Saying Goodbye to 2014

Dec 29, 2014

I know I've been a little absent from my blog these past few weeks and I won't even bother making an excuse. I just haven't felt like writing lately. With the holidays and the chaos of my life in general it just wasn't happening and I'm fine with that. I feel like so much has happened in the past 2-3 months that I still haven't really wrapped my head around but it's okay with me. It'll all make sense when it's meant to.



I popped back in today though because the New Year is quickly approaching and I couldn't be more excited to put 2014 behind me and start fresh. I feel like the coming year has great things in store for me and my little and I really just can't wait to see what those things are. I've already given a little sneak peak into my 2015 Goals for the year here and I'd like to delve a little deeper into that, but first I feel like I should take a look back at 2014 and try to hit a few of the high/low points. I doubt I'll do it any justice but all a girl can do is try, right?

2014 was a year of enormous change and growth for me. It was like starting a road trip in the worst storm imaginable, enduring more than one person's share of flat tires and empty gas tanks, only to end at the corner of a wonderful calm and what now?

2014 has also very much been a year of soul searching and figuring out what I really want out of life. I spent over 2 years in a relationship with someone who's perspective and ideals were very different from my own and I grew too attuned to his way of thinking. I needed to find myself again; so that's what I spent most of my energy doing. I know damn well that I am not even remotely close to the same person I was at this time last year, and I love it. People came and went from my life; some I lost that I wish I hadn't and some stuck around when I wish they would've just left. Regardless though, it is what it is. Bridges burned and lessons learned? Maybe.

The year started off more than a little rocky. I was living at my mom's house with Evelyn and her dad and still struggling to make ends meet. I found myself living life in the wrong story; nothing felt right. I hated the way my life was going and I was determined to make a change, so I did. I got a job serving and made just enough for Evelyn and I to get our own place in April. And then by some serious dumb luck (or fate? Who knows.) I was referred to an amazing job opportunity in May and started work the day after Memorial Day. It couldn't have come at a better time as Evelyn's father and I had finally called it quits after a completely miserable 2 years. Why I let things get that bad, I'll never understand. But this new job gave me the confidence I needed and the paycheck to assure me that I really could do this single mom thing and it would be just fine. Better, even.

The summer went by as quickly as ever, with both Evelyn and myself celebrating our birthdays + Evelyn's very first beach trip! (literally the week after I started my new job).  Our newest addition, Kingsley came to us labor day weekend and we have loved him ever since; even if he is overly enthusiastic when I have company over...

And then there was Fall. I started getting back in touch with old friends and finally feeling like myself again. There were still some things that needed to be taken care of from my past but I think I handled them well enough. I think this is the time I finally began to feel more settled. Things were beginning to fall into place in mine and Evelyn's new life. We were set in our routine, and the stress was lifted a bit.

But then of course the holidays hit and I found comfort hiding in the calm of my own little corner of the world for a while to try and avoid the chaos. It worked some days, others - not so much. But I'm happy to report that we made it through in one piece ;)

The last few weeks of this year I've spent reflecting on how far I've come and how far I'd still like to go in the coming year. I'm working on developing new habits to bring with me into the New Year that will take the place of old habits better left behind me. For example, I've recently picked up journaling to help me keep my thoughts somewhat unscrambled and to get some things out of my head that do not belong on the internet for all to see. It's been therapeutic and I'm hoping to make more time for this new hobby in 2015.

Ya know, this post was originally meant to be about my goals for 2015 but hey, when do things ever go as planned? ;) I suppose I'll have to save those for another post and I'll be seeing you lovelies again soon.


Until then,


Olivia 



My New-Found Appreciation + A Project for 2015

Nov 20, 2014


I've recently become a bit obsessed with mornings and waking up early. I'm working hard on developing new routines in my life and this was at the very top of my list. Anyone who knows me at all will be completely appalled to read that first sentence because for my entire life I have NEVER been a morning person. At all. Not even a little bit. Just ask one of my sisters, they'll tell you all about it.

I've always been a night owl - awake at all hours of the night - I always found that I was more productive and even more alert in those late night/early morning hours. However, somewhere along the line life happened and I became a mother with a full time job Monday through Friday, and I was totally robbed of my favorite time of day. (Or, rather, favorite time of night) Being wide awake at 3 am is a laughable concept to me know - and being productive at 3 am? Forget about it. I know myself well enough to know that if I were awake at 3 am I'd probably be more pissed off at myself than anything because of the precious hours of sleep that I know I'm missing out on.

Growing up is fun you guys, really. So much fun. Bills and bedtimes and responsibilities. What's not to like?

Anyways, the point of all of this is I needed to find a way to get my "me time" back without sacrificing sleep because sleep is, after all, one of the KEY elements of happiness. Am I right? If you're a mom, no need to answer. This is why it's recently become a priority of mine to make time for myself in the morning. Waking up an hour earlier just to get in a little "me time" before Evelyn is up and running around destroying my clean house (her favorite activity, by far) is the best motivation to get out of bed - even if it is at an ungodly hour by general standards.

