The story behind our baby name


I tried to brainstorm non-pregnancy topics for the blog, but what can I say? I’m 35 weeks pregnant and I have baby on the brain! We haven’t kept our baby name a secret, but we also haven’t made a big announcement. Word, get ready to meet Lyla Rose Cude! I thought I would share the story behind her name for those curious and anyone who may be in need of baby name inspiration!

Andrew and I both have middle names that were passed down from family members. I’m named after my great-grandmother Myrtle Rose. She and I had a very special connection. By the time I was old enough to really interact with her, she had suffered a stroke which took away most of her verbal abilities. I would sit with her in her chair and she would pat my hand and hug me, unable to speak. Once, after sitting with her for a while, my aunt asked me if Grandma had said anything to me while we were together. I instantly replied, “No, but I heard her say she loved me in my head.” She passed away when I was four. Through the years, I’ve learned more and more about the woman she was, the impact she had on my dad’s life and therefore my life, and about the things she and I shared in common. Needless to say, I wanted to pass her name on if I was ever blessed with a daughter.

With a middle name of Rose already chosen, I knew I wanted her first name to be Southern, timeless (not trendy), and a little bit unique. I love my name because it’s not a name you hear every day, but it’s recognizable. I have a soapbox about “different” names. If you give your child a difficult name, their first interaction with every person they meet will be correcting them. I chose a name that could be easily pronounced and spelled.

In the spirit of full transparency, I got the name Lyla from the show Friday Night Lights. I thought it was so pretty and I didn’t get tired of it over the years. It’s also fitting that my daughter’s name would come from a TV show, because my first name came from the TV miniseries “North and South.”

Andrew and I are both very Type-A, so we had our baby names picked out when we were engaged. If you’re struggling to choose, I would say you’re probably over-thinking it. I know it’s a huge decision, but if you think about it that way, it’s almost paralyzing. Decide what’s important to you in a name. If you’re uninspired, try searching popular baby names through the decades. Or dive into your family tree and look at middle names and maiden names as well as first names. You just might have a hidden gem somewhere in there!

What about you? What’s the story behind your name or your child’s name? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear it!


My Summer 2019 Faves

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetI have to admit, I’m ready for fall. I’m not usually one to rush through seasons, but fall is when the Cude household thrives. If we’re being realistic, we probably won’t be feeling fall weather here in Kentucky until at least October. Knowing that it will still feel like summer for a while, I’ve rounded up all the random items that have made my life more enjoyable this season. And that’s saying something, considering I’ve been pregnant all summer. Trust me, I’ve gotten pretty good at beating the heat!

Sonic Vanilla Coke with lime

Soda is one of my vices–so much so that when I got pregnant, I gave up all other caffeine just so I could still drink Coke. Add to that the fact that crushed ice has been one of my pregnancy cravings, and Sonic has been my best friend this summer. This flavor combo idea was suggested on their menu and let me tell you, it’s a game changer. It tastes like key lime pie in a cup.

Bath & Body Works Summer Boardwalk candle

The scent description lists “Caramel-Glazed Popcorn, Warm Taffy Apples, and Salty Sweet Cream.” Y’all. It smells so delicious. Andrew told me the first time I burned it that he wanted one for every room in the house because he wanted this scent to follow him everywhere he went. I love this candle for the end of summer because the caramel makes it a great transition to fall. I didn’t link it because it’s sold out online, but you can still find summer scents in stores.

Ocean Potion After Sun Aloe Lotion

I started using this lotion when I was in high school, back when I was actually outside for a good portion of the summer. I’ve used it every year since, and it wouldn’t feel like summer without it. It smells like a Dreamsicle, and it acts like an aloe gel after sun exposure. I also use it every time I get out of the shower. I used this for the majority of my pregnancy and I haven’t had any stretch marks. Part of that just depends on your skin type and part of that is because I am religious about putting on lotion every day. But I can definitely say this helped keep my skin from being dry and tight during pregnancy.

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Simple dresses

I’m here to tell you, fellow preggos, maternity pants are not your friend in the summer. And I haven’t found a pair of maternity shorts that are really comfortable. Enter the shift dress. I went to Marshall’s and bought several of these plain, stretchy dresses in varying lengths. I am not exaggerating when I tell you these are all I have worn in the last several weeks. They are so comfy and easy to throw on, and you still look put together. Time will tell how long I continue to rely on these after baby has arrived.

