Friday, December 18, 2015

2015 Christmas Card

I thought I had my act together by getting all my shopping done before December.... nope I need the gift of time. If anyone has some of that or a personal assistant with some open dates, you can gladly send both my way.

However, I did get our Christmas cards out earlier this week so wanted to share. I was a little disappointed in my paper choice but loving the pictures we used :) You can forget the first two kids.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Reflect

I feel like the holidays make you do a little reflection and it seems that has been abundant this year (could be due to completing my shopping before December). Yes, I know I need to lose some weight and relax a little bit. I also need to savor the small moments but what about a look back. What would I change? What would I tell my younger self?

Friends are worth it | Those great, true lasting friends are worth the fight. I hate talking on the phone something real bad (to anyone), but love texting with my girls. A fun, casual girls weekend is also good for the soul.

Family | Family is the bedrock to making life complete. Who do you lean on in times of need or concern? Who is there even when you mess up or not being too nice? Having a baby taught me the sacrifices made and the importance of those you call "family" in your life.

Some battles aren't worth fighting | In hindsight, are the petty arguments really worth it? Did you really accomplish anything other than harsh words and bruised hearts? This is one I struggle with but learning with age that you can let go a little.

But some battles are | The hubs would say I am strong-willed but I am severely loyal to my beliefs. Do I appreciate being undermined or subdued? Heck no and my Southern girl willpower will prove that (Luckily, or unfortunately, MT seems to have gotten this trait). I think fighting for what you believe in shows passion and I hope MT continues that...I may eat my words in ten years.

Enjoy going out while you are young because eventually your body won't hang anymore
| If I am up past 10:30, I am not fun to hang with. I like my sleep.

Sometimes you just need a "me" day | Not a spa day but a wake-up at 10, visit Target, eat a yummy lunch and watch trashy TV day. A day with just you and your thoughts is good for the soul to recharge.

The best wine isn't always expensive | While this is true, any price tag can give you a nasty hangover. And truthfully after two glasses, wine starts to taste the same. Trader Joe's has provided "two-buck chuck" as proof on this belief.

Stay true to yourself and never comprise what you believe | People will always try to change you or sway your decisions. At the end of the day, you have to be happy with you and your decisions. Be you, do you and in the end you will be happy.

Loss hurts | While I have seen little loss in my life, it breaks your heart. A heart hurt so bad you feel like you can't breathe. Loss can be death or the loss of trust, which can easily be the death of a relationship.

You aren't better than anyone else | I didn't learn this until I was out of college and in the "real world". I always compared myself to the prettier girl or the one with the $500 shoes. Underneath people are all the same with the same struggles just experienced in different ways. The same goes for those less fortunate. That person you look down upon may have an incredible story worth listening to. I still find myself comparing my life to the skinnier moms, the moms with an innate amount of spare time or the ones buying $400 dresses right and left. While their life seems pretty in pictures, is it really all that it seems?

Life should always come before work | Being real honest, I thought less of those moms that left early or seemed to always have a sick child. I thought they didn't care about work or success. While being an integral employee is still key to me, my baby comes first. I can work my booty off and still be there for the school parties. I know I missed the first crawl or first word by being a working mom but I also know who and what is first in my life. Those who live the other way around may look back and have regrets.

Marriage is hard and it takes two people to make it work | When you are dating you think the "marriage is tough" talk is a joke. How can being roommates with pretty rings be hard? But boy it is hard. As much as the going gets tough, I forget how lucky I am to have a great partner in life. We bicker, laugh, cry and sigh but we do it together as partners.

When you travel, try to travel outside of cell service | It makes disconnecting much easier. On our honeymoon, we didn't have internet or television for 6 days and it was perfection!

Trust your gut | It is 99.8% right.

Take the time to laugh every once in a while | And make sure those memories have someone to cherish it with.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Garden Lights

Living in a large city with some much to do has its perks, but after being an Atlanta resident for over five years, we have yet to make it to all the attractions. Could be the result of living life on the road for the first three :)

The Atlanta Botanical Gardens are a little haven in the city. Nestled in Piedmont Park, they are right smack dab in Midtown and all the hustle.  Last Friday night, we took Mary Tilman to the Garden Lights. It. Was. Amazing! I am like a kid with Christmas lights and the gardens did not disappoint. MT danced, ran and squealed and every second was perfection. The experience is tailored to both kids and adults alike (the multiple bars appeal to the latter).

Tips:
- Go early if you have a little one. The gardens got packed fast and it was crowded for her to run around.
- Book online and avoid the lines
- Avoid a stroller if possible. Makes navigating steps and the walkways much easier!

I foresee this adventure to be an annual holiday affair.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Highlands, NC

We visited Highlands again this Thanksgiving and it is becoming one of my favorite havens. This sleepy mountain town has the quiet you need to get away from it all but enough restaurants and stores to keep you in civilization.

Our days consisted of daily walks, lots of good eating and memories with sweet, busy MT. We learned we owe her teachers a big hug because this chica is nonstop.

If you live in the Atlanta area, Highlands is only two hours away. The drive into North Carolina is gorgeous too. Here are some tips if you want to make the visit:

Grocery Store - If time allows, make the drive over to Cashiers. They have an Ingles and the prices are much better than the local Bryson's. Although we had to make a few Bryson's run for essentials (you know... milk and beer).

Hikes - Glen Falls, Dry Falls, Sunset Rock, Whiteside Mountain - these are all gorgeous

Rental - We booked the same house as we did four years ago. I highly recommend using VRBO to scope your options out.

