Anyone who knows me knows that you can smell candles before ever entering our house! On your way up the steps to the front porch, you are greeted with the aroma of warm coziness that invites you to come in, get comfy, and stay awhile! Like many, Fall is my favorite season! The crisp outside air is refreshing to your soul, and the excitement of the holidays to come leaves you reminiscing those of the past! One of my favorite senses is smell! My whole life I have connected memories with smells. The smell of my kindergarten cubby reminds me my childhood best friend and the hours we spent playing make believe! The smell of my high school perfumes reminds me of bus rides to football games as a cheerleader. The smell of Noodle & Boo baby products takes me back to those nights with my newborn baby girl, as I kissed her head over and over while rocking her fast asleep! Candles take me places too. These seven in particular. Looking to fill your home with scents that will forever remind you of all your Autumns? Pick your favorite feeling, then strike a match!
Aaron and I had so much fun making this video together. Me on the camera, him on the drone-and his editing skills with my opinion of song and light leaks here and there. 🙂 We may make this a thing!
Floral : Petals Couture | Invitation Suite : Cleggraphy Designs | Rentals : Gold Dust Vintage Rentals | Desserts : Haute Sweet Pastisserie | Gowns : Bella Bridesmaids | Venue : The Oaks Event Center
Restful days spent lounging lead to fancy evening dinners at sunset while in paradise. 🌴 This lavender tied-up top c/o Landry Kate, paired perfectly with a pair of mint pleated high-wasted shorts! Lightweight & chic-just what I needed after getting a little too much Caribbean sun! ☀️
I’m not ready for that little sunburn sting to leave, though! That means that our tropical getaway is further behind us. Mornings start early in Jamaica. The sun is shining bright by 6am, waking me from my sleep around 5:45am each morning. I loved rising with the sun. It helped me feel confident that I wasn’t wasting precious time. Time with my love, in truly the loveliest place we have ever been. Each morning I would run down and get our spots ready on the beach, then return to sit on the patio of our hotel and just relax while Aaron got in an extra hour of sleep. I loved the feeling of walking from our freezing cold room, to the dewy air just outside. It clothed me like a robe, and left me giddy for the day ahead. At 7am on the dot, I’d jump in bed and wake Aaron with warm snuggles and kisses on the cheek. It was time for breakfast and we couldn’t be late! A buffet of every kind of breakfast food you can imagine awaited us, and every morning we would just sit in awe of the beauty that surrounded us.
Our plans for each day were few, and that is just the way we liked it! Although, we couldn’t help but fit some adventure time in, in-between sunning sessions. We went paddle boarding, sailing, searching for Starfish, and swimming away from Stingrays. We had a “private concert” given to us daily, by our new Jamaican friend, Joshua, who dedicated a song just to us. Throughout the day we loved using the crystal clear blue ocean to cool off and get refreshed. We sipped on frozen drinks, accepted aroma therapy cold towels for our faces and necks, had sweet conversations with other couples, ate yummy meal after yummy meal, and did a whole LOT of relaxing. Oh yeah, a spa day too! 80 minute deep tissue massages, side by side followed by fresh coconut cookies and warm citrus herbal tea. It was truly perfection.
