A Sweet Celebration

Evelyn’s birthday party really snuck up on me this year. I couldn’t find a theme I loved, felt so overwhelmed with the holidays and literally planned her party in under 2 weeks. The weather Gods pulled through yet again and brought the sunshine. It had been raining the previous week, stopped Sunday for the party, and then started back up pouring again Monday morning. Thank you baby Jesus for the break in rain! Considering the party was entirely outdoors I would have been screwed and I didn’t have a back up plan. My whole philosophy is “I will cross that bridge when I come to it” and thankfully I didn’t need to cross the bridge!

Just like for for the past four years, the amazing Natalie from Cake Envy made this three tiered cake. Because I like epic cakes and several tiers, I always have so much cake left over. I end up gaining 15 pounds in a week and crying myself to sleep thinking that Spring Break is typically 3 months after Evelyn’s birthday. This year however I had Natalie make two dummy tiers using styrofoam. It cut down on waste, her time and the cost. It still looked as amazing as ever and the middle tier fed 30+ mouths! The beautiful cookies are from Mini’s By Maria who also made the incredible succulent cupcakes from Evelyn’s botanical birthday last year. The donuts were from Dunkin Donuts, cupcakes from Target and the other sweets were from Kroger and Home Goods.

I knew since I didn’t have a theme like in years past I would need something to stand out to really make the day. Who knew that a mobile beverage cart would be the main attraction at a 5 year olds birthday party? Evelyn’s birthday’s have always been just girls and my girlfriends love to drink. I mean, who doesn’t need a few glasses of champagne with 20 kids running around screaming? There has been a wave of pop up alcohol trucks and carts in Atlanta and I knew that would be perfect for the party. I found Tippy Tap Co. on Instagram and they were the largest cart with the best pricing in Atlanta. The owner, Alicia, is an event planner so she knows the details that go into making every party a success. Her cart has 6 taps so we chose to do a tap of champagne, a tap of rosè and then 4 taps of juices so the girls could experience the fun of the beverage cart as well. Tippy Tap Co definitely saved my butt and made the party a success! The truck also made the cutest backdrop for photos.

In years past I have spent more than I should on Evelyn’s party dress which I knew she would only wear that day (it’s kind of like a wedding dress, haha). However, by the grace of the Instagram God’s I came across Rainey’s Closet which rents out the most beautiful and unique dresses ever! Think of it like Rent the Runway but for kids. I rented three dresses for less than I would pay if I were buying one. They also have accessories and Evelyn’s gold crown was also rented. I will definitely be using this service for any and all special occasions going forward.

For every outdoor event and party I throw where there will be lots of kids, I always rent a bounce house. They’re super reasonably priced, the kids love them, it keeps them in a central location and they will nap for hours after the party is over. However, if you’re an adult and you take the chance of jumping in one, even for 10 minutes, you will be fully out of commission the next day and bedridden. The day following the party I literally was sore and aching in bed all day. 

Publix platters are always my default for parties. I can order online, pick up the morning of and bam! Done! It’s such a simple and easy process and they never let me down. I always get mini bottled water and some non-alcoholic drinks as well. Keeping the food simple and easy is key. Trust me when I say that no one at a kids party is judging what kind of food there is as long as there is food!

A huge thank you to my friend Kera for making all the balloon arches, my friend Alaina for helping me set up and break down, my amazing photographer Chelsea who shoots all my kids parties, and Bryan for doing such an outstanding job on the video! I also need to give a huge shoutout to Evelyn’s Dad for letting me continue to host ridiculous parties at his house and putting up with all of my over the top antics. He did so much behind the scenes that made the day possible and we are so thankful for him!

Here is a list of links to everything used! If I missed anything leave me a comment and I will link it for you!

Blush Pink Tablecloths

Balloons – One, Two, Three, Four (I bought several different kinds for variety)

Electronic Balloon Pump (makes inflating balloons go 1000 times faster)

Gold Fringe Back Drop

Rose Gold Paper Cups

Acrylic Donut Stands

2 Tiered Pink Pastry Tray 

Plates, Napkins & Silverware are from Target in their party aisle

My Outfit: Black Puff Sleeve Bodysuit, Pink Tulle Skirt, Pumps

Where I Shop for my Skirts

Since I primarily wear dresses and skirts it’s safe to say I own a ton of different styles and have purchased from nearly every retailer out there. I often get asked where I shop so it made sense to finally write a post and have everything in one place. So, let’s get started on my favorite places to shop for skirts!

