Monday, July 31, 2017

monday musings

monday musings_header

This week I wanted to do something a little different for Monday Musings. Instead of a Q&A, today's post is a memoriam to grandmother who passed away last Friday.


For Grandma

I was four years old when my parents divorced. My mother struggled with drug and alcohol addiction resulting in my dad receiving full custody of me and my one-year-old down syndrome brother. Not long after the divorce my mom moved six hours away, virtually disappearing from our lives other than an occasional phone call and summer visits.

I may not remember my parents together, but I do remember who stepped in to help my dad as he did his best to raise two children on his own: my grandmother. While she and my grandpa didn't live in the same town, or even the same state, they often made the journey to see us and us to them. My grandmother was my sounding board, my friend and my confidant while we played Barbies, baked cookies, or just went to the park. In many ways, she was my primary mother figure for many years before my dad remarried. She, along with my dad, dried my tears when I cried and gave me hugs and praise. She nurtured my love for music and did her best to teach me how to be an organized individual, though sadly that one didn't take. :)

high school and graduate school graduations

I definitely got my love for arts and crafts from my grandma - she loved to make whimsical cutout cookies, and homemade greeting cards for every special occasion. At Christmas, her tree was filled with homemade ornaments - made by my dad, uncle and aunt, my great-grandma and my grandma. The house was full of cookies - the famous cutouts, kangaroo squares, butterscotch drop cookies, just to name a few. And more importantly, the house was filled to the brim with family. (Though as I kid I mostly remembered the piles of presents).


For my grandma, there was nothing was more important than family. Her daughter, my aunt, was also born with down syndrome. In a time when children who were "different" were best left in an institution, my grandparents chose to take her home and raise her with all the love given to any other child. She was so proud of her children, all her grandchildren and delighted in her great-grandchildren. She forgot all the mess ups, mistakes and failures and only remembered the good.


Before my husband and I decided to have children, I really struggled with whether or not I would be a good mother. Or if I should even be a mother at all. My mom never really knew what to do with kids, and we didn't even really start to have a relationship until was a teenager/adult. Would I be the same with my own, disinterested - or annoyed by them - until they could behave like rational adults? After all, doesn't everything go full circle? I remembered my grandmother and realized I had an amazing example of motherhood and what it means to love family unconditionally.

grandma and aubrey_640
My grandma Ruth Lillian with her namesake Aubrey Lillian

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew without question I wanted to name her after my grandmother. It was important to me to name her after someone who played such a large role in my life, and I hoped some of her goodness and generosity of spirit would rub off on her great-grandchild. :) Everyday, I see bits of my grandmother in my daughter with her empathetic nature and desire for people to be happy.

my grandparents' 65th wedding anniversary last year

four generations
four generations

My grandmother lived a life of integrity and faith. I can't think of a better role model to have had and she's certainly a woman that I still strive to be. I truly hate goodbyes, but I know this isn't the end as I'll see her again one day in heaven. I'll value and cherish all the memories we have together. Love you grandma and am so grateful to have had you in my life.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

thoughts and whatnots: 7.30.17

7.30.17 thoughts and whatnots
gray jersey dresses: one  |  two  |  three

blog love:

on teal and polka dots:

favorite sales:

  • what I'm reading: I finished Adriana Trigiani's "The Shoemaker's Wife" in the airport so I picked up Elin Hilderbrand's "Here's to Us" to read during one of my (many) layovers on Wednesday. 
  • what I'm watching: We cut the cable at our house a few years ago, so I enjoyed watching reruns of Chopped, Full House and Golden Girls at the hotel. 
  • what I'm crushing on: With the arrival of my new sofa for my craft room/guest room, I've been trying to figure out how best to style it. Maybe something a little glitz, with bold prints like this cream fringe throw, a fun blush faux fur throw pillow, a couple of black and white ikat pillows, some sparkly gold sequin pillows and this black and white tribal lumbar pillow
  • what I'm looking forward to: After the whirlwind of this past week, I'm looking forward to a quiet Sunday at home. My grandmother passed away last Friday. Monday I caught a very early flight from Panama City to Atlanta to Detroit to Kalamazoo to arrive in time for the viewing. The funeral was Tuesday and Wednesday I flew home, but my flight in Detroit was canceled, so I had to fly to D.C. to Atlanta to Panama City adding about seven hours to my travel time. I didn't home until 9 at night (my first flight was at 7:30 a.m.), then got up and worked the next day. All completely worth it, but this momma is tired! 