New lip colors

I typically simplify my makeup routine for summertime, and I’ve especially done that while pregnant. I bought this lip balm because I usually just swipe on some Chapstick, but I wanted a little color. This balm uses your skin’s ph to change to your perfect shade of pink. I was a little skeptical at first, but it really does work! I was also inspired by one of my Southern Living issues to try a coral lip color. On the days I do a full face of makeup, I’ve been doing a more gold/bronze look. Just trying to play up that pregnancy glow! I chose this one from Loreal because it has a subtle shimmer.

What have you been loving this summer? Are you ready for fall or are you sad when summer’s over? Let me know if you end up trying and liking anything on this list!

& Baby Makes Three.


Andrew and I celebrate our three year anniversary this week. Three years ago on July 9th, we chose forever with each other. This year is extra special as we await the arrival of our first baby. Below is a letter I wrote to our little lady as we celebrate this milestone and look forward to all the milestones to come.



Dear Lyla,

As I write this, I am 30 weeks pregnant with you! You are very active in my belly, which may be uncomfortable at times, but keeps me reassured that you are doing just fine in there. You’ve already shown us some of your personality. At our first ultrasound, you were so stubborn we couldn’t get all the pictures we needed. When we came back for our follow up to get those pictures, you stuck your tongue out at us the whole time as if to say “Ha ha! I won!” Our ultrasound tech said she rarely sees the tongue that well, but you were determined to show off. We already love you so much and can’t wait to meet you!

Each week with you brings new milestones to celebrate. This week is extra special because we’re also celebrating three years of marriage. You see, before there was you, there was just me and your daddy. We had three wonderful years together where we were just Ashton and Andrew, not mommy and daddy. It’s impossible to put the significance of those years into words. But as you come into the world, I want you to know how sweet those years have been. I want you to know that they were full of laughter and so much love…true love like you read about in fairytales. I want you to know what a good team we are, and that no matter what comes our way, we stick together and trust Jesus to get us through. I want you to know that even though we’ll always be your mommy and daddy, we’ll also always be Ashton and Andrew-the husband and wife who love each other very much.

I know this season marks the end of something we will never get back, and yet the beginning of something even greater. The best is yet to come for our little family, and we are so humbly grateful to the Lord for giving us the gift of you. The sadness that these years of “just us” are ending is vastly overshadowed by the anticipation of all the joy set before us. You are going to have the best daddy in the whole world, baby girl. Trust me, I’ve had him all to myself for three years now.

With love,

Your mama

A Classic 4th of July + Trending Hair Accessories

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I’ve always loved the 4th of July. Every purchase I’ve ever made of red, white, or blue clothing has been partially justified by saying “Well, this could be my 4th of July outfit!” Don’t ask me where I got the notion that my 4th of July is going to consist of a week’s worth of appearances. I just can’t turn down anything with a classic, Americana style.

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I’ve been wearing my hair up most days this summer. Between being pregnant and the amount of rain we’ve had, I just can’t bring myself to put more than a few minutes into my hair each day. Luckily for me, this just so happens to be the summer of hair accessories. I got this hair wrap at Walmart and I’ve worn it so many different ways. Below I’ve linked some other affordable hair accessories. I always like to try out trend pieces, especially accessories, at places like Forever 21 and Walmart. Opting for a lower price point allows me to play with trends without wasting money I could have spent on more classic pieces.

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I’m also linking my Pinterest board for a classic 4th of July get-together. This year my mom and I are headed to Georgia to visit my grandma and I’m already excited about all the South Georgia watermelon we’re going to eat! What are your 4th of July plans? How do you feel about the hair accessory trend? Tell me in the comments!

Classic 4th of July Pinterest Board

Star barrettes

Bow ponytail holder

Marble hair clips

Leopard claw clip set

Floral head wrap

How to stay active when you hate exercise


Nothing is more #onbrand for me than hating exercise. When I was four years old, my dad asked me if I wanted to sign up for T-ball like all my friends and I responded, “…Why?!” I was just never that girl who liked physical activity, and that pattern continued throughout my life. I dreaded P.E. every day of school. (Seriously, the only B I got in all of high school was in P.E. How does that even happen?) In college, I went to my campus gym a grand total of three times in four years.