Amazon – Yes, Amazon! They have everything under the sun so it’s not surprising that they also have a pretty decent selection of clothing, especially skirts. I find that they run pretty true to size for me but always read the reviews and look at the size chart! If it’s your first time ordering from a particular seller/brand, order 2 sizes so you can be sure you have the right one. Then moving forward you won’t have to guess. Below are some of my favorites. As you can see, I have a ton of skirts from Amazon and they have never let me down. The Tulle prom skirt comes in 29 colors – literally every color you could want or need. I have the black, nude and light pink and wear them all the time. I love them for costumes and parties. If you follow me on Instagram than you know I have one black skirt from Amazon which I wear all the time. It flows, it’s lightweight and has the perfect movement. It’s also only $21 and comes in several colors. That black one and this black accordion are such great staple pieces. You can never go wrong with black anything. I wear them year round here in Atlanta, more so than any other skirt on this list. Check out Amazon’s Midi Skirt Selection.

Tulle Skirt // Green Plaid // Red Accordion // Metallic Gold // Black Midi

ASOS – Who doesn’t love ASOS? Their vast selection of clothing and accessories, their 2 day shipping and their competitive pricing are unbeatable. They also plus size and maternity so there really is something for everyone. They hands down have the best sales and are always adding new inventory. I have found their sizing runs true to size and is pretty consistent. Unfortunately, they don’t have reviews on their site but once you know your sizing you will be golden.

Nasty Gal – This was the stand out brand for me in 2019. I am so glad I found their website because all their pieces are unique, eclectic and fun. Oh and they’re almost always on sale! This black ruffle tiered skirt is only $18! Such a steal and the quality is pretty impressive considering their low retail value. They have so many bright colors, loud prints and funky skirts that you don’t see. You can view all of the Nasty Gal skirts here.

Green Metallic // Black Lace Ruffle

Unique Vintage – I typically buy their dresses but I have gotten some skirts here which I love. They aren’t like any others out there and definitely have a vintage feel to them, hence the brands name. They’re also very classy and feminine. The only downfall is that Unique Vintage is a little more expensive than any other retailer on this list. I just got this pastel multicolored tulle skirt in the mail and cannot wait to wear it this Spring. They still have the black mesh multicolored polka dot skirt that I’m wearing below. It comes in plus size as well! Their high waisted swing skirts flatter my figure so much and they have a ton of great colors and patterns.

Target is a great affordable place for skirts. They have so many midi styles and come out with new designs often. Below are some of my favorites that I can’t bear to part with. Unfortunately, once they’re out of stock they’re gone. You can look on eBay or Poshmark if you missed a style that you really loved. I just browsed their site while writing this post and I am loving their midi skirt options. This red polka dot ruffle may have just found its way into my shopping cart. They also offer plus sizing!

ChicWish – I just ordered from them after years of hesitation because of their sizing. I took the plunge a few weeks ago and ordered two skirts and they fit perfectly. The price is in line with other retailers and shipping didn’t take forever either (another thing I was hesitant on). I wound up ordering this Leopard Printed Double Layered Mesh Tulle Midi Skirt and this Leopard Maxi. Both fix perfectly and run similar to Amazon sizing. Now that I know my size I am definitely looking forward to ordering more.

Boohoo – I would say they are similar to Nasty Gal with their pricing and always on sale merchandise. I love their bright colors and you definitely aren’t breaking the bank when you shop from them. Most of their pieces are under $40. They also offer plus and maternity options (great for when you are only wearing maternity clothing for a short period of time and don’t want to spend a ton of money on it).

Other retailers worth mentioning: Anthropologie (typically when the skirt is on sale), H&M, Nordstrom (where I find my TopShop skirts and other pieces), Revolve (I love their midi options!), Banana Republic, Forever 21, American Eagle (they have great sales) and Express. I wouldn’t say these are my go-to places, one because of price and two because of quality (Forever21), but on occasion I will find something that I just can’t pass up. Do you have any favorite places to shop for skirts? Let me know in the comments!

