We Have Moved!

8.30.2015


Hello dear readers! Primarily Inspired has found a new home over at WordPress! It was such the process in switching from Blogger to our new hosted site, but it was well worth all the blood, sweat, and tears! 

All new posts can be located using the same domain: http://theprimarilyinspired.com
Can’t wait to see you there!

Bumpdate - Week 12

8.25.2015

Do you see that? I actually, and officially, am in bump status beginning this week. Well, in a way I have had a little bump for a while, but technically it was just bloat. However, now I can officially say that my little nugget in there has made his debut and there’s no denying I look pregnant now. I feel like the moment I had to make my very first maternity shirt purchase was a strong indicator of what was to come and the reality hit that we’re actually doing this. We’re actually having a baby.


It’s week 12 and this marks a special place in pregnancy time because finally the bouts with nausea have subsided, I’m capable of getting a decent night’s rest, and best of all I’m beginning to feel like a human again. Not quite pre-pregnancy, but human nonetheless and I’ll take it.

From about week 5 up until a couple weeks ago, nausea was at it’s worst and I didn’t feel like eating a thing. Sprite and ginger ale were my friends, breakfast, lunch and dinner consisted of Saltines, and all of a sudden I was dealing with insomnia and a headache every now and then. Not totally miserable, but miserable enough to make me question if this would be my one and only child.

But, alas I had survived and the whole time I kept in mind that there are millions of other women out there who are experiencing way worse symptoms than I or are dealing with the difficulty of even getting pregnant. So, it helped me keep a proper perspective even when I felt like crap. Every moment of this pregnancy is cherished and it’s a reminder of how blessed we truly are.

On to the good stuff that you came here for...

Feeling // Pretty good! We had our 12 week checkup today with the doctor and hearing my baby’s heart beat always puts a smile on my face. Sleep is coming easier and I’m now a side-sleeper with a body pillow to snuggle up next to. This helps me gain more energy during the day although walking tires me out pretty quickly.

Craving // a large Italian combo sandwich from Panera. Just loaded with all the meaty-goodness. I also miss raw foods such as oysters and sushi, pate, and charcuterie plates!

Food Favorites // I’m loving french toast, bagels with cream cheese, and french fries. Also, I’m staying within my caffeine allotment and allow myself to enjoy a tall iced caramel macchiato from time to time.

Pros of this week // We just returned from our trip to San Francisco and I loved getting to eat all kinds of fabulous foods (OMG deviled eggs anyone?!) and walk around seeing all the sights. I love that my appetite has made a quick return just in time for our trip.

A photo posted by Kelly Daniel (@kjdaniel1) on

Oh, and another pro are the amazing invention that is the maternity legging! They are the most comfortable pants and I love that the band goes right up and over my little belly. Seriously living in these.

Cons of this week // Being in-between sizes. I know my body is only beginning to shift and change and the self-esteem is taking a little bit of a hit. Nothing quite fits right and I find myself wearing the same basics over and over again: jeans + basic maternity top.

Anticipating // The beginning of the school year and getting back to work. Now that I’m slowly gaining more energy I’m ready to get up and moving! I’m also anticipating fall and the return of the PSL!

An Exciting Announcement

8.19.2015

WE’RE PREGNANT!

11 weeks to be exact and it’s been quite the surprise to keep on the DL. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m pretty horrible at keeping secrets, especially when it comes to surprises or exciting announcements like this one.

Our road to pregnancy...
After we miscarried back in March the husband and I made a decision that we would officially be trying to conceive. At first, and to be totally honest, the first few months afterward were very stressful for both Philip and I. Once we green lit trying to conceive I went crazy. I began tracking my ovulation, pretty much scheduling intimacy with my husband, and going through hundreds of dollars worth of pregnancy tests. Just to feel disappointed when Aunt Sue came at the end of all that effort.

After a few tough conversations and realizing my relationship was being strained by this need to get pregnant, I finally snapped back to reality and reflected on what I was doing wrong in attempts to see so badly those positive lines across a pregnancy test. We wanted to know that if we got pregnant it would happen naturally and be out of love, like all babies should be.

