like him.

She has several play phones & she'll often put them up to her ear & mimic me. It's quite hilarious to see her modeling my facial expressions, tone of voice, and speed of conversation.


I used to fear the passing of her cute little stages. Now I've learned what I should have already known, they're only replaced by even cuter stages as her personality blossoms. She's the sweetest little lady & the best mommy to all her dolls & stuffed animals. When I pick her up she pats me on the back & surprises me with kisses on my shoulder. I don't need to say "slow down time" anymore, we soak up all her love each & everyday. Getting to know her personality & darling little soul is the greatest gift.

Have a darling weekend friends, enjoy the sunshine & laughter of the ones you love. Make sure to follow us over on Instagram @wendycorreen - that's where I post all the photos & lots of adorable Instastories of this girl.

xo
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Homeless & Pregnant


I rolled down my window & saw her dirty hand reach out for the dollar bill I was offering. I looked in her eyes, I saw the gaps between her teeth, & I saw her round belly. I said, "I'm sorry, that is all the cash we have." Her response was a grateful one, she said she'd be able to get a cheeseburger at the Burger King behind her. Her sign read: PREGNANT & HOMELESS, anything will help. There I was on our beach getaway only weeks after I lost our baby & I couldn't hold back the emotions as I saw this woman carrying a child. At first I thought the sign was just to collect more money, we had only hoped, until we saw that it was true. She was pregnant.

We drove off in our rental minivan with our sweet Magnolia in the backseat. We went to a nice dinner. We went back to our hotel & slept in our clean white bed linens. We enjoyed the luxuries of our vacation. Since we've been home there has not been a single day that passes that I do not think about that woman & her baby. I have thought about every single detail from where she sleeps at night, what will happen when she goes in labor, is she doing drugs, will her baby be born addicted to drugs, will she get to take her baby with her when she leaves the hospital, will she even deliver at the hospital, what will the baby wear, what will the baby eat, where will the baby sleep? Her face & her situation has played out in my mind on repeat every single day.

image via

National Geographic has an article called, "Babies Fall Victim to the Opioid Crisis," in 2012 there were 22,000 babies born drug dependent, one every 25 minutes. Over the last five years the opioid crisis has escalated & surely the number of drug dependent babies has climbed as well. 
The babies shake, sweat, vomit, and hold their bodies stiff as planks. They eat and sleep fitfully. Swaddled, they lie in bassinets or in the arms of nurses, parents, or volunteers. The place doesn’t have the hustle or beeping machinery of an ICU. Instead there are dim lights and hushed conversations because the babies need calm and quiet. Many also need methadone or other medication to relieve their symptoms. They are weaned from it over days or weeks.
I rarely leave the safe world of suburban America. I'm hardly ever exposed to this dark reality that exists. I do not turn on the news because I cannot handle to see the sadness. One homeless pregnant woman is pulling at my heart to do something.

The book I'm reading at the moment, Be the Gift by Ann Voskamp, said something to me about all of this.
We can be concerned for the poor - but be no less concerned for us rich who claim not to be rich so we can excuse ourselves from giving. Go ahead and show concern for the poor - but be no less concerned if we've merely done enough to assuage our consciences, just enough to pat ourselves on the back, but not enough that we've ever felt true sacrifice, that we've every actually broken and given. Go ahead and live concerned for the poor - but no less concerned for avoiding suffering because someday we will face Christ. What if caring for the poor was more than just caring about easing our consciences? What if caring for the poor may mean sacrifice, and what if this is the way to be satisfied and know abundant living?
Hand raised. I'm guilty of this.

The thought of helping those in need can be overwhelming. I don't know about everyone, but for me & my circle, it's almost like if we cannot save the person, then what is the point? That is the mind shift I feel I need to make. Part of me feels guilty for only sparing enough to buy the homeless pregnant woman a cheeseburger, and then the other part of me thinks if I did a small form of sacrifice every single day it may add up to something big.

I intend to spend more time in prayer about this topic. God is putting the vision of the homeless pregnant woman on my heart for a reason.

I was moved to share this story when The Recovery Village in Cincinnati Ohio reached out to me & asked that I share about them on my blog. My initial thought was, how is my Motherhood blog supposed to share about drug addiction? It didn't take long, maybe two minutes, for me to connect the dots to the homeless pregnant woman, to the book I'm reading, to sharing their resources.

