Did I Catch a Niner In There?

Today Tyler Bree turns 9!!!!
With her being our oldest, each year on her birthday is somewhat of a shocker for me because it causes me to incredulously wonder,
"How do I have a ___ year old?!?!"

And this year is no exception.  I'm gonna take a guess and predict next year's turning two digits (10) will be a hard one for me...however, right now I'm okay with nine.  She's the ideal nine-year-old in my mind...still innocent, sweet, brave, creative....yet starting to understand more and can have those deeper conversations with me.  I actually kinda love this age she's at right now.  And maybe it's child-specific (because I've always said my favorite ages are 18mo-3 years), but 9 is pretty great for Miss Tyler Bree.

I'll forever remember that day she made me a momma.  Nine years ago we woke up early and headed to our hospital in San Antonio...I was being induced because my soon-to-be 5lb,12 oz baby had been causing me trouble.  Little did I know that this little girl would bring us such joy and happiness...and teach her momma so very much.  We love our sweet girl tremendously!!!!
Here's to a great NINER year!

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6 Looks From Falls Past

Hey, remember that time I cut all my hair off???  #missinglonghair

I kinda feel like a broken record...I love fall...blah, blah, blah.  But seriously, y'all...I want to move somewhere that's perpetually cool, crisp, and has hot chocolate as a daily food essential.  Anyone know of a place?  Definitely not here in Texas, that's for sure.  I'm still working on Blake to look for a remote job in Europe...I'll keep dreaming.

Last night, I went back and took a gander at some of my past outfits worn around this time of year (Sept/Oct/Nov), and found that there were several themes of pattern mixing, layering, and experimenting with textures that seemed to be a go-to for the makings of my outfits.  While I'm always trying to discover new ways to wear the same clothes, I challenge you to do the same in search for ways to make your outfits interesting and different.  A lot of times when we don't necessarily have it in our budget to invest in new clothes, re-working our existing wardrobe (whether that be in the form of layering or pattern-mixing as I mentioned before) gives us both a fresh take on our closet and that little umph to feel good about getting dressed.

Plus, saving money isn't a bad perk either!

>>>Do you ever go back and remember outfits that you haven't thought of in a while?  Bring those babies on back!

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Last week I was crunched for time to get a new "welcome" picture to go along with the new blog design so we stopped off at a local park to get some shots.  Here are some of the ones I didn't choose...clearly.

And as a side note, I'm full on, head-over-heels for this pencil skirt from Target.  There's actually a button-up shirt (similar style to the one I'm wearing) in the same pattern that I thought looked really cool with it, too.  Did you know, the whole matchy-matchy is totally back in now?  Anyway, this skirt is no-fuss, hits below the knee, and can be paired with tons of tops and belts.

Style Tip:  Try out patterned separates with coordinates you don't necessarily think will work...you'll be surprised, I promise.  Take some style risks!

Shop this look:

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Our New Homeschooling Year {& School} Update

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Soooooo, whaddya think???

I'm really happy with my new design and love how it updated my blog, yet kept with my brand.  If you're needing any blog design or something of the like, Danielle is your girl!  Seriously, check her out!


In other news, I've been meaning to post about our new homeschooling arrangement for Tyler Bree.  We've enrolled her in a homeschooling academy just outside of Austin, to which she attends two days a week and then homeschools the other three (or two) days.  This particular school is very math and science heavy, while having a strong nature-based setting.  They provide the curriculum, so it takes out the guess work of what to teach, etc.  So far she loves it...as do I.  I really like that she gets instruction from her (very experienced teacher...this is in no way a co-op), and that she feels a sense of responsibility to get her work done at home because she's doing it for her teacher, not me.  If that sounds skewed, that's just how she and I work...strong-headedness at its best, or worst.  #storyofmylife #motheranddaughter

I'll definitely keep updating on the benefits of this method of homeschooling, as well as any roadblock we run into.  For anyone interested in homeschooling and/or homeschooling curriculum, I'll also post some specifics on her subject studies soon.

>>> I'd really love to hear from any of my readers that were homeschooled...what you liked/benefits/etc.  

