Read It: The Castaways by Elin Hildebrand

This picture probably looks a LOT more saucy than it actually is ... I was wearing a bandeau top that was perfectly concealed by my book. Whoops!

So, I read a book from START TO FINISH on our trip, which -- for me -- is the hallmark of a great vacation. Start a book on the plane there, finish it on the plane home. 

From a girlfriend's recommendation I picked up a copy of The Castaways by Elin Hildebrand (on Amazon here). 

The summary, from Amazon:

"One couple's secrets cast six friends adrift... 

With rumors of infidelity straining Greg and Tess MacAvoy's marriage, the couple head out on their sailboat one early summer day to celebrate their wedding anniversay, hoping the roughest waters are behind them. But in an accident off Nantucket, they mysteriously drown, leaving behind two small children as well as the three couples who have long been their closest friends. 

Tragedy brings to the surface long-simmering conflicts and emotions, and the MacAvoys' six grieving friends find themselves unprepared for the revelation of secret upon secret as they struggle to answer the question: What happened to Greg and Tess? 

The Castaways probes the boundaries of friendship and forgiveness as it tells a page-turning story of passion, betrayal, and suspense, filled with the perfect details of summer island life that have made Elin Hilderbrand's novels beloved bestsellers."

The story was really interesting, a true page-turner, and I loved the peek into Nantucket life (to my girlfriends: moms' trip, anyone?!).

The chapters switch from narrator to narrator, giving a nice rounded perception of the events that transpired and the history that led to the fateful sailboat trip.  

I highly recommend this if you're looking for a great summer read. 


Back From Paradise (Married Six Years!)

Back to liiiiiiife, back to re-alll-i-tyyyy!

We returned late yesterday afternoon from a magical stay at Secrets Wild Orchid in Montego Bay. We stayed at a Secrets resort in Dominican Republic six years ago for our honeymoon and loved it. This trip was just amazing, wonderful from start to finish. 

Six years married -- what a good life we have. It's not always easy, it's not always social-media perfect, but we actually like each other. We LIKE each other (and we love each other, too). Vacations, I think, really help you to remember that. Chatting with newlyweds at the bar two days ago, she said "What's a piece of advice for us?" and I said "This. This right here. Vacation together."

You know that I took a ton of photos and will be sharing more about our trip soon!

As for now, we returned home to an ant infestation in our kitchen and a 5ft. long black garden snake who has taken up residence near one of our doors. Le sigh. Back to life, back to reality. 


Hairdryer Amazingness

Checking in today to say that I have found the most amazing hair dryer! I posted about this on Snapchat yesterday and had lots of interest. It dried my hair in record time, completely smoothly. No flat iron needed!

I'm taking it to Jamaica ... TODAY!

It can be found HERE on Amazon. A beauty must. 


A Beautiful Baby Sprinkle

This past Sunday afternoon, my friends Lauren, Sarah and I cohosted a sweet little baby sprinkle for our girlfriend Kristen. We had it at Dogwood, the cutest little Southern eatery in South Park. 

I was in charge of favors and flowers and kept it really simple. For favors, I thought -- what gal doesn't love a little fun bevvie to throw in the cooler and take poolside or on a picnic? I found these little retro-looking cans of rose and pinot grigio, topped them with a little "merci" stamped card and some baker's twine, and they were ready. 

The mama-to-be is classic and elegant, so I kept the flowers easy with mason jars of creamy white hydrangeas and lime green spider mums. 

I tied each jar with an ivory satin ribbon. They looked simple and fresh on the tables!

Lauren picked up the most gorgeous cake from Tizzerts. I swear, I think it's prettier than my wedding cake!

We had a wonderful time just chatting and hanging out and celebrating the newest baby to be added to our little Charlotte friend family.

The food did not disappoint, as always. I went with an omelet with braised pork belly, jalapenos, and gouda cheese.

Mama-to-be had the most divine steak and eggs!

Beth won best menu order with the hugest chicken biscuit ever. Look at this! If you ever need a cure for maybe imbibing a wee too much, hit up Dogwood and order this biscuit.

