Affordable Fall Fashion & A Fun, Fall Bucket List!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Eeeek! Can you believe it’s fall? I mean, technically it’s not… but in Illinois most apple orchards have been open (or just opened this weekend, like mine!) so that basically means it’s fall, right? Royce and I met a friend and her daughter and got to eat apple pie, drink fresh apple cider (sooo good!) and brought home a dozen warm, apple cinnamon donuts. It was his first time going and he loved it! Year before last I was about 9 months pregnant with him, and last year we simply didn’t make it out together! It’s not stroller-friendly in all parts of the orchard, so if you do have a little one, I recommend you bringing them when you have a helper or two to watch them if you want to go in and shop for decor and other little food items, or wait until they’re in the walking stage.

If you couldn’t tell already, fall is my favorite season by far! I love everything from the cozy knit sweaters to the fun outdoor activities that you can do with the family. Don’t even get me started with pumpkin spice lattes! Starbucks is releasing them earlier than ever this year and I have NO complaints. Aside from the good food, the fashion during this season is the best. I’m a fan of oversized everything because 1. You don’t have to worry about your body flaws showing (anyone with the mom pouch knows what I’m talking about)  2. LAYERING. I love keeping a cardigan handy so I can wear a tee when it’s warm out and then toss on the cardigan when it gets a little chillier in the evening. Everyone feels more comfortable in layers usually too! 3. The colors are my favorite! Give me all that rust orange, maroon, olive, plum, and neutrals. I personally feel like I look better in darker colors and they flow right into winter fashion!

Above are a few pieces I’ve been eyeing for fall! Hover over each image to shop it from the retailer’s site. The best part? Everything I linked is under $75! I made sure to keep everything affordable so you can update your fall wardrobe (just one thing on the bucket list below!) even on a budget. Happy shopping, friends!
Make sure to make your own bucket list for this season to keep things exciting for yourself and your family! If you’re a bit stumped, check out mine. Everyone’s list may vary depending on the holidays you celebrate, traditions you carry on, and local activities. I can’t wait to check off things on mine!

fall autumn bucket list

 

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From Brick & Mortar to Working Remotely – How I Began Teaching From Home with DaDa

This post is sponsored by DaDa. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

It brings me such joy to share my story about working for DaDa! Recently, I was able to land a work from home job which is perfect for my family’s needs. No matter what path of life you’re in currently, working from home does sound pretty enticing, right?

In order to figure out if working from home is ideal for you, think of a few reasons as to why you would want to do it. For me, the reasons were easy to find. I wanted to have more freedom in my schedule and only work specific hours. In my previous jobs at brick and mortars, I was not able to set my schedule exactly like I needed. I had to take into consideration the store hours, the busiest days, and even my coworkers’ schedules.  I desired more time during the day to spend with my son. Before when I had to walk out the door to go to work, he would sadly watch me go and sometimes even cry after me. It truly broke my heart! Another big reason is that when my son is sick, I want to be able to give him the proper care and attention he needs and not have to rely on another family member to do so.

If you still haven’t found your why, ponder over these questions a little: Would you like to save money on gas or fares for commuting? Would you like to cut back on the amount of money you spend shopping for new work apparel? Would you prefer less office distractions or co-worker debates and drama? Would you enjoy a custom environment where you can decorate how you please and be as loud as you’d like on breaks?

Why I Enjoy Working For DaDa

After teaching for a month, getting to know the platform, and receiving my paycheck (yay!) I am happy to explain more about DaDa to you. Let me start by saying that I never thought I’d actually become a teacher! If you asked me a year ago if I would consider it, I would probably say no. However, I didn’t know teaching online was even a thing! Personally, I believe teachers are very undervalued here in the US. They truly are heroes and shape our children to learn and grow beyond just the educational aspect. With DaDa, I never have felt that way. I receive a generous pay, have the best students, and have collected several bonuses already within one month of working!

Do You Have To Spend A Lot Of Money Like A Traditional School Teacher?