We found out we were pregnant shortly after our 4th of July trip to Las Vegas with our friends. It just so happened that the very same weekend Aunt Sue was to arrive and I was eager to see if I would be late or not. Luckily she never showed up and it was then I knew somehow, deep down, that we brought home an unexpected souvenir from Hawaii.


To see that we were pregnant brought on all kinds of emotions. We were so excited but yet nervous too. Our miscarriage caused us to approach this pregnancy with caution as we didn’t want to get too excited too quickly in case something were to happen. However, I got to the point where I wasn’t going to censor my excitement because of fear. If we were to lose the pregnancy I was determined to love and cherish every moment I had. Luckily everything has been perfect and we made it to our first doctors appointment at 7 weeks, got to see our baby and hear its heartbeat at 8 weeks, and learned we were having a boy after our genetic screening test.

And not to mention, this was a huge reason behind why I’ve been so absent these past few months on the blog. The first trimester brought on nausea and extreme tiredness to the point where even the thought of putting my thoughts to words was exhausting. But, now that we’re marching right into our second trimester and I’m getting my energy back I'm looking forward to sharing our pregnancy journey with you all!

xoxo

Dusting off some cobwebs...

8.18.2015

Hello and look who is dusting off some cobwebs around here. I know, I know, it’s been long overdue to get on here and share with you all what the hell has been keeping me so busy and away from this here little blog of mine. I promise it’s not all that exciting, but yet very exciting all at the same time.


I know, that doesn’t really explain much does it? Well, there are multiple reasons I’ve been away from the blog.

One of which just happens to be an overall feeling of uninsipiration (insert made-up word) to write. I never knew this was something that was going to last longer than just a few days and yet it somehow turned into months. I’ve been uninspired before and I realize it comes with the territory of writing a blog. I mean, thousands of others are doing the exact same and it slowly becomes an inner monologue with myself about whether or not what I have to say is all that relevant. I mean, there are hundreds of thousands of blog posts daily, almost an over-saturation of sorts, and every now and then I debate whether or not to hit the publish button. For more on my feelings about such a topic, read my post about Blogging: How We've Lost Sight & 3 Ways to Regain It.

Two, I’m currently experiencing a season of life where I find it is more important to get out from behind the screen of my laptop and cell phone and truly be present. When you begin blogging, just like with anything new, you dive right in. You’re spending hours customizing, adding, or sprucing up your sidebar, scheduling in your blog planner posts and post ideas, and reading/commenting on other blogs. Once you finish making your blog just the way you want it (meaning hours of learning HTML codes on YouTube and tutorials and finally figuring out how to get that darn plug-in to work properly), you spend another few hours crafting your posts, pre-scheduling them out on all your social media outlets, and not forgetting that perfect Instagram shot. I mean, seriously. If you were to clock in all of those hours how much of your life are you missing by not being present in it? Needless to say, I was happy for a bit of a break and I’m not ashamed of it (even if that means I’ve lost page views).

And third, well this is one I can’t quite share just yet. Overall, my absence from the blog has been for a good reason and I cannot wait to share what I’ve been up to all these months! Just another week or so and it will be ready to reveal so stay tuned....you know, if you want ;)

I do plan to get back into the swing of things around here, but be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram as that’s where I’ve been most active lately. See you around soon!

Behind the Screen: Blogger Introductions

7.15.2015

I am so excited today because I have the opportunity to link up with the fabulous Kiki over at her blog In Its Time for her monthly linkup series known as The Circle. It’s an amazing group of women/bloggers and I love getting to know each and every one of the ladies even better month after month. 
THE CIRCLE LINK-UP

For July Kiki and I were thinking about a prompt idea and it occurred to us: what’s better than getting to know the blogger behind the screen a little bit better? I follow quite a few blogs, Instagram & Twitter accounts, but there’s only so much one can learn about the person just by simply following along each week. So, for this month we want to get to know more about YOU with the prompt of Blogger Introductions!


Let me introduce myself...
My name is Kelly and I am the blogger here at Primarily Inspired. I originally began blogging when I was teaching kindergarten (and later second grade) and decided one day to venture into the world of creating a teacher blog. I am so blessed by the teaching community and resource sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers because it’s allowed me to share the resources that I’ve created to fellow educators in the classroom meanwhile providing a small income for my family and I. 

