I have to say, I am not much of a cold weather person. I am that girl who loves the first two weeks of fall because I can wear my boots for a minute but then I am kind of over it. I will admit, I like to be in my bathing suit by the pool in all honesty. And I was doing JUST THAT in the Bahamas this past weekend, so all felt right in the world until I came home. I made it back to Louisiana and apparently Mother Nature thought it would be funny to welcome me back with some snow. Yep. You read it right...it is about to snow here in Louisiana. So you know what that means? I am ready to put my sweat pants on, make some soup and curl up on the couch. If I had a working fire place, it would be raging so I will have to light all my candles instead. Hope you all stay warm out there!
A mere two weeks in to the New Year and I am tired people. How is that possible? I feel like I do my best to rest and have time to myself but it feels like I can never catch up. But lately, it has been mostly about that. Just catching up. I have tried to recover from our Argentina trip, do (several loads of) laundry, clean the house, plan content, and get ready for upcoming travels. I know I do this to myself so please do not mistake this for complaining. I love my life and I am so thankful we are able to do the things we do. I just need to rest a little more!
With the New Year upon us, that means new goals for this girl. If you read my recent post where I shared some of my goals for 2018, then you saw that one of my main goals is to travel more this year. I love seeing the world and exploring new places, so now (one week in to the New Year) I am making it happen! Booking flights, planning adventures...yep, I am going places people. Literally. I cannot wait to see what all 2018 has in store and am excited to start crossing some of my destinations off of my list!
What do you think of when you hear the word INTENT? What initially comes to your mind? For me, for whatever reason, I think of passion. There seems to be a difference in just doing something to do it, and doing something with intent. When there is intent behind it, there is more of a drive; a true desire to complete the task. Right? I decided to Google the definition of the word INTENT and these were some of the answers I got from the world wide web:
Happy New Year!! Can you believe it is 2018??? I know I can’t but I am definitely excited for this new year! This past year brought some beautiful, yet challenging, moments with it but for the most part was one for the books. JL and I were fortunate enough to see more of the world together, which I will always cherish. If you remember, we traveled with this family to Alaska back in the summer. This trip was so much fun, not only because we were venturing through a new place, but because I was able to watch his family venture. They live in a small town so things that I take for granted while traveling, meant so much to them, creating good reminders for me. We also added Lake Tahoe to the list recently, as a new skiing spot. Typically in years past, we have skied in Winter Park, Colorado, but I have to say, Lake Tahoe was BEAUTIFUL. And of course we made several trips to the beach because, what would summer be without the beach?
What is your favorite thing about Christmas time? Is it the music, the decoration, the gifts...what is it that makes your heart leap with joy? I could go on for days about why I love this time of year, but there is one thing that stands out more than anything else...the act of giving.
In the spirit of Christmas, I'm still working on gift guides! For this one though, I have a helper...and he's pretty great. Both Jon Luke and I worked together to put together this "Gift Guide for Him," because naturally, he needed to have a say in what you should get your guy for Christmas. But whether it's for your special someone, your brother, your dad or your best friend, keep reading to see some great gift ideas for him! Jon Luke might even make his writing debut here!
So I have to say, I have recently fallen back into my guilty pleasure...Gossip Girl. Yep, I can admit it. I have a true addiction to the show and am starting my third time through watching it. When the show actually aired on television I was not a die hard fan. I don't even think I watched at all. It wasn't until about five years ago, while I was living with my sister-in-law in Auburn, that I decided to tune in on Netflix. I had a feeling that I would fall in love with the story line, due to the fact that I love New York, but I never really understood just how much I would love it. Maybe it was because of my love of NY or maybe it was this life that I was living through the characters on screen. I am not sure what it was, but I quickly channeled my inner Serena van der Woodsen from all things fashion, to travel, to that New York lifestyle and I LOVED it.
