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Featured, Holiday, Kids, Motherhood

The best Christmas that never was.

December 30, 2016
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There’s a scene in the movie Christmas Vacation where Ellen complains to Clark about his ridiculously high expectations on big events like holidays. Boy can I relate to old Clark Griswold. My family will shake their heads in agreement while reading this post. And I’m pretty sure they’ll remind me for years to come about how I frantically went to great lengths to dismantle our dead Christmas tree in order to put up a new, fresh tree just 5 days before Christmas. Stringing lights with a newborn strapped into the baby bjorn…do not try this at home, folks. I digress here, but have to ask, do any of y’all obsess over this type of stuff too? If not the tree, stressing over getting the right gifts for people, writing thank you’s in time, making sure you sent a Christmas card to your OBGYN because well, she was responsible for a safe birth of your newest family member on the front of the card. Ha!

Seriously, there is so much chaos during the holidays, how do we not all go cray cray?  I spent the best part of December worrying about things that are mostly out of my control, like what if a kid is sick for the holidays? There isn’t enough hand sanitizer out there to prevent this fear from coming to fruition sometimes. And the sickness train rolled into town and stopped at our house multiple times this Christmas.

My biggest anxiety was realized when a perfect storm of illness swept through my family a few days before Christmas. As a result our social calendar of festivities with family and friends was shut down. And we were on lock down. But in the end it was still a great Christmas. Maybe the best one yet. How can this be??? Well for starters we were forced to be at home with just us. Our new family of 5. At times I longed for my sisters or a babysitter or someone (anyone!) to just give us a hand while in the trenches. But while we were down there some really magical moments happened.

I guess that’s what you might call the spirit of Christmas. The good stuff. While I was too sick to even text my friends Merry Christmas (sorry guys, can this blog post shout out count?), I was laser focused on my kids on Christmas day. I spent zero time cleaning up anything (the house can wait) even though towards the end of the day the kitchen was starting to remind me of a frat house. I spent zero time trying to get my family dressed to the nines to go to Christmas dinner at our friends house. And as much as I look forward to going to that fun festive party, I honestly didn’t mind frozen pizza and pigs in a blanket with my party of 5. Gathered around the table eating the freezer’s finest, holding Jack while he slept so angel-like, the sweet voices of my little girls, and catching my husband’s eyes and knowing that he got it too. I’ll store this scene in my mind as the best Christmas memory to date. No frills, just us. And then next December when I get all crazy about Christmas being perfect I’ll remember what perfect really is.

 

photo by Melissa Fitzgerald West

Featured, Holiday, Kids, Lifestyle, Motherhood

New Year’s Cards by Minted

December 23, 2016
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Processed with VSCO with a2 preset

We just received our New Year’s cards in the mail from Minted and I love how they turned out! In case you missed my earlier post, you can read more about the design process here. And in case you didn’t get around to sending out a Christmas card this year,  there’s still time to put together a festive card celebrating the new year on Minted.com. The process is super easy and the card design options are pretty legit. There are cards with real gold foil, glitter (my fave!) and the letterpress options are gorgeous. Once you upload your photo/photos, there’s this slick feature that let’s you preview a sample card in each design template with that photo. This saved me so much trial and error and I put our New Year’s cards together in less than 20 minutes. I included the feature to print addresses on the envelopes which is also a major time saver. And Minted had my cards to me in less than 3 business days. It doesn’t get much better than an efficient, seamless process for beautiful cards for a mama with not a minute of free time to spare these days.

New Year’s Card template here

Some other favorite New Year’s cards here
http://rstyle.me/n/caj2wvvwge

Coffee Talk, Fashion, Featured, Friday Five, Lifestyle, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Friday Five | All the Feels

November 11, 2016
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imagining ways to elevate my everyday wardrobe with evening pieces like a bag or piece by Mignonne Gavigan // photo c/o Being Bridget

My nephew/niece count will reach a dozen at the start of the new year. My sister-in-law is due in January, so she’s having a sprinkle soon to celebrate her first daughter. I’m giving her this book (spoiler alert, sis!), thus the inspiration for this installment of the Friday Five:

sadness :: Famous figures speak their peace on dealing with depression, and there’s an overwhelming consensus that being sad–in some ways–feels good and like a release while being depressed feels numb and like nothing.

glamorous :: Always a girl in pearls, I finally found a proper evening bag to bring to weddings and special occasions in the summer, winter and seasons in between.

cool :: A fellow Texas blogger named Bridget’s got that je ne sai quoi.

love :: A college friend’s older sister reached out to request a flower from each of her close friends to make a friendship bouquet. It’s acts like these that make kindness karma go round.

impressed :: I visited the Degas exhibit at MFAH last night and was wowed by his portrayal of movement, preparation and performance. Dallas is rivaling it with a Monet exhibit: which impressionist do you prefer?

Enjoy your start to the weekend!

