Our Behind-the-Scenes Experience with the New Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream

For those of you who have followed along for a while, you probably know that my mom was a professional ice skater, and I basically grew up in an ice-skating rink. One of my fondest memories as a child was attending the big ice shows when they would come to town. My mom usually knew people, so she’d get us backstage passes, and we never took for granted mingling with the professional skaters and getting a behind-the-scenes look at the shows. As I’ve gotten older, I’m realized how lucky we were to be able to have these experiences and how much the ice-skating world has made such a mark on my heart.

Whenever Disney on Ice comes to town, we always make a point to attend. It’s kind of like going to Disney World- it’s just magical and you can FEEL the magic when you’re there. The smiles are priceless and the memories are too. So, when Feld Entertainment contacted me about a behind-the-scenes experience at Disney on Ice, there was zero hesitation! The best part… I got to bring my mom! After all of the years of her treating me to backstage passes, here I was getting to bring her! So amazing! With that, we headed down to Ellenton (a little over an hour from us) to get a sneak peek at the newest show Dare to Dream. Here’s a peek at our behind-the-scenes experience…

We first met the Feld staff and other bloggers/influencers with their kids in the hotel lobby and caravanned over to Feld Entertainment Studios. Once arriving, we started off with a little mat session of stretching and exercises with some of the hosts and skaters from the show! I believe this back area is where the staff let get to loose before a show. There are ping pong tables and some of the staffs lockers and looks like it’s a place they like to hang out (which the kids thought was cool). The kids thought the staff were the coolest people EVER! They were incredible with the kids, and the facility is top notch!

We were then treated to some Moana-themed snacks, in honor of the addition of Moana to the show lineup.

After our snack, we headed over to the costume area and got a hands-on presentation of some of the most elaborate, gorgeous costumes you could imagine. I mean, you see them from afar and think they’re gorgeous, but up close, they’re even more amazing. Corbin was stoked he got to hold “Maui’s hook” and Em was enamored by all of the gorgeous dresses.

After the costume designers answered a few questions and let the kids touch the props, we headed rinkside. There we got to chat with the director of the show and some of the skaters about what the new show was all about. We got to hear about technical aspects of the show, listen to some of the performers’ feedback and watch choreography practice! (My mom and I really enjoyed that!)

Next, we headed upstairs for an amazing, healthy Moana-inspired dinner, complete with crafts and goody bags for the kids! The coolest part… we got to chat one-on-one with Show Producer Nicole Feld. She was incredibly sweet and down-t0-earth and happily obliged to answer all of our questions.

After dinner was complete, we headed back down to the rink to watch the first ever public performance of Dare to Dream. It was amazing to experience being at this performance and seeing this incredible show before anyone else was able to see it! We were joined by families of the cast, crew and staff, and sat directly rinkside. As someone who has such a special appreciation for ice skating and the art of performing, this was an experience I was incredibly grateful to be a part of!

Included in the act were Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Frozen and the newest addition… Moana.

(Em dancing with her new bestie! lol She and Hollie Woodward‘s daughter Brielle were inseparable from the start!)

(Em and Corbin, after the show, excited to get on the ice!)

(with bloggers Hollie Woodward and Destiney Green)

The final cherry on the cake was after the show when we got to actually get on ice and skate with the hosts and performers. For my mom & I, this was certainly the highlight of our day. It was like a flashback to my childhood to be on the ice with my mom and all of these performers, but with the added bonus of having my own kids with me. It was heaven on earth.

If you’re looking for something fun, magical and heart-warming to do with your families, I’d highly encourage you to attend a Disney on Ice show. The newest show Dare to Dream is now touring. For a list of show dates/times and to find out when this show will be in your town, head here!

I hope you enjoyed this peek at our experience behind-the-scenes. Thanks for coming along with me! I hope you’ll get a chance to check it out for yourself when the show comes to a town near you! Got any questions? Comment below, and I’m happy to answer!

For links to any of our outfit details, shop below:

*Disney on Ice hosted and sponsored this event, but all opinions are 100% my own. There are also some affiliate links in this post, which means I get a small commission when you use my links to make purchases. Thanks, as always, for your support.

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The Quartz Countertops that I LUV, Why I Think White is Here to Stay & The Truth Behind Our Pretty Photos

Of all the questions I get on my social, some of the most frequent pertain to the countertops in my home… What are my opinions on quartz vs. granite, marble, etc? AND I’m asked ALL THE TIME how I have so much white in my house with little kids and how I keep it clean.

