Cleveland Bound

Hey girls! To make a long story short, I've had a few serious setbacks over the weekend, which resulted in me being put back in the hospital. My docs in KC believe that it's time to talk about some surgical options to save my heart. The meds have done all they can do, and my cardiology team believes  it's time to go the surgical route.

So this afternoon, my mom and I will board a private jet---thank you, Cleveland Clinic---and go to Ohio. Stephen and my dad will follow very shortly behind, just as soon as we can make care arrangements for the girls.

I'm not sure how long we will be there , but we are praying fervently that these docs can give me a new lease on life. It has been a very emotional few days and I try to mentally prepare for time away from my husband, Caroline, Ainsley and all the comforts of home.

Stephen or I will update as soon we know more. Thank you for praying us through this.




Confessional Friday: {Link-Up}

Happy Friday, ladies! This is going to be short and sweet because I'm hoping to get out and run errands before the ugly temps and humidity come out to play.

1) I confess that I bought all the stuff to make Jello Jigglers yesterday. Just for Caroline, of course ; )

2) I confess that I'm A-okay with the fireworks coming to an end. (Our county apparently allows it until July 11?) Our poor German Shepherd lives outside and every night he has a literal panic attack until we can let him into the garage. I get it; fireworks are pretty and fun. But golly, it's driving these neighborhood dogs bananas.

3) I confess that I said I'd never be that parent that bought every backyard toy and contraption for her kiddos, simply on the principle that it would clutter our yard. Stephen and I are both eating our words, one swing set and an inflatable Nemo pool later.

Okay girls, I'm off to Ulta with mom to get some new hair product for a post I'm writing. Trust me, you're going to love this stuff as much as I do!


    An InLinkz Link-up


Pop Open the Bubbly! It's Our Six-Year Blogiversary

Six years, chickadees. SIX. I have been banging away on this Mac since 2009. (Insert wide-eyed emoji face.) I think my feelings on this, err, milestone (?) can best be summed up in one word, made famous by beloved Blossom character Joey:

I wish I had a very deep and meaningful post about this most auspicious occasion, but instead, I thought I'd just extend my thanks to all of you for sticking around this long through the medium of song.

In my extensive research for this post, I learned that candy (YUM!) or wood (giggle, giggle...wink, wink), are the two traditional anniversary gifts for year six, but I was afraid the candy would melt and the pencils would break. Those darn US Postal workers these days ; )

So, my friend Bette wrote a little ditty for you. Oh, Bette. Always on her game, that girl.

Whether you've been here since the beginning or you're just getting acquainted - thank you. I mean that. 


Gawww, y'all! Our friends at Nordstrom must have gotten wind of this momentous blog occasion because they're having THEIR anniversary sale! And girls, it's good. Real good. 

Beginning today, all Nordstrom Rewards members can shop the annual mega sale. How do you become a Nordie Rewards member? It's easy. Just apply for the credit card and take advantage of deals beginning today until July 16. 

No credit card? No problemo. On July 17, non-Rewards members can still take advantage of the awesome sales. Capice?


Alright, I'm off to do Thursday things. Whatever those are.

Be good or be good at it, ladies.


A Savory, Shrimpy Summer Soup

Two things:

1) This is not becoming a cooking blog. Cooking, however, is one of the "approved" physical activities that I'm cleared to do right now, so lately, I've been making more messes than Julia Child.

2) I triple dog dare you to read this post title out loud in a Daffy Duck voice. Go ahead. Do it. 

Looney Tunes characters and lisps aside, I found a recipe on Sunday for Shrimp Corn Chowder that sounded deeeeelish. The only problem was, said recipe was friggin' loaded with salt. And, as we health conscious folks know, SALT OVERLOAD = NO BUENO.

So, what's a girl to do when she wants her some shrimp reeeeeal bad? She overhauls the recipe and makes it her own.

And do you know what?

The end result was pretty tasty. Pretty tasty, indeed.

Did I mention that very soon I'm starting a business in food photography? Just kidding. I promise it tastes better than this photo looks.

