What I’ve Been Loving Lately: January 2020

I’ve been wanting to do a series like this for FOREVER and I’ve finally gotten around to making it happen. I’m excited to update you monthly with things I’ve been loving lately and I’d love to hear some of the things you’ve been loving lately too. While I will include some physical products in these roundups, I want to be intentional about the majority of them being resources or content to consume. I’m always working on buying less stuff and I’m sure many of you can relate!

A Beautiful Mess Podcast
As a long time fan of the A Beautiful Mess blog and podcast listener, I was thrilled when Elsie and Emma announced their podcast. It has been a treat getting to learn more about each of them and they have such wonderful advice for homemaking and being women in business. Listen to the podcast here

Facebook Marketplace and Buy/Sell/Trade Pages
I’ve been a big fan of shopping on Facebook for awhile now, but it has come especially handy in the baby prep process! I’ve gotten several higher dollar baby items that I don’t necessarily expect to get at showers off of Facebook and it’s already saved me SO much money. I’ve also gotten in the habit of trying to find a secondhand option on Facebook before making any home decor or clothing purchases, you’d be surprised by the selection of name brand products! It’s also been a wonderful option for finding maternity clothes.

My Pink Timberland Boots
I’ve been wanting to get some quality boots that are comfy, waterproof, and will last me a long time. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I wanted a color option and these Women's Nellie Waterproof Chukka Boots were the best option I could find to meet my budget and quality expectations. Definitely recommend these cute pink shoes! 

The Immigration Coalition
When you don’t identify with either political party, it can feel like you’re in a difficult and complicated place. I’ve been so encouraged by The Immigration Coalition Instagram account as their posts are right in line with my beliefs and views. 

HBO Chernobyl Series
(Note: This series is obviously based on a catastrophic event and contains some graphic content)
This was one of the series we watched in 2020 and WOW! This limited release tv series was extremely well done and opened my eyes to what a tragic event this truly was. It reminded me of the danger of pride and how it can lead to the harm of so many people.

The Archer by Alexandra Savior
This is my favorite album of 2020 (as of January 28th - haha)! I’ve definitely had this album on repeat because it has great vibes and has fit the mood of our overcast weather we’ve had lately.

What have you been loving this January?


Choosing to Frost It Forward in 2020

*This post was sponsored by Frost Bank for their Frost It Forward campaign*

With the start of the new year you’re probably thinking about ways to better yourself in 2020. One common resolution is to volunteer more, which is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. While I think that volunteering regularly should be a priority in each of our lives, I believe that it is extremely important for us to recognize the people we know who have dedicated their lives and entire careers to helping others. 

GIVING BACK TO THOSE WHO GIVE BACK

The people serving day in and day out are the ones who make the biggest impact. However, observing those I know in nonprofit spaces, I’m more aware than ever that their dedication leads to emotional exhaustion and what is commonly called compassion fatigue. While a few volunteer hours here and there are helpful (and necessary), I’ve decided to start being more intentional about giving back to those who have dedicated their lives to giving back. Not only does this help them become more refreshed personally, the people they serve will be better loved as a result. When Frost Bank reached out to me about partnering with them for their Frost It Forward campaign, I knew I wanted to give back to the staff and volunteers of a local nonprofit.  

CORNERSTONE CROSSROADS ACADEMY

One of the nonprofits that I love in north Texas is Cornerstone Crossroads Academy (CCA). CCA is much more than a school. In addition to earning credits towards a high school diploma, CCA students have several opportunities for development and support. Every student who enrolls at CCA is expected to graduate with a high school diploma and enter college and/or the workforce. Students are also equipped to learn, think, plan, and problem-solve. 

I used my Frost It Forward Card to purchase drinks, snacks, office supplies, and a restaurant gift card for the CCA staff and volunteers. Frost also provided $10 Frost It Forward gift card for the staff to use as prizes for students or to take students out for meals.   

