FriYAY feels!

It has been forever since I’ve had time to sit down and write anything. I’m so glad it’s time for the weekend! Tomorrow I have brunch plans with two of my girlfriends and we are going to a place I haven’t been to in forever, so I’m excited! Other than that, our weekend is pretty open so I’m hoping to spend some time with Andrew and the doggies, relax, read, and just see what comes up.

I’m feeling sassy because I got my hair cut this week! It was time for a change so I went for a “lob.” Once we cut it, I noticed how dead and scraggly it had been before! I love the new length and we went a little lighter, too! My hairstylist has been doing my hair FOREVER – since college over 10 years ago! She recommended this Kenra volumizing shampoo + conditioner for my poor thin hair, this curling wand in the 32mm size for bigger, carefree waves, and this Amika mousse for volume and texture (plus heat protection!). I’m going to give them all a try for a while and report back! It looks so much healthier and I am excited to style it!

the new ‘do!

I am also doing great with my Weight Watchers and staying active so far! I know it hasn’t been long, but if I can keep up the routine for long enough, it will just become normal and that’s what I’m aiming for. Andrew is doing it with me, so that makes it so much better!

In other news, I received a pair of Tieks (!!!) for Christmas and I have been wearing them about every other day. They are amazing! I also received an Instant Pot and I am going to plan to try a recipe or two next week in it! My friend Jenny found a recipe for spaghetti squash in the instant pot that takes FIVE MINUTES. That is absolutely a GAME CHANGER. So I think I’ll try that one next week with some sauce and meatballs. Easy, healthy, and delicious!

I also used some of my Christmas money to purchase these flats in the red and the leopard print! Most of my shoes that I wear constantly are super worn out, and these are cute and affordable enough to try out. I have a similar black pair that I have had for years and years, and one of my students called me out on wearing them all the time – so I figured it was time to upgrade! I can mix them in the rotation with my new Tieks 🙂

I’m loving this Fiore lip color and always love this line of lipsticks from Stila! I stopped buying lipsticks for a while, so now I’m a little low on my stash again and it might be time to restock!

In other news, we start exams next week at school and I’m always sad to say goodbye to my students! Changing semesters is always a great chance to start fresh and try new things, but it is always bittersweet. I had a great group of kids this semester and I’m going to miss them.

That’s it for me; everyone have a great weekend!

A Christmas gift guide you can afford

I can’t believe it is already that time again – time to buy gifts for the holidays! I luckily have already gotten basically all of my/our shopping done this year, but usually I am scrambling till the end. Last year I put together this gift guide for you guys, and honestly all of that is still relevant for this year, too! I’ve seen so many gift guides out there this season, and even if some of the items are in my realm of budget, most of the items are outrageously expensive. We all deserve to be spoiled, but I can’t justify or afford spending $150 on a blanket or a cardigan for all my girlfriends. OBVIOUSLY once we win the lottery this won’t be an issue, but until then, we are on a two teacher budget so here are some nice gifts you can afford this holiday season 🙂

1. Barefoot dreams socks – I was able to find some of these for even less than this link shows, but these are hot sellers this season! They are incredibly soft and cozy, perfect for lounging around the house or sticking into some boots when it’s really cold out! The perfect cozy splurge, because I can’t afford the cardigan that is over $100!

2. Wicks for wags candles – I always personally think candles are a nice gift, because they can actually get pretty expensive and you always want to have several around! My friend Meghan got me one of these and I LOVE it. I love a gift that gives back, and this shop gives at least 10% of the money they make on candles to help animals in need. Read more about their cause here. Plus, it’s a gift from a local vendor and supports a small business!

3. Joanna Gaines Homebody design book or Magnolia Table cookbook, Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings or Hungry for More cookbooks. I have two of these, and would love to have the other two. Wonderful gifts that someone might not want to purchase for themselves.

4. Dior lip glow – I have seen this product raved about for years by different bloggers and finally bit the bullet on one during Black Friday sales to try it out. It is as good as they say it is!!! A great way to treat someone to a pretty and practical gift that they will get use out of! The perfect hint of color and intense moisture.

