I asked you guys on Instagram to hit me with all the questions! So many came through that I won’t be able to answer all of them, but let’s just jump in and see how far we get…
“What do you use to curl your hair and how do you do it?”
I use a GHD 1″ Classic Curl. I’ve used all sorts of wands and different sizes of curling irons, but this is the one that I prefer. I started using it one day when I saw that Julia Engel uses it and I think she has the most beautiful hair ever, so I was sold. There really is something to this iron—it’s amazing. Since it’s smaller, it allows me to put more hair in the barrel to create a loose wave. (If I put the same amount of hair around a larger barrel, it would not give enough of a wavy look, but would look more straight, if that makes sense.) I promise promise to show y’all how I do it soon. There’s not much to it and it takes me less than 5 minutes. But I swear the trick is in the curling iron.
“How do you organize all of your paper—bills, coupons, important documents, mail, etc.?”
I have a closet that I like to call my “office.” The reason I call it that is because it sits right next to our playroom, which 100% was going to be my office when we moved in. Then all the toys took over and I got kicked out… and into a closet.
ANYWAY! The office has lots of shelves in it. On one shelf, I have a tray and any mail that comes in that is somewhat important in one way or another, I put it there in the tray. It’s out of sight, but remains top of mind because I see it at eye level whenever I open the closet. From there, about once a week I’ll sort through everything into an organizer drawer cabinet, which also lives in my “office” closet. It has lots of drawers and really helps me keep everything organized. Business receipts go in one drawer, family documents go in another (things that aren’t important enough to go in a safe, like our pest control contract and our Aquarium annual passes, etc). Another drawer is for coupons, like the 25 Bed Bath & Beyond ones we have and some for diapers, etc. You get the idea. Everything has a drawer! I try to keep ALL office supplies in this same closet so that there’s never any question where anything is when you need some ribbon to wrap a present or a hole puncher.
“Favorite brand of luggage?”
I use Calpak. It’s not the lightest ever, but I like how sleek it is and it’s so pretty. I also have a Delsey Paris rolling carry-on, which I love because the pockets are really well thought out and it’s lightweight. I actually love the entire Delsey line and would love to have more pieces.
“Do you use a self tanner? Which one?”
I was asked this a whole lot. I naturally have kind of olive toned skin, so it appears darker. Especially my legs for some odd reason—they are always darker than the rest of my body! So for that reason and because I’m kind of lazy these days, I don’t use a self tanner often. But when I do, I always always use the St. Tropez Express Tan.
I love it because you only have to leave it on for 1-3 hours. So you can put it on when you get home from work and then wash it off before bed! Getting in a bed with self tanner on just creeps me out, haha.
It works best if you exfoliate beforehand, but I don’t always. Just be sure to use an applicator mitt so that your hands don’t end up looking crazy! I even use this on my face, but I always put moisturizer on after to make sure it’s even.
“What paint color do you have on your walls?”
We have Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams painted throughout the house, but we are slowly painting some of the rooms our custom paint color we had all throughout our last home. It’s just so good (the perfect almost white, warm gray) and I’ve missed it!! It’s extremely similar to Agreeable Gray, but just lighter with a smidge more of a cool tone.
“What does Brandon do for a living?”
He’s a civil engineer. He does roadway design and storm drainage design for infrastructure projects.
“Who highlights your hair? How do you keep it “cool” toned?”
If you’re in Charleston, I highly recommend Nicole at Element 28 Salon in Mount Pleasant. She has done my hair exclusively for almost 9 years. I have a very ashy toned darker root, so the blonde highlights look more “icey” in contrast to my natural color. Also, I ask for a LOT of very thin highlights so that it always looks blended and soft—never streaky. To maintain, I use AMIKA Bust Your Brass Shampoo to take out any brassiness. I use this about 2x per week, or as needed. Not only is this the best purple shampoo I’ve used, but it also has done wonders for the health of my hair! It’s so much stronger and shiny now.
“How do you have a toddler and light colored furniture? What are your tricks for keeping stains off of it?”
Got this one a lot too. The main thing… our sofas have washable slipcovers on them! We wash them about once per month and they always look just as good when we put them back on. They are from the Cindy Crawford Beachside collection at Rooms to Go. The cost was a fraction compared to sofas with an identical look. They’re incredibly comfortable and durable.
I honestly can’t imagine not having washable slipcovers with a toddler—even if we had a sofa that was dark brown, I think I would still be on pins and needles if it couldn’t essentially be thrown in the washing machine. I mean, Watson comes running into the living room with blueberry juice running down his face and then he catapults himself on the sofa head first! It makes me cringe a little, but I know it will wash right out. When we do get stains on ours in between washings (like, every single day), I use The Laundress Stain Solution to easily dab out the stain.
Our dining room chairs are white as well, but they are also removable slipcovers and we honestly don’t eat at that table… ever. Other than that, there’s really nothing else white other than some pillows, which are also washable.
“Advice for a bride with 4 months to go before her wedding?”
Wow, what an amazing time of your life. Honestly, I wish I could do it all again! Of course people are telling you already to soak it all up and enjoy every moment, but I’d be wrong if I didn’t say that too. So please do! Otherwise, here are a few random thoughts.
- We didn’t do a “first look,” but I really wish we had. We don’t have a ton of photos of our bridal party and of the two of us from our wedding day and that’s because it was so hurried after the wedding to take photos before the reception. I was dying to get to the reception and dance the night away with my new hubby, so I sort of rushed our photographer and said we had enough photos, when really, I do wish we had more with our bridal party, etc. I am a very traditional person and the thought of seeing Brandon before our wedding was an absolute no-no to me, but now that I’ve been in so many weddings that DID do a first look, I see how much more relaxed the whole process is. You can get so many amazing photos beforehand and then get to your reception SO much quicker after the wedding. Plus, it would allow you some quiet moments with your hubby-to-be to reflect before the wedding, which I would have loved. Once the wedding starts, you really don’t get that until after the reception.