In 2017 the state of Ohio has been the most severely affected by the Opioid crisis than any other state.  In 2016, opioids accounted for 42,249 deaths. The recovery from drug addiction is possible & thankfully there are organizations like The Recovery Village to help & provide treatment. To be equipped with the knowledge that resources to help with recovery exist is one way to help make an impact. To find a local rehab click here.  If you know someone struggling with addiction I encourage you to simply provide a resource for help.

xo
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Memorial Day


Memorial Day weekend was full of all things summer: splish + splashing in our pool, melting bomb pops at Papa's house, Magnolia running around & trying to keep up with her cousins, eating some KC BBQ, morning coffee on our back deck, & long cozy naps with the AC blasting! 
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Enjoy Life Eat Cake


It's almost the weekend & a loonng one! YIPPEE!!! I've got cake on my mind again. It's either cake or tacos for me 😉. This weekend we're having a little party with the family at my step-dad's house. I'm going to bake a chocolate cake for the gathering as we celebrate my baby sister's birthday. As for other plans --- poolside & deck time!


Before we roll into the long weekend, I wanted to share a few of my new favorite things for Magnolia & me.

Baby Girl Favorites First // 

Her over the rainbow purse has been a total hit & she carries it around like a little lady way more than I thought she would.

I never thought we'd need an umbrella stroller, but we do. I never thought I'd own anything Minnie Mouse (sorry Disney, I wasn't a fan for all my life), but now we do. This handy dandy cheap stroller from Target is darling & it worked fabulously in a pinch yesterday!

Magnolia's sparkly hair clips are used daily. Buy four get one free!

This one is a combo - toddler & momma favorite! Have you given up dairy yet, see the article I've linked below? Ben & Jerry's Almond Milk ice cream is just as good, if not better, than regular ol' ice cream. Magnolia & I eat a few bites every single night. The Coconut Seven Layer Bar is our favorite.

Momma's Favorites //

I've been on the hunt for a non-toxic facial scrub & I finally found a good one. This one is phthalate, sulfate, & paraben free - win, win, win! It's less than ten bucks & can be found at Target, Whole Foods, and on Amazon. Highly highly recommend it for a glowing summer look.

I'm going to admit to trying the Rowdy Mermaid because of the name. I'm a sucker for good marketing & I wanted to feel like a rowdy mermaid the other day. I tried the Strawberry Tonic that I found at Whole Foods - it was one of the best kumbuchas I've had.

This boho patio tour with all the adorable touches of pink has me feeling inspired to add a bit of boho to our deck.

Lastly, I want to share this article about giving up dairy. I can attest to all of it: skinny jeans (or cutoff shorts in my case), bye-bye bloat (heck ya), what's that amazing smell? (no more sinus issues), did you change moisturizers? (clear skin), smoothies-salads-sweet potatoes (no more rushed/thoughtless eating), another three miles? sure (plenty of energy, even with less sleep thanks to my baby)! Great read, check it out here. Giving up dairy has truly been one of the best things I've ever done for my health & I was always a lover of cheese, ice cream, sour cream, you name it. Thankfully, there are lots & lots of yummy alternatives to make the lifestyle change so much easier.

Off to have lunch with my baby doll now. Have a great weekend!
xoxo
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Puppy PAWty & Wizard of Oz First Birthday


We love any excuse to celebrate with cupcake frosting, balloons every color of the rainbow &  cute lil' babies. Our family, counting both sides, has three babes under two & their birthdays fall right in a row! I couldn't let my days get so far ahead that I didn't pause for a moment to share a few of the camera snaps I got at their birthday celebrations.

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My Spring Time Favorites


It's Friday & happy day to you! I've got a bottle of Rose chilling in the fridge as I type this. Madeleine Peyroux, a glass of wine, & family time on the deck is on the calendar every single weekend from now on! Pulling Magnolia's high chair out to the deck for dinner is my new favorite thing, the mess is so much easier to clean up.

Summer is so close I can taste it, and I'm already calling our spring days summer, because honestly I don't really know when it's officially a new season half the time! Today I'm sharing a few of my favorites for this time of year.

If you're a regular Target shopper like me then surely you've already swooned over all the new Opalhouse home decor items. It's got that Anthropologie flair & I'm in love. The peacock king size sheets are only $50. Cannot beat that!

I have an obsession with sunglasses & I've finally found a brand called Wildfox that is not crazy expensive & they actually mix mirrored lenses with stylish frames. Maybe I've been shopping at Sunglass Hut for too long, because they always have mirrored lenses in boring frames & vice versa.