FROST IT FORWARD

How can you spread generosity and optimism this year? While there are countless ways to do so, here are a few ideas to get you started…

  • Buy groceries for a family struggling financially.
  • Pay for the meal of someone else in the restaurant. 
  • Leave a gift at your doorstep for your mailman or package delivery person.
  • Buy some food or food delivery gift cards gift cards for the family of someone who is hospitalized. 
  • Give a monetary donation to a nonprofit of your choice.

Do you have your own unique idea to spread generosity? You can share your idea with Frost and you may receive a gift card to Frost It Forward this season here.


Weekend trip to Nashville

Since Noah and I were already in Arkansas after Christmas, we decided to go a little further east and enjoy a weekend trip to Nashville before the end of the year. This was a very quick trip and pretty unplanned (compared to my usual crazy vacation agendas) but a very recharging and refreshing time!

Things to do and places to shop:

  • I Believe in Nashville mural 
  • Drive down Music Row 
  • Amelia’s Flower Truck
  • Broadway Street 
  • Madewell Denim Edit Mural
  • Arcade Kids gift shop
  • Hey Rooster gift shop
  • The Parthenon 
  • Draper James Mural (Blue and white)
  • Third Man Records
  • Grimey’s Records
  • Anaconda Vintage

Places to eat and drink:

  • Five Daughters Bakery 
  • Jeni's Ice Cream
  • Biscuit Love
  • Frothy Monkey
  • Jack's BBQ
  • Proper Bagel
  • Hattie B’s

MEMPHIS

If you happen to be driving through Memphis on your way to Nashville, it is definitely worth stopping at a few places to break up the drive. We got brunch at The Liquor Store, visited the National Civil Rights Museum (allow several hours for this), and got drinks at Low Fi Coffee.


First Trimester Recap

HOW WE FOUND OUT I WAS PREGNANT 

After the miscarriage in the spring, we were intentional to make trying again very low pressure and just be patient for the right timing. Anyone who has tried to get pregnant knows that the several week waiting period to see if you’re pregnant can feel like an eternity. Noah and I had been wanting to get tattoos together, so we went ahead and booked appointments. The day before our appointment, my cycle was late and I just had that feeling. So, I went ahead and bought a test. Guess who didn’t get a tattoo the next day? 

FINDING OUT I WAS PREGNANT WITH TWINS 

When I had my miscarriage, we found out at my first sonogram at 9 weeks. When I had my first sonogram for this pregnancy at 6 weeks, we came in with zero expectations and guarded emotions. What a surprise when my doctor turned the screen around to show not only baby A, but a baby B too! We could see two distinct sacs and hear both heartbeats which was a HUGE relief and milestone we hadn’t been able to experience yet. We’ve always joked about having twins, little did we know it would be a reality. 

SYMPTOMS 

Looking back, the first symptom I had was that I was starving all the time. I couldn’t sleep through the night without waking up hungry (which I’ve never dealt with before). Overall, first trimester was ROUGH. I was completely exhausted, dealt with very bad nausea, and had a lot of dizziness. However, anyone who’s had a previous loss knows that bad symptoms are something to be thankful for. When we found out I had two babies in there, my extreme sickness made a little more sense (it can be common for the symptoms to be worse with multiples). As a very active and social person, this time period was difficult because I had to say no to a lot of things and just push through the things I couldn’t say no to. I told a lot of close friends early on, but it is a difficult thing to make excuses for being out of it without sharing the news.

FAQ SO FAR… 

Did you do IVF?
NOPE! They were spontaneous twins!

Are they identical?
They are di-di twins (one of the many terms I didn’t know until I found out I was pregnant with twins haha) so we will not know until they are either different genders (automatic fraternal) or until after they’re born. 

What kind of twins are they?
If you aren’t familiar with twins, you’re probably not aware of there being more to twins than them being identical or fraternal. I didn’t know much more until we were on this journey! Our twins are di/di (dichorionic/diamniotic). This simply means that they are completely separate in the womb, with separate chorions and their own amniotic sac. My doctor quickly assured me that this is the safest type of twin pregnancy with the least amount of complications.