One of my main goals for 2015 is to be more intentional with my time. What better way to start than by being more intentional about starting my day in the best way possible? There's just something about the serenity and stillness of mornings. It's absolutely beautiful. To be able to sit down with oneself, coffee in hand, and think about whatever crosses your mind without any distractions. For me, this feels like such a luxury. I feel like it's also been helping me keep my sanity after the crazy year that I've had and the new worries and stresses that have been added to my plate as a single mom. Life can get pretty nasty and likes to throw curve balls at you and honestly, she can be such a bitch sometimes. But alone time + reflection and a good cup of coffee seems to be a pretty great remedy. For now anyway.

This new-found rehab time of sorts has also inspired a new project that I'd like to pursue over the next year or so. Not to be annoyingly vague about it but there will be more on this little project soon enough.  ;)


Until next time.

Olivia

Pumpkin Patch: Fall 2014 + Jaimie Ann Photography

Nov 6, 2014


This post is going to be pretty much about the photos and moments captured by the amazingly talented  Jaimie Ann Photography but here's a quick recap of the day :)

This was just such a fun family day that happened a few weeks ago. Procrastinator much? Absolutely. But anyways, it was very last minute as we decided to go the night before but it actually worked out great! I'm so glad we all got to spend the day together. I don't get to see my sister as often as I'd like so I'm so glad her and Evelyn got to spend some quality time together. And I was super excited when my best friend told me she wanted to come too so she could get some pictures of Evelyn at the pumpkin patch.... um you seriously have to ask? PLEASE come! Not to mention Evelyn totally loves her aunt Jaimie and we always have fun when we're together. Win-Win.

To the Guy Who Cheated

Nov 4, 2014



She loves you ya know. No, not the girl that you sneak around with in the dark. I'm talking about the one who's waiting for you at home. The one who's been there for you through thick and thin for however long. The one who has been trying so hard to make you happy and give you what you want and need. She trusts you.

And yet, there you go - with that other girl. The one you've been hiding and sneaking around with. The one who you've bluntly denied when asked who you're always texting, saying that it's some friend that the one who loves you has never met and you throw some random guy's name at her so she won't think anything of it.

But she's already suspicious of you.

She knows something's up.

You started a new job and suddenly have new friends. She thinks that's wonderful! When can she meet them? Never. Working night shift, they're all asleep during the day, or so you say,  so she'll probably never see these so called friends. "Sorry" you tell her. Maybe one day.

You are a liar.

And she knows it. She may not have physical proof yet, but she knows. Woman's intuition, you know. Women know everything. And if we don't yet, we will soon. Bet on it.

And yet you think you're getting away with it. So you continue doing what you're doing. You continue seeing this other woman while you're at work. Even make breakfast dates with her since you get off work at 8 am and you know the one who loves you will probably still be asleep. She won't notice if you get home a little late.

But she does notice.

She pretends to be asleep when you get home because she's afraid of confronting you and hearing more lies. She can hardly stand to be around you anymore. Because she knows what's going on. But she denies it. For herself as much as her child. She wants to believe the happy ending is possible. That a family really can stay together and be happy.

Why is happiness so hard to come by? She thinks about this a lot. 

Is it worth it to really call you out? Should she track your phone or is that just crazy? Should she call the number that she knows doesn't belong to the name it's under in your phone? What will she do then, when her suspicions are confirmed?

These thoughts keep her up at night.

Neither of you are happy anymore and she knows it, so she leaves. You act surprised. "What did I do?" You ask. "Why don't you trust me?" You say. "Why are you always starting stuff??" You blame her. Try to put y'all's unhappiness on her, as if she was the one sneaking around and betraying your trust. You're trying to make her look like the bad guy. Like she just decided one day to leave and break up a happy home.

Still you deny her accusations. Until everything she already knew is finally confirmed. You have no way out of it. You've been caught. You try to talk your way out of it. She yells at you.

She leaves. You try to make excuses. Try to convince her of your innocence. But the trust is gone. Completely obliterated. It can never be regained. She knows this.

She's completely heartbroken, because up until that moment, she could still try to deny it to herself. But now she knows just how far the betrayal went. And it's the heaviest burden she's ever had to bear. It's suffocating. And confusing. And exhausting. Emotionally, physically, mentally. She's hurt in every way possible.

How could you be so cruel?

But what she doesn't realize yet is that she came out on top, regardless of how much it hurt. And now it's your turn to suffer. She wont do it to you intentionally because she's better than that. She won't hurt you the way you've hurt her. But now the tides have turned. You want her back? She wants nothing to do with you. You realize now that she was everything you ever wanted but were too blind or young or selfish and you ruined it? That's really too bad...

In the months that follow, she regains her sense of self and finds freedom again. She realizes that she can do anything that she wants and she can do it all without you. And she's happier this way. Yet you still can't let her go. You think about her all too often and you try to talk to her. She still want's nothing to do with you. You buy her gifts and make her promises to try to regain her affection but she is not so naive anymore.

You finally start to realize that the mistakes you made cannot be undone, and for her, they will never be forgotten. You try everything you can possibly think of, to no avail.

You lost her. 

You've taught her a lesson she'll never forget and she's better off because of it; but you aren't. You're the one who cheated. It was fun though right? I'm sure you thought it was worth it at the time. I'd bet you've changed your mind since then though. You know she's happier without you and it kills you. You don't get to see your child or tuck your baby into bed at night any more. How does that feel?