Shrimp and Roasted Corn Summer Soup
Serves: 4-6
Spice level: 2 out of 10

-4 cups unsalted or low sodium vegetable stock, (I used unsalted.)
-2 cups whole kernel corn
-2 cups Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
-2 large carrots, peeled and diced
-1 or 2 stalks celery, diced
-1 small zucchini, diced
-One 14 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes
-1 tsp. onion powder
-1 tsp. paprika
-1 tsp. chili powder
-1 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup real bacon bits
-1/2 cup half and half
-1 can condensed Campbell's Healthy Request Cheddar Cheese Soup
-1 Tbsp. olive oil
-1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp, tails cut off
-1/4 tsp. garlic powder
-1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt to taste at the very end.


1. Wash and prepare all fresh veggies, rinse and drain corn, and drain juice from can of tomatoes.

2. In a stock pot, combine vegetable stock, sour cream, half and half, and Cheddar Cheese Soup. Whisk together until smooth.

3. Add in onion powder, paprika and chili powder. Stir well.

4. Now, add in all your veggies: corn, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes. Cook this on high until it starts to boil. Immediately reduce to medium heat and continue cooking.

5. In a grill pan or non-stick skillet, add your olive oil and warm it on medium. Now, throw in your shrimp! (Because I am a mom, I feel the need to give you an annoying mom-like warning: watch out for oil splash back.)

6. Toss the garlic powder, red pepper flakes and bacon bits into your shrimp and stir well to coat them all nicely.

7. Once the shrimp are golden and pretty, drop them into the stock pot with the soup mixture.

8. Cook on medium-medium low heat for 30 minutes, or until all veggies are tender.

9. Top with a small dollop of sour cream, parsley, bell peppers, freshly grated cheddar - whatever your little heart desires. Or all of it. Or none of it. It's your world. I just provide the recipes.

10. And...serve!


It's a deceivingly healthy recipe that even your toddler will enjoy. Okay, well my toddler enjoyed it. Caroline ate two servings, then proceeded to put down her spoon and lick the bowl.

She's weird and awesome and eats anything, though.


Confessional Friday: {The 'I Slept In' Edition}

Hey, internet friends! Getting off to a bit of a late start this morning, but I didn't think y'all would mind. Hope your Friday is off to a great beginning, err, middle. Unfortunately, it's supposed to rain buckets here for most of the holiday weekend, so I'm planning to curl up and watch some high-quality Lifetime TV movies and re-runs of Dateline ID.

And eat dip. Lots of dip.

Hopefully the forecast is looking a little better where you live, so please take a swim in a pool and watch some fireworks for me, pretty please. So, the girls went to visit their grandparents for a couple days in Oklahoma City meaning it's just me and the Mister and a lovely bottle of Prosecco (me) and some Blue Moon (him) for the next three days.

I am not sad about this one bit. Except this made me all mushy this morning...pic was taken on this very day last year : )

In other news...

1) I confess that I needed this Tulip-Back Top in my life. And so do you. How cute, cute, cute would this be paired with white skinnies and gold or brown sandals? I'll tell you how cute...NAUSEATINGLY cute. That shade of pink sort of makes my heart flutter, too. Oh!! Oh!! And it's only $14.99.

This is from Forever 21's Contemporary line and it runs half a size larger than usual. Size down for the perfect fit!

2) I confess that I bawled like a baby when we watched The Judge last night. Netflix it this weekend if you haven't seen it. To me, it's some of Robert Downey Jr.'s best work.

3) I confess that I accidentally called the little guy at the Tropical Smoothie drive-thru "honey" last week. I had Caroline in the back and am so used to calling her "hun", "honey" or "babe" eleventy thousand times a day, and I guess it just slipped. Bless his little 16-year-old heart. Poor kid was so confused.

4) I confess that we are loving our Nutri Ninja blender, but holy smokes that thing is LOUD. Beware if you plan to make yourself a delicious smoothie for breakfast while your kids are still sleeping. It will wake your whole house and possibly your neighbors, too.

Loud, but awesome. We love our Ninja! Stephen has even lost three pounds just by replacing his usual morning breakfast with it!

5) I confess that I am having the hardest time finding tops that will cover my IV port on my chest. I have a dual lumen Hickman port -- y'all impressed with my med-speak? -- that pumps heart meds into me 24/7 and let's just say, it's not subtle in appearance.

I'm certainly not embarrassed to explain what it is or why it's there, but sometimes a girl would just like to eat in a restaurant or shop without inquiring minds asking twenty questions. (And for the record, I completely get it. It looks crazy and I would wonder, too.) However, if any of you have ever had a port or PICC line and had luck finding higher cut shirts from a particular brand, please let me know!