Do twins run in your family?
Yes, actually! We’ve always kind of joked about the possibility of having twins but never truly imagined it would become our reality.

Are you going to find out the gender?
Absolutely, I’m too much of a planner to wait! We actually found out last week at my anatomy scan so I will post the genders with my second trimester recap.

What’s different about a twin pregnancy?
Obviously every pregnancy is unique but the biggest things have just been extra doctor appointments (since any pregnancy with multiples is automatically considered high risk). A lot of people say that twin pregnancies can have much worse morning sickness, which I feel like I felt that during my first trimester haha. In general I’m measuring bigger than average but it wasn’t necessarily visibly noticeable during the first trimester. The biggest differences will definitely become evident the further we get into the pregnancy.

WHAT I LOVED DURING THE FIRST TRIMESTER

  • Belly bands: Since you aren’t ready for maternity clothes in the first trimester, belly bands are the perfect way to make your jeans last a little longer when your bloating really bad. Plus, they can offer support if you are having early round ligament pains. You can get belly bands pretty cheap but I went ahead and splurged on one from BLANQI with extra support since I knew I would need later in the pregnancy.
  • My bedside snack stash: Since I kept waking up in the night hungry and because eating in the morning before getting out of bed helped with morning sickness, this thing was a life saver! This bedside stash was filled with granola bars, different types of crackers, pretzels, and fruit snacks. 
  • Ginger gum: To help with nausea throughout the day, I kept packs of this gum everywhere from my bedroom to my car. You can buy ginger gum at a lot of health stores but I bought these off Amazon.
  • Smoothies: Because I couldn’t stomach much food, smoothies were a food I could actually look forward to and they made me feel good about getting some nutrition in my body (in addition to prenatal vitamins). 
  • The Bump and What To Expect Apps: Since you aren’t showing yet and first trimester sonograms are minimal, pregnancy apps are a great way to understand what your body and baby is doing each week. Download those here and here

Creative Share & Care Event

Photography by the wonderful Kylie Hull

In the fall, I won an Instagram giveaway with Flea Style and had the opportunity to host an event in their beautiful event space. I’ve been wanting to host an event with some creative friends so this was the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately, this happened to land during the worst of my first trimester morning sickness and I didn’t get to do as much as I would have liked to with the event (BUT it still was a wonderful time with some dear friends).

The goal of this event was for creatives to get together over brunch, share what creative projects they’ve been working on, and for everyone to give feedback. In a world that is so digital, it is rare to have face to face interactions with others about your work. All creatives know that while Instagram can be full of wonderful things, it can also be full of comparisons and loneliness.  

Interested in hosting an event like this for your creative community?
Here are some things to consider as you plan…
(Again, I didn’t do this all perfectly since I was so sick but live and learn!)

  • Choose a space that will be comfortable for everyone. Ideally, someone’s home is great (and a free option) but a small event space can be a great setting as well.
  • Give everyone an idea of what to present. A great outline is to do a basic introduction of themselves, what they’ve been working on lately, and what they hope to do in the future.
  • Be mindful of how everyone will present. Physical examples of work are ideal but it is not necessarily practical for everyone to print their work. I also brought a projector for everyone to use with a laptop (though the room was SO BRIGHT with no shades - so definitely remember to consider the room ahead of time).
  • Ask everyone to bring a snack or drink to share. Food makes any event better and there is no reason to put all that work on just you!
  • Creatives are busy people. Encourage people that even if they don’t have time to prep ahead of time, they are still welcome!
  • If many people at the event won’t already know each other, bring a sheet or send a digital document with everyone's username and info.
  • HAVE FUN!


Where I'm shopping (locally) for Christmas Gifts

In case you aren’t already freaking out, Christmas is RIGHT around the corner! I try to start my Christmas shopping pretty early to both spread things out financially and to make the long list more manageable. Plus, when trying to find the perfect gift, you never want to rush the process. Here are a few of my favorite places to shop small in North Texas (though most of them have some products online if you don’t live here) that are bound to have a gift for everyone on your list this year.