As we get closer to Christmas, I can always feel my stress level rising. It is subtle, but it is like my heart beats a little bit faster during the holidays. I went to the doctor yesterday and the nurse said my blood pressure was a little high (not unusually high, I double checked) and asked me, "do you have a lot going on right now, or are you stressed?" AM. I. STRESSED. That is the question that I CONSTANTLY ask myself. Usually the answer is yes. To be quite honest, I stress myself out all the time and sometimes for no reason. It is crazy but I can't help it! SO for this holiday season, I am doing my best to get rid of the STRESS. I want to be easy-going. I want to have time for myself and Jon Luke. I want to RELAX. And this is how I am going to do that.
With the holidays pretty much here, we have several parties and events that we will have to attend over the next few weeks. I love dressing up for the holidays but eventually I get tired of the typical "Christmas dress." With that being said, I found this burgundy set from Theory and knew it would be perfect to mix in to my holiday wardrobe options. The deep burgundy is perfect and I love the high-waisted style of the pants! The other great thing about this look is that I can wear it work also! So it was pretty much a win-win for me. I've already worn it to a rehearsal dinner this wedding season but am planning on wearing it several more times in the future!
Happy Friday everyone! We did it, y'all. We made it to the end of the week and to DAY FIVE of Gracefully Taylored's Five Days of Fitness! Today, I want to tell you all about my Kayla Itsines BBG workout. I jumped on the Kayla train about three years ago and do not regret it one bit. I had seen her/her client's results on her Instagram account and always thought, "WOW! This is amazing," so I bought in to the craze. I bought the original Bikini Body Guide workout (before the App came out) and did the twelve weeks guide. Y'all...I saw serious results. Now I can buy the 12-24 week PDF or I can keep using the App but I love this workout!
For as long as I can remember, I have always been intrigued by boxing. I tried kick boxing classes throughout high school and college but never stuck with it until recently. About a year ago, I decided I wanted to add to my everyday workout routine. Apparently I had some anger built up because I decided that I just wanted to hit things, which made me look in to boxing again. I found a local gym and decided on personal training sessions so that I could get the most out of my time in the ring. Y'all, I have to say...I LOVE IT. I have become even more interested in the sport of boxing because there is so much more to it than I thought! From foot placement to which punch to throw next, you do actually have to think about what you are doing. And while I am not planning on getting in the ring for a true fight anytime soon, I do love the act of "training" for something. My coach keeps me motivated, I feel confident, and it really is a great stress reliever!
So I have to say that one of my favorite things to do fitness wise is to just go on a run. For whatever reason, I find it so peaceful. This is my time. My time to worship, my time to reflect, my time to think. Just my time to be with myself, no distractions...just running. Truthfully, I was not much of a runner until I graduated from college. My first year of graduate school I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. And not only did I want to run a half marathon, but I wanted to run it in San Francisco. Yep...hills. This meant I needed to train. A LOT. It was really during this time that I realized how much I loved running. I spent a lot of time running the plains of Auburn and truly loved every minute of it. So now I like to find route, but I also just like to go. Just run. And see where I end up, and how far I can go.
Well it's DAY TWO so you know what that means right?!? It is time for me to introduce another workout that I choose DAILY to stay in shape. Today, it is all about Pure Barre. And to start, I actually have a funny story about how I started taking Pure Barre. I was in class during graduate school, secretly working on my wedding website, while my professor spoke about something I obviously was not paying attention to. I was newly engaged and a newly retired tennis player with a bum knee and mission to fit into my wedding dress. True story. Thankfully, there was a girl in my class who was teaching at Pure Barre and she invited me to try a class. While my initial reaction to her invite was "I was not a dancer," she quickly convinced me that was unnecessary. I figured if I didn't need to be a dancer then this would be easy right? I mean, I was a Division I tennis player. Yeah...wrong. I could not stop shaking. So needless to say, four years ago I started Pure Barre...and now I'm addicted.
