my barre experience + gap's new barre collection

That's me on the far right at a Charleston Blog Society event that was held at Barre Evolution a month or so ago!

I started going to classes at Barre Evolution this fall and absolutely fell in love. I bought a month unlimited to start off and even though I didn't go every day, I felt tremendous results after just that first month. I didn't notice anything on the scale because the numbers were going up from being pregnant, but I felt more toned overall and had a great sense of clarity that I have missed since a time that I was a regular at yoga. I also felt very energized—something I'm lacking right now. I think what I like best about barre is that it's super intense and you can feel sore muscles you didn't know you had the next day, but it's not a workout that is going to leave you sweating major bullets since it's fairly low impact. But HARD, gosh it's hard. About the time my starter pack ended, my mom's surgery took place and I was with her during most free time that I had... and then Thanksgiving ...and then our move ...and then Christmas. So needless to say, I have only been once during all that time. And let's just say that between all of the food and lack of exercise, my body is missing barre like no other!! Now that we've moved and I can now walk to the barre studio, I guess I don't have much excuse to not go back, huh?

I noticed that GAP has introduced a barre collection and I thought I would share. I love their fitness line. Of course, most of this is not maternity friendly for me, but I hope it will stick around so that I can scoop some pieces up after Baby Boy arrives. Just a few more months!

Here are my favorites from the collection. A lot of it is currently marked down and plus, you can save 35% off your entire purchase with code CHEER.


what's in my travel makeup bag: christmas vacation

My makeup bag was packed pretty light this go around. Being home for the holidays is normally low key for my family, although Christmas Eve and Christmas day are both a bit of a marathon for Brandon and me—we are constantly going back and forth from his parents' house to my parents', to their church and then to mine, getting here and there by a certain time... PHEW! It's a lot, but so great to be able to see both families within a 30 minute car ride. I digress. Back to the makeup.

So this is what I packed this year. Since switching to safer, I've had a lot of fun trying out various non-toxic products, like this bareMinerals ready blush in the natural high. It's a gorgeous golden peach–a lot like NARS Orgasm, but more pigmented. 

The bronzer/highlighter you're seeing below is by Honest Beauty. It's the luminizing powder in dawn reflection. I like it a lot and think you probably would too if you have olive undertones in your skin like me. It doesn't give me a super bronzy look, but it gives me a very subtle "back from vacation" glow that I like.  I like layering it over my Beautycounter matte bronzer #1, but I forgot that this time.

Above, the Beautycounter lip sheer in plum. It's kind of my favorite for a dark, cold weather look (even though it is 80 degrees now, ew!). I wore it in this video

That brush is the retractable complexion coverage brush. The tint skin foundation should never be applied without it, I promise you that. I like that it collapses and has a lid, so it keeps things nice & tidy in my bag.  I actually took along two tint skin foundations, even though there's only one pictured. I am mostly the linen shade, but I've been mixing in a little of the sand shade, too. I don't mind having two foundations because it allows me to completely customize the perfect shade each day. 

In the top corner above, you can kind of see the Tarte smooth operator finishing powder. I've loved it for years and was so happy to learn that it's nontoxic. And lastly, the Beautycounter color outline pencil in violet. It's gorgeous. 

I put all of this in one of my jet set bags. They come in a set of three and they're beautiful with a white exterior, black & white striped inside, and gold hardware. I was worried about the white bags with cosmetics that are inevitably messy no matter how hard you try, but the material is completely wipeable. 

Not pictured is a random assortment of brushes and whatever mascara happened to be in my purse. For whatever reason, I cannot put it on with the rest of my makeup, but have to do it once I get in the car. It's a weird habit. I'm still looking for a good non-toxic mascara, by the way. (Beautycounter is still working on it!) In the mean time, I've been using the W3LL PEOPLE Expressionist Mascara, which is pretty dog gone good. When I need more drama, I've been using the Urban Decay Perversion Mascara. It isn't listed in the skin deep database, but I dissected the ingredients and it only has a couple rated as a 3 in the database and everything else is a 1 or 2. So overall, it's ok for me personally until I can find a completely safe option that I am in love with. (I told y'all I will only switch when I find a winning, nontoxic alternative!)


a few things I love that are 40% off...


All of the GiGi New York favorites below are 40% off!


merry merry

I'm home with my family and already gearing up for a busy Christmas Eve of hopping back and forth from my parents' house to Brandon's. And it's a hot one here, too! Supposed to be about 80 degrees tomorrow. There goes my hopes of a white Christmas. ;) Maybe next year! 

I hope that your Christmas is filled with love & blessings.


mouthwatering christmas recipes

How delicious (and healthy!) does that wilted kale and roasted potato salad look above? There's a lot to love about a good kale salad. Bet it would be good with sweet potatoes too!