Over the years I’ve battled a lot of anxiety, which has resulted in difficulty sleeping, stomach problems, low weight, and lack of energy. My husband was always encouraging me to get active, but I never really made a serious change. It wasn’t until I got pregnant that I had the motivation I needed. If my baby was going to be using my body as a home, I was going to make sure it was the healthiest body I could give her! Here are the ways I’ve introduced healthier habits I can stick with!


  1. Get moving: You don’t have to sign up for a marathon to get off the couch. Set aside time in your day every day to move your body. Go for a walk around your neighborhood. Put on a playlist you love and dance around your kitchen. Stretch when you get up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. The more you choose movement instead of just sitting, the more you’ll realize how desperate your body was for a little activity.
  2. Do yoga: Yoga is the only form of exercise I’ve been able to stick with. I think yoga is a great starting point because you’re not going to be pouring sweat or doing intense cardio. You’re addressing fundamentals like good breathing and awareness of your muscles and joints in a way that feels very do-able for those of us who are fitness challenged. Find a local yoga class and invite a friend to go with you. Or, if classes scare you, there are tons of great yoga videos on Youtube that you can do in the privacy of your own home!
  3. Drink water: If hydration was a religion, my husband would be its greatest evangelist. Staying hydrated will do so much for your health. Dehydration causes low energy levels and tons of other health problems that make it that much harder to get active. Wondering if you might be dehydrated? Here’s a tip I’ve learned during pregnancy: you aren’t fully hydrated until your pee is almost clear like water. If you’re like me and have a hard time drinking enough water, cut up fresh fruit to add a little flavor. I also make unsweet, decaf iced tea and mix it with organic lemonade for a low-sugar Arnold Palmer. For me, anything I can do to add a bit of taste makes me more likely to drink. I also drink way more when I use a straw, so I try to keep a tumbler with a straw with me all the time. Find what works for you.
  4. Sleep tight: Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night and that your sleep is routine. If you’re not sleeping well, there’s no way you’ll have the energy to get active. I once read that sleep isn’t a bank you can make deposits and withdrawals from…it’s something you have to give your body consistently. Even grownups need a bedtime. Wake up at a consistent time, too. Make sure the time you wake up on your days off is no more than an hour later than your regular routine, otherwise you’ll throw your body off track. I personally have always had trouble falling asleep and am deeply offended when my alarm goes off in the morning. These are the things that have worked for me to get the best quality sleep:
    • Set a cutoff time for screens. The blue light from our screens hinders sleep. About an hour before you go to bed, stop all screen time. And yes, this means your phone, too.
    • Have a bedtime routine. Every night when I climb into bed, I put on lip balm, put on hand lotion, and settle down with a book. I genuinely think I’ve trained myself like a dog to know that these steps mean it’s time to turn off my racing thoughts and get in sleep mode.
    • Write it down. If you struggle with turning your brain off at night, store a notebook and pen in your nightstand. If you can’t let a thought go, write it down. Whether it’s a list, reminders for the next day, or a prayer to give whatever is worrying you to the Lord, get those thoughts out of your head once and for all instead of lying there and dwelling on them.
  5. Don’t eat garbage: To this day I would eat out for every meal if I could. As far as I’m concerned, the drive thru is the greatest luxury every invented. But if you consistently feed your body with things that have no nutritional value, there simply is no way it can function properly. Pregnancy has caused me to eat the healthiest I’ve ever eaten, because my baby can’t grow a body out of french fries. Making better food choices has been a huge part of helping me feel motivated and capable to incorporate exercise into my routine. Summer is a great time to get in this habit because there are so many delicious fruits and veggies in season. If you’re into shopping local, let that translate into your grocery shopping. Support local farmers through co-ops or farmer’s markets in your area.
  6. Start small: The lifestyle I’m leading right now is pitiful compared to someone like my husband, who has prioritized fitness for many years. But it’s a huge victory for me! Take baby steps and celebrate your progress.

