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Hartstrings Girl's Clothing Review (1)

I guess you could say today is Lilly’s first official post as a “fashion blogger”! Haha! Like mother, like daughter, right? The fabulous, oh-so-wonderful people at Hartstrings wanted Lilly to pick out a few outfits of her own as we prepare to head into the fall and she I was so excited!

I’ve been familiar with Hartstrings before, but had never had a chance to see or try any of their children’s clothing first hand, so I was excited to try them out for myself with Lilly! I will say that Hartstrings is definitely not what I would call discount or affordable children’s clothing… I would put them more in the “high-end” children’s clothing category. BUT, with that being said, I do love to get a few nicer outfits for Lilly for special occasions like church, weddings, or family gatherings!

Lilly got two adorable outfits that will be perfect for fall and winter!

I am totally in love with this sweater dress! I got it in size 18 months and so it is definitely big on her now, but will be perfect as she grows into it this winter. I also can’t wait for her to wear it with tights and boots. GAH! THE CUTENESS!! Plus, the little tassel detailing?! I can’t even.

Hartstrings Girl's Clothing Review (2)

Sweater Dress: Hartstrings c/o (use this link for 25% off new arrivals PLUS 7% cash back on all purchases!) | Headband: Progeny Shoppe c/o | Shoes: TOMS

Lilly refuses to stand up on her own right now… haha! So Daddy had to help. :) Hartstrings Girl's Clothing Review (3)

And then there’s this next dress below. The bow. The plaid. The pleats. It’s just too much cuteness. Wait, I don’t think it’s possible for there to be too much cuteness…Hartstrings Girl's Clothing Review (4)

Yellow Plaid Jumper Dress: Hartstrings c/o – on sale!! (use this link for 10% off PLUS 7% cash back!) | Shoes: TOMS

I ended up getting this dress in size 12 months and it fits her great and will definitely fit her through the fall!

Hartstrings Girl's Clothing Review (5)

I almost felt like this outfit reminded me of Cher in Clueless. No? Anyone?Hartstrings Girl's Clothing Review (6)Overall, I was REALLY impressed with Hartstrings! The detailing on the clothes is amazing and the quality is clearly well made! I’d say they’re definitely worth the money! And, I mean, look how cute. AMIRIGHT?!

Happy Tuesday!

 

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One (Lilly's 12 month update!) (3)

Yep, a second post today because I wanted to post and share a little video I put together of Lilly’s first year of life! Yep, it’s 17 minutes long… but what can I say? I took a lot of videos of her over this past year! It was hard to narrow them down… This video means so much to me and my family. It starts at the beginning and goes all the way up until the day before her birthday.

I made the video AND I’ve watched it probably 10 times and I still cry every single time. I’m a big ol’ sap.

Enjoy. :)

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Red and white striped awning dress from Eshakti, denim jean vest, World Market scarf

I’m sorta kinda taking the day “off” today – haha! Yet, there’s still a post up. What can I say? I can’t ever really take a day off. :) When Carly and I were planning out our #LetItShine inspirations for the next few months, I completely forgot the fact that today was Labor Day!

Today’s Inspiration is a “DIY” Project… and between prepping for Lilly’s party and just getting back from vacation, I totally don’t have a DIY to show you. So, I will direct you to my “DIY / How-To” section instead to get your inspiration from past posts!

I hope y’all have an awesome day off (if you have the day off, of course…) – otherwise, enjoy your Monday and be sure to link up your fabulous posts below!

730x100letitshineWelcome to Let it Shine!   Welcome to the new, revamped Funday Monday! After two years, we decided to rename our link up to something we felt was a better fit.  Welcome to Let it Shine! Why the name? Because, we want this link up to be just that…..your chance to let it shine! We will be sharing our favorites each week here, and on social media! The biggest change? Monthly Inspirations!  Each month we will share some fun post ideas, one for each week.    Do you HAVE to follow the inspirations to link up? Absolutely not!  If you’d like to be considered for a feature, those will be picked from the inspirations…..check out the September lineup!

september inspirations
  Last week, we talked about shoes….and we sure spotted some cute ones!

a few of our favs shoes/ Statement Shoes / Gingham and Lace /

Another place we will be showcasing our favs? The Let It Shine Pinterest Board! We will also be posting ideas for the weekly themes….so be sure you’re following!     let it shine hashtag_edited-1   Linking up to Let it Shine? Don’t forget to link back to our blogs or share our button, thanks y’all!