Friday, July 28, 2017


pink blazer, polka dot tee and maternity jeans 3

These pictures are a from a few weeks ago that I haven't had a chance to post, but still wanted to share! There's something so fun about bright pink, especially when paired with polka dots and bow flats. Pink + polka dots + bows = things my toddler loves, so does that mean I'm dressed like a three-year-old girly-girl? Maybe...but if I am, I can't say I'm upset about it.

I love this bright hue for summer and the linen helps keep things cool with the insane humidity we've had going on in Florida. I got this blazer during the J. Crew 4th of July sale, but unfortunately the pink is sold out. However, I've noticed it popping in and out of stock in select sizes, so it's worth keeping an eye out for if you're interested. I got mine in a 16 - and obviously it's not going to button over the baby bump - but once the baby comes I think it'll fit a lot better. Right now everything's just a little wide and disproportionate, but I decided to rock it anyway. :)

pink blazer, polka dot tee and maternity jeans 5
blazer: J. Crew (exact in other colors - look for pop backs in pink, factory version)  |  top: J. Crew (similar) last worn here  |  jeans: GAP maternity (similar)  |  shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact) last worn here  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  watch: Michael Kors (exact)  |  earrings: Stella & Dot (cute alternative)

pink blazer, polka dot tee and maternity jeans 2 pink blazer, polka dot tee and maternity jeans 1 pink blazer, polka dot tee and maternity jeans 6 pink blazer, polka dot tee and maternity jeans 7 pink blazer, polka dot tee and maternity jeans 4 pink blazer, polka dot tee and maternity jeans 8

Thursday, July 27, 2017

long gray dress

maternity gray maxi dress, medallion sandals 2

As much as a love this gray jersey dress - and trust me I do cause it's soooo comfortable - I kinda feel like I'm wearing a nun's habit, abet a bit clinger/sexier than anything a nun would actually wear. And not to mention a lot more pregnant :) I bought the black version of this dress for my grandmother's funeral, and loved it so much I went back and bought it in gray and cobalt. Did I need three of the exact same dresses in different colors? Probably not, but they were all on sale for $15-20 each, so I don't feel too bad about it. And at this point, if I'm comfortable, that's ALL that matters. I think extra points should be awarded to any pregnant woman who dresses up in more than leggings and stretchy tees (which is all I want to wear, and do wear when I'm not working) - especially in summer. Though this dress feels like pajamas, so don't be fooled, I'm really just wearing jammies in disguise.

I realize it's been quiet couple of days on here. My grandmother passed away Friday afternoon and I flew up to Michigan early Monday morning for the funeral on Tuesday then flew back to Florida yesterday. I had some planned content, but honestly didn't feel like posting, I just wanted to spend time with my family and focus on them instead of blogging. I plan on writing a bit more about my grandma for next week's Monday Musings, but for now I'll just say she was an incredible woman and will be deeply missed.

maternity gray maxi dress, medallion sandals 6
dress: Motherhood Maternity (exact, non-maternity version)  |  shoes: Franco Fortini (exact)  |   necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  earrings: J. Crew Factory (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (similar)  |  bracelet: Baublebar (cute alternative)

maternity gray maxi dress, medallion sandals 4 maternity gray maxi dress, medallion sandals 1 maternity gray maxi dress, medallion sandals 3

Today makes 29 weeks pregnant, and time for the latest baby bump update! Baby boy weighs approximately 2 1/2 pounds, is about the size of a butternut squash and a tad over 15 inches long. I got the results back from the 1-hour gestational diabetes test and I was borderline, as in I was 1-point away from passing it, so now I have to go in for the 3-hour test. Gack. But I knew there was a pretty strong possibility of that happening, so I can't say it's a shocker. :) 

maternity gray maxi dress, medallion sandals 7 maternity gray maxi dress, medallion sandals 5

shop the post:

//  Sharing on Fabulous Friday.  //

Saturday, July 22, 2017

summer 10x10 recap

Summer 10x10 outfit recap
original posts: look 1  |  look 2  |  look 3  |  look 4  |  look 5  |  look 6  |  look 7  |  look 8  |  look 9  |  look 10

I did it, I completed the #Summer10x10 remix challenge! Overall it was a really positive experience, and I'm glad I participated, though I'm beyond excited to have access to the rest of my closet again. I'm learning that while a mini challenge is fun, I'm not sure a capsule wardrobe would work long term. I'm impressed and a bit envious of the folks who can keep it up for the long haul. But I'd definitely would be willing to try another mini challenge like this again. :)

For those of you just tuning in, the Style Bee started this style challenge as a way to become more creative with your closet. Using the Instagram hashtag #Summer10x10, it's a fun way to connect with other folks exploring their style. Basically, you pick out 10 items and wear them for 10 days. Tops, pants, dresses, layering pieces and shoes count toward the items, but accessories do not. You can do 10 consecutive days, but I chose to do 10 business days. I was a cheater and added an 11th item - a cream open weave cardigan - so technically I should be calling this a 11x10 remix...