Since taking a break from teaching since our move to California, I decided to create an extension of my interests besides teaching and voila the lifestyle blog, Primarily Inspired, was born. Blogging has been such a great adventure for me as I’ve learned how to create and share my life story with others and the sense of community it builds has been very rewarding. (Thank you readers!).

The Wife & Fur-Mama
I am the lucky owner of these two handsome boys. My husband, Philip, and I just recently celebrated our first year of marriage and I can’t believe how quickly a year flies by. Being a wife has been so fulfilling and it’s almost difficult to describe the role adequately. I love spending every day with my best friend and growing together has been a unique, but fun, adventure.

Shortly after saying ‘I do’ we adopted this little nugget, our mini-dachshund, Murphy and my heart grows every single day because of these two. Being a fur-mama, and even for Philip, has been the perfect introduction to being a parent, you know, to a human, and having him has been the most fun form of practice!

[read more posts about marriage here]


The Home Cook
If you follow me on Instagram or my blog you’ll quickly learn my affinity for food and wine. It doesn’t take much for me to fall in love with a new recipe or mark my calendar for Food Truck Fridays (which is every third Friday of the month here in Ventura). I have always loved food, but it’s my husband who gets all of the credit for this one. He first introduced me to tasting menus, charcuterie (which happens to be the best thing invented of all time), wine pairings, and nigiri sushi. Long gone were the days of Chipotle and TGI Fridays...especially considering he would never eat at chain restaurants when we first met. 

Over the years we’ve been together I have had the fun of exploring different recipes and cooking with my husband has been a fun way to spend time with each other. I am always on the lookout for new and exciting recipes, but made from the freshest ingredients. It only takes a few good food documentaries to alter how you look at food production in this country and I am always looking to support local farms by buying from farmers markets or buying fresh from Trader Joe’s. 

[see how I save money and time grocery shopping here]

Thanks for stopping by and I can’t wait to meet you!


An Interview With My Husband: July Edition

7.10.2015

One thing I’ve really enjoyed is bringing my husband into this little blog of mine in the form of monthly interviews. I am always surprised by his responses and every time his answers make me see that he’s got a lot more going on in that mind of his than he lets on. I especially love how I try to give him boundaries (like, #4!), and yet he runs with it! I love the enthusiasm he brings to our conversations and every now and then I learn a little more about him. Not to mention his affinity for Bond...

Here’s the July interview...


1. What are the chances you’ve passed up on in your life that you look back on?
……Tricky question.  I’ve taken a lot of chances that panned out and some that didn’t and I don’t have any regrets.  That being said, nothing stands out in my mind.  So, I guess I haven’t dwelled on it – and I think that’s a good thing.

2. What terrifies you the most?
For a long time, I would’ve said nothing because I was arrogant enough to say that I was untouchable.  But my big fears involve losing you and our Murphy dog.  Like I’ve said in the past, once you wear your heart on the outside of your body, you stop worrying about yourself.  My family is the most important thing to me and I would burn cities to the ground if it meant protecting you.

3. What is the most important life lesson you would want to share with our future children?
Nothing ever lasts.  Good or bad, everything in this world has a finite amount of time (this applies to the tangible and intangible).  When it’s good, enjoy it for as long as it lasts.  When it’s bad, press on – one foot in front of the other until you’re through it.  It will be very, very difficult sometimes; you will find yourself broken, maybe even more than once in your life and you may ask how you ended up there.  You will experience dark places and dark thoughts and question humanity and the good in the world and you will wonder if you will ever recover.  You will.  The sun will shine again and you will forget about the darkness, but you will recognize who you’ve become because of it.  You will be stronger, smarter, and better prepared for the next storm that is inevitably heading your way.  This I know because I was able to come out on the other side a better person – and you will too.  Because you are mine.

