Mama Makers | Written in Metal

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June Mama Maker: Chandra Palmer with Written in Metal

Meet your Maker

When I started this feature, I knew straight away that I wanted to show off my pal, Chandra Palmer, to y’all.  She and I have worked together for about two years and we get along like peas and carrots.  Our kiddos are close to the same age (she has a 2 year old son named Weston whom she describes as “all-boy”, meaning she has a lifetime supply of stain eraser), our husbands are basically personality twins, and best of all, she totally gets my weird humor.  Bonus: she’s my go-to for stamped jewelry at insanely reasonable prices. Chandra was clutch this past Christmas when she made two gifts for me literally overnight, God love her. She makes seriously unique and fun pieces out of recycled metal, beads, old jewelry, leather, and other miscellaneous stuff that strikes her fancy.  I’ve ordered cuffs, bangles, countless necklaces, and I’ve got my eye on a fork ring.  Yeah, you heard me.  Fork ring.  Looks like stacked rings, but better.

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Here are a few favorites from my own collection:

Anywho, I recently sat down with Chandra to find out how she started her business, what inspires her, and how she finds time to create while chasing her boy out of mud puddles.

 

So, when did you start Written in Metal and what’s the story behind the name?

C: I started in May 2010 and actually, the original name that I chose was Thinguhmajig, but someone else already owned that name, so I changed it.  Since I stamp words and sayings, it made sense.  I literally write in metal.

How did you learn to make your pieces?  Did you take classes, was it a family tradition, self taught?  

C: I’m very much self taught.  A LOT of trial and error is involved.  I play around with different textiles and see how I can maneuver them to form what’s in my head.  Sometimes I scrap a piece before I’m halfway finished because I don’t like the colors together, or I stamp my words crooked.  It took a lot of practice to get the letter stamping down! But I think imperfection is something to be celebrated and I’m okay with figuring things out as I go.  Some of my favorite pieces were mistakes.

Speaking of, what your favorite thing you’ve made?

C:  Too hard to pick one!  I’m proud of everything I make, so it’s like picking a favorite child.  I do have a new technique that I’m slightly obsessed with…acid etching metal with a design and then stamping over it.  Takes some extra time, but so far the results are totally worth it.

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Where do you find inspiration for your products?

C:  Lots and lots of research.  I carry a notebook with me full of sayings and phrases and I’m constantly adding to it.  Pinterest is also a great source to keep up with motivational quotes and such, so I scroll through that a bunch.  I usually have a booth at the local craft shows and I get inspired by other artists there as well.  It’s also common for a client to request a special saying or maybe a bible verse.  My favorite is when a customer will describe what they’re wanting and then allow me to get creative with the piece.  For example, I’m working on a men’s archery bracelet for a company and the only thing they requested is that it look manly and incorporate an arrow.  So many possibilities, and I love it.

Where’s your favorite place to shop for your supplies?

C:  Etsy!  It’s my online swap-meet.  I also repurpose a lot, so I love junk fairs and antique booths.  Flea market hunting is my idea of a perfect afternoon.

As a mama, when do you find time to make your products?

C: When he is sleeping!!  There’s no working when he’s awake.  Weston keeps me on my toes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  When I’m on a time crunch, my husband is really good about getting him out of the house and off on manly adventures together.

Before you sit down to create, what do you HAVE to have on hand?

C:  Coffee, 100%.  And usually a long forgotten TV series to keep me company.  Currently, it’s Dawson’s Creek.  Joey + Dawson = Forever

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What three Instagram accounts are your favorite to follow for inspiration or fun?

C: 1921 Designs, Creative Carmella, and Your Words Cuffs.

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Where can we find your pieces? 

C: I have booths located at Wasted in Ft. Smith, AR and at The Locals in Prairie Grove.  You can also order through my Facebook page since I’m always posting new items there.  Oh, and I’ll be at the Junk Ranch this weekend, June 9 and 10, in Prairie Grove!  You should definitely check out the Junk Ranch!  It’s huge and has some incredible finds.

 

I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll definitely be going to the Junk Ranch this weekend!  Hope to see you there!

