Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nine Months of Brynn

You are officially "out" longer than you were "in' and we can't believe it. This month was filled with so much fun and new things for you so let's get right into it.

 Your "9" is made from golf balls since you made it through your first school year as a coach's kid

This month the night before we traveled the Nashville you said your first word which was...MAMA! I was so excited and daddy was only mildly jealous. You love to gab all day with your Mim and you like to "sing" songs from The Little Mermaid with her. You absolutely LOVE music! Your favorite songs are "The Hot Dog Dance" from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the "I'm a Little Teapot" that's on a commercial...you will stop whatever you're doing to watch that commercial. Sometimes you try to "tip" over during it or once the song is done. This month brought your first tooth completely popping through. It's on the bottom in the front and now the tooth right next to it is making it's way up. That one little tooth has brought a love for food including hummus, mashed potatoes, peas, beans, and organic puff snacks...which you can feed to yourself!


You will not sit still for anything. You want to move, move, move and we love it! You are a super fast crawler, even though you always keep your left leg popped up with your knee to the sky. You can pull yourself up on anything and can even stand a few seconds by yourself. You've learned how to open drawers and cabinets so it's time to baby proof everything because you will be walking before we know it. This month you went to your first class at The Little Gym and had so fun! We are planing on signing you up for the summer session. Your doctor said you're growing exactly how you should be and that you are in the gifted bracket when it comes to motor skills and development. She thinks you might be walking in the next month which is absolutely crazy!


It's hard to believe that the planning for your first birthday is already underway. You have your joint early birthday party next month with Stella and then we will travel up to Cleveland to celebrate your actual birthday with our family there. We love seeing you grow and become a strong and independent little girl but we wouldn't mind it if you slowed down just a little. We love you so much Mouse!

This month's top items: Baby Pool // Minnie Mouse Walker // Alphabet Puzzle Floor Mat


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?!



You read that right people. This girl is registered for her first ever half marathon! I am a complete mix of nerves, excitement, and fear but I love it. I had always heard that you change so much when you become a parent and now that I've gone through it myself I have to agree. So many people (myself included) think that your life is "over" once you have children but I have to say I completely disagree. I've become a better wife, daughter, sister, friend, and person since becoming a mom and deciding to do this half marathon proves it. I want to teach Brynn that you should do things that are out of your comfort zone and that you don't think you can do. I want her to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise in a way that I never did. I'm finally ready to take the step towards a healthier life and am starting a program (today is my first session) with a health coach who has the most amazing mindset on healthful living that I can't wait to learn from. Wish me luck y'all!

I have been to dozens of Run Disney events as a working cast member (directing runners, getting them checked in, handing out medals, cheering them on, and unfortunately picking runners up who weren't keeping pace) but have only ran in one event myself. The Princess 5K back in 2013 with my friends Alexis, Billye (Alexis' mom), and Kacie. We all are running the half marathon together and adding my sister, bestie Natalie, and my health coach/Natalie's sister Diana to our running pack. Here are some pics from the 5K all those years ago. I can't wait to see the pictures we will get from the half!



Post Race Pics from 2013

Let the training begin y'all! Do you have any advice for me? Have you ever ran a ha;f marathon or race at Disney? Comment below!

Friday, April 21, 2017

WDW Tips & Tricks: Let Me Upgrade Your Souvenir Game

Trust me...I once to was the big eyed Disney fan buying up all the t-shirts, character plush animals, and random knickknacks in the parks but now I'm older and wiser to the Disney game. Today I want to share with you my favorite Disney souvenirs that are anything but basic...


Guided Tours 

I'll go ahead and admit that I'm totally biased when it comes to this one because I was a tour guide at Walt Disney World but I promise you'll love this alternative souvenir. Clearly you're a fan of Disney otherwise you wouldn't be spending your hard earned money on a trip there so why not ditch the $80 sweatshirt and coffee mug in The Emporium for a behind the scenes look at a place you love.

Yours truly giving the UnDiscovered Future World Tour

If you're a big Magic Kingdom fan and have always dreamed about walking through those famous Disney tunnels Disney's Keys to the Kingdom  is the tour for you...find more details on it HERE.