Restaurants - We ate in most meals but did venture out to the Carolina Barbecue restaurant in Cashiers (on the aforementioned grocery run) and Mountain Fresh Grocery.

Shopping - Downtown Highlands has tons of great little shops... although not ideal for a 15 month old hands.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pinteresting

Do you still "pin"? As much as I love what a great inspiration Pinterest can be, it can get quite overwhelming. I often find myself comparing my house, clothes or cooking to some of these amazing people with what seems a truckload of time on their hands.

While Pinterest and I have a love/hate relationship, it has been great for home projects and life hacks. Here are a few favorites:

Top: This bathroom is my dream: marble, wood and white | If someone could come decorate my mantle like this that would be great. Also make sure you give me a baby that won't pull down everything in sight.

Middle: This moss table was an inspiration for Mary Tilman's baptism brunch | Ranch salmon may sound gross but it is delicious.

Bottom: Another inspiration pin for our outside patio renovation earlier this year | Best tip ever! Add a splash of alcohol to your paperwhites to prevent them from growing too tall.


- Images via my Pinterest page-

Monday, November 23, 2015

Favorite Things

I am not a huge Oprah fan but girl has good taste. Her favorite things list always has some great finds so kudos to her staff and all these product PR people (just being real on how these things work).

To help you in this gifting season, here is the 2016 (aka every year) Julie's Favorite Things List. These are things I use/wear/drink at least once a week.

Voluspa Candle - I have a candle problem and my weekly Home Goods run doesn't help. Sometimes I can score a Voluspa candle, which makes me do a happy dance on aisle three | eos Lip Balm - Addicted... I own like six | Papermate Flair pens - These make my to-do lists less daunting

Planner - Tangible planners help my Type-A soul feel a little more organized. Paper Source rocked out some great options this year | Tory Burch Flats - While slightly pretentious, I love Tory flats. Tip to those mommas out there.... next time you visit Disney and the little one lays down for that afternoon nap, run to the Tory outlet.... A.M.AZING! | Wine - My new favorite is Frog's Leap, which is majorly out of my weekly beverage budget but a fun splurge every now and then.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Still Here!

I know you all have been consumed with worry on my absence...my two loyal blog readers: my dad and my grandmother. This blog has taken a back seat because we have just been plain busy. Between travel, work, a fast and furious toddler along with just plain life, we have been non-stop these past few weeks. I am glad the holidays are approaching because life just seems to get a little slower with some vacation days and time to unwind.

Here is what we have been up to:

Mary Tilman has been battling some sickness for the past month. Between teething, a runny nose, a cough and now an ear infection, momma needs a break. Yes she had an ear infection even with tubes (I didn't know this was possible). Unfortunately a runny nose due to daycare is inevitable for the next several months. Hello Kleenex stock options!

I am a quarter of the way through my Christmas shopping and am pretty pumped about it. After the Cyber Monday sales are out, I hope to have everything done.

It is weird I think my kid is one of the funniest people I know? She has the best facial expressions and her "words" are priceless.
Top Left | My mom, MT and I went to visit my grandmother in Orlando last month. It was great to spend some quality time with four generations all in one place. This shot was at the airport on the way back home. Mary Tilman met her first celeb, Mr. Will Smith. He called her a cutie as she proceeded to stare at his entourage for walking through her empty terminal, aka toddler play heaven. The mean mug she gave a ba-jillionaire is priceless.

Top Right | Mary Tilman was a pink pig this year for Halloween. I figured I should savor the few choices I have left. It was a hit and she seemed to tolerate it after we wore it for what seemed like a week straight.

Bottom Left | MT loves her dogs... like she squeezes them a lot. Winston (pictured here) tolerates it but Winnie is not a huge fan. We are working on the mutual love and the difference in a soft pet versus a straight-up slap.

Bottom Right | We went to the Pink Pig this weekend and I had to capture the bow. It normally has a 7 second lifespan before it is ripped out and thrown somewhere that I won't find it for at least a week.



My number one goal this year was to be content and boy has that been tough. I am the type to  always think about my next meal, the next trip or the next thing on my to-do list. This was a great post that reminded me the little things are the ones that matter and make up the big moments in life. I have tried to put my phone away for those short two hours before MT's bedtime and to try patience when the toddler spunk picks up. Time is fleeting and passes so, so quickly. One day at a time...

Friday, October 16, 2015

San Fran & Wine Country

Last Thursday Aaron and I jetted out on our first post-baby getaway and to celebrate our five year anniversary. We try to go somewhere each anniversary and I hope that is a tradition that continues.

This year we spent one night in San Francisco and two nights in Sonoma county. I scoured blog posts and travel guides to plan out our trips so I wanted to provide the same.

First up, we rented a car through Silver Car, and I would recommend it to anyone! While only in about 10 markets, you are guaranteed a new silver Audi A4 each time. The rate was cheaper than some comparable big chains and the best part is no lines. We seriously walked by rental counter lines about 30 people deep and right out to our waiting car. Next trip we take I will without a doubt see if Silver Car is there.


Hotel
Le Meridien - Our hotel was in the financial district. While in a sleepy area at night, the rate was good and it was in walking distance of the Ferry Building. A perk of being a loyalty member is an upgraded room view. We were on the 23rd floor with a balcony view of the Bay Bridge... it was awesome!

Restaurants
Hog Island Oyster Company - We popped in here for lunch and it was great! The Ferry Building venue reminds me of Chelsea Market in NYC so the setting was very industrial and bustling. These oysters though... they could be the best I have ever had and those are high standards.