The Best Luxury Hotel in Puerto Rico

Anyone who knows me knows that I love visiting new places, so when the opportunity to visit San Juan, Puerto Rice presented itself… I had to jump at the chance! I’m so glad that I did. In October, I headed to San Juan’s beautiful Caribe Hilton. It’s such an easy trip with direct flights from Atlanta so we were there before lunch! After a 15 month closure (due to Hurricane Maria) and a $150 million renovation, the historic 60+ year old Caribe Hilton reopened in May. The resort is easily the most beautiful resort I’ve ever stayed at. 

Caribe Hilton is the only resort in San Juan with their own private beach. The resort has three oceanfront pools and a kid’s fountain pool. While I went kid-free, the resort is very family-friendly and I’d love to return with the kids in the future. You can rent poolside cabanas for extra relaxation and there’s a swim-up pool bar with the best cocktails! Fun fact – Caribe Hilton is the birthplace of the Pina Colada (created in 1954) and I definitely enjoyed plenty of them on this trip … we only live once right? They even have extra large beach games like Chess and Connect 4 and also an ice cream bar on the beach! Can you say a kids paradise?? The resort is also 100% smoke-free which is something I look for when traveling with kids.

I seriously had the most relaxing experience at Zen Spa Océano, Caribe Hilton’s 8500 sq ft on-site spa. I had a facial and spent some time in the sauna. I love that Zen Spa Océano only uses all-natural ingredients for their spa and beauty treatments. I felt so refreshed after spending time at the spa. I focused on relaxation but there are so many activities to enjoy at the resort! There are tennis courts, seagrass volleyball and sea activities (snorkeling, scuba diving and guided reef tours.) The fitness center is full of state of the art equipment and floor to ceiling windows so you can look at paradise while getting your sweat on. 

After spending my days poolside, it was so nice to unwind in my luxurious room at night. The rooms provide a stunning view of the ocean and the room service is amazing! The entire staff at Caribe Hilton is so accommodating and kind! Their staff went out of their way to ensure I had the best stay. We even explored old San Juan, went on a food tour and got tattoos, as one does when traveling, right?

As women, we have to take time for ourselves to rest and refuel. I’m so thankful that Caribe Hilton provided me with the opportunity to do that. I loved my stay at Caribe Hilton and I can’t wait to go back! Have you ever visited Puerto Rico? Tell me what your favorite part was! 

 

Incorporating Vitamins into Your Daily Life

This is a sponsored conversation written by me for compensation by Bayer. The opinions and text are all mine.

Ever since turning 35 a few months ago I made a huge shift on how I take care of myself and my family. I try and buy organic meats, fresh produce and keep the sugar at a minimum.  I’m not much of a cook but I do have some go-to meals that the kids love (organic broccoli and chicken gluten-free mac and cheese is the best mom hack ever). Despite all of my efforts to keep us healthy there can still be some nutritional gaps in our diet. 


Evelyn has always been my picky eater. She is a grazer and somehow her body is fine with very little food. Our pediatrician says she is growing just fine and meeting all the height and weight requirements but could probably use a few more nutrients, so he suggested a multivitamin. After researching dozens of kids vitamins, I decided on Bayer Flintstones Complete Chewable Tablets, which is Pediatricians’ #1 brand choice for children’s chewable vitamins. These chewable tablets are free of high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, dairy (milk) allergen and fish allergen. Henry and Evelyn love the colors and cute shapes of Fred Flintstone, and they remind me of my childhood. Flintstones multivitamins have been providing kids nutritional support as they grow up healthy and strong for nearly 50 years. It’s gotten to the point where both kids now ask me if they can have their vitamins. As a busy single mom that is a life saver because I feel like there is always something to remember and always something I am forgetting. 