My gold J. Crew capri sandals are a summer staple. That's all I have to say about them! & you need a pair.

I'm still carrying a diaper bag, a heavy diaper bag I must say, & if I'm not using the stroller it's just too much. I keep my crossbody bag in the car for an easy swap if we are just running in & out of somewhere. The misty mint color is pretty pretty!

Cute, comfy, easy - this denim skirt!

Ryan surprised me with this bracelet on Valentine's Day. It's extra special to me because it's not something I would have picked out for myself, but now I adore it & wear it almost every day. It's lightweight & nice to wear alone or layered with other bracelets.

Hot pink lipstick called Candy Yum Yum that screams summa' time fun with your messy sea salt hair + mirrored sunglasses! 

Shop my favorites by clicking on the images/links below! Hoping your weekend ahead is full of laughter & some hot pink kisses.

xoxo


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Field Trip to the Kansas City Zoo


Yesterday, Magnolia woke up bright & early, at 5:14 am to be exact. She must have sensed that we had fun plans for the beautiful day ahead of us. We tagged along on her cousin Lucca's preschool field trip to the Kansas City Zoo.

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Mother's Day


That's my mom in the summer of 1981 holding me, her first daughter. This was her first year being a mom. Obviously, I don't remember anything from that first year of life, not in a conscious way. It wasn't until Magnolia made me a mom that I was able to understand all that comes along with that first year of motherhood. 


I have new eyes for my mom now. I've been blessed with a deeper understanding of all that makes motherhood motherhood. From the intensity & depth of love for another human being to the physical & emotional sacrifices that are made on a daily basis. This year & every year my heart is full of gratitude for my mom. For all she did for me & my three siblings, for the woman she is, and the life she gave us.

She raised four babies (& a bunch of animals too) & to imagine what I do each day with Magnolia times four is beyond impressive! Mom, if you're reading this, Happy Mother's Day & I LOVE YOU! Thank you.

To all the other mom's out there, I want to wish you a day full of sunshine, flowers, & laughter.

I cannot end a Mother's Day post without a little note to all the women waiting to become a mom. Mother's Day was one of the hardest days for me before becoming a mom. The love & desire to become a mom is just as worthy as celebration today. To the ones having a hard Mother's Day, I hope you take the time to care for yourself & reflect on your life now. Someday, once your baby is your arms, you'll look back & find deeper meaning in the wait. Don't Waste Your Infertility is a refreshing & uplifting read. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the women!
XO
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Summer Fun with Head Wraps, Dry Shampoo, & Sunglasses


If you see me this summer you'll surely see me with my hair on top of my head with a bandana wrapped around it. I'll probably also be in cutoff jean shorts, a tank top & gold capri flip-flop sandals. I've declared my summer time uniform & it's a relaxed look that'll make fun times more frequent. Less time getting ready makes for more fun time hours in the day. My legs will have this organic self-tanner on them, my dirty hair will be fresh (oxymoron there) thanks to dry shampoo, & we'll be in this SPF that I realized I really like after our trip to Florida. And sunglasses too, of course!


I cannot tell you how many messages I've got asking about Magnolia's sunglasses & head wrap. I figured I should share the information here! Her sunglasses are from Janie & Jack and linked here. She wore them the whole time we were in Florida! Her head wrap that I call her "top knot" is from a small Instagram shop @poppyknots.co. I'm all about supporting small businesses & I think you should go get the baby girl in your life a Poppy Knot of her own right here.

I've linked all of my summer time favorites below!

XO Wen & Magnolia


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Our Family Trip to Daytona Beach


We've been home from our beach trip for over a week now. I can finally say I'm caught up with all 20+ loads of laundry (there was sand on everything), the floors are clean, & the house smells like lilac & fresh cut grass. And now I get to share all the photos I took & there were hundreds. Ryan had a business trip to Daytona Beach & Magnolia & I decided to tag along with. What better place than the beach to have to go for work?!. He was away working the first few days & the last part of our trip was our much needed family time.

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My 37th Birthday


My birthday weekend started out with a beautiful day that actually felt like spring. It was the first day that the sun was shining bright and our Bradford pear trees finally have white flower buds blossoming! Ryan got back in town early enough for us to get out & enjoy the day.