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Patriotic Fare; Memorial Day Dishes

Patriotic Fare

Memorial Day makes me think of camping out at the lake, family picnics, and barbecues. What do they all have in common? FOOD!

Honey, if there’s anything you should know about me, it’s that I LOVE food.  Food is my jam.  But let’s be honest here: I’m not a great chef. (Understatement of the year. Ask my family someday about fish brownies.  Gah, it’s just bad.)  When I just can’t get away with grabbing something ready-made from the store, I turn to my pal, Pinterest.  I can always find something quick, easy, and perfect for any occasion.  And usually something that even I can’t screw up.

Y’all know I love a good list. (See here, here, here, and here.)  Gimme lots of options for any and every theme, please and thank you.  Since I have a feeling you may be the same way, I’ve put together some of my favorite recipes, DIYs, and tutorials for patriotic fare.  Feel free to use refer back to this post for Veteran’s Day and Fourth of July.  Red, white, and blue grub for the win!

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Strawberry Trifle

As Tara from Deliciously Declassified puts it, “This dessert is the perfect end to a Memorial Day BBQ.  It’s super easy to put together and looks impressive (bonus).”  She ain’t lying, kiddos.  For extra patriotic punch, Tara suggests adding blueberries.  Check her fail-proof tutorial here.

Red, White, and Blue Sangria

Patriotic Cocktail

Who’s bringing the booze?  You are!!  Pro-tip: use a cookie cutter to get those pineapple slices cut into perfect stars.  Added in with some berry vodka, this is sure to go fast, so make 2 pitchers!  Here’s the full recipe.

Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies

Cookie Recipes - These Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies are perfect for the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. Pin it NOW and make them later!

Have you ever make cake mix cookies?  They’re seriously easy and disappear fast at a get together.  With only 5 ingredients (two of which are candy), this is a great choice when you’re short on time but want to make it look like you planned waaaay in advance. Here’s the recipe.

Fruit Kabobs

4th of July Fruit Kabobs

For all you health conscious folk, here’s a great option for you!  Watermelon and blueberries.  Simple, delicious, and easy to snack on when skewered on a handy kabob. If you’re feeling frisky, soak these bad boys in some berry vodka overnight for an extra kick.  Anna with The Baby Bump Diaries has some great tips for creating these kabobs just right.

American Flag Veggie Tray

Fun 4th of July Party Idea. American Flag Vegetable Tray! Patriotic veggie tray. LivingLocurto.com

OK, so you ran out of time and you have to grab something on your way to the picnic. Toss the veggies Amy with Living Locurto has suggested in your cart, plus some dip, add a cute tray, and you’re good to go.  Please don’t chop and drive, your hostess will be cool with slipping you into the kitchen and slicing on site.  Safety first, kids.

Want more suggestions?

Check out my Pinterest board, Patriotic Foodie, dedicated to all food red, white, and blue!

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Mama Makers | Tubtonics

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“When women support each other, incredible things happen.”

When I started this blog, I asked myself a few questions: who am I trying to reach with my words and what is it that I’m trying to say?  I’m an uplifting person by nature, so my message and mission has always been to brace each other up in life, work, and family.  Celebrating women in their daily walk and shining the light on those that have done both the ordinary and amazing.  Listen, we are all trying to do great things–in the office and at home. As women, sometimes all we want is to feel appreciated and have someone notice our hard work.  And, by golly, we work hard, y’all.

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So, I’ve decided to shine a little light on women who are balancing the incredible: a messy, loud family and their own business.  Mothers that have scrambled during nap time to work on their art.  Wives who have stayed up long after their husband have gone to bed in order to learn just a little bit more about their industry.  Ladies who have held their breathe while they signed on the dotted line to invest their money on themselves and their dream.  Mama Makers who are making their dreams work.

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**Each month, I’ll be spotlighting a different lady that is excelling in her Mama Maker role.  If you have someone you’d like to nominate, please shoot me an email at katdoland@gmail.com.**

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The Biz

Tubtonics is owned and operated by Andrea Long, a mama of four kiddos, aged nine, eight, two and four months. Time out: the fact that this gal has four(!) kids AND is running her own business is really enough to encourage us all to patron her art.