I'd bet it hurts.

But you know what? It's all okay. It was a lesson learned for both of you. She became stronger because of you, and she knows it. She even thanks you for it. And you? Well, hopefully you will learn from your mistakes and do better next time. Or maybe not. It's entirely up to you.

At least she found her happiness. It wasn't in the way she expected, but she did find it.

As for you?


Better luck next time.


xo,

The Woman Who Found Happiness




Weekly Wishes: Vol. 2

Nov 3, 2014


Okay, so last week didn't go quite as planned but I mean really, does anything ever actually go as planned? I think not. It's just life and you gotta roll with the punches and move along. So, here we are. (If you want to check out last weeks goals that I failed at miserably, click here.)

Anyway lets just dive in, shall we? 


  1. This one's rolling over from last week - Publish the post with our pumpkin patch pictures from Jaimie Ann Photography. Really Olivia, get your shit together. 
  2. Knock at least 2 more people off my list for Christmas buying. I've already got quite a few crossed off but my family is ridiculously large. Either way, I am so looking forward to wrapping all the stuff I already have :) I'm trying to put it off a little longer until I actually have a tree to put them under. Only a few more weeks!!
  3. Get Ahead. This is pretty general but I have an ongoing to do list that has had a few things sitting on it for entirely too long. I need to check off at least three of these items this week. 
Hopefully I'll do better this week and stay focused. Hoping everyone has a wonderful Monday!

Olivia



Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Review

Oct 29, 2014


Let me just start out by saying I love this palette! First of all, the packaging itself is just as high quality as the full sized "Naked" Palettes by Urban Decay. It has a very soft and high quality feel on the outside and is made out of thick plastic, making it quite durable. My toddler got a hold of mine and used it as a make-shift bouncy-ball one day and it did absolutely zero damage. The mirror on the inside wasn't broken and not a speck of shadow was out of place. That's a total win in my book - I'm sure all the mom's out there would agree.

Weekly Wishes, Vol. 1

Oct 27, 2014

Hello there! You all know how much I love goal setting so when I came across this particular link-up, I just couldn't resist. There are a few things I'd been thinking about lately that arent on my monthly goals so this seemed like the perfect place to put them! Plus, it's a much shorter time-line to get things done, which turns the pressure up and usually makes me much more productive. I work better under stress, so feel free to hold me to this list !


Volume 1

  1. Unplug once I get home. I need to be so much better about just putting my phone on the counter or leaving it in my purse and just leaving it alone and being present with my daughter. This is the only way to guarantee that I have as much quality time with her as my one and only focus. And even after her bed time, I need to stop staying glued to the thing. A little "me time" to just be with myself and think is much needed. 
  2. Publish the review I wrote on my Urban Decays Naked Basics 2 palette that's been sitting in my drafts since 2 weeks ago. Or, more specifically, finish taking/uploading/editing the pictures for said post. 
  3. Along the same lines ^, finish and publish the post I have written about mine and Evelyn's weekend trip to the pumpkin patch 2 weeks ago. Complete with wonderful family pictures by the very talented, Jaimie Ann Photography
  4. Choose photo from above mentioned Pumpkin Patch visit to have printed and order it! No procrastination! I have a lovely 11x14 photo frame that is already hung on the wall and needs a wonderful picture to replace the one that came with it! (for the record, I find it hilarious that no one that's come over to my house has actually noticed that the picture inside the frame is the one from the store)
  5. Have a successful Halloween of course! I'm praying that Evelyn has gotten over being scared of her Halloween costume by the time Friday rolls around. (It's an owl costume - shes extremely upset about the talons that cover up her feet. Poor thing) Wish me luck!
And that's it for this week!


Olivia




Feel free to click the button below and check out what other bloggers have going on over the next few days!





October 25th.

Oct 24, 2014

Tomorrow (October 25th) is my cousin's would-be 23rd birthday. It seems like this date sneaks up on me every year and then everything floods back into my mind about Ally and what happened 12 years ago. 12 years. Just typing that seems strange to me. Has it really been that long? It doesn't seem possible that it's been over a decade since I've seen her or talked to her but here we are. On the eve of a day that should be celebrated, yet I know all too well that instead I'll be bringing balloons and flowers to a gravestone up next to the tree line in Cassville Cemetery. I can feel the lump in my throat now just thinking about it.

A Peek Into My Life

I know I've been absolutely awful about my repeated absences here on the blog for the past couple of months so as an explanation for said disappearances, I just thought I'd give a little rundown of how my days/weeks have been going since I started my new job at the end of May. (And apparently run-on sentences are my new forte.) It's been a total whirlwind, I can assure you and honestly, they all pretty much run together now. I guess that's what happens when you have a full time job and a toddler. Life starts racing past you before you ever have the chance to catch up.



Just to give you a bit of perspective though here is a typical workday for me:


6 am - Alarm goes off every 5 minutes until I finally stop hitting snooze around 6:30 and it's time to face reality and start the day.


6:30 - 7:30 - Shower, cup of coffee (if I'm lucky and not running late then I treat myself to 2), hair, makeup, take the dog out, finish up any last second chores before I go to work - i.e. throw laundry in the dryer, empty dishwasher, etc.