Bayer Vitamins are available at Walmart so I can pick up groceries, household items and our vitamins all in one place. Bayer Vitamins are located in the vitamin aisle, and also available on Online Grocery Pickup & Delivery services [call to check out these services in your local market]. While my kids are fans of the Chewable Tablets, they’re not for everyone’s taste buds. Luckily Bayer offers Flintstones Complete Gummies which Henry and Evelyn love too and I like to give them a choice for variety! I take the Bayer One A Day Women’s Multivitamin and One A Day Women’s VitaCraves Gummies. Not only do these vitamins support bone health but they also contain biotin for healthy hair, smooth skin and strong nails. 

How do you make sure your family is getting the proper nutrition? Do your kids take a multivitamin to fill in any nutritional gaps? I’d love to hear any mom hacks you swear by that makes your life easier! If you haven’t checked out the wide variety of Bayer Multivitamins be sure to grab some next time you’re at your local Walmart or doing any online shopping! 

 

How to Make the Most of Your Travel Budget 

“This post is sponsored by Delta Vacations. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

Raise your hand if you love traveling but don’t travel as often because of how expensive it can be? Trust me, I have been there so many times and I feel your pain. I would go on a different vacation every week if there were ways to bundle the cost.

About a year ago I was introduced to Delta Vacations and I am so glad I was! As someone who flies Delta Air Lines exclusively, I was so excited to learn more about Delta Vacations, the official vacation provider of Delta Air Lines. They provide everything you need so you can truly own your vacation experience. I am already planning out my 2020 travel and plan to use Delta Vacations even more than I did this year. I love that I can book a flight, hotel and car all in one bundle to make things so easy on myself. Also, I trust Delta Air Lines immensely and know that I can depend on the same great level of customer service and satisfaction from Delta Vacations. 

For a limited time, Delta Vacations is offering a special deal when you book with your SkyMiles number. Signing up for a SkyMiles account was the best thing I could have done. It’s free and you earn miles when you fly that can go towards future vacations. With Delta Vacations’ current Limited Time Offer, SkyMiles Members can choose up to $350 off or up to 35,000 bonus miles per booking on worldwide travel. (Terms Apply.) HELLO 2020 TRAVEL PLANS! Not a SkyMiles Member? It’s easy and free to enroll today. 

2019 was the most incredible travel year for me. I went to so many beautiful places like Puerto Rico, New York City, Tallahassee, LongBoat Key, Sarasota, Orlando, Disney World, Sandestin, Clearwater and many more. This coming year I really want to explore the West Coast and International travel and I know I will need a car, especially for the coast, and Delta Vacations will be perfect for all my bookings. 

Even though people typically think about material items for holiday gifts, the older I get the more of the world I want to experience and I would imagine a lot of people feel the same way. When you’re shopping all the Black Friday sales in a few weeks, don’t forget about the Delta Vacations Limited Time Offer! Booking Dates are 11/4/19 to 12/15/19 and you can travel ANYTIME. With more than 300 destinations and 5,000 hotels worldwide, plus travel advisors there to help you 24/7, Delta Vacations has done all the hard work so you can easily plan your next getaway. How fun would it be to surprise a loved one with a trip on Christmas morning? 

Budgeting for Christmas with Dollar General 

This post is sponsored by Dollar General. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

After Halloween, Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the overall joy and happiness it brings to everyone. People just seem to be in a great mood for 2 months at a time and it really does have a snowball effect on all that I encounter. Besides decorating the house and listening to holiday music non-stop, I absolutely love shopping for presents. Everyone has different love languages that they receive and speak in and my spoken love language is gifting. I have always loved finding the perfect gift and shopping for others over myself makes me much happier. 


Dollar General has been my one-stop shop for all my Christmas needs. Not only did I get a ton of Christmas decor but I stocked up on wrapping paper, gift boxes, bows, ribbons, gift tags, holiday cards, tape and scissors. Literally everything I could need for wrapping my gifts was found at Dollar General this year. They also have an abundance of stockings, home decor, garlands, mini trees, ornaments, pet gifts, Christmas dishes, holiday candy and literally so much more. 