GIFTED

What you can buy here:

  • Mens gifts (especially for the design forward men in your life)
  • Kids gifts 
  • Beauty products
  • Home decor
  • Cards and Stationary
  • Jewelry

Parking: Private lot + free parking in all Foundry District lots

Price Point: $$$

Where: The Foundry District, Fort Worth.

Visit their website online shop here.

 

The DIME Store

What you can buy here:

  • Local art 
  • Handmade items 
  • Tshirts 
  • Candles 
  • Kids gifts 

Parking: Private lot + free parking in all Foundry District lots

Price Point: $

Where: Denton

Visit their website and (limited) online shop here.

ARCHER PAPER GOODS

What you can buy here:

  • Stationary and cards 
  • Paper goods 

Parking: No private lot, street parking as available.

Price Point: $$

Where: Deep Ellum, Dallas

Visit their website here.

 

All Good Things

What you can buy here:

  • Stationary and cards 
  • Home decor 
  • Jewelry
  • Kids gifts 

Parking: No private lot, Bishop Arts parking lot and street parking

Price Point: $$

Where: Bishop Arts District, Dallas

Visit their website and online shop here.

 

Morgan Mercantile

What you can buy here:

  • Fort Worth themed gifts 
  • Clothing and accessories

Parking: Street Parking

Price Point: $$

Where: SOMA District, Fort Worth

Visit their website and online shop here.

 

Tribe Alive

What you can buy here:

  • Sustainable women's clothing and accessories

Parking: Street Parking

Price Point: $$$

Where: SOMA District, Fort Worth

Visit their website and online shop here.

 

Flea Style

What you can buy here:

  • Vintage clothing
  • Eclectic home decor 
  • Jewelry
  • Locally made products 
  • Cards 
  • Plants 

Parking: Private Lot

Price Point: $$

Where: Deep Ellum, Dallas

Visit their website here.

 

Jade & Clover

What you can buy here:

  • Succulents (especially cute pots!)
  • Stationary and cards 
  • Women’s gifts 

Parking: No private lot, street parking as available.

Price Point: $$

Where: Deep Ellum, Dallas

Visit their website here.

Favor the Kind

What you can buy here:

  • Women’s clothing
  • Kids gifts 
  • Stationary and cards

Parking: Private Parking

Price Point: $-$$

Where: Dallas

Visit their website and online shop here.


Photo by Kylie Hull

The Greenhouse 817

What you can buy here:

  • Indoor plants
  • Pots 
  • Local art

Parking: Street parking and 4Eleven parking lot

Price Point: $$

Where: SOMA District, Fort Worth

Visit their website and online shop here.

 

Beehive

What you can buy here:

  • Women’s clothing and accessories

Parking: Shared private lot

Price Point: $$

Where: Fort Worth

Visit their website and online shop here.

 

Commonplace Books

What you can buy here:

  • Books
  • Stationary
  • Candles

Parking: WestBend Parking 

Price Point: $

Where: Fort Worth

Visit their Instagram here.


Calida // Blogger Photography

It's always a good day when I get to shoot with someone who loves colorful murals as much as I do! Calida is from Arizona but had a long layover at DFW, just enough time for some photos! It was a HOT day, but she was such a rockstar that you can't even tell in the photos. I'm so glad she reached out to me for her few hours in Dallas!






How I Choose to Opt for Optimism

*This post is sponsored by Frost Bank. You can be assured that I only accept paid collaborations if it’s a partnership that I 100% support and is right in line with my personal values.*

Would you consider yourself an optimist? Often optimism can be negatively labeled as naïve or in denial of reality, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. I love how Frost Bank defines optimism; “It’s a mindset of determination in the face of adversity and the belief that a positive solution is possible with the right approach.”