4. If you could only pick 3 essential values we want our children to embrace above all others what would they be?  

(My first 3 are my essentials, but those that follow are things I find important)
  1. Treat others as you would like to be treated, but never assume that others do the same.
  2. Play to your strengths in public, but work on your weaknesses in private.
  3. Never stop learning – the competition doesn’t.
  4. Time is the only currency that matters and youth is your greatest asset.
  5. Always go for the kiss.  At worst, an awkward moment; at best, who knows?
  6. Never beat yourself up, there are plenty in this world that will do that for you.
  7. Never apologize if you don’t mean it (and don’t let anyone shame you into saying sorry).
  8. Also, never apologize to someone you are giving money to.
  9. Always assume that you know less than you do.  It’s when you start thinking you are smart that you cease to be.
  10. Never speak about money in public.  Whether talking about how much you make or how expensive something is on the menu – both are bad form.
  11. Invest in quality.
  12. Never let someone else dictate what is or is not “important”.  But know that I would never lead you astray.
  13. Never threaten.  Threats are for the weak.  The strong act swiftly without warning.
  14. Always keep your cool.  When you start yelling, people stop listening.
  15. Question everything and everyone.
  16. Never grow up.
  17. Travel.
5. How can I add to your happiness?
You have honestly made me the happiest I’ve ever been.  The only thing I can think of that would make us both happier is babies.

6. To you, what is the difference between living and feeling alive?
Living is just getting by – eating, sleeping, going to work, going home, becoming comfortable.  Being comfortable will kill you quicker than you think. 

Feeling alive is doing things that others are afraid to – taking risks, being adventurous, developing a sense of wonder, always questioning everything, and never accepting anything for face value

7. What is your favorite book? What about that book makes it your favorite? (could be from childhood up until now)

I have a few favorites...

Starship Troopers (fantastic story – and no, it’s not like the movie.  Which is also pretty sweet.), Jurassic Park (first book to really hooked me in when I was in high school), and every Bond book that Ian Fleming wrote (I’ve read them all twice).  But when it comes down to what I really appreciate from a book, it’s when I am left in a daze unable to focus on anything but what I’ve just read.  There are only 2 books that have ever had that effect on me (spoiler alert):

Farewell to Arms (Hemingway) – the last 2 pages of this book are incredibly somber.  The main character lives through atrocities of WWI and has to escape his unit or else face being shot point blank, is branded a deserter and struggles to get back to his love.  She is pregnant with his child and they run away to Switzerland in order to avoid being arrested.  For a number of pages, they live in peaceful bliss through her pregnancy and he acknowledges that the worst of his life is behind him and he may now live a wonderful life as a husband and father.  Unfortunately, both his wife and baby boy die during childbirth.  He visits his wife as she passes, kisses her on the forehead and leaves the hospital to wander nowhere in the rain.  After reading such a powerful ending like that when you aren’t expecting it, it lingers on.  And because it is so difficult, it forced me to reflect on how fragile life can be.  That no matter how hard you fight and struggle and love, sometimes you can’t escape the dreadful.

Moonraker (Fleming) – (Note: the book is nothing like the horrible movie)  James Bond is placed in a position that he is certain is going to kill him and an innocent woman he has been protecting and comes to terms with his death; he holds her close as she is crying and wonders if life could have been different for them.  They do manage to survive (with great injury) and on the final page Bond is contemplating his feelings for her as he waits to meet her in a park.  He imagines being with her and mulls over the things he wants to say to her once he sees her.  He is excited at the prospect of falling in love and allowing someone in after being closed off to everyone for so long.  As she approaches he notices a man waiting for her - A man she hadn’t mentioned before.  Without showing how hurt he is, he bids her farewell, watches her walk away, and turns around to face his own existence alone once again.

I realize that both of these examples are a bit melancholy, but they have always struck me as powerful endings to great stories that I could relate to as I struggled to become a man.

8. The song that makes me think of you is ________. 
I have a few but the first that always comes to mind is Sparks by Coldplay.  It’s a very simple song, but the music makes me think of you every time.  

9. What was the best meal you’ve ever eaten? Where was it and what made it the best?
I have had so many great meals that it’s hard to narrow down really.  I’ll always remember when we were initially dating and I took you to have charcuterie and cheese for the first time.  You seemed to love it so much (and still do) and I was grateful that I was the one that introduced you to it.