Anyway, based in Northwest Arkansas, Andrea began selling her organic and environmentally friendly soaps in January of 2016.  Tubtonics is constantly producing new and unique products to be used for your daily routine.

17438254_201511427008877_255938561457520640_nAs a self-taught Mama Maker, Andrea creates custom soaps and body products made specifically to make your skin feel clean and nourished.  Using supplies purchased at Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville, AR, Andrea can often be found there doing product demonstrations and tutorials on how to make your own soaps at home.

18513477_736348813203378_7977364692429438976_nWhen pressed to name a favorite product, she calls it a tie between Up the Anti and Astringent C soaps.  Designed to assist in relieving inflammation and itchy skin, Up the Anti is Tubtonics’ top seller.  Astringent C deep cleans and heals blemishes while firming skin.  Along with purchasing online at Tubtonics.com, their organics soap can also be found at Ozark Natural Foods.

To Be Honest

18252174_173706426487384_3638263811439329280_nI sat down with Andrea recently to learn more about her products and what inspired her to start her own business.  When I met Andrea, she had her two youngest kiddos with her and, to be honest, that made me like her right off the bat.  Real life means juggling your babies with your business, am I right?  Sometimes you just have to toss the kid in an Ergo and get to work.  So, with the youngest on her hip and an eye on the other, Andrea proceeded to educate me on the importance of palm-oil free products and using only natural fragrances.  Now, her passion and dedication to the environment was endearing, but the minute I opened the bottle of her Lavender & Honeysuckle Salt Soak, I stopped listening.  You guys.  I wish scratch and sniff screens were a thing.  All I wanted to do was get home, toss the stuff in the tub, and never get out.  So I proceeded to do just that (until my own kiddo got her whole hand stuck under the locked bathroom door and lost her ever loving mind.  Relaxation was over at that point.).

18013764_319302155157149_433678799385657344_nBefore the stuck hand debacle, I dozed pleasantly and pretended I was swinging on the wooden rocker out in my grandmother’s yard, right next to her back fence.  The one that honeysuckle takes over ever summer and smells strongest at night when the air is so thick you can practically cup it in your hand.  There’s a little breeze so I could smell the flowers from her garden she keeps by the porch.  Lavender with just a hint of her hydrangeas. Sure, I’m just floating on sensory happiness in my bathtub, but the scent is so uniquely Southern summer night, it feels like I’m there if I close my eyes (and ears so I don’t hear the insistent knocking on the door).  Seriously, this Salt Soak really does make me feel like I’m surrounded by those huge summer honeysuckle vines and I love it.  Afterwards, my skin felt so smooth without any of that sticky residue stuff you get with some salt scrubs and soaks.

17818116_245155772559512_8287338941812572160_nI don’t know about you, but when I find a new product that rings all my bells, I have to tell every single person I know.  I’ve tried her tooth whitening paste and after 2 uses I’ve already noticed a difference.  And bless Andrea’s heart, when she heard we had the tummy bug at our casa, she sent over her anti-viral, anti-bacterial soap.  When I asked her how she finds time to make all of her products, she credits the grace of God and a dedication to her schedule she’s made for her family and business.  As an obsessive planner myself, this is a gal after my own heart. So, as much as I like promoting a great product to my tribe, I’m even more passionate about introducing you to people you really should know.

Tubtonics is available at

Ozark Natural Foods

or purchase online here.

Follow Tubtonics on Instagram!

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Best Tips for Childbirth That You Really SHOULD Know

Listen up, Mamas-to-Be

I have a pal at work that’s about 38 weeks prego.  Ready and willing to pop any day, bless her heart.  She and I were talking last week about my own childbirth and stuff that no one told me about and I wish someone had.  I started to ramble on and on about random stuff and she said, “Wait, wait.  I’ll never remember this.  Just shoot me an email with the most important info.”  After reading it, she told me that I needed to share this with y’all so you too could learn from my awesome wisdom.  You’re welcome.

So, whether you’re a mama-to-be for the first time or you’ve purposely blocked the previous birth(s) from your memory, here’s my list of childbirth tips that, honestly, will save your sanity and comfort.

