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Love List

Thursday, July 23, 2020

My Summer Essentials

Hi friends! It has been way too long since I have written a blog post. With quarantine, working from home, then transitioning back to the office I have not been very inspired to write but I am working on getting back into it! Summer is my absolute favorite time of year so I thought I would share some of my Summer favorites so far (both clothing/accessories and other random Summer essentials).  

Summer Outfit Essentials and My New Favorite Place to Shop


Hat // Top // Bottoms // Bag // Shoes // Blanket
A few of my Summer favorites can be seen in the photo to the right! If you follow along on instagram, you know that I am a huge beach lover. Hubby helped me set up this cute little spot for these photos and I of course had to bring my favorite accessories along. 

My Outfit 


This cute little set is from Elan and my gosh is it comfy! It honestly screams Summer and it is perfect for watching the sunset on the beach or just hanging out in the backyard.  They also offer a similar jumpsuit option which can be found here. I cannot recommend their clothes enough. I have been buying their pieces at boutiques and other retailers for years but they recently launched their own site! Definitely check them out if you haven't already. 

Accessories


You have seen this hat on me many times on instagram. It is the perfect beach hat! Honestly I think it may be one of my favorites in my collection (besides my absolute favorite I will show you later in this post). This hat is almost identical to the Lack of Color version but it will save you about half the cost of theirs. The LOC one can be found here

My other favorite accessory this Summer has been this cute straw beach bag. I bring it with me every time I go to the beach and it actually fits a decent amount considering it is a smaller bag. It has a removable tassel that adds a little color which I love to. 

My last essential from this shoot is this adorable blanket. This affordable piece makes the perfect beach blanket. It is so soft and light (not to mention the pattern is so pretty). Definitely a must have! 

My Favorite Summer Hat 

As I mentioned above, I would be sharing my absolute favorite hat. The Lack of Color Seaside Boater definitely takes the cake! I have been a huge fan of all things beachy my whole life. I mean even my dorm room had seashell and nautical decor. The moment I saw this hat I knew I had to have it! It is definitely a splurge item, but for me it was worth every penny. The quality of the hat is amazing and it has a very luxurious feel.  

Hat // Romper 
Here is this beauty in action! I mean how could you not fall in love with this beachy hat? I paired it with another adorable piece from Elan. This romper is another one of my favorites from their collection. You can wear it on or off the shoulders as the front ties and is adjustable. 

Other Summer Essentials


I know I primarily talk about fashion, but I wanted to share a few Summer essentials that I have been using non-stop for the pool or just sitting out in the yard. I promise you'll thank me for these!

Molds

Ice Pop Molds


These ice pop molds have been such a fun Summer essential! The possibilities are endless with these as you can really make whatever flavor you want! I made alcoholic ice pops, the ones pictured here are Pina Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri, and Miami Vice! You can make all kinds of flavors (non-alcoholic too of course) and even sneak some fruit in there if you have kiddos! I also bought these disposable ones for if we have guests over and they have been amazing as well! 

Hopsulator Trio (exact color) // Slim Version (this is the one I ordered)

Brumate  


Last but not least, probably my favorite on the list! This is one of those items that I didn't know I needed until I had one. Brumate carries all kinds of drink wear that is perfect for the beach, backyard, pool, or even just around the house (the one I have is from a local brewery). Everything is insulated so your drinks will stay cold or hot for hours. This is the hopsulator trio 3 in 1 and it fits 12 or 16oz cans. It can be used as a regular travel cup as well! They offer a slim version that fits cans like white claw, which I am waiting to come in the mail. I used mine all day by the pool and in the backyard and my drinks stayed nice and cool even though it was almost 100 degrees! Hubby and I both have one and we swear by it! I definitely recommend picking one of these up! 

I hope you all found something on my Summer essentials list that you loved! These are all items I have been using all Summer long and I know you will love them as much as I do. If you have a favorite Summer essential leave it in the comments or drop me a DM on Instagram! I am always looking to step up my Summer game and add to my collection. 

xoxo
-Nicole 





Monday, May 4, 2020

Quarantine Date Night Ideas

With restaurants and other date night spots being closed it may be hard to think of fun things to do together, but it is so important to still have "dates". You definitely don't have to go out to have a date night with your significant other and its so important to still have fun nights together even though we are quarantined. Here are some fun date night ideas that you can do at home (hubby and I have done these!). 

Backyard date night, quarantine date ideas, backyard inspiration
Teepee // Blanket // Pillows // Tray (similar) // Lantern // Kimono

Have a Backyard Picnic!

Hubby and I were so excited that it finally warmed up over the weekend so we decided to have a backyard picnic! Pour some wine, make a charcuterie board and watch the sunset! We set up this adorable teepee with a bunch of pillows and just relaxed. It was the perfect simple romantic date and you don't need a teepee like us, just take bunch of blankets and pillows and lay them in the grass or on the patio! 

Backyard inspiration, teepee, date night ideas, backyard decor

Backyard date night, quarantine date ideas, backyard inspiration

Have a Themed Dinner Night

Have a themed dinner! Think a Mexican night or Italian night! We had a Mexican night where we made tacos and margaritas. Pick a country and make food that is popular in that country, you could take it up a notch and play some music to fit the theme as well. Have fun with it and make the meal together!

Have a Karaoke Night

This is one of my favorite date night ideas. Hubby and I always have so much fun when we do karaoke nights together. It is such a great way to just do something silly and light hearted. The other night we did a country theme and sang all country songs together. There are so many themes you could do: 90's night, 80's night, pop, rock, ect. We have this Karaoke machine from Amazon, but you could also get something super simple like this handheld bluetooth microphone. 


