Our Family is Growing

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It’s been a moment since I’ve popped on the blog to check in, but it’s simply because a lot has been going on in my personal world. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that there was a major family announcement recently - WE ARE HAVING A BABY! I’m now 18 weeks along with baby #2, due July 28th… and it’s a girl! I have so many feelings about becoming a mom of two, and it just so happens that today’s Real Talk With Real Moms topic is all about the decision to go from one to two or more kids! So what better time and place to share? Be sure to read the other moms in the series’ takes too!

The Fresh Exchange / Sugar and Cloth / Lovely Indeed / Studio DIY / Natalie Borton / A Daily Something / The Sweetest Occasion / The Proper Blog / Parker Etc / The Effortless Chic / Oh Lovely Day

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For us, the decision to have a second kid was easy - it was the timing that wasn’t, much like our decision to have the first. When we initially decided to start trying for Sailor, neither of us felt particularly “ready” but we reached a point when we realized we never WERE going to feel ready. We were 33, and after 11 years together, had gotten to have lots of time to ourselves. We’d traveled, poured our energy into our work and social lives, spent plenty of evenings alone, and lived on two coasts together. We loved our lives the way they were with just us and our two dogs, but we knew that down the line we would want to have a family. It was just time.

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This time was surprisingly similar. Even though we are somewhat “seasoned” into parenthood, there was still a sense that we were happy with things the way they are and we’re nervous about taking on more responsibility. I mean, if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past 3 years with Sailor, it’s that nothing can prepare you for the challenge of having a child. Many tears, long nights, early mornings, missed dates and friend hangouts, and countless breakdowns later, how exactly do we decide to do it all again? I’ve never been one to sugarcoat how hard it is, so the decision to double our kid count wasn’t exactly easy. But there was this feeling we both felt. A feeling that our family wasn’t quite complete and we were still wanting to take one more step. We both grew up in families of multiples (Ian has a brother and a sister and I have a sister), and we wanted the same for our family. I had always pictured myself with two kids, and that time to try for the second was just here.

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There are a lot of things that terrify me, just like they did in round 1, but the beauty of this time is that I get to learn from the first and try to do it a little better. I can manage my expectations of what’s possible in a day, and seek help when I need it (which let’s face it, will be a LOT from day 1). Most of all, I will know that compassion towards myself as a mother is a daily practice, and the reward is far greater than the hardships. I’m still learning everyday, and I know I have so much more to experience in this role. I’m scared AF, but I’m ready at the same time. So let’s do this!

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Be sure to follow along on the journey over on Instagram, and check out the other moms’ posts on this topic too!

Photography by Ashley Burns

Real Talk With Real Moms / Play and Screen Time

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Ah! I am SO excited to be writing this post right now, because it’s bringing me back to something I haven’t done in awhile - just some good old fashioned long winded blogging. If you’ve been along the journey with me for awhile, you’ll remember that for several years I blogged on a regular basis about my outfits, shopping, cocktails, fashion tips, and then motherhood. My regular posts took a backseat when I revamped my business in 2017 and put all my time into my clients, but I’ve really missed popping on here and sharing with you guys about whatever is on my mind. So when my mom blogger friends and I decided to bring back the Real Talk With Real Moms series, I was all over it.

If you’re new to Real Talk With Real Moms, it’s a monthly discussion about life with kiddos brought to you by a group of badass bloggers who are all working moms. We all have a variety of blog topics, viewpoints, and styles, so each of us brings a different voice to each topic. I know I love reading the other moms’ takes, so I can get tips and ideas on how to do it better myself. Cuz let’s face it, parenting is HARD. So I hope you enjoy this little break from fashion on my site to talk about being a mom. I know so many of you struggle with a lot of the same things I do, so I love to keep the discussion open!

Today we are all posting about play ideas and screen time, which I know for me has been a big one in my house now that Sailor is 3 and in constant need of attention and stimulation. Check out the posts from the other ladies as well, and stay tuned for another topic next month!