It was a lovely afternoon with friends old and new. 
Cheers to baby boy or baby girl S! 


More On That Mom Bathing Suit (And Books)

I love that so many of you got a kick out of the Mom bathing suit video I posted Friday (this one).

My mom even texted saying she'd watched it a few times. I wrote her back saying I wanted to be friends with those girls. I mean, really!

Well, now it's my turn to face the swimsuit dilemma. Ian and I have a little tropical getaway around the corner and I opened my overstuffed swimsuit drawer the other day. It was filled with a combination of mommy tankinis and pre-baby triangle tops. I need the good stuff in the middle. The stuff where I feel covered yet pretty, held in yet not busting over the edges of the suit like a baked golden popover.

I'm officially done nursing Charlotte now, and let's just say that if I turn to the side, it's not the prettiest. My tummy tends to stick out further than anything else (HA!). Awesome. So I need a suit that gives some lift/support at top and has some sucking-in power with the bottoms.

I ordered a new bikini (HERE) on Amazon this morning but am 97% sure it won't look awesome on me. For that three percent chance and free shipping/returns, I decided to give it a go. I checked out the real-life pics of some of the commenters and it's somewhat giving me hope. And it's inexpensive.

Tempt Me Women Two Pieces Clear Sexy Floral Print Crop Ru...

I'm nervous that the off-the-shoulder feel will drive me nuts, but it's not like I'm going to be water skiing in it, I just need something fun for laying poolside and sipping on a cocktail. I think the ruffle will give a nice optical illusion of a good shape. 

In non-bathingsuit news, any book recs? My girlfriend who reads a TON is sending me some suggestions. One that she recommended to me yesterday is The Couple Next Door. Anyone read it?

So, book recs and bikini recs. Hit me up below! GO!


You Asked, Here It Is

One of the questions I've received over and over recently is about the sundress I wore to Charlotte's first birthday. It was Lilly Pulitzer and I bought it secondhand.

This morning I was perusing my fave secondhand online shop, ThredUp, and what did I see?!

This little beauty. Size 2. Someone please snag it!

If you're new to ThredUp, you may use my referral link HERE for $10 off of your first purchase.

Check it out—Lilly Pulitzer Casual Dress for $50.99 at thredUP!

Such a comfy, pretty, feminine dress ... and forgiving around the waist, my favorite!

Here are some of the items I've ordered from ThredUp in the past year. I've only returned one item (not shown) for store credit because it didn't fit me well -- it was a dress that was too short. Returns are super simple and free. 


Five On Friday! Melted Cheese, Chocolate, and Mommy Bathing Suits

It's time for another edition of Five on Friday and I do hope you'll join along!

Remember, all you have to do is post about five things on your mind, add our logo (found at the bottom of this post), and join the party using the linky tools below. Easy, and a great way to find new blogs and be found. :)

Wednesday night, some neighborhood ladies and I had the BEST time at dinner! We went to Melting Pot which I haven't been to since I was maybe in my early 20s?! But one of the mamas was dairy-free while nursing her son, and now that she doesn't have to follow that diet anymore, we decided to celebrate in the land of melted cheese and chocolate. It was great, we were full, we Ubered there and back, and we just had the greatest time chatting.

Camille's classroom celebrated her birthday on Tuesday and Charlotte and I were able to bring in cupcakes! It was seriously the cutest thing watching their little lunchtime process. Charlotte wanted to be one of the big kids!

My favorite free white noise and sound app released some free meditations on the last update. The app is called Relax Melodies. At the bottom of the screen you'll see a menu that offers meditations -- it has been nice to lay down in bed at night and play one of these 10 minute sessions. It really helps me to focus my mind and not let it wander. You can even set a timer so that it will turn off the music after a certain time if you fall asleep.

I want to order an oil diffuser for our bedroom, speaking of relaxation. Anyone have any good ones to pass along? A version from Amazon is what I'm sort of concentrating on. Nothing too cheap but nothing to break the bank, either.

Something like this:

VicTsing 300ml Cool Mist Humidifier Ultrasonic Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser for Office Home Bedroom Living Room Study Yoga Spa - Wood Grain

or this.