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An All-Nighter, Dreamcatchers, and 21 Day Fix...Etc.Etc.Etc.

Yep, that about sums up my life right now...with a few extras such as photography bookings, my new blog design, and our family's bread shortage issue.  Read on...

>>> new blog design <<<
It's past due time for a new design...one that reflects my personality and the tone I want to set for my brand.  Also, as this space has evolved into a lifestyle blog, new subject matters have arisen...such as homeschooling and life in the great city of Austin...but still interspersed style posts too.  I can't wait to see what Danielle comes up with!!!!

>>> holiday minis and sessions <<<
In a matter of 24 hours, my fall calendar went from mediocre busy to vrooom! Almost completely booked for photography sessions!  This girl is pumped!  I'm offering holiday mini sessions on two dates (Oct. & Nov.) and then full session packages as well.  If you're in the Austin area, I'm offering a 15% discount if you book before October 1!!!

>>> bosch mixer <<<
When we got married one of the must-have items we registered for was a Kitchen-Aid mixer.  Our little mixer has been such a trooper the past ten years, but I'm seeing some age come out...meaning, it's starts smelling like smoke if I work its little motor too hard.  Plus, it's too small for some of the bread recipes I make.  //  Oh about the bread...since school started (read: packed lunches re-entered my life), we CANNOT keep a freakin' loaf of bread in our house.  Why do these kids eat so much!?!  My kid was literally begging me to eat the heel today!  The HEEL! Okay, rant over. //  Well WHO KNEW that there was something better than a Kitchen Aid???  My friend enlightened me on the Bosch Mixer and I've been crushing on it ever since.  This baby ain't cheap though...so it'll have to get in line behind the camera lenses, trip to Scotland, and implants I'm jonesin' for.  TMI??  Sorry, I'm not sorry.

>>> all-nighter at a jumpy place <<<
Around back to school time, a big group of friends (entire families) go in together to rent out a jumpy house in Austin...and between me and you, jumpy houses kinda give me the creeps when you think of all the germs there, but this one is actually really nice.  We all bring a potluck dinner, our sleeping bags, and most importantly gourmet junk food.  These women can cook!  Then we spend the whole night running around the place like crazy people until one by one everyone eventually passes out on one of the blow up things.  Oh and the adults have obstacle course competitions...serious business, that is.  Pretty much a blast for both kids and adults.
It's tonight....wish us luck.

>>> dream catcher party <<<
Tyler Bree's birthday is coming up REALLY soon and we have yet to plan anything for her party.  She wanted a mermaid party, but we don't have a pool...so that was out.  Then she wanted a Harry Potter party...which I ain't got time do that justice, so a big fat no.  And then last night, as I was thinking of things she loves, dream catchers popped into my head...she's obsessed.  Once I started looking up dream catcher parties on Pinterest (because really, who doesn't heavily rely on Pinterest for everything?), it was a gold mine!  So what we've decided on is a "Glamping" party called "Camp Dream Catcher."  She doesn't like the glamping idea, so we're not calling it that...but I'm totally still moving forward with my glamping ideas <insert evil momma laugh>.

>>> 21 day fix <<<
Speaking of stuffing my face with junk food, have I mentioned I'm right smack in the middle of the 21 Day Fix?  Two friends and I pacted together to get through 21 days of good, healthy, portion controlled eating.  And truthfully, we're sucking pretty hard in the results department.  I'm not quite sure, but none of us are seeing anything spectacular happen.  What gives?  Okay so maybe we haven't been sticking like glue to the plan, but I'm pretty confident all three of us are trying our best.  I mean, when I made orange cinnamon rolls and I had JUST frosted those warm, delicious pieces of heaven...you know how much self control I had?  I only ate a half...and then froze the rest.  Ha!  Take THAT cinnamon rolls!
But really...I mean.

So there ya' go...my life in a nutshell right now.  (And if you've stayed with me this far into the post, I love you.)  So, if I saw you in real life, I would most definitely talk your ear off about one or more of the above...keepin' it real here, friends.  Oh and homeschooling.  When I see you I'll probably talk about homeschooling too.  And eating.  And maybe how I dream about defrosting those cinnamon rolls in my freezer and not leaving a single morsel behind.

