Wednesday, March 18, 2020

15 THINGS TO DO AT HOME WITH YOUR CHILDREN...

ME: TOP // BOTTOM // SHOES // CHLOE: DRESS // LIAM & EASTON: TOP

Y'all, how I got through last summer with all 3 at home I will never understand. It's much harder when you can't take these kiddos to the playground, restaurants, and and their playdates. These times truly makes you appreciate all those little things. I've put my children on a pretty strict schedule for over a year now and it has made it much easier on me and on them. They know exactly what's going to happen and I truly feel that it helps give them structure. With that being said, we've obviously had to change our schedule up a bit with them being out of school. Right now, we're still doing study time, scheduled meals, play time, and chores. I rounded up 15 of my top activities to do with your children at home, as well as a look at what our schedule looks like.

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Monday, March 16, 2020

10 THINGS TO DO AT HOME FOR INFLUENCERS...

DRESS: Red Dress // HAT: Gigi Pip // GLASSES: Velvet Eyewear 


Our family has decided to LIMIT as much time as we possibly can outside or in public spaces. We won't be going out unless we HAVE to. We decided to do this because we're aware that COVID-19 has spread very quickly and will CONTINUE to. We haven't seen my grandparents in a couple of weeks and will continue distancing ourselves because up until a few days ago, our family has been traveling and going out. Children can carry the virus without any signs and therefore can pass it onto other family members. 

Anyways, enough about that! Since we will be home for awhile, there are some goals and things I've been wanting to do for my blog for awhile and now it the perfect time to work on those things. If you're a blogger too or wanting to start a blog, utilize this time. Binge watching Netflix or laying around isn't going to really help improve yourself or your work. There are so many productive things you can do right at home. 

Here is a list of influencer things I want to do! 

1) Maximize on Pinterest! 
I want to learn how to master tailwind, create more pins, organize my boards, and take classes on how to utilize the platform 

2) Write blog posts that are educational and helpful for moms and families! 
This week I'll be working on my travel post, particularly a post on tips when traveling with children, how a strict schedule helps us function, and more. I understand that people aren't traveling right now but when we're all able to in the future, these post will be useful. 

3) Create more IGTV!
 Videos and IGTV is where it's at! I personally love watching videos and want to work on creating more for y'all. Videos like my skincare routine, hair tutorial, how to style this top 5 different ways, ect. 

4) Organize my expenses and budget! 
I've been keeping up with filing my expenses these past 3 months but I want to organize it more. I want to start giving myself a work, personal, and travel budget. If you haven't file your taxes, use this time to get everything in order. 

5) Reaching out to brands and companies that I've been dreaming of working with! 
I'm not sure if work will slow down or get busier but putting my name in someone's email will give me a better chance to potentially working with them. 

6) Organize all my gifted products and clothes! 
Right now, I have a hallway of all of my gifted products and it's not organized at all. I want to order some garage shelves and bins online and start putting everything in order. I want to organize my closet and see what I want to keep and what I want to sell/donate. 

7) Connect and support with other bloggers and women on Instagram! 
I want to be more active on social media and find new bloggers and women to follow and support. I want to take time and share comments that are meaningful, not generic ones. 

8) Create unique videos on TikTok!
TikTok is like any other platform, you have to work hard to create fun and unique content daily to share. I need to figure out what it is that I want to share and work on creating that content. 

9) Redesign my website! 
I've been wanting to redesign my website for over 6 months but haven't had much time to do it. I'm currently on blogger and would love to get switched over to Wordpress. I can take this time to find a web designer to make my visions come to life. 

10) Learn how to take and edit photographs and video! 
When it comes to taking and editing photos, I'd say that I know the basics of it. I want to learn how to take that photo or video to the next level. How do I make that photo really look professional? What poses can I change up? How can I take more lifestyle pictures? Ect. 

Please share any blogging goals y'all have!!

xo,
Annie 

*Photos by Arzu Photography 


Thursday, March 12, 2020

MY FIRST PETAL & PUP TRY ON...