7:30-8  - Get Evelyn up and ready to go to her grandma's house while mommy's at work (diaper bag packed, cup of juice in hand, and shoes and jacket on)

8:15(ish) - Leave for work, drop Evelyn off at Grandma's, stop by QT for another coffee and a morning croissant

9-5:30 - Work

6 pm - pick Evelyn up and either head home or run some very fast last minute errand that I wasn't able to get done on my 30 minute lunch break
+ Once we're home I spend as much time with Evelyn as possible playing or cooking dinner before...

7-7:30 - Time for Evelyn's bath and story time before bed.

8 - Clean up any leftover mess from dinner/playtime. Throw laundry in the washer, put dishes in dishwasher, and finish up any other to-dos for the day

9-10-11 This will usually vary every night depending on exactly how many to-do's I still need to get done but I can sometimes squeeze in a half hour or so of Netflix and maybe 20 minutes or so of social media (FB, Insta, Pinterest, Etc) and then it's off to bed, only to start the entire process over tomorrow.

Repeat x 5


Now, weekends are a little different. They are my saving grace when it comes to keeping my mama sanity. This is the time that the "busy" is actually involving all the stuff that I want to do with my daughter and it's what makes me happy and gets me through the upcoming week of very little mother/daughter time. (See above ^) 



My weekends generally consist of at least one visit to varying family member's houses. It's really important to me that Evelyn get in as much family time with the extended family as she can. I, for one, grew up with all of my cousins as if they were sisters and I absolutely loved the feeling of having so many people around me who I was so close to. I want the same things for Evelyn, especially considering she is an only child and probably will remain so. 

These two days are also the time I get to do any outings that I've been wanting to do with Evelyn that we don't have time for during the week. For example, the past few weekends Evelyn and I have been to 2 Pumpkin Patches, visited Nana's house and also fit in a couple of visits to my mom's house in addition to a few park visits on the days that the weather cooperates (she loves the swings!).

Easily, I usually stay just as busy on the weekends as I do during the week. The difference is that it's much less scheduled and much more "if it fits into mine and Evelyn's day without making me feel like I'm going crazy then I'll do it and if it doesn't then so be it". Know what I mean? No? Ah, well, that's okay. It makes sense to me and that's really all that matters. 

And that, my friends, has been my life lately.

Olivia



P.S. - Feel free to toss any time management tips my way because I will be the first to admit, my time management skills are absolutely atrocious. Thanks in advance!



Proper Office Etiquette: The Do's and Don'ts of Business Attire

Oct 23, 2014

I, like so many others, have an office job where I work at a computer 90% of my day. The dress code is considered "business casual" and honestly may even be a little more relaxed than that. I recently came across an info-graphic about business casual "do's" and "don't's" and it struck a bit of a cord with me and made me think (maybe a little too much) about how seriously I take my job and how I'm portrayed to my boss and co-workers. It also got me thinking that maybe I need to change (or let's just say tweak a bit for now) my general routine and address that nasty topic of time management and how I suck at it. i.e. Check the second bullet point down there about the wet hair thing. It could totally be avoided if I managed my time better. 

Let me first just say I LOVE my job. I love where I work, the people that I work with everyday, and what I do. Plus, the pay isn't too shabby either ;). However, because I work at a family owned and family run company, I feel like sometimes I don't take my job seriously enough - and mainly in the way that I dress and come into work. Now, usually I dress business casual no matter what. I have had several jobs where this is the dress code so I'm comfortable in slacks and blouses and close-toed shoes - ya know, the general wardrobe you'd picture when you think of office settings. That is perfectly fine with me! In fact I might even go so far as to say that I like to dress this way. It's empowering in a way to dress nicely for a purpose.
I'm a female, I like to get dressed up from time to time. What?

However, it's also tempting that wearing jeans to work is perfectly acceptable on a day to day basis. (I know, even I'm not used to this little luxury yet) I do try to keep it down to one (okay maybe two) day a week at most that I'll come to work as a casual jeans and sweater day but it can certainly be hard sometimes to choose slacks over my comfiest jeans. After all I am sitting in an office for the majority of my day... if I can do that as comfortably as possible then why not? But no! This is where the info-graphic comes in. If I'm dressing down all the time and only looking the part of any other bum on the streets then what kind of impression am I really making? My quality of work isn't the only thing that they're going to look at when it comes time for promotions or raises, etc. I know as well as anyone that appearance matters. 

Because of this and my desire to take myself and my amazing job (seriously how did I get so lucky?) more seriously and nip any slacking on my part right in the bud, I've made my own list of bad habits that I need to break. So, thanks, info-graphic, for bringing this to my attention. Preeesh. 

Areas Of Improvement


+ Stop wearing jeans to work Olivia. Just stop it altogether. Except maybe on Fridays. I'll grant myself a casual Friday. Yes. That sounds fine. 

+ Not even bothering to blow dry my hair before work or style it in any way other than a little mousse before I leave the house. I think I took this "bed head" trend and ran way too far with it. 
        *It's getting chilly now anyways and unless I want to spend all winter with a permanent cold, this will have to change very soon. 

+ Showing up without a stitch of makeup on my face. I only work with two other people in my office and this has only happened a handful of times, but still.

