Wednesday, November 14, 2018

HOW CATALOG HAS HELPED ME...




FOUNDATION: Make Up Forever // BLUSH: NARS // HIGHLIGHTER: Bobbi Brown // PRIMER: Benefit // MASCARA: Lancome // EYESHADOW: Tarte 

This month has by far been the busiest month of my entire blogging career. I’m incredibly thankful to be working with so many great brands and companies. Between raising two children by myself, blogging, and having a personal life, my hands are extremely full. I’ve even had to hire my cousin as my assistant to help with social media!

Today, I’m excited to team up with Catalog on their official press release! Catalog is a website that brings brands and influencers together and helps influencers create new content. When I was first informed about how they would create product images specifically for me, I was in shock. The process is so simple that I didn’t believe it at first. 

With Catalog, you’re able to tell them specifically which products you need shot and the aesthetic you’re needing. You send your products to Catalog (so they can shoot it) and the rest is in their hands. With beauty product, I prefer flatlay shots. Flatlays are something that I’m horrible at. I love seeing them on Instagram and Pinterest but my images are never up to par. For my first content creation with Catalog, I asked for a fall inspired flatlay with the products. My feed in filled with fall content right now so I want the images to blend, while being unique at the same time. With October being so busy, having someone create amazing content that is similar to my aesthetic has saved me so much time. Most importantly, I can finally share details with everyone! 

What I really think is incredible about Catalog is that they strive to help provide consistent work. Unless you’re a blogger or are friends with one, you might not know how inconsistent this career is. I have gone several weeks without a single partnership or collaboration before and it honestly sucks. Blogging is my way of bringing in money for my family. I’m extremely thankful that I’m able to have a job I love while staying at home to raise my children. At the same time, can you imagine how stressful it is to go from bringing in X amount of dollars one month to zero dollars or half of your usual the next? My husbands provides for the whole family, but I still want to be able to help where I can financially. Catalog helps prevent that inconsistency and partners content creators with amazing brands. 

There’s so much work that goes into blogging. It isn’t just putting on clothes and taking iphone photos. We work hard on creating fresh content everyday, engaging with readers, writing blog post that are informative and helpful, finding the right brands to work with, taking family photos to help with inspiration, and so much more. With Catalog, they can provide consistent work and take some time off your hands by creating fresh content for you.

I’ve been meaning to share beauty products that I use everyday with everyone for forever. I’ve probably reminded myself to do it for it for over six months. Now that I have actual high quality images, I can do so. When it comes to make up and getting ready, I try to stick it to the bare minimum. I've been using this foundation for years and it works really well for me because it blends in and it doesn't reflect light. Which is perfect for taking pictures. Blush and Highlighters are always fun to play with because I don't think it's possible to go with a wrong color ( if you use the correct amount). My sister introduced this primer to me last year and it has been a must have product. My pores easily get clogged with dirt (I have to use a nose strip twice a week) so when I put foundation on, you can see the little dirty pores because I'm piling more junk in them. With the primer, it fills up the pores and smoothes out the surface. I've been using all of these products for over a year and swear by them.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

xo,
Annie

*Thank you Catalog for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

THE MANY WAYS TO WEAR TUNICS...


TUNIC: Free People (budget friendly option here!) // SCARF: BP // SHOES: Goodnight Macaroon // BAG: Gucci  

We all know I love a cute sweater dress...or in this case, a really cute tunic. Tunics are a great piece to shop for because of it's versatility and the many styles that they come in. My favorite way to wear tunics is by adding a pair of over the knee boots and a scarf. If you're taller, wearing a tunic as a dress might be a little difficult. For my taller babes, add some faux leather leggings with your over the knee boots and a wool hat. Another chic way to style a tunic is by adding a camel coat, denim jeans, and short booties. 

The most versatile tunics are the neutral colored ones because white, cream, and black sweaters are timeless. They'll match just about everything in your closet and you can style it to where it'll look like a new piece every time you wear it. My favorite tunics are from Free People, Caslon, and Halogen because they are always a little longer in length. 

