Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Refresher GIVEAWAY | ASOS, Style Lately, & Ad Space

gentri lee // autumn klair // missy sue // dearest lou // style lately

Ah, summertime. The dog days are upon us, and I don't know about you but I'm not entirely thrilled. These 100 + degree days and I don't exactly get along. In my opinion, sweltering heat isn't good for anything except swimming, and this mama can only take so much chlorine. My wardrobe choices drastically decline this time of year. I love boots, scarves, and layering--three things that don't go over so well this time of year. Since I can't live in a swimsuit 24-7 (if only) it's easy to feel bored with the pieces I can actually venture outside in without melting.

If you feel similarly at all, or even if you just like free stuff... then you're in luck! Today I am teaming up with some lovely local bloggers to bring you an opportunity to win. free. stuff. The winner of this giveaway will be able to spice up their wardrobe and their blog (or shop). The details are laid out in the photo above.

To give my own wardrobe a pick-me-up, I recently made a few purchases on ASOS. I was going to create a style post for this giveaway, but my items didn't arrive quite as quickly as I had hoped. Thus, in lieu of my outfit I purchased (which I will post later) here are some of my current ASOS favorites (i.e. what I would buy if I won this giveaway). 

P.S. There is currently a huge sale for up to 70% off right now! All the items below are on sale. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Let Them Be Little

"I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand.
Felt so good in it, no bigger than a minute.
How it amazes me, you're changing with every blink.
Faster than a flower blooms they grow up all too soon.

I've never felt so much in one little tender touch.
I live for those kisses, prayers and your wishes,
Now that you're teaching me things only a child can see.
Every night while we're on our knees all I ask is please--

Let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while.
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day.
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle.
Oh just let them be little.

So innocent, a precious soul, you turn around--
it's time to let them go.

So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while.
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day.
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle.
Oh just let them be little.
Let them be little."
-Billy Dean 

These pictures were taken a few days ago. I was still feeling a little under the weather from my July cold, so we spent the day at home. My little ever-happy-ray-of-sunshine found immense joy in a bundle of plastic straws I gave her. Sam started snapping some photos of us--she thought it was particularly hilarious to shove them in my mouth. She and I have so much fun together, and it's really fun to see some candid photos of us playing and laughing. 

As the day pressed on, I felt an increasing amount of cabin fever. Thus, we ventured outside despite feeling a little under the weather. I needed to get out of the house, breathe some fresh air, and watch Klair enjoy the world around her. We went to a nearby park, and Sam took more photos of us playing. Usually, when he takes my photo, I dress for the occasion. This was not one of those times. Yet, despite my lack of makeup, my t-shirt, and Klair's unkempt, messy hair--I love them. I even like the ones of me laughing! This is a huge triumph for me. A year ago, I probably would have begged Sam to delete these photos. He would have protested, and we would have (angrily) settled on keeping them, but never letting them see the light of day. Now, I look at these photos and see the beauty of love between a mother and daughter. Nothing else matters. 

Recently my sister asked my husband to design the quote below. She saw it somewhere, fell in love, and wanted to hang it in her house. Being the awesome designer that he is, Sam quickly threw it together. We are going to frame it, and give it to her for her birthday. I really like the message of it. It's a good reminder to appreciate what I have right now. It's easy to get caught up in the frustrations that inevitably come with raising a toddler--to focus on the negative, to lose my patience. Yet, in the end, all of my mommy woes are good "problems" to have. I am grateful for the frustrations, because it means that I have the blessing of being a mother--something that is denied to so many. I get to experience life, love, and happiness to the fullest.The good, the bad--it's all just part of the experience--a journey that I'm infinitely grateful for. And, I know that someday I will miss reading "Ten Little Ladybugs" ten thousand times in a row. My living room will feel empty without toys strewn across it. My soul will long for the sleepless nights spent holding my baby girl. 
These are words to live by. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Style & Life Lately

July has not been my month. Although we've had some fun adventures, the last few weeks have been riddled with sickness. At the beginning of the month Klair had a cough, but she managed to kick it pretty quickly and I thought perhaps our stroke of luck was an early 4th of July present from the universe. I was wrong. On the 3rd, just as Klair was getting better, I began to feel the beginnings of a cold. I started out the day feeling a little off, and bit by bit the symptoms grew increasingly worrisome... fatigue, headache, dizziness, and then... the dreaded sore throat. Airborne didn't keep this catastrophe at bay. What began over two weeks ago now is still lingering. I actually thought I was over it last week, but our Bear Lake trip proved to be too much for my immune system. I guess water skiing and recovering from a cold aren't compatible. My punishment for over-extending myself was a weekend spent in bed. Today I awoke feeling pretty good. I thought maybe, just maybe the heavens were finally smiling down upon me. And then Klair woke up with a nose that was running like a faucet. We're back to square one. And to top it off my husband says he feels like he might be getting sick. Am I missing something? Isn't it supposed to be... summer right now? I feel like we are smack dab in the middle of cold season again. 

Thus, I apologize for the lack of posting as of late. These photos were actually taken awhile ago, and I'm grateful to have them at my disposal. I'm thinking the yellow hue of this top was waiting for a gloomy day like this to make a bright, summery appearance. 