+ Chipped nail polish. I am the worst offender when it comes to this one. Am I the only one whose nail polish only lasts 2-3 days max without looking like a toddler has been picking pieces of it away as a playtime activity? Seriously though. Why doesn't nail polish last longer??? 



So, for those of you who work in a professional "business casual" environment - or even those of you who don't but feel the need to dress nicely at work regardless - are you guilty of any of the "don'ts" on this list? What are some of your favorite go-to pieces to wear to the office that are comfortable yet professional? I'd love to hear any suggestions or opinions about their idea of the do's and don'ts. Do you agree? Why or why not?



Olivia



Unfortunately I couldn't get the picture any bigger than it is but here is the source for the info-graphic which is also a great article to read that correlates to my blog post a bit ;) 

October Insta-Roundup

Oct 20, 2014


Hello again! 
For those of you who were wondering, I am, indeed, still here. I can't believe I haven't taken the time to post anything the entire month and it's already the 20th! Talk about the epitome of a bad blogger. You know how everyone's on this "Blogtober" kick at the moment? Well, lets just say I'm going against the grain and being a bit of a rebel by doing the exact opposite of blogging every day this month ;) . Ha, but seriously though it has been such a busy month I just haven't found the time to type anything out. (Not anything worthwhile anyway. Kinda like how this post is going so far.) So in order to catch everyone up to speed I thought I'd just do a little Instagram roundup and then we can start fresh tomorrow. 
Sound good? 
Wonderful. 
See you lovelies soon. 
xo



Halloween Costume FAIL. 


Mommy's little budding photographer ;)









And now that we're finally all caught up, stick around for a bit because I'll be featuring all of the amazing shots that my good friend Jaimie from Jaimie Ann Photography captured during our family day at the pumpkin patch last Saturday! 





Oh, and just one last insta-shot. You know I can't leave out the new coffee mug I got a few weeks ago from TJ Maxx. It goes kind of perfectly for my Fall themed coffee flavors of Cinnamon Roll and Pumpkin Spice. Ahh... Fall. <3

Olivia

October Goals: 2014

Oct 2, 2014

I feel like I somehow totally skipped August and September and now here we are and it's October. It's like time is just racing past me while I'm going at a snail's pace trying to keep up. Allow me to be the first to admit - it's not working. Obviously. And I'm going to blame the fact that I couldn't get this post up yesterday on that too. Just so I feel better. 




SO, anyway. I know the calendar technically says "October" which automatically brings lovely visions of red and orange trees, scarves, boots, and over-sized sweaters but that is just not the reality this year in Georgia. It's 85 degrees here today. And every tree I passed on the way to work this morning (a 30 minute drive) was still green. With the occasional yellow/red leaf. Here's to hoping my beautiful vision of Fall will be brought to life sooner rather than later. 

But now that I'm done complaining (or am I?) - let's get to those goals!

Currently: Vol. 2

Sep 25, 2014

I haven't done one of these in a couple of weeks  it's been almost a full month. Oops! (check out my last one here) so I thought I'd go ahead and get back to it. It's amazing how much can change from week to week. I'd like to start doing these posts weekly but we'll see how that goes. I'm trying to ease up on the blogging pressure I put on myself so I make no promises, but maybe I'll have another one for you guys next week ;)





Thinking About:

Goal setting, relationship issues, the fact that my poor baby had to get shots at the doctor this morning, being more dedicated to my blog and certain ideas that have been bouncing around my head for the past few days, my new dishwasher and how awesome it is to have such conveniences, where I'd like to live in 5 years (should I stay in my hometown? Or move only 30 minutes away so I'm still close to family? Or maybe North Carolina, I don't know why but I can't seem to shake the idea of living closer to the mountains...). Seriously? I'm a woman -  I think about a million things at once at all times. If you asked me this again in 5 minutes my answer would probably be different. 

Goal Setting: 2015

Sep 24, 2014


Is it weird that I'm already setting goals for 2015? Shall we call it over-achieving or just being a control freak? Honestly, I'm not even sure yet. Maybe somewhere in the middle of the two? A happy medium, per say? 

Well, whatever you wanna call it - I've already begun setting goals for next year and I'm so excited about it! And I'm not talking about some lame New Year's resolution type of thing, I'm talking about visualizing where I want to be in a year and making action lists that will help me get there. And I am going to get there. I have full confidence in myself for the first time in a long time and I love it. I'm learning to trust myself again and I'm taking baby steps to get to the "bigger picture" that I see for myself and for my daughter. I remind myself every day that she is the reason that I do everything that I do now. What better motivation is there than your own child(ren)?


A huge part of this is getting my finances in order and settling debts. I've already begun working on this and though my progress is minimal as of yet, it is still progress and I'll take it proudly. I know for a fact that sometime in the next five years I want to be able to purchase a house for my daughter and I, and I also know that you can't do that until you have a very good credit score and a decent income. (For the house I'd like to be able to afford anyway. What? I'm picky and I know what I want. Sue me.)  