 DRESS 


 TOP // BOTTOM 





I'm in love with these spring pieces that I ordered from Petal & Pup. I've been seeing their pieces everywhere and when I looked at their selection online, I wanted EVERYTHING!! They carry pieces that are more chic, feminine, and edgy. They even carry pieces that are so pretty for bridal parties! I shared my first IGTV with a try on from their pieces but wanted to round up all the details and links for y'all to see. I ordered everything in a 4 or "small" and it all fit true to size. All of my pieces are great quality too! I'm especially in love with this top because it's something out of my norm and it fitted so well. This dress is absolutely darling and easy because for an everyday spring look. 

xo,
Annie

Sunday, March 8, 2020

THE MIDI DRESS I CAN'T STOP WEARING...


DRESS: Z Supply (tie dye version here) // SHOES: Red Dress // HAT: Gigi Pip

Spring Break is here! I remember when I was counting down the days until Spring Break started. Now, I'm dreading how hard spring break is with all the kids at home during the entire week. I love them all with all of my heart but I work from home so that means go to work with your mom every single day this week. YAY!  Since I'll be juggling all my children this week, comfy and cute outfits will be the way to go. 

I wore this outfit all day while I was in Beaumont and two times prior. Y'all, get yourself this midi dress because I swear you'll wear it all the time. It comes in 4 other colors and also comes in a tie dye print. I'm all about comfy and easy this spring. 

What kind of outfits do y'all want to see more of? 

xo,
Annie 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

CHLOE'S WELL CHECK JOURNEY AT TEXAS CHILDRENS...

*Thank you Texas Children’s for sponsoring this post. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own. 






There’s a series just released on Netflix about babies and it’s so crazy how fast they grow in the first year of life. Our babies become completely new little human beings within a few months. They learn to do simple things like talking, walking, crawling, eating and so much more within a year or so of their life. Their personalities are so bright and you soon realize that they’re just like you! Chloe is one of the sassiest girls in my entire family. She does what she wants, has no fear and is extremely goofy. Tommy asked me “where do you think she gets it from?” and I accepted that it was all from me. 

Liam and Chloe have been seeing our pediatrician, Dr. Rossell at Texas Children’s Pediatrics since Liam was born. We love going to Texas Children’s because the staff are always welcoming and understanding. We see Dr. Rossell for all of our well- visits, sick days and for flu shots. Chloe’s first year was a little hard because she was in the emergency room almost every 3 months due to getting really sick from chicken pox, or having an allergic reaction. The doctors always made me feel that Chloe was a priority and I felt at ease knowing that she was in great hands at Texas Children’s Hospital.

The moment Chloe was born, I wanted to ensure that I did everything I possibly could to help assist her with her development and make sure she was on track. There are so many milestones for babies in their first few years. Well visit appointments are recommended when your child is 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 15 months, 18 months, 24 months, 36 months and yearly starting at age 3 (unless your pediatrician suggests otherwise). During those visits, our nurse and doctor will check height and weight, development, growth, conduct screenings and administer vaccines. Our doctor will also let us know about any new studies in food allergy, vaccines, remedies, and more. I tend to worry about Chloe’s weight because Liam had an issue with weight gain as a baby.  When Liam was born, he was pretty underweight, in the 18thpercentile. Liam would lose weight easily and during every well visit, Dr. Rossell would chat with me about how to keep his weight gain consistent and the importance of it. 

I’ve shared that we go to Texas Children’s every year for our flu shots in this post . During Chloe’s well check we also get vaccines that are recommended at her current age. Our doctors and nurses at Texas Children’s always try to make the appointments enjoyable for the children. They all tend to my children closely and try their best to make their shots easy. We all know that babies and children don’t look forward to their shots but stickers at the end help take the pain away. Also, if you have MyChart you can schedule your child’s next well check online or via the app. 

Chloe has grown so fast and has hit all of her milestones early and it makes me even more proud of her. I always hear that the second child tends to develop faster since they watch their siblings do everything. She’s only 18 months and has become such a big girl. I’m confident that she’s going to conquer this world! 


Thank you so much for reading! 

Xo,
Annie

Sunday, February 23, 2020

I HEART YOU MY MINI ME...