(Our master bathroom, featuring Ella by Cambria Quartz)

To the first question… We have had granite countertops before and now have 2 different brands of quartz countertops in our home. We started our renovations in the kitchen a couple years ago and selected our white quartz, based mostly on price and our budget. I wanted something mostly solid white, with very simple veining. The style I selected fit the bill for this, and I was pretty happy with it when installed. (More on this later…)

If you don’t know a lot about quartz, there are 2 main reasons it has become so popular…

1- It’s beautiful. To me, granite can look overly flecked and uniform. Because of the way quartz is manufactured, the patterns are all completely unique. I had the pleasure of visiting the Cambria Quartz production plant in Minnesota, and watching the materials being made was mesmerizing, to say the least. The creations are gorgeous, ornate and full of character. It has the look of marble, and {almost} everyone LUVs marble. But unlike marble…

2- Quartz is super low maintenance! Granite and marble both require regular maintenance and need to be sealed regularly, as they are extremely porous. Quartz is typically pretty stain repellent and naturally impervious to acidic substances. While real marble is absolutely gorgeous aesthetically, if you are going to choose this material for your home, you must be completely open to the idea that stains and etching could be inevitable. Quartz requires zero sealing and is more likely to maintain its original character, as it is highly durable.

I often follow the second question (about how I have so much white with kids) by reminding my followers that what you see is not always what you get when it comes to a bloggers’ photos. Typically I’m photographing a space that is freshly cleaned, and for every clean space that’s being photographed, there’s typically a mound of laundry or some other type of mess hiding just behind that space. Having said that, I believe there is something to be said for light surfaces, in terms of keeping them clean. The granite countertops we previously had were a dark blend of blacks and metallics, and quite honestly, you’d never even know if they were dirty, because they hid EVERYTHING. While some may find this idea nice, the thought of what lurked beneath what meets the eye always gave me the heeby jeebies. When a surface in my home is dirty, I know. I can feel confident when food touches my countertops that they’re not bacteria-ridden, both because I keep them cleaner (because they are white) and because they aren’t porous.

So to prove to you my point that bloggers’ photos are not always an accurate depiction for what everyday life looks like, I’m going to show you some staged photos of my kids’ bathroom vanities and then show you what they look like more often than not…

Here’s how my daughter’s bathroom came together. The color we selected is Ella.

OK, now let’s be real… Here’s a more accurate depiction of how her bathroom typically looks. Em’s daily rituals are as bright as her personality. She likes to come home from school and add a rainbow of hair chalk to her hair. She usually has the hamster on her countertops while she brushes her teeth. And, despite the fact that she’s 8 years old, she LUVs applying makeup.

I mean, you can be afraid of white surfaces all day long. But for me… what’s scarier is thinking about what my kids put on their countertops (ahem… hamster butt) and not being able to see if they are actually clean. Non-porous sounds pretty good, when you think of it this way, huh?!

Corbin, on the other hand, is a certified neat-freak, like his mama. He doesn’t like anything to be dirty. But one thing that seems to linger is toothpaste residue. (Someone tell me why children always get more toothpaste on the countertops and in their sinks than their actual toothbrushes?!) AND, like Em, there’s often an animal on the counter. He has had a fish here for the last year, that just passed, rest his soul. But the kids put the dog on the counter to drink water out of the sink and Em tends to bring her hamster in here as well. So, again, I really like that their surfaces are non-porous. Here’s what his vanity area looks like when I typically photograph it for my social…

And what it more frequently looks like…

 

So, as you can see, non-porous is the key when suspicious bacterias could be lurking on your surfaces. (Ahem, dog on counter and then toothbrush in mouth…)

While I would have LUV’d to do unique designs in each of our bathrooms, we decided to keep a unified look throughout the house, for both resale value and budgetary reasons. We used white shaker cabinets through our kitchen, bathrooms & laundry room and simply chose different hardware and finishes, to make each space a little unique from the other. Like I mentioned before, we chose a quartz countertop brand based on price when we first did our kitchen, and the bathroom renovations came a year later. After a year of using our kitchen quartz (not Cambria), I wasn’t completely happy with the durability of them. They do, in fact, scratch a little and they have become a little more dull than I had hoped. So when we went to select the quartz for our bathroom renovations, I went with the brand I had coveted from the beginning… Cambria. Cambria’s cutting-edge technologies make their designs more durable and higher-quality than all of their competitors. Some key notes I learned about Cambria when visiting their facility last winter…

  • Cambria is American-made!
  • Cambria is a quartz surface product made of 93% pure, natural quartz- one of the hardest and most common minerals on Earth.
  • Cambria offers more variation than any other quartz manufacturer. (AND, recently introduced a matte finish material into their product line as well.)
  • It is non-porous, scratch and stain resistant, maintenance free and never needs sealing! Liquids and bacterias are never absorbed.
  • Cambria invests extensively in research and development, delivering the most technologically advanced surfaces available in the market.