What are your favorite fitness tips for beginners? What habits have stuck with you? I’ll be on Instagram this week sharing some of the ways I incorporate these tips into my day-to-day life. Reach out on there or Facebook with any questions or comments!

Goodwill Shopping Tips

If you’ve been around me for any time at all, you know I’m an avid Goodwill shopper. Half of my wardrobe is from Goodwill, and that’s not to mention all the home decor I’ve scored there. This week I’m coming in hot with every single thing I know about shopping at Goodwill. Over the years I’ve found so many good deals, and I finally have my tactics down to a science. Keep reading to learn how you can snag high-quality items at Goodwill prices!


Sale schedule:

Yes, even Goodwill has sales. Every week they choose a “color of the week,” and clothing items tagged in that color are marked 50% off. On Sundays, items marked that color are 99 cents. In my experience, those items get bought up very quickly. Sometimes it can feel like there’s nothing in the store that color. I think you’re better off to shop as you normally would and then tally your haul up at the end to see if you have any markdown tags. Let that help you make your final decisions. If you select items solely because they’re marked down, you’re more likely to buy something you won’t actually wear.


When to shop:

Given the sale schedule, Sundays are a great time to shop because you can get items for 99 cents. Spring and summer are the best seasons because everyone is spring cleaning and having yard sales. Every Saturday throughout that season, you will see vehicles lined up at the donation door dropping off whatever didn’t sell at their yard sales. You can often find great deals on furniture as a result.

What to shop for:

This is really the key to making Goodwill work for you, and it’s also the most subjective tip I have. What you look for depends entirely on what you will get the most use out of. For example, I used to look for work clothes at Goodwill and I consistently found items from The Limited, Talbots, LOFT, Ann Taylor, Gap, and Old Navy. In the future I will likely look for kid’s clothes since they are so cheap and kids constantly outgrow their clothes. Here are the categories I look for most consistently:

-Brand names: I honestly couldn’t care less about what brand I’m wearing, but I do care about quality. The whole point of Goodwill shopping is to score quality items for cheap. I wouldn’t waste time on items from Walmart or Forever 21, because those items are already so cheap it defeats the purpose. In addition to the brands I listed above, I’ve found Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfigher, and department store brands like Chaps when shopping for men’s clothing at Goodwill. I also frequently find items from local boutiques. Don’t buy something just because it’s a certain brand, but always be mindful of the quality.

-Vintage items: My Goodwill white whale is a vintage pair of Levi’s that I can wear high-waisted and cut off into shorts. I honestly started daydreaming just typing that. If you’re like me and have a more eclectic style, you can find some great vintage pieces at Goodwill. Now that the 90’s are back, I’ve found some super comfy 90’s midi/maxi dresses. I’ve even found vintage Lily Pulitzer dresses and then kicked myself later for not buying them. You can also find pretty vintage dishware. Look for brands like Pyrex as well as patterns and color schemes that go with your kitchen.

-Books: Goodwill books can serve so many different purposes. You can look for vintage books in a color scheme you want to decorate with, a la Joanna Gaines. You can look for hardback classics to build your home library. I’ve also gotten several paperbacks to take to my neighborhood pool. That way if when I get splashed, I’m not ruining a library book or a book I paid full price for. Goodwill is great for children’s books, too. I’ve already found some kids’ classics for our little one for 99 cents each.

-Leather goods: Leather can always be doctored up, and a little wear just gives it character. Digging through belts, shoes, and purses can yield some genuine leather treasures.

-Home decor: I have the most success finding vases and baskets at my local Goodwill, but some stores have a wide decor selection.

The most important thing to remember about shopping at Goodwill is that it’s going to require some digging. You can’t walk in looking for something specific and expect to find it. Approach it like a treasure hunt, and you just might find some treasure!

It’s also imperative not to fall into the trap of buying things just because they’re cheap. You’ll end up spending more than you save that way. Trust me, I speak from experience! Be super realistic about whether you will actually wear or use what you’re buying.

If you’ve read this far, you’ve now completed my course, Goodwill Shopping 101. Consider yourself a certified bargain hunter. If you score something great at Goodwill, post it and tag me on Instagram or Facebook!

