Friday, April 6, 2018

5 on Friday : Things That Are Making Me Smile!

Happy Friday y'all. We're headed up to Greenville tomorrow so my parents can drive us to Charlotte for our one-way flight to move to London on Sunday! Eek! I can't believe it's here. This process has gone by so fast. Unreal that in three days, I'll be a resident of the UK. Crazy. 

There's been a lot of stress around here lately as you can imagine (shared all my honest thoughts here), so today I'm sharing 5 things that put a smile on my face this week! Hope you enjoy this fun rundown of 5 on Friday!

{ONE} Momsplaining with Kristen Bell

If you haven't heard, Facebook now has Watch which is compiled of "TV" shows and more. Ellen launched a show with Kristen Bell (my total girl crush) and it is just SO good y'all. Warning, you'll get sucked in and watch all the episodes at once. Watch them here.

{TWO} Ruffle Fit & Flare Midi Dress

Ok please no judgment on this messy mirror selfie but y'all I LOVE this dress. It's rare for a shortie to look good in a midi dress, but this one is just special with the fit and flare and ruffles. I have a feeling I'll be wearing this navy number (it also comes in a gorgeous light blue and sunny yellow) all summer long and on all our travels. Find it here.
I'm really dying for these shoes (25% off right now) to wear with this dress for travel. 

{THREE} I Feel Pretty Trailor 

This movie looks like it's going to be such a breath of fresh air for us ladies! Amy Schumer is hilarious and I think confidence is the one thing we gals seriously lack. Hope this reminds you to feel pretty today! Do they play US movies in the UK?

{FOUR} Printed Floral Dress

This dress makes me SO happy for so many reasons, but I'm so sad that when it arrived it was too large and I needed a size down. Don't have time to exchange it, so I've got to let it go, but y'all go buy it NOW. It's flattering, light but a good transition piece with the long sleeves and so unique with the print. 

{FIVE} Instagram-spiration

Totally just made that word up. But y'all, Instagram is pulling me through this week. Everyone gives social media such a bad rep, and yes I know I'm biased, but here are the few things that have given me life this week. 
The caption on this one gets me. "There is nothing in nature that blooms all year round. So don't expect yourself to either."  -@rhiannonbosse
Thank you @pink.anchor for sending this one. Love it!
 Y'all should see my house ever since we've packed. This from @ohhappyday made me chuckle because it's totally how I feel about the state of my home (and life).
Anyone else into crystals? I had a pretty awesome rock collection in a hot pink kaboodle growing up so it's a natural fit for me haha(!). They don't hurt and if they actually work, great! I love the breakdown that goes along with this post from @melyssa_griffin.

Aren't you feeling happier already? Between the laughs, beautiful and well-fitting dresses and inspiration this post did me well. 

Cheers for now you guys, may be a little silent around here (+ we'll have a new look when we come back!!!). Follow along on Instagram Stories to see our journey abroad.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Thoughts on Moving to London for a Year

We move to London in six days y'all. SIX DAYS! Naturally, I'm having #AllTheFeels after packing our lives up this weekend in preparation for this move. So here I am, sharing them with you! 
This blog started as a creative outlet back in 2014 and also as a way to journal and document our lives. I've taken breaks, I've been on blogging streaks, but it's always here. So actually this post is more a journal entry and fair warning, it will be long :). 

I originally started this post as I was sitting in my quiet home (Sully was with Nonna/Grandad at the beach) on Easter Sunday. I was feeling inspired and filled with so much love because gosh, Jesus rising from the dead after dying to save us is a powerful thing and my soul always feels fueled by this love! I thought it would be a good time to journal out the real answer I want to give when someone asks about our move. 

I first have to say that I 100% am surprised by God's plan for us and feel EXTREMELY blessed by the opportunities and state of our lives. I know this is the opportunity of a lifetime and one we'll never ever forget. 

