Thursday, November 18, 2021

Morning Routine

On several of the podcasts I listen to regularly, the host asks the guest to describe their morning routine, and I find it oddly intriguing. Are you the type to wake up early and have a leisurely morning or snooze through your alarm and jump out of bed to get ready last minute? I'm the former.

Below I'm breaking down my routine for weekday mornings with micro details - the time I set my alarm for, what I put in my coffee, current makeup products, how I make my daily smoothie, etc. The first hour of my day is for me. After becoming a mom and turning 30, I have committed to carving out time for myself. For me, that means waking up earlier (I'm a morning person anyways) and devoting my evenings to family time to catch up with Jack and hear about his day, cook dinner and connect with Greg after Jack goes to bed.

First off, I should note, I shower in the evening after work and only wash my hair twice a week (typically Sunday and Thursday). Since showering is not part of my morning routine, styling my hair isn't a major time commitment since it naturally airdries straight. I haven't used a hairdryer in years!

{iced coffee always}

Starting the Day

My alarm goes off at 5am. I'm not a snooze person - I get up immediately and go into the kitchen. I feed our cat Zoey and make my coffee. I prefer iced coffee and keep a lidded cup in the fridge with brewed coffee from the day before. I use oat milk creamer and a stainless steel straw (better for your teeth!). I refill the storage coffee cup with fresh, hot coffee and pop it into the fridge for the next day.

{I stick to my morning routine, even on vacation}

Meditation & Movement

Since I had laparoscopy surgery in September and my daily workouts were on pause during recovery, I was searching for something to fill that void and provide a positive self care act to help with my mental state. I began meditating for 5-10 minutes. I use the Melissa Wood Health app for both guided meditations and yoga & pilates flows. I bring my coffee into the den, and sit comfortably on the daybed with the light dimmed all the way down. I practice mindful mediation, focusing on my breath, not holding onto the continuous thoughts that come up, and repeat a mantra in my head if I'm struggling with my to-do list popping up.

After meditating, comes movement. I workout in my bedroom and choose a flow on the Melissa Wood Health app - typically a 20-30 minute class. I listen to my body and decide which area I want to focus on (abs, arms, lower body, stretching, full body, etc). It's been almost 2 years since I started MWH and I'm still just as obsessed with the results, the way I feel during and after a flow, and how easy I can fit it into my schedule. One of the things I love most is that I'm consistently a little sore from using new muscles but don't even have to break a sweat to achieve those long, lean lines. I wrote more in depth about my relationship with exercise here.

{messy bun & gold jewelry}

Makeup, Hair, Clothes

After my workout, I do my makeup and sip coffee while listening to a podcast. Most work days, I keep my hair straight, but maybe once a week I'll curl my hair (tutorial here). Then, I check the weather on my phone and take a lap around my closet to narrow down options for the day. I make the bed and then lay out the clothes and shoes I decided on.

Makeup I'm currently using:

+ Wash face with Cetaphil Daily Cleanser.

+ Apply Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream with my ring finger under both eyes.

+ I mix Origins GinZing Moisturizer with IT Cosmetics CC Cream on my fingertips and apply all over my face and neck to even out my skintone.

+ I use 2 concealers (genetic dark circles are my worst enemy!) First up, I rub IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye between my ring fingers and dab under each eye. I then use Bobbi Brown Color Corrector on top of that. I finish with a dusting of translucent powder using a small brush to set it.

+ For blush I use the Ilia Multi Stick in the color "I Put a Spell on You." I swipe it on my cheekbones and lightly blend with my fingers.

+ Next, I use Bare Minerals matte powder foundation with a large brush and lightly cover all areas.

+ Benefit Hoola Bronzer is my favorite (no shimmer!) and I strategically brush a little on my forehead, cheekbones and neck. Don't forget a tiny bit on the eyelids, which is key to making it look like a natural tan, especially since my face is usually more fair than my body. 

+ For eyes, I use the L'Oreal Brow Stylist eyebrown pencil and make small strokes to fill in my natural shape and then use the spoolie to brush them up.

+ I've tried every mascara but keep coming back to L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly in "Blackest Black." I'm not a big eyeshadow person (didn't even wear it on my wedding day) due to having hooded eyelids and I prefer the "no makeup-makeup look" with a natural face, long lashes and have fun with lip colors.

+ I change up my lip color daily but two of my favorites are MAC "Kinda Sexy" for a nice nude, and the Burt's Bees matte lip crayon in "Niagara Overlook" for a subtle coral that I always keep in my bag.