DRESSES: Ivy City Co // MY SHOES: Sam Edelman // CHLOE'S SHOES: Sole Play 

This post is a little short but I wanted to share these adorable pictures of these dresses that y'all went crazy over! Chloe is 18 months! I can't believe I have a 1 1/2 year old little girl. (lol at me counting the months incorrectly and writing a 18 month post last month). This girl is everything and more. This stage is my favorite the 12months-2 year olds. She's this little chunky thing and I constantly want to kiss her and hug her. She's very vocal about what's on her mind and it makes me so proud. With that being said, two weeks ago, she hit the "terrible two" stage....6 months early. Yesterday, she threw her bowl of food on the ground, wrote on her aunties iPad with a pen, threw my candle on the floor, hides in the pantry to get food, and falls on the ground kicking and screaming when she's upset. Most days she an angel and other's I feel like I'm raising a wild child. She's an exact clone of me and I hope she stays small a little longer. 

xo,
Annie 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

WHY SPOONFULONE IS IMPORTANT TO US...



SPOONFULONE (25% off with code: ANNIE25)

As a mother, there are so many things that we worry about, but there are also many things that we aren’t aware of. Food allergies, for example, are on the rise, but what many don’t know is that there are steps parents can take to help protect against them. Why do you think babies and children develop certain food allergies? Like peanuts. I personally thought it had to do with genetics and a few of y’all have expressed that y'all thought the same. 2 out of 3 babies with food allergies have parents that don’t have any. It’s actually due to sterile indoor environments, excess use of antibiotics and hand sanitizers, and lack of exposure to good bacteria. Studies have shown that exposing our babies and children to a variety of foods help protect their immune systems. 

Our family was introduced to SpoonfulOne last year, and after reading up on their products I knew I wanted to share about it. What is SpoonfulOne? SpoonfulOne has  variety of products that we can give to our children starting at 4 months, from mix-in’s that we can add to baby food and purees,to oat crackers and puffs. Each SpoonfulOne packet contains small amounts of the nine food groups that make up over 90% of food allergies, including peanuts, milk, shellfish, tree nuts, egg, fish, grains, soy, and sesame. By introducing these foods to our babies early on, we may reduce food allergy risk by 86% compared to avoidance. In leading clinical studies, 98% of babies who fed these foods did NOT develop a food allergy. Those numbers are so significant! SpoonfulOne can be introduced in babies’ diets at 4 months and up to many years. Liam and Easton (4 and 5 years old) love the oat crackers the most and eat them daily. Chloe also eats a packet a day in the morning and enjoys the taste. 

SpoonfulOne is especially convenient because our family doesn’t really eat peanut butter or tree nuts, so getting those foods in their diets was a little difficult because they weren’t part of our family’s normal diet. At the same time, I don’t want them to be allergic if they chose to eat any of those foodsat school or when we’re out. Because each packet has small doses of peanuts and tree nuts, it puts me at ease knowing that they’re still exposed to it on a daily basis. 

Easton’s classroom is actually peanut-free and when I bake snacks, they also need to be gluten-free due to one of his classmates’ allergies. It’s already difficult getting our children to eat ALL the right foods and if you’re adding all of these limitations, it’s even harder. One of my closest friend’s daughter is allergic to eggs and she has expressed the challenges that she faces with her daughter’s dietary restrictions. She has expressed that she wishes she knew about SpoonfulOne earlier. 

If you have children or know of people that have babies, SpoonfulOne should be shared just as much as sharing the right formula or diapers to use. I’ve noticed firsthand the incredible increase in food allergies in children and it’s something that we can protect against with SpoonfulOne. You can learn more here.

xo,
Annie

Friday, February 14, 2020

WHAT LIFE HAS BEEN LIKE AS A STEPMOM...



ME: TOP // BOTTOMS // TOMMY: TOP // BOTTOM

I think most us of has one point in our lives dreamt about having little babies, becoming a mom, and having a family. When we're young, no one thinks "Wow, I can't wait to be a stepmom". Being a stepmom isn't a role that I thought I would ever have but everything happens for a reason and here I am; a full time stepmom. I'm not sure what you would label my role at this point; mom, full time step mom, parent? 

