Weekend Look-Back + A GIVEAWAY

Monday, January 30, 2017
This weekend was so much fun, and I'm sad to see it go. When's the next three-day weekend?? Saturday morning was kicked off with some fresh squeezed apple juice. Husband scored a juicer (that I've been wanting forever) on a MAJOR deal. And we've been juicing apples ever since. There is nothing like fresh apple juice, friends! Of course, there was coffee too, fresh flowers that had bloomed the day before, and baby snuggles. 

While husband was putting Greer down for her morning nap, I snuck out to meet my mom and sister for Starbucks and mani/pedis. We were rounding out my birthday celebrations relaxed, with a fresh coat of polish. Since Valentine's is coming up, and I'm already dreaming of spring, I went with two shades of pink. The day ended with pizza, a chick flick, and face masks....husband may or may not have joined in :) 

Now for some photos of my weekend. Oh, and yes, find the sweet giveaway at the bottom! Are you curious what's up for grabs?? You should be!

^^ I love me some baby bedhead. I don't know that there is anything quite so cute. ^^

^^ See that gallery wall to the right? I'll be sharing how I put it together and all of the sources later this week. I am crazy how it turned out! ^^ 

And (below), I've been taking turns burning all of my Twine & Cotton Classic Collection candles. On Saturday it was all about Carriage House. 

Peplum tops and cozy slippers are my jam these days. And so is pink, which is weird because I've never loved pink like I have since becoming a girl mom. 

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY! On my birthday, this beautiful sign arrived on my doorstep. If you follow me on IG, you might have seen my Insta Stories about where to hang the sign. I deliberated between my dining room and foyer. Ultimately, my dining room won out!

Jessica from Par la Grace is behind the craftsmanship, and she's partnering with me for a lovely giveaway. She'll be giving a $40 credit to her Etsy Shop. Check out her assortment of signs and enter the giveaway below! 

This giveaway will end on Thursday at 10 AM. And the winner will be announced on Friday. 

p.s. I'm gearing up to do some vlogging and videos on my Youtube channel! I'm really excited about this and hope you are too! Husband will be joining me for some videos where we chat about life. Other videos will include tutorials, home tours, product testing/reviews, and the likes.  If there are any topics you would want me to cover or questions you have for me and/or husband leave it in the comments below!

**affiliate links were used in this post

Friday Favorites

Friday, January 27, 2017
Happy Friday!! It has been a pretty lovely week around here, and I'm so excited for the weekend! There are more birthday festivities to be had, some sleeping in (just kidding, I'm a mom and that doesn't exist), fresh squeezed apple juice, and coffee on coffee on coffee!

It's been forever and a day since I shared a Friday Favorites post. And since I have a whole list of new favorites, I wanted to share them with you today.

I have fallen so hard for these glass tumblers. In fact, I have not one, but two of them. I love the Tahoe Khaki and the Sarcelle Teal. They're beautiful, don't condense all over the place, and perfect for any type of beverage. With mine, you can typically find water in one and iced coffee in the other. 

You all know that I love designing and decorating my home. I was sent the loveliest sign on my birthday from Jessica at Par la Grace, and I can't wait to hang it in my home. I'm looking for the perfect place to put it up (dining room vs. foyer). Stay tuned for where it ends up, and for a chance to win your own....**hint, hint**

The Magnolia Story has been such a good and inspiring read for me. Some of my dreams line up with those Joanna shares in the book, and I find it encouraging to read about someone who started from scratch and had success. 

Bows, bows, and more bows! I love when Greer will wear a sweet bow in hair (these days it's a bit of a challenge, though). And I'm so excited for some spring florals. Currently, I'm still having a moment with all things velvet, making this set of bows perfection for springtime.

Ginger jars. I have admired them for years, but never went through with purchasing one. Yesterday, that all changed when I was gifted one for my birthday. I'm in love with it, and I already know I need more :) 

I'm burning a different Twine & Cotton candle every day. I'm so smitten with our classic scents. They are perfect at this time of year when there is no holiday or particular season to be festive with. 