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Magnolia in April


Our baby girl started walking this weekend! I heard Ryan calling for me while I was in the bathroom doing my makeup. I had a feeling he'd worked with her long enough to give her the courage to take those first steps. She was a late bloomer in the walking department at 14 months & four days, to be exact. She looks just like her daddy, but her personality is so much like mine. I've already started to joke/warn Ryan that she may cry on P.E. days, to which I will understandably give her all the advice to avoid the sweat. One example, wear sparkly inappropriate shoes & blame me! Sorry not sorry, I will be that mom.

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Wishing You a Hoppy Easter


From the bottom of our hearts we want to say Thank You for all the kindest messages, phone calls, emails, texts, & comments about our angel baby. The prayers mean the world to us & we cannot even begin to say how much we appreciate them.

As I look back on Magnolia's first Easter I'm reminiscing about the year before when we found out her life had began in a little petri dish. She is our golden egg!

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Not the Pregnancy Announcement We Dreamed of Sharing


I've been away from the blog lately & it hasn't been without good reason.

Several times I've said to Ryan, "I wonder what it'd feel like to pee on a pregnancy test & see two lines!" Never in my life had I stood over the bathroom vanity with a pregnancy test in my hand & felt that ecstatic feeling when two lines appeared. [We found out we were pregnant with Magnolia by a scheduled blood test.] I've shared before that we have a desire in our hearts to grow our family & that our prayers are always for God's guidance & grace. I'm still breastfeeding Magnolia & after my surgery for endometriosis our doctor told us that IVF was the route we needed to go if we wanted to have a baby. Those are two big factors that would lead one to believe natural conception wasn't going to happen for us. After having Magnolia, despite exclusive breastfeeding, my menstrual cycle returned when she was about six months old. The pain of my cycles was gone! I believe God answered our prayers of healing from the endometriosis. Ryan & I weren't necessarily "trying" to get pregnant, but it was certainly something we very much wanted.

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Make The Ordinary Come Alive


I read a poem the other day that got all my emotions flowing. Memories of days at my grandparents house came flooding into my soul. I could make a never ending list of ordinary joys I experienced with them every single day. I have the most vivid memories of them living intentionally with gratitude & joy. They're both in Heaven now, but the way of love they taught me, still overflows from my heart. If I can give Magnolia just a fraction of the love they gave me then I know I'm doing good. This poem has a rich lesson. 


Make The Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

By William Martin

XO
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An Interview With Sugar Rush Bakery


When I discover a locally owned business or small shop I love I feel a duty to share about them with all my friends & family. There is so much heart + soul + passion that goes into running a small business & I do believe our world needs all of that feel good stuff we can get.


When I first found Sugar Rush Bakery I was daydreaming about Magnolia's first birthday party. It all started when she was probably six months old (yes I started thinking about it way early, it was a dream come true after all) and I sent a message to Nicole, the owner of Sugar Rush, on Instagram. I had originally thought we would do a unicorn party & with time my dream evolved into a Swan Lake Ballet theme. Nicole was such a sweetheart through all of my brainstorming. I literally sent her photos of my ideas & she gracefully brought it all to life. Magnolia's first birthday dessert table was the highlight of her party (after her, of course) & everyone went crazy over how delicious it all tasted. Her kind soul & amazing talent brings me to today's post all about her booming business!


Whether you're shopping for a big wedding cake or a tiny smash cake, or looking for cute sugar cookies for a special occasion, or even thinking of a place to take a loved one for an afternoon date, let me say two words: SUGAR RUSH!




I did a sweet interview with Nicole, to find out more about her bakery, and she is a huge inspiration. You may have seen her on our local news stations before, if not, watch for her - she is adorable!

First things first, tell us about Sugar Rush. 
Sugar Rush is a locally owned gourmet dessert bakery. We specialize in cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and popcorn.  

Your cakes & sweets are delicious. Can you tell us about what you usually have in stock?
In our store we carry anywhere from 18-30 flavors of cupcakes (depending on the day). We also have a large selection of cake pops, fudge, popcorn, and cookies. We carry fudge turtles, chocolate covered Oreos and chocolate covered pretzels. All our products are handmade in house. 


Tell us about your special orders. 
We love custom orders! We bake and decorate all of our cakes and cookies the day the order goes out. We can customize pretty much anything, but our most popular are our cakes.  We make cakes as small as tiny smash cakes all the way up to huge tiered cakes for weddings. My personal favorite item to decorate is our sugar cookies. 