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For years, I have struggled with my hair. I have fought with my hair. I’ve gone back and forth with my hair. I’ve gone through periods where I absolutely love my hair and then periods where I just want to shave it all off and start over.

Remember how I mentioned the other day how I can sometimes be indecisive? Well, my hair is often like that, too! It either wants to be too dry and frizzy and damaged looking OR it gets really oily and weighed down and greasy. It’s really annoying.

However, over the years, as awkward as I realize this kinda sounds… I’ve struggled with dry and peeling scalp. I attribute it to the years spent outside on the golf course and working outside… but who know what it’s really from? It’s not like I don’t shower or don’t take care of my head… because I do! My scalp has just always peeled on me and then it flakes and it’s awkward and gross.

The truth is, even as I have tried different shampoos and conditioners over the years, I have ALWAYS (and I mean, ALWAYS) kept a bottle of Head & Shoulders in my shower. I’ve tried other dandruff or dry scalp shampoos and none of them have worked for me like H&S. I’ve never used it for EVERY shampoo and conditioner use (although you could if you wanted to), but I have used it 2-3 times a week for the last 15 years or so to help combat my dry scalp and other hair struggles.

There have been times when I’ve fallen out of the habit of using it regularly, and those tend to be the times when I hate my hair the most. When I get into a regular routine of shampooing and conditioning my hair with Head & Shoulders, my hair always feels MUCH better and less, well, yuck.

I don’t know why this feels so embarrassing to talk about… like, “EWWWW! MOLLY! YOU HAVE FLAKY HAIR!” I don’t… when I use Head & Shoulder’s at least. Haha!

One of the things I’ve loved about using it especially in the last few years is that they have come out with new scents! SO, I don’t feel like I’m washing my hair with medicine anymore! My hair actually smells REALLY good.

A few of you have commented to me recently that my hair has looked really good lately (first off, THANK YOU!!! That makes my day!), but I really have to attribute it to two things: 1) I got a haircut. Finally. And 2) I’ve been back to using my trusty Head & Shoulders on the regular again. Now, I will reiterate, I don’t use it for EVERY shampoo and condition… but I DO use it about 2-3 times a week. Or every other wash.

Here are some pictures of my hair recently after using Head & Shoulders:

On a Saturday morning:

 

RENEE C “TUCKER MIXED PRINT SPLIT-BACK TANK”, Red Kensie Jeans, Blue C. Wonder Heels (4)

In the car-selfie – haha!:

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At Lilly’s Birthday party:

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I just learned that Sofia Vergara (THE gorgeous Sofia Vergaga) and her family have used Head & Shoulders for over 20 years. I feel much better now about my using it! For a chance to meet Sofia Vergara, follow @HeadShoulders on Twitter and post a photo of your gorgeous, flake-free hair tagging #PartOfOurFamily #sweeps and @HeadShoulders! The sweepstakes kicks off Monday, August 18 and will run until September 1. So you only have a few days left to enter. The winner will have the opportunity to meet Sofia Vergara at an upcoming Head & Shoulders advertising shoot! How fun is that?! The details are all here.SOFI8153

Now what about you? Do you have similar hair struggles to mine? Have you used Head & Shoulders before? 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that help support me and my family!

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Buying a Home: A Short Sale vs. A Foreclosure & What Is Equity? | Molly's Money

If this is your first time here, Molly’s Money is a regular series I write on this blog that includes ALL things personal finance – debt management, budgeting, home buying, savings, investment, etc. I am NOT a financial advisor, but I am married to one! These are just things that I have learned over the years as I struggled with my own personal finances and ultimately, became debt free in 2012. Got a question about money that you want answered? Leave it in the comments below or email me!

John and I bought and moved into a new home a few months ago and it was the first time for the both of us going through the home selling AND home buying process together. John had bought the house we were living in a few years before we even met… so it was my first time really learning everything there is to know about the whole process. And man, there was WAY more information that I needed to know that I just knew nothing about.

A few of the things I really knew very little about was the difference between a short sale and a foreclosure and what home equity REALLY means. I’ve, coincidentally, had a few of you email me and ask about those similar topics as you’re on the hunt for buying a home… so I thought, “Well, I might as well include this in the Molly’s Money series!” I’ve already talked about things you should consider before buying a home and the breakdown of a mortgage… so be sure to check those out.

Now, I will say this up front, I realize that this isn’t the most interesting or riveting topic in the world… BUT, it’s one of those things that you learn as an adult and I really wish someone would have better explained to me earlier on. It would have made the process much less confusing for me. We did NOT buy a foreclosure or short sale when we bought our house, but it was something that we learned about and considered when we were looking at properties.