Fog Harbor Fish House - The restaurant was good but nothing to re-visit on the next visit out. The view was gorgeous though with a great view of the harbor.

Murray Circle Restaurant - We planned to eat at another place for breakfast but a long line prevented those plans. Thanks to Google Maps we found a hotel restaurant at Cavallo Point. This is a new resort in Sausilito over the Golden Gate Bridge and it is a beautiful place. My goat cheese omelet was perfection and Aaron's eggs benedict were not to be missed.

Sightseeing
We walked a lot... like 6 miles a lot. We did the corny boat cruise but it was a great chance to see the city from water. They take you under the bridge which makes for some instagram worthy pics. We also rode the cable car which turned slightly scary when we got stuck on the top of a hill. Fisherman's Wharf is apparently the place to go but I thought it was a tacky tourist trap, if that is your thing.


After a visit to Muir Woods, we headed to wine country. We stayed at a Hampton Inn in Sonoma County for the price point but it was a hike to drive all over. I never realized how spread out everything was so plan accordingly before you visit. I did however pick up some places to check out for future trip accommodations. 

The goal of this trip was to reconnect and relax a little so I didn't plan too much or make too many reservations. In hindsight, I wish I had planned earlier to secure a tour time slot for one of the wineries. I did learn however that the smaller the winery, the better.

I heard great things about Frog's Leap Winery and wanted to give it a visit. This place was heaven. For starters the onsite house looked like a Pottery Barn magazine and the grounds were gorgeous gardens. They only take reservations so book early. We did the garden sitting and while I would have liked a guided tour, this was just as perfect. They let you roam the grounds which includes the barrel room and fermenting silos. And their wine... I tracked down the Atlanta stores that sell their bottles so I can stock up. 

We also stopped at two big wineries, Chateau St. Jean and Robert Mondavi, but I prefer the intimacy of the smaller venues.

Dinner was at Farmhouse Inn and it was one of the best meals I have ever had. I tried rabbit for the first time in my life and it was actually quite tasty! The best part was uninterrupted conversation and we got to finish a complete meal without running out with an over-done toddler.



The next day was a day to explore the towns of Napa and Sonoma and of course to partake in some wine. 

Domaine Carneros was a beautiful house with stunning views. And champs is my thing so of course I signed us up for sparkling wine. This was another very busy winery so expect crowds before you go as well as make a table reservation.

Artesa was our afternoon stop and the hilltop views were gorgeous. Another larger winery but we didn't need a reservation to partake. Note they were a little sparse with their pours and the were large groups that reminded me of college.

After walking around the precious town of Sonoma and watching an hour or two of the Alabama game in a local bar, we enjoyed dinner at El Dorado Kitchen. Both the risotto and heirloom tomato salad were superb!

Overall this was an amazing trip and one to reconnect with the Hubs. In hindsight, I wish we had splurged a little on our accommodations in wine country but lesson learned. Until next time!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

First Birthday | Decor

Nothing like sharing details of Mary Tilman's first birthday a month after her party. After the countless hours of hard work, glue gun burns and hours consumed, I could not have been more pleased than the way it turned out.

The theme was pink and gold with touches of glitter. I am saving real themes for when kid opinions come to life.

The food spread featured cake, ice cream bar, fruit, chocolate covered pretzels and macaroons. I decided to go on the light side. The high chair was cute for pictures since Mary Tilman wanted none of the cake.

We had pink popcorn for favors and a fingerprint guest book station that never got used so you will see a repeat of this at a future party.
The beverage station had champagne, beer and water for the littles. Momma need a drink after a busy morning.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lately

I lied... blogging has not come back in full force. I admit; I am tired. All I want to do at night is sleep when MT goes down. Hopefully some wine and husband time in a few days will be the prescription I need.
I bought MT her first piece of leopard; it was just as epic as I imagined | We have great selfie faces | The dogs are fatter than before MT...this is encouraged through snack time sharing

Our annual trek to the pumpkin patch was pretty fun with a toddler. We even caught her in mid-wind blow and trying to push the wheelbarrow. | We went to the Bama vs. UGA game and it was spectacular. Definitely did not expect that outcome but it was a nice gift for enduring the four hour storm and my first rain suit experience.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall Fashion

I have been MIA all for good reason. We have had travel, MT's first birthday and lots of work packed in these last few weeks. But I am trying to get back in the swing of connecting back on here!

Can I get an amen that if finally feels like fall? I love fall! Like pumpkin everything, wear a scarf like you just don't care, type of fall love.

Here are few new fall additions to the wardrode:

Scarf | Green Sweater (I snagged in two colors) | Booties | Beige Sweater

Friday, September 4, 2015

My Wish for You

Dear Mary Tilman,
 
My wish for you sweet girl is that you stay true to yourself. Your daddy and I are going to raise you right so I want you to remember that. Be kind to others but stand up for what you believe in. You will face situations that are uncomfortable and trying, but stay strong. It my take a lifetime to be comfortable in your own skin but I hope you find that peace. You are a beautiful, smart, strong little girl and I hope you maintain that identity for years to come. You will have heartaches and mistakes but those moments will make you stronger. While I don't wish failure on you, I know it will come. You will mess up at school, work or say the wrong thing at the wrong time, but those moments make you who you are. You appreciate the happy times after the bad. Be you little one and stay just the way you are.