If Epcot is your park of choice I highly suggest The UnDiscovered Future World Tour because it was my favorite tour to give. You learn about the history of why Epcot is designed the way it is and why if Walt didn't have the dream of Epcot the Walt Disney World you know and love today might not exist....you can find more details on it HERE.

Caring for Giants is a great option for families (with kids age 4 and over) over at Disney's Animal Kingdom and you can get all the details HERE because who doesn't want a behind the scenes look at the amazing animals.

I had the pleasure of experiencing the fun and interactive Disney's Family Magic Tour a few years ago with my younger cousin, Will, and my mom. All the kids on the tour had a blast and us adults didn't stop laughing...mostly at each other acting like kids. You can get more information about that tour HERE.

Throwback to Segway tours at Epcot that I also gave that unfortunately are no longer offered at Epcot

Silhouettes

This is something I only started doing once I had my daughter but it's quickly become a must-do for us every visit. At various locations around The Walt Disney World Resort you can have an incredibly talented artist cut a silhouette for you. The fee is practically free compared to how much hand cut silhouettes are anywhere else in the world. So here are the details on the prices...a single is $12, for two people it's $20, for three people it's $24, and for a group of four it's $27. You get two "copies" of each silhouette done (oh hey gifts for grandparents) and you can purchase a frame for a mere $8.95 so you don't have to hunt down one at your local Hobby Lobby. If you have children GET THIS DONE EACH TRIP and I promise you'll love seeing how much they change.



Locations:

Magic Kingdom- Outside the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square by the bridge

Epcot- The French Pavilion in World Showcase across from Chefs de France (i.e. the pics above)

Disney Springs- A small kiosk by the carousel near Earl of Sandwich and Once Upon a Toy


Our framed silhouette of Brynn (4 months old)

Professional Photo Session 

You are spending a small fortune on a trip to WDW so why not have some amazing tangible memories captured of you and your crew.

A few years ago (2011) I booked a session with Disney Fine Art Photography for my mom and I for Mother's Day and they were good but the quality has come a long way since then. I'm such a picture person that I want professional photos taken as much as I can. I love having a beautiful memory captured with EVERYONE in the photo.


My favorite "Disney Family" The Brankamps (I met them when I was working at Disney and we have stayed in touch for several years) had a session taken by them during their stay last year and even got a few senior shots for their oldest, Meg.



If you want more custom tailored family portraits check out Faison Anne Photography for an amazing session! I recently stumbled across this central Florida local on IG (you can follow her HERE) and she knows the parks well and is able to capture the most beautiful "in park" photos I have ever seen. She's a mom who takes her adorable son to the parks often so she understands more than anyone on how to capture the magic children have while at Disney. Her sessions provide way more options as far as location and style than the DFAP and you're supporting a small business! To be honest I'm surprised someone from the WDW Media team hasn't snatched her up for some campaign shoots. I for one can't wait for my personal session with her and when you book your session tell her I sent ya! Here are some of my favorite shots of her photography.




So there are my two cents on my favorite Disney souvenirs. Have you done any of these? What are your favorite Disney souvenirs? Comment below! 






Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Let's Get Real...

If we were having drinks together here is what I would be gabbing to you about...



It's SUPER DIFFICULT to make friends as an adult. The struggle is real y'all. This summer will be three years we have been in here GA and I have as many friends as Erika Jayne has f*cks given...that's right...none, not one, zero, zero, zero, done! My biggest fear is that will trickle down and affect Brynn's ability to make friends. I have always been so lucky to have amazing friendships just fall in my lap so this is crippling for me. I've gone so far as to join the Peanut app which is pretty much Tinder for moms to find mom friends but it's too weird for my liking. I've joined the Atlanta Social Club and have my first event next week so I'm hoping for the best.

Social Media and Blogging sometimes makes communicating awkward. Don't get me wrong I love them both so much but sometimes I wonder when I reach out to other bloggers and instagramer is it creepy. Do they realize that I simply admire them and their voice or do they think I'm a complete weirdo. I mean if you're putting your life out on a blog to share with others I hope you aren't startled when people reach out but I don't know. I've gone back and forth on whether or not to send a Mother's Day card to one of my blogging "friends" because I truly feel that she has made my transition to motherhood so much easier but I don't want her to think I'm a stalker lol.