{fave combo}

Green Smoothie

I've been drinking a green smoothie almost every single morning for the past 8 years. My current go-to is 2 handfuls of organic spinach, 1 frozen banana, 1 teaspoon of chia seeds, 1 scoop of peanut butter or PB2 (powdered peanut butter) and the last 1/3 cup of my iced coffee. Depending on what other fruit I have on hand, I'll sometimes throw in a few strawberries or dates to switch it up. As my bananas get freckled, I break them up into pieces and store in a plastic container in the freezer. Chia seeds have replaced the protein powder I used for years - they have protein, fiber and omega 3s to keep me feeling fuller for longer. I use a NutriBullet to blend it all up and re-use the stainless steel straw from my iced coffee.

{legos and cinnamon apples before school}

Jack Time, Drop Off and Commute to Work

I wake up Jack at 7am, get him dressed and make him a little bite to eat. We spend 30 minutes together while I drink my smoothie and he eats breakfast. I then brush our teeth, get myself dressed and grab my lunch box from the fridge. I bring lunch to work 4-5 days a week. I rotate chia pudding with fresh fruit and granola, leftovers from dinner or meal prep quinoa and veggies for the week on Sunday. Jack and I jump in the car to get him to school at 7:45. Then I call my mom to chat on my way to work, and get to the office by 8am. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Gallery Wall Tips

 Gallery walls are popular for a reason - it's the perfect way to showcase photos in an aesthetically pleasing way in your home. I'm a big fan of using family photos as wall art in certain areas of our house. In our living room, we have a huge wall behind our couch. When we first moved in two years ago, I started searching for a beautiful painting or cool piece of art but between the price and commitment, it didn't align.

I shifted my focus to creating a gallery wall of some of our favorite photos. I decided to only use pictures with Jack, Greg and I - no other family or friends so no one feels left out when they are visiting. After narrowing down the options, with an assortment of photos ranging from different years and locations, I thought it was best to turn each photo black & white to keep it cohesive. 

I found simple square frames with a black frame and white mat, and used the measurements to map out the size on the wall to see how many total photos would look best. I landed on 15 - 3 rows with 5 across. I then planned the layout on excel to make sure we had the right mix including candid photos & landscapes from adventures, and special moments & milestones, etc. I ordered matte prints online though Walgreens. I've used mpix too, and they have good quality.

Greg and my dad installed the gallery wall with my direction. This actually went up during Super Bowl 2020. I watched the J. Lo and Shakira halftime show and the guys were measuring and hanging - they're the best :)

We used 3M picture hanging tabs for multiple reasons: no damage to the wall, the frames won't budge or ever be crooked, easier to hang and ensure they are level. We placed the frames with one inch between each. To do this, we cut out a 1-inch piece of carboard and used it as a guide to make sure the next frame was positioned correctly. 

After measuring the wall and marking the center, we figured out how low the bottom row should be since it's above the couch and don't want someone accidentally hitting their head on a frame. I put the photos in all the frames, cleaned them with Windex, and applied the 3M strips to the back. We started with the bottom middle frame, then the middle center, and middle top - and working our way out from there. Each frame was measured using the 1-inch cardboard cutout and a level. 

The final result is the gallery wall of my dreams! Our living room is where we spend the most of our time at home, and is open to the kitchen so we see it often. We've received so many compliments from family and friends on how well it turned out and have inspired loved ones to create their own black & white gallery wall. I can attest that not one frame has moved out of place (thanks 3M!). I love that we can always swap out a photo or two to refresh but some will always stay - looking at you, proposal shot!

Do you have a gallery wall or want to create your own? Below are the items we used:

+ printed photos
+ frames with mat
+ 3M picture hanging strips
+ cardboard cut to the size of the distance between frames
+ a level

The options are endless with gallery walls! You could use different size photos and arrange them in a more free-flow placement, keep the photos in their true color (great if you're using an assortment of images from a professional photography session), arrange frames on a ledge instead of hanging, or skip the family photos altogether and mix a collection of different artwork mediums (think paintings, mirrors, sculptural elements, etc). Sharing a few ideas from Pinterest below for inspiration.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Keys Trip 2021

 I've been vacationing in the Florida Keys with my family for as long as I can remember (maybe 5 or 6 years old?), and I've been chronicling our trips on the blog since I created it in 2011. This year in particular was one of my favorite trips by far, thanks to Jack. Seeing one of my favorite places through my son's eyes and experiencing it with him was truly special.

We rented a house for a week in Marathon with my parents, my cousin Alana and her boyfriend Paxton. The weather could not have been more perfect - and in turn the water in the Gulf of Mexico resembled a lake, it was so calm. We caught 19 keeper lobsters, Paxton caught a snapper, and Jack caught 4 little fishies off the dock with Poppy. It was an unforgettable vacation filled with delicious homecooked meals, hours spent playing in the pool, game nights, and a ton of laughs.

Jack had the best time "driving" the boat, petting the lobsters as my dad threw them overboard and yelled, "incoming!" and he only napped twice the entire week - both times were by accident when he couldn't keep his eyes open on the boat. With 6 doting adults, Jack never wanted to leave and has repeatedly asked to go back for the last month. Needless to say, we're all ready to start planning our 2022 trip.