For me, being a step is truly harder than being a "regular" mom. For me, being a step mom is second guessing EVERY SINGLE THING that I do or say towards Easton. I'm constantly telling myself, "don't be that stepmom in Cinderella". Questions that I use to ask myself over and over are "Am I treating him equally", "Am I discipling Easton the same way that I do with Liam and Chloe", "Are my parenting skills the same throughout all 3 children", "Will I ever feel like he's mine"? 

My honest truth is that I didn't feel a connection with Easton until maybe a few weeks ago. There were many months that I felt guilty about not feeling the same way for him as I did Liam and Chloe. I  shared my feeling with friends and family and learned that the way I felt was okay. It's okay that I don't have that instant loving connection with him. It's something that grows over time. It wasn't something that I could force myself to feel. Even though I felt this way, I made sure Easton never knew. I would hug, kiss, and tell him "I love you" just as much as my other two children. 

For me, being a stepmom is a whole new way of life. I've learned from my mistake and have better myself as a parent. I've broken down the way I'm going to share about my step parent life into questions that y'all have asked. 

COMMON QUESTIONS I RECEIVED AS A STEPMOM: 

WHAT DOES HE CALL YOU? 
Easton has referred to me as "mom" for about 3/4 months but didn't actually call me "mom" until last month. For example, when he was speaking to Liam he would say "Mom, is calling us for dinner". He would avoid calling me "mom" directly. His first time calling me "mom" directly was when he was using the bathroom and there wasn't toilet paper, lol. I heard him yell "MOM! MOM!". Easton's mom passed away way too early and we didn't want him to feel that he didn't have a mom. Easton knows he has two moms and that one of his moms passed away. In no way am I ever going to try to replace her. With Easton being so young, we decided that I would be called "mom" versus "stepmom" because our situation and how young he was. 

HOW HAS HE TRANSITIONED? 
Easton, honesty had a very hard time transitioning into our family. His habits, diet, manners, language, was A LOT different than ours. It was hard trying to raise a child that was raised completely differently than how Tommy and I raised Liam and Chloe. It took Easton maybe 4 months to get into the hang of things. One thing that has really helped him is a strict schedule. I've started a strict schedule since Chloe was born and it's so important for us to function properly. Our family is obviously again (Vietnamese) so that meant Easton diving into an entire new culture. He was picked up so much Vietnamese in such a short time. This is his norm now and he's very happy. 

HOW ARE LIAM AND CHLOE COOPING?
It was very hard for Liam in the beginning. Liam had only become a big brother less than a year ago and overnight, all of his stuff and space was shared with Easton. These two would wake up every single morning and argue over anything. It drove me insane for months to the point where I was ready to give up on watching Easton. I actually purchased a 3rd row car so that I could place one of the boys in the very back to prevent them fighting. Fast forward 7 months and these two love playing with each other. Yes, they get into little arguments but they're so short lived. They're each other's best friend. I went through a lot of time outs but they learned eventually. 

DID I ADOPT EASTON? 
No. On paper, Easton isn't my son. Luckily, I haven't had any problems showing proof that I'm his mom. I'm ready to adopt Easton today, it's just the matter of starting the entire process. Those offices and the entire process is pretty dreadful. We'll have it done by the end of the year. 

WHY DO YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND LIVE IN DIFFERENT CITIES? 
Tommy is based in Fort Hood, which is 3 1/2 hours from Killeen. We've decided that we want our children to grow up in Houston so we started setting things in motion in Houston; school, friends, a stable life. When Easton first came to us, I said "NO, there's no way I can raise him by myself in Houston for 1 1/2 years". How am I suppose to take care of 3 children all alone? I was truly the ONLY one that could take Easton in so I felt that it was extremely forced. I didn't feel content with it until about last November. Being a stepmom truly takes time; time to connect, time to be okay with everything, time to being a mom to a child that isn't biologically yours. 

WHAT ARE SOME STRUGGLES YOU WENT THROUGH? 
I struggled with a lot but the main thing I struggled with is obviously not feeling connected like I had mentioned, his sensitivity, and lisp. Our family isn't all that sensitive and I get that from my mom. When my child falls to the ground, my first reaction is "get up, you're okay". Easton's norm was that an adult would get a pack of ice, a bandaid, and popsicle to make the boo-boos go away. I felt guilty because I knew he wanted to be held and cuddled but that's not what I would do to Liam or Chloe. It's been a learning lesson for both Easton and I. He has had to learn how we live and deal with things and I want to say that he fully picked up on that last month. 