10. What is one goal you’d like to accomplish by the end of this year?

I’d really like to get a raise

Blogging: How We’ve Lost Sight & 3 Ways To Regain It

7.08.2015

When I first began blogging and created Primarily Inspired, I was chasing a feeling of adventure that was new and exciting. I had followed other lifestyle blogs, and still do, that inspired me to share my life story in hopes that it will be worth reading. I have become so grateful that this little blog of mine as it continues to introduce me to other bloggers and people from all around the world with different stories to tell.


However, you may have noticed (or not) that I’ve been a bit quiet around not only the blog, but social media in general. I had begun to notice something around other blogs lately that didn’t sit with me well because it made be begin thinking about the purpose of my own blog and what I enjoyed about it so much.  Here are my thoughts on how we have lost sight due to the current blogging trends and the reason I decided to take a few mental health days away from behind the screen.

All I ask is that you continue reading with an open mind about yourself as a blogger as I have done when deciding to publish this. Everything I am about to say has been because of my own evaluation and the three key ways I can regain the purpose of my blog.

Advertising Is King
What happened to the days of button swapping...for free? Not because you wanted to make a buck but because it was a blog you loved to read and wanted to share it with your own audience? What happened to authentic posts being shared so that others could benefit...and it not being a #ad or otherwise a post that is being paid for by some company for the exchange of products?

Now more than ever are blogs being turned into little businesses, but even larger blogs like cupcakes + cashmere have authentic posts that aren’t trying to push products with affiliate links onto their readers. I am guilty for even attempting to publish posts that are riddled with links, referrals, or in general trying to get bloggers to buy ad space. I feel guilty that blogging has come to this and it sucks to know I was trying to keep up. Because of this need to sell via the blog space, it’s turned me off to a lot of the blogs I used to love reading every week and it would be no wonder if I lost readers too.

Regain By: Keep writing authentically and share blogs and products freely. 

Our Obsession With Numbers

How do I gain more followers? How do I utilize Pinterest to gain page views? 

It’s all the same no matter what question you ask. I see more agendas for blog growth being discussed than I do with the actual posts being written and shared. Shouldn’t we be discussing the stories that matter and the reason we follow certain blogs in the first place?

It really bothers me to see how we’ve become obsessed with numbers and equate that to how successful we are. I do understand that page views are important and so is all of the other data Google Analytics provides us because it gives us a direction in terms of what our audiences like to read. However, sometimes we need to unplug and reset our train of thought and remember the purpose we have for our blog. The questions being asked here should be:

What was the purpose behind beginning my blog in the first place? 
How can I better reach my audience through meaningful posts?
What can I do differently on my blog to better engage my readers?

Regain By: It’s not about the page views it’s about the content. Have great content and everything else will follow.

 Comparison
To say we all do it doesn’t make it an excuse. Although it is true. Every blogger looks to other blogs for guidance and almost sets a goal to to be just as successful as they are. I mean, we all want our ventures to be successful! Comparing ourselves to other blogs, whether it goes back to my previous point of page views or followers, it’s something we’re all guilty of at least at one point or another. However, there’s a difference between guidance and comparison. Comparison leads to disappointment and who needs to feel that way when beginning something new? Blogging is a long road and many will tell you that it’s taken them 5+ years to get to where they are, so it’s a good idea to stop comparing yourself to others. Instead learn from seasoned bloggers, do your homework, and learn by doing. Oh, and lend a helping hand to other fellow bloggers because we’re a community and we should be there for each other.

Regain By: Stop comparing and focus on your content!

No matter what your stats tell you, know that you are awesome and are doing awesome things with your blog. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it, the fact is: you’re doing it! Don’t get sucked into the trends of today’s blogger and steer clear of things that will distract you from your purpose. At the end of the day, blogs become successful when they’re authentic and have content people want to read and can relate to. Everything else is nonsense.

What trends in blogging are driving you crazy? Or am I the only one? What advice would you give to new bloggers who are facing the current overwhelming world of blogging?

Easy Seared Scallops

7.02.2015

A great summer dinner that is one of my go-tos is a nice seared scallop. It’s a light and refreshing meal and pair it with a nice aioli or drizzle lemon juice on top and you’re good to go. This yummy recipe is something I combined with a couple different recipes from Weight Watchers. I love finding new ways to cook the same ingredients and this was a fun one to attempt.