It is here! Gracefully Taylored's Five Days of Fitness. I have to say that I am really excited about this series. Fitness has always been a huge part of my life so when it comes to sharing things on the blog and being real with you all? This is perfect. Honestly, Jon Luke and I were sitting on the couch one night talking about things I could do on the blog and he asked why I didn't put more fitness content out. The more I thought about it, the more I began to ask myself the exact same question. Why don't I share more of this? So, this is me sharing. I am going to start with a week devoted to all things fitness. From the workouts I choose to stay in shape, to the fashion, even creating a gift guide for those who have fitness lovers in their lives! It will all be here over the next few days and I am excited to share!
It is finally here! The day (or weekend really) that we have all been waiting for...BLACK FRIDAY. While I am just as excited about this weekend as everyone else, I promise I was not waiting in line two in the morning, nor was I out last night. BUT, I have been on my computer plugging away at the sales so I have rounded up my favorites below!
Can you believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving? I cannot! But it is here and I am excited! While I have been prepping for our Thanksgiving meal, I have also been prepping for those exciting Black Friday Deals! There are going to be so many great sales going on so be sure to stay tuned because I will definitely be doing a round up on the blog! In the mean time though, if you are anything like me, then you have already started your Christmas shopping. I mean, let's be real...I started mine months ago because I just want it to be done. That way, when the time comes I do not have to stress about gifts! So, for those of you who are like me, I have put together my first gift guide for the special ladies in your life. Whether it be your main gal, your bestie, your mom or sister, I have rounded up some great options of items that can go under the tree this year!
With the cooler temps making an appearance again, I have to say that one of the trends I have been loving lately is velvet. Perfect for fall and the holidays, this fabric can be so fun mixed in with just about any look. I have always been a fan of velvet for the holidays, but I have been loving it now for my everyday looks. This velvet duster for example is perfect both dressed down with ripped denim, or dressed up with a jumpsuit or dress. This is one of the many things I love about fashion. You can take so many mixtures of fabrics and patterns to create so many different looks! It really is endless!
In keeping with my apparent plaid theme this week, I had to share one of my favorite looks from Madewell. How cute is this plaid top??? The colors are literally my favorites and it goes perfectly with this blush skirt! A skirt in November you say? Well...welcome to Louisiana. While I love being able to break out my heavy coats for fall, it is just not realistic here in the bayou. So a look like this gives me a little bit of what I want for fall, without dripping in sweat. The colors are just right for the changing seasons and I love how this skirt pairs with my booties! I know I say I long for cold weather, but this isn't so bad!
How about we make today casual Wednesday? It has been cooler here in Louisiana this week (finally) so I have just wanted to be cozied up in bed all the time. I wish! I also started my workout plan again on Monday and I am SO SORE. Y'all, my body hurts. So whenever that happens, heels are the last thing I want to wear! No but seriously, I love those days when I can just be casual and not worry about what I am going to put on. My ripped denim and a ball cap is all I need to make it through the day!
Y'all, this week has been SO many things. Good things! But super busy. And don't get me wrong, I love being busy (as I have said before), but currently I am sitting on the couch in my sweat pants, with a glass of wine and I LOVE IT. I know I do this to myself and I tend to overcommit but I have always said I would rather be busy than bored. Well now, I think I would rather be bored than busy! It is just so nice to sit and relax. Can you really blame a girl?
Happy Wednesday!! Are you as ready for the weekend as I am? I feel like there has been a lot going on lately and I am ready for some time to rest. That is one thing I always have to remember is that no matter what, I need to make time for myself. I am so guilty of giving that time away to others (which can be great), but it can also be precious to me. So, if you saw my Instagram story last week, you saw that I made myself a new blogging planner (or the Gracefully Taylored Bible as I called it), which means I foresee some quality pajama time this weekend planning content and RESTING. But I guess we will see what really happens!
