Warning: if you’re sensitive to moms nursing past age 1, redirect now to Mandie’s website here
Mommy and Me sessions hold such a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s because I used to be the one behind the lens, maybe it’s because it captures such a beautiful essence of motherhood, or maybe because it’s just a lovely time to get updates photos of mommy and baby while they look put together. No matter the reason though, mommy and me pictures are incredibly valuable and the perfect gifts for moms on Mothers Day.
Aspen and I had such a great experience with Mandie Medeiros Photography. She was easy to talk to, great at communicating, funny, knows her shit, and is a hybrid photographer (which is freaking awesome and rare around here). If you’re looking for a local photographer, I highly recommend her. Her website is here
*Also, I never intended to breast feed this long. Three years ago, I said 6 months was my goal. Then it went to a year. THEN it went to 18 months. Now, we just hit two years and honestly, I loved each and every second of it, but I feel like we are both ready to let go of this time together. Breast feeding is such a cool, nutritional, empowering, and incredibly humbling experience, and I have zero regrets of holding out this long. I know some find it odd that she’s two and just now weaning, but honestly, it worked really well for our family. It was convenient, and Aspen and I loved that special time together where I was able to provide for her from my own body. Anyway, long story short, we are now beginning the weaning process, and although it makes me so sad (that’s the last thing that links her to infancy and giving it up hurts my heart), but part of me also wants to rejoice and say, “HELL YES, FINALLLYYYY!”.*
There are so many wonderful things about living in a Spring Break town. One of them being, you don’t have to leave when Spring Break ends… #Ilivewhereyouvacation BUT… there are also some negative aspects to this, like you know, Spring Break itself. With our Spring and Summer holidays approaching, we will be expecting a lot of out-of-towners and vacationers, making traffic on our beloved 98 unbearable, beaches over crowded, as well as a lot of trash left behind.
After living on the emerald coast for five years now, I have come to find out that there are a few things that could help keep the locals and transits from losing their minds with all of the tourists vacationing to our gorgeous beaches.
OUTFIT DETAILS: Dress- sold out, similar here // shoes
- MORNINGS WILL SAVE YOUR SOUL. Set those alarms and get that coffee ready to brew first thing, because this is the most helpful tip I have under my sleeve. Why? Because let’s face it, most vacationers are vacationing. That means ignoring their alarms, and getting some extra rest in the AM. So, while they sleep, we play. Anytime I need to run errands to Destin or Pensacola, I leave bright and early and get there when the shops open, otherwise I am stuck in traffic for hours (literally). It’s hard to do, but it is worth it. This tip doesn’t just work for traffic though, it is also helpful to get to the beach early. Typically, the only people at the beach before 10AM are older couples and beach runners getting in an early run before it gets too hot. Either way, getting out before the tourists do will be a life saver this season.
- Fill up on gas, incase you get stuck in traffic on a shopping trip to the mall (No, I’m not kidding..)
- Keep snack in your car in case you get stuck in traffic and get hungry.
- A friend mentioned that getting groceries via Publix Delivery or Walmart pick up is very convenient on the days it’s too difficult to get out and about early.
- Save your travels for the weekdays. The weekend traffic will be unbearable.
- Noted by a few local realtors: Saturdays are the #1 condo turnover day, which basically means that everyone is leaving town then. So this will be the worst day to drive, but best day to go to the beach because, well, everyone is driving back home.
- Ask for local pricing. I have heard through the grape vine that some businesses will raise their prices during tourist season, and that asking if they have a local price is never a bad idea.
- More than likely, our lovely tourists will not take as good of care of our beaches as we do. It is such a great idea to bring an extra trash bag on your beach outing just incase you see a few pieces of trash near by.
- Join in the fun. Seriously though, the amount of fun things that the Emerald Coast has for entertainment during vacation season is absolutely crazy! There are concerts, movies at the beach, community BBQ’s, fun runs, and so much more! So although the crowds might not be your favorite, acknowledging that once the crowds leave, so does all of the outdoor entertainment might help make the glass look half full.
I hope these tips help you this Summer, and hang in there. The rest of the year these gorgeous beaches are ours!
PS- This time of year is also the perfect time to go on a mountain getaway. We typically go to Northern Idaho to escape the crowds and heat. More on that soon!
Plan on taking your family on a coastal vacation without leaving the states this year? Down bellow I have a list of beach side towns along the emerald coast that are worth your visit.
Shop My look: Dress // Sandals // hat
I’ve lived on the emerald coast for five years now. In the past five years I have done my fair share of venturing to near by towns and exploring what they have to offer. Today I’ll be writing about the few I think are worth the visit.
