STYLED BY MY DAUGHTER

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This post is sponsored by Vince Camuto.

Elle has been watching me style models, homes and myself since she was born. Starting at the age of three she has been telling she wants to be a makeup artist and stylist (and a police officer). So, with the help of Vince Camuto, I surprised Elle with a chance to style me head to toe. I, of course, gave her a bit of guidance, and she sure stretched my comfort zone.

There were so many beautiful things for Elle to choose from. It was like a kid in a candy store (like mother like daughter). I don't know if it was the warm weather or purely her love of swimming that made her choose a bathing suit for me, but that's what she really wanted me to wear. She thought a bikini would be best, and so then I had to explain that one pieces were my favorite (a.k.a. I'm not ready to strut my stuff in front of the world in a bikini).

Elle selected a white one piece. I would have gone for the black or navy, but she is the style expert. I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked white. It makes me look more tan, and now I have a great suit for the summertime. It can be worn multiple ways by detaching the strap or using the center halter strap. 

I did encourage her to pick out these striped linen pants though. I needed something to cover my backside. I'm not quite ready to reveal all to y'all. Besides, these pants are too cute to pass up.

Elle picked out a tassel necklace, gold hoop earrings, sunglasses (blue for Elsa), a scarf and a hat. When it came time to pick out shoes she went straight for high heels (oh boy). I rarely wear heels and my size 11 feet have a hard time finding ones that fit. Not to mention the combo of high heels and a swimsuit isn't really the message I want to send out at 33 years old. So, I gently steered her in the direction of flats and she thought the tassels on these thong sandals were fun. I love them too.

When it came time to put it all together I thought she was going to ask for me to wear every accessory. She surprised me though. She really wanted me to wear the necklace and the scarf. Unfortunately, the headscarf wouldn't stay on because she doesn't know how to tie anything quite yet. But she sure was proud of picking out my bathing suit and accessories.

I also took the opportunity to style the pieces Elle selected my own way. I think she was on to something with the bathing suit. When i wear it with pants it reminds me of a trendy bodysuit. You can easily throw an off-the-shoulder top on over it and go about your day. It's the perfect transitional look for the beach. 

I styled mine with some earrings and sunglasses. Less is more they say, well, unless you're a four year old girl. Then more is more. ;) To get this whole head to toe look be sure to shop the post below.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; This post contains affiliate links.

Real Talk Real Moms Morning Routine

Are you a morning or night person? Well, being a parent of small children you better be willing to be both, but especially a morning person. The second that sun comes up my kids are up, and so starts our morning routine. It has taken us four years to figure out what works for us with many arguments about who got more sleep or more time to get ready along the way, but now we have a system that works SOOOOO well (although Ryan's new job may throw a wrench in it, but that's besides the point), so I thought I would share it with as part of the Real Talk Real Mom Series.

1. Plan to both get up at the same time. This is a huge tip because getting up at the same time will eliminate any resentment as to who got more sleep than whom. Ryan and I wake up at the same time - 6:30am. I work out at 5am three times a week, so those mornings I'm up alone and I get less sleep. However, regardless of the day, both parents must be awake by 6:30 no matter what. 

Now, I know what you're thinking, "But, what if your kids get up before then?" Well, Levi and Elle both are awake by 6am, but we let Levi play in his bed and Elle waits for us to get her up. Just be consistent with the timing and they will get the hang of it.

2. Don't plan to tackle the kids at the same time. Take turns! One parent gets ready while the other makes the oatmeal, pours the cereal, changes the diapers and gets the kids dressed. Then we switch after 45 minutes. I will also say that this getting ready time is PRECIOUS for the parent upstairs. It's ALONE time. The kids are not allowed upstairs while Ryan or I are getting ready. This ensures that we can have a moment to center ourselves, go to the bathroom in peace and listen to NPR. You know, the important stuff. Haha! (The next day we switch who gets ready first and who does breakfast first).