Evenings together were just as perfect as our days. Two out of the five days that we were there, a late afternoon shower swept over our resort, leaving everyone gathering their things, and rushing to our rooms. This was so fun! The rain always came at the perfect time-after a long day in the sun. The cold downpour left us chilled, so a warm shower was welcomed. We would take the next hour to get fancied up, then leave our phones behind for an evening of uninterupted time together. We had dinner reservations each night, and ate incredibly fresh, light Caribbean, Italian & Hawaiian cuisine. We finished our meals with dessert, and both agreed that the pineapple upside-down cake was the treat of our stay! We stayed up late each night listening to live music, people watching, and laughing by the prettiest bonfire. We couldn’t have asked for a sweeter vacation, alone together, on an island. I’ll treasure these memories forever!My dainty, never take off necklaces! 14K Gold Custom Silouette Necklace-Le Papier Studio | Lace Choker Necklace in 14″-15″-Made by MaryConcealer-Urban Decay Bare Skin Concealer | Foundation-Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12 hour Primer SPF 30 applied with a damp Beauty Blender | Bronzer-Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzer | Blush-MAC Limited Edition Alpine Bronze | Highlight-Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Moonstone | Lip Liner-Mac Half Red | Lip Stick-Too Faced La Creme Lipstick in Coral Fire | Eyebrow Gel-Gimme Brow Volumizing Eyebrow Gel by Benefit in shade 5 | Eyeshadow-Limited Edition A Few of My Favorite Things palette by Too Faced | Mascara-They’re Real by Benefit | Eyeliner (on top and bottom water lines only)-Makeup Forever Aqua XL Eye Pencil Show Me Your Mumu “Ranchco Mirage Lace Up Tunic Dress” C/O Landry Kate | Ribbed Satin Slides-Forver 21 | “Vacation” Hinge Bracelet-Madewell | Beachline Beaded Bracelet-MadewellFrayed Ribbed Satin Slides-Forver 21 | “Vacation” Hinge Bracelet-Madewell | Beachline Beaded Bracelet-Madewell
Two summers ago, Aaron and I relaxed the days away in Mexico, with not a care in the world. I had our six month along baby girl tucked safely inside my belly, and all together, we soaked up the sun and ate the yummiest of foods. I remember that trip so perfectly. We met a sweet couple who told us about their 3 sons. They were all a couple years apart in age, but still very young at that. The couple shared with us their thoughts on the importance of getting away together, once a year-just the two of them. At that time, I was all for it! Aaron and I giggled together and agreed “we will do that for sure!” I couldn’t imagine not spending quality time with him in beautiful places. We had made it a yearly tradition since we got married, and God had blessed us with the most caring parents in the world to watch our little one once she was here, so we were set!
Then it happened! She was born and we were smitten! Her needs became our needs and leaving her for even an hour felt like torture to me. Our colic newborn would only be soothed by her mommy, and my heart hurt for her tears, but was melted by her need for me. Stepping away for the first 4 months was rare, and when her first two teeth popped through at 3 months old (yes..TWO teeth AT THREE MONTHS old,) so much of the crying began to make sense to us. She had been teething from birth. A rare, and not so comfortable situation, especially in the Winter. Mornings were the sweetest. All day, I longed for the morning. She would wake up, look me in the eyes, kick her little feet, and just smile. She would squeal and coo, letting me know that although that smile would soon turn upside down-she truly loved life and was so happy to be mine. The colic passed, just like they said it would, but our attachment to each other only grew stronger. I wore her in the wrap most all the time. That’s where she napped daily and was most content. I sure wish I could fit her in that wrap now-tuck her away comfortably, while I listened to her smacking sound beneath the layer of fabric. It all passes so quickly.
The days turned into months and before I knew it, she was crawling, then walking, opening me up to a whole new world of hesitations when it came to leaving her. You momma’s know what I’m talking about. For me, it was a mixture of being protective, but also letting fearful lies make their way into my mind. I thought that if she was with me, I could control everything. She would stay safe, and we would both be happy. My walking tot started running, and now, as she climbs on everything, I am faced with the reality that each new day proposes a whole new set of concerns, and my stepping away from my girl will never be easy.
As you can see, I started off this post, by using the verbiage “our baby,” but after a while, unintentionally, began saying “my baby.” That’s what happens. Just like that, your focus shifts off of your marriage and onto your kids. It did for me, and that was a strange season. It’s still a tempting one to be in, but thankfully, my loving husband fought for us in the midst of my struggle. On one particular occasion, he gently reminded me that he was my “baby” first, and how as much as he loved Josie sleeping between us, he was ready for me to be near him again. I missed our cuddles, but I dreaded that move. She had slept next to me from the day she was born, and now at a year and a half, I’d have to watch her from the screen of a monitor?! My initial response was anger, but before I allowed a single word to come out of my mouth, I felt the Holy Spirit encouraging me to stop, and listen. This man came first and my submission to him was Biblical. I had to do it. I didn’t know how I would do it though. We had tried every method in the book when it came to sleep training. Nothing settled well with us, so in our bed is where she would be. When Aaron finally spoke his mind on the need for her transition, I found the email address to a sleep specialist. For $500 we would have a couple of phone calls, some emails, and ultimately the support of a professional. In my tension, I felt the Spirit speak to me. “Talk her through it” He said. Okay. I’ll try that. Nap time rolled around and I sat her in her crib, and we talked. I told her how this was her very own special bed and how all her stuffed animals would sleep with her. One instruction led to another, and that night, we all slept soundly in our own beds.
On the same note, when Aaron starting mentioning he and I taking our first vacation alone, I sunk inside. Without Josie? What would I do without my Josie? I’m so use to our daily routine, and even on the challenging days, I truly love all my moments with her. Since she has been born, we have had the privilege of taking her with us to California, Florida and little places in Texas in-between. Those trips were perfection and she handled them like a champ. Maybe we could take another family/friend vacation I thought? Aaron had his mind on the beach. An all-inclusive resort where we just WERE, and that was all. Can’t we just BE with her there too?! How about a family friendly resort? I had an idea! How about-we see if our parents may want to go too! That way, we could have Josie there with us, but we could also have some alone time here and there? Genius. Until our parents said that they would rather wait and spend the money on a trip to Colorado in the Fall. The truth is, we need alone time together, and although I know this, and want it, I was scared. Finally, I felt myself just release. Maybe it was the stunning resort, offered to us at 65% off the original price, located on the world famous 7-mile beach in Negril. Or maybe it was my hour long conversation with the concierge at the hotel. The special offer seemed too goo to be true, so I had 100 questions. She answered them, every one of them-so patiently, so kindly. Up until this point, one of my favorite things about the resort is that it was a family friendly resort. My thoughts were, we’ll plan for it to be just Aaron and I, and if at the last minute I freak out, Josie will go with us! After discussing every topic from misquotes to the hibachi restaurant, I ended the conversation with this. “So what would I need to do if at the last minute, I decided I wanted to bring my daughter. She’s under 2, so she is a lap child on the plane, but would it make any difference here, at the resort?” Her response was humorous. “Actually ma’am, the special price that we are offering is for the COUPLES ONLY section of the resort. The brand new section that will be finished the last week in June.” Whattt??? She followed up by speaking to my heart. She told me that I needed alone time with my husband and that it would be good for us. She told me that my daughter would be just fine, and would have fun with her grandparents while we were gone. So we did it. We pulled the trigger with just 30 min left on the Groupon Getaway offer.
Fear is the nastiest of things. Throughout my life, it has held me captive. I’ve fought it for as long as I can remember. It is truly destructive. The daily battle of taking every fearful thought captive, and speaking The Lord’s truth over my life is exhausting at times. So I ask him. Heal me Lord. I know you are able! I love you Lord. You love me. You love Aaron, Josie, my parents, my husband’s parents, and my extended family and friends. No weapon formed against any of us will prosper in JESUS’ name! I trust you. I do! You are good and your ways are GOOD. You are LOVE! I land here because that’s where I am. Instagram is so beautiful, but lives are truly so messy, yet redeemed by our Savior! In the midst of all my bright, colorful photos is a momma just like many of you, striving to put The Lord first, my husband second, and our baby third. What is it that truly sets us free? The Word. I need it more than anything, so that’s where I have to be. In The Word is where I will find truth, and what do we fight the enemy’s lies with? The Lord’s truths.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you…For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him…” Psalm 91 1:16
Have I mentioned that I’m EXCITED?! I really, really am!!! I’ve had my bags packed for weeks! We leave for the airport tomorrow morning at 2am, and will land in Jamaica at noon. We’ll snuggle and relax with each other and it will be good. I just know it. I love my Aaron so much. He’s the man I always believed the Lord would give me. He understands me in such a way. God gave to us the sweetest, most beautiful baby girl, and she is gonna be just fine. We’ll miss her no doubt, but I have peace. Perfect peace that only The Lord can give. Leaving for the first time is hard, but The Lord’s peace is good. Time for me to rest in it. ❤️
Have you ever seen a more gorgeous, fun, relaxing spa in your life? I’d have to see it to believe it! Pavitra Day Spa is nestled in the heart of Downtown McKinney, surrounded by the charm of Historic homes and the fun to be had, on the square. You are welcomed by a the illumination of this custom neon light, then quickly overwhelmed by the beauty of the mid-century inspired front waiting space. Before your treatment, you will be invited to spend a little time unwinding in the dark, cozy room found at the back of the spa. There you will find fruit infused water & hot tea. The truth is, you will be so busy taking photos of this place, you won’t actually start relaxing until your treatment! I was okay with that! The massage therapist are incredible, and my husband and I’s only wish was that we could have added an extra hour to our couples massage. It was that wonderful! We can’t wait to book another! Pavitra specializes in 100% natural beauty and pure relaxation by using all natural, organic products. In my opinion, there is no way I’d rather smell than like relaxing lavender. Mmmm! Okay, I won’t keep you any longer. Sink deep into the loveliness of this post, then make your appointment today!
Is there any place more romantic than France? Although I have never been there, I often dream of all the whimsy moments to be experienced while visiting. When thinking through the details for this shoot, Nikki of Blooming House Collective and I decided on all things soft and pretty. Photography : Cassie Loree Photography | Styling : Blooming House Collective | Venue : The Rosemary Barn in McKinney, Texas | Hair and Makeup : Kristy Rankin | Flowers : Petals Couture | Wedding Gown : Lovely Bride | Rentals : Sugar Creek Vintage Rentals | Cake & Desserts : The Butterfly Cake Factory | Wedding Ring & Jewelry : Nan Lee Jewelry | Transportation : Blue Diamond Limousines of Texas
I absolutely loved my time spent with Alexis and her beautiful momma! It is no wonder Denise’s twins (yes I said twins!) turned out so gorgeous. Running into Denise at my favorite store (Anthropologie) was meant to be. Who would have known that having her help me decide which Christmas candle to buy (as if I need another candle!) would turn into a sweet friendship where I would later photograph her two seniors. Alexis was such a joy to photograph. She knew the exact look she was going for and would gasp at every “back of the camera” shot I showed her! After a few outfits, we met up with her twin brother for some photos together on the square, and a couple solos of just him! These two are headed to separate collages in the Fall- Alexis attending University of Florida, and Steven- attending Texas Tech. Can you imagine being apart for the first time in 18 years? A bittersweet time of gaining independence, yet figuring out what life looks like living states away from your close friend. I wish them both the best and know they will be incredibly successful!
“It was sunset on a rooftop in downtown Fort Worth that Taylor told me he loved me. It was one of those BIG moments in life that leave their mark on your heart. I was falling in love with this man and he was falling in love with me. With each passing day I loved him more than the day before. It was the kind of love that hurts a good hurt, that brought happy tears, and the most joy I could ever imagine. Taylor was strong in every area that I was weak. He completed me and made me whole. He made me laugh, he challenged me, he prayed over me, he loved me well and taught me something new each day. We played around on the basketball court, tried out craft Beers, ran a 5K, downed a lot of sushi & Chipotle, and cheered relentlessly for the Duke Blue Devils. Just like that-his favorites became my favorites because his joys became my joys. It was on the same rooftop three years later that Taylor got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Taylor is my best friend and the man I prayed for. The Lord made him with me in mind and I am overwhelmed with a grateful heart. Being his wife is the greatest honor I have ever been given. I have moments when I just look at him and everything falls into line…I get to love him, and it’s the best thing that I’ll ever do.” -Becca Ann Ponder“I am reminded each and every day of just how lucky I am. Becca is not only the love of my life, but she is my best friend, as well. Her selflessness and her goodness is staggering, and her genuine care for others is admirable. In her, I am shown everyday what love truly looks like. Where I am weak, Becca‘s strength shines through. She loves with a boldness and a passion that speaks life into me every single day. How blessed am I to be loved, so unbelievably well, by such an incredible woman?” -TaylorVenue : Five Oaks Farm in Cleburne Texas | Hair and Makeup : Kristy Rankin | Flowers : Fountain Designs | Wedding Gown : Stella York | Bridesmaids Dresses : De Ma Fille bridal boutique in Fort Worth, Texas | Cake : Confections in Cake | Videography : 4500 Films
No other night had ever felt like this one; the night before we met our Josie Loree. My whole life I had dreamt of her. Olive skin, brown hair, and blue eyes. I didn’t have blue eyes, but knew my husband would. For years, I thought about our life together. The cuddles, the kisses, playing in the park. We’d play dress up together, and she would walk around the house in mommy’s fanciest pair of shoes, wrists sparkling with bracelets. I couldn’t wait to see her, hold her, kiss her, and love her with every fiber of my being. I already did. Laying in bed, with a belly so big, I still can’t believe it was me. All I could do is think about the next morning. It had never been so hard to shut my eyes and drift into dreamland, until I realized that my sweetest dream would come true in just hours. So for one more night, I dreamt of her. Cuddled up next to the man who I adore, the daddy of my Josie, we slept, and before our sleep could become sound, our alarm rang. It was time. Time to meet our Josie. Our beautiful, precious, Josie Loree.
