Saturday, October 31, 2015

Joyful News

It is with great joy that we share a little secret... Sweet Baby Strader is coming in May!!!!!



Ben and I have always wanted to be parents. Even in our first few months of dating when we were 18 & 19 I remember us writing each other cards about how grateful we were that our desires for the future aligned. Some men are wonderful fathers but aren't natural with children until they have babies of their own, but Ben has always been the guy that wants to run around or read a book and snuggle with the littles in the family or in home group. I'm so in love with my precious husband and know he is going to be an incredible father.


There is much about our journey up until this point that I am eager to share, most notably that we experienced the devastating loss of our first baby on July 5 of this year. We found out about our sweet one while on our Italy trip, and the aftermath of our loss has changed our lives forever. Our first baby will always be remembered and cherished in our household. Even as we celebrate our baby coming in May, we longingly miss our first. Today is about celebrating this news with our friends, family, and sweet online community.. but I am eager to share the rest of our story and how the Lord has carried us through our grief, strengthened us, and given us joy in the darkness. We aren't afraid of questions or discussions about our loss, they celebrate the life of our little one. More on that soon.


How have you been feeling?

I've had pretty bad morning sickness. I'm grateful for the fact that our little one has been thriving and taking all of my energy and nutrients. :) A notable highlight would be the fact that I was miserably sick at my best friend Kristen's wedding a few weeks back. Props to Susan for letting me be sick in her car and taking me on emergency sonic runs. I'm certain that everyone who helped set up the wedding thinks that I'm the most lazy person in the world. I was nauseous throughout that whole process (and the bachelorette party) but the Lord truly carried me through and miraculously the only time in that two week period that I didn't feel miserable was during the actual wedding. So basically... I've been feeling not great. On the way to our first sonogram I threw up 5-6 times in the car on the way. I had this little fantasy of us having a day date before the sonogram but I just didn't feel up to it. After that, I got on some medication that's really helped. Our friends and family and especially Ben have all come together as a team and carried us through the first trimester!


Will you find out the gender? 

We couldn't possibly find out the gender any sooner! We're planning on having a big old celebration reveal party with our friends and family to reveal to them after we find out at the doctor. I'll be 20 weeks the week of Christmas.. so that can give you some time frame. I'll share on social media asap after the reveal party. (Friends & Family reading this- tentatively save the date for January 2!)


Will you be sharing about your baby on your blog and on social media?

You'll probably be sick of me sharing. :) The hardest part of this year for us has been feeling like we have to "keep secrets"... we aren't secretive people at all so I've wanted to shout on the rooftops that we're ready for our little family. You can anticipate seeing lots of photos of our sweet babe and we'll also be sharing all of our preparations. Once we're settled on a name we'll share that with people close to us but will wait to publicly reveal on our baby's birthday. I found this post, "How I Protect my Family on Instagram" incredibly helpful and we'll be sticking with these guidelines.


What are your gender guesses?

I'm certain that this baby is a boy, and Ben thinks girl. On one side of our family, all of the grand babies are girls (8!) so at this point all of the family just thinks every baby will be a boy to break the mold but who knows. We just can't wait to find out and order little dresses or jon jons! :) Bring on the preppy baby style!


Will you keep working? 

Yes and no. Ben recently also got his real estate license so our goal is to work as a team so that my #1 focus can be on our little family. But I'll still be working as a realtor and also continuing the work I do for my dad's publishing company. So I guess the answer is yes.. but baby comes first. :)


Will you stop traveling now that you have a baby?

Ben and I love traveling together and we are excited to make travel a part of our little baby's life. I took my first international flight at two weeks old and traveled frequently throughout my childhood. My parents are full of stories about how traveling from a young age accustomed my brother and I to acceptable behavior on airplanes (most often from the US to England) and in airports. I traveled solo for the first time internationally when I was 15. I've already done a lot of research on traveling with infants and we're hoping to make a trip to Europe before our baby's half year birthday.