5. Slippers – I think a nice cozy pair of slippers is a great gift for the holidays. I like these and these!

6. Flannel pj shorts – if you get hot like I do when you sleep, flannel pants can just be too much. But I love Old Navy’s flannel boxer pajama shorts!

7. Books – Educated is the latest book I read and I am just amazed at this incredible story. I read it in two days over the weekend and could not put it down! I am dying to read Girl, Wash Your Face and Where the Crawdads Sing next. For more ideas, here’s a great list to get you thinking if you know someone who loves to read!

8. The Yellow Bird products – I have written about this company before here. All natural, chemical free products that make for wonderful gifts for anyone!

9. The Little Market is always a great place to shop for items that give back – candles, jewelry, home goods, tote bags, you name it! I love these tassel earrings and this dainty tassel necklace. Whitney got us tassel bracelets for being her bridesmaids in April, and I never take mine off! This tiny pearl necklace is also a perfect dainty piece. I also love The Flourish Market for spending money towards a good cause (local in downtown Raleigh if you’re in the area!).

I also think another great gift idea is to give the gift of a subscription box! One month, three, or whatever you can afford – they all offer different options! Some subscriptions I have used or been gifted in the past and have really enjoyed are FabFitFun, Shaker & Spoon, GlobeIn, Cloth & Paper, and Ipsy. There are also subscription boxes for pets, wine lovers, chocolate lovers, all kinds of things!

I can never find a gift that seems right for the men in my life, no matter how many different types of gift guides for men I peruse. So some ideas I actually DO like for men include flannel pajama pants, slippers, a Yeti mug if they drink coffee, a beard hair catcher for easy clean-up if they have facial hair, or a nice flannel shirt or jacket. There are all kinds of gadgets out there for men but I have seen this digital grill thermometer in a few different places, so if you have a guy that loves to fire up the grill, this is probably a great idea!

Hopefully this list at least sparks some interest or gets you thinking about some things you could get for some people you may be having trouble thinking about! Christmas will be here before you know it – I just got up my Christmas decorations over the weekend, so I’m already feeling behind!

Happy shopping!

FriYAY feels!

one semi-finished corner of the new house!

I wish I could start this post by writing about fall, and how I love fall, and fall fashion, and scarves and booties and thick chunky sweaters, but y’all. It’s still ALMOST NINETY DEGREES here today. So I just really can’t.

But what I DO want to share is this shop from Kendi at Kendi Everyday. I’ve been following her blog forever and I know I already mentioned her new store in another post, but now I have received some items from Everyday & Co and I am LOVINGGGGGG them. Particularly this everyday blouse (which, come on, I knew I would). I have it in ash grey and it is so pretty and flattering. The material is great and it’s long enough to wear with leggings or do a front tuck (I’m a big fan of a front tuck). This super soft crew neck tee is perfect, too. I love that it has longer sleeves for the arms and a high neck. It looks polished but it still a closet staple. I know 100% without a doubt that I will be continuing to come to this site for clothes. She gets me.

This week, I made scallop linguini, spice rubbed parmesan chicken, and spicy garlicky spinach from the new Chrissy Teigen cookbook, and I just want to say YESSS.  If you don’t have her cookbook yet, run to get it. Such delicious looking and sounding dishes, and all seem fairly easy to make! That’s the best part. I don’t have the first Cravings cookbook, but that’s next on my list!

I’ve been back on this train for my everyday makeup and am just loving it still. I am finding it hard in my thirties (because I’m actually IN my thirties now) to find good face makeup that doesn’t get greasy throughout the day or cake up in lines around my nose. This is illuminating and just leaves such a soft finish but a pretty full coverage. And I never feel like I have to reapply during a day of teaching teens – and that is saying something.

This is the best blanket!!! Whitney told me about it, so I went to Amazon to check the literally thousands of amazing reviews. I got it in ivory and it is so. soft. It’s the blanket in the picture at the top of this post! Machine washable, soft on both sides, warm, and looks good in a room. Affordable, too – most throw blankets are way too pricey!

I’m loving this and this for jewelry storage at the new house. Simple, pretty, functional, and doesn’t take up too much space. And I just so happen to have gotten a 20% off coupon for The Container Store from moving!