Molly Bridget of Bridget’s Own Diary

Coffee Talk, Entertain, Fashion, Featured, Friday Five, Lifestyle, Motherhood

Friday Five | Fall Bucket List

November 4, 2016
hoping my calligraphy class will set me up for success for setting the table on Thanksgiving
hoping my calligraphy class will set me up for success for setting the table on Thanksgiving
hoping my calligraphy class will set me up for success for setting the table on Thanksgiving

hoping my calligraphy class will set me up for success when setting the Thanksgiving table

It’s November, and there are new people in this world, notably Lyndsey’s baby. Her hands will be very literally full, so I’m savoring this admittedly selfish time in my life where I can go out and about with WD, friends, family and just me. So, today’s Friday Five features my Fall bucket list.

TO FIND :: a colored heel (like this jade pump or oxblood mary jane) to go with a simple holiday party dress

TO WRITE :: thank you notes (pretty paper please!) to the people I’m grateful for but won’t be with on November 24th to tell them so 

TO WATCH :: a showing of Lost in Translation at Market Square’s at their monthly outdoor movie feature 

TO MAKE :: the perfect mac & cheese, starting here — get your spoons ready

TO LEARN :: calligraphy, courtesy of A Fine Flourish for the fanciest Thanksgiving placeholders

Here’s fifteen classic fall recipes for all my foodies to make. Enjoy this fall Friday!

Molly Bridget of Bridget’s Own Diary

Coffee Talk, Featured, Kids, Maternity Style, Motherhood

All bets are off | pregnancy update + last look at the bump

November 1, 2016
View More: http://traciling.pass.us/lyndseyblog2
View More: http://traciling.pass.us/lyndseyblog2

View More: http://traciling.pass.us/lyndseyblog2

All bets are off…

The clock is winding down before this baby will be here. From the get go I was certain this baby would be early. I was deemed “high risk” because my fluid has been low with both prior pregnancies and I had to go on hospital bed rest when I was pregnant with Charlotte. Of course, the second you proclaim your confidence in any future outcome that truly isn’t in your control it goes the opposite of the way you planned. Especially when it comes to life events as unpredictable as pregnancy can be. The only certainty with this pregnancy is that my C-section is scheduled for early November if I don’t run out of fluid (can’t help but laugh when I talk about fluid, makes me feel like a car or something!) or go into labor between now and then.

Odds on the gender…

I’ve also been pretty confident about my gut feeling on this baby’s gender. I’ve been thinking boy from day 1, so it will be pretty hilarious if this baby ends up being a girl. It’s so hard NOT to be confident this baby is a boy. Case in point–everyone I know (except Bret) thinks I’m having a boy. If you hear something enough you can’t help but start to believe it’s true. Further evidence shows that there are girls being born all around our circle of friends and family and zero boys. When gender odds are 50-50 and everyone you know is rolling pink, the dice has to roll blue at some point. So I’m going all in on blue this time around. Which means this baby is for sure going to be a girl now, right?! Either way, I’m super excited, anxious, nervous, happy to be on the verge of bringing a new baby into this world.

 

Coffee Talk, Featured, Friday Five, Kids, Lifestyle, Motherhood

Take the time to waste a moment | The big 3-5

October 28, 2016
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I’m 35 today. That’s a LOT of candles. 040almarosa

| Take the time to waste a moment |

When I was 27, single and traveling 24/7 working on a Presidential campaign I didn’t foresee a husband and 3 kids at 35. A LOT has happened in the past 8 years that’s for sure. My Mom always told me my 30’s would be my best years. They have certainly been the most major of years in my life, a husband and almost three kids later. I look back over my 30’s so far and if I can take one thing away for the next 5 it’s to slow the F down and enjoy it all a little bit more. It’s not naturally in my DNA to do this. I didn’t realize it until I was talking to Leighton’s teacher about her personality and her feedback was exactly what I’d seen written on my report cards year over year. In so many words, lighten up! People see a fun, outgoing exterior but at the end of the day, I’m pretty intense and overly focused; Serious about being a good mom and wife to a fault that I dwell on my own shortcomings way too much. And serious about doing things in this word productivity wise—being successful in business, making money, contributing to my church and community. It’s exhausting and it’s time to slow my roll. Say yes to less. Take the time to waste a moment.  And while I’m at it, enjoy the moment. Put the phone down. Nothing is that important that it can’t wait a few more minutes. This new mantra might not help my punctuality though. Oh well.

Wow, I really got off on a tangent there guys. I’m sure most of you have already clicked to the next thing on the internet by now so I’m probably just talking to me (and maybe my Grandma who reads this blog religiously). Anyhoo…..here’s to the next 5 years that make up what I will probably look back on as the best years ever.

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All coffee talk aside, it wouldn’t be a birthday on L. Avenue without a wish list. Since it’s Friday, I’ll give y’all my Friday 5 ultimate birthday wish list.

top photo by Candid Chic

bottom photo by Traci Ling | my dress by Emilia Wickstead, shoes Jimmy Choo | kids dresses by Lullaby Set

 

Fashion, Featured, Kids, Motherhood

Mommy + Me | metallic shoes

October 25, 2016
View More: http://traciling.pass.us/lyndseyblog2
View More: http://traciling.pass.us/lyndseyblog2

I swear I don’t usually intend to match with the girls, but when I realize that we are in fact twinning it makes me smile pretty big. They love it and I realize my days of a. picking out their clothes/shoes and b. the girls thinking it’s cool to match with their Mommy are numbered.