So, in a nutshell, Cambria leads the way in technological advances, when it comes to quartz countertops, and seeing with my own eyes how it is made, I really was able to see what makes it the best. All of that aside, I can speak through experience that it really is superior when it comes to quartz countertops. Our kitchen quartz (not Cambria) has scratched, chipped and stained. Something I never thought would happen. We’ve now had Cambria in our bathrooms and laundry room for more than a year and have not seen one scratch, one stain or one imperfection. (This post may be sponsored, but that is a fact and my own experience and 100% truthful!)

Having said all of this, our “white’ish” Cambria quartz countertops have been one of the best design decisions I have made in our home. Again, I LUV that I can always see if they are dirty and I LUV the versatility of the design. In my next home, maybe I’ll go outside my comfort zone with a little color (who knows?!). But I’ve been extremely happy with how cohesive the designs in our home feel. I’m guessing white is going to stick around a while. It’s versatile; (You can change out the hardware and/or decor and have a different look.) It’s bright and beautiful; and I think it’s here to stay.

Got any other questions about my experience with the countertops in my home? Just ask!

Shop the items in my bathroom (and similar):

Shop the items in my kids’ bathrooms (and similar):

* This blog post was sponsored, but it was arranged a year AFTER having chosen Cambria for our home on our own. This experience has 100% been our own, and I agreed to do this collaboration because of my positive experience with the brand.

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3 Easy Ways to Spruce Up Your Living Spaces, as Featured Live on Great 38 Tampa Bay

Today I was live on Great 38 Tampa Bay talking easy tips to spruce up your own living spaces!

Shop my outfit details:

YOU CAN WATCH THE ENTIRE CLIP OF MY LIVE SEGMENT BY CLICKING BELOW!

Cheap ways to spruce up your place

I’m sure you find yourself often scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz and many other image forums oogle’ing over gorgeous photos of interiors, wondering how you can possibly make your own home look that good! Then, if I had to guess… you probably head to your local home decor store (Homegoods, most of the time, I’m guessing) and add tons of items to your cart, only to get home and scratch your head and wonder what the heck you spent all that money on and why is it doing nothing for the overall aesthetic of your living spaces??? Yep, I know that routine. I did it for years, and I’ve talked to SO many people who are all too familiar with the same scenario. I’ve finally got a few years of styling experience under my belt now, and I’ve acquired some tactics for avoiding this scenario. Today, on Great 38 Tampa Bay, I was featured on a live segment discussing 3 easy ways to spruce up your home, and even some easy tips to transition your home from spring to fall. Below I’m breaking it down for you a little more and sharing with you some of my favorite pieces you can purchase without even leaving your home. So, without further ado, here are 3 things you can do to spruce up your living spaces…

#1- ADD GREENERY

(Source: Studio McGee)

Take the room  in the photo above, for example. The crisp white walls. The rug is perfect. The neutral furniture makes the room feel bright and airy, and the textured pillows bring the perfect amount of style to this coastal-inspired space. But that fiddle leaf fig in the background… well, it definitely completes the room and gives life to this space. Fiddle leaf fig trees are all over my house. (Apparently when I LUV something, I need it everywhere!)

Below, in my bedroom, you can see how a faux fiddle leaf gives my neutral bedroom the life it needs!

Here are some links to some great fiddle leaf trees you can add to your own home:

I mentioned on the show the use of air plants, succulents and terrariums and how you can change out faux stems in a vase to change your greenery season to season, in an affordable way. I also luv adding subtle greenery to vases and bowls. Even unique items that you already have in your home can be used as vases for simple greenery and botanicals. (For instance, I like to use patterned bowls I have as planters.) Whether you use a few of your favorite vases and planters and add some real greenery or choose faux, you’ll be amazed at the difference greenery can add to your space.

(Source: Becki Owens)

Dress up a room, add gorgeous furniture, the trendy paint color of the moment, all of the best accessories… Step back and you’ll STILL wonder what the heck it’s missing until you add a little greenery. Look at ANY styled photo of a gorgeous room. I can almost guarantee it’s completed with a little greenery.

Shop some of my favorite planters, vases, plants and botanicals (faux & real):

#2- BE MINDFUL WITH TEXTILES

(Source: House of Jade Interiors)

The use of textiles can sometimes confuse people. I’ve had a lot of people ask me through the years strategies for mixing pillows/throw blankets and how to coordinate them with patterned rugs, curtains, etc. The thing to remember when using textiles is to first start with a color or style that speaks to you.  Browse Pinterest and decide what style you’re consistently gravitating to. Once you’ve figured out what style you LUV the most, it makes it a little easier to find photos or designers to draw inspiration from. When I used to take clients, I would always tell them to start from the ground up. So, if you don’t plan to change your rug (this is obviously a more expensive piece to change than throw pillows) and/or your curtains, take into consideration their colors/patterns when choosing your other textiles- throw pillows and blankets, fabric benches or poufs, etc.