Another part of this is getting back into traveling. It's been a huge dream of mine since I was a little kid to be able to "see the world". You know, explore new places, meet new people, have new experiences. What better way is there to get the most out of life? I don't want to feel limited in any aspect of my life and I also don't want to regret later in life not doing things like this while I'm young and have such a desire to do so. Plus, I hope to be able to share my love of travel with my daughter, so I'd really like to introduce her young. Now, I'm not talking about going on a tour of Europe or anything too crazy (yet) but I'd love to visit some of the nearby cities with her like Charleston or Savannah on the coast or Asheville to give her a taste of the mountains. Like I said... baby steps. 


There are also many other areas I'd like to improve upon in the next year for my own personal growth and well-being. The main focus for me will be improving my general skill set, both for work and for everyday life. I wont bore you with all of them but a few at the top are learning to use my DSLR to it's fullest potential and, in turn, doing the same with Lightroom. Plus enhancing certain job-related skills such excel and time management. Honestly, I think it would be great for me if I just focused all of my energies on time management because I completely suck at it but I'm practical enough to know that I would get bored with it very quickly. And I repeat... baby steps people. 

So tell me, are you the kind of excessive planner that starts making goals for next year in September like me? Or could you just totally care less? This being the first year that such a thing has occurred to me to do for myself, I'm really curious how others go about goal setting and actually accomplishing those goals. Any feedback would be wonderful!




xo Olivia

Mornings

Sep 18, 2014

And this is the hardest part of my day - because I have to leave her every morning.



How Renting Takes Away Your Individuality - And How To Fix It

Sep 17, 2014

I'm just going to get straight to the point here - sometimes renting really stinks. Don't get me wrong, certain aspects of it are wonderful like not ever having to mow your own lawn. Or do any general home maintenance like fixing leaky pipes or a broken air conditioner. All of that stuff is very convenient and definitely a perk to renting vs owning. My main issue with living in rentals for the past 3 years - the MAJOR limitations when it comes to customizing a space to make it your own.


Everyone wants to come home to their own space that says "Welcome home (insert name here)!" Right?? It's not so fun to come home to a place and being unsure if this is really your unit or did the lady next door leave her door unlocked and you stumbled into her place by accident. I mean, they all look the same right? Same layout, same paint color, same general appliances... you get the picture. Living in a rental is an easy way to throw any home 'character' right out the window.


{Unless of course you live in a rental house in a charming woodsy setting that was built in the early 1900's and has since been remodeled with modern conveniences and window seats. In which case, I am beyond jealous and your life must be near perfect.}

So, moving on. 

Weekend Re-Cap In Photos

Sep 15, 2014

I just thought I'd do a little weekend re-cap in snap shot form! I know I've been neglecting my blog for the past week or so but I promise there is an explanation! I will be back shortly to explain and play a little catch-up but until then, I leave you with this: 



Mother-Daughter Photo Shoot Inspiration

Sep 10, 2014

I've been really wanting to do a mother-daughter photo shoot with Evelyn lately and just haven't had the chance to arrange it yet, so this is me trying to organize my thoughts. (It's also part of my September Goals!)My friend Jaimie has told me she'd be more than happy to work with us, we just need to bounce some ideas around to get an idea of the setup and location we want. Since I've found so many gorgeous mother-daughter (or son in some cases) pictures through my extensive Pinterest search (I mean really what greater resource is there? I don't even bother with Google anymore!) I decided some of them were too good not to share. Plus this will help me organize my ideas for my own photo shoot! Let the inspiration begin!



{All links are provided by either clicking the photos or the print below each photo}



Easy Like A Sunday Morning

Sep 7, 2014

There's just something so magical about the ease and calm of a Sunday morning, isn't there? 
Why can't every day be like Sunday? 

Now that I work full time Sunday has become my favorite day of the week. And this morning Evelyn actually let me sleep in and she's still sleeping. And with Luis having his military training this weekend that means I got to wake up and lay in bed for as long as I wanted before coming downstairs to make my morning cup of coffee. Ahhh, so relaxing. I've been loving every minute of it. :) So I thought I'd take a few pictures to show you what a Sunday morning really looks like around my house. (before the baby wakes up anyways - after is a whole other story.) 

Meet Kingsley! Our Newest Addition

Sep 5, 2014


We welcomed this little cutie pie ^ into the family last weekend! August 30th to be exact. We tossed around a bunch of names most of the weekend and eventually settled on Kingsley {you know, from Harry Potter} He may be somewhat little now but this guy is going to get to an impressive size if paws really are an indicator of that. Plus, hes extremely solid. This little guy probably weighs at least 35 lbs already. He definitely beats Evelyn in the weight department although right now they are both about the same size. It's adorable. :)

September Goals!

Sep 3, 2014

Okay, I know we're already a few days into September but hey, it was a holiday weekend you guys, cut me some slack. Plus, I've actually had these written down in a notebook for at least a week, so that counts as being prepared at least, right?

Either way. I am so excited for September! I know I can't be the only one.... only 19 days until it is officially Fall! On the calendar at least. We here in the south live on a bit of a different timetable with the seasons. It's different every year. We just have to kind of twiddle our thumbs and wait for the cooler breezes to start drifting in. 

It always starts with those cool mornings where you just need a cardigan or light jacket but then those mornings still turn into 90 degree afternoons for at least a couple of weeks. And then slowly it starts inching it's way down into the 80's and once it hit's mid-70's - that's when I really start to count the days as "Fall". We've got a little ways to go here in Georgia before we actually make it to the best season of the year but nonetheless, September brings us one step closer :) Ahhh yayyyy!! 