I will also say that this is BY NO MEANS an exhaustive explanation of a short sale, a foreclosure, and equity. This is just my 36,000 foot view and explanation of each to help you hopefully have a better understanding as you either get ready to look into buying a home for the first (or even second time) OR as you begin to plan to sell a home for the first time.  Continue Reading →

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Red and white striped awning dress from Eshakti, denim jean vest, World Market scarf

Red & White Striped Awning Dress: Eshakti c/o | Denim Vest: Old Navy | Scarf: World Market | Bag: Stitch Fix

Photos by Em Grey Photography

Sometimes I am really guilty of being indecisive. I can’t make up my mind. Not with everything… buuuuut with a lot of things. I go back and forth all the time.

Truth be told, I got this dress a few months ago, but it wasn’t what I had pictured in my mind when I had originally ordered it. I’ve gotten a BUNCH of dresses from eShakti before and I’ve always loved what I’ve received. I love how you can customize your dress and get it made to fit you. This dress was actually sleeveless, but I had it custom made to have sleeves and a higher neckline because I tend to go for more “modest” fits when it comes to dresses.

The quality of it is awesome. I love that it has pockets. And the fit is great. But for some reason, when I tried it on, I felt like a candy striper. I just felt awkward in it. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not…

But, I wasn’t going to give up… so I played around with different ways to wear it and style it and I loved the way it looked with my trusty denim vest and a printed scarf. I think it really breaks up the dress and makes it much less candy-striper. If that makes sense.

Red and white striped awning dress from Eshakti, denim jean vest, World Market scarf Continue Reading →

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A Lilly Pulitzer Themed First Birthday Party (1)

This past Saturday was Lilly’s first birthday party! We had such an amazing time with just a few friends and family members loving on Lilly, eating delicious food, and enjoying the company. I will go ahead and warn you, that this is an extremely picture-heavy post. And I am 130% okay with it.

When I was trying to decide what we wanted to do for Lilly’s first birthday party as far as the theme goes, the idea popped in my head of doing a Lilly Pulitzer themed birthday party. At first I was like, “Ehhh, do I REALLY wanna do a Lilly themed party? Is that too cliche?” And then I thought… “Heck yes, I want to do a Lilly themed party. This is probably my only chance to ever do one!”

*Also, in case you’re wondering (because I get this question a lot), no, Lilly is NOT, in fact, named after Lilly Pulitzer. Yes, I love Lilly Pulitzer, but I loved the named Lilly my whole life and when my husband and I were talking about baby names, I brought up the name Lilly and he immediately loved it. When we were deciding on how we wanted it spelled, we liked the symmetry of two Ls in Lilly and two Ls in Stillman. Haha!

Anyway! Back to the subject at hand… Here are some pictures from Lilly’s “Lilly Pulitzer themed birthday party” day!

I made the wreath on the right and I love the way it came out!

A Lilly Pulitzer Themed First Birthday Party (2) Continue Reading →

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RENEE C “TUCKER MIXED PRINT SPLIT-BACK TANK”, Red Kensie Jeans, Blue C. Wonder Heels (1)

Renee C “Tucker Mixed Print Split Back Tank”: Stitch Fix (love this one) | Red Kensie Jeans: Stitch Fix (similar) | Bag: Stitch Fix (exact one here) | Blue C. Wonder Heels c/o (similar) | Engraved Necklace: 9th and Elm c/oThree Tiered Gold Necklace: World MarketCross Wrap Bracelet: Esterlane c/o

Photos by Em Grey Photography

I know I’ve mentioned this a time or two, but I’m not a heels girl. I wear flats. I wear boots. I wear flip flops. It’s not that I don’t like heels, it’s that I for some reason can NEVER find a pair of heels that I can wear longer than 14 seconds without crying in agony. Until these heels. My gracious these heels are not only comfortable, but also ADORABLE AS ALL GET OUT.

I love them and I wear them ALL the time. I feel like they totally make any outfit – and they are totally the kind of heels that the second I put them on, my mood is instantly lifted. You can’t not feel like a rockstar in these heels. ‘Naw mean?