This pumpkin pecan cobbler with vanilla ice cream looks like the perfect holiday dessert. I have had such a sweet tooth lately... I could so go for this right now.

Grab and go items are always nice to have around the house during Christmas and these cheesy buffalo chicken bombs would please the gents and the ladies.

Just look at these chicken enchilada roll ups. Yum!

Apricot gorgonzola cheese spread. That's an appetizer to love.

If you have a sweet tooth like me then you'll appreciate this no-bake chewy oreo bars recipe.

To go with your Christmas dinner... brussels sprout mac 'n cheese.

A tomato pie never disappoints. Honestly, a tomato pie might be one of my absolute favorite things. I just hate making them!

These fire crackers are perfect to have on hand for random munching.

Here are 20 Christmas morning recipes. We are making this one!

Can't go wrong with some bacon wrapped smokies.

Ok, now I'm hungry! Do you have any Christmas traditions when it comes to food? Maybe a recipe you make every year? I want to know!


NYE looks to really love

New Years will undoubtedly be a little different for me this year. Last year we went to the mountains with a group of friends and had an absolute blast. It was the perfect NYE trip that involved no sequins, no heels, and no lipstick. This year we will be in Charleston spending the holiday with our good friends—and two of us are pregnant! Our dinner reservations are late, so we shouldn't have a problem making it out 'til midnight, but there definitely won't be any champagne involved—and definitely no itty bitty sequin dress. ;) Here are some looks I'm loving for NYE, preggo or not!

image via


30-50% off everything at J. Crew, plus ships by XMAS!

Here's a mix of J. Crew and J. Crew Factory gifts that will arrive before Christmas! The best part is that all full-priced items are 30-50% off! (That's 30-40% off at J. Crew and 50% off everything at Factory.)

our home tour + roundup of our home update posts

As of about 11:15pm on Wednesday night, we closed the doors to our first home for the last time. I really didn't think I would be sad since we had only been there for a little over a year and I didn't think I had an attachment to it, but it was pretty emotional to see the walls and floors completely barren. It was the first place we've owned and were able to put our ideas and sweat into. We turned it from a  house into our home. 

We were ready to move, though. So by the time we got back to the new house, the sadness was all over, thankfully. Although I promise you that I'll be avoiding our old neighborhood because it would make me awfully sad to see new cars in the driveway. Ok, can't even think about that. 

I thought this would be a great time to share our "home tour." If you've been around for a while, then you've probably seen a lot of these photos, but not all of them—and not all at once. ;)

And just for fun, here are blog posts of our home from the time we moved in until recently! Lots of before and afters. Changing out those golden walls was so worth the 17 paint samples. Also, if there is something you're wanting sourced that you can see in the photos above, you might just find that item linked in the coordinating blog post below!

Goodbye, first home!


20 stocking stuffers that ship free by Christmas

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10
11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20

shop my gift guide for her by clicking here


our new house // moving weekend recap!

We are all moved in to the new house! Mostly, at least. There are still small things and plants at our other house, but the bulk of it is here. It's really been kind of comical to me in some ways—moving things from a new, basically pristine house into this old one. Leaving a new bathroom to a tiny one with blue tile ...you know, things like that kind of make me laugh and question, "what in the world are we doing?" Only for a split second, though. We are so ready for the adventure this home will bring us. I just hope it brings us a new kitchen and master bedroom/bathroom soon!

Here are some random snapshots of the house and moving process so far.

This is the formal living room—basically the first thing you see when you come in the front door.

The room below will be the guest room.

...and this will be Baby Boy's room!

The kitchen. The plan is to take this room down to the studs. We will change the appliance arrangement, get new cabinets/fixtures/counters, and make the space flow a little better. We went ahead and bought new appliances over Black Friday weekend and it seems as though our measurements may have been a smidgen off. AKA, we have a refrigerator hanging out in the middle of the kitchen until Brandon can take a saw to the counters/cabinets tonight. 

This is the back room. It's going to be our casual living room. I'm home waiting for the sofas to be delivered today.

I want to try painting this red mosaic tile floor a light gray color before we just go and replace it. Brandon says, "It's beautiful the way it is. I honestly love it.," but I just can't believe he truthfully believes that, can you? 

We are also going to paint the fireplace all white and the wooden beams white, too.

I'm so excited about that room above because it's going to be full of baby toys, comfy sofas, and will have a really laid back vibe that the rest of the house might lack ...and it leads off to a screened porch that Winston's going to love. It's going to be a happy room. But I need to get my hands on it first. 

First two nights in this house are down! Hope you're ready to follow along on a lot of home improvement projects. There will be a. LOT.

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