6) I confess that it's time for me to meet one of my gal pals for some shopping and it's time for YOU to link up! 

Happy Fourth of July, you hotties of the interwebs, you. 


    An InLinkz Link-up


Confessional Friday: {Link-Up}

Happy Friday and happy Confessional Friday! If you've never joined before - welcome! If you're old hat at this, I'm elated you've returned. Either way, let's confess:

Please note, we were parked in the Bonefish Grill parking lot. No selfies or texts whilst en route!

1) I confess that the hubs and I got to go on our first date in months last Saturday and we were very cool, calm and collected about the entire thing. Especially Stephen ; )

2) I confess that this hat-loving girl just cannot with these gondolier/Anne of Green Gables hats (above) with the huge bow in the back. All the cute little hipsters around NWA have been wearing them lately and all I can think of is...

3) I confess that these beady, tassely (sp?) little earrings have been catching my eye for way too long. I think it's time I bite the bullet and move these Acid Fringe Drops (less than $35!) from my wishlist to my cart, yes?

4) I confess that I could (and do) eat a huge garden tomato every single morning and never get tired of it. My Memaw told me when I was little that she was afraid I'd turn into a tomato if I kept "eating them like that!" So far, so good, but if I start to resemble a roma or heirloom, please bring it to my attention.

Not the most exciting of lists, but I'm so thankful to have a little "boring" back in my life : )


    An InLinkz Link-up


Summer Salad Shakedown Link-Up

I wanted to ease us all back into the Confessional Friday weekly link-up with something fun, easy and delicious: a recipe link-up! (We'll return to regular Confessional Friday next week, so don't fret if kale and cucumbers aren't your thing.) I'll go ahead and keep this link-up active until Sunday night if any of you girls want to link up over the weekend.

I'm a salad addict during the hotter months. When the dog days of summer in the south arrive, I crave fruits and veggies like woah. I've got a solid stash of recipes in the ol' rotation, but here are three of my top picks.

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

1 box Barilla tricolor rotini pasta
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes (I love to do a mix of red and golden cherry toms!)
1/4 cup whole black olives, halved
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup Wishbone Zesty Italian Dressing
cracked pepper to taste

Optional ingredients:
-grilled chicken or shrimp
-fresh mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta until al dente or slightly firm. While pasta cooks, chop cherry tomatoes in half, drain black olives and slice, chop bell pepper and prep any additional ingredients you plan to add, (chicken, cheese, etc.) Then...mix it all up!

I usually combine everything while the pasta is still warm -- it blends the flavors better -- then put it right in the fridge to start chilling. 

Francie's Sweet-n-Sour Southern Slaw

This is my MIL's recipe and it's heavenly, I tell you!

1/2 cup granulated, white sugar
1 medium head of purple cabbage, shredded
1 small white onion, chopped
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

Optional ingredients:
-slivered almonds
-water chestnuts
-crunchy wonton strips

Shred up the cabbage, chop the onion into small pieces and combine them in a stainless steel saucepan. Sprinkle the white sugar over the top of the cabbage and onion, then set aside. Next, combine the rest of the ingredients with a whisk -- this will be your dressing -- into a small pot and bring it to a boil. While still bubbling, pour over the top of the cabbage/onion mixture, transfer it to a spill-proof container and let it cool overnight.

This makes a delicious relish alternative for hot dogs and brats and is also divine as a side dish for fried or grilled whitefish. We like cod, sea bass and red snapper.

Tomato Cucumber Caprese Remix

2 large cucumbers
4 medium on-the-vine tomatoes (they just taste better!)
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of Olive Garden brand salad dressing (I add gradually since it's a pretty flavorful dressing. I still like to let the veggies carry most of the flavor.)
1 cup freshly shredded or cubed mozzarella
1/4 cup fresh basil sprinkled on top
1/2 cup *Leslie's croutons (recipe below)

Chop up your cucumbers and tomatoes, grate your fresh cheese and chop up the basil. Once it's all prepped, combine it in a big bowl and top with dressing very gradually until you achieve your desired flavor. Next, refrigerate for one hour. Add in croutons immediately prior to serving.

*Leslie's Caprese Croutons
Lengthwise, cut in half a loaf of French or Italian bread. Drizzle the bread with olive oil, then top with rosemary before tossing it into the oven at 380 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Once crisp, remove from oven and cube up the toast into croutons.