10 pieces 10 outfits
* On the second day of the remix, I added an 11th - an open weave cream cardigan.

The pros:
  • Finding new ways to wear my clothing. My favorite was knotting my dotted tee over a dress. So simple, but it really made for a fun and comfortable outfit. 
  • Not having to stress about what to wear. Oh, man how I loved having that extra 5-10 minutes in the morning to sleep in the mornings. Between not that and not drying/fixing my hair, I've been sleeping in a good 15-20 minutes and it's been freaking amazing. That alone made the challenge worth it. 
  • Consistency in posting. This challenge made sure that I took outfit photos everyday and posted every day. Which means I'll have posted more in July than I have any other month during the past year! 
  • Learning the value of simplicity. While I missed the rest of my closet, sometimes it's nice not to have so many choices. While I didn't love everything I wore, it did have a consistent look and feel, which I can appreciate. :)
  • The value of quality pieces. Sometimes it's worth it to spend a little bit more on items that are going last. Ugh, the saga of the poor black Old Navy dress that looked great in pictures but horrible in real-life. It was so pilled by the end of the challenge and honestly I didn't feel very professional wearing it to work. But my nice J. Crew cardigan held up beautifully, and well as my years old chambray. Lesson learned - go for quality. 

Summer 10x10 favorite looks
favorite #Summer10x10 looks: one  |  two  |  three 

The cons (challenges):
  • Lack of flexibility. There were a couple of days where I didn't like a combination of what I was wearing, but felt like if I changed up the outfit, then I'd be wearing something from the day before, or something I planned to wear the next day and I was *trying* to keep it from looking like I was wearing the same thing over and over. 
  • Outfit fatigue. I think this really hit on day seven. I wore all my favorite outfit combinations the first week, so I just wasn't excited about what I was wearing for the second half of the challenge (though oddly, looking back it turned into one of my favorite looks). In retrospect, I would have mixed it up so my favorite outfits were more spread out. Also, toward the end we had some really hot, miserable days in Florida and and all I wanted to wear was one of my jersey dresses, but I wanted to stay faithful to the challenge, so I stuck with it. 
  • Dressing while pregnant. I felt like I was limited on items I could pick for this challenge since they had to fit the baby bump as well as have the ability to be remixed. So I didn't choose some of my favorite maternity items because I couldn't think of enough ways to wear them. 
  • More laundry. Sundays are my usual big laundry haul day, but I found myself doing mid-week loads both weeks since I could only wear an item once before it smelled. Yuck.

Summer 10x10 least favorite looks
least favorite #Summer10x10 looks: one  |  two  |  three

Going into the challenge, I worried that people in real-life would notice that I was wearing the same thing over and over, but to my surprise no one did. Or if they did, they didn't say anything. As I've mentioned before, I did really like who this challenge forced me to think about my wardrobe in a new ways. Though summer might not have been the best time to try it for the first time, only because you can't layer like you would in the fall/winter, which I think would have really helped make the outfits look a bit more unique. A cargo jacket, or another button up that could have been worn by itself or layered would have really helped with outfit longevity. I do believe the Style Bee is hosting another remix in the fall, but I probably won't participate this time around since it's so close to the baby's due date. I have a feeling I'll have my hands full! But, if I wasn't pregnant, I could definitely be down to try this again. :)

shop the post:

Friday, July 21, 2017

summer remix 10x10: look 10

black and white pencil skirt, chambray top, nudge wedge sandals 2

This is it - the last look from the #Summer10x10 remix! While it's been interesting finding new ways to wear my clothes, part of me is really looking forward to having access to the rest of my closet. :) For today's final look I paired my Old Navy striped midi skirt with a knotted chambray top - a bit reminiscent of look #7, but somehow not quite as comfortable. I think because the top and skirt hitting at the same place above my pregnant belly made everything tight and uncomfortable. At least it's the last day and as soon as work as over I'm changing into stretchy leggings and a tee. #bliss

Speaking of weekends, I'm really looking forward to this one. Everyone's in my family's been a bit under the weather, not exactly sick but just run down enough to feel lousy all week. Husband's been working a side job for the past couple of weeks that has meant 10+ hours days and working on the weekends leaving him especially tired, poor kiddo has a lingering cough and I'm having trouble sleeping from sciatic nerve pain. I think what we all need is a nice, quite weekend to recharge! Then next weekend might be a good one to start working on the baby's room - only 12 weeks (give or take) until he's here. Crazy.