I hope these ideas give you some inspiration and that you get to try them out with your significant other. Even though we are quarantined and you may be spending more time together then usual, it is so important to still set aside time for official date nights. The options are endless, just think outside the box and have fun!

xoxo
-Nicole





Thursday, April 30, 2020

What it is Like to Lose a Parent

"Is this Nicole...." "Yes, I responded with a shaky voice. "I am so sorry but your mom has passed". Those are the words I will never forget.. I remember it just like it was yesterday- my husband and I got up at 7AM to get dressed quickly to rush to the nursing home when I got that terrible call. I  don't even remember my response to the woman on the phone, all I remember is feeling my legs give out as I dropped to the floor in tears. I felt like I could barely breathe as my husband threw his arms around me. It was almost as if time had stopped, it didn't feel real. 

 If you have lost a parent or a parental figure in your life, I am sure you understand these feelings.  I have been wanting to discuss this on my platform for quite some time as I am sure there are many that can relate. With Mothers Day just around the corner I have been reflecting and of course thinking about my mom. It is hard seeing commercials, advertisements, and gift guides for mom this time each year. Its even harder when you're at the store right before Mother's Day and someone tells you to "Have a nice day with your mom!" (true story).  My hope is that my story brings you comfort in knowing you are not alone. 



Dealing with Grief 


I felt empty, I felt alone even though I had those I loved around me, and I felt like everyone didn't quite know how to treat me. I felt like everyone was looking at me like I was broken or that they couldn't say anything without upsetting me. I also had some people in my life who were too selfish to be there for me when I needed them most. I wasn't looking for anyone to say anything, because really what can you say? I just wanted to know I wasn't alone. 

 After my moms passing I felt guilt. Why didn't I go visit more? Was there more I could have done? Maybe I didn't pick out the right nursing home? Why didn't I realize she was sick sooner?. These were all of the thoughts racing through my mind. In the end I know I did the best I could, but I think there's always a bit of guilt or feelings of "what if" when someone passes. This is definitely the hardest part of the grieving process. 



Losing a parent is a pain that I would not wish on anyone. Although my mom and I had an interesting relationship there is not a day that goes by that I don't wish I couldn't just pick up the phone to call her. My mom struggled with alcoholism for most of my life and this definitely got worse when her father died. I was in 7th grade when I learned she was dealing with alcoholism and I really started to understand and see the volatile side of this addiction. Unfortunately, on November 16th 2017 my mom lost her battle with alcoholism. Six months prior I had found out that she was in end stage liver failure and I had to watch her become more and more ill with each visit to the nursing home. She no longer knew who I was, she lost a ton of weight during this time due to her no longer being able to feed herself and swallow (she was put on a feeding tube), and she had an infection where she would have needed her leg amputated should she have lived longer. To say watching her die wasn't the most painful thing I have ever experienced would be a lie. During this time I definitely felt alone, my mom had pushed away most of the people in her life due to her addiction so in the end she really only had me. I visited as much as I could but it definitely was hard. I felt like I couldn't talk to anyone about it or that they wouldn't understand. I felt like way too many people looked at her like "she did it to herself" and I hated that. No one saw what I saw, no one had to watch her suffer in pain, no one had to see her slowly slip away like I did. To this day it still haunts me and there are moments where I think of those days and cry. I don't think you ever really forget something like that. Thank goodness I had my husband with me through it all. 


What I Learned

During this time I really learned who was there for me and I also learned how I deal with my emotions. Everyone handles pain and grief differently. I personally like to deal with things on my own and I don't like to be vulnerable (which I am working on). I am here to tell you that its okay to feel sad, its okay to cry, its okay to feel like the world around you is ending, but I am also here to tell you that its okay to want to process your emotions on your own, it is okay to want to keep busy, and its okay to want to be alone. When dealing with the loss of a parent you need to cope in the best way for YOU. Although this pain will always be there, you will have better days and your loved one would want you to be happy. 

If you are a friend of someone who has lost a parent, be patient with them. Your friend may not want to talk about it and your friend may not want to cry in front of you. On the other hand they may be craving some sense of normalcy and are looking to you to help with that. Be kind, be sympathetic, and just be there. It is okay to ask how they are feeling and how you can best help them during this difficult time in their life. Your friend may not be emotionally available to help you through your difficult times right now, just understand this and try not to get angry with them for it. They just lost one of the most important people in their life (no matter what the relationship looked like) and they just need to know they are not alone. It may take a little time for them to start acting like themselves again, but I promise you they will. It took some time for me, and yes I still have moments but I know my mom would want me to live a happy life whether she is physically here with me or not. I know she will always be there in spirit and I find comfort in that. 

Losing a parent is definitely a pain that never quite goes away but you will start to have more good days as time goes on. Of course there are days I am sad that my mom did not get to see my first house, and she won't be here when we decide to have children, but I am so grateful for all of the wonderful memories she was there for like my wedding. If you are or have been struggling with the loss of a parent, just know you are not alone and I understand. If you ever need to talk, feel free to reach out, no one should have to feel alone. Just know your loved one is looking over you and they are so proud of you. They may not be physically here but they are always in your heart. 

xoxo

-Nicole 

Huge thank you to Dune Jewelry for the special necklace as seen in the photos.  The necklace contains sand from where we spread my moms ashes. It is a piece I wear proudly and one that I hold dear to my heart. Thank you for also encouraging me to share my story. 

My Summer Essentials

Hi friends! It has been way too long since I have written a blog post. With quarantine, working from home, then transitioning back to the o...