My wish for you is that you find your "people". Your family will always be there but friends are the family you get to pick. Some of my best friends are ones I found in childhood and in college. You will laugh, cry, experience loss and love with these "people". They are the ones that will carry you through difficult times from near and far. Some of your friends will grow distant but some new ones will come. Those great friends are the ones you see after months and months and it is like you never left. I hope your "people" are as good as mine, yet I also hope to be one of your "people". While I agree with the statement, I am your parent not your friend, I hope I am that person you call during good times and the bad.

My wish for you is that you live with no regrets. This is my biggest aspiration but the hardest to attain. When you were really little, I wished so much for you to sleep or stop crying. Now I regret not savoring those snuggles and precious moments. I wanted to make those first few months perfect but was never willing to ask for help. Time is such a valuable thing and regrets stop you from appreciating it. Live in the moment and don't look back. You can't change yesterday but you have an influence on tomorrow. This past year with you has flown. As I think of all the exciting times ahead, it makes me yearn for those little baby moments I will never get back. Stay young and naive for as long as possible. Live life in each moment and the regrets will never come.

My wish for you is that you never stop learning. I want to take to oh so many places so you can learn, grow and explore. The reason I love to travel is learning about different people and walks of life. I hope you always learn and appreciate the things around. Do the touristy thing if it teaches you nothing else other than what it is like to live in someone else's shoes. Volunteer, give back, because it makes you a better person. Visit museums and art exhibits just to learn something new. I want you to know where you came from but also be willing to have a vision for where you want to go. Your opportunities are endless and completely up to you.

My wish for you is that you know you are loved. You have changed my life in every way imaginable but I wouldn't change a thing. My goal is for you to be safe, happy and loved. I see so much of myself in you, your independence, your determination but also your sensitivity. While you are a spitfire, you are also so, so sweet. You love so much which only makes it easier to love you that much more. You are such an amazing little girl and the love of our lives.

Happy First Birthday my sweet little one! You are so loved.

- Momma

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pinteresting

My blogging has been sub-par lately. If I am not working after Mary Tilman goes to bed, I am crafting for the big O.N.E.

While Pinterest is still a stellar site, I don't have countless hours for it. I do however have time to scour it for first birthday party ideas. I am not going to share those and spoil the big surprise but here are a few recent pinning favs.

I have been tested lately with managing it all and doing so gracefully. There have been tears and stomach cramp induced doctor visits but I am looking forward.

 Tomatoes + blue cheese = enough said

I love this Thanksgiving tablescape. We are hosting my family this year and I love any reason to think up a new, fresh table arrangement.

 In hindsight, I should have done a one year fiesta. This is a front runner for year two's celebration. I would say Mexican is our favorite food group when the hostess knows when we divert from our usual Monday night ritual (and yes I know Mexican is not considered a food group for everyone but it is for this clan).

I wear my hair up about 95% of the time in the summer and I love this easy do... think the hubs can master this braid?

We have fish at least once a week and this ranch, rosemary salmon is super easy and a really good fridge condiment cleaner-outer.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Baby's 1st Birthday | Gift Ideas

My baby is almost one. I don't want to think about it.

Considering she is only one, I wanted to get her a few sweet things but ones that won't be tossed to the side tomorrow either.


water table | I actually already got this for MT and maybe overshot the advanced category. It is super fun but could be targeted for some older kids.

 teepee | Mary Tilman loves playing "fort" on our rides home so I thought a teepee would be a great idea. I haven't actually purchased this yet but love this gold one.

 book | MT is obsessed with Brown Bear. We will uncover every book to find it. To alleviate our horrible car rides, I thought a smaller version would be perfect. Fingers crossed!

doll pram | Mary Tilman has started loving on baby dolls so I think this pram is a no-brainer. If only I would think the hubs would agree.
 
cake server | Friends of ours did this for their little girl and I though it was precious (thanks Mandy). I bought a cake server (in my silver pattern) and engraved her initials and birth date. We will use the server at every birthday and then she can use it at her wedding (tear, tear).

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mary Tilman: 11 Month Update




Weight:  roughly 21 lbs.


Height: Long

Sleep: Still rocking in the sleep arena. You are only taking one nap a day at school but two at home. Needless to say, some nights we have an early bath time routine.

Clothes/Diapers: You are still sporting size 3 diapers and 12 month clothes.

Diet: You are an awesome eater. Your favorites are currently cheese, hot dogs, quesadillas, pasta, mandarin oranges, applesauce... I see a lot of carbs with the above list.

Favorite Gear: Minnetonka mocs, water table

Milestones/Firsts: You are walking and at quite the fast pace! You are into everything and exhaust us with the constant laps around the house.

You also had ear tube surgery in mid-July. I hated seeing my little baby in a gown and on a stretcher but you are so much happier. Your vocabulary was instantly better and I think that helped your balance as well. The deal was sealed when the surgeon came out and said you had a double ear infection.

Likes: Brown Bear by Eric Carle, your dogs, walking everywhere

Dislikes: You still hate the car (ugh)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Lately

When I think of lately I think of busy. It has been nice to stay home for once in four months and not have to listen to our baby cry in the car... my anxiety appreciates that.
Earlier this month, we installed part of my birthday gift - patio lights! I hope to share a little nicer pics but I was so stinking excited to get them up! I think this is now my new favorite spot in the house.

Mary Tilman had surgery last week to get ear tubes. I used to think it was simple procedure but soon realized nothing is simple when you add an operating room and anesthesia. The two hour pre-op proved quite difficult in keeping a starving baby occupied. But, we did may walks, took many pics and even played with the friendly visitor dog (precious idea by the way). MT was not a happy camper after surgery and that was the toughest part. It is never fun seeing your baby to the point of distress where consolable is not happening.