I did a bit of research and learned that there IS a little investment into becoming an online teacher. However, compared to what a traditional teacher pays, it is very affordable. You must have a computer and webcam and reliable internet access. If you’re reading this blog post, you can probably check off both of those requirements. My computer has a webcam built in, but if yours doesn’t this one is under $25! A headset with microphone is also required, (here is one that is normally $20 but currently on sale for $15!), a sky blue shirt which can be polo-style or a traditional tee, which I personally prefer (this one is less than $10) and some fun classroom decorations to put on the wall behind where you’ll be seated. Fun fact: Since all of my sky blue shirts were graphic tees, I just turned them inside out to start out 😉 I found all teaching supplies in the Dollar Tree’s teacher section or Target Dollar Spot like these hand puppets I use for my younger students who are just starting and may be shy, along with the flash cards. If you have children of your own, know that these won’t go to waste! I use the flash cards in my spare time to teach my son the alphabet, numbers, and shapes! Everything that I listed is a small investment you can complete over time, and you can even print things off at home using free online resources, including the DaDa logo that they provide.

Work Schedule & Teaching On Your Terms 

While your schedule is very flexible, you need to be committed to the contract hours that you set for yourself. This ensures that you gain regular students quickly and you are a reliable employee! If you’re unsure of how you you’ll like it, if you are offered a position you can sign the 6-month contract rather than 1-year. Teachers are required to work at least 2 hours per day and 2 days per week. If you do the minimum, the 2 days can only be on the weekends, not during the week. Available class time slots are between 6-9:10 pm (Shanghai time) Monday through Friday, and 10am-12:06pm/2pm-4:06pm/6pm-9:10pm (Shanghai time) on the weekends. You can use a time zone converter to learn what your working hours would be according to your location. Even though you have the comfort of working from home, you need to have the proper space and time that allows you to focus on teaching. I personally scheduled my classes at the times where I know my son Royce will be sleep and I can be distraction free!

After a month or two of working with DaDa and having a good attendance record, you can apply for part-time classes. These are extra classes outside of your contract hours. Some apply often and are able to work full time, while others like myself only apply when I have extra time and would like an additional boost in my income for that month. You get to set your own hours with part-time and select from different time slots offered, which is great for those who are saving for a vacation or even something on the expensive side that they want! Many traditional brick and mortar jobs don’t allow you to add on hours whenever you need them.

Now for the big question: What is the pay rate? While I can’t disclose my exact salary, I was pleased to accept the offer that I received. Your pay is determined on your performance of the mock-class which is with a real student. They look for lots of  TPR (Total Physical Response) and enthusiasm while teaching and interacting with the student. Pay starts at $14 USD and can go up to $25 if you have a bachelor’s degree or higher, teaching experience, and truly have fun while teaching the student! You are also evaluated after one year of teaching and can request a raise during this time. The pay is generous and higher than what I’ve ever received at a previous company. It has been such a blessing to my family and our financial needs.

So, thinking about working for DaDa? Feel free to comment below with any questions you may have about the process! Apply here through my special referral link. 

 

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Summer Vacation Style On A Budget

Palm print cover up: Amazon | Scalloped one piece swimsuit: Amazon | Stud sandals: Amazon | Kate Spade dupe earrings: Belle & Ten | Tassel clutch: Belle & Ten | Sunglasses: Old, but similar here 

 

When Dougie surprised Royce & I with a trip to Wisconsin Dells, I needed to find an affordable waterpark friendly outfit that could get here in less than a week. Of course my first instinct is to check Amazon as Prime is the greatest invention ever and we rely so much on it. I was so fortunate to find this cute cover up, one piece, and sandals for less than $70!

My favorite piece in this look though is the pom pom + tassel mix clutch! This style is so in (both tassels and straw totes!) and is perfect for packing cash/cards, your phone and keys when heading to the beach. These earrings literally look exactly like the popular Kate Spade square studs that retail for $38. Mine are $9.50 – crazy, right?

On a side note, I know everyone is sharing fall fashion because of the Nordstrom sale but I can’t even think about that yet! We’re still ranging 80s-90s in Illinois. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about pumpkin everything and apple orchard visits, but this girl can patiently wait! Plus that means we’re one step closer to winter – no thank you!