Tips for perfecting your ensalada:
  • Invest in a good salt and pepper grinder. Fresh cracked pepper and sea salt add a whole other dimension of freshness to the flavor profile.
  • Always have fresh lemon, olive oil and balsamic vinegar on hand for a simple and tasty three-ingredient dressing.
  • Never dress your salad more than five minutes before serving IF it's leaf-based unless you want soggy salad. Slaws and pasta salads taste best if allowed to marinate in their liquid for a half-hour or so. 

  • Invest in a good set of knives. We have and covet these bad boys, (top-most, above), which are really affordable, (under $20!) Two good paring knives, one 6.5 inch chef's knife, (middle), and a dual blade knife sharpener, (directly above), is all you really need to start and build a good collection of veggie/fruit knives.


*Specific brands of products mentioned in this post are simply the ones my family prefers. We were not compensated in any manner for using them - we just dig 'em!

    An InLinkz Link-up


MAJOR Sale Alert! (Like, $8 shirts)

If you love comfy activewear like I do, then TODAY is your lucky day. Old Navy is having the Mac Daddy of sales on all their activewear and, let's just say, I did some damage. I love this stuff to wear on a daily basis, especially for throwing on over a swimsuit for the pool.

*Remember to size down - Old Navy tends to run larger than other brands in activewear.

Here are my picks this morning!

Go-Dry Racerback Tank in Lavender Go Lightly - $8!!

Go-Dry Racerback Tank in Flamingo-A-Go-Go Neon - $8
(you have to click over and look at the back of this tank - ADORABLE!)

Women's Pique-Mesh Shorts in Multi-Floral - $11

Women's Perforated Running Shorts in Synergy Orange - $11

Same sale rings true for all the men's stuff, too. So, if you're like me and still haven't bought a Father's Day gift for your honey yet, fear not (!!) O.N. has you covered. 

*Old Navy didn't sponsor this post, nor do they know me from Adam. I just thought I'd pass along this sale.


Ainsley Catherine: {Six Months}

Hello, friends! Doth your eyes deceive you? Is it a heat-induced mirage?

Nope! I have actually blogged. A whole post. (Golf claps all around.)

I've been doing a fantastic job of keeping up with the blog lately (HA!), so frankly, I'm as shocked as you are that I posted today. It's a summer miracle (!!) However, our littlest lady turned half a year old yesterday, which should merit some sort of online tribute, don't you think?

Ainsley Catherine, you are SIX MONTHS old! Let's see what you're up to...

Weight: 15 lbs.

Length/Height: 25 inches - our girl is long and lean!

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Dark brown

Clothes: She's wearing a 6-9 month in most outfits

Diapers: Size 2 Swaddlers for the win!

Likes: We call her our Smiley Girl because girlfriend is constantly wearing a big ol' grin. She LOVES her big sister and cackles at everything she does, (we are in trouble!) Ains also likes her Exersaucer, being outside, bath time, her dogs and being held. All the time. Allllll the time. (Her momma isn't complaining, though.)

Dislikes: Being put into her carseat, riding in the car, and basically all activities involving a motor vehicle. (Very much opposite of Caroline.)

Eating: We just started integrating solids into her diet last weekend. Well, one solid. We started her on pureed sweet potatoes and she seems to love them. We plan to take it slow and introduce a new food every couple weeks or so, much like we did with Caroline. And, just like before, we'll be making her food vs. buying. (We love the enormous cost-savings aspect, plus it just tastes better!) You can read more about how we feed our babies hereand I'd encourage anyone with an infant to give it a go, if you can.

Sleeping: She sleeps all night in her crib from around 8 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. the next morning. Yes, we are lucky and definitely don't take this for granted.

Milestones: She has started sitting up by herself, which was the big milestone this month!

If I had to describe our sixth month in one word, it would be: Fun! I loooooove babies at this age. They're so fully engaged with their surroundings and constantly doing new things.

Mommy notes:

I'm not going to pretty this up - I was a complete mess every time I thought about what I missed with Ainsley while I was in the hospital. In fact, it was a little bittersweet writing this post and realizing that half a year has gone by since her birth. We had only a couple months together before my heart went kaput and our world was turned upside down.

And this makes me sad.

However, I try really hard not to dwell on what I missed out on with her and, instead, focus on the here and now. And the future. And the fact that, Lord willing, I'll be around for many more milestones to come.