Someone said to us when we were deciding whether to go or not that at the end of our lives we may remember a few special occasions in 2018/2019, but we will always, always, always remember our 12 months in Europe. Pretty powerful. And a pretty gracious and generous decision available to us to make. 
It's funny, a lot of our friends without kids or who have lived in one place for awhile or actually those who have the travel bug, their eyes pop out of their head when they hear that this was a hard decision for us to make and we even said "no" when they asked us to go for two years at first. 

You see, I sincerely thought our move to Charleston was our final big move and we would finally start to settle down and have more babies. Yet more babies never came (that's a story for another post), but we did build a home, make friends, Sully got in her groove at "school" and I put my blood, sweat, and tears into building a business that went off with a bang. We're living and loving the bliss that is Lowcountry life in Charleston.   

Then we were faced with a decision that if we said "yes" would uproot us from this bliss and success in my business and in two months launch us to a foreign country. It's a world of unknown and it also came with what felt like an impossible list of things to figure out before we get there. 
Stress/anxiety is one of the big factors in why we believe we aren't pregnant yet - did I really want to add more? Would Sully be ok with this change? Can I leave my family and friends for that long? My business has never had more momentum - did I really want to risk moving to another country, would people still invest in me from abroad? Would our dogs survive the flight and flat living? What about our home? Can we afford one of the world's most expensive cities? Almost even scarier - what if we get over there and love it?

BUT think of all the travel, new places, new people, new cultures, experiences and LIFE we're going to get to live! That's why we're doing this. That one sentence beat out the paragraphs of questions.

So here I am on the final week in my home and I'm feeling scared. Straight up, freaking out a lil bit. And no amount of, "oh but Erin this is going to be so great and think of all the adventures you'll have... " is going to get me through it. We just have to GO. Call it #firstworldproblems, but y'all you have to admit it's scary thinking about moving your family to a new country and into a "flat" that you've never seen with your own eyes.

I can usually distract myself by googling "lavender fields in Provence" or some bougie travel adventure we're hopefully going to take, but right now I'm just a big ol ball of emotions and "lasts". I had to say goodbye to my office downtown this weekend and the last time I would walk out of that building. This is the last Sunday going to our beloved church. I saw a lot of folks at my "Going Global" party for my business for the last time before we come back. You get the gist... 

The hardest part of all is leaving the dogs. I can't look at them without just jumping on them for a snuggle (and usually a cry). I know they'll be SO much happier here at home with my Mother-in-Love than they would be forced onto an airplane, possibly quarantined for months, living in a 600 square foot flat with no backyard and boarded each time we travel which we hope is a lot. But gosh y'all, I don't know if I can fall asleep without my Cotton and if I can wake up without a stinky breath Mallie snuggle. 
Sully doesn't understand what's going on at all, we talk about London a lot, but she's not comprehending the change. If she would though... here is what I would say to her. And once I get over my hump, I'm going to believe and take my own words to heart. 

Dear Sully,  
Are you ready for a big adventure?! Grab your backpack and map my little Mook, we're about to be just like Dora the Explorer over the next year. We're going to the land of Madeline and Peter Rabbit and Harry Potter! 
You're going to see the London Bridge (no, it is not actually falling down), ride a carousel in Paris for your birthday, swim off the coast of Italy, eat gelato straight out of a cart, see the Eiffel Tower glitter at night, become well versed at traveling the Tube (just like Paddington!) and go four-leaf clover hunting in Ireland.  
It's going to be SO. MUCH. FUN! 
But it might also be a little scary at first and at times throughout. Just know that you've got Mommy and Daddy, you'll be safe, you'll be loved and you belong.  
Our hearts are going to hurt a little bit because we'll be missing our pups and our family. This is only temporary though. A year flies, especially when you're having fun, and we'll be back in our little home surrounded by puppy snugs and family love before you know it. 
Even if you have no memories of this time, I hope the bravery, the fun, and the bond that this will bring for our little family stays with you for the rest of your life. You are so loved my little child and your Daddy and I take these great risks for the hope of reward for you and our lives together.    
To my husband... oh gosh y'all he deserves an entire blog post, I've been so hard on him because this all came about for his job. Moments of bitterness at shifting my business when what I had been working for was coming to fruition. The extra stress and panic attacks he's sat on the bathroom floor and ridden out with me. My crazy ideas for all the places we can travel, Morocco being the latest. He's a saint. So to him, I want to say...

