Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale // Shoe Love

It's that time of year that I get a major itch to shop...Nordstrom's half yearly sale is here!  I've picked out some of the best steals I could find...from the shoe department!  And the best part is that ALL of these styles are under $50 (some WELL under)!  Just click on the individual shoe to shop it or visit the links below.  Happy Shopping...but HURRY, sizes are going super fast!

1.  BP 'Xenia' Pointy-Toe Pump 
2.  Chuck Taylor All-Stars
3.  Steve Madden Ankle Strap Sandal
4.  Havaiana Flip-Flop
5.  BCBG Pointy-Toe Pump
6.  BP Double Strap Sandal
7.  Toms Woven Wedge

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Summer Style For Moms On-The-Go // Palazzo Pants

Hello!!!!  Happy hump-day friends!   I've got for you the second look in our summer style series for moms on-the-go today and it's none other than palazzo pants!  We've seen these wide leg pants around now for a while, but if you haven't yet tried them out, be sure to do so!  Not only are they flowy and so very comfortable, but are easy to pull off for anyone and everyone...I promise you that!

Here I'm wearing some REALLY wide palazzos from Tiaras (aren't they fab?), but if these feel a little too much for you, there are plenty of other options to try with variations in width, pattern, and fabric.  See below for ways to wear this versatile summer style...

Style Tips:

>>> Dress palazzos up or down...either way, they'll carry you through a busy day!

>>> Palazzos are kind of funky by nature, so don't be afraid to mix all sorts of patterns, graphic tees, and accessories like these oversized leather earrings from Lavish Leathers!

>>> When buying a pair of palazzos, choose a pattern/color that you can wear with at least 3 different tops.  That'll guarantee you'll get good use of them!

>>> If the flowyness of the pants feels too casual for the office, pair with a denim jacket or vest for a more structured look.

How to Wear:

>>> Proportionally balance the wide-leg with a fitted top to give shape...then you can always add on another light layer, such as a kimono (as shown).

>>> Wear palazzos with either a thick wedge (not pumps) to dress up and add height, or flats for a more casual look.

>>> Depending on the style of the palazzos (preferably light and airy ones), try them out as a chic cover-up at the pool!

>>> A solid white or black tee is always a go-to look with palazzos...add a statement necklace and outfit complete!

>>> Throw on a belt!  Every body type needs some shape when styling...add a belt over a flowy top with palazzos OR belt the pants themselves (as shown).

Outfit Details:

Palazzos // c/o Tiaras // jumpsuit option
Striped Top // H&M (similar HERE)
Leopard Kimono // Target (similar HERE)
Wedges // Kork-ease via Nordstrom
Tote // Madewell via Nordstrom
belt // c/o Francesca's
Panama hat // Urban Outfitters (similar HERE)
Earrings // c/o Lavish Leathers
Necklace // Stella & Dot

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Obnoxious Hellos

I usually have in mind how photo sessions will go....therefore, never did I expect to be hanging out waiting for my client and holding a parrot 2 minutes later!

Blake and I were waiting for my clients to change outfits, when I heard this obnoxious "HELLO"!  My head whipped around trying to find who was talking...and I locked in on this one lady from who I assumed it came.


Again, I looked over at the lady and sort of half-waved a hello back to her, then rolled my eyes at Blake as if to say "who IS this woman and why does she keep talking to us???"

Duh.  Of course not until a few moments later did I spot the source of what I then realized was parrot talk.  I got a few shots of the beautiful bird while I could...thinking it might possibly fly away at any moment, when I heard someone ask me if I'd like to hold it.  Super observant, Kristen.  Its owner was sitting (I'm gonna go ahead and claim she was camouflaged because she came outta nowhere) back a few feet behind the bird.

"Um YES, of course I want to hold your parrot!!!!!"  Actually, first I tried to get Blake to, but then thought better of it and told him to get a picture of ME!  It was so cool how the bird easily stepped onto my arm and hung out.  We were instant buds...I took the liberty of naming him/her Charlie (in my head).  Who knew I'd get a fun experience like this in the middle of a photo session!?!  I sure as heck didn't.

So moral of the story?

Don't ignore obnoxious voices who just want to say "HELLO" never know who it might turn out to be!  (wink, wink)

>>> Hoping everyone is having a fabulous week!  More Mom-On-The-Go Summer Series coming up this week!  Stay posted!!!!

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Summer Style For Moms On-The-Go // Kimonos

As we head into warmer months and are getting in that summer state of mind, I've teamed up with Tiaras Boutique to bring you a series of Summer Style Staples for mommas on-the-go featuring five summer looks to add to your wardrobe!  I'll show you how to style each must-have piece, along with providing other styling inspiration and options.  Make sure to stop in Tiaras (or visit their website), where you can shop the same exact pieces for yourself...and boom, your style will be ready to go for summer!!!!