3. Check in half way through the morning with each other. There is a changing of the guards at 7:15 so that the other parent can get dressed. By this time the kids have eaten and are dressed, so that means it's the other person's turn to tackle chores like packing lunches, emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash bins, making sure everyone goes potty, teeth are brushed and diapers are changed. Before we switch though we always check in and tell one another any chores that didn't happen or any chores that did happen beyond our usual tasks.

4. Try to both take part in the send off. By 8:10 we are out the door. We both help carrying everyone out the door, buckle the kids in and give kisses. I love this part because it reunites us before we all go about our days. I wish we could lay around in our jams, drink coffee, eat breakfast together, etc., but not every day is a weekend. So, doing a joint send off gives me a touch of family fuzzies daily. Most mornings Ryan does drop off and I do pick-up. And, when everyone leaves, I take the next 20 minutes to drink my coffee, read, pray and breathe. By 8:30 I sit down to tackle work. Doing this everyone morning centers me and brings me peace. 

Everyone does their morning routine differently. Be sure to read the other timelines and advice from the moms participating in the Real Mom Series. The Effortless Chic, The Life Styled, Oh Lovely Day, Design Addict Mom, The Fresh Exchange, A Daily Something, Hey Mama Co, Freutcake, Parker Etc., Sacramento Street

CAN'T STOP THE FEELING

A week ago, Ryan went out of town for five days, I had learned that Levi was a carrier of strep, and I hosted a family of six people. And though I was so happy to host because they are such dear friends of ours, I felt my anxiety rise the day Ryan left and they arrived. I thought, "What in the world am I doing? I'm a mad woman." And then, in the quiet, as I was listening to the thoughts in my head, my heart spoke and it said, "Are you trusting Me?" I knew it was God reminding me to let go and trust Him with Levi's health, with my fears of fatigue and with my to-do list for work. "You're right, Lord. I'm not trusting you," I said. And then I prayed for Levi to get better and for God to give me patience and rest throughout the week. 

Later that day I got a call from his pediatrician that his rapid strep culture had given a false positive because the one they sent out for testing was negative. (Insert jaw drop). I couldn't have been more thankful for those results. For now, we will wait and see if he gets it again, but he doesn't need surgery right now and that is a weight lifted.

My friends soon arrived and it was so much fun. They are dream house guests, but it was such a delight for my kids to have someone to play with for the week. I knew when I extended the invitation for them to come stay that this would be the case, but we all have those moments of fear that steal those pleasant thoughts. 

Before I knew it Friday had come and Ryan was home. I can't say that I showered a lot, fixed my hair and makeup or had meals on the table like most weeks, but I made it with a lot of smiles along the way. I definitely was tired, but a happy tired like after you finish working out.

My heart feels strong after finishing the week not because I did a bunch of stuff, but because I kept my faith strong and I delighted and gave thanks along the way for little things. I wrote a gratitude list of the things that brought me happiness this past week (see it below). It's a practice I do once in awhile after I read the book 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It's a great thing to turn to when you're feeling down. One thing you will notice is that I purposefully wrote down things that did not involve other people. It's important for me to be able to find happiness without others because relying on them is too big of a responsibility or expectation for them to carry. Of course, I delight in those moments when my kids or husband make me smile, but I know I can smile and be happy on my own too.

Try it today or sometime this week, and tell me how it changes your heart. 

1. Fresh sunflowers - These were brought to me by my dear friends
2. My wooden bowl full of fresh fruit - I have a wooden bowl my aunt gave me that always sits on my counter, and I fill it twice a week with fruit. 
3. A fragrant candle burning in my windowsill - I'm obsessed with Standard Wax candles because they smell amazing, burn clear and are made locally. I burn them every day, and last week I got a fresh box of scents just in time. 
4. A hot bowl of miso soup - I make soup for lunch almost every day. There's something about warm beverages and warm soup that is comforting to me. 
5. Keeping the doors open and letting the breeze come in - Arizona's best month of the year is March. We constantly leave our doors open for the kids to run in and out. I love feeling the breeze inside and being able to watch them play as I take care of things like laundry and cleaning.
6. Putting on my night cream and smelling the aromatherapy - I never liked my bedtime routine until now. I look forward to sleeping every day, and putting on Aveda aromatherapy night cream is such a treat to fall asleep to.
7. Feeling the fuzzy carpet on my bare feet - I rarely wear shoes inside, and if I could, I would always be barefoot. 
8. Wearing overalls - They just make me feel like a kid again (see this past post for more inspo). 
9. Whenever I see the brand Levi's when I'm shopping - I recently found a Levi's t-shirt and I love wearing it, and then when I was going to photograph this outfit in my Levi's overalls I found this old sign that says Levi's Strauss Overalls! Whaaaa?! So happy!
10. Putting on lipstick - I do this every day, multiple times a day, and I love it. It just brightens me up. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; This post contains affiliate links. Handbag and watch were gifted by Fossil. 

