Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Favorites - #NotHappening Edition

I had every intention of sharing a ton of my favorites with you all today, but there just isn't time! I've been moving at morph speed all morning, and it seems likely that I'll continue at that speed the rest of the day. So all of what I had planned for today, shall be shelved until next week. I'm truly learning that I can't do it all, and today I need to give myself some grace. Be back on Monday friends. 

There was a time that I thought it was just an act, a thing. Grace was what you said before a meal or a just-because gift for a friend. Grace showed up in
Thursday, October 19, 2017

Family Photos 2017

This summer, while on our annual family vacation in Surfside Beach, we had our annual family photos taken. My sister & I found a photographer that we fell in love with, we all worked to coordinate our outfits, then a monsoon hit the night our photos were scheduled for. #tragedy The photographer we'd fallen in love with didn't have any room in her schedule to fit us in during the rest of our stay, but thankfully she was able to find another photographer to shoot us. 

Ryan, from One Life Photography, came to our rescue & we shot two days later on a windy but beautiful evening in Myrtle Beach State Park. Shooting three children under the age of five, along with six other adults is no easy task, but I was thrilled with our photos.  

Ella was really killing it with her poses all night long. Maddie absolutely refused to cooperate. And Olivia was being her usual self, a total bulldozer, but somehow managed to be the star of every shot. #gofigure

I love these candid shots that Ryan captured of me with the girls on the beach. We were actually singing Moana while we were walking & I hope I always remember that moment. 

I absolutely adore the shots of all the girls together & with my parents. I am always wishing I had more photos of myself with my grandparents & am so grateful the girls will have these to cherish & remind them of our annual family trips. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Weekend on a Wednesday

Phew... so let me start by telling you that this weekend was fantastic. Then follow that up with, it completely wiped me out & on Monday afternoon I ended up going on four different prescriptions. #woof I was already fighting off a sinus infection, but apparently all of the excitement took its toll & that snowballed into bronchitis, an ear infection & a sinus infection. So if you've been looking for me the past two days, I've likely been struggling to keep my eyes open & not cough all over the people standing next to me. 

Like I said though, this weekend was a good one. On Friday night, we honored our graduating seniors at Senior Night. This is a group that I've always been close to, so I enjoyed giving them the recognition they deserve. 

Saturday morning was exciting because a) I didn't have practice & b) my parents were here! 

Eric headed off to golf with my dad & all of us girls headed off to the mall to do some shopping! We had such a good time together & I'm already missing her. 

Sidenote: I asked Ella to show me a sassy shopping with the girls pose. This is what I got! 

Saturday night we met back up with the guys & headed off to Napa Woodfired Pizza - one of our favorite local restaurants. We filled up on pizza & wood fired wings, then I headed back home to pass out! 

Sunday was an early morning as we headed off to our first competition of the season! I got to wear matching outfits with these girls :) 

... and then we won a really large trophy! 

I was exhausted by that point, so I picked up some Panera on my way home that evening then snuggled up to watch shows with my babies the rest of the night. A truly tiring, yet exciting weekend. 
Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday Friends! It has been a very long short week here at school. Lots of meetings & after school events - including Senior Night tonight. I will likely be a sobbing mess saying goodbye to girls I've coached since they were in 6th grade. But I have so much to look forward to as well because my parents are coming to town! This is the longest we've ever gone without seeing them, so I'm super excited for a day out with my mom tomorrow! 

Today I'm linking up with Andrea to share my Friday Favorites! Enjoy! 

First up, I just can't say enough good things about the new lines that Target has developed! I was really nervous when I read about the shake up, but I really think it's been a positive. Cat & Jack is a HUGE staple in both of the girls' closets & how cute are these boots that I found for them? 

They're like sneakers & boots at the same time! Perfect for New York weather! I'm also totally obsessed with Pillowfort & am using that line in Ella's upcoming big girl bedroom makeover!

My next favorite of the week is the Scholastic Book Fair! I am a huge reader & always have been. I remember how excited I used to get when the book fair came to town - especially because I lived in the middle of nowhere so Barnes & Noble wasn't really an option. Now that I'm a teacher, it's so much fun to see my students get excited too. My favorite book from the book fair...