Dear Ryan,  
What an adventure our life is becoming! Did you ever think the good 'ol boy from Camden who thought Greenville was a big city would now be moving to London?! 
I knew the moment I fell in love with you that there's no doubt God put us on this earth together to love each other and spread this big love and joy wherever possible. Even all the way to the United Kingdom. 
I would travel to Mars and the moon for you Ryan Alexander. I really would, and my answer is always "yes" to the things you believe in and wish to pursue.  
We've said "yes" to many hard things before, a lot of which didn't wait for that answer, they just happened. I don't doubt that we have a lot of much harder things to come down the road, but I pray to God that we do them all together.  
You know what we say, you're my island in a big 'ol ocean of craziness that life brings. So we can do this. We can do the UK. We can do the next year. You can do this new job and you will kill it. You always do and you will continue to do so.  
I love you more than any words could ever explain. I'm excited for this adventure with you and all the stories we'll have to tell our great-grandchildren one day.  
Cherrio dahhhhling ;)
Finally, all this would not be possible without our family and friends. While I won't bore you with another letter :), I want you all to know we're so grateful for you and couldn't do this without you either. To Ryan's Mom who is renting our house and loving on our dogs for the year. To my Mom and Dad who are supporting us even though their hearts ache over Sully being away for a year. To my Nana and Papa who have offered us anything we need, no questions asked. To my friends Cambron and Elliot who have also offered to do anything we need here in Charleston while we're gone.

This doesn't even begin to cover everyone, but just please know that every text, every call, every comment you leave, every heart you send our way, every direct message, every smile and words of encouragement in person and more mean the world. Please keep them coming!
If you would, please let people know about this blog and especially my Instagram so that all our creative energy and effort over the next year is not wasted. You know though, even if its unseen, at least our family has this hub for our year abroad!

If you do want to spread the word, here are a few ways to do so:

Thank you for reading and again for all of your support! Here we go y'all!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

🌍 Our 2018 Travel Bucket List 🌍

My oh my how 2018 is turning out to already be quite the year. It's one thing to start it off with what you think is a clear idea of your goals and loose schedule for the year just to have it completely turned on its head in the best possible way. Not going to lie, I'm a little sad I used up my Powersheets planning prior to knowing this change of plans. :)
The stresses of "immigrating" to another country for a year (y'all won't believe how intense the Visa process is!) are numerous, but gosh thinking of all the TRAVEL brings us so much excitement. So we made a bucket list of all the places we want to go in this next year and you guys, there just aren't enough weekends!!! 

Below is what we narrowed it down to - but we need your help! Either comment on this post or go to my Instagram post featuring our Buckingham Palace selfie and comment on any or all of the blow:
  1. If you had to choose a quick weekend in one of these places which one would you do: Cinque Terre, Ireland, Belgium or Holland (we're going to miss the tulips already) 
  2. What on this list would you skip?
  3. Are we going to any places at the wrong time of the year?
  4. What are we missing?
  5. Where should we stay and what should we do in these places?! I'll post individually on them too throughout the year because it is a little intense to think about getting recommendations on all of them at once. I have a note on my phone going for them though - so bring it on if you think of something!
A few call outs... the December Hawaii trip was already planned before our move, so no control there (we know it's going to be a looonngggg flight). We're excited and grateful to our parents for bringing us along to celebrate their big anniversary! 