We have a busy couple of weekends ahead, but all good stuff! I hope everyone enjoys this weekend and maybe soon we will be dipping into fall weather and I can write about booties and scarves and thick chunky sweaters 🙂 Happy Friyay!

School days + Friyay feels

I say it every year, but I cannot BELIEVE we are already back to another new school year! The summer flew by and we have had so much going on that I feel like this school year came out of nowhere and is already knocking me on my butt. BUT (see what I did there?) I am so excited to get back into a regular routine and tackle some major goals this year!

This year, I am going for my National Board certification! I have 2 friends at school doing it with me, and 1 friend in another county who will be going through the process, as well. I am anxious and scared but excited for the challenge. In addition to that huge undertaking, I will have a student teacher this year for the first time ever! I am incredibly excited about that because I had the most wonderful cooperating teacher when I was in college, and I hope that I will be able to give some meaningful experience, advice, and confidence to another future educator. Lord knows we need them! All that on top of being Department Chair again, leading a club, and serving on a few other teams/committees for the school and county. It’s a lot! I got this dress from Old Navy for the first day of school and I am excited to pair it with some blush suede heels that Whitney let me borrow! I got the dress in black floral. I’m sure I’ll also rock my wedding date bar necklace because it’s one of my favorite daily accessories!

In other news, WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!! Well, we haven’t bought it yet, I guess – but we will close at the end of September. Just in time for my birthday! I am ELATED to be able to finally have our own HOME with a big back yard with a fence for the doggies to run around in. More details to come on the house later, as things progress and as we navigate all the extreme adulting that needs to occur between now and having it finished and ready for living in! I can’t wait to decorate and start making everything cozy! I know Andrew is dreaming of all the things he can do with the yard.

our little slice of heaven 🙂

Another exciting piece of information this week is that one of my favorite bloggers of all time who I have been following for FOREVER is opening an online shop on Monday! I cannot WAIT to be able to stalk check it out! Her style is so classic and easy and I can’t wait to check out all the everyday goodies coming my way for an AFFORDABLE price!

That’s about it for me! There’s a football game tonight so I’ll go watch our school play and Andrew coach (he’s QB coach this year and will continue to coach JV baseball in the spring). Saturday my sister will be in town (!!!) and that’s fun since I haven’t seen her since she moved to Charlotte! Then going to Whitney’s for some girl time and yummy food cooked by her talented husband Romain. Hopefully a lazy and relaxed Sunday!

I will be in school/life/marriage/football coach wife/house buying/decorating mode for the next little bit, so things are going to be crazy…I think maybe we’re at the point in our lives where things just are continually crazy and you just keep saying how crazy they are and asking yourself if this is what life is like as an adult?! Haha! But all good things 🙂 Happy Friday, happy weekend, and happy first day of school to all my teacher friends starting up a new year on Monday!

FriYAY feels!

cozy weekend vibes

Friyayyy!

This has been a big week for the McClannons! On Wednesday, Whitney and I headed to the Social Security office to get our names officially changed! She got married a couple months before me, so she needed to get her name change going, too. I’m trying to make sure my  new name is ready for the new school year so kids are slightly less confused – but I’m sure they’ll be calling me Ms. Weaver for a while, anyway!

Today, I am going to try to go to the DMV for a new license…but if the lines are as bad as they are saying they are this summer, I may just have to wait on that. But the biggest news is that we went to the bank this week and got pre approved for a home loan! So we are starting the process to become home owners and hopefully soon our three little blonde monsters will have a fenced in back yard to call their own! Scary but very exciting. I’ll keep you posted!

Last night, Andrew and I went to the Dierks Bentley concert with Brothers Osborne and LANco! One of my really dear friends Dymphna got us tickets as our gift at my bridal shower, and it was such an awesome idea! We went to the pub to eat first, since that’s how I know Dymphna, so we got to see her and hang out before heading to the concert. It was so much fun and nice to do something fun after all the craziness of wedding planning and moving!