WAYS TO STYLE TUNICS: 

Tunic + over the knee boots + scarf 
Tunic + cardigan + short booties + wool hat 
Tunic + wrap blanket or poncho + short booties 
Tunic + faux leggings + knee high or over the knee boots 
Tunic + black cotton leggings + short booties + wool hat 
Tunic + jeans + favorite fall shoes 
Tunic + jeans + camel coat + pumps or booties 

Thank you so much for stopping by! 

xo, 
Annie


Monday, November 12, 2018

OUR STAY AT HOTEL ÄNDRA + SEATTLE TRAVEL GUIDE...







Happy Friday! I've been working on this post for several days and I'm excited to share all the details from our Seattle trip. The first thing I will say is that it was by far one of my favorite trips ever! Seattle was so much more than I expected and I'm already planning another trip next fall. 

We stayed right in the center of downtown at Hotel Ändra. For a hotel that is located downtown, I love how homey and quaint the boutique hotel was. The lobby had a cozy fireplace for us to warm up while we waited for the valet or needed to relax. Something about being around a fireplace during the cold, sipping on hot chocolate always makes me happy. Downstairs is also where the restaurant Lola is located. If you're ever in Seattle, you have to eat there! We ordered dinner from there and the food was so good! Liam devoured his chicken kebabs. 

Our room was the perfect size for our family. We had two queen size beds and the hotel was kind enough to also provide a crib for Chloe. The room had a modern old time feel to it, it wasn't just white on white like other hotels that I've stayed at. The beds were one of the comfiest beds that I've ever slept on. I'm not even exaggerating. We had a huge beautiful fall tree right outside our window and being from Texas, where fall foliage isn't a thing, I was loving the view. There was an office space for me to work and a huge walk in closet. Even though the trip was for leisure, I'm constantly working on emails and creating content so the office space and closet was needed. 

Whenever I'm visiting a new city, staying in a hotel that is close to everything makes it so much easier. Hotel Ändra is located right in the center of downtown Seattle. Being close to everything made it easy for us to constantly go back to the hotel for the babies to take a nap and to rest up. Shopping, attractions, and restaurants were in walking distance from the hotel. The furthest we ever had to drive was about only about 10 minutes. The foliage in Seattle is like no other city so I wanted to go sight seeing everyday. 

If yall ever visit Seattle, I HIGHLY recommend staying at Hotel Ändra! I'll definitely be staying here again next year. 




SEATTLE TRAVEL GUIDE





 








We spent 4 nights/5 days in Seattle and I would say that it was the perfect amount of time for us. I do think that you can stay 3 nights/4 day and still do and see everything Seattle has to offer. I originally was going to only stay 3 nights but because I was traveling with a toddler and a newborn, I wanted to space everything out. I knew we'd be taking several breaks throughout the day. I planned this trip because I've always wanted to visit Seattle and I desperately needing to get away from Houston's heat. My bestie, Michelle was a life saver on this trip. She helped me so much with the kids and was basically our tour guide the entire time. These are the type of people you keep in your life forever. The ones that adore your children just as much as you. In my opinion, Seattle isn't a place everyone thinks to visit in the fall but it should be. The foliage there is so much prettier than foliage in Colorado. There was so much to see and do! I broke everything down by attractions, restaurants, and kid friendly spots.

ATTRACTIONS & PARKS:

Space Needle: We went during sunset and the views were beautiful! It was worth every penny. They recently renovated and the ground is now a rotating glass floor. It's a huge attraction so buy your tickets early. 

Chihuly Garden and Glass: This museum is a big Seattle attraction. I thought it was really pretty and unique. I wouldn't say that it's a place you "must visit", but I'm glad I got to see it. 

Pikes Place and the Gum Wall: Visit early in the morning when no one is there! We walked around Pikes Place for about 30 minutes and it was so cool. There are tons of stands to buy knick knacks, local fruits and veggies, cheap flower bouquets, and seafood. The gum wall is located here as well and it's not as awesome as everyone thinks it is, lol. It's actually a little gross and dirty. Liam thought it was the coolest thing but I felt like I wanted to bath after walking through it. It's one of those places where you go see it for about 5 minutes then your done. 