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First things first, know that they won’t be giving you a damn thing to eat while you’re in the hospital until you pop that kid out.

SO.  Here are your two options:  if you’re induced, hit up Waffle House before you go in.  When we found out we were getting induced at 5 am, I asked my doc if we could grab a quick bite before coming in.  She recommended carbs and more carbs.  Pretend you’re about to run a marathon.  So, we strolled in to Waffle House at 4 am and I ate 2 waffles.  Don’t even try to sit in a booth, your belly won’t fit.  Just head straight to the bar, but good luck getting back down.  Oh, and don’t eat anything greasy.  Doc says that’s a sure fire way to poop all over the nurses when you’re pushing.  So there’s that.

If you go into labor naturally (hooray), make sure you have something substantial in your fridge/pantry that you can eat relatively quickly on the way to the hospital.  This may sound silly, but I was in labor for 23 hours and I was STARVING by the time I had Bailey.  Star.Ving.  Do yourself a favor and prep a meal.

Second, for the days following birth, you’re gonna bleed like it’s the worst period of your life.

Not so much pain wise, but the flood gates will be open.  Get ALL the mesh undies they will give you at the hospital.  Stuff them in your bag like a squirrel with nuts.  They are the furthest thing from cute, but they’re worth your baby’s weight in gold.  Trust.  I suggest going to the Walmart before hand and getting a pack of Old Lady Undies that come up above your belly button.  You won’t want anything tight on your belly after you give birth and those mesh panties can only go for so long.  Do your hubs a favor and burn the lot before the kid turns one.

Third, your hoo-hah is gonna hurt.

Fact.  Gather the stuff this girl tells you to and pre-make these padsicles before you pop.  Your hoo-hah will thank you.  To be honest, I bought everything and was totally prepared to use them, but I ended up having a c-section and they were unneeded.  Turns out, there really is a sunny side to have major abdominal surgery.  You know, besides having a squishy sweet baby,

Fourth, go to the Walmart and buy a knee length nightgown with front buttons.

It doesn’t have to button all the way down, but enough to breastfeed without sticking the kid underneath.  You will almost certainly be in the hospital for a day after birth and you are NOT going to want to hang out in those awful bedgowns.  Also, with all the bleeding (see second paragraph), you aren’t going to want to wear sleep shorts or pants while in the hospital bed.  I’d also suggest a bathrobe because they’ll make you walk around the floor before leaving.  Also, you’ll have a crap ton of visitors and you might be feeling modest.  Oh, and bring flipflops or slippers.  Something easy to slip on and off.  Those floors are frigid.

Fifth, bring 2 packages of store bought cookies and/or sweets.

DO IT.  IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE I’VE TOLD YOU, DO THIS.  These sweets are to bribe the nursing staff and make you their favorite.  They will do your bidding with a smile if you give them snacks.  Trust me, I worked in a hospital, I know this as fact.  We brought crack cookies (you know, those sugar cookies with thick icing you can find in the bakery at Harps or Walmart.  So addicting, hence: crack cookies).  Buy 2 packs, one for the day shift and one for the night.  You’re gonna be there a while.  Oh, and make sure they’re store bought.  No offense, but no one will touch home made goods once you work in a hospital for a week.  Germs=ew.

Sixth, have a spokesperson in the room with you at all times.

By that, I mean be sure you have a nurse or your husband or your mama on your team to be able to speak up on your behalf.  Too many people in the room, people eating near you, another nurse not giving you enough meds to make you happy.  You will be in an emotional and physical state where you will need such a person to be in tune with you.  Sure, you may think you’re going to be able to do that type of thing on your own, but who knows what’s going to happen during a birth.  Pick your person, set parameters, and have a code word for them to know its time to lay the smack down.  Ours was “elbow” because I just like saying that word.  Makes me smile and Lord knows you need that when you’re in labor.  Say it out loud.  Elllllbow.  Nice, right?

Seventh, have someone photograph (cell phone camera is totally fine) the baby and you and your husband and your kids throughout the process.