We have started looking at houses here in Atlanta. I know this should be exciting but it's very bittersweet for us. I know we both have always thought we would raise our children are family and friends so the thought of truly planting roots here is a mix of emotions.

This is the craziest "season" of life. My best friend Katie and I were talking about how people always say that you find yourself and become "you" during your college years but Katie is calling bs on that. We both agreed that you become "you" in your mid-twenties to mid thirties. You're trying so hard to hold on to your old life and self while welcoming the person you've become. This is the time people are forming lasting romantic relationships, making homes, starting families, and trying our best to get our shit together once and for all. All the while we are trying to maintain and keep up with everyone in our social media circle. It's so exhausting and I for one am tired of the picture perfect lives everyone is trying to pretend they have. Life is messy and things rarely goes as planned and i think that is far more beautiful than a perfectly cropped and edited post on Instagram.

Hopefully I'm not alone in these feelings but even if I am it feels so much better to get them out. 



Friday, April 14, 2017

Eight Months of Brynn

I know I say it every time but I can't believe how fast time is flying! This month feels like the most you've grown and here's why...


You've gone from kind of crawling to full blown crawling like a champ
You are far too active for your swing and it has officially been retired
You are pulling yourself up to stand every chance you get
You love jumping in your JOEY JUMPER and now ever know what the word jump means
Your teeth are finally popping through your little gums
You love eating baby food and can hold your spoon (and bottle) all by yourself
You recognize the "Hot Dog Song" from MMCH and start dancing when it comes on

and my favorite...

You are so close to saying your first word which sounds a whole lot like "Momma"




Even though you have some amazing toys you prefer playing with the baby wipe box, tv remote, and "petting" your dogs. We got you your own BABY PHONE but you would rather play with the real phones. You celebrated your first St. Patrick's Day and I think you're going to be the life of the party because we tried to put you down for bed at your normal bedtime and you wanted to stay up and play.

Your "8" is made from bows made by momma. This month we opened our shop TheBraveBow Company and if it wasn't for you there would be no shop! You are becoming such a big girl and I can't believe we're already starting to make celebration plans for your first birthday! I can't wait to see what new things you learn to do next month. We love you so much Mouse!

Happy Easter Weekend!

Can you believe this Sunday is Easter?! This year is flying buy and I feel like I'll blink and it will be time to order Christmas cards. Nevertheless here are my top five things from the week...

{1} We started our week out in Nashville to visit with our bestie, Erika. She is the friend that set Brian and I up. She was there for work and since it's such a short drive from Atlanta we took a very quick trip up.


The street beside of Draper James is an Instagramer's dream with the blue stripe wall and the "I believe in Nashville" mural!

{2} I have been blessed with a husband that is amazing at picking out hotels and his Nashville pick did not disappoint. We were right across the street from The Grand Ole Opry House. 


{3} Brynn met the Easter Bunny for the first time and absolutely loved him!!!



{4} Brynn has taken a liking to tv remotes so THIS BABY REMOTE is going in her Easter basket in hopes that it becomes her new favorite toy.

{5} Last but not least we get to celebrate Brynn's First Easter this weekend! Brunch is on the books for Saturday and my mom is cooking Easter dinner on Sunday so it's sure to be a great weekend!



HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!

Linking up for FIVE on FRIDAY & Oh, Hey Friday 



Friday, April 7, 2017

Five on Friday

Today I'm linking up for Five on Friday so here are five things that stood out this week!

I sent out the first orders of bows from my shop The Brave Bow Company! It was such an exciting feeling and I'm completely overwhelmed by all the love and support for my small business.


Brynn is totally over sitting and is standing up every chance she gets so we're finally having to buckle her in every single thing.


I started planning an early joint birthday party with my bestie Natalie for our little Disney divas and it's taking over my life in the best way possible.

Here's a little sneak peak at the back of the invitation

My birthday gift to myself these Kendra Scott Elle Earrings arrived in the mail thanks to the awesome sales associate named Kelsey. If you haven't heard we had a major bypass/bridge here in Atlanta collapse so traffic is worse than usual and getting over to the Kendra Scott store in Buckhead would have taken me hours. I decided to give it a shot and call the store to see if I could use my birthday discount with a phone order and they said yes! My earrings arrived beautifully packaged with a birthday card!