I’ve been on the hunt for silver metallic shoes for a while. I almost bought these pumps last year but passed thinking I wouldn’t wear this metallic enough. Well metallics are hot again this fall and the loafer is king. I’ve been drooling over the Gucci loafers but recently came across this Rebecca Minkoff pair for less. They sold out on Shopbop quickly but are still available here.

View More: http://traciling.pass.us/lyndseyblog2

details | metallic loafer also available here | metallic mary jane | rug from Biscuit Home

photo by Traci Ling

Beauty, Featured, Lifestyle, Motherhood

My daily skin routine | Juice Beauty

September 12, 2016
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I recently wrote one of the first beauty specific posts for L. Avenue and received a lot of great feedback. The post focused on highlighting a line I discovered and have been loyal to during my pregnancy, Juice Beauty. Read more about Juice Beauty’s all natural, organic skincare and make-up line here. After posting, I received a lot of questions about my daily beauty and skincare regimen. It’s great to educate ourselves with product reviews, but to me there’s so much more utility if you get to see exactly how each products plays a role into an ongoing routine. I know I’ve been victim to the “see it, sounds good, buy it” mantra with make-up and skincare. And then I get home and can’t remember when or how to apply the product and then shortly thereafter it ends up on the island of misfit (aka unused) beauty products. So here goes nothing. Hopefully, if y’all know exactly what products I use and when it will help you make decisions about which products to incorporate into your daily routine.

Continue Reading…

Around {H} Town + Travel, Coffee Talk, Eats, Featured, Friday Five, Lifestyle, Motherhood

Friday Five | Let Freedom Ring

July 8, 2016
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Neat
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The Rhubarb Fizz at Neat packs the perfect punch to beat the summer heat with Prosecco and lemon.

I’m still recovering from my back-to-back vacations, first beachside with my family then lakeside with my boyfriend’s. Ready for the weekend, I won’t let summer slip by without enjoying all the fun and freedom it affords.

Rosé in hand isn’t a bad place to start (here’s 9 of the best), or a cocktail with rhubarb, which my sisters and I sipped at the perfectly curated bottle shop in quaint Alys Beach, NEAT.

As someone who can often dodge being direct, I liked hearing–from a guy’s perspective–that commitment can be viewed as just as much of a fulfilling adventure as traversing the globe or climbing the corporate ladder. Confidence and clarity will cause you to express this and convict the people you love to believe it.

Growing up with six older siblings, I get a peek of what’s ahead and right now, that’s parenthood. I basked in the freedom to go to and from the beach at my leisure and lounge poolside, good book in hand, with little interruption. I can’t wait to have kids, but witnessing what a labor of love it is reiterates what this blog reveals: it ain’t easy.

On that note, we’ve got another baby on the way to round the grandkid count to a neat dozen. With Lyndsey announcing her third, I thought this was a fun series of old-wives-tales of how to tell if a little brother or sister is soon to come. Poll: do you like to find out (and plan the nursery!) or wait until the birth for the ultimate surprise?

This was my billion dollar idea, now sitting amidst prime real estate in Times Square. With create-your-own bowls being a culinary craze, I’m sure tourists, foodies and cereal enthusiasts alike will flock to Kellogg’s to concoct their specialty bowls. I’ll have Life with dark chocolate chips, blueberries and cinnamon, please!

Happy weekend! Soak up the summer. And the sun!

-Molly Bridget of Bridget’s Own Diary

 

Fashion, Featured, Kids, Motherhood

puddle jumpin

April 19, 2016
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View More: http://traciling.pass.us/lyndseyblog2

View More: http://traciling.pass.us/lyndseyblog2
This week has been turned upside down. Flooding in Houston has caused schools to be shut down so we’ve been unexpectedly housebound for the past two days. And maybe more given the fact that more rain is en route. Rain days are so strange to me. Being from Ohio where snow days were like Christmas coming early, snow in my experience is way more fun than thunderstorms, right?! I’m really a jerk to even complain about the rain because we are safe and our home is dry. So many Houstonians have lost so much the past few years because of flood damage. I promise I’ve got this whole thing in perspective, but just couldn’t get out of my grumpy mood given the schedule crashing that comes with “school’s closed” emails. After pouting around for most of Monday I knew I had to right the ship so I took the girls out for a bike ride. Acting like I was of age (2 and 4 years old), we raced through puddle after puddle, the two girls squealing at the top of their lungs with excitement. And it felt so good. I mean, it’s the most fun I’ve had in a while and all it took was some high energy puddle jumping. I may have even squealed a little bit too. They’re saying school will likely be closed for the third day in a row. There better be some good puddles out there….
View More: http://traciling.pass.us/lyndseyblog2
View More: http://traciling.pass.us/lyndseyblog2
View More: http://traciling.pass.us/lyndseyblog2
View More: http://traciling.pass.us/lyndseyblog2

outfit details | rain boots | sweater, old, similar here and here | belt (last seen here), similar here | denim c/o Earl Jeans | sunglasses | handbag

shop my favorite rain boots here…

photos by Traci Ling