We won't be taking Sully to Ibiza and Morocco, that trip is to celebrate our 30th birthdays (quite a bit after) while my Mom is in London.

Paris, Champagne and Amsterdam are already booked so no going back there! 

We'll still be abroad in 2019 so a couple other trips we're thinking about early next year are - Switzerland and Norway (for the northern lights!). We also hope to make it back to Positano at some point since it's our most favorite place in the whole world and we'd love to show it to Sully.

And who am I kidding, life happens and traveling is expensive so we may only make it to half of these places! Or maybe we'll just fly by the seat of our pants and look on a Thursday at what the cheap flights are and just go from there. I'd like to think I'm chill enough for that anyway :).

Also, we plan on taking advantage of London and all the fun day trips there too, I just didn't list them out!

Ok GO, let me hear your thoughts!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

5 Steps to Wellness in your Home

My word for 2018 is WELLNESS, so I'm trying to bring this into every avenue of my life. Including inside my home! When I shared a poll on Instagram Stories asking if you'd like to learn how we're incorporating wellness into our home - 100% of you said "yes"! So here ya have it, 5 steps that helped me get started on bringing "Wellness" in your home. 

First and foremost (and no this is NOT sponsored, but this is my referral link)...


This is hands down the service that kicked off my wellness in the home journey and quite honestly the #1 way I stayed on track and was introduced to new products. Their goal is literally to bring safe, sustainable products to every family. 

They email and/or text you each month to remind you to order and you can order nothing (no limit on how much you can skip), order what you did last month or add things. Even better, almost all the products are discounted - I did a comparison to the same products at Target and they were cheaper on Grove. They also give you exclusive access to products that you can't find at big stores (like the coveted peppermint Meyers soap!). 

Secondly, download the Think Dirty app on your phone and scan or search cleaning products before buying them so you know what products aren't harmful or toxic. It's absolutely crazy how many products are masked as "clean" but score a 7 or higher on the app. 

{ONE} Wool Dryer Balls + Essential Oils

This is my favorite wellness in the home hack. Where do I even begin on these 3 magic wool balls that I add lavender essential oils to every single dry? Here's everything they do or are:
  • Reduce your drying time by 25%
  • Soften your clothes 
  • All-natural and chemical-free
  • Hypoallergenic so even if you're allergic to wool, they work
  • Last 1,000 loads
  • Save you LOADS (see what I did there ;)) of money by not buying dryer sheets that leave a chemical residue on your clothes + save you energy/money with the reduced drying time
  • Naturally, scent your clothes 
Just search "dryer balls" in Grove once you join. They're the Grove brand and only $16!

{TWO} Essential Oil Diffuser

Speaking of essential oils, I'm completely hooked. A lot of the time we diffuse them instead of candles. Why?
  • Chemical free - a lot of candles produce benzene and toluene which are carcinogens!
  • No flame around dogs or babies
  • The smell lasts longer because it's dispensed slowly over a period of time
  • Aromatherapy - it's amazing what a little lavender can do to calm us down, what a little lemongrass can do to make my home feel like a spa and what energizing blends can do to pep up our morning

We just use this $25 diffuser off Amazon. I even wrote a whole post on essential oils for productivity over on my business's blog. 

{THREE} Towels (not napkins or paper towels)

Ok, so we made it maybe a week straight with purely towels if I'm being honest. That said, I no longer buy napkins and I only reach for paper towels if it's something truly grimy. It was just crazy to me how many paper towels and napkins filled our trash. This has at least brought us awareness so we cut down on our usage. 

Funny enough, my favorite kitchen towels are the free ones Grove sends me. I have three now and they're so absorbent, sturdy and large. You can also find them on their site by searching "kitchen towels" once you join


Speaking of reducing waste to make your home "well". I normally drink at least 3 cups of tea a day (just can't do coffee y'all) - that's over 1,000 tea bags thrown in the trash in a year! Enter the ManaTEA that I found at Target. Now I buy loose leaf tea, pop it into my tea diffuser and compost the leaves (see #5 on that topic). BOOM - no waste! 

True, you can compost some tea bags, but most of them aren't hemp or ingredients that are compostable so be careful and see #5 below for more info. 

{FIVE} Composting

Is it ok for me to share one thing that we've completely failed at when it comes to wellness for our home? Because we totally failed at composting. 

First off, I thought you literally compost ANY type of food - including meat. Ew, WRONG. So, so wrong. I like this article on 100 things you can compost. Here are some things you CAN'T compost:
  • Meat! (including fish)
  • Dog and Cat Poop (or any carnivores for that matter)
  • Citrus Peels
  • Onions - this and the above can kill worms and other things that help everything thing down
  • Paper (ok, paper bags sure, but no glossy/coated paper)
  • Take the sticky labels off your fruits and veggies!
  • Ash and sawdust (from treated wood)
Secondly, the bag leaked on us one time and then another we didn't compost the bag well enough and our dogs got into it and got sick. I'm for sure not giving up here though! I'm determined to make this work y'all. 

I do love our little compost bin. Not to sound like a broken record, but it's from Grove which you can find by searching "compost" once you join. See, I wasn't kidding when I said I really do love Grove and you should join :).  Our bin is only $20 and the bags are $6 for 25, but honestly, I haven't shopped around on those yet to know if that's good or bad for compost bags. 

Any tips for me on this one?

Ok - so that's it! What other things do you do around your home to keep it "well"? I'll be asking this question on Instagram, so pop over to see the answers from others and share your own!

PS: Did you check out my new #CoolMom backpack earlier this week?! Under $100 and it has pockets for days! See it here. Plus, this blush stripe cabana top (as I like to call it) is 40% off!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Blush & White Striped Cabana Top

The moment I saw this blush and white striped top on JCrew, I knew it was going to be a fun Spring staple. It made me feel like I should be lounging under a cabana sipping a mojito with perfectly pedicured toes kicked up to a blue sky. Even better, right now get 40% off when you purchase 4 items from JCrew with code NEWNEW.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Meaning if you click on or buy things I've linked, I will receive some change thrown my way. Thank you for supporting my blog. 
Shirt // Jeans // Shoes (similar) // Earrings (similar) // Bag (similar)
I first got to wear this fun top to breakfast in downtown Charleston with Nana and Papa when they came to town. Paired with my new fav button fly, wide-leg crop jeans and leopard mules it was such an easy and cute outfit. 
We parked on Archdale and walked to Queen Street Grocery for crepes. I had never stopped in the Unitarian church's graveyard before so we wandered through there. I was BLOWN AWAY! The Spanish moss, the history in the tombstones and the azaleas all were just so beautiful. Not going to lie, it made me think, "Why am I leaving Charleston again?". 
Of course, I found a Charleston home that matched my stripes perfectly too! Right across from Queen Street. It was actually under construction and this green door was wide open. Well, it was too pretty not to get in the photo so I reached in and closed it just a smidge ;). 
What are some of your favorite items coming up for Spring? 

I also purchased this pink raincoat, this leopard sweater and this LOL shirt (Let's Share A Laugh Day is coming up on the 19th!). Those are coming soon!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Girl, I've Got Your Back(pack)!

For years I've carried around a very, very large tote bag and while I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon, I started getting a hankering for a backpack that was more shoulder-friendly. Enter the Calpak Kaya Travel Backpack in Stone (square version here) that I am officially obsessed with, especially when running (literally) to meetings throughout downtown Charleston. 