You don’t have to show a single person ever, but you’ll love looking back at that day.  This isn’t necessarily for Facebook posting or such, but for your own memories.  Also, be sure to get a picture like this before you leave the hospital. I mean, doesn’t that just tug at your heart?

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Lastly, message me when he’s 5 days old and it’s 3 in the morning and you’re having a meltdown because you’ve tried literally everything you can think of to make him happy but he won’t stop crying.

I’ll talk you down off the ledge and bring you brownies the next day and let you eat 4 while I snuggle the kid.  No judgment.  If you live outside of my bubble area of Northwest Arkansas, I’ll send it Amazon Prime and just ask for a really cute picture of your squishy newborn in return.  Gah, I love babies.

You know I’ll think of more things, but this will get you started.

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THE Ultimate Karaoke Song List for Women, Ever

The Best Karaoke Songs for Women

(Drunk or Sober)

Pour the tequila. Bust out the jazz hands. It’s KARAOKE NIGHT, baby!

Whether it was you’re idea or not, here you are on karaoke night with a song book in hand and a mind that’s gone totally blank.  What the crap can I sing without looking like a total fool??

“I don’t care who you are.  When you’ve had 3 cranberry vodkas & Journey comes on, you become a small town girl, living in a lonely world.”

I got you, babe. No, not that old Sunny and Cher song!  C’mon now.  What I mean is, I’ve got you covered.  One of my past 8 million jobs just happens to include Karaoke DJ, so I know a think or two about just how crucial your song choice can be. Fun fact: I won the 2006 NWA Karaoke Championship (yes, it was a thing), so trust me when I tell you this is my area of expertise.  Hun, no one wants to be a buzz kill and sing Sheryl Crow songs, so gather ’round & listen to your Auntie Kat.

Whether you have major pipes or just want to get through it without too much mortification, here’s…

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song typeTo make it simple, I’ve included song genres for quick reference.  Here’s how it works:

Alone | Heart purple mic

One of the best power ballads, ever.  You can’t be shy or afraid to hit that high note. Get it, girl.

What a Man | Salt n’ Peppa yellow mic

Every girl in the place will be singing along with you, so this is a good choice if you’re not the best singer in the bar.

Feel Like a Woman | Shania Twain green mic

A common pick, but a good one!  Work that mic, honey!

You Outta Know | Alanis Morisette blue mic

Man did you wrong and your girls take you out to forget?  Sing this.

Bad Romance | Lady Gaga blue mic

It’s been on the radio so much, you won’t even need the prompter for the lyrics.

All Coming Back to Me Now | Celine Dion purple mic

Drama, baby.  (btw–this is my go-to)

Before He Cheats | Carrie Underwood green mic

Staple song choice for the Southern set.

Red Light Special | TLC yellow mic

Bow chica wowow.  Make eye contact with a hot dude and let it fly.

The Boy is Mine | Monica and Brandy 2ef0b4a352f3c857742ac5390d76b29b_-mic-8-icon-free-icons-mic-clipart-png_512-512

Grab your gal pal and show some ‘tude.

Gunpowder & Lead | Miranda Lambertgreen mic

If you’re a country girl, this is your jam.

Total Eclipse of the Heart | Bonnie Tyler purple mic

Here’s another power ballad that sounds even better after a few margaritas.

Never Gonna Get It | En Vogue yellow mic

This one requires at least 2 backup dancers.  Ready, go.

I Will Survive | Gloria Gaynor blue mic

Classic chick pick.  Fair warning: this is usually a long track, so bring your drink to the stage.

I Kissed a Girl | Katy Perry blue mic

Upbeat tempo, fun lyric.  This is a winner.  Please don’t kiss random strangers, kthanks.

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me | Elton John + George Michael 2ef0b4a352f3c857742ac5390d76b29b_-mic-8-icon-free-icons-mic-clipart-png_512-512

You.Guys. Best power ballad duet that literally no one sings, but everyone knows.

Fancy | Reba McEntire green mic

Also my jam.

Midnight Train to Georgia | Gladys Knight and the Pips blue mic

Get the crowd to join you when the Pips “woo woo” and you’re golden.