Transitional Maternity Style

I’m alive! I recently shared on Instagram that pregnancy has made it challenging for me to keep up with my blogging goals. I’ve been blessed with a healthy pregnancy so please know I’m not complaining! In the interest of keeping it real with y’all, my first trimester kicked my butt a little. I had fatigue like I’ve never experienced. I also had hormonal acne that I couldn’t treat because most acne products are unsafe for pregnancy. As you can imagine, being constantly fatigued with severe breakouts didn’t exactly encourage weekly photo shoots. I was so determined to be consistent in the beginning because I’ve heard from experienced bloggers that consistency is the best way to build a following.  The more weeks went by without me getting a post up, the more defeated I felt. I wanted to get back into blogging, but I felt like I had already blown it. BUT…the belief that you can’t do something just because you don’t do it perfectly is a LIE and I’m not letting it hold me back!

This week I’m sharing some ways you can build a maternity wardrobe that will transition past your pregnancy. Pregnancy is such an awkward time when it comes to clothes. You don’t want to get rid of things that don’t fit anymore because you don’t know whether they might fit again after baby. You also don’t want to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe for just nine months. Even if you hope to be pregnant again, that’s still a lot of clothes to buy to only wear a few times. To add another layer of struggle, your pregnant belly doesn’t appear overnight. You outgrow things gradually. What fit one day might look ridiculous the next. I’ve found the best way to combat these challenges is to find non-maternity options that work for pregnancy. That way I know I’ll continue to wear the items I’m buying long after baby arrives. These three categories have been my wardrobe staples throughout my first and second trimesters. I know in my third trimester I’ll need to rely more heavily on maternity clothes. But for now I’m getting the most bang for my buck (and the best fit) out of these pieces!


Empire waist/loose-fitting tops

The first thing I bought when I found out I was pregnant was a bunch of these tops. I knew these styles would carry me through most of my pregnancy and be a welcome relief from tight-fitting shirts in those new mama days. These shirts have made me feel cute and comfortable…a huge win for anyone but especially those of us with a bun in the oven! The top I’m wearing was a Goodwill find so I can’t link this exact one for you, but I’ve linked a few options that are currently available:

Forever 21 Blush pink ruffle top (I love this tucked into something high-waisted for after pregnancy, or worn loose during!)

Target Knox Rose peasant top

Old Navy flowy floral top


Flowy Dresses

Over the course of my pregnancy, I’ve attended a Derby event, two graduations, a banquet for my husband’s class, church on Sundays, and during my first trimester I was still working as a bridal consultant. That’s a LOT of dresses for one pregnant lady to wear. This is where opting for non-maternity styles has saved me. Anything that has a higher seam at the waist and a flowy skirt leaves enough room for my growing bump. Another great thing about dresses is they allow you to create an outfit with just one piece. When your body is changing every day, it’s so much easier to throw on a comfy dress than to put tops and bottoms together. Maternity dresses can be really cute, but your options are fairly limited in terms of style and price. Expanding your horizons to other styles will keep you from having to be a serial outfit repeater. (Honestly still not over that moment in the Lizzie McGuire movie.) The dress I’m wearing above is from TJ Maxx, but I’ve linked a similar one below along with other styles I love!

Off the shoulder floral dress

Old Navy Cami dress (I bought this in an ivory floral print and wore it to a graduation.)

Old Navy wrap dress (I have my eye on this one for 4th of July!)


Elastic waist shorts

The day I walked into Aerie and found an endless supply of elastic-waist shorts, I think I heard angels sing. These have been a lifesaver since most of my pregnancy falls in the summer months. They will be so cute worn high-waisted with a shirt tucked in after baby comes. For now, they stretch comfortably around my bump and are so much more comfortable than maternity shorts. I’ve linked the two pairs I have along with another pair I’m eyeing.

White tie waist shorts

Frayed denim shorts

Striped guaze shorts

Other tips

Here are a few other rules I’ve learned as I’ve built my maternity wardrobe:

-Avoid buttons. Unless the top is super blouse-y, there will definitely come a day when those buttons are begging for mercy. And no one needs that weighing on their self esteem.