All of your sweets are beautifully decorated, where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration from many places. Sometimes a design just comes to me as I go. Other times I find inspiration from different fabrics, wrapping paper, and miscellaneous objects. Sometimes I also find inspiration from other cake and cookie decorator's work. 




There are so many yummy cake & icing flavors, what is your favorite cake flavor combo?
Our bestselling cupcake flavor is our salted caramel which I will recommend until the end of time, however I am more of a lighter-sweeter type of person. I LOVE our lemon cake. Sometimes I prefer our fresh strawberry or raspberry icing and other times I just want the cake without the icing! 

What has been your best story/experience since opening Sugar Rush?
Sugar Rush has blessed me in so many ways. The stories, laughs, and love created because of the company amazes me. We have spent sleepless nights inside the store working to get orders done (blasting Pandora's Beyonce radio station, of course). We have dance parties which have included leaps and toe touches. The coolest thing that has happened to me since opening Sugar Rush would definitely be overhearing strangers talk about my bakery out in public and not knowing I was the owner. Or seeing others recommend my bakery on Facebook or whatnot. It is always very surreal.



How do you know how many items to make each day?
After having our store for almost 7 years it has been easier to see trends in sales and seasonal trends. However, it is still hard to guess and get it right every single day. We keep our ovens on for 2 shifts of the day so that if we do run out we are able to make some more of that flavor.

What do you think is the most important tip for a successful bakery?
I have always thought the people is what make the biggest difference. Surround yourself with great staff and you cannot go wrong! When your staff cares about the business just as much as you do the service and care they give is second to none. I also believe that presentation is equally as important as taste.




What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment is one thousand percent the employees that became friends that became family. I am not sure how I was blessed with such amazing people in my life. They push me to be better, to do better, and stop and enjoy the small things. My staff past and present are truly my best friends. We text and talk late into the night, give each other life advice, go shopping together and probably my favorite tradition: have bachelor watching parties every Monday night together.


The passion & talent infused into her work is something to be admired! I hope you enjoyed reading her interview as much as I had sharing it!

The majority of her marketing is through social media & I hope you'll follow her on Facebook & on Instagram @sugarrushkc. She's great about responding to price inquiries & ideas via messages. She makes it all look so easy & it was such a pleasure working with her to bring Magnolia's first birthday vision to life. Now I'm just dreaming up a new celebration to get another cake!

Sugar Rush Bakery is located at 13778 S Blackbob, Olathe, Kansas & telephone is 913.839.2158

I know your sweet tooth is craving some of her creations, so go get some!

XO 

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Magnolia's First Birthday


Magnolia's first birthday party was over a month ago & we recently got her photos back from our photographer. Now we get to relive the celebration all over again. It was such a special day & I'm so grateful we got to party with our loved ones, in such a charming venue, while we thanked God for the gift of her in our lives.

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12 Day Starter Kit Oily Challenge


So you've got a Young Living Starter Kit, now how do you use the oils? The ways to use the oils are truly endless & I'm literally learning something new about them every single day. I was just talking to a friend about switching out our dryer sheets for wool dryer balls. Not only are we going to save money & help the environment by ditching the toxic dryer sheets, but now our clothes are going to be free of toxic residues. We add a few drops of essential oils before throwing them in the dryer & they come out smelling amazing. Magnolia's clothes are currently being dried with Orange. It's crazy how much we do, because we've always done it a certain way, and we are clueless as to the side affects it may have on our health. I can see a shift in our society to be more focused on health & well-being & it makes me so happy to see people take charge of their health.


Today I'm sharing a 12-Day Oily Challenge using all the oils in your new starter kit!

Day One // Lemon
Add 1-2 drops of lemon to your water for digestive health. Use a glass or stainless steel container. I do this every single day!

Day Two // Lavender
Add 2-4 drops of lavender in your bath for skin support & a restful night sleep. And if you're not into baths put it in the diffuser by your bed before drifting off to dreamland.

Day Three // Peppermint
Diffuse peppermint for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Day Four // Frankincense
Apply 2-4 drops to the desired area for skin support or on the back of your neck for emotional support. Add a few drops to your face lotion to help with fine lines.

Day Five // Copaiba
Apply on the skin with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil, for muscle support or take in a veggie capsule to support immunity.

Day Six // Thieves
Diffuse Thieves and apply topically for added immune support.