Thelma the Unicorn - hands down the cutest little story I've read since Uni the Unicorn. And yes, we have a thing for unicorns at our house. But both books are adorable stories about owning who you are & not making any apologies for it. I think that's a lesson little girls need to hear over & over again.  

Wednesdays are always a favorite of mine because they are my "night off" from cheer. I get to pick up Ella from school & take her to dance class. Seeing her in her tutu & tap shoes is always one of my favorites! 

On Monday, Ella broke her new glasses & I was not very happy. So, Eric took them in to see if they could be fixed & #hallelujah - they were  still under warranty! So coming home Thursday night & seeing her little face back in her big girl glasses was a favorite of mine! 

And if the new glasses weren't exciting enough last night, our September book order arrived too! We spent some time snuggled up on the couch together reading, which was exactly what my mama heart needed! I just love watching Ella identify her sight words as we read & listening to Livy try to copy her! 

Have a Happy Friday Everyone! 

 This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Back to Bliss & my little family :)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Our Trip to Waco

Over the summer, Eric & I took a much needed solo trip to Dallas, Texas to visit one of our best friends. I should start by telling you that I am officially in love with Dallas & plan to visit there a hundred more times, but today's post is about the one thing people can't stop asking me about my trip - "How was Waco?" My simple answer - "Amazing." I was just absolutely blown away by the charm of the Silos.

 We went to Waco on a Monday in August & it was not crowded at all. I've heard that it is a mob scene on weekends, so we purposefully went on a Monday. We were able to park close to the Silos & immediately walked right up to take this picture! It was just like Disney, they had a sweet employee standing there to take your picture & welcome you :) 

First, we took some time to wander the grounds & take it all in. I was SO excited & absolutely loved all of the detail that went into creating the Silos. The plants are absolutely gorgeous & there are so many well-planned seating areas surrounding the lawn. We didn't eat at the food trucks because we'd had a late breakfast on the way, but everything smelled wonderful. 

Our next stop was Magnolia Market, which was everything I expected it to be. I wanted to buy it all, but since we were flying, I had to limit myself to a t-shirt... as well as a t-shirt for my mom, my sister, and my mother-in-law - because they were all living vicariously through my visit. If you do want to buy something large, they have a FedEx shipping station available to you right in the store, which I thought was rather brilliant. I got a 20% off coupon code to shop online with when I made my purchase though, so you could definitely order what you want & have it shipped home that way too. 

We spent about another hour lounging on the lawn, playing yard games like corn hole & Yardzee, and relaxing in amazingly comfortable bean bag chairs before we headed to my favorite spot of all... the bakery! 

I will start off by telling you that the bakery is tiny. They must have done some serious camerawork while filming that episode because even though it is beautiful, it is not spacious. For that reason, you wait in a queue outside and they let people in a few at a time. For that reason, you get a little card to fill out when you go in, which keeps things moving quickly. 

We ordered four cupcakes to try - The Shiplap, The Classic, The Silobration, and a Peaches 'n Cream. My favorite was The Classic, which is what I'm eating (for lunch) in the picture below. I honestly wasn't expecting to be blown away by the cupcakes, but I have to say they were REALLY good. They reminded me a lot of Sprinkles cupcakes, which I'm a big fan of as well. 

We left The Silos around noon & ventured off to explore some other boutiques. I absolutely LOVED The Foundry. It was a wonderful cross between Pottery Barn & Anthropologie. Living in Waco would truly be a designers dream. The Foundry is within walking distance of The Silos, but other than that we didn't feel like there was a lot else we could have walked to. There is a little trolley that you can take around the city, but we decided to drive ourselves. Waco was very easy to navigate & not at all crowded on a Monday afternoon. I will warn you though, there were some places that I'd see & want to go in, but they were closed on Mondays, so do your research :) Our friend that we were visiting also would like me to let you know that The Silos are closed on Sundays, which he learned the hard way when he tried to take his mom to visit. 

Our final stop in the city was Spice Village. The best way I can describe this shop is browsing Etsy in person. There are such adorable, eclectic pieces in home goods, clothing, toys, and other odds and ends. We spent over an hour just browsing & Eric really enjoyed it there too. Definitely a spot I'd recommend if you're in Waco. 