-Minimize layers. Choose tops you won’t need to wear with a cami. The less layers you have to put together, the better. Plus, camis trap heat and you will be plenty hot without their help! I was cold-natured before I got pregnant and now I feel like I’m in the midst of a nine-month hot flash!

-Size up. One of the simplest ways to make non-maternity styles work for you is just to size up one or two sizes to give you a little growing room.

-Watch your length. Make sure tops and dresses are long enough to accommodate your growing bump. Crop tops are such a huge trend right now and it’s not always obvious at a glance that a shirt is cropped. Unless you want your belly playing peek-a-boo, make sure you either try on or at least hold items up to you to check length.

Now you know everything I know about building a cute, comfortable maternity wardrobe! Everything I’ve talked about should also work for those who aren’t pregnant but prefer a more relaxed fit, especially for summer. Thank you so much to everyone who has continued to support and encourage me, even when I was MIA. Let me know if there are any other pregnancy topics you want me to cover!


Announcement: Baby Cude is on the way!


It has been so hard to keep this news a secret! Andrew and I are expecting a baby in September 2019! We are so grateful and we don’t take it for granted that the Lord has blessed me with a healthy pregnancy thus far.

I hope this explains why I’ve been quiet on Instagram and the blog for the last couple months. Not only was I afraid I would accidentally spill the secret, but I also had pregnancy symptoms that made keeping up my blogging schedule difficult. Thanks to Kelsey Malicote for these gorgeous photos that give me some new things to share!


Now, for the frequently asked questions:

How are you feeling?

I’ve been very fortunate to have had a relatively “easy” pregnancy. I only got morning sickness once! While I was so thankful to avoid being sick, I definitely had some symptoms that threw me for a loop. For several weeks in my first trimester, I had fatigue that made me feel like I literally could not get up off the couch. Over the weeks, my energy has gradually improved, but fatigue remains my number one symptom. I’ve just had to accept that I have limited energy for the day, and the rest of it is going toward building a healthy baby! My other main symptom has been hormonal acne. The rest has just been little odds and ends that can all be traced back to the miracle of pregnancy. The book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” has been my best friend as I navigate what’s normal for expectant mamas!


Will you keep working?

When we originally thought we would be moving this summer with the military, I had given both my jobs an end date of April 30th, 2019. Over the months we spent walking through Andrew’s discharge, applying for other opportunities, and determining that we would be in Lexington for another year, we kept my job decisions on the back burner. Once all the dust had settled, it became clear that it was time for me to stop working every Saturday and look into something that would give me my weekends back as Andrew transitioned into a new role. Fun fact: jobs in the wedding industry are wonderful, but they take up every single Saturday. We had reached a point where that no longer made sense for us. Shortly after we made that determination, we found out Baby Cude was on the way! Taking all these factors into consideration, I’ve decided to keep my original end date of April 30th and stay home for the foreseeable future. I will have plenty to keep me busy this summer as Andrew graduates and starts a new job and we prepare for the arrival of our first child! Once the baby is here, I will rock the stay at home mom life while Andrew is in residency.

In addition to momming, I’ll still be blogging, too! Needless to say, extreme fatigue and perpetual acne are not exactly a recipe for blogging success. Either I was so tired it was all I could do to get up and go to work, or my skin was so bad I didn’t want to jump in front of a camera. Now that I’m getting a bit more energy, I’m excited to get back to connecting with everyone and sharing more about this exciting new season!


Will you find out the gender?

Yes, we find out the gender very soon and I’ll be sharing it with you shortly after we know!

Do you have names picked out?

Yes, we’ve had baby names on reserve since we were dating (when two Type A’s get married, ha!). We will share this sweet baby’s name after we share their gender.

I think that covers the main topics people are curious about! We are so excited and truly feel so humbled by this blessing. At the risk of sounding cynical, there are just so many things that can go wrong when trying to grow a family, and thus far the Lord has been so merciful to us every step of the way. Thank you so much to all who have rejoiced with us over this news! I can’t wait to share more with you as we move further into this new chapter!