The original scallop recipe is from Weight Watchers and you can find it here. I love the ginger aioli that goes on top because the Sriracha mixed with ginger gives it a punch of flavor. The original recipe calls for it to be placed on a cabbage slaw but I decided to take some liberties and created a creamy cilantro slaw instead. You can find the slaw recipe from WW here.


Ingredients:
Aioli:
2 tbsp reduced calorie mayonaise
1 1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce (to taste)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 lb fresh uncooked scallops
1/4 tsp salt
Cooking spray

Directions:
  1. On medium-high heat, spray skillet or large pan with cooking spray. Season scallops with salt and place in pan to sear, flipping every few minutes until cooked through.
  2. Serve scallops over slaw mixture and topped with spicy ginger aioli.
Slaw:
1 cup Shredded green cabbage
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 tbsp cilantro, minced
1 tbsp reduced calorie mayonaise (or greek yogurt)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp sugar

Slaw Directions:
  1. In a small bowl combine green cabbage, shallot, and cilantro. In a separate bowl whisk together mayonnaise, dijon, vinegar, and sugar; pour over cabbage mixture and toss to combine. *Optional: place in fridge for a few minutes to chill.
  2. When ready to serve, place a few spoonfuls on a large plate and place scallops on top with a dollop of ginger aioli.


Currently: July Edition

7.01.2015

Is it seriously July already?! We’re now into the second half of the year and I can’t believe how fast time is moving. But such is life. I am excited to spend this upcoming weekend in Vegas with good friends and enjoy the pool, nightlife, and amazing food.


Craving // Oh the cravings! Any holiday that comes around has me craving all kinds of foods, however mine currently has to be a breakfast food that I don’t typically eat all that often: pancakes! Lately I’ve been all about them and found this yummy recipe for the home.

Grilling // Crazy, I know but we actually don’t own a grill *sad face. But it’s definitely on our wishlist for the future!

Listening // Murphy crying because he so badly wants to go chase the birds. All day he’s whining to me about letting him loose in our courtyard so he can chase birds. It is actually pretty funny to watch but sometimes I have to get work done!

Planning // Lots of planning and exciting things coming up! Can’t share yet, but stay tuned!

Decorating // One of my most recent summer decorations, and one that has me the most excited, is my Travel Keepsake from our vacations in Turks & Caicos and just recently Hawaii.

Be sure to catch me linking up over at In Residence and Gold &Bloom


Also! Check out my giveaway for a $50 gift card to Stitch Fix, which ends this Sunday (7.5)!

Easy DIY Travel Keepsakes

6.27.2015

Every single time I travel I am always looking for fun keepsakes to take back home with me. It always serves as a reminder of the good times my husband and I have had traveling around the world. Although we have yet to do any big traveling together, we have been able to make it to the most beautiful beaches around.

Today I am sharing with you an easy way to show off your travels by collecting sand and making a beautiful candle centerpiece for anywhere in your home.


Now that we have been to both Turks & Caicos (twice!) and just recently Kauai, it was important for me to continue our tradition of bringing home sand from the beaches in which we visited. It’s fun to see the comparison of sand from different parts of the world!


To create this easy DIY travel keepsake you just need a few, inexpensive, supplies! On my most recent trip to World Market I found these beautiful hurricanes to which I could put my sand and candles in. I love the different sizes they come in! 

The shells I used were actually collected by my husband and I! The ones from our Hawaii trip are actually the shell leis that were given to us by the Sheraton Resort we stayed in while visiting Kauai. I love how they add such a personal touch and something we will have memories of for years to come.


This is a closeup of our Turks & Caicos sand when we visited the island of Providenciales. It’s so soft! On one of our excursions we went to a beach known as Shell Beach for the obvious reasons. We were able to snag a lot of these tiny shells that day. My husband even snorkeled and found a sand dollar! Don’t you just love the juxtaposition of these next to each other?

The unfortunate part is that the pillar candle featured here is just an unscented candle found from World Market and not from our trip. I like using unscented candles in combination with ones with a fragrance so that you don’t have too much going on in one room. It allows the scented ones to shine!


When we went to Hawaii we came across this cute soap and candle shop named Island Soap and Candle Works and they have hundreds of different candles and soaps, which are handmade right there in the store! My husband picked out a few candles and even sent some home to his mom. Photographed here is the rain pillar candle, which can be ordered and shipped here straight from Hawaii. 