RENEE C “TUCKER MIXED PRINT SPLIT-BACK TANK”, Red Kensie Jeans, Blue C. Wonder Heels (2) RENEE C “TUCKER MIXED PRINT SPLIT-BACK TANK”, Red Kensie Jeans, Blue C. Wonder Heels (3) RENEE C “TUCKER MIXED PRINT SPLIT-BACK TANK”, Red Kensie Jeans, Blue C. Wonder Heels (4) RENEE C “TUCKER MIXED PRINT SPLIT-BACK TANK”, Red Kensie Jeans, Blue C. Wonder Heels (5) RENEE C “TUCKER MIXED PRINT SPLIT-BACK TANK”, Red Kensie Jeans, Blue C. Wonder Heels (6) RENEE C “TUCKER MIXED PRINT SPLIT-BACK TANK”, Red Kensie Jeans, Blue C. Wonder Heels (7)

Also, thinking about the actual word “HEELS” gets me TOTALLY PUMPED UP FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL TO START THIS SATURDAY! Yes, I am that excited. I love football. SO much. And I am beyond pumped for the start of football season and I’m beyond pumped to cheer on the North Carolina Tar HEELS all season long.

Who else is totally amped up for football season? Who are you rooting for?

730x100letitshineWelcome to Let it Shine!   Welcome to the new, revamped Funday Monday! After two years, we decided to rename our link up to something we felt was a better fit.  Welcome to Let it Shine! Why the name? Because, we want this link up to be just that…..your chance to let it shine! We will be sharing our favorites each week here, and on social media! The biggest change? Monthly Inspirations!  Each month we will share some fun post ideas, one for each week.    Do you HAVE to follow the inspirations to link up? Absolutely not!  If you’d like to be considered for a feature, those will be picked from the inspirations…..check out the September lineup!

september inspirations
  Last week, we talked about desserts….and found some delicious new treats!

a few of our favs desserts/ Soft Toffee Cookies / Strawberry Rhubard / Butterfinger Brownies /

Another place we will be showcasing our favs? The Let It Shine Pinterest Board! We will also be posting ideas for the weekly themes….so be sure you’re following!     let it shine hashtag_edited-1   Linking up to Let it Shine? Don’t forget to link back to our blogs or share our button, thanks y’all!

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Right Now I’m…

wearing: my Stitch Fix maxi skirt and a white tee
listening: to my husband watch Duck Dynasty downstairs on the DVR
reading: The Giver. I loved this book as a kid and I even taught it when I taught high school… I’ve been wanting to reread it before I go see the movie!
watchingThe Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. My husband and I watch it every single night. We are obsessed!
doing: getting ready for Lilly’s birthday party weekend! It also is my birthday tomorrow… but thankfully, it will be overshadowed by Lilly’s party! :) 
loving: having my family in town for Lilly’s party AND the fact that I’m going to the beach on Monday! YAY!!!!
hating: the humidity! The weather was so nice the last few weeks and now it’s back to being ugly and humid!
wishing: that every day was Friday!
wanting: to go see The Giver in theaters! I haven’t been to the movies in ages and I really wanna see this movie!

What about you!? What are you doing right now?

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Six Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans Faster | Molly's Money

If this is your first time here, Molly’s Money is a series I write on this blog that includes all things personal finance. Got a question about money that you want answered? Leave it in the comments below or email me!

One of the most common forms of debt is the oh-so-lovely student loan debt. It’s also one of the things I get emailed most often about, “How do I pay off my student loan debt faster?” Student loan debt is often treated very differently than credit card debt, or a car payment, or even a mortgage. It’s often a whole ‘nother animal of debt altogether.

Whether it’s a bank loan or a government loan or a subsidized loan or an unsubsidized loan – at the end of the day – it’s still a loan and it’s still a huge pain in the rear to pay off. It can also be really overwhelming and feel really daunting when you graduate college or grad school or medical school or whathaveyou and you immediately have this giant mound of thousands and thousands of dollars of student loan debt staring you in the face.

So, today’s I’m giving you just a few tips and tricks for paying off your student loan debt faster! (Remember, these are not the be-all end-all of tips…)

Six Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans Faster

Continue Reading →

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My Alternative to Yoga Pants and a T-Shirt | Lilly Pulitzer Crystal Coast Popover, Lime Jeans, TOMS

Lilly Pulitzer Popover in Crystal Coast (on sale at Zappos!) | Lime Jeans from Target | Carolina Blue TOMS | Engraved Bar Necklace from 9th and Elm c/o | Layered Necklace from World Market

I don’t want to sound like I’m re-hashing the same thing over and over again, but when you work from home ON TOP of being a mom, it is really, really easy to not get “dressed.” No, I don’t mean be in the nude all day. That would be weird. I mean, it’s really, really easy to never change out of yoga pants and a t-shirt.