black and white pencil skirt, chambray top, nudge wedge sandals 7
top: Loft (similar)  |  skirt: Old Navy (exact)  |  shoes: J. Crew Factory (similar)  |   necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (similar)  |  earrings: J. Crew Factory (exact)  |  bracelet: Baublebar (similar)

black and white pencil skirt, chambray top, nudge wedge sandals 1 black and white pencil skirt, chambray top, nudge wedge sandals 3 black and white pencil skirt, chambray top, nudge wedge sandals 4 black and white pencil skirt, chambray top, nudge wedge sandals 5 black and white pencil skirt, chambray top, nudge wedge sandals 6 black and white pencil skirt, chambray top, nudge wedge sandals 8

shop the post:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

summer 10x10 remix: look 9

maternity black pants, white and black polka dot tee, long cream cardigan 7

This almost could be subtitled "how to be hot and miserable in photos." Because I was. But I wanted to show you the ninth #Summer10x10 remix outfit as I wore it - mostly in the glorious AC - but I was dying outside while taking photos, it's so hot and humid. Thankfully these photos didn't pick up the fine sheen of sweat I had going on.

I'm seriously thinking about pulling out little bit's kiddo pool this weekend and just rolling around in cold water...from now until the heat breaks in September. :) We've had a few weeks of overcast/rainy weather, so today was the first time in awhile to be hit with the full humidity - definitely not cardigan weather.

maternity black pants, white and black polka dot tee, long cream cardigan 6
top: Forever21 + (similar)  |  pants: Loft maternity (exact, non-maternity option)  |   cardigan: Loft (exact)  |  sandals: Old Navy (exact)  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (similar)  |  bracelet: Bourbon and Boweties (exact)  |  earrings: Stella & Dot (similar)

maternity black pants, white and black polka dot tee, long cream cardigan 5 maternity black pants, white and black polka dot tee, long cream cardigan 4 maternity black pants, white and black polka dot tee, long cream cardigan 2

Today makes 28 weeks pregnant and the beginning of the third trimester! Baby and I had a good appointment with the OBGYN - even if I did have to take the gestational diabetes test, which all three times I've taken it has left me feeling a bit less than stellar. Baby boy's heartbeat is strong at 155 and everything is tracking as it should. He's approximately the size of a large eggplant, weights about 2 1/4 pounds and 14.8 inches long. Random tidbit, at this point he can now blink and has eyelashes. I'm getting more and more excited to see what he's going to look like - fair like his sister with her momma's hair and complexion and daddy's blue eyes, a polar opposite with daddy's dark hair and momma's brown eyes or a mix somewhere between?

maternity black pants, white and black polka dot tee, long cream cardigan 1 maternity black pants, white and black polka dot tee, long cream cardigan 3

shop the post:

// Sharing on Fabulous Friday. //

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

summer 10x10 remix: look 8

tan boyfriend cardigan, maternity black dress, nude wedge sandals 7_NEW

This outfit is kinda of a snooze-fest isn't it? I felt pretty cute in it, until I saw it in photos. It just photographed so blah. I needs me some color, stat! A bright sandal, a different color cardigan, a punchy necklace...something...

...or maybe it's the dress' fault? I'm beyond excited this is the last time I'll ever wear this dress. Not bad in photos, but it looks horribly worn out in real-life. While it proved to be versatile piece for the #Summer10x10 remix - layered under cardigans, with knotted tees and chambray - it just didn't hold up against multiple washing and wearings. Lesson learned: if you're going to do a remix, make sure you use good, quality pieces that can endure extended wear and tear.

While this particular dress was a bit of a disappointment, a stretchy black jersey dress is a pretty great maternity wardrobe staple. I'll definitely be on the lookout for a decent replacement. Any suggestions? While I hesitate to go with Old Navy again, I'm still tempted to order their black jersey tank dress. Only because last month I bought it's twin in navy and it's held up pretty well, the material is a bit thicker and there's been no pilling even though I've washed and worn it several times. I hate to spend a lot of money on something that I'm only going to need for a few more months. We'll see...

tan boyfriend cardigan, maternity black dress, nude wedge sandals 3_NEW
dress: Old Navy (exact, non-maternity version)  |  cardigan: J. Crew (similar)  |  sandals: J. Crew Factory (similar)  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  earrings: J. Crew Factory (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (similar)

tan boyfriend cardigan, maternity black dress, nude wedge sandals 1_NEW tan boyfriend cardigan, maternity black dress, nude wedge sandals 5_NEW tan boyfriend cardigan, maternity black dress, nude wedge sandals 6_NEW tan boyfriend cardigan, maternity black dress, nude wedge sandals 4_NEW tan boyfriend cardigan, maternity black dress, nude wedge sandals 2_NEW

shop the post: