3 Life Lessons Learned from a third-grade crush, Mr. Big and Champagne Hot Tubs

Today I bought a rib-knit, long sleeve, snap button Henely in my favorite shade of green. I have no shame in telling you how glad I am that this look is back – I look awesome in it, although that isn’t really the point. There is something comforting and a bit nostalgic about it which, lucky for you will reveal some pretty embarrassing truths from my past. Let’s just call these “Life Lessons” as the post goes on, shall we?

Life Lesson no.1

Life Lesson: Sometimes you just have to walk away from what isn’t meant for you even when you don’t know what’s next.

In life, you can learn pretty quickly not everything will be as great of a fit as my new henley. In third- maybe fourth- grade, I had the biggest crush on this boy named Shaun. (Shaun, if you read this please know admitting this possibly as embarrassing today as it would have been back then. I hope you find it flattering.) It was a small class, like twelve students and most of us would go continue on to high school together through graduation.

Spoiler alert: I was not the cool kid in class. Glow-up is a real thing.

I was not athletic. My name did not, and still does not, end in an “i”, “y”, or “ie”. Prior to the internet and wayyyy before snapchat, this was a very important marker of social status. My parents refused to buy me the jumbo-sized cans of hairspray so I could craft my bangs do that half-up/half-down thing or perm my obnoxiously straight hair. In my efforts to achieve cool status, I finally talked them into buying me a pair of jeans with zippers at the ankle. Still, the coolest denim in the world couldn’t repair my heart the day I sat next to Shaun on the bleachers and he said: “Could you just NOT sit by me?”  Ugh.

I was crushed. I couldn’t say anything. I just got up and walked away. I knew from the tone of his voice that it just wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes you just have to know to walk away from what isn’t meant for you even when you don’t know what’s next. Even when it hurts.

Life Lesson no. 2

Life lesson: Don’t pattern your romantic aspirations after the lyrics of rock ballads. Especially ones sung by groups like “Mr. Big”.

Fast forward to 7th grade. There was a new girl at school this year. She wore thick dark eye liner and black t-shirts of bands I’d never heard of. She was a year or two older than me and a little sarcastic but friendly. A few weeks after school started her father passed away. She didn’t know many people yet and even though I didn’t know her very well I wanted to go by and offer my condolences. My parents were very strict and I wasn’t usually allowed to visit the homes of friends without knowing their parents but they agreed to drop me off for an hour or so anyway.

The door was open when I got to her house. I walk past a group of adults to find the group of tweens /teens in the back dining room by the staircase. I didn’t really recognize anyone else. I think they were mostly cousins and friends from out of town. There was rock music playing of some of her dad’s favorites: Lynyrd Skynard, Kiss, ZZ Top, Aerosmith… none of them were familiar to me. I hadn’t been allowed to listen to any of them before… sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, you feel me?

After a little while we all sat down on the floor and someone turned the radio on. On the other side of the circle, someone started passing something. It wasn’t my vibe so I just passed it along. Whether it was the passage of time or a solid contact high, I don’t remember who was there, what we talked about, or even if we talked but I vividly remember the song that was on the radio at that moment. It shaped what I wanted from relationships for a long time (insert healthy doses of embarrassment here…deep breath *sigh*) Mr Big – Just To Be With You 

As I sat there listening to the lyrics, I remember thinking THAT was what I wanted in a relationship. That was how I wanted to be loved or wanted or whatever. I mean, clearly ” Why be alone when we can be together” is solid reasoning, right? And sooooo non-judgmental. He didn’t care that he wasn’t the first or the last… he just wanted to be the next and he came offering to make her smile. Smiling is still my favorite. In retrospect, I had a fair amount of relationship wisdom to gain. This perspective, that environment was all so new, I held onto those lyrics for a long time. I got my heart broken a fair number of times as a result. Don’t pattern your romantic aspirations after the lyrics of rock ballads, especially ones touting the moniker “Mr. Big”. If you have to tell people you are a big deal, you probably aren’t.

Life Lesson no.3

Life lesson: Keep examining your dreams. If you don’t, you might arrive only to wonder why you wanted that in the first place. Especially if that dream was a hot tub in the shape of a champagne glass.

As I mentioned before, we didn’t have the internet growing up. What we did have was 1-800 numbers. People were not as adverse to talking on the phone back then. I was left at home alone a lot and loved getting things in the mail. Fun fact: This is where my love of travel began. Anytime I would see a travel destination advertised I would furiously write down the number and muster my most grown up voice to call and request a free travel packet be sent to my house. This went on from age 9 until I was in high school. It was awesome. If I’m honest, I still enjoy recieving an occasional visitors packet now and again.

In the back of every travel packet would be advertising for other travel destinations. Almost every one of them would feature a heart shaped tub or or huge champagne glass filled with bubbles “Come get away to a relaxing getaway in the Poconos!”

I had no idea where in the country the Poconos actually was at the time but in my mind, this was the ultimate luxury and class to aspire to. When you could get away to spend time in a tub shaped like a champagne glass you had arrived. Well…..last year, I was invited to a workshop held in….you guessed it… THE POCONOS! Years had gone by without me remembering my dream of champagne glass hot tubs. As I was driving up to our cabin I suddenly remembered this story and shared it with my friend, Clarissa. She immediately googled and realized that the very resort I had idolized for so long was only 20 mins away. We agreed to stop by and get a tour on our way home.

What happened was a hilarious series of events that truly will need its own blog post. What I can tell you is that it was not in any capacity the luxury dream I had imagined. Let me show you with a few snapshots and hopefully you’ll understand.

If you made it to the end of this BRAVO!
It’s funny what how a little nostalgia can conjure up a lifetime full of memories and how small moments can shape us and grow us. I’ve only just shared these stories with my family yesterday. Hopefully they mean something, made you smile, or gave a little more insight to my life. It definitely did all three of those things for me.

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out how we imagined, hoped or romanticized it would but that doesn’t mean it isn’t leading exactly where we ought to be.

New Year, New Parts of Me … maybe.

5 pregnancies, 4 babies, infinite nights turning into months that add up to years of nursing and a lifetime filled with nurturing other humans…
Yes, becoming a parent is a magical and beautiful season of life. What it has done to my body hasn’t always left me with the same sentiments, however.

Parenting grows our character and stretches us in ways we could never imagine. Quite literally. Even with the numerous messaging out there that encourages me to believe the scars and stretch marks from those times are a beautiful reminder of how strong and capable my body is, when I look in the mirror it doesn’t make me feel beautiful no matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise.

These “imperfections”, as I see them, are totally repairable and what makes me feel empowered is knowing I have a choice to live with them or not. I’d always said that after we were done having children I would like to make some adjustments. I worked hard to lose forty pounds in 2018 and have a continued goal for 2019. I decided it was time to consider it more seriously.

I lost count of the number of before and after photos that I analyzed as I made the case for these procedures to my husband. For the record, initially, he was very on the fence. You see, I’m married to this wonderful human who adores me… mind, body, and soul. It’s never been a question of being more attractive to him or anyone else. This transformation truly is more about me being satisfied with me.

Today, on the second day of the new year, my husband and I went for a consultation to talk about what that would look like. Or more specifically what I could look like. I had carefully researched surgeons for months before calling for a consultation. It took 3 weeks to get in as the doctor I preferred is booked pretty far out. This offered more time to consider if this was something I really wanted to do.

I asked R to come with me so that he could ask any questions he had and since he would be helping me with the recovery process, I wanted him to know exactly what I was getting us into. “Us” because I really will be depending on him a lot in the weeks following. I think one of the misconceptions I had before researching all of this was that it was an easy surgery. It is definitely major surgery.

We both asked a lot of questions. Then there was the picture taking. If you ever want to test how fearless you are, forget bungee jumping or mountain climbing. Schedule a cosmetic surgery consultation instead. Seriously. Think of the parts of your body that you are most insecure about, strip naked in a brightly lit room and let a -very nice- professional stranger take up-close photos from multiple angles of exactly those parts you’ve been camouflaging for most of your adult life. It was kind of like the dream where you show up at school with no pants.

Ultimately, I don’t know what I’ll end up doing. Or how much I’ll share or not share along the way. There was a big part of me that was very apprehensive to share any of this. I guess I just thought it was fair to acknowledge the perspective that as women, mothers or non-mothers, we have control over our bodies to do with them as we please for our own satisfaction. You are allowed to get cosmetic surgery. You’re allowed not to get surgery. What we aren’t allowed to is pass judgment on the choices people make about their bodies “natural” or not.

Treat Yourself to a PureBeauty Experience inside Neiman Marcus Northpark

PureBeauty Spa Interior

Hidden inside the bustling shopping mecca that is North Park Mall in Dallas is an oasis that is calling your name – PUREBEAUTY Salon and Spa. Now I know what you are thinking… “Not one single thing could make me go to the mall this time of the holiday shopping season.”

Just hear me out.

It’s likely you’ve walked by it a million times not even realizing what you were missing out on- I know I had – I’m about to give you a MAJOR KEY to holiday happiness.

Ready?

PureBeauty Spa Northpark

Tucked inside Neiman Marcus, just past the fragrances, and down a golden spiral staircase is the calm quiet oasis of PUREBEAUTY. I had no idea how much I had needed this day away until I was greeted by Madison ( ig: @madisonpurebeauty for my massage. She escorted me into a beautiful changing room and handed me my spa robe for the afternoon and showed me the secure locker to store my belongings.

PureBeauty Spa Northpark changing room lounge

After I had changed she walked me to the massage room and waited outside until I was comfortably tucked under the prewarmed covers of the massage bed. It was one of the best massage experiences I’ve had. I had no idea how much stress I had been carrying around with me.

PureBeauty Spa Interior 2

I wrapped back up in my robe and slippers and Madison walked me to the facial room where she introduced me to Michaela (ig: @purebeauty_michaela). She asked me a few questions about my skin and then we began the facial. It was so relaxing I think I may have actually fallen asleep at one point but it didn’t seem to phase her one bit.

PureBeauty Spa Northpark facial room

You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.

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PureBeauty Spa Northpark

When I went back to change there was a little gift bag waiting for me. I felt amazing and my skin looked great. In the busyness of the season it can be easy to forget to take care of ourselves or push it off thinking we’ll get to it. The thing is we take care of others so much better when we have taken care of ourselves first.

PureBeauty Spa Northpark selfie

Are you needing a little rest and relaxation too? Right now when you buy a spa package, you get up to a $50 gift voucher free! Call and set up a visit today!

NorthPark Center
8687 N. Central Expressway, Suite 400
Dallas, Texas 75225
Tel: 214-346-0731

A Meaningful Gift for the Last Minute Gift Giver in All of us : Canvas Prints

Okay guys, the holiday countdown has started. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if you haven’t started your holiday shopping, you are behind. Maybe, mayyyyy-be I’m bringing this to your attention because I too am behind (confession: I am TOTALLY behind).  In an effort to also be the bearer of good news, I’ve partnered with CanvasDiscount.com and Bravomark for a pretty great solution to our gift giving woes. 

Good News: CanvasDiscount.com

As the name suggests, CanvasDiscount.com offers a fabulous selection of canvas prints at a discount. This is an excellent bonus in my opinion because if you have yet to start shopping you may not have thought to set a budget for aforementioned shopping either… but who am I to make assumptions? (I’m the author of this post, obviously and if you are reading this you didn’t make a budget. Neither did I. Let’s just admit it. It’s fine. We’re all in this sinking ship together). Remember that good news I was bringing? I have even better news to share! 

90% off of all Canvas Prints at CanvasDiscount.com

After talking with CanvasDiscount.com they created a special landing site just for us , up to 90% off of all Canvas Prints seen on CanvasDiscount.com. You do have to click on this specific link to reach that landing page and get the discount though. If you just google the website, you won’t reach the page with the discount applied. 

And in case the walls of your gift recipient are all filled up, there are a number of other things you can order on the site as well : phone cases, puzzles, blankets, cushions, mugs, and photos on aluminum or acrylic, or in frames for workspaces. 

Whether you are gifting a friend, relative, coworker, client, or all of the above you can have your list checked off in no time at a very affordable cost! Guys, I’ve just made our lives so easy! Now all you have to do is click here ,start scrolling through your phone and pick out your favorite pics of 2018. And remember to pick ones where you BOTH look good. 😉 

Happy Shopping!! My canvas prints are already on the way- I’ll be sure to update you guys as soon as they arrive. I can’t wait to show you!!! 

*** To Guaranteed Delivery in time for Christmas:

Wall Deco: 12/17/18
Home & Lifestyle: 12/16/18
Photo Gifts (except Phone Case & children`s book): 12/16/18

Getaway to McKinney, Texas : Where to Stay, Play, & Dine

My annual birthday celebrations never arrive quietly or without including a good deal of planning and travel. I believe birthdays should always include a person’s favorite things and people and as you may already know, exploring new places is one of my most favorite things. For this birthday weekend celebration, I partnered with Visit McKinney and Texas Travel Talk to bring you a weekend itinerary full inspiration and a weekend you can easily replicate for a visit of your own.

Where to Stay in McKinney, Texas

Mckinney Bed and Breakfast

McKinney Bed and BreakfastWhen planning a weekend getaway in a new city, it’s easy to default to the most familiar hotel chain. Let me encourage you to HIGHLY consider a bed and breakfast when visiting McKinney, Texas. If you are shocked to hear this recommendation coming from me, I’m honestly a little surprised myself. It is no secret that I enjoy luxury accommodations. For my first stay in bed and breakfast ever, the accommodations at McKinney Bed and Breakfast were top notch. It’s not a hotel and it’s not a home but for a Mckinney getaway, it is better than both. I would be so happy to stay here with the hosts Vicki and Wayne Hill anytime. They took such good care of us with coffee and gourmet biscotti delivered right outside our door. Breakfast was several delightful courses. I had no idea how lovely a bed and breakfast stay could be. I look forward to coming back for another visit with them soon.

McKinney Bed and Breakfast room

McKinney Bed and Breakfast meal

Where to Eat in McKinney, Texas

As if breakfast at Mckinney Bed and Breakfast wasn’t enough there are plenty of places to tempt your taste buds. There are plenty of options to satisfy your inner foodie in Mckinney. Here are a few of our favorite recommendations from the weekend.

  • SugarBacon Proper Kitchen – Seasonal approach to American cuisine
  • Cadillac Pizza Pub – Pizza, Music, Beer
  • Hugs Cafe – Non-Profit employing adults with special needs
  • Patina Green Home and Market – Daily lunches served in an edgy antique shop
  • Paciugo Gelato Cafe – Italian ice cream and coffee
  • The Yard- McKinney’s backyard hangout with great food, cold drinks, games, and awesome vibes
  • Harvest Seasonal Kitchen-Farm to Table Restaurant
  • Frios Gourmet Pops- Fresh, Frozen, Gourmet Popsicles

What to Do in Mckinney, Texas

Beyond food and relaxation, there is a ton to keep you busy from morning to night on your visit.

Shopping on the Square

While I’m not typically a hardcore shopper when traveling, I was completely taken with the shops surrounding the Downtown Mckinney Historic Square. These are not your aunties boutiques and stereotypical antique shops. The shop owners here are in tune with today’s customers and have curated interesting and original selections of goods that cannot be found elsewhere. I was also happy to find that the personalities of the owners and staff were just as original as the goods they market. Every great travel experience is about the people and the people I met inside the shops of McKinney Texas will have me driving back to shop again and again.

Get Ready to Laugh

One unique entertainment offering in Mckinney is The Comedy Arena. If you are up for a night of laughs, you might want to give this a try for date night. The Comedy Arena is in downtown McKinney, TX just a little off the Square at 305 E. Virginia and is one of the few options that is supplying comedic entertainment every weekend of the year. There is a family-friendly show in the early evening and a more adult show just following later in the evening.

Enjoy Live Music

If you enjoy live music and visit on a weekend, you will be hard pressed not to find live music playing somewhere on McKinney’s downtown square. Almost every shop and restaurant has commissioned a musical act to perform. It’s clear that art and culture are valued by residents and visitors alike.

Unique Ideas and Insider Tips We Love about McKinney Texas

McKinney Farmers Market

Food Walks Of Texas Tours Food Walks of Texas offers guided, walking food tours of historic downtown McKinney. Perfect for visitors or locals, you’ll learn about our city’s fascinating history while enjoying its best eats. In addition to delicious food tastings, you’ll learn interesting tidbits about the backgrounds and inspiration of the chefs/owners behind the eateries, as well as plenty of historical, cultural, and architectural information relevant to the historic downtown McKinney Square.

Mckinney Door on the Square

Look for the tiny door on the Downtown Square This tiny door is one of my favorite insider secrets on the Downtown Mckinney Square! If you keep your eyes open on one of the corners you’ll see a small door with stained glass just at the height of your shoes. An artist installed this artwork to remind those who were looking that there is always something to see if we’ll just pay attention. Let me know if you find this door when you walk the square here okay?

Get a UNIQUE picture taken The UNIQUE letters are currently located in Mitchell Park and make a perfect photo to commemorate your visit. The City of McKinney launched the #IAMUNIQUEBYNATURE campaign to define the city’s image for our residents, businesses, and visitors. It speaks to the inherent uniqueness and embodies the spirit of community in Mckinney, Texas.

Learn How to Bake French Macarons Learn to bake French macarons like a pro in one of Savor’s hands-on baking classes. Each person takes home a gift box of macarons and tote bag from the class.

There is so much more to explore I HIGHLY encourage you to bring a friend or your family and come to find your favorite spots in McKinney, Texas. Be sure to come back and tell me what you loved most, won’t you?