How is my baby almost one? Party planning is in full swing and I have a glittered basement to prove it!

This photo is too cute not to share. I ask her to take a selfie and this is face I get.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nsale

The annual Nordstrom sale is currently happening but you probably knew that. It seems to be everywhere.

The husband doesn't get it because well it is 98 degrees in July and I am talking about ponchos and booties. I like to be prepared for my favorite season of the year with all those important events I plan to be at (aka football games and outdoor functions).

As part of Operation Wedding Weight (aka get my big booty back in year 2010 shape), I think a few incentives would help keep me on track. My wallet doesn't agree.
Freshly Picked Mocs - These are not on sale but I wish they were. I probably should not have put them on here because now the hubs will never let me get them for little Miss that decides she feels the need to walk everywhere. Of course, first time mom just now realized that means I need to buy shoes for school.

Voluspa Candles - I usually buy these from Anthropologie but this is a great buy! My name is Julie and I have a candle problem. I literally have like 12 stashed in a drawer just waiting for the current ones to dry right up. I tell myself there are worse problems to have.

Sam Edelman pumps - I have these pumps in leopard and get a compliment every time I wear them. I am finding shoes the perfect accessory for my daily work wear of all black. Imagine a Mac make-up artist sitting in a corporate cubicle... that is me.

Tory Burch wedges - I have wanted some of these for like ever. Why, no clue but I think they look all fancy. Hubs - hint right here.

Sweater Coat - Give me a sweater, call it a coat and I am a happy girl.

Wide Legs Pants - These are great for work or a nicer function that doesn't call for a dress. This would be great for after-work drinks if that was still a thing after kids.

Burberry Kids Coat - Stop it! Stop it right now Burberry! This is the cutest thing ever but not practical by any means. I would love to have a mini-me but I waited 24 years for a Burberry coat so MT will have to wait as well.

Blouse - I bought this on Saturday and it is perfect! I have been donned the blouse / pants ensemble girl at work and that is fine by me. This is where the aforementioned cute shoes come into play :)

Knit Blazer - I love this blazer for work or play. It says business but of the soft cotton kind.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Eleuthera, Bahamas

As I mentioned before, we went to Eleuthera, Bahamas last month and it was perfect. Our rented house was on French Leave Beach and on the busiest beach day, we saw a maximum of 20 people. The house came with a beach cabana which was great for long days at the beach.


I highly recommend the sleepy island of Eleuthera for anyone looking for a relaxing vacation. We stayed in the Governor's Harbour area which had an airport for our short 15 minute flight from Nassau. This area also had your local grocery store, bakeries and ramp to buy fresh catch fish.

We really never ventured outside of our area because the beach was so great. We stayed on the Atlantic side, which I prefer compared to the no-breeze Caribbean side. There are a few local restaurants but keep in mind that staying on an island comes with a larger meal price tag due to the transportation costs.

Every local we came in touch with was very welcoming. They answered our multiple questions and even offered local recommendations on places to eat or visit.

Eleuthera is definitely on our list of places to return!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hello Fresh

After reading Megan's post on meal delivery systems, I was intrigued. Aaron and I have both been swamped at work but I feel horrible when we eat out every night. I found a coupon code for Hello Fresh and decided to sign up.


Here is what I ordered for my first box:
  • Eastern Carolina Pulled Chicken Sliders on Brioche
  • Poached Cod in Chorizo-Fennel Broth
  • Tortellini Gratin
All the meals were pretty easy and really good. I would have never used Kale or bought Cod but this brought me out of my comfort zone a little bit. I even learned out to properly cut fennel and all on a Thursday!

To be honest, I don't plan on doing this every week but it is nice to not have to worry about meal planning all the time. The only downside were the delivery dates. I chose Wednesday (the earliest option) and it came too late for us to enjoy that day. Monday or Tuesday delivery would be amazing (hint, hint Hello Fresh). This service would be great for new moms who don't want to go to the store but still want a home-cooked meal. One of the best parts was no waste since everything was measured out.

Here is a coupon code for $40 off your first box:  K8PP5D.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Flying with Baby



Last month, we traveled to the Bahamas with my family. Not only was this May Tilman's first international trip but it was also her first time on a plane. Talk about mommy anxiety.

Luckily, little lady did phenomenal. Before we left I scoured the web for tips on traveling with a baby. Here are a few lessons learned from this novice momma:
  • We opted for baby-wearing as opposed to a stroller. Mary Tilman does better when held so I thought the Ergo-baby would be our best bet. 
  • Travel during nap times. We didn't really plan for this when our flights were booked months ago but it worked out perfectly. 
  • Bring a pacifier, bottle or snack for descent. Mary Tilman woke up right on our descent so I offered her puffs and a bottle to remedy any ear problems.
  • If traveling with family, sit behind them. Mary Tilman wanted to interact with the people in front of her so it worked out that it happened to be my dad and brother. 
  • Don't overpack your diaper bag. We brought the bare essentials and it worked out perfectly. Carrying a 20 lb baby and a 20 lb bag adds up so pack as light as you feel you can.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Randoms

This week has been a tough week due to some personal things. Throughout these past few years, I would say I have done a lot of growing and self-reflection. I know what I am and what I am not, my strengths and my weaknesses. One thing that I will not bow down on is staying true to myself. One of my biggest flaws is being a push-over. I have also come to realize (with my ripe old age) that there will always be those people that want to tear you down. While these events have been hard, I have tried to stay positive and find the best in the situation.