Starbucks Reserve: I've been wanting to go here ever since I found out they served coffee flights. It's cool to see how everything is made and the perfect spot to chill and snack. They serve all sorts of food and pastries there. 

Downtown Nordstrom: This location is one of the first Nordstroms ever! The selection is amazing, I felt that they carried everything that was online. It's 5 stories and if you love Nordstrom, you have to shop here. 

Curran Apple Orchard: Public apple orchard! Unfornuatley, we came to Seattle after apple picking season ended but this spot is open to the public and it was cool to see some of the apples that haven't been picked. We went apple picking for the first time last year and Liam loves it! 

Queen Anne, Ravenna, University District, and Cap Hill: These are the spots to visit for sight seeing. It's fun to drive around to get a feel of the outer skirts of the city or to see the foliage. 

KID FRIENDLY SPOTS: 

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium: We spent our last day in Tacoma and visited the zoo and aquarium. The aquarium was so cool and huge! The ticket is a 2 in 1 so you're able to visit both the zoo and aquarium. It's fun to visit zoos in different cities to see all the different animals.

Artist At Play: This park is located in the museum district and one of the coolest parks I've ever seen! They had climbing ropes, a huge slide, and awesome musical chimes. Liam was loving every second of this park. He did not want to leave. I would say that this park is best for 3+ years old 

Green Lake Park: Such a beautiful park! It's a huge park that has a big play area for children, trail around the lake for running, and the scenery is everything.  


RESTAURANTS: 

Din Tai Fun: If you're craving Dim Sum, this is the place to go! It's so good! Make sure to make a reservation. 

Rachel's Ginger Beer (university district): I've never had ginger beer before and now I'm obsessed with it! This place is good for a chill night. There isn't a big food selection, tenders and sides...super low key. 

Portage Bay: We went here for brunch and their eggs benedict dish is amazing. They even have a sampler entree.

Thackeray: Another great brunch spot! I got the biscuits and gravy and it was delicious too. It wasn't a southern style, which caught me off guard but it felt a lot lighter and airy. 

Ivar's Salmon House: This restaurant is located on the waterfront and is a little more upscale and pricey. Great for a date night. 

Lola: A really delicious low key place for drinks and dinner. It's located inside Hotel Andra! 

I hope my guide helped!!

Thank you so much for reading! 

xo, 
Annie 



Monday, November 5, 2018

ALL COZIED UP...


COAT: Tularosa (love this one) // SWEATER: BP // LEGGINGS: Lululemon // SHOES: Old (similar here

I'm not going to lie, when I wore this coat I felt so "extra". Even though I knew people on the streets were thinking "that's one extra mom", it didn't stop me from feeling confident or fabulous, lol. Don't be fooled by this outfit, as much as I wish I could look put together all the time, I don't. I honestly don't get ready unless I HAVE to. If you've seen me on my instagram stories you know I love my oversize t shirts and top bun. 

I've had this coat in my closet for two months and have been waiting forever to wear it out. This coats is already a statement piece itself so I knew a simple under base would be best. At first, I was going to wear all black but then I picked up this cute little sweater at Nordstrom. Shag, teddy, and sherpa coats are SO popular and trendy right now. Who wouldn't want to wrapped up in what is essentially a big warm blanket. My first sherpa piece was this pullover that I grabbed from the Nordstrom anniversary sale. From there, my collection grew and grew. I ordered this one last week and can't wait for it to come in. The great thing about this popular trend is that you're able to find coats in all different styles, colors, and prices. Revolve and ASOS have been my go to site for fall pieces lately and I love that you can customize the prices. (This teddy coat right here is only $64 and super cute).