I made this Romano chicken with lemon garlic pasta for the first meal as a married couple in our apartment! (We keep saying, “this is the first time we’re doing xyz as a married couple!” Nerds.) The recipe was delicious and I will definitely be making it again! I followed it exactly but doubled the chicken part – I ended up with a ton of leftover parmesan cheese that I had to throw away because of the raw chicken, which is a tragedy. But other than that, it was delectable and easy to make, and Andrew loved it!

I also found this recipe and made a batch of chocolate chip cookies – we used this option to make two deep dish chocolate chip cookies with some of the dough, and made our first batch of homemade vanilla ice cream in our ice cream maker from my sister! It was so fun, and, you know…totally healthy? The cookies are the best recipe I have found! Sooooo tasty. We used regular semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of cutting up dark chocolate chunks, and instead of rolling it into a log and slicing it, we just did it like a drop batter and used the spoon to scoop out cookies for the pan, but other than that, we kept the recipe the same! Oh – we did use a bourbon vanilla extract instead of regular vanilla extract. It just sounded like the right thing to do!

In other news, I have absolutely lived in these shorts from Express all summer long. Read the reviews and BELIEVE THEM. The best pair of shorts I have ever put on. They are on sale and out of a bunch of sizes, but I’m linking in case they re-stock! I also bought this one piece from aerie and CANNOT say enough wonderful flattering things about it. It looks so good and feels so comfortable, and has just the right amount of sass to not feel like a “mom” suit. I got it in the olive green color. I feel so confident in it which is a HUGE win for me. I ordered it in the long torso because I realized for the first time that that is even a thing and that I need a longer swimsuit to fit me right. GAME CHANGER. And it’s currently on sale!

Other than that, I haven’t been too focused on new products or makeup this summer since I had our wedding coming up and I have such finicky skin – but I did get on a new skincare routine from my dermatologist and it has completely changed my skin for the better. I feel so much better and have hardly worn any makeup this summer because I haven’t felt the need to! I have been using the Aveeno clear complexion foaming face wash in the morning, a sulfur prescription face wash at night that has been a life saver, and then the Ceravé a.m. moisturizer, well, in the a.m., and then the p.m. moisturizer at night, which I LOVE. I also have two other prescriptions of creams, but it has been nice after trying so many high end “miracle” products that didn’t work for me to just go back to the basics and have success with these gentle, tried and true products. One of my best friends Lindsey, who is a licensed esthetician, also got me this Sorella Apothecary Rosehip warming face mask and All Night Elixir, which have been so nice to incorporate in the mix and don’t irritate my skin or cause breakouts. She is just the absolute best, a treat and a half, and you can check her out at Donna Lane Day Spa in Pinehurst!

That’s it for me! Tonight, we are catching up with some friends from school before the year kicks off, and then I am keeping my weekend pretty open so I can work on wedding thank you notes, running errands, and just relaxing with Andrew and the doggies. Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

FriYAY feels!

at the rally for teachers and students in downtown raleigh this week! #redfored

Friyay! This week, I joined 20,000+ teachers, parents, students, and supporters in the march downtown to demand more funding for students and classrooms, more resources for mental health, class size changes, and better working conditions. It was cool to be part of something bigger than me, and to come together with thousands towards one common goal.

This weekend, my sister is having a graduation party and I can’t wait! I’m so proud of her for busting her butt the last 3 years to become a Nurse Practitioner. She’s going to be amazing! Andrew and I also have an end of the year party at one of our friend’s houses from school, so it will be really fun to kick back and celebrate!

I said I would report back on my Tula skincare purchase. I ordered the discovery kit to see what I thought – and once it was empty, I re-ordered the full size face wash, this exfoliating mask to try, and the pro-glycolic resurfacing gel toner. In hindsight, I would swap out the face mask for the probiotic day &  night cream next time – the moisturizer is amazing, but I didn’t order it because I still have my Murad moisturizer from my Spring FabFitFun box that I love! The face wash goes a long way and it cleans my makeup off really well without a lot of scrubbing or effort on my part. I can’t say that my breakouts have cleared up 100% because that’s just my luck in life, but I do love the way it makes my skin look and feel. We’ll see how it continues to go!

Still loving these slides and wearing them at least twice a week. SO comfortable.