Our first Summer Style Staple is none other than the popular kimono!  I've blogged about my love for this fashionable addition to any wardrobe several times...and do you know what???  They have major staying power, which means you'll get tons of wear from one...or two or three.  A kimono not only gives a chic vibe to an ordinary look (without it, my outfit above would have been a boring tee and jeans), but also is the perfect light summer layer!  I can't stress enough to PLEASE add a kimono to your closet today!  You'll find yourself wearing it more than you ever thought you would...I promise!

How to Wear:

>>> Pair with a graphic tee and jeans/shorts (as shown) for a simple, yet put-together look.

>>> Wear as a swim coverup.

>>> Wear with skirt or dress (as worn here)...easy yet adds a dimension of style.  (Bonus: this look is super comfy and chic for expecting mommas!)

>>> Wear with leggings, a loose fitting shirt, and wedges for a laid-back vibe.

>>> Pair with a jumpsuit or romper for added coverage.

Style Tips:

>>> Because kimonos are usually long, pair it with a long pendant necklace to streamline and elongate the look.  Also, bring out your big earrings and chunky bracelets to complete the outfit.

>>> Don't be afraid to mix patterns.  Most kimonos are patterned, allowing endless possibilities for other patterns to mix, such as stripes, polka-dots, etc.

>>> For a sleek, dressier look, go monochromatic (try out all white or black) with your top and bottom underneath...letting the kimono be the star of the show.

Outfit details:

Kimono // c/o Tiaras (exact)
Graphic Tee // Junk Gypsy
Jeans // Level 99 
Sandals // Target (exact)
Tote // Madewell Transport Tote via Nordstrom
Earrings // c/o Lavish Leathers Aqua Leather
Necklace // ModCloth

*** Stay posted for what's next up in the Summer Style's a hint:  easy, breezy, comfortable bottoms!

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5 {Last Minute} Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day is one of those holidays that always sneaks up on's stealthness I have not yet figured out.  Other holidays are thought about and prepared for long in advance...but a hugely significant day to honor your mother (and to be honored as one) just seems to arrive out of thin I right???

Well friends, I'm here to tell you that it's not too late....husbands, take note as well.  Even though we're roughly four days away, thoughtful Mother's Day gifts are still within reach and completely doable.  Here's several (last minute) ideas to make the mother(s) in your life feel loved, special, and honored.

1.  Pamper Kit:  Include chocolates, bath salts, her favorite lotion and candle...and throw in a pedicure gift certificate for the cherry on top!

2.  Framed Printables:  Etsy has TONS of sweet mom-themed printables that are simple to download and frame for a no-fuss, yet meaningful gift to mom.  Check out one of my favorites HERE.  Or take it a bit further and gift her with several framed printables and photos for a curated gallery-wall!

3.  A Favorites Basket:  Get together as many of your mom's "favorites" as you can...think magazines, candy/chocolate, hair products, drinks, notecards, music, gift-cards, make-up, etc...and gift them in a cute little tin bucket or wire basket.  Easy and SUPER thoughtful!

4.  Take her on a date:  Mother/daughter dates are just the best!  Treat your mom to a night out at her favorite restaurant with maybe some shopping beforehand!  Or if going out isn't her thing, cook her a special meal complete with appetizers, main course, and dessert...don't let her lift a finger!

5.  Plant a special tree or plant:  Commemorate your mother (in all her greatness) by planting a tree in her honor (preferably at her home).  This is a simple gesture, but will last a lifetime and bring her memories of you every time she sees it.  If a tree is too much, try a beautiful plant such as an orchid.  (Trader Joe's always has huge ones for such a deal!)

Of course, there are plenty more gift ideas that you still have time to do/create/plan...but hopefully, one of these will spark your gift-giving creativity for a fabulous, thoughtful, and touching Mother's Day gift.

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Riley's Baptism

Riley's baptism is coming up this next weekend and we couldn't be more excited!  For those of you who may not know much about our church, most kids raised in our faith are baptized at 8 years old...which is the age at which we believe they can be accountable for their own choices and that they are old enough to understand the importance of convenants made during baptism.  Riley has made this wonderful commitment to follow her Savior and we are so very proud of her!

We got these cute invites made from Tiny Prints, which I was thrilled with.  I felt like the circular ones were so unique, and they looked just as I had hoped once they arrived in the mail.  Aren't they adorable!?!  Today, I'm mailing out the last of them (procrastination, much?).

A few weeks ago when the bluebonnets were still in full bloom, I snapped some shots of Riley in her baptism dress.  I thought I'd have a heck of a time finding a suitable one she liked (she has the most particular style of any 8 year old I've known), but we came across a gorgeous one from Zulily and she approved right away!  The pictures don't quite do it justice, as I didn't get a full-lenth shot of the entire's beautiful on her!

I'll be sure to post more photos of the actual day sometime next week.  Happy Monday friends!!!!