Light pink nail polishes like these! What's your favorite nail polish for this time of year? I've got a mani/pedi tomorrow, and I would love to know some of your nail polish favorites!

And that's just some of my favorites! Stay tuned next week for a post on my newest gallery wall! It's by far my favorite I've put together thus far! xo

**some affiliate links were used in this post

T W E N T Y - S E V E N

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Today I am another year older! I can't believe that I'm now 27 (what?!) and that I have been so fortunate to have had such a lovely and wonderful year bring me to this birthday. So much has changed since this time last year, and it will be so different this time next year. It's been 365 days full of sweetness, joy, challenges, tears, fun, and anticipation. I think this year is going to be just as fabulous if not more so. To celebrate turning 27, I put together a list of 26 things that highlighted being 26-years-old.

  1. I experienced my first year of motherhood.
  2. Husband and I celebrated three years of marriage.
  3. We became homeowners.
  4. In May we modeled for the V9 Issue of Southern Weddings Magazine.
  5. We attended the V9 Launch Party for the magazine in Raleigh, NC.
  6. I chopped all of my hair off (accidentally). It's slowly growing back.
  7. I celebrated my first Mother's Day.
  8. I fell in love with all things velvet. I'm still falling.
  9. Husband and I had an anniversary photo session to celebrate our marriage.
  10. We have been DIY'ing and renovating our new home.
  11. I launched my small business, Twine & Cotton.
  12. I tried a whole handful of new Starbucks drinks.
  13. I no longer got to sleep in on the weekends #parenthood
  14. We dressed up as a Starbucks family for Halloween #gofigure
  15. We celebrated Thanksgiving at the beach with family. 
  16. Finished watching Parenthood (reunion season, please!), caught up with my favorite Gilmore Girls, and fell hard for West Wing.
  17. I tried honing my design style, and I'm closer, but still working on it.
  18. My hardest part of being 26 was losing my sweet Grandmom.
  19. All of my baby's firsts and milestones. Let's be honest, she pretty much made my 26th year :)
  20. I have become more comfortable with my body. #mombod
  21. I felt God more tangibly in my life, which I attribute to parenthood and having even a small inkling of the love He feels for us/His children through the love I feel for my daughter.
  22. I championed breastfeeding and weaning, not without their challenges though.
  23. I sewed lots and lots of pillow covers.
  24. Husband and I tried planting pumpkins (too late in the year), and it failed miserably. This year!
  25. I learned how to make candles.
  26. Husband and I played putt-putt once, and I lost....even after smack talking the entire time...
  27. AND one to grow on...I figured out how to do everything with a baby on my hip :)

p.s. You can find me dining on Mexican cuisine (bring me all the queso!) and eating ice cream cake tonight :)

A Year Of Breastfeeding Pt. 1

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I've been thinking about this post for awhile. And coincidently, almost a month to the date after I finished nursing Greer, today feels like the right time to share my breastfeeding journey. My main purpose in sharing my experience is to encourage other mamas who may be on the fence or just have questions. Going into it myself, I was so hesitant and skeptical. So if that's how you're feeling, you are not alone. Honestly, I was a little weirded out by it, but I talked myself into giving it a try. If my newborn latched easily and it all felt natural to me, then I would pursue breastfeeding. If it didn't, then I wouldn't. I absolutely didn't want to put an expectation on myself to only feel like I had failed if it didn't work out. So I made goals instead of expectations for breastfeeding: 1. Give it a try; 2. If I was successful make it to at least six months.

G E T T I N G    S T A R T E D
Like I said, breastfeeding wasn't a must for me. Because I was unsure about how I would feel about it, I refused to push myself to go forward with nursing if it didn't feel right. I wanted to give it a chance so that I wouldn't regret not trying it for both myself and my baby. But, in no way did I want to create pressure to be a breastfeeding mama during a time in my life when everything else was going to be new too.