How to Spring Clean Your Closet


We’ve finally enjoyed a few days of spring weather, and I feel like a new woman! I’ve lit my lemon-mint candle, I’ve painted my nails pastel, and I’m forging ahead with spring cleaning! One of the areas in my home that needs the most TLC is my closet. Opening your closet shouldn’t stress you out. You probably open it multiple times a day! Today I’m sharing how I go through my clothes and accessories to keep my wardrobe well-curated and my closet de-cluttered.

Eliminate Obstacles

This is my number one approach to getting rid of clothes. Every item in your closet should be something you can easily and comfortably wear. As you go through your clothes, note any obstacles that keep you from wearing them. Examples include:

-It’s itchy or uncomfortable. You’ll never wear it, and if you do, you’ll be miserable all day.

-You can only wear it with a certain bra. In my experience, that certain bra is usually uncomfortable and may require an engineering degree to put on. You’re never going to feel like going through the trouble to make it look just right and ensure no wardrobe malfunctions throughout the day.

-It only goes with one other thing in your closet (i.e. you can only make one outfit with it). I have a rule that every item in my closet has to be able to pull at least double duty. I have to be able to wear it two different places, wear it alone in summer and layered in winter, or be able to pair it with several other items in my wardrobe.

-It doesn’t fit. If something doesn’t fit, you can’t wear it. If you do wear it, you’re going to be self conscious. And every time you pass it up in your closet, it’s going to chip away at your self esteem. You’re clothes aren’t allowed to do that to you!

As you are going through and picking out your outfit for each day, if there is something you consistently skip over for any of those reasons or others, get rid of it. This will reduce so much stress in your every day routine.


Don’t get sentimental

Clothes are for wearing, not for looking at. You may have had a wonderful time in that corset-back bridesmaid’s dress, but chances are you don’t have any hand-maidens to help you get dressed in the morning. I have to remind myself that I can keep the memories without keeping the physical item. If there are items in your wardrobe that you’re only keeping because of sentimentality but you never wear them, that’s called hoarding. Choose a select few that you will wear or pass down and let go of the rest.

Make the best of your space

Andrew and I have shared a closet since we got married. The closets in our townhouse are small, so we kept our out-of-season clothes in the guest closet. No matter what we did, our closet never looked clean and there never seemed to be enough space. This year we realized we weren’t using our space efficiently. We consolidated all my stuff into the master closet and Andrew took the guest closet. Now each of our clothes are in one place and we’re not elbow to elbow trying to get ready in the mornings. Whatever space you have, make it work for you. It doesn’t have to look like Pinterest, it just needs to be functional. For example, the trend in organizing right now is to have all matching hangers. But I found that the no-slip hangers stretch out some shirts, so I use a mix of no-slip and plastic hangers. No one would Pin this photo, but this is what works for me. List out the problems with your closet, list out how you need your closet to function and what you need storage for, and compare those two lists to find solutions.

Remember that you don’t have to clean your closet all at once. Curating my wardrobe is something I do continually throughout the year. So when it’s time for spring cleaning, it’s not such a huge undertaking. Have a spot for donations in your house where you can let things collect until you’re able to make a drop off. As you get ready each morning, make note of clothes you always pass up. If you wear a pair of shoes and you’re uncomfortable all day, don’t put them back in your closet. Toss them or take them to the donate pile. Life is too short, y’all!

I promise when you get your closet cleaned out you will feel such a weight lifted off your shoulders. Getting ready will be so much easier and you’ll be free of some clutter. If you take on the challenge, tag me in your before and after pictures on social media!

Hobby Lobby Shopping Tips from a Former Employee

Did you know I used to have someone on the inside feeding me information? That’s right, my brother worked at every woman’s happy place: Hobby Lobby. Much to his chagrin, my mom and I would pry him for shopping tips. There are several things that make Hobby Lobby unique, one being that their store stays pretty consistent over the years. So even though it’s been a little while since he worked there, I recently sat down with my brother to get a refresher course.  Today I’m sharing the best way to score your most-wanted items and save money at everyone’s favorite place to accidentally spend two hours.