Paradise by the Dashboard Lights | Meatloaf + Ellen Foley 2ef0b4a352f3c857742ac5390d76b29b_-mic-8-icon-free-icons-mic-clipart-png_512-512

Never heard of it?  Quick, press play below and memorize. Epic.


Lean close, this part is important.

Do not, under any circumstance, ever sing My Heart Will Go On.  Don’t.Do.It.  Trust.


Looking for local places in Northwest Arkansas to strut your vocal stuff?  Check out Karaoke Night at these hot spots:

You Know Uno in Fayetteville, AR

 Infusion Bar in Fayetteville, AR

Growler USA in Rogers, AR

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Dapper Dudes: Southern Gentlemen at the 2017 Kentucky Derby

His Derby Style

The Kentucky Derby provides a splendid excuse for men to get just as dressed up and decked out as the ladies! The modern Derby man possesses an unparalleled color palette. Sun-drenched, tropical colors in bold stripes or busy plaid and bright pastels steal the limelight. Although, if you want a more polished look, a classic navy or pinstripe blazer is always in style. But remember, gentlemen: The secret to looking great is confidence. Whatever you wear, wear it proud! – KentuckyDerby.com

Pass the Umbrella

Originally, this was going to be a Kentucky Derby hat roundup of my favorites from this year.  But let’s be honest, this was not a banner year for the ladies.

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Bless her heart, she left her Hunters at home.

It was rainy, it was chilly, it was muddy.  Not exactly fashionable weather, y’all.  There were more Hunters boots than cute hats, and really, who wants to see a round up of rainboots? Ok, me, but not when I was hoping for over-the-top toppers.

Fine Fellas

One thing that was in abundance for the 2017 Kentucky Derby was smartly dressed gentlemen!  In my experience, there are 2 types of men: one that drags his feet at dressing up for special occasions (my darling husband) and one that revels in planning a themed and coordinating outfit (my step-brother, Billy Ryan, bless him). The Kentucky Derby is THE perfect place for a man to strut his dapper stuff.  Bowties, plaid, polkadots, straw fedoras, printed socks, pastels, you name it.  The Derby is one of the few places a man can wear all of the above and be totally en vogue.

And let’s hear it for the boys, because you know most of these men don’t roll up to the grocery store decked out in seersucker.  It took some gumption to prance into public like this.

Here are some of my favorite looks from this year.  Enjoy!

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photo | getty images

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photo | @classiccupofjoe via IG

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photo | getty images

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photo | @djasoncrowder via IG

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photo | @espn via IG

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photo | @cpjlarson via IG

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photo | @espn via IG

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photo | @shalley22 via IG

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photo | USA Today Sports

 

Got a fella with a strong sense of fun and fashion?  Show him off!!  Use the hashtag #fellafashionBH on Instagram and post your guy’s best look.

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3 Ways to Style Investment Jewelry

@twigsjewels*In the spirit of full disclosure, this is a sponsored post by Twigs Jewels.  The opinions and comments are 100% mine.  I just really like their baubles, y’all, and you should, too!

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You saw it, had to have it, now you gotta actually wear it to justify the investment.

We’ve all been there. You spotted a shiny bauble in the store or online and fell head over heels in love.  Problem is, this ain’t no costume jewelry, honey. This is the real deal. But, you’re in love. So, you do what we all do and try to justify the expense.  I’m on your team, so lemme help ya.

3 Ways to Style Investment Jewelry

First things first. We all have different budgets. What may be a splurge to me could be chump change to you (bless you, tell me your financial secrets). In my case, anything over $50 prompts an internal debate of “do I really need this?”, which is immediately followed by “how will I wear it?”

Case in point: this gorgeous Gaurdian Angel necklace from Twigs Jewels.* They have seriously beautiful pieces for every price point and their jewelry has been worn by Kardashians and Real Housewives.  Fancy, right? Now, this necklace retails for around $85.  For me and my bauble budget, that qualifies as an Investment Piece. Here are three different ways I styled the Guardian Angel necklace to inspire you and help justify laying down cash money to make it yours.