Day Seven // Purification
Add 2-4 drops to clothes for a refreshing scent or add 2 drops on a cotton ball to freshen the air.

Day Eight // Digeze
Massage onto the abdomen for digestive support.

Day Nine // Panaway
Apply 2-4 drops to an epson salt bath post workout routine for muscle support.

Day 10 // R.C.
Apply 1-2 drops with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil, and apply topically for a soothing aroma.

Day 11 // Stress Away
Apply on the wrists or back of neck for an uplifting scent & relaxation.

Day 12 // Ningxia Red
Enjoy a nice 1 oz taste of a chilled glass of this refreshing drink.

Day 13 // Bonus Day
Get creative. Think of another way to utilize an oil(s) from your starter kit. Which ones might pair nicely together? Try a few drops lemon, lavender, & peppermint in your diffuser for a refreshing scent & seasonal support.

Quick Tips 
Oils can be applied topically (check recommended dilution), they can be diffused aromatically, or ingested (if they have the vitality label).

Image above via Instagram here.

Remember, there's always an oil for that!  

XO
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Pinches of Pink


Our home is filled with little pinches of pink from the pillows on our sofa, to the fireplace mantle decor, and our powder room & front door is painted Valspar's Baby Blush. Every room has just a little. Valentine's Day gave me an extra excuse to bring in all the pink, but now we have spring & Easter coming & yet another reason to bring in all the pastel colors. And lots & lots of pinks! This bathroom vanity by Elsie Larson has my mind twirling with ideas for our upper level bathroom that we plan to renovate one day soon!


Before we know it, it'll be spring & I know that you're looking forward to the warmer weather!!! I think we all are this year more than ever, especially with all the nasty flu stuff that has been going around. When the sun starts to shine longer & the winds start blow in that refreshing air that makes you want to open your sunroof & turn up the radio, you know it's time to start getting excited. When the weather starts to turn I like to bring in fresh flowers & new candles, this Capri Blue Volcano is my #1 favorite of all time. I like to update my wardrobe with at least one new pair of sandals, and I always end up in pinkish nude flip flops most days. With Easter a pink floral dress is a must! And I'm thinking that I can get rid of the diaper bag this spring & go back to a regular purse. I've got all the heart eyes for this Rebecca Minkoff vintage pink satchel! I've linked some of my favorite spring & pink products below!

XO





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Weekend Favorites


Hello Saturday! 

Ryan has been home from work travel all week & so it's felt like the weekend for us in many ways all week long. We got to meet him for lunch & go out to dinner & wake up to his gifts for us on LOVE day. It's been a nice change having him with us for all the little everyday things, like having dinner together, then cleaning out one pea that inevitably lands in Magnolia's belly button, and doing our bedtime routine & blow drying this girl's thick hair before bed. 


This week was full of all things Valentine's from Skidamarink playing on Alexa over & over, to heart jammies, pink tutu dresses, pink sprinkled donuts, & late night dinners out (late night means past seven pm).




On Valentine's Day we had dinner at my brother's restaurant Louie's Wine Dive in Waldo. He's the creative chef that made the lovely + delicious Valentine's menu that we enjoyed with a glass of prosecco and our baby doll. After dinner we took Magnolia on a tour of the kitchen! 


Magnolia's super soft + simple dress was made by my sister & shop owner Little Lucca Love. She got two of the sweetest bracelets from her daddy for Valentine's Day from Poppy Lane & Co. We had her birthstone added to one of the bracelets & the amethyst charm is a darling little touch.

What to watch this weekend? Here's a round up for you. Human Flow is on my watchlist.

I've never heard anything like this my life, black ice skating, virgin black ice is the most desirable so they say.

Two things I've got my eye on for spring & summer fun (1) the most adorable sprinkler ever (2) these rain boots for puddle jumping.

Magnolia is named after a pink restaurant in Charleston & we talk about going back all the time. I found this 48 hour itinerary & I had to bookmark it for the weekend we make it back. We cannot wait to take Magnolia to Magnolia's.

If you're into handwritten letters & cards, you'll like this custom address label stamp company & vintage stamps. I couldn't resist the address label with the magnolia & all the southern charm. A modern guide to letter writing.

All the most beautiful of flowers on Instagram.

What I'm reading right now.

100 Random Acts of Kindness, I try to do #41 each time I see the opportunity.

Ending today with this - her smile & laughter is everything to us.



XO
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