What’s in my [Diaper] Bag

I used to love when magazines would feature a glimpse into a celebrity’s purse. They always called it “What’s in my bag?” The designer totes were filled with things like luxury beauty products, gorgeous personal care items, and interesting odds & ends. Well I’m no celebrity, but I have a bag! Today I’m showing you what’s in my diaper bag, from what kind of bag I use to how I pack it for every possible situation.

The bag:

When I was pregnant, several friends advised me to get a diaper backpack instead of a tote bag. Their reasoning was that it’s so much easier to have it on your back and have one less thing in your hands with baby in tow. I totally get what they meant because babies do require a ton of stuff, and any time you’re out with your baby you feel like you have a million things you’re holding. However, I found the backpack to be frustrating. No matter how many pockets it has, the big section of a backpack always turns into a black hole. I hated not being able to just reach into it for things. I had to unload whatever I was carrying and take it off to get into it. After using it for about six months, I switched to an open, structured tote and haven’t looked back. I like being able to glance in and make sure it’s all packed. I reach into it all the time while it’s on my shoulder, and toss things in on the top when needed. This particular tote is from a store that went out of business so I can’t link it, but I’ve linked some similar options below.

Links: Amazon tote (comes in lots of colors), H&M Shopper, Walmart leopard straw tote

The contents:

Our diaper bag stays packed with diaper changing supplies, a change of clothes for Lyla, small toys, basic baby care items, my purse items, my wallet, phone, glasses/sunglasses, and keys. I put a full itemized list at the bottom that you can use as a checklist! To keep everything organized, I use these clear bags. I use the larger ones for travel, and three small ones in the diaper bag: one for clothes, one for toys, and one for baby care. For my stuff I use a zipper pouch so that when I need to leave the diaper bag with Lyla (like in the church nursery or at grandparents’ houses), I can just put the pouch in my purse and have all my stuff ready to go.

In addition to these staples, make sure your bag can also fit feeding supplies, baby’s outerwear (jackets are supposed to come off in the car seat and oftentimes they get hot in their stroller), loveys/stuffed animals, and any other random thing you might find yourself needing to carry. Basically, make sure your tote is large enough that it has negative space. There will be so many times you just need to get something out of your hand and it’s so helpful to be able to just toss it in.

I hope this post is helpful to those of you in the diaper bag stage of life. I clean mine out multiple times a week to keep it from becoming a bottomless pit of junk. Below is a checklist you can use to pack your bag. Modify it according to your needs!

Affordable Loungewear Looks

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I officially hit the 37 week mark yesterday! Our baby girl will be here before we know it and we can’t wait to meet her! I’ll be staying home with Lyla for at least the next year. One thing I’ve done as I look forward to becoming a SAHM is to seek out lounge-wear looks that are practical while still making me feel somewhat put together. I know motherhood involves a lot of bodily fluids and thinking of yourself last. I also know I don’t need to impress anyone or look like I’m going to a ball. However, I do think a simple, feasible act of self-care I can implement is to put on a clean outfit each day that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to answer the door in. With that in mind, I’ve put together this Pinterest board of affordable pieces as well as some inspo for how to wear things you might already have.

As I’m writing this, Aerie has all their joggers and leggings 40% off. If you happen upon this post after that sale is over, keep checking their site for future markdowns. My favorite brands for quality lounge-wear that lasts forever, looks cute, and keeps me comfy are Aerie and Victoria’s Secret. I personally would not spend full price, but both brands have frequent sales that put their items in a very reasonable price range. I literally have Victoria’s Secret sweatpants from 2009 that are still kicking. For other pieces like camis, cardigans, and basic tops, I always check Forever 21. Ideally, my lounge outfits would be something I could confidently run an errand in, but for the most part I’m just going to be wearing these outfits around the house, so I don’t want to spend a ton of money.

What are some simple things you do for self-care? Any stay at home moms out there with tips for a newbie? Let me know in the comments!

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

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!

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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

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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!)

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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!

 

My Favorite Thrift Finds

I’ve always been drawn to things that had a life before me. I’d much rather search for something secondhand than go buy it brand new. Thrift shopping is like a treasure hunt. I love the feeling when you happen upon something that you know is a major score! Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite thrift shopping finds in hopes that they will inspire you to go on your own treasure hunt!

Tooled leather handbag

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I quite literally dug this bag off the very back shelf of a junk shop in Paducah, KY-my hometown. It’s worn around the edges, but that just adds to the character! Tooled leather is often created by hand, so you may need to be willing to pay a little more for finds like this than other items.

Pink cowboy boots

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These rare petal-pink Laredo boots are one of my favorite finds ever! These came from a junk shop in Bowling Green, KY. I went to school at WKU and my friends and I spent so many weekends out perusing all the amazing thrift stores Bowling Green has to offer. Anything that reminds me of something I used to have for my Barbie dolls makes me happy, and pink cowboy boots definitely fall into that category.

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Wooden dresser

I technically can’t take credit for this find. My husband pulled this cutie out of our neighbor’s trash. (We are but humble rednecks, after all.) One of the drawers was broken, but with a little elbow grease from Andrew and a little paint from me, we converted it into our entertainment center. I found these knobs at Hobby Lobby and I based our living room on this color palette. You know what they say…one man’s trash is another man’s living room furniture.

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Blue and white dishware

I decorated our kitchen in blue, white, and copper. Almost all of our decorative dishware has been thrifted or handed down by family. Keep in mind that if you’re looking for something specific while thrifting, you will likely have to collect it little by little. There are so many patterns of blue and white dishware, and your collection will look more cohesive if you choose a few similar styles. I tend to like floral motifs and scenic patterns, like Courier & Ives. There are also Oriental styles and fine china patterns. Remember that your colors won’t match exactly unless you find a whole set, but you can get very close!

Gap denim jacket (and other brand-name clothes)

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This Gap denim jacket is just one of the brand-name staples I’ve found at Goodwill. The key to shopping smart at Goodwill (probably a whole separate post) is to only buy something if you know you’ll get lots of wear out of it. Otherwise, it’s not really a great find. I’ve found Gap, Old Navy, LOFT, and great vintage pieces by searching Goodwill.

I hope seeing some of the treasures in my thrifting trove has inspired you to get out there and find the potential in something secondhand. Let me know if you have any questions about anything I’ve mentioned! What are your favorite thrifting tips? Where do you have the best luck? Let me know in the comments!