When I get home today I've got to pack some overnight bags for us because we're spending the weekend in Nashville! I've been so many times because my aunt and uncle used to live there but this will be Brynn's first trip. Hopefully she cooperates with all the pictures I want to take!

Here's a throwback from 4 years ago...before I even knew Brian and well before Brynn

 Thanks for stopping by everyone and have a great weekend!


Friday, March 31, 2017

HBD to Me! Brave Bow Co is OPEN!

What better way to ring in the last year of my twenties than officially opening my bow shop! Head over to TheBraveBowCompany on etsy and start shopping! Thank you so much for your support!




Thursday, March 30, 2017

30 before 30 check in

Last year on my birthday I made a list of 30 things I wanted to do by the time I turn 30. Considering my 29th birthday is tomorrow I wanted to check in and see how I'm doing so here it goes...


1. Go on a dream vacation to Europe. Itching to go back!



2. Give birth...there's no turning back now lol! 07.30.16 <3


3. Move from Atlanta. We've been here nearly two years and it just doesn't feel like home. We need to take the plunge and work towards making this a reality.

4. Go to Disneyland in California!

5. Run a half marathon. I've had so many friends accomplish this and I want to give it a shot.

6. Learn to cook some of our favorite German food.

7. Attend a Steelers game at Heinz Field with my husband and my brother-in-law.

8. Meet my Dominican cousins that found my sister and I.

9. Visit the Dominican Republic with my sister and the cousins mentioned above. Well kinda, I finally visited the DR but it was just my husband and I.


10. Grow my own hydrangeas.

11. Take our baby to Walt Disney World with our parents. Halfway done, she;s been to WDW but not with the grandparents.

12. Pet a baby elephant, tiger, or lion.

13. Treat my mom to something super special for her 50th birthday next year.

14. Go to Vegas! I've never been and my husband loves it there and is dying to take me.

15. Write more on this little ole blog. I think I've done a pretty good job :)

16. Host Easter dinner at our house.

17. Do something that scares me like zip lining or whitewater rafting.

18. Surprise my husband. We are both terrible at keeping secrets form each other but he has managed to surprise me a few times. I want to give him a surprise that he will love.

19. Swim in Lake Erie.

20. See Niagara Falls. Check!


21. Play a full game of golf with my husband. I'm a bit ashamed of this one considering I'm married to a college golf coach.

22. Go camping with my in-laws. Glamping is the only way to go.

23. Drink around the world at Epcot with my finally legal sister, Larissa. The first of many!

24. Make a new family tradition. Cutting down our own Christmas tree.


25. Forgive someone who doesn't deserve it. I've done this a couple times and not holding grudges feels so much better.

26. See a live taping of a tv show...whether it's JeopardyThe Price Is RightJimmy Fallon or SNL, this needs to happen.

27. Learn calligraphy...luckily my mother-in-law can teach me. I bought a course, just need to do it.

28. Do a keg stand. Even though I went to a top 3 party school I have never did this!

29. Visit a state I've never been to before.

30. Make sure to embrace the people who love me and let them know I love them too! Still doing this everyday.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Farmhouse Hack: Wooden Pillar Holder

A couple years ago my mom kept raving about some show on HGTV and told me I needed to watch it but I never got around to it. Then one weekend I binge watched Fixer Upper and completely fell head over heels in love with the simplistic and classic farmhouse style. I love everything about what Joanna does...except for the prices. So here is the first of many Former Kennedy Farmhouse Hacks!


Here is the inspiration for this hack...pillar holders from The Magnolia Market.

{image via Magnolia Market}

The prices are $35 for a small, $45 for a medium, and $55 for a large. If I bought the four that I'm hacking my total would be $200. You can buy them here if you're a Rockefeller. I'm going to show you how to make them for $25 with all supplies from Home Depot!

What you will need for 4 pillar holders:

  • Foam paint brush
  • Clear epoxy Gorilla Glue
  • Paint - I used a paint sample size of Glidden in Parchment White (but you can use any color)
  • 8 Small terra cotta pot saucers
  • Pliers 
  • 4 Pre-spun wooden table legs
First you need to remove the screws from the table legs with the pliers.