On a MUCH lighter note (no pun intended), I am going on a personal endeavor to lose some weight. While I have been down to my pre-pregnancy weight since last October, I am just not happy with where I am. The hardest part is finding the time to actually do it. If I do it after work, I miss time with my daughter... If I do it before work, I miss time helping to get out the door on time.... If I do it at night, I miss out on time with the hubs. The balance will never be easy so I am trying to make the time with no excuses (maybe having it in writing will help).

The Nordstrom anniversary sale is on and it makes me yearn for cooler temps. I love the fall and all the sweaters that come with it. Throw in a pumpkin spice latte and I am your typical white girl! If I had a Nordstrom card and could shop early, I would snatch up this poncho and pumps.


Mommas out there: Does your kid hate the car like mine? Mary Tilman is truly a sweet, sweet baby but the unhappiness and water works start anytime we are in the car for more than an hour. I think it is part boredom and part she just wants out AND NOW! I sit in the back with her full of snacks, games, apps, you name it. Nothing seems to work. Any advice?


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Mary Tilman: 10 Month Update



Weight:  20 lbs.


Height: Long but don't know specifics (still in the 95-98% percentile for height)

Sleep: You are your parents' child... you love sleep!

Clothes/Diapers: You are in 12 month clothes with a few 9 month still making the cut. Still in size 3 diapers and it should stay that way for a little while longer since you are a lean little lady.

Diet: You are a great eater but definitely have some favorites: sweet potatoes, yogurt, CHEESE, blueberries, anything with carbs (crackers, bread, etc.), avocado

Favorite Gear: Ergo baby (this was a lifesaver on our trip), Jellycat Bunny, Kiki teether

Milestones/Firsts: You got another ear infection so we are on the books for tubes next Monday. As much as I hate the thought, you will be much happier in the long run from both the pain and the constant cycle of medicine. You are standing up more and more these days so I am thinking that walking will creep up faster than I would like. You took your first international trip and powered through like a pro. While vacations are definitely different with a little one in tow, I wouldn't want it any other way.

Likes: Your dogs, swimming/bathtime, peek-a-boo

Dislikes: Riding in the car gives me the most anxiety because you get so bored and cry for extended periods. I dread any car ride now over 1.5 hours.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ramblings




My birthday was pretty low-key with this not being a monumental year. I feel like as you get older those -0 and -5 birthdays are a little more exciting than the others. However, it was a great birthday filled with lots of love from Miss Mary Tilman. Her love also extended into the most stressful dinner ever. The night ended with me, sitting alone in our living room with a glass of wine.  Perfect ending to me!

Oh goodness! As a true Southern Belle, you know when to exude grace and when to bring out the big guns. Long story short, as of this past weekend Mary Tilman's passport was in random New Hampshire STILL getting processed. We had a snafu with her birth certificate and the spelling. How someone can misspell words that I typed is beyond me but I digress. So fast forward to May, we expedited her passport and received a letter three weeks later that her photo had been damaged. Mind you I paid about $150 extra and it took two weeks for someone to ruin it. So like any sane person would do, they TYPED up a letter and mailed it to me, asking for a new photo. Well, I was outraged (as you can see in this lengthy paragraph). In the middle of my tirade and then wrath on a customer service rep, I asked Aaron why he wasn't mad. He looked at me and said "I am scared to say anything to you." I think I had an out-of-body experience that night. So, needless to say I got on the phone with our senator's office the next day (thanks for the rec Sophie). Fast forward to another outrageous claim that is takes 5+ days to deliver intra-office mail, we emailed over more pictures in hopes of getting it back in process. This momma has a huge relief knowing we can actually go on our upcoming vacay and scarified a few grey hairs to get us here.

To the aforementioned rant, we are taking Mary Tilman on her first international trip. Like my Type A self, I have several packing lists already compiled and to-dos for the week. Any flight recommendations are completely warranted and accepted.

This beauty of a swan float has been floating around the internet and social media along with flamingos, doughnut and other edible objects. Well you should all own one! It is huge and not a bad price. I recommend using loyal Amazon opposed to these "boutique" floats you see blogged about. They are the same thing people for a much cheaper price.


MT turns one in less than three months. Stop growing little bug! In prep for this, I have of course already started planning her first birthday party. I am opting for no real "theme" this year in lieu of saving any potential ones for later on down the road.Thank you secret pinterest board for keeping my sane just thinking about it.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mary Tilman: 9 Month Update




Weight: 19-ish lbs. ( I will update after our 9 month appt.)


Height: Again, momma has no clue.

Sleep: Still sleeping like a boss at home but slacking off in the school nap department.

Clothes/Diapers: We are in 9 month clothes with several 12 month outfits sprinkled in. Bubbles (which I love) run in all different sizes based on the brand so we are pretty much wearing anything in the closet. Still in size 3 diapers.

Diet: You are mastering finger foods as I have no more purees left (nor do I plan to make anymore). Your favorite foods are sweet potato, avocado, blueberries, yogurt, bread and bananas. You like carbs! We are still on 4 bottles a day which is right where they say you should be ounces wise.



Milestones/Firsts: Same story, different month: You got another ear infection. Sadly this is completely normal for a daycare baby but pitiful all in the same breath. I have taken a backseat in terms of my name as I have also been relegated to "Dada". You also say "bye", "dog" and "ba-ba" (bottle). You are crawling and pulling up like crazy so you may be an "earlier" walker. You also took your first trip to the lake and luckily for us, it is a favorite. Water is your thing which makes our life a whole lot easier.