One HUGE problem we went through was Easton's lateral lisp. Tommy and I were actually the ones who noticed that he had a lisp and that wasn't until he was 5 1/2 years. Easton went to multiple speech lessons and it helped a bit. Juggling a full time job, 3 children's schedule, family time, and a speech class twice a week was very hard. Easton couldn't say his "S's, C's, or X's". He wasn't able to say his own name and we could tell that he would feel very insecure about it. 7 months had passes and we weren't getting anywhere. I actually looked up a youtube video two weeks ago and really made him practice it for 4+ hours a day and the day after his birthday, he said his FIRST "S" ever!! I could immediately tell that he felt a lot more confident, proud, and happy. 

HOW IS EVERYTHING NOW? 
I never thought we would be where we are today. For half a year I felt that things weren't going to change. I would always wish that someone would take these responsibilities away from me because it was TOO much. After Christmas, things started getting a lot better. I started to feel a connection, I could tell that Easton started to feel connected, and our family overall was a family of 5. Not just a family of 4 plus Easton. We're very content and happy with life. 

Easton and I have come such a long way and we're in such a good place. We're still learning from each other and there are still mistakes but it's getting better. Being a stepmom is so so difficult but I think one thing that helped me improve was asking myself "What type of stepmom did I want to be"? I'm doing the best I can and that's all I can do.  

If y'all have any questions, I'm completely open! Please dm or email me! 

Thank you so much for reading! 

xo,
Annie


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

CELEBRATE YOUR BESTIES THIS VALENTINES DAY



Do you celebrate Valentines Day? Growing up, I use to dread Valentines Day because I was usually alone. The pressure and hype of being with your boyfriend or girlfriend was set way too high. When in reality, Valentines Day should be spent with the people you love, not just your significant other. Valentines Day is a holiday I look forward to now because it's another reason for me to go the extra mile to be kind to my girlfriends, children, and husband. 

I wanted to do something fun with my girlfriends so I arranged a little Valentines photoshoot for us. I've known these beautiful mamas for years and they're my best friends. Our children are also besties too. We styled our outfits with Victoria Emerson cuff bracelets and I love how it helped elevate our outfits. This white neutral cuff is my first cuff and it's now the first bracelet I grab every morning. I'm a huge fan of the thick "arm candy" look and this cuff bracelet looks like many different bracelets combined but it's actually just one. The cuff connect by a strong magnetic strip and stays clasped. The details are why Victoria Emerson pieces are my favorite. Mine is made of crystal and metallic beads, gold link chains, turquoise, and textured leather. Their bracelets are the perfect Valentines gifts. Their huge selection is affordable, well made, beautiful, and can be worn daily. I think a great way to go the extra mile with your Valentines gift is to add your Victoria Emerson bracelet in a travel jewelry organizer or box, a hand written card, and a box of chocolates.  

Planning a Galentines Day with your girlfriends can be super easy. Here are a few ideas! 

GIRLS WINE NIGHT
I'm all for stocking my bar cart, getting a few heart shaped balloons, picking out a fun card game, and having the girls over. Some of my favorite nights with my friends were spent in the living room in our cute pajamas catching up on life. 

MANI & PEDI DATE
Who doesn't love a little pampering? Getting your nails done together is never a bad idea. Make sure to make a reservation because the salons get pretty busy during this time. You can also arrange a day a couple of days before Valentines Day

PAINT AND WINE
There are many painting and wine classes, you can look to see if they have any in your area. I went to one a few months ago with my girlfriend and we had so much fun! It's something different y'all can do and you come home with a little masterpiece

HOST A BRUNCH
Hosting a lunch doesn't need to be hard. Make it a light brunch with croissants, waffles, fruit, and mimosas! You can pick up some decorations at your nearest grocery store or retailer; balloons, flowers, and Valentines inspired dinnerware. I've seen so many inspirations on Pinterest under "Galentines Brunch". 

xo,
Annie  

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

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