This week I got to the gym as many times as I said I would! Huge feat for me. I feel great, sore, and ready to keep this up! My wedding dress should be here soon, so I want to feel my best when I get it on!

New favorite affordable mascara (still holding onto this one as my other all time favorite) and the lip I’ve been rocking constantly (in the color Baci). I’ve loved the Stila stay all day liquid lipsticks since my college years, but this color is so good.

I’ve been stacking this necklace stamped with our wedding date lately, with this “A” necklace that I always wear (Andrew got me the “J” necklace for Christmas last year, and it broke one morning at school. I ordered the A thinking I could slide on the J charm with it, and I couldn’t get the J back on due to the clasps…so now I wear his initial instead!).

my necklaces!

I got to meet my friend Kelly’s little man Jacob last Sunday. He is only a week and a half old and he is perfect! He came a few weeks early but he is healthy and doing great. I am so happy to have another friend with a baby – my other friend Kelly had her baby Kate in December. So many baby snuggles in my future!

Two things I’ve been practicing with for wedding events and the actual wedding day after INTENSE research and review reading:  This sunless tanner (use the application mitt!) and some hair extensions so my thin hair can be on fleek. No shame. My legs are white, white, white and until I can lay by the pool (with SPF, of course), I’m trying to look a little bronzed in my white dresses for showers and events surrounding the wedding. I don’t think I’ll use it for the big day because I would hate to risk being streaky and I would never forgive myself if I stained my dress! But it has been working really well so far! The extensions are real hair, high quality, and matched my  hair really well. They are just a few inches longer than my real hair. They just give it some life and fullness, and whatever I decide for my wedding hair, my hair stylist suggested them to just give me a little more oomph! I ordered them from Bellami Hair in the ash blonde color.

I ordered this tote way back in April (it was a definite splurge, a treat yoself item I bought when I finally got approved for my Master’s degree extra pay!). It was on backorder because I got the petal pink color – I guess it’s all the rage this season! I have had my eye on this bag since about a year ago, but couldn’t bite the bullet. My best friend Whitney got one for Christmas and I decided I just had to have it. I haven’t gotten a purse since this bad boy last summer which I’m still carrying, and I haven’t gotten myself a NICE purse in……..ever? So it arrived yesterday and I’m just delighted.

That’s it for me! Everyone enjoy the weekend 🙂

FriYAY feels!

Friyay! And YIKES. It has been a long time since I wrote!

I’ve struggled with the blog thing because my life is so busy right now, and to be honest, I’m never sure who’s following along. Then someone will randomly tell me they love reading my posts, and it is so nice and gives me the pick-me-up I need. I don’t get paid or have any partnerships for MAXOUThappy, so when I have extra time or inspiration I write more, and when I don’t…I just don’t. I’d rather it be real than forced. And that’s life sometimes. Between teaching, working a second job, my best friend’s wedding, mine and Andrew’s wedding, baseball season, three dogs, and trying to keep some semblance of eating well and being active, I have been covered up lately!

All this to say thank you for not giving up on me if you are reading this.

We had spring break for school last week, and it flew by (as usual!). I had lofty plans of working on the blog, doing photo shoots, working out every day, etc. but a lot of that did not happen. Some big things that I DID accomplish, though:  Spring cleaning of the apartment, lots of laundry, my taxes, cleaning out my closet and room and donating a million bags to Goodwill, getting our rentals and rehearsal food booked for the wedding, and most importantly, getting in some QT with my fiancé and celebrating his birthday! I also somehow managed to make some online purchases – but these are items that I have been researching and really considering for weeks now. Bulk impulse buys are worse than bulk thought-out and deeply considered buys, right?! SOMEBODY BACK ME UP.

I have been having a hard time getting my 30 year old skin under control. I have always suffered from breakouts, but something has shifted now that I’m older and I’m having hormonal skin issues as well as workout-related breakouts. I bought a fancy charcoal mask that had amazing reviews at the start of the new year and it WREAKED HAVOC on my face. I have been seeing the Tula skincare line everywhere and have heard only wonderful things, but I have a hard time putting serious cash down on stuff that I’m not sure will work, especially on my finicky and super sensitive skin. After much deliberation, I bought the discovery kit so I can try some of these out without breaking the bank and see how they work for me! I’ll report back. Has anyone else tried it and loved it?