The three larger and more touristy cities along the emerald coast are: Pensacola, Destin, and Panama City. But between these cities are numerous smaller towns that are equally worth the travels. Among these are: Gulf Breeze, Navarre, Okaloosa Island, Miramar Beach, and the 30A towns. The cheaper of these would probably be the first three: Gulf Breeze, Navarre, and Okaloosa Island. These destinations might not have the ziplines and shopping malls of the bigger cities, but they are only a short drive away. These towns instead, offer a much more laid back and slow paced feel, allowing you to have a truly relaxing vacation.
Some hotels worthy of your stay:
Portofino Island Resort on Pensacola Beach
SpringHill Suites by Marriot on Navarre Beach
Palms of Destin Resort in Destin
The Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach
Grand Panama Beach Resort on Panama Beach
Thank you to Pink Blush Maternity for influencing this post
Happy hump day, friends! I’m so glad you’re here to join me.
Today’s WNW topic: Life changing Podcasts
Today I’m sipping on Columbia Winery’s Red Blend
I’m one of those odd people that need noise on at all times. Even when I go to bed I have to listen to white noise. Instead of using the TV or music (although I do love having dance parties with the fam before bedtime…), I try to use this time to learn something new. So every day, during the quiet hours, I turn on one of these life changing podcasts:
- Risen Motherhood– My goodness this is the most motivational motherhood podcasts I have ever listened to. Not only is it motivational in your average daily motherhood, but it also dives into scripture and informs you of ways to bring in the gospel into your child’s every day life as well as how to be a more biblical mom, wife, provider, and friend. I highly suggest you give these ladies a listen to.
- Super Soul Sunday’s with Oprah– I mean, come on. You may disagree with some of her politics, but the lady is smart. She is the ultimate #girlboss and anything she puts out on podcast is sure to inspire you in numerous ways.
- Wellness Mama– Ever have questions on your kiddos holistic health? What to feed them? Why to do this, versus that? This mama podcast goes over all that good stuff while interviewing leaders in the health and wellness world.
- Marie Forleo– Recognized by Oprah herself, Marie Forleo is a business mentor, author, and motivational speaker. If there is anything you are trying to accomplish in the career/entreprenurial world, Marie Forleo will give you the tips and motivation to achieve it!
- Stuff you Missed in History Class– Even if you loved history class and feel like you know it all, this podcast will teach you otherwise!
If any of these interest you, go to the podcast app on your cell phone and download them onto your feed.
30A is my favorite place along the Emerald Coast. Between the shops, the food, the pretty southern homes, the plenty of parks, and the beach near by, it is undoubtedly the most perfect southern town in my mind. 30A is the type of place that makes me want to live here forever.
We spent the weekend in Seaside, which is a small coastal town along Florida’s highway 30A. It is one of the sweetest and most quaint little towns I have ever been to. There are numerous food trucks, pizzarias, coffee shops, gelato shops, and local restaurants. In Seaside, everyone has come to the realization that cars are for losers. Instead, nearly everyone there rides beach cruisers to get to their destination. I have never been so in love with a town in my life (well, I mean, Sandpoint Idaho is also a personal favorite).
Because I was traveling for Valentines day, Scott and I decided to delay our date to Seaside until the weekend. We woke up early, Scott made a large breakfast filled with bacon, sausage, eggs, and fruit, and we packed our bags to spend the day on 30A. We first went to one of the many green grass parks and sat by the water fountain while playing tag with Aspen. Afterwards we walked further into town and ate some gelato, and eventually made our way to the historical and locally famous church. We let Aspen let loose and play in the grass before we started our trek back home.
For me personally, dates do not have to be elaborate or expensive. I much more appreciate some quality time with family in a gorgeous area, taking in the views and good weather with my two favorite people in the world.
Shop my dress here
Thank you so much Pink Blush Maternity for influencing this post.
Today’s Coffee Chat is about why I love waking up early, and why you should too!
Waking up early is one of my favorite things about my routine. Aspen typically wakes up aroung 7-8am, but I find it incredibly beneficial to my mental health to start my day an hour or two ahead of hers. So each night, as I set my alarm, I think about what time I want her to wake up and what events we have planned for the day ahead. Depending on the day, I will wake up 1-2 hours ahead of her. Why? So I can have some much needed alone time before waking her up. Here are some of the things I do before getting Aspen out of bed:
- Get ready (aka- brush teeth, do hair, and put on clothes) before the child/anyone wakes up! This is so important, because the moment Aspen wakes up I am resorted to cuddling for the next half an hour.
- Drink a cup of coffee in silence. Oh friends, this is probably my favorite thing in the world. Sipping a cup of joe in silence with no toddler pulling at my clothes, screaming “mommy!” is the most magical part of my morning.
- Listen to podcasts or YouTube videos. I am a sucker for a good webinar or podcast on a subject that I’m interested in. The only time I ever feel that I have for these things are either first thing in the morning or during nap time. So I try to squeeze them in the first part of my day. Next week I will be going over some of my favorite podcasts, so stay tuned!