Video by Chad Hugghins of Flour Mill Media. We are forever grateful! Our forever favorite photos by Laura English of Laura Nicole Photography
Summertime is full swing here, in Texas! We’ve hit the triple digits, and the only thing that sounds nicer than jumping in cold, blue pool, is grabbing a snow cone on the way! Texas summers are different than most, and not in the best of ways. An early morning shower, leads to a sticky afternoon, leaving me dreaming of a dryer place than this. A land where cacti grow like weeds, and colorful ones at that. A magical desert at it’s finest. This little number caught my eye, the moment I walked into my favorite shop on the square, Landry Kate! Just when the style of the dress couldn’t get any cuter, the pops of pastel pink and turquoise won me over! Also, how sweet is my girl in her tiny turban from Charming Damsel?!
Tiny, cozy, spaces…they’re my very favorite kind. The types of spots that bring back fond childhood memories, yet leave you dreaming of all the places you’ve yet to adventure, at the very same time. A peaceful place where the shade of paint on the walls tells you to rest, in all of it’s soothing splendor. The whitest of mints, with a name just as simple as that. Treasures big and small, with a history all their own. Pastels, next to pastels, paired with elegant gold pieces inspired by the days where quality mattered most, and detail was a close second. A place you don’t really care to leave, anytime soon, and the hanging of your coat, means a warm cup of coffee, and sincere conversation, is just around the corner. A patchwork quilt welcomes tots, and their toys, just the same, and the lyrics you know by heart, make for words to ponder on as they linger in the air. The smell of Lavender Macarons invite you to settle in and stay awhile. A space just like this, now hosts me for hours a day, and guests, whenever they please. I’ll edit here and there, watching lovely stories unfold, kissing my baby girl in-between computer clicks, and thanking to Lord for not a moment missed with her. It’s square feet such as this that set butterflies loose to soar, and the give the feeling, deep down in your soul, “it is well!”
Big thanks to Flavio Peres for the beautiful wood work & Pedro Painting for coating our walls in wonderfulness! “Stay Awhile” Hook : Urban Outfitters | Twin Bed Frame : Vintage Find | Bedding : Urban Outfitters | Throw Pillows : Vintage + Urban Outfitters & Ikea| Round Shelf : Target (in store only) | Custom Doll : 3 and 3 Heirloom Dolls |Desk Essentials : Rifle Paper Co. & Target | Pink Desk Chair : Land of Nod | Desk : World Market (no longer available) | Stackable Boxes : Ikea | Air Plant Holders : Target | Polaroid Prints : Simply Rosie Photography | Hymn Cards : Magnolia Market | Cassie Loree Photography Logo : October Ink | Die Cut, Letter Pressed Business Cards : Missing Q Press Pendant Light : Pottery Barn Kids | “Perfect Love Casts out Fear” : Vine + Branches via Shop Landry Kate | Barr-Co. Apothecary Jar Candle : Anthropologie | Lavender Macaron Candle : Bath & Body Works | Acrylic Make-Up Storage : The Container Store. All other items seen were once loved by someone else before making their way into my cozy space.
Outfit Details | High-Wasted Shorts : Landry Kate located in Downtown McKinney (website coming SOON!) | Coastal Swing Tank : AnthropologieThroughout the months of May-September you will most likely see me in one of two things-cut off denim shorts, or lightweight summer dresses. Staying cool in the hot summer Texas sun is a must; especially now that I am toting a beautiful, blue eyed, 9 month old, baby girl on my hip! While shopping in my favorite little boutique downtown, Landry Kate, I spotted these high-wasted shorts, and just had to have them! They are effortlessly chic, and look adorable with a shirt tucked in or a crop that falls right above the top button! They are all things stretchy and comfortable, and have me hooked! Grab a pair for yourself, right off the square!