I was scared that she would forget me, forget my voice and my scent and...that I was her mom. But do you know what? We picked right back up.

Sure, I can't nurse her anymore and my energy runs out a lot sooner than before, but we are together - momma and child - just as we should be.

Ainsley Cate, I am so glad you're mine!


That Time I Spent 3 Months in the Hospital

Guess what, gals? Mama is out of the hospital! (Holla!)

Can you tell by my face that I'm excited? We were exhausted but elated to be "free" women...finally! I will say, I have a pretty long road ahead of me recovery-wise, but just to be out of a hospital setting is both a miracle and a gift.

My mom and I will be staying in Kansas City for a week for outpatient appointments, but I'll be back to my hubs and my babies by next Wednesday. I mean, I spent 90+ days in the hospital, which includes time spent in both Arkansas and here in KC. Can y'all believe that?

The thing about enduring a long stay in a hospital is that it makes you appreciate the little things, (being able to take a shower with no IV pole), so much more. You realize that your problems pale in comparison to what some people are going through...and then you kind of want to slap yourself for ever complaining about the trivial things.

I was Facetiming Stephen and the girls the other night and he apologized for the messiness of our living room. And I smiled because that, my friends, is exactly what I look forward to again.

The toys strewn everywhere. The spilled orange juice. The barking dogs.


Thank you all again for your prayers, emails, comments, support and good vibes you sent our way. My family and I appreciate it so much and feel lucky to be surrounded by so much love.



Life Update + Other Musings

Well, hello! So, I am finally feeling up to blogging again and  hoping there are still some of y'all out there who will stop in and read : ) I wanted to provide a little update on everything, but I promise every day won't be filled with posts about my health, ha! (Seriously, I cannot wait to get back to fashion + beauty writing + other razzmatazz.)

Where we are now:
I'm still in the hospital...whomp, whomp...


I'm feeling a lot better. I still get worn out after a lot of walking, (like more than an hour or two), but I'm getting stronger every day. I'm feeling and doing so well that there have been talks of me going home very soon! We still don't have a definite date, but we are sooooo close.

Hopefully I'll be writing from my comfy couch in Northwest AR soon instead of the 5th floor cardiac unit ; )

Also, my roots are atrocious and I need a salon day like nobody's biz, and if that isn't reason enough to warrant getting discharged, I don't know what is.

The babies are perfect and thriving, and my sweet husband and MIL are keeping things together back home. My mom is here with me the majority of the time, but Stephen works for a really flexible company that allows him to travel up here nearly every week for a few days.

And that's that.

Stay tuned next week and hopefully I'll have good news to share!


One of my dear friends sent me this lip balm and I have become obsessed. It has just the perfect amount of color, right in time for summer. Love it.

Fresh brand Sugar Rose Extreme Lip Treatment with SPF 15

Who's ready for Pitch Perfect 2?! I hope I can get out of here while it's still in theaters. Bring on the harmonization!
Photo credit: Entertainment Weekly

Anyone out there have a Fitbit? Do you love it? Are you lukewarm about it? I'd like to hear your reviews because I'd love to get one to track my activity once I get home.

And so what if discovering this Tory Burch Fitbit cover is my main motivation for wearing one? (Kidding, kidding...except...not.)


Now, get off your cute fannies and enjoy your Friday evening. Have a great weekend, chickadees.


An Update


I have missed you all so much! First of all, thank you so much for your emails, cards, artwork, words of encouragement and prayers. We are overwhelmed daily by the flat-out-unmeasurable love that has been sent our way. We have lived a lot of life in the past month, and to recount every detail would be impossible, but hopefully this paints a bit of a picture of what we've been doing.

So where are we now?

Since very early March, I've been receiving treatment for my heart from some of the best cardiovascular docs in the nation at an amazing hospital in Missouri. What brought us to that point?

I was getting sicker and sicker back in NWA- and I was in the hospital! After opinions from group-after-group in Arkansas, and getting nothing but a bunch of faces scratches their chins, we knew we had to make other plans - fast. At 9:00 p.m. on March 17, we were transported to the new hospital. 

How are Caroline and Ainsley?

The babies are doing great. Stephen's mom moved into our house and is keeping them there. We wanted as much stability for them as possible while mommy is out the state getting better. Stephen divides his time between being here with me, but also back in NWA with C and A, and where he can be at his desk when needed. He has been crazy strong through this whole mess and I don't deserve him. Not even a little bit.