The Effortless Chic / Studio DIY / Natalie Borton / A Daily Something / Apartment 34

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Right now, we are in the thick of the screen time dilemma over at the Sheppard house. But then again, this day in age, I’m not sure there will ever be a time where it won’t be a topic of discussion. Sailor is at an age where her mind is always going, she has preferences/requests about EVERYTHING, and she wants constant interaction. She goes to preschool full time now, which means she is getting to exercise her brain basically all day (with a nap break somewhere in there). She comes home just vibrating with the excitement of everything she did that day, and is still bouncing off the walls. Literally the only thing that will calm her and bring her down to an energy level more consistent with the rest of us is a little bit of Pinkalicious, Sofia the First, or lately, The Sound of Music. Since this comes at a time when I also need to make dinner, I usually cave and let her veg out in front of the TV for a bit. If I had just played outside all day, I’d want to veg out too!

We tend to take a pretty middle of the road approach to a lot of aspects of parenting, so it just seems like a little bit of TV isn’t going to kill her. It’s when we stretch it a little too far that we start to see the changes in her mood. If we get a little too comfortable with the extra free time it gives us, and accidentally let her watch the entire movie after she had already watched a show that day, she goes into a headspace we prefer never to be. Tantrums, crying, irritable, demanding… even for the rest of the day. We always say “lesson learned.” So, we’re definitely not perfect parents when it comes to this, but if we can keep things in moderation, everything is usually in a good place.

So, what type of play do we find keeps her occupied without a screen? We don’t have a ton of toys in our house, for various reasons. Not in any extreme way - she has plenty - but we just don’t have a play room full of toys. The living room has one credenza where we store her most used ones, and any backups are kept in the garage. I’m constantly going through and getting rid of things that lost a lot of pieces or that she’s not reaching for. Most of these toys keep her occupied for a few minutes before she leaves them in the middle of the room and is on to the next. This whole process will last about 20 minutes tops before she’s looking to us for interaction. This can be challenging to say the least, but it does cause us to find activities that will genuinely engage her. A few of the most successful ones include:

  1. Making cards for loved ones. For the holidays, she and Madi (nanny turned BFF) made cards for every family member, friend, teacher, and Starbucks employee, all of which got mailed out or hand delivered. All it took were some blank cards from the dollar section at Target, rubber stamps, markers, and stickers. Something about the idea of making something for a specific person really inspires her. Now we’re onto Valentines.

  2. Reading books. Sailor has always been book obsessed, which is awesome. Sometimes she’ll sit and “read” by herself, but she’s happiest sitting with one of us and reading together.

  3. Playing “tennis.” Actually badminton. Surprisingly, this is kind of a sport that can be played in the house. No net of course.

  4. Yoga. The girl loves yoga. We get out the mats and she’ll show us the moves/chants she’s learned in her preschool yoga class (I know). She loves 3 legged dog the most. But you don’t have to have yoga at school to try this one. She’s always been fascinated by all the poses.

  5. The park. What kid doesn’t love the park? Sailor would never turn a trip down. Every time she goes, she challenges herself to try something she hasn’t done before. It’s great because it gets us out of the house and exercising, and allows her to practice her physical skills.

  6. FaceTiming with family who live far away. This one is a gray area because it involves the screen, but Sailor loves connecting with her grandparents, aunts, and uncles this way. She’ll put the phone on a gorilla pod, attach it to her scooter, and take them all for (very dizzy/choppy) rides.

  7. Walking the dogs. She loves to take the leash and feel like an adult. She gets tired and asks to stop and “take a moment” along the way, but it’s another fun activity that involves exercise and also crosses something off the To Do list.

  8. Dressing up. Whether we like it or not, we’ve managed to collect a plethora of princess dresses and it’s not a normal day if she’s not requesting to put one on at some point. It’s not much of an activity because she just puts it on and goes about her day, but there’s a whole ritual around deciding which princess she wants to be that day, and it seems like it’s helping her navigate “girl life” somehow.

There’s one common theme amongst most of these. They all require an adult to do them interactively with her, or be overseeing it in some way. At the end of the day, she’s happiest when she’s playing WITH us. It can be draining when there’s a million other things to get done and it feels like she’s never satisfied, but it’s a good reminder that ultimately kids her age just want to spend time with us. I’m sure I’ll welcome the day when she’s happier to play on her own, but I know I’ll miss her looking to me for attention as much as she does now.

I’d love to know what your toddlers’ favorite activities are, because I’m definitely in need of ideas! Let me know if you enjoy these types of posts and if you have any requests of topics you’d like to see discussed!