Likes: Your dogs, Eating anything (edible or not), splashing in the water

Dislikes: Riding the car, your parents feeding you (the horror), boredom

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Birthday List

Someone has a birthday coming up... cough, cough me! I love birthdays but this year just seems to be a little blah. I could be that I am just plain exhausted or that we have a big trip planned so I am looking forward to that. Whatever it is, I still have a few items I have had my eye on...





Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Long Weekend

This past weekend our little family unit of three (plus the bullies) went to our favorite place, the lake.

While this time around was not as relaxing, it was just as enjoyable and fun! Little bit loved the lake and squealed when she saw the water or her dogs in the water (they seem to be one in the same).

We enjoyed our snacks outside while watching the boats and jet skis go by / During dinner Saturday night, she got a little cranky so Dad and baby trekked to chill in the grass

Mary Tilman is very much a Momma's girl but only her daddy can calm her down sometimes / This beauty of a float was an early birthday present. If you have little ones, run to Costco and buy one. MT loved the mesh part that she could sit in while floating with us

These dog beasts must have some lab deep in there because they risked life on those steps. There were several times I thought we would have to swim in after them (I say we as in Aaron). As for wading in the shallow end, they could do that all day / #parentfail... we didn't realize you HAD to latch the crotch strap to make it fit properly so little bit was pretty uncomfortable that first boat ride  (we were perfectly safe and she clutched to me that entire ride before any safety haters come forward)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Recent Acquistions

Considering we have had few weekends at home, I have done some shopping in preparation for summer and upcoming trips. Online shopping can't be bet especially with all these Memorial Day sales popping up.

Here are some new closet additions:

Victoria Secret Bathing Suit - great for the mom bod / Nordstrom Tassel Dress - I am a sucker for tassels / Banana Republic Wedges - these are perfection in every way / Loft Embroidered Dress - I actually just ordered this today so fingers crossed it is as perfect in person / Replica Rollerball Perfume - great buy for our upcoming trip to the Caribbean

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Summer Cocktails

It is no secret I love a good refreshing drink. Considering I didn't have an adult beverage for a majority of 2014, I am looking forward to a summery concoction while enjoying the nice upcoming weather. Thanks to Pinterest there is no shortage of recipes to be had which are perfect for the pool, lake, beach or just an afternoon outside.


 White Wine Mojito / Yellowhammer (a college town drink) 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mom Confessions

Disclaimer: If you are a guy reading this... probably only my dad and husband, you may want to skip this post.



Happy belated Mother's Day to all of those mommies out there. My first mother's day was filled with plenty of snuggles with little princess after a weekend away. I think I made it back to Atlanta in record time.


A new perspective on this holiday has brought up how much mothers devote to their families. Truthfully (sorry mom) I don't think I realized how much mommas sacrifice for the time devoted to growing and nurturing their little ones through life.

Here are some new mommy confessions I have learned along the way:

- I didn't know how much of my life would be spent breastfeeding. As in like most of your day the first few weeks was solely spent with that little baby and your hoohas. And boy is it hard. Hard in the aspect of trying to get in-sync with new baby and new body but also trying to cope with being the sole provider of baby's nutrition. While I liked a glass of wine in the evenings, I had to time it just right for the next feed. I also had to watch what I ate for the chance at upsetting her tummy. Aaron would be so kind and offer to let me run errands solo but I still had to pump or feed... so I was never "off the hook." I could write a whole post on this topic alone but the pressure women give each other on this topic is unreal. Mom guilt is a real thing and ever present on the topic of breastfeeding. Around six months, my supply dropped. It could be attributed to Mary Tilman's solid foods or pumping three times a day at work. I got stressed and worried not just about her nutrition but what people would think of me. Was I a slacker and weak for giving up? After supplementing with formula (because we powered through the freezer stash) I realized that stressing was not helping the situation so we started on formula only. Yes I have guilt (but she did get her first ear infection while she was BF-ing so that wasn't antibody preventable) but I also have the time to enjoy her more without stressing. I don't have to make marathon Target runs or worry about having some "me" time. So mommies... do what you need to do and forget all the negativity that may will come.

- Your new body may never be the same. I have stretch marks that appeared during the last month of pregnancy and make me so self conscious. I have a mom pooch that pushes me to want to wear my maternity business pants eight months later. I have the intense desire to wear a cover up the entire time I am in a bathing suit. But.... my new body created this miracle that I am so blessed to have. After going to the doctor last week she was so excited I was down to my pre-pregnancy weight. I said "Yeah but things are in a completely different place than before... all jiggly." She proceeded to break the news that it may never be the same. I am learning to love this "new" body and being thankful for the reason it is this way.

- I am one that doesn't like to have regrets but if there is one throughout this whole process it is to accept help in order to make time for myself. I see independence in Mary Tilman already and that is without a doubt a trait she got from me. My viewpoint: I can do things so much quicker if I do them myself. While on maternity leave, I rarely napped while baby napped. I was too busy cleaning, preparing dinner or other household tasks. I regret this decision and recommend not doing it to any new moms. Take the time to read a book, get a pedicure or take a nap. Go on a walk alone. With having a new baby and the title Mom, comes the loss of time and reflection on yourself. When I was stressed, baby was stressed (and so was hubby). Next time around, I will make the effort to relax a little more and soak in some more alone time.

As hard and trying as some of the last eight-ish months were, they are some of the best. This little girl is beautiful, funny and simply amazing in every way. I am beyond thankful to be her momma and guide her into this great big world. I am also thankful for all the mommas in my life have done for me. They have fed me, clothed me and taught me big life lessons along the way. I have been shaped by my momma, grandmother, aunts, mother-in-law, friends, and many more throughout the years.