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Easy Breakfast Ideas For Picky Toddlers

happy tot happy family yogurt organic breakfast

happy tot happy family yogurt organic toddler breakfast idea

 

This post is sponsored by Happy Family Yogurt but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

An every day struggle for most parents is getting your children to eat. Well, not just anything – but HEALTHY food. Thank goodness Royce enjoys many veggies now like potatoes, carrots and zucchini to name a few, but it took us a while to get here. I actually posted in a mom group asking if anyone had any suggesstions on how to make my picky toddler enjoy other food than sweets. For a few weeks straight he was living off fruit and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. In order to get some veggies in, I’d sneak in spinach and carrots into his smoothies but it still wasn’t helping the fact that he didn’t like the TASTE of anything that wasn’t sweet.

Through our struggles, I found some really easy breakfast ideas for him that helped fill his belly first thing in the morning. I like to think that starting the first meal off great will set the standard for the rest of the day!

  1. Egg muffins – I usually mix peppers, turkey sausage and onions with my egg and sprinkle a little cheese on top. They are also great for snacks on the go!
  2. Smoothies – As said above, this my favorite and easiest way to sneak in veggies for Royce. They’re super easy to make in the morning and I love using this blender for them!
  3. Happy Tots yogurt – Royce loves these! While the brand has a bunch of different food (we’ve tried almost all of their baby food pouches and the alphabet snacks ) our latest discovery was the yogurt. I grabbed a few the last time at our local Walmart and Royce loved it so much the first time that I had to give him a second! It’s full of probiotics and Vitamin D which makes me even happier too.
  4. French toast – I didn’t have french toast that often growing up so I completely forgot about this. I love topping it with fresh fruit or even serving yogurt on the side for dipping rather than syrup. This is another one of Royce’s favorites!
  5. Oatmeal – While this is a classic, I’ve had fun trying out new flavors with Royce and he seems to like almost all of them. His new favorite is apples & cinnamon, and you can even make your own the night before and serve cold. I’m going to try the overnight method next week (click here for the recipe I’ll be following) because I run late in the morning more often than not, and need to feed my little one’s belly before sending him off to daycare.

These are all really simple meals for toddler and I often give them to Royce throughout the day! Have you tried Happy Tots yogurt? I’ve got a coupon just for you to save – click here!

 

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Life Update & Enjoy Flowers Review

 

Since this post may be a little long, I’m going to break it down into two sections so if you’re only interested in reading about one, you’ll save a lot of time! First I’m going to do a little life update on school, a recent job change, and blogging.

As you (probably) know, I studied floral design through Ashworth College for the past year or so and recently graduated with honors! I’m so excited to be done and be able to take another step towards my career. With that said, I used to work at a local wholesale florist and it was not my favorite job for a number of reasons that I won’t go into detail about. It was a great place for me to start and learn more about the industry, but I wouldn’t have even put it in my 5 year plan. I recently got the opportunity to work at a shop which is more of my speed and where I want to be anyway, so I didn’t think too much when it came down to leaving the wholesaler. It’s better for me in a number of ways and I also get to spend more time with Royce which is the biggest thing for me right now. I can work harder down the line when he gets into preschool and has a set schedule, but for now while he’s little I want to spend as much time as possible with him.

Now blogging is a little different, because while I do sharing little details about my life and my favorite fashion items, baby products, and more, I’m not sure this is what I want to do forever. As of this moment, my blog is going to be something that I take a little less serious and post when I want, what I want, and don’t stress over meeting huge deadlines with certain posts. While working from home all the time would be great, it’s not as glamorous as people may think it is and actually involves a lot dedicated time. I also don’t want Royce to remember his childhood as being home with me all the time but my face stuck staring at a computer or phone screen all day either.

Enjoy Flowers review time! I was lucky enough to try this subscription service and let me just say they did not disappoint. From someone who is around flowers often and I know what good quality is, Enjoy Flowers did an excellent job making sure the flowers I received were still beautiful, fresh, and ready to be gifted to someone else (or used in your own home)! With Mother’s Day coming up, I think this would be the perfect subscription service for Mom. How many times do you buy fresh flowers for yourself? Not often, right? But when you get fresh flowers, you’re always so happy and adore how beautiful they look placed in your home. Enjoy Flowers offers different styles of bouquets and arrangements and even wedding flower service for a great price!

I’ll be rounding up some of my favorite gifts for mom next week! What are your go-to gift ideas?