My mom is down here with me most of the time, too. She hasn't been home since March 17 either and I know she is just exhausted, but won't say a word ; ) I'd be fine (and have asked her to let me) to stay alone, but it's my momma. And we all know a momma's heart when it comes to her baby...even her 30 yr old baby. My dad is here just about every weekend, which is always just good for my soul.

It sucks. It is the hardest thing I've ever done. The first week I was off the ventilator, awake and coherent enough to realize what we were facing, I nearly fell apart. But I also know that it is temporary and that my being here will allow me to be a better, healthier mom when I get home. 


*As far as the blog goes, it was still be active (I'm not closing up domain juuuuuust yet on this hot mess express, ha!) With that said, I probably really get back to writing until I'm home and settled in. (Hopefully by this summer?) I will try to update from time-to-time, though.

*We've chosen not to share medical details about my specific situation or location info for the hospital where we're staying. I know y'all understand, but didn't want to seem rude if I didn't divulge more. 


Checking In

Hey, girls! I hadn't popped in for a few days, so I thought I'd let y'all know how things are going.

I'm still trucking along, but we still don't have many answers as to what's going on with my heart. We go to Little Rock this week to see my longtime cardiologist there. He's one of the top cardiologists in the country, so I feel confident he'll be able to help. I'm beyond ready to get his take on all this and start feeling better. Because, if we're being honest, I really don't.

I've never had to take meds for my heart (or anything else) in my entire life, so adjusting to that is kind of a slow process, too. One of the medications makes me so tired, which doesn't mesh well with my usual get-up-and-go routine. Unfortunately, some of these meds put an abrupt halt to breastfeeding because they aren't safe to be passed on to baby. I was pretty bummed about that at first, (and still am), but they are necessary medicines for my heart and we just don't have another choice. Plain and simple. It's not the end of the world though, and Ainsley seems to be adjusting to her new formula really well. I'm grateful for the nine weeks we were able to nurse together and will always cherish that time.

I've definitely had to force myself to slow down and let my family take the lead on things around the house. I'm ready to have the energy to chase Caroline around the house and ready to have the stamina to cook and clean again - something I never, ever thought I'd miss ; ) (Please remind me of this in a couple months when I'm griping about scrubbing toilets, ha!

I feel so, so fortunate that we've never dealt with major health issues in our family before, though. I realize that health is a precious gift and I certainly don't take it for granted. There are so many people dealing with things far, far worse and I'm - we - are positive that things will get better really soon.

One of the things this little medical fiasco has also shown me is the importance of encouraging others who may be going through tough things. The emails, words of encouragement and prayer have been so appreciated, and it has been a great reminder that I need to do more of that for others. I'd love to be able to incorporate the blog into that somehow and I'm excited to explore that idea more. We could all use our own personal cheerleaders sometimes, don't you think?

Have a great Sunday evening and I hope to check in with you all later this week!



Hi, girls. As most of you probably know from my Instagram, we had quite the week last week. It all began last Saturday night with a trip to the ER and went on to include a week-long stay in the hospital on the cardiology/ICU floor.

I won't go into a ton of detail because, well, it's medical stuff. But long story short, I had some really wonky heart-related issues going on that were causing some of my other organs, (like my liver), not not function properly either. (Insert wide-eyed emoticon here.)

After several days in the hospital and a million and one tests, my docs were able to pinpoint what was going on and were able to treat it and start helping me feel better.

Ladies, if you learn nothing else from me or this blog, please remember this:

If you are more tired than normal, if something just doesn't feel right, if you feel like you can't get enough sleep even though you technically are - SAY SOMETHING. DO SOMETHING. WAVE THE WHITE FLAG.

I didn't. I just thought I was tired from chasing a toddler and caring for an 8-week-old. I thought I just needed to suck it up, drink some caffeine and stop complaining.

In reality, I was having major heart trouble.

It took my husband putting his foot down and taking me to the ER to give me the wake up call I needed.

So what happens next? Well, I go back to the cardiologist tomorrow for more testing to help my doctors craft a better treatment plan for my heart to help make it the strongest and healthiest it can be. My main goal right now is to get better for two little girls and one amazing husband. Because I cannot be the best mommy and wife to them if I'm not 100% physically.