So my goals for September are...:

August Goals: Recap

Aug 29, 2014


I kind of feel like I slacked a little bit this month as I probably only looked back at this post maybe twice to see what my goals were. I know, shame on me! Regardless, here we are now at the end of the month {I can't believe this - I swear I just wrote my goal's post yesterday - is it just me or did this month completely fly by?} and it's time to assess the damage. So what did I actually accomplish this month? Let's compare:

Currently: Vol. 1

Aug 27, 2014




I've been seeing these lovely little mini questionnaires all over the place in the blog world lately and decided to give it a go. Because, why not? 



Thinking About:
Setting big goals. I'm a natural planner and list maker. A few big things that are on my list to accomplish in say, the next 6 months or so, would include: Paying every single bill ON TIME! {even that pesky water bill that I always seem to forget about somehow}, get a new puppy/dog {see here}, invest in a DSLR {this one is a biggie!}, work on my time management skills to make more time for my family {both at home and extended}. Honestly it seems like this is the type of thing that's always taking up the most space in my mind on a day to day basis: bettering myself. I've come to a point in my life where I know how much certain things matter and I've realized how much certain things really don't. I'm prioritizing to my best ability... I think I'm doing okay so far. Of course, there's always room for improvement though. ;)

Early Fall: Outfit Love

Aug 22, 2014

Okay guys, here it is: my very first attempt at an "OOTD" post! Only because I really liked my outfit yesterday. And because I was left unattended at work most of the day and there just happens to be a really pretty brick wall on the side of our building that's shaded. Coincidence or fate? I'll let you be the judge. ;)

Now, it may not actually feel like Fall yet in the South (it was like 96 degrees yesterday 0.0) but I'm ready to bring out my Fall wardrobe so I'm taking baby-steps. Plus its like 50 degrees in my office at all times so I can totally justify the scarf (and the oversized sweater I keep at my desk and wear almost daily - not pictured). 

So anyways, here we are with my totally last minute thrown together pre-Fall look for the office! 
{were there enough adjectives in there or should I have kept going? ;) }


Wantable Accessories Box Review: August 2014

Aug 18, 2014

Okay guys, I'm super excited about this blog post topic! So, I got my first Wantable box in the mail this weekend and let me tell you - I AM IN LOVE! I'm already addicted and can't wait for next month's box. How pathetic am I? But that's just how much I loved all of the fun stuff that I got - all of which was picked out just for me! Who wouldn't love to have their own personal stylist online who sends them stuff in the mail? I mean really? Talk about an amazing concept. 





If you've never heard of a Wantable box before or are just intrigued, as I was, about this interesting new concept of retail subscription box full of goodies being delivered to your door - like any ordinary magazine would be - then here's a quick breakdown for you:

Then and Now: Happy Birthday To Me!

Aug 15, 2014



In honor of my birthday month, I've decided to take a quick look back at how myself {and my life in general} have changed since this time last year. So, of course I made a couple of lists. How could I not? :)



The girl who was freshly 21 ^

- Brand new mommy, which means I was completely lost, confused, overwhelmed. I didn't know up from down at this point. And unfortunately for me it was NOT because I was heavily drinking the entire week like all of the other 21 year old's I know. I was in full on new mommy mode still adapting to my 2 month old and living on very little to no sleep.

- My first legal drink in a restaurant was with my Nana. Love her!

- Involved in a miserable relationship that was totally falling apart. Or was never really wonderful to begin with, depending on who you ask. 

- Pretty sure I was living with my cousin and her 3 kids at the time. (The first three months of Evelyn's life is such a blur - I honestly cant remember.)

- Feelings of inadequacy pretty much ruled my day.

- Unemployed

- Not much of a social circle other than family. A lot of this was my own fault.

I know this sounds like a pity party and I'm honestly trying to think of something positive to say about this time in my life but I can only think of one - Evelyn. Nothing else was going very well for me at the time.

SO! Moving on...




The girl who is about to be 22 ^

- Awesome job that pays well with great co-workers. AND it's full time. Need I say more?

- An absolutely beautiful toddler who refuses to let our day go by without a million and one laughs and smiles and kisses. I can assure you, there are plenty of these to go around at my house. :)

- Still not much of a social circle, but I'm much more okay with this now. If you didn't care enough to keep in touch after I had Evelyn, YOUR loss. I don't need you. 

- I feel like I've finally found my independence again, and it's absolutely lovely. 


I know I've come a very long way from where I was and the person I was this time last year. Like, I'm talking night and day here. And I'd like to think that Evelyn had everything to do with the fact that I'm on the brighter side of life now. Before she arrived and turned my world upside down, I had absolutely no purpose. There was no plan. I was a drifter in life. One of those 'take everything as it comes and roll with the punches' kind of  people. Now, if I don't like something, I will not hesitate to change it because I know what's best for my daughter and I. And if someone or some situation is not in our best interest, then he/she/it has got to go. And that change of attitude has been absolutely amazing and so very freeing for me. I feel like a completely new person, and that, to me, is such a beautiful thing. 