Next you will follow the directions on the Gorilla Glue to mix it and spread the glue on the end of the table leg that the screw was in then place the saucer upside and place the glue covered side on it.


Then spread glue on the top of the leg and place the saucer, normal side up so a candle can sit in it, on the glue covered top. Let the glue dry for 20 minutes as stated on the glue instructions.


Paint the first coat of paint and let dry.


Paint the second coat and let it dry and you'll have a beautiful set of farmhouse style pillar holders for less than the cost of one {small} Magnolia Market pillar holder!







This is not a sponsored post.




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My Fellow Millennials...Print Your Pictures! {Free Shutterfly Photobook and Chatbook Code}


Listen y'all, I get it...we've been incredibly spoiled when it comes to capturing memories and communicating with our loved ones. When we were kids our parents had to use up an entire roll of film that they then had to take to be sent off to be developed and a few weeks later would finally be ready. Well until one hour photo was invented which was still annoying in my opinion. The worst part? You couldn't see if the pictures were actually good until you got them back. I can definitely see why someone got so frustrated that they invented the digital photography we know and love today.

Since everything is so instant now our wonderful pictures just sit on our phone or social media never to be printed and put in our homes. Well I'm here to help you out with some easy, no excuse ways to finally make those memories a little more tangible. First up is...

Chatbooks



 The spine has the Series name as well as the timeline which I love!

This is the absolute best option for all my fellow lazy AF people. You have a couple options with this as far as what pictures you want in your books. The books can be soft back (still very durable though) or hard back. You can take the time to custom build a book or you can set up a subscription, which is what I have. I filtered my book series to pull only the photos on my Instagram with a certain hashtag (the one I use for my daughter's pictures) and it makes a book automatically for me. Each series book has 60 photos that show both the caption and location if you tag it in the photo and sends out once the book is full. I love this because I still have the freedom to remove and add pictures to my books but if I want to be lazy I can. I picked the soft back book and basic shipping so each book costs me a measly $10 total. They make great coffee table books and are small even to fit in my purse to take on trips with us to show our family that don't use social media our pictures. If photo aren't your thing you can order just prints from them too! I highly suggest using Chatbooks they gave me an offer for my readers right HERE {FREE CHATBOOK}!

Next up...Professional Photobooks

You've taken the time to seek out a professional photographer that you like, you've picked out the outfits, found a beautiful location, and now you're just going to let those photos disappear on your Facebook timeline until your flashback notification reminds you of them?! Pure craziness y'all! See if your photographer offers photobook services. Our beloved Arastasia Photography does and she knocked it out of the ballpark with Brynn's newborn book! It's so high quality that I feel like I should wear gloves while looking at it. The design and layout is impeccable and we love it! Here are a couple iphone shots of it.

 The beautiful leather cover makes it feel like it's right out of Hogwarts to me.


Last but not least is a longtime favorite of mine...

Shutterfly

Unless you've been living under a rock for several years you know that Shutterfly is one of the most popular places for all things photo related. They have everything from mouse pads, magnets, wall decor, invitations/cards all of which can be customized by you super easily from your computer or even your phone! My favorite though are the photo books. They have an insane amount of templates ranging from vacation, wedding, guestbook, adoption portfolios, and family yearbooks.  


I recently have been on a photo book kick so here are some of ones I created...

Our Honeymoon Album


Brynn's Birth Story...because some pictures don't belong on social media


I left two pages empty so that I could paste in cards that we got in the hospital and her little bracelet.

2016 Family Yearbook


This is an idea from my friend Lauren, owner and creator of Ren Ott Events, who has been making these since she and her husband got together. I'll admit that putting the 2016 one together was a bit of a task for me but I've already started on our 2017 one. I carve out about 30 minutes a month to make a page for it so come next January all I have to do is order it. It will be so fun to look at them as Brynn gets older. All of us gathered around a book looking at old photos seems so much more special than being gathered around a computer screen or phone.

As promised I have a promo code for a FREE PHOTO BOOK for you from Shutterfly so now you really have no excuse not to make one. Make sure to send me pics of your books when you get them!