All of these beautiful images were taken by our close friend Katherine Klein. If you're in the DFW area and are interested in beautiful photography.. contact her!!



YAY YAY YAY! Y'all finally know our happy news. Thank you in advance for celebrating with us! :)


Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday No. 18

7 times Reese Witherspoon's daughter was her twin.

20 movies you should watch before decorating your home.

10 Bags every woman needs. 

Habits of Stylish Women.

Host Etiquette

Can you tell I LOVE catching up on Town and Country articles? :)

GILMORE GIRLS IS BACK AND I CAN'T HOLD IN MY JOY! There is nothing I hate more than being unsatisfied at the end of a book or tv show, and after seasons of my beloved Gilmore Girls (I watched live and had the dvds that I binge watched before that was a thing!) I was so annoyed by the ending. It didn't at all leave my sweet characters where I wanted them to be. The whole last season was just meh.


I started the beginning of last week with a wonderful brunch with good friends. Kristen and Micah were in town and they joined Seth and I for brunch and it was so so fun. I'm extremely grateful for these forever friends!



The weather was finally cool that day so I busted out my new favorite scarf. I'm literally obsessed with it and am trying to hold back from ordering every color. (the one I'm wearing is taupe)

I love everything about this fun blog post collaboration between one of my favorite bloggers and an amazing brand!


I've never watched Dancing with the Stars before and this season I started and let me just shout from the rooftops my love for Bindi Irwin. I love her so much and it is a crime if she doesn't win the whole thing! She is just precious!!

DRAPER JAMES STORE FRONT

This weekend I'm excited to be hosting a sweet family baby shower for one of our cousins and her baby girl on the way... I ordered cupcakes from my favorite Poppyseed Baking Co. (if you're in DFW check it out!!!) and that evening our favorite family tradition of the year... family trick or treating hayride & chili afterwards!! I'm so looking forward to a sweet weekend of fall + family! Hope y'all have a good one!


Monday, October 26, 2015

British Belle: What I Wore in New York City in Autumn

This past week I was in New York on a girls trip. It was such a blast and I enjoyed getting to experience new things in the amazing city. It's kind of a fluke that I ended up visiting 3 times this year.. but I loved getting to experience New York in freezing February, hot Summer July, and now perfectly crisp Autumn. Weather wise, this trip was my favorite. :) 

I'm excited to share what I wore during the trip.. May feel a bit goofy but bear with me. I am always interested by what others wear for travel, so I thought I would share. 


For brunch and exploring 5th avenue + Rockefeller center

Cape: J. Crew (no longer available)
Dress: old Anthropologie 
Shoes: plain black ballet flats


After a morning chock full of walking in my ballet flats.. my little feet were crying out for help. So I did (in my mind) the unthinkable... I busted out the tennies. I'm usually strongly anti sneaker for travel, but this trip I had 0 shame and tried to figure out how best to own it. Really this whole post is just about how to wear tennies on a trip. Ha!! We observed lots of New Yorkers and how they managed to tie their tennies into their look. The #1 observation was that black leggings or jeans with a neutral shoe make the look the most chic. 

Cowl Neck tunic: old Anthropologie 
Black Pixie Pant: J. crew 
Tennies: Nike


For exploring the flatiron district & Chelsea

Chambray: old J. Crew 
Black Pixie Pant: J. Crew 
Tennies: Nike
Crossbody Bag: Gigi New York (wait for a promotion to purchase)


For dinner at The Smith & exploring Grand Central Station + The Palace

Dress: The Happy Goose Shop  (size small for boutique sizing reference)
Booties: Borrowed from my friend Susannah, from Nordstrom by Minnetonka


For breakfast, a short walk from our hotel.

Olive tunic: Nordstrom 
Gray Pixie Pant: J. Crew 
Black Flats: Tory Burch 
Sweater: old J. Crew 


After breakfast, we changed our shoes and braced ourselves for a day which ended up with 30,000+ steps. I love you, tennies!!!