I would say to first decide whether your style calls for simple, clean lines or if you like a more dramatic style. If you prefer simple, maybe the majority of your room calls for solid colors with one or 2 simple patterns.

(Source: Michelle Janeen)

If you like drama and color, don’t be afraid to mix patterns. Some of my favorite rooms are a masterpiece of mixed patterns. But here’s the key… keep in mind size, scale and texture. Mix solids with stripes, patterns and textures. But try to coordinate a color story and mix up the scale of the different patterns so they don’t clash or fight each other.

Below you can see how Em Henderson used a base of blues with pops of pink. The blues are slightly different shades, but they blend well. Since she has a patterned rug and used the same color for curtains, the solid panels blend and don’t fight with the other patterns. Then she added in different sizes of stripes in the pillows (including the colors that she chose to accent with) and a couple solid throw pillows to ground the patterns. But you’ll notice there is a consistent theme.

If you’re going to do a pattern, try to change the size and scale. I tend to think the addition of one or two leather pieces always grounds a lot of color and busy patterns. For me, the photo below is no exception. I just luv the styles she mixes in this room. (And again, notice the fiddle leaf fig in the corner.)

(Source: Emily Henderson)

One of my favorite things to do is use a base of solid pillows, add one or two that are patterned and then one or two that are textured, for depth. Below is a photo from my recent family room makeover. I transitioned this room from a more simple, neutral space to a parade of colors by adding a mixture of patterns through textiles. The rug has shades of blues, browns and rusty hues. Even though all of the pillows are a different pattern, the underlying colors are the same as, or complementary to, the rug. I grounded the ends with a fur pillow and a Moroccan pillow to add texture, and to anchor the sides with a solid color.

(Source: me)

Regardless of whether you want simple or dramatic, my biggest piece of advice is to invest in base pieces (the more expensive pieces) in colors and/or patterns that you love and that you think are versatile and will want to keep around for a while. Invest in a large rug you LUV. I LUV the base rug I have in my family room because it is neutral. I can use it alone or layer it with another rug, like I did in the photo above, to change up the look of the space. In the spring, add bright throw pillows in whites, blues, pinks, patterns. Come fall, I LUV richer tones like deep blues and greens and jewel tones. But my VERY favorite way to add texture for fall & winter is with the use of faux fur. As mentioned on a the show, use solid velvet pillows and add in a fur pillow or blanket, like West Elm did below.

(Source: West Elm)

So, the take-away here.. make sure you try to find a way to find continuity, cohesiveness. Ground the room in furniture pieces you’re sure to LUV over time. Then, use a base of solids, with a pattern or two, and anchor with some texture. OR… if you’re going for lots of patterns, play with the scale and size and find a theme.

Shop some of my favorite throw pillows & blankets and more for fall:

#3- ADD DECOR THAT FUNCTIONS

The final design tip I mentioned on the show was using decor with purpose. PERSONALLY, I believe less is more when it comes to design. I do not like a lot of “stuff” out, so I find it’s often very important to choose decor that has a purpose. I showcased how you could use a jewelry or storage box as storage for your remotes on your coffee table.

I’m also all about using baskets. Use them for extra blanket/pillow storage…

(Source: Joanna Gaines)

Or use on shelves for all of those extra decor items that get filtered in and out of your rooms. The ones you want easy access to, but don’t want them visible. In the photo below, you can see how I use 4 baskets on the shelves in my front sitting room. In these baskets, I throw extra decor items that I don’t want to currently use, magazines, photos, puzzles that the kids and I use when sitting in this room and dog toys. I rely on these baskets to keep the room looking clutter-free AND they give a great aesthetic appeal to the room at the same time.

(Source: me)

Use a basket for a bunch of photos that you don’t have in albums yet. Use them in entryways for shoes or to hold pet bags, leashes, items you need to access regularly, like I did in my entryway shown below… (You can also see I use a decorative bowl for our keys and a cute tray for all of our sunglasses.)

(Source: me)

Have you always wondered what to do with all of those design magazines you like to keep but don’t have a place for? Throw them in baskets!

(Source: Pinterest, unknown)

Whatever you do with them. Baskets always add texture, style and function. Shop some of my favorite baskets, trays and decorative storage:

I hope you enjoyed my live segment AND all of the tips I provided above! And thanks for tuning in! 🙂

Shop the exact items I featured on my live segment on Great 38 Tampa Bay! Thank you to West Elm Tampa for lending me all of these items! xxoo

*Affiliate links have been used in this blog post. Which means, I get a small commission when you purchase any of the items I’ve suggested. Thanks, as always, for your support.