- Go outdoors! I have a few flowers and herbs in our front yard. There are few things that bring me as much peace as going outside, coffee in hand, as I water or harvest them while the birds chirp. If you have a porch, I suggest you take your breakfast and drink your coffee/OJ while breathing in the fresh air. And if you have not started a small floral or herbal garden yet, I HIGHLY recommend you do so.
I know it is hard waking up earlier than need be, but I promise once you get into the routine it will be well worth it. Just imagine how much more you can get done in your day and how much more you will be motivated it you spent the first hour or two to yourself in peace. I used to wake up right before I was needed at my job or school, but once I started this habit I have felt so much more accomplished and so much happier at the end of the day. And you know what? My family notices too. I find it so important as a mom to have a few hours of silence and a bit to learn or work on projects before our little love wakes up. So tonight, set your alarm for a little bit earlier, and try to stick with it.
We were so fortunate to spend the past few days at Disney World with Matco Tools and my family. My dad has been selling Matco Tools for a few years now, and each year they hold their expo at new destination. This year they held the expo in Orlando, Florida, and my dad took it as an opportunity to send the whole family.
For those who have gone to Disney Land or World, you know how difficult it is to: 1.) Have time to take pictures 2.) Take a decent picture in the crowds, and 3.) Look put together for said picture.
I managed to get a few photos of the castle on my camera, and the rest were on the iPhone. Apologies in advance.
As a first time Disney World traveller, with a toddler, I definitely have a few suggestions to make your trip easier.
- You can order a Taxi that comes with its own car seat if you’re staying outside of the park.
- Bring your own snacks and water.
- Don’t wear pants! We went in February, and we were sweating the entire time.
- Along with not wearing pants, also do not wear uncomfortable shoes. This is not a joke. You WILL regret it. I wore my sketchers the entire time, and my feet still fell like they were going to fall off afterwards. It’s not worth looking cute for, I promise.
- It will more than likely be very crowded, so remember to be patient with all of the other parents, kids, and yourself and your child.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Set up your fast-pass the moment you arrive to the park. Anyone can do it (you don’t have to purchase it, you just have to set it up), so go straight to the kiosk and select the rides you want to use them on.
- Don’t miss the fireworks. They are so worth the wait.
- If you want to eat at the Disney restaurants, make reservations in advance.
- Enjoy every second of it.
Thanks so much to Matco Tools and my parents for making this trip happen. Aspen had such a great time, which made every moment worth it.
Happy Wine not Wednesday! Today I’m going to start with a few places on my Bucket List, and end with some of my all time favorite books.
Today I am drinking Noble Vine’s Rosé
Bucket List Destinations:
- Provence, France
- Santorini, Greece
- The Virgin Islands
- “The Island” by Victoria Hislop
- “The Birth of Venus” by Sarah Dunant
- “Last Light over Caolina” by Mary Alice Monroe
- “Dreams of Joy” by Lisa See
- “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown
Let’s face it. I’m a mom with a million things going on. I don’t even want to bore you with my on-going list of the daily duties and activities my life entails, because I’m sure most moms can already relate. But I swore to myself when I had Aspen that I would not stop doing the things I love just because I now have another person to love. Reading is one of the numerous activities that fill my heart with content, but as we all know, time is limited when you’re raising a child(ren). So each season I choose a book and I stick with it for the season. Spring’s book is “Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution” by Michelle Moran.
My good friend, Morgan, has been known to me for her similar taste in historical fiction (and her love for vintage inspired clothing), so I knew when she recommended this book that it would be a good one, and so far it is.
Although I have just began reading this novel, I have already been captivated by how the author balances fact with fiction. For more reviews, I linked the Goodreads page here.
I will give my own personal review once I am done, but I don’t expect that to be too soon.
I would love to know what your favorite Spring time books are, and what you are currently reading!
Similar Plaid Flannel // Denim
I walked into Axis Wellness Center nearly four years ago, after a long beach run with one of my friends. My husband had gone there for lunch one day with his coworkers and recommended it to me. Since then, the owners, Chad and Lisa, have become like family to us.
AXIS Wellness Center is located in Fort Walton Beach. They provide protein shakes, teas, and more. It also has the most relxing, friendly vibe, which makes it hard to walk away disatisfied. The owners, Chad and Lisa, treat everyone like friends, and they always welcome the kids.
Aspen and I love to meet up with Scott during our lunch breaks to catch up mid day, hang out with good company, and to drink a Nutter Butter (#14) shake. They also always make a complimentary mini shake with half the protein for Aspen, which as you can see, she loves!
I could not recommend this place more to those living in the Fort Walton area. It’s a perfect place to learn more about nutrition, get fitness assessments done, take zumba classes, and to sign up for fit camps.
With the Holidays approaching, and the New Year on the horizon, AXIS is a great way to help stay on track, or to gain the tools and motivation to get on track.
** Bonus: First shake is free! **
Follow AXIS on Facebook to learn more.