We were passionate about having happy fall photos in the park, so the boots made their way out for a short walk through the park & brunch at Tavern on the Green. 

Cape: old J. Crew
Striped tee: old J. Crew 
Jeans: Loft Modern Skinny (never buy anything at Loft that isn't at least 40% off!, they constantly run promotion!) 
Crossbody: Gigi New York 
Boots: Frye (sweet present from Ben during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this summer)


After brunch we headed uptown to explore the campus of Columbia University. I'll share more about all of the trip later.. but during our morning in the park I noticed several well dressed ladies rocking their tennies with thick coats, and their jeans cuffed at the ankle. I was eager to recreate this look, especially because it was very cold and I needed my warm coat.

Coat: J. Crew (purchased last year but available again this year! Joanna Gaines also has it #claimtofame)
Jeans: J. Crew toothpick
Tennies: Nike

Hope y'all enjoyed following my tennies around New York! :)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday No. 17


Lindsey Regan Thorne's beauty blog is a random favorite of mine- she has great style. I especially love her home and I about freaked out when I saw she had a full tour and I could see all the details I catch glimpses of on instagram.

Nicole is doing Write 31 Days on Joy in the Lord- must read!!

I've already got Christmas decor on the brain so I looked back to this old Christmas tour for some inspiration!


My sweet friend Katherine snapped a few pics for us last week.. I can't wait to share them all. Isn't she talented? :)


Lots of home decor changes.. well really not lots but a few! I can't wait to share those soon, too!


Last weekend I made my first batch of pumpkin muffins for fall 2015! I got the recipe from Life in Grace.. and it's our all time favorite! Consider this a PSA for you to all try it. :)

I've tried one of these.. and need to cross off the others. Best macarons in dallas! 

You can find my other Friday posts here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The 15 Best Things I Ever Ate

I wouldn't necessarily describe myself as a foodie, but I really enjoyed reading this blog post on Cupcakes & Cashmere (I guess the idea originated from a tv show on The Food Network). I was of course, inspired to try my hand at making my own list. After reading the post I was so surprised at how something I'd sampled would randomly pop into my mind as a favorite. I'm sure the list will evolve over time.. but I thought I would share a current one. :)

1. Pizza: Pizzaria Trianon Naples, Italy- It makes sense that our most delicious pizza experience would have taken place in the birthplace of pizza.. YUM! I wish we could just jet back and have a slice. All of the ingredients used in Italy are super super fresh, and we avoided tourist trap restaurants while on our trip, so we had amazing pizza experience after another... this one was the best though.




2. Macarons: Laduree Paris- My absolute favorite flavor of macaron is Raspberry, and Ben's is chocolate. This was one of our favorite stops when we visited Paris, and now anytime we're near somewhere that we can get them, it's worth a stop!


3. Burger and fries: Shake Shack- I'm never one to order a burger and fries. I know that's probably weird to a lot of people.. but a burger is never something I'll order unless I'm somewhere that it's the only option, and even then sometimes not. A few years ago my New Year's resolution was no french fries.. and after a year of choosing healthier sides, I can count on one hand the amount of times I've eaten them. However, for me, Shake Shack is a totally different story. For some reason I just LOVE their food.



4. Pasta: Trofie with Pesto Vernazza, Italy- Trofie is a skinny pasta that originated in the Cinque Terre area (I think specifically in Genoa, actually! Not positive) that's designed to hold onto the delicious pesto. By far the best meal we ate during our Italy trip... I really regret not bringing back jars of pesto from Cinque Terre.

Image from here
5. Breakfast Pot Pie: The Smith New York, NY

6. Cookie: Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie Levain Bakery New York, NY- I actually got this one from Emily's list.. I happened to be going to New York right after discovering the blog post. I made my friends treck to this bakery and we were greatly rewarded. I can't wait to get my hands on my next Levain cookie!




7. Cheesecake: Homemade by Aunt Sue

8. Mini Bundt Cake: Nothing Bundt Cakes chain- This answer may really stump actual foodies, but after sampling lots of cupcakes I've settled on loving little bundts the best. Yumo!