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My Modern-Boho Family Room Update & a $500 Giveaway to Interior Define

You may remember the design I put together for this makeover…

Well, here it is! We’ve been talking about this family room makeover for months, and I was so excited for the final pieces to arrive to get it put together! We’ve changed everything from the ground, up. A new rug, new furniture, new decor… The crowning jewel is our brand new velvet sofa by Interior Define! We’d had our IKEA slipcover sofa for a couple years, and while it more than served its purpose and worked well with young kids, my husband has always complained he wanted something more substantial. He wanted deeper cushions and something with a bit more structure. And total honesty, I was getting kinda sick of washing the slipcovers. Our new sofa seats way more people comfortably; I luv the u-shape of our Sloan Sectional, and luv that more than one person has the chaise lounge to kick their feet up. If you want to hear about how I selected this particular sofa and why I chose the fabric that I did, make sure to check out my previous blog post

Now, let’s talk about the new rug situation… When we made plans to makeover this room, of course I ran quickly to the idea of a new rug. If you’ve been with me a while, you know good and well that I have rug ADD and will take any excuse I can get to switch up my rug situation. I’ve been eyeing this top rug for about 2 years now. I even used it in a client’s home over a year ago, in an attempt to get it out of my system. But seeing it in her home, I wanted it for myself even more. So when this room makeover came to fruition, I knew this rug needed to make its debut in this spot RIGHT HERE, with ME… her lucky mama. Instead of using a rug pad, I decided to make use of this natural fiber rug that I had laying around. I’ve used it in this room before and have used it alone AND layered with several other rugs I have. This current situation, however… is my FAV. If you also LUV the layered rug look and are looking for a great layering rug to use, this one might be the perfect one for you. Again, it’s also great alone, if you want the total neutral look. But I luv how this layered look is soft on my feet, with added texture.

Shop my rugs:

I purchased this new coffee table (full price), only to discover it went on clearance right after I purchased it! {Insert eye roll.} But my loss is your gain. You can get this gorgeous, real wood, brass-edged coffee table (from my favorite store on the planet) for less than $300. I paid double. {Insert double eye roll.} All of that aside, it’s a gorgeous piece, made of real oak. It has the look of a vintage cutting board and has a gorgeous brass banding around it’s edge that blends perfectly with the brass feet of the new sofa and the brass in our barstools and other decor throughout this room.

Over the last couple years, I’ve streamlined our decor to cleaner lines, more modern, with a subtle coastal vibe. When I went to looking for a new statement piece for this wall, I knew I wanted the piece to embody that direction in every way. Insert introduction to Kara Rosenlund. Kara’s art has been featured in Elle, InStyle and a million other notable publications. Kara is an Australian Travel Photographer and was recently named by UK Interiors Elle Decoration as “a modern day Martha Stewart”. She really is talented beyond belief. Her limited-edition prints are signed and stamped, and if you decide to purchase one, you will be investing in a valuable piece that I bet will stay with you a very long time. Check her out. You won’t regret it. I’m legit OBSESSED with my Diver Photographic Print. FYI- Mine is the large.

Shop the items (and similar) on my console wall (MY FAV: my new record player):

The tree is real, but here is a similar faux option if you’re thumb is brown like mine!

I know you also want to talk about my current pillow situation. Pretty much everywhere you look right now, you’re seeing global inspired textiles, mudcloth & natural dyed cushion covers. I found this amazing Etsy store that carries all of the above. I’ve linked a couple of the ones you see here in the shopping carousel below, but definitely peruse the entire shop, because there is so much goodness, it’s hard to even know where to begin!

Since there isn’t enough room for a big side table, I knew I wanted to add a floor lamp to have reading light. Like with the other pieces I’ve selected, I wanted something modern, with simple lines, and I really wanted to bring in some touches of white. I’ve added a lot of color this time, but I still luv my white! This floor lamp is from the same place as the new rug, and it could not be more perfect! The Mine has been my go-to for unique home decor pieces. (It’s also my go-to for unique cabinet hardware.) If you’re looking for literally ANYTHING, you’re likely to find it at The Mine.

PS- Really good faux greenery can be hard to find. But I LUV this one.