This bow-back blouse featured came from Loopsway. Not too long ago I did another product review for this lovely company that you can see here. Loopsway is a fab online boutique that sells both jewelry and clothing at affordable prices. Check them out. I'm in love with everything on their site!


Here's to hoping that the second half of July proves to be kinder and that my family can start feeling better sooner rather than later. In the mean time, I'll probably just head on over to the Loopsway website and create a wishlist of all their beautiful, heart-warming, happiness-inducing products.  

Blouse (not currently on Loopsway site, similar Here, Here and cheaper Here) | Wedges | Jeans | Watch

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bear Lake

Klair's Outfits: 


Utah is a gorgeous place. I'm frequently in awe of the beauty that my home state possesses, and last week was certainly no exception. We ventured up to Bear Lake for a camping and boating trip with my husband's side of the family. Even just the ride up there left us in awe. ...and then we got to the lake. This was only my second time there, and my first time during the summer. It didn't disappoint. We stayed in the quaint little cabin with a porch swing in the photos above, and enjoyed our time at the campgrounds immensely. There was a swimming pool, giant trampoline... thing (not sure what they're technically called) and a playground for Klair. And of course there was the lake itself. We spent lots of time on the water boating, swimming, tubing, and even water skiing. Yes, I tried a form of skiing for the first time ever. I've always been a boarder when it comes to extreme sports--wakeboarding, snowboarding, longboarding. I don't have anything against skiing, it's just the culture I was raised in. I decided to give water skiing a try, and it only took me about eight (hundred) times to get up... but I did it! And I think I stayed up for a whole ten seconds before falling back down. Go me! 

I wasn't the only one to try something new on this trip. Sam went out on the tube, and when asked if she wanted to go with her dad our little Klair said "yes." She bravely hopped on, and let us tow her behind the boat (at a slow speed of course). Although she initially looked terrified, she didn't cry at all and even asked to go again. Talk about a proud moment for this mama. 

Also, speaking of tubing, it was hilarious watching my husband, his siblings, and his dad on that thing. They (of course) took it upon themselves to try and throw each other around with the ultimate goal of making the rider fly off. It was hilarious to watch. Sam's little sister surprised us all and out lasted all of the men in the family with their muscles and determination. She caught more air and managed to stay on longer than anyone... and she kept wanting to go. It was girl power at it's finest. Haha! I'm so glad we were able to have such a fun time with our family! 

Before going camping, I had a bit of a cold. Once we got home, my cold came back with a vengeance. Apparently I over extended myself. I therefore spent the remainder of my weekend in bed. My sweet husband took care of Klair so I could rest and try and sleep this thing off. Despite the (lingering) sickness, as I look back on the past week I can't help but feel blessed. We had such a wonderful time up at Bear Lake! And, even though I would have preferred my weekend to end differently, I have an incredible husband who takes amazing care of me. That is something to be grateful for. 

I love this man. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer Swim Wear | Floppy Hat and a Kimono Cover Up

Hat | Kimono Cover Up | Swim Suit (similar here and here ...oh and this one is cute too!) | Sunnies | Shoes | Necklace

Okay, Deeeep Breath: Swim Suits. I have never been particularly fond of seeing myself in one, so it is with some hesitation that I post these photos. I don't think I'm alone in this regard. I'm convinced that every year dread and self-loathing wash over the female population at large as the spring season ushers in the appearance of swimming apparel on the racks of our favorite clothing stores. And, although I am a member of this group--a victim of my own distorted views based on societal insistence that we strive towards an unattainable ideal of perfection--I don't want to be. With the advent of swimsuit seasons past I would have hit the gym and the tanning beds hard. And, no matter how tanned, or toned I became I found that I was never satisfied with my appearance. Now that I'm older (and attempting to be) wiser, I'm trying really really hard to be comfortable in my own skin. I'm waging a war against my own insecurities. It's an ongoing battle, one that requires vigilance in positivity. Blogging about fashion has helped me to be both more and less confident... depending on the day. Essentially it comes down to what I choose to focus on, and how often I give in to comparing myself to others. Today, I am choosing to focus on the fact that I am healthy. I eat well, exercise often, and try to live a healthy lifestyle--the body that I have is the result, and I'm happy with it. It's enough. Today I'm embracing my white skin, my curves, and my own unique beauty. I'm also showing a fun way to feel both fashionable and modest at the beach/poolside, and hopefully inspiring others to love themselves a little more.

Alright, rant over. Now I can talk about the fun hat and kimono that I found! I have loved the floppy hat style for awhile now, but every time I tried one on it just... didn't... work. I was so happy when I discovered this one right before we left for Lake Powell where the summer sun is hot and relentless. I went for a quick trip to Forever 21, and was pleasantly surprised to find it. And the best part? It was ridiculously inexpensive. Click here to see for yourself.

In that same quick shopping venture I also found this kimono. I've been a really big fan of the kimonos that have flooded the fashion world as of late. I think they are so elegant, and felt that this light-weight, floral pattern made for the perfect cover up while I wasn't swimming and enjoying the water. It was also inexpensive as you can see here.

What do you ladies think? Are you comfortable in a swim suit? What do you do to build yourself up in a world that always seems to be trying to tear women down?