They have so many gifts for everyone in your life, especially kids. Dollar General now carries toy brands like LEGO®, Barbie, LOL Surprise, Disney (Frozen, Lion King, Toy Story), Fisher Price, Hot Wheels, Paw Patrol, My Little Pony, Lisa Frank, SEGA, Atari and Pokémon. I can get so many gifts here at a fraction of the price and save even more with Dollar General digital coupons on the DG App. You can get $5 OFF $25 every Saturday! There are going to be a ton of Black Friday deals so be sure to download the app to stay informed. 

Did you know that Dollar General now has 16,000+ US locations in 44 states making them the largest US retailer? They also have added FedEx pick up to 7,000 stores. Can we talk about how convenient this is for the holidays? No one has time to be waiting in line at the post office! Lastly, Dollar General now has a Western Union in every store. If gifting isn’t your thing and you know someone could use some extra cash around the holidays, then be sure to utilize the Western Unions. 

Have you started shopping and decorating for Christmas yet or do you wait until after Thanksgiving? Whatever team you’re on be sure that Dollar General is on your radar for the lowest priced gifts and decor! Check out their holiday landing page that has everything you need. 

Orlando’s Best Kept Secret – Discovery Cove

Our family closed out our summer with a vacation to Orlando, Florida’s beautiful Discovery Cove. We wanted to squeeze in one more family trip before school started back and we’re so thankful we had the opportunity to experience Discovery Cove. We seriously can’t wait to go back! 

Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive day resort with a tropical theme. Included in your admission, you can have a hands-on experience with dolphins, snorkel with fish and stingrays, and even wade with otters in the Freshwater Oasis. You can also swim in the resort’s huge swimming pool or reserve a private cabana so that you can relax between activities. Complimentary breakfast and lunch is also included in your admission, as well as unlimited drinks and snacks! You also receive complimentary amenities such as sunscreen, fresh towels, access to showers, lockers, snorkeling gear (with prescription goggles available upon request) and wetsuits to wear in the pool. 

You also don’t have to worry about big crowds at Discovery Cove. The park restricts daily admission to 1300 people, so you never have to wait in long lines for experiences. The park experience feels intimate and so relaxing!

Our favorite part of our Discovery Cove experience was definitely the staff; everyone was so kind and accommodating to us! Our host, June, was so informative and seriously went above and beyond to ensure that we had an amazing day at Discovery Cove! She made sure the fridge in the Elite Cabana was stocked with beer for Jan and I (thank you, June! haha) and made sure there were plenty of sodas, juices and snacks for the kids to enjoy. The swimming with dolphins encounter is for children ages 6 and up; so while we swam with Henry, June stayed back with Evelyn and made sure she was entertained. But they even had a dolphin swim up to the shallow part so that Evelyn could pet a dolphin which was such an exciting experience for her! I know my kids will never forget their day they spent at Discovery Cove.

Here are a few tips for planning your visit to Discovery Cove:

Make a reservation – As I mentioned earlier, Discovery Cove limits their daily admission to 1300 people a day. Their website suggests that you make a reservation at least two months in advance (especially if you plan on visiting during the summertime!) When you check-in, all you need is your name, photo ID and confirmation number. I highly recommend booking a private cabana as well. We stayed in the Elite Cabana which has a guaranteed view of the dolphin lagoon, a dedicated cabana host, an exclusive animal encounter and so much more. The kids even had their own sand toys! Cabana pricing starts at $199!

What to wear – You’ll definitely want to wear a swimsuit! I also recommend that you wear sunscreen, sunglasses and cover-up clothing to wear when you’re not in the water. Florida is called the sunshine state for a reason and it’s typically in the 80s-90s, so you’ll definitely want to wear light clothing. There is also animal friendly sunscreen throughout the park to make sure skin is always protected! 

What to bring – Discovery Cove includes a lot of complimentary amenities, so thankfully you don’t really need to bring much! Guests are permitted to bring their own snorkeling gear if they prefer. Discovery Cove doesn’t allow outside foods/coolers, as meals, unlimited snacks and beverages are included in your admission. You may want to bring a pair of headphones or books/magazines, so that you can relax on the beach. Be sure to bring your camera with you to capture all of the fun memories you make!

We had the best trip to Discovery Cove and I can’t think of a better way we could have ended our summer together as a family. Thank you, Discovery Cove, for having us!

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