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Guardian Angel Necklace via Twigs Jewels

 

Wear to Work

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Shirt: Calvin Cline

Vest: Gibson & Latimer

Pants: vintage via Cheap Thrills


Casual Weekend

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Jacket: Fever

Jeans: Boutique (the brand, not a vague reference to a shop. ha!)

Shirt: Husband’s Closet

Shoes: Converse


Date Night

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Dress: Gibson & Latimer

Shoes: vintage


To find Twigs Jewels:

check out their website here

Instagram: @twigsjewels

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TwigsJewelsByTwigsJewels/

Or check out them locally in Northwest Arkansas at

Love, Hope, Cure Designs

Beyond Urban

 

I’d love to see your own looks you’ve put together! Post your favorite investment piece ensemble on Instagram and tag me @braceherself!

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Honey Bee First Birthday Party

Happy First Bee-Day, Bailey!

With Bailey’s third birthday coming up in June (how is she already THREE?!), I’ve started planning for her party.  The last two birthdays have been at this sweet little park near our house that has two different playgrounds and pavilions that you can rent out.  Since we figure why fix what isn’t broken, we reserved the same park for this year as well.

Y’all, I love planning her parties.  Back in ancient history (i.e. the early 2000s), I had a brief stint as an event coordinator before I moved into managing a local bridal shop.  To this day, it was the most fun and rewarding job I’ve ever had.  The theme, the linen patterns, the flowers.  All of it.  I just loved seeing the vision in my head come to fruition and making a treasured memory for my clients.  Classic people pleaser, that’s me.

Anywho, flash forward to motherhood and I’ve scaled the party planner compulsion down to child size.  *Unless you ask my husband who thinks I’m still just this side of crazy when it comes to our kids’ parties.  Men, what do they know about the pressures of Pinterest and social media comparisons??  To be honest, as much as I want my pals to  think, “Gosh, that Kathryn sure is crafty/creative/hospitable/fabulous in every way!”, I really do genuinely enjoy celebrating my kids in a way that I hope sticks in their memories forever.

With that, I want to share some of my favorite pictures of that day.  Since we call Bailey our Honey B, we had a bee themed birthday shindig for her.  If you’re planning a bee party of your own, I hope you find some ideas you can use!

*Please note, these pictures were all taken 2 years ago with a cell phone that was on it’s last leg.  Keep that in mind when judging my photographic skills. Hey, thanks*

Also, feel free to check out other ideas on my Pinterest board I put together for her party.  Lots of fun themed snacks, décor, and such to get your creative juices going!  Enjoy!!

Bailey had her first birthday pictures taken with her beloved Mrs. Butters, so of course she had to make a cameo at the party.

Bee cupcakes, honeycomb snacks, and honey sticks as favors

There’s a large meadow next to the pavilion, perfect for flying kites!  The kids had a blast blowing bubbles and playing on the playground.

Not everything goes as planned.  The wind wouldn’t allow us to string her monthly pictures for display, so we had to duct tape them down on the bench.  Not a cute display, but by that point, you do what you have to do.

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We had a blast celebrating our girl’s first bee-day with our fam+friends! 

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XOXO,

Kat

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Top 21 Swimsuits for Modern Mamas

Not yo’ mama’s suit!

Look, y’all.  I hate shopping for swimsuits.  Hate. It.

Shopping for a suit that looks halfway decent is like drinking just one glass of wine.  Rarely happens, friends. I need it to cover what jiggles, hold in what I don’t want popping out, and cover the majority of my tush so I don’t embarrass my pre-teen son.  BUT, since I want to participate in activities with my kiddos that involve the water, this mama went in search for a trendy swimsuit that won’t mortify my kids or mind wearing to a church-hosted swim night.

And lucky for you, I’m sharing my favorites!


Dillard’s

1) Cremieux Floral Bra Sized Keyhole High Neck ($66) and Engineered Scarf Print High Waist Bottom ($58)

I’m crazy about this print and the high waisted bottoms are super flattering.

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photo: Dillards.com

 

2) Jag Leafy Escape High Neck Racerback Tankini ($88) and Jag Core Solid Boy Leg Short Swim Bottom ($58)

If you’ve got active kids to chase after, this racerback will keep annoying straps from falling.