How do you show off your vacation souvenirs around your home? 

Dear Murphy

6.25.2015


Dear Murphy,

If dogs could read and understand emotion the way humans do, I would hope for nothing more than for you to find this letter and truly know what you’ve meant to your dad and I. I remember the first time you came to us. You flew, all by yourself, from Texas to DC. I know it must have been one of the scariest things you’ve had to go through and probably the reason you hate flying with us today. You were the tiniest thing; so fragile. However, the moment I held you in my arms you snuggled right into me and at that moment you made me a fur-mommy.

When you arrived your dad and I had no idea what it took to become a fur-parent. We were just married and both left our jobs right around the same time. The perfect time to add a pet, huh? However, none of that mattered. I knew right away that you were mine and I counted down the days until you came to me. You were scared of e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. From people, to birds, cars, and even your own shadow. There were times you were really frustrating; especially when you cried all through the night with no avail. You were scared of your water bowl and therefore we had to teach you how to eat and drink. There were so many lessons you learned within those first few weeks, but you picked it up very quickly.

Eventually mommy and daddy found work but it would take another trip, not in a plane, but rather a four-day trip across the country to California. You were awesome. We snuck you into hotels that didn’t allow pets and you learned how to adapt to new places. You eventually fell in love with daddy’s Jeep and it’s one of your favorite cars to ride in today. Even through you were scared most of the time, I am so proud of how fearless you are today.

We arrived in California and your first beach experience was in Santa Barbara (no too bad, huh?). You were very unsure of what the beach was but you’ve grown to love it so much! Almost so that you’ve become a stubborn-ass on walks because you want to go play in the water so badly. In our new home you officially became house trained, learned to walk on a leash, and even learned basic commands like sit. We swore we wouldn’t allow you to sleep in our bed or lay on our sofa but you see how well that turned out. You’re the only dog that has a tempur-pedic bed. You’ve made new friends and continue to go with us everywhere. Daddy wouldn’t want it any other way.

In conclusion, on your first birthday it may not seem like any other day to you, but know that this birthday is a special one for your mom and dad. It marks a time when you’re not so much that little scared puppy, but a maturing young dog. I am so proud of the growth you’ve made and it’s difficult to remember life without having you in it. I look forward to celebrating with you tonight with dad and the pup-cake he made himself! 

I love you more than words,
Mommy

Styling With Stitch Fix: June + Giveaway

6.21.2015

I just received my June fix and this is by far the best shipment I’ve received yet!

But let me back up...

I had taken a little break from Stitch Fix after a few of my shipments were completely wrong. I had cute items, but they looked horrible on me. The fit was wrong, the colors and patterns didn’t look flattering on me, so I ended up sending everything back. Within a few days Stitch Fix personally (not just some pre-generated email) contacted me to figure out what the problem was and hoped that I would consider giving them another chance to make it right. They paid for my next fix just to prove that they care about customer satisfaction. What business does that anymore?!

I started to realize that it wasn’t so much the stylists fault for selecting wrong items for me, rather it was me who wasn’t being clear enough about what I wanted or needed from my fixes. So, I got to thinking and came up with ways to better communicate with my stylists so that I could ensure that I received exactly what I wanted. Check out my helpful Stitch Fix tips here if you’re interested!

This time around...

I requested plenty of fit and flare dresses, bold colors and prints, as well as a coveted layered cardigan. Seriously, my stylist Whitney heard exactly what I wanted and responded with some fabulous pieces for me. Let’s take a look at what I got in my June fix!

This post contains affiliate links.

 I just had to catch this snapshot of Murphy invading my space and successfully photobombing me!



Brixon Ivy $74.00 | MAYBE?
Initially I would have skipped this dress if I were shopping for myself but that’s the great thing about having Stitch Fix stylists. They find items for you that you may never would have tried on in the first place and this dress is exactly that for me. I love the textured print and the bright yellow is a color you’ll for sure be noticed in. My husband loved it even though it was a bit outside my comfort zone.  

What do you think?