I hope you like what we did with the space! Believe it or not, we’re actually not completely finished with the space, as we are currently working on a custom built-in wall unit for the other side of this room. (Stay tuned to see how that comes together.) But I have to say, I absolutely luv the reintroduction of some color into our home. For anyone who may ask, the paint color did not change. It is still Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige and the window treatments are Wendy Bellissimo for Smith & Noble. For all other items, shop the carousel below…

Shop the items my family room makeover:

So, wait for it… here’s the real kicker! Interior Define has agreed to offer one of my lucky followers a $500 credit toward the item of their choice! All you have to do is follow THIS LINK and enter your email to enter! The giveaway ends August 14 at midnight CST.  Cannot combine offer with any other offer. May only be used on orders greater than $1,000. Good luck, y’all!

Thanks for following along! PLEASE leave your thoughts in the comments below! I’d REALLY REALLY LUV to know what you think!

*Some items in this post have been either partially or fully gifted/sponsored. Some affiliate links have also been used, which means I get a small commission if you make any purchases with the links I have provided. As always, thanks so much for your support! Lots of LUV! :-*

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A Personal “Journal” Entry… A Stamp on My Passport 8/4/17

I’ve never really shared anything personal on here before, but I’ve woken up today with a deep yearning to speak my story and zero idea with how to do it. God has spoken to my heart, and what I heard was that sharing my passions is great, but sharing my real story could be a lot more important. You see, I think of life as one big passport. And our major ups and downs are stamps that God puts on our pages. And they don’t go away; they just accumulate to a book of adventures and stories and memories. And documenting them can sometimes give us something enriching to look back on after those times have passed; been lived and enjoyed and processed. So here I am. Writing this personal “journal entry” in this world that I usually only share the “good”, “the beautiful”, and the “exciting”. But there are more stamps on my passport. And I feel like this one needs to be documented. For me, and me only. And if this story touches just one other person or gives one other person that ability to see things from a different perspective or help them feel more inclined to share their own story, than that is all the more reason God has put this stamp on my pages… So here goes nothin.

Yesterday was a rough day. As I’m typing this, I really can’t believe I’m putting this out there. But I’ve expressed before that sometimes the best way for me to process things is to be completely transparent. With a large network here (and I’m extremely grateful for that) sometimes I have a hard time talking to people one-on-one about things, as it can be hard to rehash things that are hard over and over. But sometimes if I feel like if everyone already knows the personal parts of my life, it makes it easier for me to deal  with pain openly and not feel like I have to process it alone. I’ve done a lot of psychological evaluation on myself, and I think I’ve come to understand why I am this way. And I accept it and just try to do whatever feels right in the moment when it comes to this platform, despite the opinion I’m certain I’ll get from others. This is, after all, MY page to share my story and my thoughts. So, here I am…

Anyway, I’ve had a long several months on a journey of discovering my own personal health, all the while trying to decide if it was God’s will for us to have one more baby. We’d been “officially” out of the game for almost 5 years. (You can speculate what that means.) For more than 4 years, I had never looked back on that decision. After having one girl and one boy, I’d always felt “done”. God had given us everything we possibly needed to complete this family, and “complete” I have always felt. Until about year 4 years later when I started to realize that my littlest was off to full-time school soon. I started to process this thought, and with each passing day, I started second-guessing that big decision we’d made at such a young age. You see, my husband and I met when I was a freshman in highschool. We’ve dated since I was a freshman in college, and we got married and had children before most of our friends. We were still pretty young when we had our children. (I had my daughter at 25, and my son at 28.) So looking back on this this decision that we were “done”,  I’m now thinking we were merely babies just starting life. So skip 4 years later, we decided to put ourselves back in and see where it led us. I’ll skip a lot of the details {for now}, but after what feels like an extremely long journey… it’s been about a week now that I’ve found out I was finally pregnant.

I’ve felt like the Earth had literally tilted its axis and put everything just perfectly in place for me. I’ve literally felt like the luckiest girl in the world. And yesterday I woke up and had to face the realization that this baby wasn’t going to make it to earth this go-round with me. I know I was SUPER early on, and I can only imagine how other women must feel after being much further along. But to me, I was already so invested. So attached. So insanely happy. So, here I am this morning. We’re packing up to go to the beach. And all those things (minus one) I still have to be perfectly happy about and grateful for. I still feel “complete” in so many other senses of the word. But this lingering pain in my heart is so hard to process and so hard to understand and I find myself constantly questioning where to go next. I’m emotionally exhausted, yet all of the questions remain and cannot be ignored or replaced with other emotions. I’m 100% aware that “whatever will be, will be” and that “it is in God’s hands” and “everything happens for a reason”. So, no offense, but please spare me the cliches. I’m probably the biggest believer of this knowledge. And that knowing is definitely helping me accept this position I’m in and will help me move forward. But today, at this moment, I just need to feel. Feel this pain and yet still reflect on the blessings that are right in front of me. Maybe that’s why we ironically had this beach weekend planned for today? When this first started happening yesterday, I was so upset. How could this happen right before our beach trip? This trip was going to be so perfect. Watching our babies play on the sand, holding my husband’s hand with one hand and the blossoming baby in my womb with the other. EVERYTHING was literally perfect in my world. But today, my reality has changed. Yet I still have these 2 beautiful babies in front of me to be so extremely thankful for. I have a husband who has been so incredibly selfless on this journey with me, taking every single step without question. Because he knows my heart and holds it so carefully in his hands. He’d literally do anything to make me happy, and this process has taught me that more than ever.