 3) Lauren Ralph Lauren Beach Club Solids Ruffle Surplice One-Piece ($120)

Ruching is our friend, girls.  Side drape ANYTHING and it makes our waist look magically more narrow.  God bless it.

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photo: Dillards.com

 

4) Lauren by Ralph Lauren Plus Dot Halter Top ($64) and Lauren by Ralph Lauren Plus Dot High Waist Skirted Bottom ($74)

This halter will keep the girls where you want them (perky and covered, please and thank you).

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photo: Dillards.com

 

5) Magicsuit Solid Bianca Halter V-Neck Swim Romper ($178)

You guys.  It’s a romper.  I FREAKING LOVE THIS.  *clicks add to cart*

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photo: Dillards.com

 

6) Raisins Curve Solid Tortuga Off-The-Shoulder One-Piece ($88)

Cold-shoulder tops are everywhere this season and this suit adds in a fun ruffle just to show off. Well played.

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photo: Dillards.com

 

7) Gibson & Latimer Tropical One-Piece ($84)

Who doesn’t love a sexy cutout?  These are PTA approved.

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photo: Dillards.com

 


Target

8) Women’s Scallop High Neck Bikini Swim Top – Vanilla Beach ($24.99)

Real Talk: This looks just like a Kate Spade suit that goes for over $100.  Just sayin’.

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photo: Target.com

 

9) Women’s Slimming Control Striped High Neck Bikini Swim Top – Beach Betty™ by Miracle Brands™ ($34.99) and Women’s Slimming Control MidRise Shirred Bikini Swim Bottom (29.99)

Preppy and flattering, wear this suit on Memorial Day weekend with nautical anchor sandals. Ahoy!

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photo: Target.com

 

10) Women’s Plus Size Indigo Stripe Scoop Back Peplum Tankini Top Indigo Blue – Sea Angel ($37.99)

Peplum and flattering stripes?  I’m in.

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photo: Target.com

 

11) Women’s Plus Size Mesh Cut Out One Piece – Ava & Viv™ ($39.99)

Sheer cutouts keep it classy.

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photo: Target.com

 

12) Women’s Floral Longline Racerback Bikini Top – Indigo Blue – Tori Praver Seafoam($34.99)

Love the dreamy floral print with cutouts on this long line top.  BUT, you might want to look for different bottoms bc the one’s that match are Brazilian cut.  Might scare the neighbors…

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photo: Target.com

 

13) Women’s Plus Size Flounce One Piece – Ava & Viv™ ($39.99)

Um.  I have this.  And I look pretty cute in it.  That’s all the info you need to know it’s a great suit. (No, that’s not me modeling it.  Aren’t you precious?)

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photo: Target.com

 


Old Navy

14) Lace-Up Rashguard for Women ($32.94)

Keep your skin safe with this cute rashguard top.  I’m looking at you, gingers!

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photo: OldNavy.com

 

15) Ruffled One-Shoulder Swimsuit for Women ($39.94)

Simple and classic with a fun ruffle detail; this hits all the high notes.

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photo: OldNavy.com

 


Rey Swimwear

16) Grace in Vintage Floral ($108)

Roughing and ruffles, my favorite.  Also, this suit has adjustable straps!

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photo: Jessica Rey

 

17) Celia in Hello Sunshine Top ($79)

This sweet neckline and soft grey make this a go-to top.  Add in some high waist bottoms and you’re ready for the beach!

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photo: Jessica Rey

 

18) Marie in Hello Sunshine ($120)

This suit is a top, boy cut shorts, and a swim skirt all in one!

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photo: Jessica Rey

 


Kortni Jeane

BONUS: All KJ suits have matching kiddo sizes!

19) Latter-Back Top ($68) and Ruched Bottoms ($36)

This crop-top has removable bra cups and wide straps for extra comfort.  Oh, and a super sexy back!

 

20) Tied Up Top ($36) and Tie-Up Front Bottoms ($32)

This laid back top can be worn on and off the lake this summer!

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photo: Kortni Jeane

 

 


Now suck it up, suck it in, & GET IN THE WATER!

xoxo,

Kat

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Me and Bailey | 2015