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Meaning if you click on or buy things I've linked, I will receive some change thrown my way. Thank you for supporting my blog. This is in no way sponsored by Calpak or other affiliates. I just really LOVE this bag y'all!
I first saw this bag when I had coffee with my friend Brette. When I did a google search after we met I couldn't believe that it was under $90! The perfect price point for a stylish backpack to try out vs. some of the designer brands that are $200+. Although I will say, I do still love this pink backpack (I ordered the mini for Sully), this pebbled leather one, and this one seen on Gal Meets Glam is just backpack goals!
Now it's my go-to for everything from toting around my laptop (it fit up to a 15" laptop) to all the snacks Sully's little heart could desire! I have a feeling it's going to be my main bag in London and all our travels too.
What I love the most besides the style and price? There are SO many pockets! I mean, I feel like I find a new pocket every day y'all. First, there's the front zip pocket where I keep my cell and keys and things I need to quickly access.
Then in the main compartment, there are two open pockets and one small zip against the front flap. There's also a large open pocket against the back as well.
The pocket fun just doesn't stop! :) There's also a back padded compartment with an open pocket and snap closure for your laptop.
Finally, there's a strap that sits flush up against the bag that you can use to connect the backpack to your suitcase in the airport.
Awesome, right?! I seriously don't think I've ever gotten more compliments on any bag before! I already know two friends who've ordered it themselves. #twinsies 

Order yours here or here

Friday, March 2, 2018

5 on Friday: Oh Hey March!

It's the first Friday in March y'all! How did that happen?! I'm ready for a fun 5 on Friday, how about you?!

Frankly, before we get started, I'm pretty pumped March is here because in my world right now, March equals decisions being made! Like renting the "flat" where we'll be living in London, solidifying our house being rented out in Charleston, getting a UK bank account (the hardest thing in the world believe it or not!) firming up Sully's part-time daycare and oh so much more. 

This is going to sound like a total diva moment, but I don't know that I would have survived February without my close friends (you know who you are!) and my acupuncturist. Cupping and the hour lying on that table with zen music and those perfectly placed needles was my saving grace. Not to mention Lisa's calming and insightful presence!

This month I have a great mix of 5 on Friday items, no matter how you're feeling at the beginning of this month!

{ONE} Travel_InHerShoes

Do you ever come across someone on Instagram and literally can't get enough? That's what happened when I found Aggie and her 426K followers. Her adventures are amazing, her photo editing stunning (and she sells her presets!) and her Highlights are my go-to when looking at where we're going to travel when we move abroad!

{TWO} Article - What Those Words on Beauty Products Really Mean

The Free People blog kills it y'all, I love it and this article was short and sweet enough that I actually got it. This is particularly scary: 

"... a lack of regulation makes it incredibly easy to slap the term ‘natural’ on a label without anything to back it up. Many products that claim to be natural are likely just jumping on a marketing trend."
I'll be looking more for this label:

"Three cheers for regulation! To be “organic,” a product needs to pass a test of sorts put forth by the USDA: it has to contain at least 95% organic ingredients that have been grown and processed under a strict code of guidelines, and be free of additives."
Y'all need to school me on this topic, what else do I need to know about ingredients? Which ones do you stay away from when you look at ingredients? That's what I want to know next!

{THREE} Shopbop Buy More, Save More Sale (Ends Tomorrow!)

Oh the big Shopbop sale... gets me every time! This round though I'm very conscious of the fact that anything I buy I will also have to haul on suitcases on the plane (yep, we're bringing everything on the plane with us!) when we move. So here are the two things I did buy:
Free People Midi Dress
(full disclosure - I returned this dress because it is so not made for busty girls!)

Now, here's a few other things I really wanted:

{FOUR} Perfectly Pink Raincoat

Last clothing thing on the docket today and how perfect is it?! London is going to be all black everything, but the preppy pink loving American in me is swooning over this coat! 

This Instagram post by @bymariandrew really struck home for me this week y'all. I am really contemplating printing it and hanging it up in my office, fridge and bathroom mirror! What are other inspirational accounts you love?

That's it for this week y'all! Stay tuned to see my favorite new work backpack and more info on our big move. Make sure you don't miss my Instagram-worthy London Bucket List too!
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