Papermoon $68.00 | KEEP
This fit and flare dress is so adorable and I couldn’t wait to try it on! I was a bit worried about the horizontal stripes since I’m curvier in shape and that tends to be a tricky print. However, when I tried it on the dress fit like a glove and the material was so soft and comfortable!


Henry & Belle $148.00  | SENDING BACK
These jeans were very comfortable (due to the stretchy material and no denim is found whatsoever). I asked for a light colored skinny jean and these were a cute cropped version of what I was looking for.  It’s a bit pricier than I would have liked for jeans with no actual denim in them, but cute nonetheless.


Brixon Ivy $54.00 | KEEP
I had pinned this item forever ago and it was so exciting to see that my stylist found this on my Pinterest board. Just goes to show that the stylists really do keep an eye on your boards and by filling out personal notes in the description really helps them gauge what you want or need. It fit beautifully and I love that it is a single cardigan but gives the allusion of layering with the soft blush inner fabric.



Look By M $34.00 | KEEP
It’s a bit pricier than I would have preferred for a scarf but it’s lightweight, something I asked for, and with the American colors it’s perfect for July 4th weekend. I’m loving this infinity scarf!

THE BREAKDOWN AND INCENTIVE TO BUY ALL FIVE

Merchandise Total: $378.00
Buy Five Discount: -$94.50
Styling Fee Credit:  -$20.00
Credit:                       -$5.00

TOTAL: $258.50

Total without the jeans (because I thought they were too pricy)...$222.25. For $30 more I could get the jeans and enjoy that Buy Five Discount. 

However, this time around I am going to stick with just the items I’m in LOVE with and am skipping on the jeans. But isn’t it a great deal? With just one shipment I was able to purchase 4 new items that I love and can’t wait to start wearing.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Slim Down Saturday + Linkup {6.20}

6.20.2015

Where did time fly to?? Seriously. It’s Saturday and it’s absolutely gorgeous outside here in Ventura even though we’re right in the full swing of June Gloom. Luckily it hasn’t been too foggy these last few days and I am soaking up the sunshine for as long as I possibly can.

Sorry I was a bit absent with the linkup last week. If you’re not familiar, I was in Hawaii with the husband celebrating our first wedding anniversary! I tried my best to keep up with my points and continue to make healthy choices even while vacationing. But, alas I managed to gain back everything I lost in the weeks prior.

Even though that’s a super bummer and it means I have to essentially start all over, I am picking myself back up and trying again. Let’s check in and see how week 6 went...


The Results Week Six

Ultimate Goal
My ultimate goal is to reach my goal weight, which is to lose about 40 lbs.

Gain/Loss From the Week
-2 lbs

Total Loss Since Starting
- 2.4 lbs

Positives From the Week
This week I returned from Hawaii and began working the summer program at my school. It’s allowed me to get back on track with a routine everyday. I am packing healthy snacks and upping how much water I drink. What are your favorite healthy snacks for on the go? Any pins you want to share?!

Things to Work On
I love my wine but I also know it’s a killer to my weight loss goals. I drank a lot in Hawaii and told myself, “I’m on vacation.” Well, I’m no longer on vacation so it’s time I start finding healthier alternatives to my favorite alcoholic beverages. Any recommendations or recipes?!

One Goal For Next Week
I still haven’t made it to the gym this week and being active is something I really need to get back into the routine with. Why is going to the gym so hard?!

Motivator
via
I know this is a bit graphic but it sends such a powerful message. Each pound lost is worth something and even though I gained last week and lost only 2 lbs this week....I tell myself that it’s something.

Tip or Trick
via
Creating a visual that you can see every single day helps you stay on track in whatever weight loss program or goal you have. I found this idea from The Bloated Bride blog. To scratch off every number is a great feeling and makes you realize that even if it’s one pound it’s meaningful.

What is Slim Down Saturday?
This linkup series started as a way for me to share my weight loss journey through Weight Watchers with my readers (see original post). Since fitness and overall health is important to me, I wanted to open it up for fellow bloggers and readers to join in and, in essence, create a community around healthy living and supporting one another in their goals.

Are you on a new fitness regimen or have a weight loss goal you’re working towards? Do you blog about fitness or health and want to share? Feel free to link up with me every Saturday!