May each day be a Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mary Tilman: 8 Month Update

How are you 8 months old? How does time fly by when you least expect it and you feel the need to savor it the most. Little one, how you are so amazing in every way. You are the funniest little thing and oh so sweet. You have also developed a sense of independence and I can see myself in you during these times (much to your father's dismay).



Weight: My guess is in the 18 lb range


Height: Tall? (you were wiggly when I tried to measure last week)


Sleep: Girl you are a blessing in how much you love to sleep. Although, you apparently don't like to nap at school in the fear you will miss out (starting FOMO a little early).

Clothes/Diapers: You are still getting some mileage out of your 6 month clothes but not for long. We have to watch the length in all your outfits. Today you actually went to school in a 12 month bubble (I love chunky baby legs in a bubble). Still in size 3 diapers and will probably stay there for a while.

Diet: We are slowing introducing finger foods during dinner and you seem to be doing okay but haven't mastered the food grab yet. You love to eat and are quite envious when we eat other foods in front of you. You are down to four large bottles a day with a few sprinkled around your meals. The sippy cup is more fun to chew than drink from right now.


Favorite Gear: Activity table, picnic basket toy, placemat, Mom's iPhone

Milestones/Firsts: You got another ear infection but powered through just like first.You, like most women, through the man in your life a curveball when your first daddy/daughter weekend, you decided to get the aforementioned second ear infection. But he was amazing and took great care of you! You have also decided to start crawling, as of last week. Now all household tasks have to be delegated to nighttime since I can't take my eyes off of you for a second. Your first word was "bye-bye" with an adorable wave and we have added "da-da" to our vocab. You can hear the faintest "mama" when you are hysterical for your last bottle before bed.

Likes: Being outside, your dog siblings, people watching, standing ALL.THE.TIME

Dislikes: Changing clothes, riding in the car longer than one hour, bath (this is a new one and not one I am fond of)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fiesta


May 5th could be my favorite holiday of the year and it is technically just a made up one anyways. I am a sucker for Mexican food and the sketchier the better. Like strip mall Mexican is the way to go!

Tonight we are taking it low-key because Mariachi music and tequila infused people don't mix with an eight-month old. However, we will be enjoying some crockpot tacos and copy-cat Chipotle rice. I could eat Chipotle every day if I had the choice and/or if I still wanted to fit in my clothes.

Here is some attire if you decide to brave the crowds for a night of Tecate. (And don't wear this all at once, you would look like a giant tassel.)


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Weekend Getaway

Who doesn't need a weekend away every once and a while to recharge. I know this mommy does!

The great thing about Atlanta is it is pretty close to lots of great getaways. While the beach is a little far there are still come great options within a few hours drive. (If you don't know, I hate riding in a car.... like hate it).


Serenbe - This little hidden gem is located south of Atlanta; known for it's eco-friendly, sustainable living, it's solitude and serenity just scream "let me be". I mean, I think know I could relax here.

Blue Ridge - I love that the mountains are so close to Atlanta but seem like a world away. While I love Highlands, NC, Blue Ridge offers the same peace and sometimes offers a little cheaper price point (note: I thought these VRBO pictures looked cute but I haven't stayed at this rental; I am a rental picture snob.)

Barnsley Gardens - Aaron and I stopped here on our way back from the mountains one time and it is precious...an old plantation turned luxury resort. I love that you rent cottages opposed to staying in a lodge and the activities options are a plenty. The dudes go quail hunting and the ladies go spa-ing!

Reynolds Plantation at Lake Oconee - Give me a Ritz quality location and throw in lake scenery... I am sold!

Sea Island - The hubs and I ate lunch here with friends a few NYE's ago and fell in love. While it has a hefty price tag, it is apparently the place to go if you have an ATL address. Luckily it appears on my fav, Luxury Link, from time to time so it only stings the wallet slightly.

Chateau Elan - Aaron stayed here for a conference a few years back but we have yet to do a couples trip. I mean they have a winery... what is not to love about wine?

Friday, April 24, 2015

four things

I saw this little list floating around and thought it would be fun to answer!

Four Nicknames 
Snucks, Jewels / Jules, Downtown (for my maiden name), Judy (long story on this one)

Four Jobs I've Had
Babysitter, Various Internships, PR at a major car manufacturer, Employee Communications (current)

Four Movies I've Watched More Than Once
My Best Friend's Wedding, The Hangover, The Notebook, Titanic (I have quite the eclectic mix)


Four Things In My Purse
Wallet, Eos lip balm, hair bungees, cell phone(s)

Four Books I Would Recommend
The Notebook, The Husband's Secret, Something Borrowed, Anything by Mary Higgins Clark

Four Cars I've Driven
Nissan Xterra, Audi A4, (have to add in the hub's Expedition and LR4)

Four Places I've Visited
Fiji, Spain, Ireland, Alaska


Four Places To Visit On My Bucket List
Napa/Sonoma, Egypt, Greece, England (saving Egypt until they get their act straightened out)

Four Of My Favorite Foods
Tiramisu, Mexican, Steak, Seafood

Four TV Shows I Watch
Scandal, Nashville, Real Housewives, Kardashians (I just lost a lot of self-respect from that list)

Four Things I'm Looking Forward To In 2015
Big Milestones (Aaron's birthday, my parents' 40th anniversary, my brother's graduation), Mary Tilman growing up, great friends getting married, life in general