Don’t get me wrong, I love yoga pants and I love me a comfy t-shirt. But, there comes a point when you’re wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt day after day and you start to feel frumpy. You start to feel not pretty. You start to feel unkempt. And it just sort of spills out into other areas of your life.

One thing that having this blog has done for me is it has kept me accountable for the way I take care of myself. Every single outfit you see on this blog, I wear in real life. I know I shouldn’t have to say that… but it’s true. This blog helps me to get dressed in the morning. Even if I know I don’t have anything to do that day other than work and play with Lilly, I find that on days I get “dressed” and actually brush my hair, throw on some mascara and a lip gloss, I feel more productive. I feel more ready to take on the day. It just gets me in the right mindset.

If I stay in yoga pants and a t-shirt… I just feel lazy and unmotivated.

But, what do I do about days where I really do feel like just lounging around or just wearing something comfortable? Or what do I do when I know I’m just going to meet a friend for a playdate and I need to throw on something quick and easy? Well, there are a couple things I do…

My Alternative to Yoga Pants and a T-Shirt | Lilly Pulitzer Crystal Coast Popover, Lime Jeans, TOMS Continue Reading →

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Tips For Saving Money While Traveling & Why You Should Use a Travel Agent

image via my friend Kristin

I’ve mentioned recently that I’ve been very introspective and very reflective in the last few months. I’ve just been taking inventory of a lot of things in my life and where I’m placing my priorities.

However, above all, there have been a couple of things I’ve been hyper-focused on in the last few months that I guess I sort of need to just word-vomit about in order to continue the process of, well, thinking about them.

One is this idea of “unplugging.” I’m in sort of a Catch 22, or something. I work from home, and I blog, and I’m just a naturally “social” person, so I always feel like I have to be connected. But, I often feel like I have to be connected to the things I don’t want to be connected to, yet I’m disconnected from the things I do want to be connected to. I have to be connected to email and social media because, it’s the nature of what I do. However, since I work from home, there are times when I truly feel like I’m never “off work.”

I don’t feel like I get a break. I’m always either at my desk working or playing with Lilly. Well, Lilly’s play area happens to be right next to my desk. So, the spaces are in many ways, interchangeable. I don’t have an office I can leave at 5:30pm and forget about until the next day. And since Lilly is so much more active during the day, I’m working that much more at night now.

I don’t want you to hear this as complaining in any sense of the matter… this is just merely a statement of fact. I’m so thankful that I’m able to work for a company that allows me to work from home so that I can help support our family and also be home with Lilly. But, it definitely comes with its challenges.

So, I’ve been trying my darndest to really be better about unplugging. I’ve just been implementing little things here and there to “shut off” from the world and be present with my family and give myself a mental break.

I’ve been plugging my phone in the charger in our bedroom once my husband gets home from work and only checking it every once in a while to see if I’ve missed an emergency call or something like that. Or, I just shut it off all together. I don’t have it out at the dinner table, I don’t have it out while we’re watching TV… I keep my phone away so I’m not even tempted to look at it.

And with Lilly, I’m trying to do better about only having my phone out if I absolutely have to. Otherwise, it’s put away and I’m being present with her.

Cell phones (smartphones, in particular) are both the greatest invention ever and my worst enemy.

The other thing I’ve been thinking a lot about is the idea of having faith. John and I are in a season right now where we’ve had to make some big decisions about different things and work through some challenges we have been facing. I’ve always been the one to feel like I have faith and trust that God is going to provide – but sometimes, even I (the eternal optimist) become terrified with a decision or milestone or impending event that I know is going to bring about big changes.

I only share about 10% of my life on this blog. Probably even less than that. I realize it seems like I share a lot more… but I don’t. Honestly. And there have been some trials that John and I have faced recently that we’re trying to decipher what lesson God is trying to teach us. It’s all definitely brought us closer because we’ve had to talk things through, weight pros and cons, and prayerfully consider whether or not we’re making the right choice(s).

I guess, through all this rambling, I’m just trying to say that it’s all about perspective and keeping our eyes on God and trusting that His plan is greater than our own. Because it is. I know that the next few months are going to be awesome and scary and wonderful and terrifying all at the same time… but I know that He works for the good of those who love Him. Which means that we will be just fine. In fact, we’ll be more than fine. We’ll be great.

What about you? You struggling with anything similar? How do you handle it? 

How do YOU unplug? Do you have this problem, too?

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