While optimism doesn’t necessarily mean life is easy and smooth sailing, studies have actually shown that optimism does produce positive results in your life, particularly with financial health. Frost’s Opt For Optimism website is packed full of statistics showing the benefits of optimism, stories from inspirational optimists, and even a quiz to find out what kind of optimist you are (I’m an Evolving Optimist).

So what does an optimistic life look like practically? For me, I always want my social media presence and photography to represent the uplifting and joyful attitude that I strive towards. Another practical and powerful way to live an optimistic life is to give back to your community by using the gifts (or financial assets) that you have been blessed with. 

In partnership with Frost and CultureMap, I recently spent a day volunteering with the Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT), a nonprofit that is near and dear to my heart. Not only have I volunteered with them in the past, this is where my family has adopted 2 pets, including my adorable pup, Pepper. 

The HSNT is the oldest animal welfare organization in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and provides services such as pet adoptions, low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations, returning lost pets to their owners, cruelty investigations and free humane euthanasia. To learn more about their specific volunteer needs, be sure to visit their website. I also really want to encourage you to adopt your next family pet instead of using a breeder or going to a local pet shop, there are so many amazing animals at the HSNT that need a loving and caring home.

So how did I volunteer with the HSNT? As a huge advocate of using your specific skills and gifts when giving back to your community, I got to borrow 4 dogs for the day (with the help of my wonderful husband, Noah) and take some beautiful photography of them around Fort Worth. The goal is that these images can be used by the HSNT in their marketing efforts to help these dogs find their forever home. I’m sharing some of my favorite photos at the end of this blog post!

Ready to get involved in your community?! First things first, the CultureMap Charity Guide is a great place to start exploring nonprofits in your community. They even break down the nonprofits into categories that will help you find exactly what you’re looking for, whether you’re passionate about serving children, animals, or veterans.

If you haven’t volunteered much, here are a few tips that I have found to be helpful as I’ve volunteered in my own community:

UTILIZE YOUR UNIQUE SKILL SET

While sometimes organizations need extremely simple tasks to be done like stuffing envelopes or hanging flyers, be sure to express specific skills you can use when discussing volunteer opportunities with the volunteer coordinator. Great at organizing? See if you can organize the food pantry. Great at marketing? Offer some consultation time to help them make the most of their small marketing budget. Get creative!

CHECK YOUR MOTIVES

I think it is extremely important to go into any volunteer opportunity with a humble attitude. If you’re serving for selfish reasons, it can be more apparent than you’d like to think.

HAVE AN OPEN MIND AND BE FLEXIBLE

When you’re volunteering, anything and everything can happen. Go with the flow and remember the reason you are there, even when things aren’t going as planned. Volunteering is also an awesome way to meet new people so be ready to form new relationships.

BRING YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY ALONG

Volunteering is even more fun (and impactful) when you do it with the people you love. I’m so thankful for the people in my life who have invited me to volunteer opportunities that have become long-term partnerships.

PRIORITIZE GIVING BACK

It’s easy to only give your “leftovers” back. I know I’ve been tempted to give those hours of my week where I’m just exhausted and don’t have a great attitude or the money I happen to have to spare each month. Include your financial giving in your monthly budget and schedule your volunteer hours when you are able to give your best work.

I’m always amazed by the way that other people get creative when volunteering. I’d love to hear your own stories about how optimism plays a role in your life and how you show generosity! 

Now for more pup pictures, what we are all here for, right?!



Museum of Memories

My friend Molly on the Move and I got to visit the Museum of Memories and WHAT A BLAST. This 5,000 square foot art installation is located in Dallas, Texas and is packed full of all the 90s kids nostalgia.

Here are just a few photos from my visit, be sure to go all the way to the end for my video tour!

 


Austin Day Trip: June 2019

If I ever left Fort Worth (no plans anytime soon), Austin would definitely be my go-to city in Texas. While it makes for a long day, I'm glad that Austin is an option for a day trip to get my fix every now and then. My sister was helping out with a concert so we decided to make a sister trip out of it, which was much needed and a blast.