Me and the babes had a super lazy weekend but it's Monday and there's something on our agenda every day. This weekend I tried putting Chloe on a sleeping routine. I didn't know that having a sleeping routine for a new baby was even possible. My friend Rebekah has been giving me all these tips and baby products that help with sleeping patterns and she has honestly been spot on about everything!! She's literally a super mom. Be sure to read her blog and follow her on Instagram

Thank you so much for reading! 

xo, 
Annie


Thursday, November 1, 2018

8 TIPS ON TRAVELING AND FLYING WITH CHILDREN...




SWEATER: ASOS // JEANS: AG // SHOES: Goodnight Macaroon // BAG: Gucci // Liam- JACKET: Patagonia // JEANS: Gap // SHOES: Hunter // BEANIE: Slouch Headwear // Chloe- OUTFIT: Zara // Tights: Little Light Feet // BONNET: Briar Handmade

As soon as I posted my instagram stories about traveling to Seattle with my little ones, so many of you guys asked for tips on flying and traveling with children. This was the first time I traveled alone with two children but Liam and I traveled by ourselves multiple times. I've learned a couple of tips from my mistakes and successes that I'm going to share today. I'm no expert in traveling with kids by any means but I believe that these tips will help! 

TIPS ON FLYING WITH CHILDREN:

1) Plan your flight around nap time
Liam has probably been on 20+ flights and he has been asleep for 90% of them. I usually try to find super early or late flights so they can be asleep majority of the time. If you have a baby under 1, wearing them in a wrap or sling really helps with putting them to bed. It did for me at least. Chloe slept the entire flight because she was in a sling. It also makes it easier in the airport because your hands will be free. 

2) Show up at the airport 2 hours early
All airlines already recommend being at the airport 2 hours early but if you're anything like me, you probably showed up an hour before having kids. If you're traveling with children, I highly recommend showing up 2 or more hours before your flight. Getting through security is rough and you never know what's going to happen. Give you and your family time to use the bathroom and grab snacks before your flight. It's so stressful to run to your gate, so show up early. 

3) Keep your children entertained 
Now that Liam is older and doesn't take naps, I knew I had to keep him entertained. I didn't want to pack a ton of toys because I already had to carry so much. I packed 2/3 of his favorite action figure toys and downloaded a few movies and puzzle games on his iPad. If your family doesn't use an iPad, here is an amazing blog post on toy ideas for the airplane.

4) Don't get frustrated when your children cry or get fussy
 Babies and children have a strong sense of how we feel. If we are trusted or angry, it rubs off on them. If your child cries or screams on the airplane, it's OKAY! Attempt to calm down your child the best that you can. If someone is going to complain about your crying babies, tell them they can go buy a first class ticket next time. At the same time, be considerate. A flight probably isn't the best time to let your child "cry it out".

TIPS ON TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN:

1) Share your time
Whenever I'm traveling with my children, I make sure that I'm also making plans for things that they enjoy as well. (This is if you have toddlers, babies usually just sit and chill in their strollers, lol). Liam absolutely loves going to the park or the museum. We went to the park every single day that we were in Seattle. The last day we only did activities for Liam. We went to the zoo, aquarium, and the park. He doesn't have fun going out to cute brunch spot or shopping so I make sure he's enjoying the trip as well. He's usually in a good mood or behaves well when he's looking forward to an activity that he loves.

2) Try to stick to a schedule
Even though we were on vacation, I tried my best to stick to our usually schedule; food schedule, nap time, ect. Obviously, things aren't gong to be exactly like they are at home. I think the sleeping schedule was the most important. It worked best for us to be back at the hotel before 7:30 pm to get them ready for bed. Once night we were out late and both the kids were getting grump and tired...it was not pretty.

3) Pace yourself and the children
If your babies aren't use to being on the go and going around the city all day, take it slow. Liam is use to being out and about all day so doing 5 things in one day was completely normal for him. If your children are more comfortable with doing 1 or 2 activities per day at home, try to stick to that routine.  It's not worth taking a trip to that thing you've been dying to see for years with a crying/upset child.

4) Have fun and be present
Traveling can sometimes be stressful with being out of the norm. I try my best to soak in everything during my trip. I'm horrible at being on my phone all day but in Seattle, I was mostly on my phone at night. My phone actually told me I was down by about 40% on my usage! Being there with my children and Michelle was so fun and memorable. It was by far one of my favorite trips ever!

I hope my tips have been informative. Again, I'm no expert in traveling with children. We did have our stressful, crazy, and crying moments. I continue to learn everyday about I can be the "perfect" parent.

Thank you so much for reading!

xo,
Annie

*Photos by S. Wolfe


 

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