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Disney Cruise Tips {Things Learned the 2nd Time Around}

Our Disney Cruise vacation last week was our second time to sail the magical seas.  Our first was three years ago when our oldest was 6 and our youngest was 10 months and we loved it so much, we couldn't wait to get back!  This second time around, we were a bit wiser about some "secrets" to make our Disney Cruise even better than the first!

I'm sharing today 10 of those secret tips and how to make the most out of your Disney Cruise vacation.  (Please feel free to leave me any questions or addition tips you may have!)

1.  Get character tickets.  When we first boarded the Disney Dream, we saw something on the schedule that we hadn't known of or seen before.  For a limited number of people, tickets are given out for special character meetings with the princesses (Snow White, Belle, Cinderella, and Rapunzel), Elsa and Anna, and the Disney Jr. crew (Doc McStuffins, Sofia, and Jake).  We knew we'd have opportunities to see most of these characters at some point on the cruise, but obtaining a ticket was basically like the "fastpass" option at Disney World to bypass long waits.  Thanks to one of our friends, we got our hands on these HOT tickets and saved a LOT of time.  And I may be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure Elsa and Anna didn't have any other appearances besides this one...totally exclusive!!!

2.  Download and use the Disney Cruise Line App.  This was such a lifesaver!  There is no internet access on the ship (except for paid wifi), but through the app you can text others in your party...which was HUGE for us, as we traveled with 4 other families and it facilitated us being able to coordinate with others and keep track of kids.  Also, each and every detail of the cruise is at your fingertips.  Where and when to see characters, directions to everything on the boat, schedules, fun facts, etc.  Disney really fulfilled a need with this app...we were so thankful for it!

3.  Budget to purchase photos on the boat.  On our first cruise, I made the mistake of not purchasing any of the photos taken on the cruise (there are photographers everywhere snapping shots the entire time) thinking I had most all of them on my own camera.  To my dismay, I got home and realized most were either poor lighting or blurry...which was even more devastating because I had seen how wonderful the images of us captured by the Disney photographers were!!!  So moral of the at least a few photos.  You'll thank me later.

4.  Register your kids for the Oceaneer's Club/Lab online ahead of time.  Doing this will expedite the process once you're on the boat when your kids are excited to be checked in.  And if you're on the fence about leaving your child in these clubs, let me assure you that it's COMPLETELY safe and okay.  The kids are given wrist bands equipped with GPS in order to locate them within the club...that's right, the counselors know exactly where your kids are in the club.  At any moment your kid wants to leave, they text you immediately asking parents to come pick up children.  My kids loved the Oceaneers Club/Lab this time, especially Andy's room and the character activities such as "Find the Hook".

5.  Have a plan to maximize your cruise experience.  While Disney vacations are the best memory-making experiences for families, they are not usually very relaxing.  That being said and knowing that from the get go, make the most of your time on the cruise ship even if that means being quite busy.  There are SO many fun activities, character meetings, shows, etc. that when taken full advantage of, can really enhance your cruise.  This second time around, we learned to plan out our days so that we didn't miss anything we wanted to make sure to see/do.  Our first cruise, we felt we wasted time somewhat...but that may have been due to napping schedules of little ones.

6.  Take advantage of room service at night once everyone is back in the room.  In my opinion, when else can you get free room service AND have Mickey bar cookie sandwiches at night?!?!?!?!?!?  Never, that's when.  These are the kinds of things that make a super cruise a super special's what your kids (and you) will remember.

7.  Bring your own sand toys.  I thought bringing our own toys to the beach on Castaway Cay would be a big ol' pain in the butt, BUT it wasn't at all!  On any other beach vacay you'd bring along sand toys, so this one shouldn't be any different.  They don't take up much room, so make this a priority!

8.  Get to know your room hosts and servers well.  These fine people leave their families for months on end and work super hard to make their guests feel at home.  We've found that we enjoy getting to know their backgrounds and stories.  Our servers treated our kids like their own...bringing them special treats at dinner, entertaining them with origami or magic tricks, and really taking over in terms of helping during mealtime.  They made dinners a relaxing experience for our family, which I truly appreciated.  And although we didn't see our room host as much, he was exceptional as well and was SO very nice.  Treat these crew members well...they deserve it!

9.  Take time to explore the ship...there's treasures to be found everywhere that might otherwise be missed.  We knew there was putt-putt golf somewhere on the boat, however we probably would've never played, must less found it had we not taken the time to wander around.  On our first Disney cruise, Blakely and I were strolling down a hallway exploring the ship when we happened upon Belle reading a book all by herself!  Having such an organic and unstaged encounter with a princess made our day!

10.  Book your next Disney cruise while you're still onboard.  This can be done in the form of a "place holder" which doesn't commit you to a time/date, but allows you to take advantage of a discounted price, a smaller deposit, AND room credit on your next cruise.  Kind of a no-brainer if you know another Disney cruise is in your future.
Until next time....See ya' REAL soon!

*This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions and ideas are my own.

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