If we had actually stayed in Waco & hadn't been driving back to Dallas that same day, we probably would have gone to Harp & Co, as well as to the Magnolia House. I've also heard that you can do an unofficial driving tour of Fixer Upper houses, but I think I'd feel just a little creepy rolling up to a house someone actually lives in! 

So that's my little day in Waco! Such a fun item to check off my bucket list, especially now that I know Fixer Upper is coming to an end. I'm so glad I made the trip. 
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Consignment 101

I have been consigning my clothes, along with my kids' clothes - for over 5 years now. Bags & bags of clothing have resulted in cleaner closets & a whole lot of extra spending cash.

If you don't know what consignment means, it's basically like selling something on E-Bay, except you drop the stuff off at a store & receive cash on the spot. I've been doing this for over 5 years now, and it's a great way to clean out your closet & get the cash to restock it at the same time! I've learned a lot about the process over the years, so I thought I'd share with you a few helpful tips. 

1 - Find a Store

Consignment is catching on (hello, Mackelmore even wrote a song about it) - so you have options. Get online & check out what stores are in your area. In Rochester, we have quite a few locally owned places, as well as franchise options like Once Upon a Child, Clothes Mentor, and Plato's Closet. I typically frequent the three I just mentioned, as they have a quick turn around time for sorting your items. They're pretty strict with their policies, but you learn what to expect. When I first started selling though, I went to a locally owned store in Eric's hometown. She was more lenient with her buys & you could usually talk her into taking a few more things that she'd originally planned. 

There are also a ton of online options to choose from now. My favorites include Tradesy, Poshmark, & Mercari. The nice thing about online consignment is that you can set your own prices. The bad part - shipping. So while I love these sites, I've also gotten away from them when I have larger hauls to part with. My BFF Jackquelyn is the exact opposite though & totally prefers these sites over hauling bags to the store. So it's definitely personal preference! 

2 - Know the Policies 

Like I just said, most store have strict policies. These policies dictate what they will and will not take. For instance, many store limit the brands that they accept. Many also limit what types of items they will accept. Some of it is common sense - no one wants your dirty underwear. Others might surprise you, especially if you think you're going to fetch top dollar for a Coach purse - many stores won't accept designer items because of authenticity issues. I recommend visiting the store's website ahead of time & familiarizing yourself with their policies, that way you don't waste your time lugging items back and forth to the store. 

If the store has a brand policy, stick to it. I know that Clothes Mentor will accept Ann Taylor, but Plato's Closet won't. It all has to do with the clientele that the store caters to. Plato's Closet is for teens/young adults. Clothes Mentor is for grown women with professional jobs. Don't take your mini skirts to Clothes Mentor and don't take your pinstripe slacks to Plato's Closet. If you stick to the stores brand policy, you'll save yourself time & rejection. When I sorted this week, I made two piles and categorized my clothes according to where they best fit. I have to say, I was pretty successful too and only had a few items rejected. It may have taken a bit more time to drop off at two stores, but it made me a few extra bucks. 

When selling Ella & Olivia's clothes, I've found that brand is definitely important. Expensive boutique items might be appealing to you, but many stores will give you next to nothing - if they even take them in the first place. I totally suggest selling those online where you have an informed audience. In store, I've been most successful with GapKids, Gymboree, Janie & Jack, and Old Navy. 

3 - Quality Matters

Consignment is not the Salvo - they have high standards. Because of this, I recommend taking your time sorting your items. You want to check for stains, rips and pilling. The employees are thorough when they check the items, so don't think that you'll slip something by them. They always find something that I missed - and I am careful when I sort! 

4 - Accept That They Won't Take Everything 

Remember that you are getting rid of these items for a reason, so don't expect them to take everything that you're offering. I've never had a buy that didn't result in a trip to Salvo afterwards. The store knows what they can sell and will stick to their guns. Don't get offended, just be happy that you made some extra cash with items that you would've otherwise sent to Goodwill. I've seen some people get really angry with the workers and try to argue the worth of every single piece that was rejected - don't waste your time (or the people waiting behind you's time) - it won't work. 