Do you ever get the itch to jump on a plane and go somewhere? This happens to me ALL THE TIME. As I was uploading the pictures for this post and thinking about New York, I started thinking that I wanted to go somewhere cold. Then I started thinking about snow. Then about skiing. Then I started thinking about weekends we have available so I could plan another trip. I swear I think it is an addiction because that took all of ten minutes! Now, I have found flights, a hotel and made a plan for another getaway...I guess I just need to convince Jon Luke. Wish me luck!
I have said it before, but I will say it again...I love a hand written letter. There really is just something about the idea of someone taking the time to write their thoughts down on paper and share them with me. It could be a long love letter, something fun to a pen pal, or a simple thank you note, but I believe that goes a long way. I have grown up as one who likes to transcribe my thoughts (hence the blog), and I truly love being able to share them.
Recently, I had the opportunity to design my own stationary with The Keeping Room (see the design process here) and y'all...these are BEAUTIFUL! I received my final product last week and I am dying. They are simple, but they are classic and most of all, they are me. I cannot wait to start using these beauties, sending my little personal touch to all of my loved ones!
One of the many reasons I love fall/winter is that I LOVE cozy sweaters. It is quite comical to look in my closet and see the amount of knitwear I have (considering where I live), but I just love them. The second reason I love fall/winter is that it means it is time for boots and booties. These Dee Keller booties are pretty much everything and I love been dying to wear them as often as I can! Thankfully, we have had some cooler temps the last two weeks and I tell you what, I am enjoying it. Being able to break out the sweaters/booties and cozy up by a fire is everything I want and more. I am just hoping these cooler days stay around!
While Darian and I were in New York, we decided to walk over to Brooklyn one day. Yep, we walked the entire bridge, and early morning too BUT it was so much fun! That morning light on the bridge was well worth the early wake up call (stay tuned for those pics soon!), and we were able to enjoy some time over in the Brooklyn/Dumbo area. Once we made it across, we had a pit stop at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge and y'all, that place was beautiful! We grabbed a coffee (I changed clothes) and we were back at it! This view of the city was from the rooftop bar at the 1 Hotel and I was in love. But Brooklyn itself is such a gem and I loved seeing the city! And I have to say, I think one of my favorite things about this adventure was finally seeing (and riding!) Jane's Carousel!
During the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I was on the the hunt for a fun moto jacket. I wanted something different than my typical "black" jacket because I have way too many black leather jackets (yes guilty). Anyways, while on the hunt, I found this metallic option and I was so excited! It is such a fun color and it is literally perfect for fall. From the style, to the metallic shade, I LOVE how this jacket looks with just about everything I pair it with!
I definitely have a case on the Monday blues. I spent this past weekend at home in Dallas and it is always hard for me to leave home. Just being able to go back and see my family and friends, eat my favorite foods and relax...I just love it. BUT, I cannot stay forever (insert sad emoji) so I am back at it and ready for the work week ahead. I finally have a weekend where I do not have anything big planned so I can just chill and get caught up on everything. I will definitely be shooting and planning a lot of upcoming content so stay tuned! I hope your Monday has been great and that you have the best week!
So I am about to get real here for a second. I have a confession to make. This girl…struggles with self doubt A LOT. Yep. It’s weird right? I put myself out there on social media daily and I question it just about every time. Was it the right image? Was it the right time? Whatever it is, typically I am wondering whether or not it will be ‘liked’. And y’all…the struggle is real. When I doubt things on the blog, it carries into my day-to-day work life. When I doubt things at work, it carries into the blogging part of my life. Then I am stressed when I get home and it carries into my personal life. It is hard! Serious struggle. WELL, this week, I tried to kick that self doubt in the face. And I feel like I kind of succeeded. This week I took a chance on something that was a little bit out of my comfort zone. When I made this decision, the little self doubt troll was screaming in my ear and saying I was not good enough. They wouldn't like me. I should just stop trying. And you know what…I shut him down. (As best I could anyway.) I went forward with my task and now…I feel good about it. No matter what the outcome, I took the chance and believed in myself so with that, I say cheers to the weekend and to kicking that self doubt in the face.