I'm not sure what that means for blogging, but I do know that for a while, there may not be as much of it. And I'm okay with that. Health trumps all right now.

Thank you all for your emails, well wishes, words of prayer and support and positive thoughts over the past week. We appreciate them more than you will ever know!

See you back here soon --


Confessional Friday: {Link Up}

My only confession this week is that I cannot get enough of this video with Jimmy Fallon and the Saved by the Bell cast. Enjoy!



Tuesday Randoms

Greetings, friends of the interwebs. Hope everyone enjoyed a fun and relaxing weekend!

-Sorry I was MIA on Friday. We traveled to Central AR to visit my parents on Thursday night for the weekend. I had (I thought) arranged for the link-up post to publish on Friday morning, but it looks like that didn't happen - so sorry! Not going anywhere this Friday though, so Confessional Friday will definitely happen : )

-Stephen is in New York all week for work, so blogging may be a little sparse while I corral two little girls. Luckily, my mom came back with us yesterday to help out for a couple of days, so that will be a huge help. Honestly, I've never liked staying alone while he's gone. (I watch way too much Dateline.) Now that we have two littles, I really, really don't like it. Thankfully, we have a top-of-the-line security system and a 100 pound German Shepherd to put my mind at ease when the mister is traveling. However, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't nice to have some company (i.e. Nana).

-I'm trying my hardest to get caught up on email and am slowly making some headway. If you've sent me an email, please know I'll write you back, it just may be a bit. (Read: hopefully within the year.) Thank you so much for your patience!

-The Game of Thrones: Season Five trailer is out. If you have HBO and aren't watching this show, start NOW. If you're a fan of the show and this doesn't make you as giddy as it makes me, then you need to have your head examined. April 12, y'all.


Breastfeeding, Take 2

I realize the topic of breastfeeding doesn't apply to everyone, so I thought I'd put this post on its own page. If you're interested in our breastfeeding experience this go 'round, including our feeding schedule, favorite accessories, etc. check out today's post here.

See y'all tomorrow!


Recent Beauty Product Finds: Hits and Misses

I make no bones about my love for makeup, skincare and hair products. I could never, ever work at a place like Sephora or Ulta because I'd probably end up spending my entire paycheck within the store. Although I'm pretty brand loyal on a few staples, (cough, cough...my Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation), I never shy away from trying something new. The way I see it, life is entirely too short to stick to clear nail polish and beige lip gloss.

Now. My experience with these could be completely different than yours, so don't let me deter you from buying (or liking) whatever your heart desires.

For what it's worth -- and I realize it's not worth much -- here are a few of the things I've tried this month and my honest thoughts.

The product: Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer - I like it!

What it does: This stuff is both a heat protectant and also a blow dry primer. This means that it is supposed to make your hair nice and smooth while also shaving minutes off your drying time.

Thoughts: The first time I used it, I couldn't tell a tremendous difference in the amount of time it took to dry my hair. The second and third times though, I made sure to start with a completely wet head and was super impressed. It cut about ten minutes off my drying time!

The product: Tarte Lights. Camera. Lashes. Mascara // Best in Faux - Not for me.

What it does: A two-step fiberlash mascara, Tarte's formula is supposed to give you the look of fake lashes.

Thoughts: I really liked the initial look that it gave my lashes, but the fibers were constantly falling into my eyes all day. For anyone that wears contact lenses, this is the nail in the coffin for a mascara. I wanted so darn badly to give this one a thumbs up, but I just couldn't. For everyday use, I'll take my Lancome Hypnose Mascara.

The product: Redken Pillow Proof Two Day Extender Dry Shampoo - Not a fan.

What it does: This stuff works as a dry shampoo to buy you a couple extra days between washes.

Thoughts: Really not a fan. Of all the products I tried, this was my least favorite. Maybe (probably) it was just my specific hair texture, but it gave my hair a weird texture and honestly made it feel more dirty. I ended up shampooing it out that night. What I DO like? My Bumble and Bumble Prêt–à–Powder Dry Shampoo/Volumizer. It's light, airy and smells terrific. And, best of all, it actually does make second or third-day-hair feel clean.

The product: Nars Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Hollywoodland (a pale gold) - Get it today!

What it does: This pencil is actually a stick eyeshadow, but I used it as an eye brightener and fell in love! A little more pricey than what I'd typically spend on shadow, (because I'm cheap...err, frugal), but well worth it.