So, I’m going to pack up our suitcases and our car and head to our own little paradise 30 minutes away, process my pain, all the while thanking God for this place I’m at in life. And I won’t ignore the sadness in my heart, but I also won’t let another opportunity for a stamp on my passport to go by without being in the moment of it. This last weekend before my youngest baby goes to Kindergarten and my big girl goes to THIRD GRADE!? What?! I don’t know how I got here so fast, but it’s been so much amazing, and I don’t want these moments to go by without appreciating the time I have with the babies God HAS given me. Right here in front of me.

Before I could do it, though, I needed to put this out there. To acknowledge the truth of this moment in this time of my life. So here it is, raw and real. If you’re still with me, thanks for letting me open up about this very real experience in my life. If not, that’s OK. This “stamp” was more for my documenting than anyone else’s. And it will always be here in my pages. Part of me.*Please forgive any grammatical errors. The words were coming quickly, and not overly-checked.

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My Picks for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

It’s that time again! The best sale of the year! And there are a couple more days of early access before the sale is open to the public. What does this mean? If you have a Nordstrom card, you have early access to all of the hottest items before the general public does. If you do NOT have a Nordstrom card, you can start previewing the items you want and then you’ll be able to shop them after the 20th. Since there are thousands of items up for grabs, I’ve done the leg work for you! I spent hours and hours and literally browsed every single item, and here I’ve rounded up my very favorites by category!

The Items I LUV the MOST:

Handbags & Accessories:

Mules:

Boots & Other Shoes:

Woman’s Clothing:

Casual Tees:

Denim:

 

Fitness:

Jackets & Outerwear:

 

Beauty & Skincare:

Below I’ve styled a couple complete looks with some of my favorite items to show you how I would style these awesome pieces together. No matter how YOU style these items, I’d suggest stocking up on the great basics… tees, denim, boots, sunnies… and you’re sure to be able to make tons of great looks now and carrying you into the fall/winter months!

Shop this look:

Shop this look:

Happy shopping to all you crazy kids! Follow along on my ig stories, and I’ll be giving you a little more detail about my favorite items, how I’d style pieces and what I really think you should grab quickly!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I get paid a small commission when you click on my links and purchase things. As always, thanks for your support!

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Choosing my New Sofa With Interior Define {and my Family Room Update Design Plan}

You’ve been hearing me talk about our family room makeover for a while, and I’m finally getting close to the finish line here, so I thought I’d give you an update. (Scroll to the bottom of this post to see the full design plan I created.) We decided a while ago that we really wanted to pick a new sofa for the space, but we’d looked around locally and couldn’t decide on one that we LUV’d. So I hit the Internet and good ol’ Instagram to search for a brand that had designs that were modern, affordable and unique. That’s when I stumbled upon Interior Define. If you follow their Instagram, you’ve seen a lot of their designs in action, and I’m sure you’ll agree that their product is extremely unique. Though some may find it a little intimidating to order a sofa online, with all of the photos that other people have posted of I/D items in their own homes, and all of the reviews on the website, I felt extremely comfortable with ordering. In addition, the fact that I could choose my own unique design, from the style to the fabric to the feet, made me even more excited. I LUV’d the fact that the sofa we would order would be made specifically for us.

So, I ordered some fabric samples (at no cost at all) and got to choosing a sofa…

You can choose 5 samples to order at a time, but I did this twice so that I could really have a good variety to choose from. When you order your swatches, you even have the ability to check “Kid & Pet Friendly Fabrics”, so I only chose fabrics from this category to consider.

After much deliberation, we narrowed it down to the Sloan U-Shape Sectional and we chose the Mod Velvet in the “Greige”. We also went with the Brass Plated L-Legs to go with our gray and brass barstools. The Website gives you the ability to design your piece and see what it actually looks like. Here’s how ours shows…

Once we’d selected a sofa, I went to choosing the other items for the room, and here’s the design I came up with… The sofa shown in the design below is not the U-Shape like we ordered, but the software I used to create this design didn’t have the exact sofa. But this is a close version, and I really wanted to see how it looked with all of the other items together.