REAL TALK REAL MOMS: FRIENDSHIPS

Friendships have always equated to family, especially being an only child. It felt like I had so many sisters growing up. We celebrated holidays together, traveled together and shared our lives together. However, since getting married and becoming a mom, the rank friendships once held has diminished, and rightfully so. My husband and my kids come first, but friendships are still a very necessary part of my life. How to balance them, on the other hand, has become tricky. So, in this installment of the Real Mom Series we are talking about how we maintain friendships. Please be sure to read stories from other moms: Apartment 34The Effortless Chic, The Refined Woman, The Sweetest Occassion

When Elle was born I didn't find it very hard to maintain my friendships. They still took a big chunk of my time, and I was happy to give them the time they deserved. Elle was such an easy baby that she went everywhere with me - to shopping dates, to dinners, to work events...So, it was easy to catch up with friends and stay in their lives. However, when Levi came all of that shifted. Two kids is a lot more work, and, consequently, a lot less spare time for friends. It has taken more intentionality on my part to be a good friend. And truthfully, a lot of them have fallen apart because of it because I just couldn't maintain them all in the way that I wanted to. 

I had to grieve that expectation for myself and my friends. I came to a point of realization that I couldn't have as many friends, and that I the friends that I kept close were the few that I could go deep with. I didn't necessarily just drop people or weed them out. Naturally, I just saw the ones that felt easy and natural. So, proximity plays a big roll, as well as initiation on both parts. 

I have about four good friends that I share with regularly through meet ups, texts and phone calls, and that's about it. And the qualities that I love most about these women are: honesty, a desire to be better, grace for mistakes, and a lot of laughter.

We don't travel together or celebrate holidays together, and they surely don't come before my guy or my kids, but we do share our lives together still. It's just through a lot of intentional conversation, and I've realized that's enough. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer


I AM HIS

I'm not much of an impulsive shopper, especially when it comes to buying clothes online. But, when I saw this shirt on Anthropologie.com the other day I snapped it up in 5 seconds flat. I may have even said, "I gotta have this," out loud. I wanted it that badly.

Though Levi can't read, and could care less at the mere age of 16 months old that I'm wearing a shirt that say his name on it, I feel so proud wearing it for him. It's a declaration to the world, "I AM HIS." Yep, I will forever be his mama and no one will ever take that away. Even if, heaven forbid, he passes away unexpectedly I will remain his mom until the day I die. I know that sounds so morbid, but I find so much comfort in knowing that being Levi's mom can never be stripped away from me. It's a role that will forever bond me to him by blood.

There are very few things that are certain in this life, but we like to think that many things are constants. Things like being able to use our mouths to speak, our minds to reason or being a wife are not givens. But being a mom - once that baby is made - can never leave me. Even if you have given your baby up for adoption, lost a child or have years of totally sucking at being a mom - you're a mom. You are their one and only forever.

I know this all may sound so silly because it's just a darn t-shirt, but, if there's is another certainty that I know of in this life, it's that hard times will come - it's just a matter of when. So, as cheesy as it may be to wear a Levi's t-shirt for our mom-son dates while I watch him eat a Girl Scout cookie and splash in a fountain, I don't care one bit. I'm just going to treasure these little things in my heart for the hard times that will come, so that I can pull out this joyful memory when I need to. I am his, and he is mine.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; this post contains affiliate links.