{my family}

{southernmost point in Key West}

{Jack and Poppy driving the boat}

{poolside PB&J with Nana}

{my mom named the iguana that lurked around the backyard Max - he stole the sandwich right off Jack's plate!}

{workout partner}

{Paxton caught a snapper!}

{cheers to two of my favorite women}

{my dad going overboard in search of lobsters}


{19 total this trip}

{from Seattle to snorkeling}

{one of my favorite candids}

{floating in the pool for hours}

{between the 7 mile bridges}

{sleeping on Dad on the bow of the boat}

{proud of his fishie!}

{sweet snuggles with Alana}

{pit stop at our wedding venue}

{adventuring at the sandbar}

{sister cousins}

{thank goodness for swim lessons this summer because Jack played in the pool for hours every day!}

{swimming in the ocean}

{me and my mini}

{feeding the tarpon at Robbie's before heading home}

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

My Go-To Jewelry

I love accessories - heck, I design and buy accessories for a living - so it's no surprise that I love jewelry. While I appreciate fun fashion pieces that add an extra something to an outfit, the ones I wear daily hold a very special meaning. Keep reading for the details on each of my most-treasured items.

Graduation Ring

Instead of a class ring for high school graduation, my parents wanted to get me a ring that I could wear for the rest of my life and not look so dated. I chose a two-toned ring that is very classically Tiffany & Co., and have worn it on my index finger every single day for the last 13 years. 

Engagement Ring

No explanation needed as to why this is a special piece of jewelry (read about how Greg proposed here!) but I did recently have my diamond reset. I was cursed with thin fingers and large knuckles so my wedding rings never quite fit right - they would spin endlessly on my finger which was very annoying. Soon after we got engaged, I ordered some plastic ring snuggies online and they worked well in terms of keeping my ring in place. When we got married and I added a wedding band, I simply used a wider ring guard to hold them together so they wouldn't knock against each other. 

During pregnancy and post-partum, my already-larger knuckle grew even bigger and I could not get my wedding band on and off anymore. I resorted to only wearing my engagement ring since it is thinner and I could still get it over my knuckle. After 4 years of wearing a piece of plastic (that would get dingy and stretched out) on my most prized possession, I was over it and wanted a more permanent solution. 

For our 3-year wedding anniversary last October, we went to a local jeweler to discuss my options. Sizing beads were the best bet but would require re-sizing my rings a quarter size larger and adding the beads to the inside of the band. Rather than shelling out to pay for re-sizing and adding the beads to both my engagement ring and wedding band (which could still bang against each other with my oddly-shaped finger), I opted to completely reset my engagement ring and continue wearing it solo. 

I almost exclusively wear yellow gold jewelry (with the exception of my graduation ring mentioned above, but even that is mixed metal) and decided if I was going to commit to just one ring, I wanted it to be simple, classic & timeless. Pave bands were very on-trend when Greg and I were dating and almost felt like it was the only way to go, so he got exactly what I asked for - a radiant cut diamond on a white gold pave band. But as I've come into my own in the last few years, really discovering myself in my 30s, the yellow gold solitaire felt more me. I could not be happier with the outcome, which was custom designed at the same jeweler that did my mom's engagement ring. 

For the record, I kept my original wedding band as-is and save it for special occasions to wear as a right-hand ring since my knuckle isn't as large on that hand - go figure!

Engraved Bar Necklace

A few months after working for Ron Jon Surf Shop, I went to my first tradeshow in Miami for swim week and our team was invited to the Billabong after-party. They had hired an amazing Etsy artisan to make complimentary custom necklaces at the event. I chose a yellow gold bar necklace with a single wave engraved on it. The wave has several meanings for me, which have only expanded as time goes on.

Firstly, I'm an Aquarius. Secondly, I grew up on an island, love the beach and work for a surf shop. As the years have gone by, the wave symbolizes even more. When I was pregnant with Jack, Greg and I would walk on the beach by our bungalow every day and talk about life, our future and our son. The beach is my happy place - walking along the shore in the crashing waves is nothing short of therapeutic. 

The wave has recently taken on a deeper meaning as well. If you've seen series finale of The Good Place, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you haven't - watch this clip. I'm not a religious person, but am spiritual, and the way Chidi describes death and the mysterious after-life in the most poetic way really resonated with me. 

Initial Necklace

Greg gifted me this initial necklace on the morning of our wedding day. The "B" is for my new last name - Buckman. I love the simplicity, and recently had it shortened to sit perfectly in between my collar bone so it layers beautifully with my bar necklace.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

My Favorite Podcasts

More often than not, I'm listening to a podcast while getting ready for work, on my daily walks or while sitting at my desk analyzing sales. My weekly go-to podcasts include topics such as motherhood, health & wellness and pop culture. The below shows are some of my favorites. Would love to hear yours too as I'm always looking for something new to add to the mix.