- If you have any specific wishes, be sure to write them out for your wedding planner or designated “helper.” So as you’re thinking of your wedding 4 months out, jot down any specifics that you want done on your big day and hand them over to that person before the wedding. It will help keep those thoughts out of your head and it will help your planner know what your expectations are. Which is another tip: hire a day-of-coordinator if you don’t have a planner! Even if you have to cut something else out of the budget to allow it. You’ll be so thankful to have someone keeping the day on schedule and moving, so you don’t have to think about anything like that.
- Don’t feel like you have to talk to everyone at your reception. I know it’s hard because all of these sweet people came from all over to see you tie the knot, but remember the day is all about YOU and your spouse. People will understand if they don’t get a long conversation out of you. We mingled with guests during dinner and tried to say hello to everyone we could, but after we cut the cake, I told the band to get the party started and we stayed on the dance floor ALL NIGHT LONG. I didn’t feel guilty about not mingling any more… instead, everyone came and had a good time with us dancing the night away. And Brandon and I had the most fun of our whole lives!
- Finish your to-do list early. I procrastinated on certain things… like preparing my bridesmaids’ gifts, for example. I bought everything a long time in advance and put a lot of thought into it, but then there I was the night before my bridal luncheon/our rehearsal ironing their robes, packing everything into their gift bags, tying the pretty ribbon, etc. I guess I thought it would be a simple little task, but I ended up going to bed after midnight and was exhausted the next morning! So the moral of the story: just don’t save ANYTHING until the last minute!
“What kind of deodorant do you use?”
LAVANILA in the Vanilla Lavender scent. It smells so good and is completely healthy.
“What’s in your Amazon cart right now?”
“Did you have a different job before blogging?”
Yes, I worked in major gifts and event planning for the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital. That was my first job out of college. I’m also a Realtor, although that has slowed down quite a bit since having two babies. I love it though!
“How did you lose the baby weight? How do you stay in shape?”
First of all, I really am not in shape, but thank you… clothes hide it well! But I did get this question a lot, so here’s what I attribute it to. Honestly, I just move around ALL DAY. Our house is super tall, so I’ve got two sets of stairs I’m going up and down constantly. I really want to get into a strict workout routine, but it’s really hard because we live about 30 minutes away from my gym and it’s hard to fit it in with having two small children—one that hates the gym nursery. I’ve been going about 1-2x per week the past few weeks, but that’s really just to walk on the treadmill, which is more of an emotional escape than anything!
I did drop the baby weight pretty fast because I didn’t gain too much. I gained 50lb with Watson and only 24lb with Rosie. (Which I amount to the fact that I was sedentary while pregnant with Watson and I couldn’t be that way when I was expecting Rosie because I had Watson to run after! And likewise, I didn’t have the time to sit around eating cookies. Haha!) When I got home from the hospital after having Rosie, I had lost 11lb. Then, 9 days later, I had dropped another 10lb. It was crazy… I guess it was just water weight. Then I lost a few pounds when I tried intermittent fasting last month, which is basically where I would eat dinner at 8:30pm and then not eat again until about 11:30am the next morning. It was super easy… and honestly, the main reason I did it was because I was so busy taking care of two littles in the morning that I’d forget to eat right away anyway! But look at all the health benefits!
I’d really like to lose about five more pounds to be totally happy. Just being honest. I’ll get there, but I put zero pressure on myself to do it. It may happen over the course of the summer, it may happen next year, and it may not happen ever. And that’s ok. I used to be so hard on myself and I just don’t do that anymore. I also am not a dieter at all. I will adjust portion size, but I always give in to the fries and the dessert. Life is too short not to, right?
“Will you go to houses to help with interior design? I’m local.”
I’ve had this question come up a few times recently, which is incredibly flattering. I haven’t really thought about it, but I’m not shutting the idea out! In the meantime, if anyone wants to send over a photo of their room and ideas about what they are wanting, I’d be happy to try to squeeze in time to make an online mood board just for fun. That could make a good blog post to share!
“How did you become an “influencer?” Any tips?”
It has been a long process. I started this blog when I was a senior in college as a creative outlet and something to pass the time. I was so shocked when I got my first follower. I even remember her name—”Politics & Pearls,” are you out there? haha! Back then, people didn’t blog as a job. Or maybe they did, but if so, I had no idea about that side of blogging. Fast forward to 7 years later and blogging has become a career for me, which I’m so incredibly grateful for. But it definitely didn’t happen overnight, that’s for sure.
I think the most important tips I can share for new bloggers is to be consistent with your content, stay active on social media, engage with other bloggers that you can turn to for support, and say “yes” to every event, trip, and gathering you can! If you’re doing fun things, you’ll have fun content to share. Also, another tip …Not to be a downer, but just don’t do it unless you’re truly passionate and excited about it. As in, don’t get started with it solely as a way to make money because you’ll burn out fast. Blogging may seem like a glamorous, easy job, but there’s so much to it behind the scenes that other people don’t see. Like paperwork, sourcing and ordering items, photography shoots, countless hours of planning, writing content, contracts, bookkeeping, editing… the list goes on. But if you do it because you like it, then none of that will seem like work. Even when you’re up at 1:30am writing a blog post like I am now. 🙂
“Do you get Botox?”
I have before and I absolutely loved it. I don’t know how many units, but it was a small amount just in the lines on my forehead. I could still move my forehead just fine, but it kept those deep forehead lines from being so creased, which was awesome. Not going to lie, the first thing I will do after I finish nursing Rosie is make an appointment to get it again! It definitely made me look more fresh-faced.