 

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Loving Lately – Natural Baby Products

natural baby products

Oilogic Calming Cream | Honest Diaper Rash Cream | Honest Bug Spray  | Tom’s Toddler Toothpaste  |Wink Naturals Chest Rub 

My last Loving Lately post was about hair & personal care, but this time I’m focusing on babies & kids rather than mama!

There’s a million and one reasons why you should care about natural products for yourself, but even more for your baby. Let’s just say that the most popular products for the little’s that have been around for years aren’t as safe and gentle as they claim to be. The safest products you can use are the ones that are made with ingredients right from our earth.

These are a couple of my favorite products that Royce and I have been using a lot recently. You might be wondering why I’m using the bug spray in the middle of winter – I’ve found that it really helps stop you scratching an itch whether it’s from a bug bite or even dry skin!

When I’m not using Royce’s special cream for eczema, I use the Oilogic calming cream at night since it has lavender to soothe him. Many other brands break him out so we usually stick to one kind of lotion, but this doesn’t at all. Plus I just love smelling the soft lavender scent when I’m cuddling him 😉

The product I’m most excited about that also has lavender is the Wink Naturals chest rub! You can shop the products on their website or here. Royce and I have been SO sick recently with nasty coughs from congestion and I’ve bee putting this on his chest (and mine) and even on the bottom of our feet. My coworker recommended that trick to me and I’m not sure if it works, but when someone says xyz helps them feel better… you try it!

The diaper rash cream is something that I don’t have to use that often anymore, but whenever I see any sign of pink or red down there I use it and this is by far the #1 product by the Honest Company I recommend to people. It works instantly and you see a huge difference within a single day.

Lastly, Tom’s toothpaste is something I’m really excited to use because Royce actually has teeth now. If you didn’t know, it took him forever to get his first two and now he has FOUR on the bottom and two coming down on top. I’m trying to get his good habits started early and he actually likes this toothpaste! He actually runs to me when he sees the toothbrush now and opens his mouth so I can brush them. It’s soooo cute.

If you have any recommendations for natural baby products we should try, leave them in a comment below!

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Little Red Dress

Dress: SheIn | Earrings: Forever 21 | Shoes: Old, similar here & here | Flowers: Delores Designs | Photos: Brown Eyes Photography

 

The perfect little red dress is here – and it’s in your budget! I’ve seen similar dresses paired on so many girls and all were different body shapes so I was excited to know that it would also flatter my body shape!

I love the longer length because it makes it a bit more classy and modest. I’d wear this dress out for a date night (with Royce, obviously 😉 but it’d be perfect for a winter or Spring wedding in the blush color option!

Now let’s talk about the price… it’s a dupe for this much more expensive designer version and actually good quality! I get asked this question all the time: Is SheIn really legit? And my answer is always yes! Now there’s been a few pieces that weren’t the best quality, but I had already expected that based on reviews and I took the chance. I’d compare it to Forever 21 or Boohoo if you’ve ever shopped at those stores. The key to shopping at SheIn is making sure you read reviews before buying and when in doubt, size up!

If you had this dress, where would you wear it?  Leave a comment below!

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How To Wear White Jeans In The Winter

 

Photos by Brown Eyes Photography

I’ve learned to make my own rules when it comes to fashion – as long as I feel good in it, wear it! There’s been a rule going on for years that you can’t wear white jeans after Labor Day but I think white jeans can be as chic in the winter as they are in the summer if you pair them with the right top and shoes.

I’m also a rule breaker because I think blush pink is totally a neutral color! It pairs so well with grey, tan, and white and brings a little bit of brightness without making a statement. My top is originally from Sky Denae Boutique but is unfortunately sold out. I’ve linked a few other pretty blush tops as well as wrap blouses below.

My boots were less than $40 and found at Burlington recently, but I’ve also linked a very similar and affordable pair! I’m a sucker for over the knee boots because they dress any outfit up and are really feminine! My trick to looking like I have it all together is throwing on a pair of jeans and these boots and my cute down coat… even if I’m wearing an old college t-shirt underneath and no bra… I look put together. That’s embarrassing to admit but you have no idea how many times I’ve gone to Target like that!

P.S. This outfit would make an adorable look for a casual brunch date on Valentine’s! What are your plans for the holiday?