5 - Do It Once a Season

Once you become familiar with consignment, it's worth going once a season. Not only does it help you clean out your closet, you'll also get the most for your money this way. The less outdated an item is, the more you get for it. If you're selling your children's clothing, I recommend going after every size is outgrown. 

6 - Don't Sell Everyting

Yes, cash is awesome. However, remember that some items will remain in style for years to come. Be sure to evaluate if you're really done with something, or if you're just itching for cash to buy something new. I can speak from experience that you might regret a thing or two if you act too hastily. 

When selling kid's clothing, make sure you won't need it again. I'm holding off on most of Ella's clothes because I know that Livy will be able to wear them in a couple years. I try to only sell things that she never wore or were impractical for her lifestyle. You get a lot of extra stuff at baby showers & as gifts. If it doesn't fit your style the first time around, it probably won't the second time either. Those are the things that I have gotten rid of. Now that Livy is outgrowing things, and I'm sure we aren't having any more kids, I let my sister go through the bags & take what she wants for Madigan, then try to sell everything else. Same goes for toys! 
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Weekend Recap - Homecoming, Columbus Day, & Lots of Sweatpants

I had such high hopes for this weekend. I was planning on a date night, a successful homecoming parade, busting through a million tasks while the kids were gone Saturday night then spending our day off Monday at the pumpkin patch. Nope. Not what happened at all. Here's the real scoop...

Friday started off very early because my school was featured on Friday Morning Lights! This is a feature on our local news & it's the second time that we've participated. It's a lot of fun to show off our teams & programs to the rest of the city, but being at school by 5:45 AM is rough. Our girls did awesome though, so it was worth the early wake up call. 

As soon as we finished up with the news, I hightailed it to the other side of the building for conference day. We had an amazing speaker named George Couros. His book - The Innovator's Mindset - is one of my favorite educational reads ever & he did not disappoint as a speaker either. My major takeaway from the day... 

The rest of Friday was spent in meetings & it became increasingly apparent that I wasn't just suffering from an early wake up call. I was sick. So... I did some schedule rearranging, got some meds, & headed straight home after school on Friday. My mother-in-law picked up the girls for the weekend around 6. All I wanted at that point was to go to bed, but we already had plans to go out to dinner, so I decided to suck it up in the name of love. I'm glad I did because the food was delicious & I rarely get to spend time having actual conversations with Eric these days. Once we got home though... it was time for bed. 

Saturday morning, I got right up & headed to Homecoming. We had a cheerleading brunch then decorated our float for the parade. 

I've been with this group of girls for a long time & am going to miss them very much when they graduate this year. Well, they surprised me with this banner that they made years ago while we were decorating the float. There may have been tears. Love them so much. 

After the parade, it was time for the game. We have all of our cheerleading squads on the sideline for Homecoming, so it was a bit crazy. It all turned out great though & our football team even pulled off an amazing victory! 

I was completely wiped out after the game, so I headed straight home & was asleep by 8 PM. #wildsaturdaynight It must have been exactly what my body needed though because I woke up feeling much better on Sunday! 

Since I was still home alone, I headed off to Target & Wegmans to run some errands. 

GIVEAWAY!  TWO gift baskets of our Target Spring collection are up for grabs! We'll be selecting 2 winners at random, 1 boy and 1 girl. Prize valued at $150 each! Check our Instagram @BurtsBeesBaby for all the details on how to take part! Good luck!

Moms know what I'm talking about. Solo trip to Target & the grocery store? It was like a vacation. As always... I ended up spending money on my kids & my classroom. #typical

Eric got home with the girls just in time for the Bills game. I had tacos ready for the girls & then we all settled into what turned into 36 hours of sweatpants. No kidding. 

their outfits of choice for the afternoon...

We woke up Monday to an absolute downpour, so we scrapped all of our festive pumpkin patch plans & stayed home instead. Just lots of lounging, coloring, and Netflix watching. Around 1:30, this little nugget showed up to the party! 

My brother - in - law had to head out of town for a work trip, so we watched Madigan all afternoon! Then Britt came over after work for dinner, which I have zero pictures of because we were in total survival mode. Spaghetti sauce + kids = trouble. Despite the chaos, it was the perfect end to our long weeekend! Sister time, eggplant parm, and sweatpants. 

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