I got these camel colored mules for spring and summer, and if they’re as comfortable as they look I will probably continue to wear them into fall! I am always ballin’ on a budget, but in the last few years I’ve tried to incorporate one or two things each season that are high quality staple items for my closet that will last for years. I can’t afford to do that with everything I buy, but these shoes seem so worth it. I got them last night and I know I’ll be killin’ them in the classroom this spring on repeat. Let those teenagers try to say something. Comfort + style can’t be beat. Plus you can get 15% off by entering your email address (just unsubscribe later if the emails bother you!).

i mean they’re just lovely.

I think I’m super behind to the Everlane party, but I wanted to put it out there in case anyone else is behind like me! They partner with ethical factories around the world and use high quality fabrics for a fair price. I need to wait a minute on the online purchases, but I’m looking at this nice plain u-neck tee and these high-rise white jeans for spring & summer.

I’m dying to try this lipstick because it has been so raved about by fancy bloggers I follow. I am considering trying the shade Pillow Talk to see if it’s a good one for the wedding!

I joined a new gym this week to try to vamp up my motivation for my fitness. I am a serial O2 Fitness joiner and canceler, but they just opened a new one near me and I’m giving it a try again! Stay tuned. I’m hoping with the yoga studio, cycle studio, group fitness classes AND regular gym equipment, I’ll have a great variety and I won’t feel stuck.

A few quick, actually easy, and delicious healthy recipes I made for dinner this week:  Lemon garlic crockpot chicken, shrimp fajitas, and Italian chicken tenders (no recipe here; I just drizzle chicken tenders with olive oil + balsamic vinegar and a packet of Italian seasoning. Bake at 375 for about 25-30 minutes. YUM). Hoping to try this delicious and easy beef & broccoli recipe next week!

This weekend, my mom and I are hosting Whitney’s bridal luncheon for a brunch and I am SO excited to get to celebrate her! In ONE WEEK she will be getting married! So weird and real! I can’t wait to stand by her side while she marries the love of her life.

Enjoy the weekend – maybe warmer weather is   f   i   n   a   l   l   y   here to stay?!

FabFitFun // Spring box

It’s here! The Spring FabFitFun box got to me about a week ago, and I am so excited. I mentioned this subscription service when I got my Winter box – it is such a fun treat to look forward to every few months!

This box was FULL of goodies – I don’t think there was even one item in it that I wasn’t excited about! Total value of this box was $347 so it feels like such a deal when you just pay your subscription price of $49.99! The picture below breaks down what each of the items was in this spring box:

I LOVE the Murad face lotion – it is so smooth, and I really feel like I can already see a difference in my skin tone and texture already. It smells good, too! I have been using it every day. My only complaint about it would be that it doesn’t contain an SPF, so you’d still have to follow with that. I am excited to try the Free People cooling face mask, although face masks kind of give me anxiety. Is that weird?! I just feel like they’re closing in on me when I wear them! But I have several friends who swear by them, and I’m going to give it a try for puffiness and relaxation – if it’s not for the entire night, maybe my brain will feel less weird wearing it. They’re sold out right now, so they must be good!

The Rachel Pally clutch is SO cute, reversible, and just in time for spring! Maybe my favorite thing in the box next to the face lotion, just because I can get so much use out of it, and since it’s reversible, it’s even better!

When I opened the box, I immediately wanted to light the Anderson Lilley candle, because the fragrance was already filling up my room and it smelled SO good. Plus, I love the copper holder. Perfect for taking a bath or just relaxing at home.

I’ve been using the ISH lip palette every day for my lip color, and I love the variety of colors and how smoothly they each go on. Definitely a bonus! I have also been using the massage roller a ton this week – it is amazing. Andrew likes it, too! I can’t find the link to the actual roller – but I would definitely purchase it for myself just because of how great it feels! I haven’t tried any of the other items, but like I said, every part of this box was exciting to me!


my two favorite items from the box!