Photography by Ashley Burns

6 Steps to Ease Your Wardrobe Into 2019

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As our schedules fill up with holiday events, shopping lists, and a few too many cocktails, it can be easy to get eaten up by the frenzy. You know what I’m talking about. That part of us that just falls into the holiday madness and forgets that this isn’t exactly regular life. I’m not saying it to be a Scrooge - no one loves jumping on the holidays as quickly and fully as I do (as you may have witnessed in my holiday styling session). But you know what I’ve noticed in the past couple of years? I’ve found that when January hits, there’s a letdown. A letdown that feels worse the more I lose my mindfulness around the holidays. Every single year, there’s a sense that all the fun and sparkle and indulgence is coming to an end, and we’re left with the reality of where we left off with our lives before the holidays began. A picking up of the pieces that needs to happen. It can be especially noticeable in our closets, when the party clothes need to be replaced with our everyday clothes.

So this year, what if we make it a point to be more mindful throughout the holidays? Today, I’m sharing my 5 steps to staying grounded through the holidays, and ease your wardrobe into the new year with grace. Here goes…

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1. Do a closet check-in. If you participated in Fall Closet Prep with me, you may remember that there were certain items I said to keep around in September and put away in October, like white linen, straw hats, and some lighter weight dresses. Well, did you ever go back and put those things away in October? If you forgot, no worries. The fall gets so busy and we can get distracted. But now’s the perfect time to settle your wardrobe in for winter. There should be no remnants of summer at the forefront of your closet, and your sweaters and boots can be front and center now. Before the holidays come and go, it’s a great time to make sure you’re getting the most out of your cozy wardrobe this time of year, and clearing out the summer stuff is a great way to honor the current winter collection.

2. Shop with intention around the holidays. Hopefully you spoiled yourself a little during Cyber Weekend and maybe even purchased a few things from my holiday shopping guide (awesome!). Now, it’s good to keep in mind that this is a fleeting time of the year, and we may only wear our sequins once or twice before putting them away again for awhile. Think about your wardrobe as a whole when you shop the rest of the holiday sales or make your Christmas wish list. What are some items you’ll still be happy to have after the holidays are gone? After you have your holiday parties covered, anything else that feels super specific to December might be ok to skip… like the non-holiday holiday pajama theory I talked about in my Holiday Styling Session.

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3. Make a donation run to a shelter. After you’ve done your closet check-in, there’s nothing better than clearing out some clutter during a time where we tend to accumulate more stuff. Plus, there are plenty of people out there who have a need for the exact items you’re parting with. Check with your local womens’ shelters to find out how to donate your gently worn items. Maybe a sweater you bought 2 years ago and don’t love anymore can be another woman’s daily go-to this season.

4. Treat yourself to new hangers. How amazing would it be to open up your closet on January 1st and already have beautiful, streamlined hangers? This could even be a great thing for your wish list for Santa. I’ve made it easy for you by creating a Supplies Shop with all the best hangers. My favorite velvet ones even come with rose gold and gold hooks now! Yessss.

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5. Visualize your life as 2019 rolls in. Come January, we all have a different set of needs. The excitement of the season now shifts into a more reflective, self improvement focused mission. We’ll be ready to assess where we are in our life, and make our lists of things we’d like to see be a little bit better. Maybe jot down a few thoughts in your journal.
- What would you add to your wardrobe to reflect these changes?
- What would you maybe take out?
- What’s a side of you that you would like to show more with your personal style?

6. Get your styling package set up now. Maybe I’m a little biased (or a lot biased), but I personally think hiring a stylist is the perfect way to set your wardrobe up for success come January. If you’ve been thinking about biting the bullet on one of my packages, it could not be a better time! Both because you’ll be making the investment now to create your dream wardrobe as you welcome 2019, and because you’ll get a gift with purchase til this Friday! If you feel stuck and uninspired every time you go to get dressed, then you know it’s time. I love nothing more than supporting my clients through building their style from the ground up. Whether you’re coming out of the baby phase, generally hate shopping, or just needing a refresh, my packages are designed to help you feel like your absolute most authentic and confident self when we’re done. Let’s kick 2019 off together, so you can have your most stylish year yet!

I hope this was helpful for you as we dive into this season (or let’s face it, we already dove in the day after Thanksgiving). Now go enjoy your holidays!

Photography by Ashley Burns