Alrighty, I'm over and out.  Ready to get my jump on...and pretend like I get a pass on my "fix" regime tonight.

Happy WEEKEND!!!!  

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How to Make Your Closet Current (Not Trendy) This Fall

There are few thing more frustrating than having somewhere to go, looking at your closet and having NOTHING to wear.  Sure, your closet is full of clothes, but you still are at a total lack for outfit options...ever been there?  I loathe that feeling (I know, first world problems, right?).  Because what ends up happening is you just throw something together that will "work" but doesn't make you feel your best...and did you know feeling good in what you wear is majorly reflected in your demeanor, outlook, and mood...basically life in general.  So it's quite important, friends.

Fall is my favorite time of year for adding a few new pieces to my closet.  One, because it's usually the time of year that I yell to Blake, "I have NOTHING to wear!!!!"  And two, who doesn't love fall clothes?

The creme de la creme of fall style every year can be found in all the September issues of magazines...especially the notorious issue of Vogue.  While those high fashion, glossy pages are beautiful and inspiring, it's difficult to translate them into a life that doesn't exist on the runway.  Thankfully, there are some other great publications that do a fabulous job of spotlighting on-trend (I didn't say trendy), affordable options for everyday wear.  After perusing these mags, I've come up with some essentials that will keep your look up to date this year...not necessarily trendy, but current for sure.  All four of these styles are wardrobe essentials that will update your closet...meaning, they're here to stay and worth the purchase....and not to mention at attractive price points.
And hopefully, just hopefully...those "I have nothing to wear" moments will be few and far between.

:: Suede booties are a MUST::
To update your closet, it's important to find out what pieces have gone from trendy to staple.  Booties fall into that category, so don't worry that you'll only get to wear these a few seasons...they've got staying power!
>>> Best Deal:  Check out the black Old Navy ones! <<<

:: Black & Gray Denim ::
Give your jean collection a little break by adding in some variation to the classic blue.  Black denim and gray scale options are definitely here to stay and are found to be quite slimming!
>>> My Favorite Pick:  Black denim skinnies from Gap <<<

:: Leopard Flats & Heels are the new Neutral::
Leopard print accessories fall into the category I mentioned above...a closet staple.  The great thing about leopard is that it can be worn as a neutral, whether it's shoes, bags, scarves, etc.  Style tip:  Stripes and other animals prints can be used a neutrals, as well.
>>> Best band for your buck:  Leopard print ankle strap heels from DSW <<<

:: Fall into Autumn with Plaid...it's EVERYWHERE ::
Now plaid IS a heavy trend this Fall...and it's my favorite of them all because of it's versatility.  Plaid can be worn casual (as with the shirts below) or dressed up in a skirt, scarves, trousers, you name it!  Get you some tartan, aye? 
>>> Will stay current for seasons to come:  Plaid button-up from Gap <<<

Artifact Uprising Giveaway

Being in roles of both a momma of four and a photographer/blogger, I take a LOT of pictures.  It's what I do.  But about three years ago, I stopped printing those pictures out...whether it was time, hassle, or just pure laziness...the thousands of images have remained on my computer or hard drives.  It's actually pretty sad when my kids come to me wanting a picture of the family for school or to frame one for their room...and I'm all...uh, let me get back to you on that one.  Because we have zero pictures in hardcopy!  I'm not the only one who does this, right?

So when I heard of Artifact Uprising, I was thoroughly intrigued with their ideas of ease and quality for photo keeping...especially in the day of "I only take Instagram photos" or "I'll get to it someday".  This company not only takes the hassle out of photo printing with services such as Instagram books, iPhone app to create photo books with your phone pictures, matte-finish square prints right off your phone, etc....but also provides amazingly beautiful, environment-friendly (100% recycled paper) and unique photo products.  Seriously...my pictures don't do them justice...check out their products HERE.
I love their slogan:


^^^ All Instagram photos of mine ^^^

So to share my love for photos and to give one of my readers the opportunity to "leave something beautifully tangible behind"....Artifact Uprising is giving away an 8.5 x 8.5 soft cover photo book!  To enter, just use the widget below for 2 simple entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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