My favorite part about the FabFitFun subscription is that it is full of goodies that I normally wouldn’t spend full price on – this way, I get to try and use all of these full-sized products without breaking the bank! Win-win. My least favorite part of the subscription is the side-eyed judgement looks I get from my dogs while I’m taking photos for blog posts – haha!

catching judgement from the doggies

FriYAY feels!

view from my window

We are still covered up in snow in the Raleigh area – no school for 3 days! And it’s supposed to be 50 degrees today. That’s NC weather for you. School is open today for teachers, so at least I can get some much needed work hours in!

I meant to do a FriYAY feels last week and it just totally got away from me (in addition to any other posts)! There are so many things going on – Whitney is getting married in April, our best friend Kelly is having a baby in May, and our other friend Jordan is getting married in June. Then Andrew and I are getting married in July! My sister is graduating from grad school in between all that, and there are showers and bachelorette parties and luncheons galore. There are about to be a lot of events in my life in the upcoming months. So exciting, but definitely something that takes up blogging time and brain space!

Speaking of weddings, I went to a bridal showcase at our venue two weekends ago and it was the first time where I really felt like, okay, this is happening. We are really getting married this summer!!! It is going to be here so fast. My mom, my future mother-in-law, and some of my bridesmaids went with me and we had a crew! It was overwhelming but really lovely, and it was so fun to look at everything and feel like a bride! We have three tastings with three different caterers in the next two weeks, so we will have that booked soon. We have a florist, photographer, and a few other big items booked, but we still have so much to do. Our photographer Erica shot one of my best friend Kelly’s weddings a few years ago that I was in, and Whitney has done a couple of shoots for her family, so it’s really a great full-circle kind of feeling and I am so excited to have beautiful pictures of our big day! Whitney will do our engagement and my bridal session. And Andrew has been so good! Helpful and patient – and reminds me when I need to just give it a rest and come back to it later, which is not easy for me.

I have also been sticking with my new year resolutions! I have been hitting my 4 workouts a week by going to the gym with my sister, which has been tough! I’m sticking to my eating goals, too, and I’ve been doing my nightly skin routine. I bought some new skin products, but I’m waiting to see how I like them before I post anything about them. I also went lighter with my hair last weekend and started using TIGI’s dumb blonde shampoo + conditioner; I hope it will keep my hair healthy! It smells so good and makes my hair look so soft. I got mine at Marshall’s for a little less!

I had mentioned my hunt for a nice puffy coat now that it is getting really cold in Raleigh. I ordered this one on Amazon in the merlot color and I am absolutely loving it. It is so warm and I feel like it looks nice even though it’s puffy! Definitely a keeper and has been so helpful these last few days in the snow.

I really want to get back into my yoga practice, especially with so much going on in my life. I need it to stay sane! And with all the work I’m doing with my sister in the gym, I’m staying sore and need some stretching and relaxation. I plan on checking out this studio sometime soon and supporting my friend Josephine who started her own studio!!! I have been meaning to go and it keeps getting away from me.

That’s all I got! I’ll be starting up a shredding for the wedding series, hopefully next week! And you can follow along with my fitness goals there…it’s a great way to keep me accountable if I know I’m sharing it with everyone! Enjoy the weekend; I’m going with Whitney to try on her wedding dress for the first time since it came in and I CANNOT WAIT to see her in it and cry my eyes out.

Four Things Tote

I. Love. This. Bag. My friend Meghan posted on Instagram about the ‘4 THINGS’ Personalized Tote Bag and mentioned to me that I might like one for myself, and when I learned more about it, I hopped right online and ordered my own! I loved that the shop it came from donates to charities with great causes (you can read more about The Shop Forward here). To me, spending a few extra dollars towards something I believe in is totally worth it, and this bag is great quality.

I had a little bit of a hard time picking my four things, because so many things are important to me! But I settled on these four, and staggered them so it would read shortest to longest (and also, because dogs). I think I’ve been pretty straightforward about my love for dogs, coffee, and school supplies, and I think the world needs a lot more kindness and grace for others.

Bruno loves the tote, too!

I love any company that has a good cause, and I’ll be sporting this baby around town whenever I need to carry extra stuff!

What would your four things be?!