SHOP THE POST

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How I’m Keeping Up With My 2018 Resolutions

Day Designer Planner Paintly Floral

Planner: c/o Day Designer | Plaid shirt: Old Navy | Distressed denim jeans: Old Navy | Watch: c/o AIBI

 

This blog post is totally spur of the moment but I’ve discovered a few programs/studies that I had to share with you! I made a few resolutions for this year like the rest of the world, and instead of just sharing them with you I wanted to talk about how I plan to keep up with them.

Before I start, I wanted to talk to you about my new planner by Day Designer which is a DREAM! I haven’t gotten around to using it that much yet but I’ve been wanting one for the longest time. I’ve heard they change the way people organize and manage their every day lives… plus they’re all just so pretty. I’ve always been obsessed with stationary products and while some people prefer their online calenders and agendas, I need a hard copy to stay organized. I had a tough time choosing which one I wanted (I almost got this one and this one) but decided on the “Painterly Floral” design. On a side note, I really aim to grow my clientele for floral design this year so I thought this version would keep me inspired!

Now lets talk about the real reason why you came. Here are my 2018 resolutions (in no particular order) and how I’m keeping up with them so far!

1. Live Healthier 

As you may or may not know, I did Whole 30 and lost 10 pounds. I will be the first to admit that it’s HARD, even if the program tells you not to use that word. I plan to start the Hot Mom Bod Program in a few days which is a 12-week program designed for busy moms.  According to the program you can eat whatever you walk and only do a little exercise and still achieve your weight loss goals. I personally plan to cut back on my sugar intake, increase my water intake, and work out for 30 minutes a day while on the program. If you buy the program or have already done it, let me know! I’d love to learn about your results. My girl Mariah & I over at the blog Like Honey are also planning to do BBG soon. I’m really nervous about this one because I heard it is INTENSE.

2. Grow My Faith 

My friend Kim (owner of Belle & Ten) & I are doing an online Bible study through Lifeway Women. We had this same resolution in mind and thought it’d be fun to kind of keep each other accountable! I love how in today’s world we have the option of doing a Bible study online and it can work with our busy schedules and on our own time. This will be just a jump start to my resolution and hopefully a way that’ll let me incorporate studying His word consistently every week.

3. Manage My Finances Smarter

I know I need to work on saving more, so I plan to start taking a portion of every check from my day job and putting it in a separate account. Royce & I have a few travel plans in mind I know I need to prepare for, like a road trip to Minnesota for my friend’s graduation (and possibly visiting Mall of America there!) and Atlanta if I decide to attend my graduation ceremony for my online classes. Beside from that, it’s nice to just have “cushion” money in case of an emergency. I also aim to cut back on unnecessary shopping and subscriptions and live more in the moment. I’ve already cut off my Netflix subscription and soon I’ll start creating a monthly budget for any shopping I do.

I’d love to know what your resolutions are for this year and how you plan to keep up with them! Maybe we can be online accountability buddies 😉

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Staying Stylish & Safe with Little Planet Organic

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

On Royce: Organic Polo-Style Romper

Since I became pregnant with Royce, I’ve done my research on baby products to make sure I was buying the best (and safest) products for him. During this time I also learned of the toxins in many every day household products and beauty products. I’ve switched a majority of those products to safer, organic versions or just natural versions. If you’ve ever wondered what I use for beauty products (because I think it’s hard to find affordable ones that work well) then check out this page.

All of that to say that I never did much research on organic COTTON. Yes, cotton. I’ve learned that the cotton industry often uses pesticides which can affect the environment and our health. I’m really picky on what I put onto Royce & I’s skin for body wash, lotions, etc. because your skin is the largest organ on your body, so now I plan to wear organic cotton as much as possible too!

Carter’s has launched Little Planet Organic for a Limited Edition line that Royce & I are SO excited about! Whether you have a newborn or a toddler in size 5T, they have something for your little one! All of the products are made from 100% certified organic cotton and continue to be affordable like their other collections. If you do a simple Google search on organic cotton, you’ll find most are pricey and pretty basic prints, patterns, & colors. I love that Carter’s made sure Little Planet is still trendy, colorful, and a great value.

Even though Royce looks like a little man in his romper, I also love their organic pajamas! I always call Royce “Sleepyhead” so we have to snag this set. Little Planet is Limited Edition so grab any items you see before they’re gone! Head over to Carters.com to see the full collection or check out a few of my favorites below!

 

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