When I shared Greer's birth story, I shared that she latched right away. With the coaching of my delivery nurse on how to help Greer out and how to position myself, we had no problem. Of course, I wondered if I was doing it all correctly, but the nurse reassured me that all looked great and that we had in fact had a successful latch. That felt phenomenal, and I never expected to feel that way. With each successful latch thereafter, I become more confident in what I was doing and more sure in breastfeeding. I firmly believe this is what sealed the deal for continuing on with nursing.

[[ I understand that this isn't the experience a lot of mamas have, and I can only imagine how discouraging it would feel to not be successful right away. Remember, give it some time, don't beat yourself up, and if it doesn't pan out you will absolutely find the best solution for your little one. In the end, that is the most important thing....what works for both baby + mama. ]]

Ultimately, I breastfeed Greer for one year and four days. Our last time breastfeeding was the morning of Christmas Day, which wasn't planned and kind of just happened. I'll be sharing more about how we weaned in another post. Over the course of her first year, we went from feedings every two hours to just once a day in the early hours of the morning. From beginning to end, I let my body lead the way and I went with what felt natural.

T H E    C H A L L E N G E S
Over the course of Greer's first year, breastfeeding went smoothly, but not without its challenges. The first several weeks were an adjustment for my body as it figured out how much milk to supply. There was also the physical burning I experienced every time Greer latched. It was uncomfortable and lasted for about twenty seconds, but that eventually faded away once my body settled into breastfeeding. Know the soreness and initial discomfort will subside; your body will regulate the milk; and it will become second nature. Just give yourself the time it takes for your body to get used to it; it's different for every woman.

Challenge 1:
While breastfeeding became my new norm, it also became a huge part of my day-to-day. I felt like I did nothing but nurse around the clock. It was overwhelming, and I just wanted my body back to myself, which led me to feel like I was ready to quit just a couple of months in. I couldn't imagine more months ahead full of nursing. Truthfully, it felt like too much mixed with the exhaustion. So I tried shifting my mindset to take breastfeeding one nursing session at a time, instead of thinking just how many times in a single day I would be nursing my baby. That helped in getting me over the hurdle. And onward I moved.

Challenge 2:
Nursing in public was a source of anxiety for me. While I was not ashamed of breastfeeding, I was very certain that I didn't want to share a private aspect of motherhood with the world. It was personal and something that I just wasn't willing to change about myself no matter how many times I saw a meme or strong argument for openly breastfeeding in public. Even with nursing covers, I still felt vulnerable. And it didn't help that Greer rejected being covered up while nursing. She liked open air instead of being inside a tent. Knowing that my baby was going to fight being covered only heightened the anxiety.

There were times I didn't have much of a choice, and thankfully I had my supportive husband there to help make me feel private in a very non-private environment. He would help me get adjusted and make sure I was fully covered. Then he would sit with me until Greer had finished eating. His support with nursing in public was such a crucial part of me feeling okay with it when no other option was available.

So what were my other options when I didn't want to nurse in a crowd? A lot of times I would head out to the backseat of my car. If I was shopping or in a restaurant, I would put everything on hold and head straight to the parking lot. It may sound extreme, but it's what worked for me. I felt safe in the back of my vehicle with tinted windows and liked having a quiet place for Greer to nurse without interruption. This was especially helpful the older she got when distractions would cause her to stop eating and look around, only to return to nursing seconds later. Occasionally, I would nurse in a changing room if that were available. In other instances, if we were visiting in another home I would always ask if there was somewhere private I could nurse. Everyone I asked was more than accommodating.

T H E    S U C C E S S E S 
I can't share my story with breastfeeding if I don't also share how rewarding it was. As I watched my tiny newborn grow, gaining ounce by ounce and pound by pound, I was so proud that my body had been responsible for producing the nutrition she needed to thrive. I loved being able to supply her with exactly what she needed.  I remember feeling a little sad when she started solids because she would be finding her nutrition from something other than just me. So silly, right? But, this is how special breastfeeding had become for us. So much in fact, that I thought I would be so upset when it was time to stop. Spoiler, because I let things take their course naturally when it was time to stop it wasn't sad. Maybe a little bittersweet, but it felt like time and that made all the difference.