InnoGear Real Bamboo Essential Oil Diffuser Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffusers with 7 LED Colorful Lights and Waterless Auto Shut-off

Does anyone own those or a similar one that you can vouch for? And where do you get your oils?

Lastly, I saw this #imomsohard video on a friend's Facebook page this morning and it is HI-LARRRR. Click over to it on Scary Mommy (here). Moms and bathing suit season. Watch it.

TGIF y'all, and hope you will join in on Five on Friday this week! Cheers to the weekend!

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Ian's Huevos Rancheros

For Mother's Day, my husband took the helm in the kitchen and I was like YESSSSSSSSS.

He cooked, he cleaned, and did I mention that he'd also shopped for all of the ingredients? 

He made his version of huevos rancheros, a traditional Mexican breakfast dish. One of our favorites. Last night I told him I wanted to blog about it today, so he gave me the run-down:

H U E V O S    R A N C H E R O S

Corn tortillas
Refried beans
Salsa verde (green)
Sausage (chorizo is the traditional choice)
White cheese (cotija is traditional and can be found at most grocery stores)
Black olives, sliced
Sour cream
Lime wedges
Cilantro, for garnish

He started off by warming up some refried beans on the stovetop in a pot. Then he heated some olive oil in a pan and browned the corn tortillas on each side. Onto a plate they went. Next he fried some eggs. I don't love a gooey runny yolk, so he fried mine over hard -- his was over easy. If you're adding sausage, you can throw this into the pan now to start warming it up. He used some leftover sausage we had from a meal earlier in the week, but chorizo is the traditional sausage choice.

Once the beans were heated and the eggs were cooked, he topped the corn tortillas with the beans, a fried egg or two, and poured salsa over top. He then added the sausage, avocado slices, some sliced black olives, crumbled white cheese, a hearty dollop of sour cream, and two lime wedges. We have cilantro growing in our raised cedar bed outside, so we garnished with that.

As we were devouring this breakfast, we also agreed it would make a perfect dinner as well! Full of protein from the beans and eggs, especially if you add sausage, too.


Camille's Third Birthday Party

Saturday afternoon we had the best time at Camille's third birthday party! We kept it small and just invited ten little girls for a little bit of crafting and snacking, mermaid-themed. Michaels (yes, the craft store) has a great little classroom that you can rent out for $50 for two hours. This particular store has the classroom up at the front of the store so it has lots of windows, letting in a lot of natural light. My other favorite Michaels has the classroom in the rear of the store and it's a little less festive. Unless you love fluorescent lighting. 

my favorite invitation seller on Etsy!
no digital file - they come printed, and such high quality.

If you've researched childrens' birthday party rental costs, you know $50 is a deal and a half. I was shocked to hear that most are around $175-200 if you have them outside your home. And I just didn't feel like doing Camille's at home since we just did one for Charlotte here a month ago. Plus, not having to clean beforehand and afterwards? Worth it. 

The $50 does mean that you provide your own crafting materials which was so easy. I ordered lots of FUN supplies from Oriental Trading Company -- two different foam crafts for the kids to do, the mermaid paper plates, mermaid napkins, gold plastic forks, party favor boxes, hand stamps and mermaid blow-outs for the favor boxes, table decorations, oh my goodness I was a kid in a candy shop. 

The kids started off making some foam headbands that looked like fish, whales, and sharks. Too cute, and very easy. Then they went on to painting canvases. And their hands. And their neighbor's hairbows (sorry Caroline). I was reassured that the paint was washable and non-toxic. :) 

We brought the Bumbo seat for Charlotte which at first I thought was a little overkill but it was perfect. She sat there like an angel, taking it all in and eating Goldfish. My little perfect baby!

It was cute seeing the little girls do their crafts together, but my favorite thing is always to listen in on their little conversations!

I would definitely have another party here in the future. Easy to set up, virtually no cleanup for US, and cost-effective. 

Camillie girl, you are THREE! Such a precious, fun, amazing girl and we love you so much. 
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