Thoughts: Do not pass go, do not collect $100...get this little miracle stick now. I applied just a tad right into the inside corner of my eyes and it really did give me a more rested look. I noticed that my eyes looked brighter throughout the day and the formula seemed to be long-lasting.


So, there you have it. My recent product purchases, both the good and the less than stellar.

I'm curious to know...what was your last beauty product purchase and what did you think? Give your two cents below!


Fade to Grey: {Outfit Pics}

I had the chance over the weekend to get out and snap a few pics of outfits that are in my current rotation - and it was glooooooorious (!!) Three cheers for non-maternity clothing!

Granted, I'm spending the majority of my days in yoga pants and long sleeved tees lately, but a few days a week, I love to get a little more dressed up. Just makes a girl feel good, ya know?

Casual Class Braided Sweater in beige c/o Riffraff // the BEST Faux Leather Leggings (ON SALE NOW!) // earrings c/o Rocksbox (use code LESLIEBFF11 to get a one month subscription free!) (similar here for purchase) // bracelet is old (nearly identical style here) // Seychelles Wedge Bootie c/o Maude Boutique (now on sale!)

This super cozy sweater/legging combo is the perfect marriage of polish and comfort. It's fun dressed up with some glam earrings and a big 'ol chunky bracelet, or just as stylish paired with a plush, warm infinity scarf.

Classic Crochet Knit Infinity Scarf in black c/o Riffraff

Also, I think Starbucks cups have taken the place of cute purses in outfit pics for me lately. Caffeine is my very favorite accessory nowadays ; )

Cheers to a quiet return to outfit blogging-- xoxo


Confessional Friday: {Link Up}

Hey, girls! I don't have any confessions myself today, but wanted to put the link tool up for you to share yours : ) We had a pretty rough night with the baby and neither one of us ever went to bed. Everytime Ainsley would scream, she'd wake Caroline. We'd get Caroline settled back down and Ainsley would resume screaming again. Before we knew it, the sun was coming up and, well, here we are. (What day is it again?)

Our mantra as of late is, "If we can just survive the first year..."

Here's hoping.


    An InLinkz Link-up


Closet Staples: {The Perfect White Shirt}

I'm excited to introduce you all to a new series I'm doing for the next couple months called, you guessed it, Closet Staples! (Golf claps all around.)

I came to the stunning realization last night that I own five sequin blazers and only ONE pair of non-maternity jeans. Now I love sparkle as much as the next gal, but that ratio seems a bit skewed. So I decided that enough is enough. I'm going to rebuild my wardrobe starting with staple pieces.

I'm in the process of doing an inventory of my own closet and figuring out what I need now that I can get back to my non-maternity wear, (err, soon. As soon as I stop eating those darn enchiladas.) Over the next few weeks, I'll be compiling my own list of "must-haves" for building a grab 'n go wardrobe.

photo via Pinterest by way of Minna Somero
Today, we're talking about the perfect white oxford. Ideally, my perfect oxford shirt would be long enough to hide the top part of my bum, feature a cuffed sleeve and have a stiff collar that could easily be popped up slightly when the mood strikes.

Silk Cotton Shirt in New Off White

Pintucked Perfect Shirt in White (40% OFF with code SUITUP)

BR Non-Iron Sateen Button-Down Shirt in White (30% OFF until 1/25 with code BRLOVE)

Endless Shirt in White 

Express Original Long Sleeve Essential Shirt (One of my all-time favorite oxford-style shirts)

If you're a larger chested gal, you might check out the Fitted Boyfriend Oxford from Gap. It features a more relaxed fit around the chest and shoulder area, but is curved and tailored at the waist! (It also comes in Tall and Petite, too!)


I also wanted to share something very important with all of you that reside in Northwest Arkansas like me. My good friends at Crown Beauty Bar in Fayetteville are lending a hand to Peace at Home Family Shelter - a fantastic organization that offers a secure environment to women and children who have been victims of domestic abuse.

Starting now, Crown will be collecting needed items to the women at the shelter and making their delivery on February 13th. Every donation will get your name entered into a drawing for a Queen of Hearts package, a $125 value!

Items needed: underwear (never worn, of course!), bras, pajamas, socks, toiletries, makeup and fun jewelry that you no longer wear. Come on, girls - let's lend a hand and give from the heart!