The art shown here is not exact either, but it’s similar colors from the artist that we ordered from. You’ll have to wait to see the full room reveal to see the actual print we chose from Kara Rosenlund’s collection. It turned out gorgeous, so we are so excited!

The sofa is expected to arrive this month, so be on the lookout for the full reveal soon! And to get you REALLY excited… with the full reveal, I’ll be giving away a credit for you to put toward your very own I/D item! So stay tuned to LUVBEC.COM!

Here are the shoppable links to some of the other items that we’ll be featuring in our family room makeover:


*This post was partially sponsored by I/D but all opinions and ideas are my own. I have not actually received the sofa yet, so I can not yet speak to the quality of the sofa until I receive it, but stay tuned to my next post which should reflect my opinions on the actual piece we ordered and to see how it looks in the room. Other affiliate links are mentioned in this post, and I receive a small commission if you purchase these items. Thank you for your continued support.

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My Husband’s Modern, Rustic “Man Cave”/Office Space

We’ve finally completed my husband’s office, so I thought I’d share a peek of it with y’all. He wanted it to offer a sitting area with a “man cave” kind of feel, a desk space for when he works from home and shelving for all his knick-knacks. The shelves are not styled perfectly as they’re more for function than to humor my LUV of shelf styling. (He prefers function over fashion… so weird.) Not pictured in the other corner is his Pottery Barn desk that he picked out, but again, it hasn’t been styled very pretty, so I spared you the photos for now. It is a beauty though. His sofa is this one, but here’s a less expensive option that is almost a spitting image.

I’ve linked the items in the carousel at the bottom of this post. The art above his sofa is a print by the AMAZING CC & Mike print shop! It was super affordable, came rolled up, and I found the inexpensive frame at Hobby Lobby. I’d been on the hunt for a live-edge coffee table and the one I’d been wanting from World Market had been sold out for months! I finally found this one at Homegoods, but the super similar one from World Market appears to be restocked for the moment. I’ve linked that at the end of this post as well.

Hope you enjoyed! Let me know what you think in the comments! 🙂

Shop his office:

*I have not been compensated for this post, but I have included affiliate links. I receive a small commission when you purchase the items I have recommended. Thanks for your support!

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Setting Up for Summer… Our New Outdoor Furniture with LexMod

Our back”yard” space has needed some affection for quite some time. Our garage is detached in the back of our home, and the space in between the main home and our garage isn’t all that big. In addition, our pool takes up a good deal of that space. So… being strategic with the furniture is crucial.

We decided on a different set-up than we had before, and opted for a larger dining table (the previous one only sat 4) as we are constantly entertaining and usually need more seats. I fell in LUV with this set from LexMod Furniture. I’m still waiting on some lounges as well, but I can tell you I’m so smitten with this set that I could scream it from the rooftops! I wanted light and neutral and weather-proof, and this set totally fits the bill. It’s already been rained on several times and the water just repels right off of it. It’s also easy to wipe clean and the seating is large and comfortable.

I added a striped rug, my favorite tree and these insanely affordable lanterns. (I’m telling you these are triple the price anywhere else!) Globe lights are a must IMO for any outdoor dining space! They create the perfect ambiance for an outdoor mealtime experience, and this lantern is the perfect touch for my modern farmhouse decor.

I hope you like what we’ve done with the space! As our lounges arrive, you may see we do some rearranging, so keep an eye here to see how the space evolves with the addition of those pieces. Cheers to summer living and time with the people we LUV the most! Let me know what you think in the comments! xxoo

Shop our outdoor space:

*I worked with LexMod on this post, and items were sponsored, but opinions are all my own and 100% true. Affiliate links are also included in this post, and I receive a small commission when you purchase any of the items I have suggested. Thanks for your support!

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My Picks for the Nordstrom Half Yearly SALE

I went to the mall yesterday to scope out the sales and try to get an idea of what I think y’all will LUV this half-yearly sale… my local store did not have as great a selection on clothes this sale (sometimes the store can be harder to shop, because items are more randomly dispersed, and there are tons of people), but I did buy 3 pairs of shoes! (Don’t judge.) My husband got some great deals as well! So I hopped online and did a little more research and found tons of items I LUV and know you will too! Skip the crowds and lines, and shop my favs below! I believe all of these (or at least most) are currently 40% off (some designer pieces 33%)! I’m familiar with a good deal of these brands, so if you’ve got any questions… just ask! Happy shopping!

Shoes:

Clothes:

Accessories:

Girl’s clothes:

Boy’s clothes:

*Luv, Bec receives a small commission when you purchase the items I’ve recommended. However, please be assured, I would never recommend something I did not truly LUV! Thanks for your support!

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