The Weekly Ad: Cue the angel chorus. Every savvy Hobby Lobby shopper knows that the Ad is everything. You should almost never have to pay full price for something at Hobby Lobby, and the Weekly Ad is your guide. Here’s how to use the ad to figure out when to shop:


  • The main categories that go on sale (50% off) alternate every other week. As a general rule, the same categories will be included on a bi-weekly basis. So, if a category goes 50% off and it’s not on sale, it will be on sale the following week.
  • The sales are grouped by what material the item is made of, so make sure that’s what you’re paying attention to. For example, glass decor may be on sale a different week that wood decor. The weekly ad will list the categories in detail. With this in mind, it is SO important to put your items back where they belong, as putting them in the wrong place can make it very difficult for other customers to determine what is on sale.
  • The custom framing department has sales in the weekly ad. This is a great thing to keep an eye on if you have a framing project, as custom frame jobs can get expensive.
  • Wedding items are marked 50% off every other week, so if you need wedding stuff, don’t pay full price. However, note that if an item doesn’t have the “His & Hers” logo, it’s not included in the wedding sale.


The 40% off coupon: Hobby Lobby always has a coupon available for 40% off one single item. You can cut the coupon out of a paper ad, print the coupon off their website and bring it in, or use your smartphone to pull up the coupon at the register. Here are the best ways to utilize your coupon:


  • Arts and Crafts items normally only go on sale for 30% off. If you need a single item from these categories, shop on a week they’re not on sale and use your coupon. If you need multiple items, it would be better to shop during the sale so that all items will be 30% off.
  • Fabric goes on sale by sub-category for a maximum 30% off. If you only need one item, it would be better to shop on a week fabric is not on sale and use your coupon for a better discount.
  • If you have any non-sale item in your transaction, you should use your coupon on it, no matter how small. 40% off a small-ticket item is still 40% off.
  • Note that the coupon is only good for non-sale items. Any item marked on sale can’t have the coupon applied. Picture frames and furniture are considered “always on sale,” so they are not eligible for the coupon.
  • The coupon can only be used once per person, per transaction. If you have multiple non-sale items, use the coupon on the highest-priced item.

Seasonal decor: How else would we mark the seasons if not for Hobby Lobby’s holiday decor section? From Valentine’s Day to Christmas (which they roll out in mid-summer), Hobby Lobby has enough decor to fill every square inch of your home. Be advised that seasonal sales are not the best in terms of savings. Most seasonal items are marked up because they will spend so long at a 50% markdown. Eventually, seasonal items will get marked down further. However, seasonal items do tend to get bought up quickly, so if there’s a particular piece you have your eye on, it may be best to go ahead and snag it at 50% off. If you’re on the fence about it, wait it out and see if you can score it at a better discount.


Items that never go on sale: There are two categories at Hobby Lobby that never go on sale: party items and greeting cards. You can use your 40% off coupon, but note that it is only good for one single item. If you need party supplies, consider ordering from somewhere that sells in larger quantities.

Avoid the crowds: The store tends to be fairly quite in the mornings before 11:00 am and on weekday evenings. If you’re interested in Christmas decor, make your selections during the fall. November-January is Hobby Lobby’s busiest time, so if you shop there during those months, expect a crowded store and a long wait at checkout.

Be patient: Remember, please be kind to employees regarding sales and coupons. Hobby Lobby is one of the few stores that doesn’t have a UPC (bar-code) system. This means employees don’t have the ability to just scan an item and have it ring up automatically on sale. Employees have to manually enter every item and check their sale ad to verify discounts. Combine that with the fact that many of the items purchased at Hobby Lobby are breakable and have to be wrapped, and you can expect to spend a few minutes in line. Knowing that going in can help you avoid frustration if you aren’t able to pop in and out of the store quickly.

Regarding returns, keep your receipt! Employees will have to verify the date of your purchase to confirm whether your item was on sale and therefore how much money you get back. Also, Hobby Lobby receipts do not print item numbers due to the lack of bar-codes. So the employee processing your return has to wade through each item by department and price. In short, Hobby Lobby is not the place to buy it all and just decide at home. If you need to fill a certain space, take measurements. If you need to match a certain color, bring swatches to compare. Save yourself as much time as you can by avoiding impulse buys, knowing the return process is not as simple as scanning a receipt.

There you have it, folks! Everything you could ever want to know about Hobby Lobby shopping! Was this post helpful for you? Are there other stores you’d like to see tips for? Let me know in the comments!