9. Beverage: Four Flowers Juice at Sarabeth's New York - Another weird eating habit of mine is that I pretty much only drink water. About 2-3 times a winter I'll have a hot chocolate or an apple cider but the rest of the time.. I only drink water. This juice has a $10 price tag but when I read that it had "orange, pineapple, banana, & pomegranate" I was dying to try it. Now it's a go to for me when visiting the city!



10. Ice Cream: Gelato at Il Gelateria Rome, Italy (Mint Chocolate Chip and Nutella Swirl are pictured)- Do I really need to say anything about gelato? :) This combo is my favorite!


As you can see my list isn't complete.. but it will get there one day. :) Do you have any recommendations or things that would make your list?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Kristen's Wedding Weekend

It still feels kind of wild to me that Kristen's wedding weekend has already passed. So much anticipation- and over so quickly! All of the wedding festivities took place in Oklahoma, so I headed up there on Friday morning and we got the party started.


First, Kristen's aunts hosted us a beautiful bridal luncheon at an adorable tearoom. My favorite part of our meal was the appetizer, a cranberry orange scone with lemon curd!



Kristen wanted to arrange all of her own flowers, which ended up being so fun! We each got to do our own bouquet. Kristen's was of course flawless and mine was not, but the blooms she chose were so pretty you could barely notice. :) 



Kristen did such a great job planning so many sweet details for the decorations. These planters were my favorite. The wedding took place in an already precious venue, a vineyard in literally the middle of nowhere. My tires are still covered in red dirt. :) The event was also catered by a burger place called Pops that's off of Route 66.. they brought a big food truck which was really fun. This bridesmaid was starving at the end of the night- and it was so fun to see everyone get their food at the truck!


Before portraits!




Other than the obvious reason that one of my oldest and dearest friends was getting married, my favorite part of this wedding was the mini reunion of people who have invested in our lives. Ben was in his happy place watching the Aggies on the iPhone with our close family friend/boss, Luke. Luke's wife Christy has always served as a mentor to me and actually prayed with all of the bridesmaids before my own wedding. Just 15 minutes before the ceremony started, Luke and Christy (and their son, Gage) called Ben to say that their car had broken on their way, and could he come rescue them. They barely made it back to the ceremony in the nick of time.. and then we got to have our sweet friends with us for the long drive back home in the middle of the night. It was so nice that Luke could keep Ben awake with conversation while the rest of us snoozed. 

The second sweet photo is me with one of our shared flower girls, our youth pastor's daughter. It was so great to see their family and spend time with the girls. I was constantly with them in high school and it really ages me every time I see how much they've grown!

And now a few fancy photos by Mary Clare Photography, aka the fun part!
(find the full blog post of the wedding here)







Yay for sweet friends and sweet weddings!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October Goals


Yikes! It feels like so, so long since I've blogged. In reality it hasn't been, but all of my posts for the past few weeks were scheduled far in advance.. and I didn't even link them to the actual Blogtember linkup. Life has been happening and this blog just hasn't. But, HI! It's a new month! My favorite one of the whole year, in fact! And I can already tell this one is going to be such a goodie!

September Goals
participate in The Blog-tember Challenge didn't finish strong on this at all, but I'll count it a win!
decorate our home for fall  complete, although I've already been anticipating Christmas!
visit Nicole with Jamie for Nicole's birthday  sharing about this soon, love these girls!
celebrate Kristen's wedding weekend in Oklahoma (bridal luncheon, bachelorette party, and the wedding!!!)
clean out and purge our cleaning products
clean out and purge our bathroom products

October Goals
clean out and purge our bathroom products
take a girls trip with Susannah and Kayla
Survive football season, I'm ready for Ben to be back!!
Start thinking about Christmas shopping, I'd like to be done before December 1- which is right around the corner! Can you believe it?
Blog a guide to hosting Thanksgiving, or work on getting it ready to post in early November

What do y'all have planned for October?