* The second picture up there is of my beautiful mother and I a few weeks ago. She has so much to do with where I am today too and how far I've come. I couldn't even begin to imagine my life without her and I know I could never thank her enough for everything she does for me and my baby girl. I know everyone says this, but I really was blessed with the most beautiful and loving mother in the world! 
I love you mom! <3



xo Olivia



New Dog? Yes, Please

Aug 7, 2014

Eden <3

I don't know why exactly, but I have been REALLY wanting to adopt a dog for the past few months. It's like a craving that wont go away. I've done all the research, visited shelters, "window shopped" adoptable dogs online and nothing seems to satiate my want for a dog. I'm not sure if it's because I still haven't gotten over having to give up my "first born" Eden almost a year ago, or if I'm beginning to feel the heat of baby fever again and feel the need to get a puppy rather than having another child. (For the record, this is absolutely not going to happen for at least a few more years) I just don't know what the deal is, but I cannot stop thinking about adopting a dog! (Or buying my own home; but that's a whole other issue for another day)

I know it's also partly because I don't feel quite complete without a dog in my family. I've always had a dog (sometimes multiple dogs) ever since I was a baby. Living on my own and not having a loving pet to come home to just doesn't feel right to me. Something is missing. 

I'd go out and adopt a dog/pup right now if I could but there are just a few things holding me back... 


First: 

I don't have the minimum $200 extra to spend on adoption fees, dog food, vet visits, etc. at the moment. Although I have been slowly saving for when the time comes. 


Second: 

I'm holding out for just the right one. I know exactly what I want and haven't found it yet. (Actually I have, a couple of times. But the perfect dog(s) I found was a Pit Bull which my townhouse will not allow. Damn you social media for giving such a beautiful and loving breed such a very very bad public image.)


Third: 

I have mixed feelings about waiting until Evelyn is older and I wont have to worry about a dog knocking her over on accident; or, getting Evelyn a dog while shes young and allowing them to grow up together. She already absolutely adores animals - every time she sees any of my family members' dogs, she immediately locks them in a gentle bear hug with her arms around their neck and gives their nose kisses. She freaking loves dogs. 

So, basically this leaves me scouring craigslist for anyone needing to give up their loving family dog whos still young, good with kids, and house trained. And if that fails, hopefully it wont take me too long to save up the money for adoption and I can expand my search area a little and add more options to choose. The main breed I've caught myself looking at is a Boxer. I'm not sure if it's the fact that every one of them I've met has had a similar loving and playful personality to that of my beloved Pit Bulls (but with a less aggressive namesake) or if I just have a natural affinity to them but as of now, that seems to be what I'm leaning towards. I'm certainly open to suggestions though if you have any. :)


xx Olivia


Me and my "first born" Eden back in high school. And yes, she slept in the bed with me. What?


Family Day In Atlanta: Little 5 Points

Aug 5, 2014



So I think I deserve a pat on the back you guys. I FINALLY got my homebody-never-wants-to-try-anything-new boyfriend (whom I love so very much, regardless) out of the house this weekend! YESSS. Score 1 for Olivia and my August Goals - starting this month off with a bang! Always a good sign.. ;)

Goal #2 - GET OUT OF THE HOUSE.

(I'm still not quite done with this one yet though, we've still got a whole month ahead of us, and I have at least 4 more outings planned still!)


The original plan for our day involved going to Atlantic Station for a full day of shopping, food, and maybe a little playing at the park they have there for Evelyn. Well, that plan got nixed pretty quickly once we got there. We made the mistake of going on a Saturday, right before the local schools start back, and oh, did I mention - it was also Georgia's tax free weekend. Oh yeah, brilliant idea Olivia, lets go spend a leisurely day of shopping in Atlanta on the #1 guaranteed BUSIEST SHOPPING WEEKEND OF THE SUMMER. Yep, I definitely didn't think that one through. And from the time we parked the car (and then proceeded to get lost in the parking deck trying to find an elevator to take Evelyn's stroller up to the street level in) to our first store we ventured into, it didn't take long for Luis to decide he was totally over it. And by "didn't take long" I mean we literally spent maybe 30 minutes total in Atlantic Station - most of which we were busy battling crowds and wandering aimlessly around a parking deck where everything looks exactly the same. (I'm telling you, it was impossible to find anything down there. And I like to think I have a decent sense of direction...for the most part anyways ;)) 

So, once we finally escaped the barbaric school clothes shoppers and the maze-like parking deck fiasco we decided to try someplace we'd both been before, and already knew we liked. And off to Little Five Points we went! Now, to be fair, neither of us had been to Little 5 since Evelyn had been born and didnt really consider the fact that most of the shops and stores around there would not be stroller friendly but it was actually a lot of fun still! And, Evelyn got her first pair of baby Toms while we were there too :) 

I realize she looks a bit bow-legged in this picture but I can assure you she is not.
She was in the middle of walking and I caught her mid-step :P
Oh, and those shoes are a size too big for her because if I'm going to be paying $35 for some baby shoes then she is going to wear them as long as possible, dammit. 

Overall it was still a really fun day. WAY better than sitting around the house or staying in the same town we see every other day. Everyone needs a change of scenery from time to time. 


If you keep things the same every single day you'll go insane.  








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