In addition to breastfeeding, I also pumped once at night and once in the morning. This allowed me to store up enough milk to get us to the finish line as my supply dropped in the remaining couple of months. I'm so thankful that my body was able to produce enough milk for nursing while also enough for the future. While pumping isn't fun per say, it was so beneficial.

T H E    T A K E A W A Y
My biggest advice for breastfeeding is to not push yourself to do something that doesn't feel right, don't try to fit into a societal norm, and don't be hard on yourself whatever you decide. Not putting yourself in a box is so key to being successful. I'm excited to share the rest of my year of breastfeeding in part two, where I'll write about how we were able to wean in an effectively natural way when the time felt right.

Photo by the super talented Rachel of Rachel Wells Photography.

Styling A Photoshoot || Anniversary Session

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
To say I'm swooning over these photos would be not even touch how smitten I am. One of the things I love most are photos of my family. Whether it's of my husband and I to celebrate our marriage, a session to document pregnancy, or a family shoot, I love them all. 

This time around Rachel of Rachel Wells Photography captured a rare moment of husband and I alone as we approached our third wedding anniversary this past October. As parents, it's not always easy to find time together without our sweet girl. Balancing us as husband and wife with us as a family of three is an art. It's important to celebrate our marriage daily, so we keep our foundation strong, strengthening too our family. I love these photos for more than just their beautiful quality, and the landscape. I love them most of all because they capture us the way we are now. These will be treasures to reminisce back on in the years to come. 

In preparing for this shoot, the wardrobe was my main focus. I wanted us to coordinate without being too matchy-matchy. It was also important that we didn't clash with our backdrop. In this case, we were up on my Grandmom's farm in the mountains of Virginia, making the goal for our outfits to be natural and elegant. And I think we accomplished it!

We achieved our look with some styling by PinkBlush and tips from our photographer. Because who knows better how an outfit will read on a camera than the gal snapping the photographs?! And Rachel couldn't have been more spot on about what to wear. She was a huge help in selecting our pieces.

Here are Rachel's tips for picking out an outfit for any photo session:
  • I can't say enough about flowy dresses and skirts. They add so much life and movement to images!
  • Soft, neutral colors really complement the natural elements of your surroundings and can provide such a pretty tone throughout your images.
  • That being said, I love a unique pattern or color! Astleigh's floral dress photographed so beautifully. The pattern was the perfect size (sometimes small patterns can look off) and the tones were beautiful. 
  • Don't be afraid to go more formal than you typically dress! I absolutely love the look of a formally dressed couple in a wild field. It can be so fun and fresh!
  • Guys, you can NOT go wrong in a well-tailored suit. It's timeless!
  • The number one thing - be comfortable. Don't wear anything that makes you feel less than beautiful and confident. There is nothing more beautiful than confidence! 

Our Wardrobe:

These photos are timeless and classic; I am so excited to hang them on the walls in our home. I can't thank Rachel enough for pointing us in the right direction for our wardrobe and for capturing us so well. Her photography never ceases to amaze me. If you haven't considered an anniversary session, I can't recommend it enough!

And a special thank you to PinkBlush for providing my outfits. 
Their selection of dresses, skirts, and tops is exceptional for styling your next photoshoot.

Snow Days

Monday, January 16, 2017
This past week has been a hard one. We lost my Grandmom unexpectedly last Monday, and it's been crushing. And the weekend came with the stomach bug and a lot of chicken soup and popsicles. So I took a hiatus from blogging and social media to spend time with my extended family in my hometown. Because sometimes, a little radio silence and family is exactly what you need. I had planned to share our snowy weekend last Tuesday, but it didn't feel right. So as a way to start this week off on a little lighter note, I thought I'd share today. Because my little snow bunny is the perfect way to put a smile on my face. And those lashes! They're long and gorgeous, and if you asked my grandmother, she'd tell you just how beautiful Greer's lashes are. She was astonished at their length for such a little girl. It will be a sweet story to share with Greerzly one day.

For now, here was a couple of weekends ago, when the snow covered the Earth and everything felt still and there was nothing but the sound of silence.