Monday, January 30, 2017

The New House: Kitchen Update

I mentioned last week that we were doing an easy kitchen update, getting a new backsplash. I have to admit that the update has exceeded my expectations. I was pretty sure it would look good, but sometimes you just can't tell until it's happened. The second the old tile came out it was like a whole new kitchen. It is SO much lighter and brighter in this hub of our home. 

Our Before: 
Full Disclosure, we updated the pendant lights less than 48 hours after we moved in. I remembered my friend Emily mentioning how much of a difference updated pendant lights made in their home, so I ordered some from Home Depot the second we made it out of our option period on selling our previous house. 



Our After: 






And a real life wider shot that shows what everything looks like! all the baby gear and all. :) Please note the giant box of maternity clothes in the hallway to let two friends who are expecting look at. 

What do y'all think? Like I've mentioned before, this is by no means our dream kitchen.. but we think the update has made all the difference! 

Breadbox  (as seen on Fixer Upper & sold in McGee & Co) 
Tray 
Photo Frame  (similar that I now want to order, haha!)

PS. I just listed a ton of womens clothes, and baby boy clothes over @shopvictoriastrader on instagram! :) 



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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What's Happening Wednesday: January 2017

1: WHAT WE’RE EATING THIS WEEK:
We're doing a lot of dinners with people this week! Monday night will be the only night we're not dining with other people. Super fun, but I have a feeling this weekend we'll need a snooze! Tonight some friends are coming over so I'm making Skinnytaste Chicken Parm, with salad and whole wheat pasta, with a Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake as a treat!

My favorite new recipe from recently I made last week, a lemon shrimp risotto! It was so amazing! I plan on sharing the recipe soon!



2. WHAT I’M REMINISCING ABOUT:
This week I was remembering that time we were first time parents and our baby's first day home from the hospital, we took him to get a passport photo at Walgreens. L. O. L. They were like "his eyes have to be opened for it to be legally acceptable" so the whole process was just pretty hilarious. Clearly Beau was over it and his photo is him barely squinting his eyes open.

3: WHAT I'M LOVING:
Little glimpses of spring shopping is making my heart so happy! This time last year I was rocking a big baby belly (it's so weird to look back and now know that Beau was in there! I know that's obvious.. but now knowing his sweet little personality, it's such a marvel!!) and I remember really wishing I could buy Spring clothes. A few things I've got my eye on:


Just to let y'all in on how my mind works.. I have this dress in mind for Beau's one year photos in a few months. Haha! I want a really classic look for those photos.. Beau will probably wear a monogrammed baby blue and white bubble. I think this dress for me would be perfect! Ooh.. It would be great for Easter too!

This is a simple, honestly not really spring-y piece.. but it's so perfect for leggings and mommin that it may just have to come home with me. I feel like this is one of those things you're hesitant to buy because it's "nothing special" but that you end up wearing it till it's got cottony fuzz balls all over. Haha!

I've been a little disinterested in Lilly recently, maybe because I wore so much last Spring or because it's been cold, but I loved this dress when I saw it!

I have absolutely no reason to need this dress but I love it! 

I've always loved ruffles and I love that they're "trendy" this season because it makes what I always want to wear more readily available, haha. Four tees I have my eye on: 1 2 3 4 

4: WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:

We've been busy. Like so busy that my child fell asleep in his bouncer. Haha! Isn't this so sweet?



For Christmas one of Beau's gifts was the walker that my late grandfather made for me when I was a baby, and used to learn to walk. It's super sweet that Beau now has it! 


We're a revolving door of winter colds here.. I was sick, then Ben, then Beau. I'm glad none of them overlapped! Beau has stayed in such good spirits though!

We've been reading a ton which is extra sweet. Fine motor skills take a little extra time because of Beau's thumbs, but he loves his books so much he's been working so hard on turning the pages and doing so well. I'm consistently so proud of him, and it's such an amazing feeling. Stay tuned for my child's giant photo button on my shirt at all times the first time he's on a team of any kind! Haha!

5: WHAT I’M DREADING:
Not anything :)

6: WHAT I’M WORKING ON:

We're going to Disney World in April so I've been looking at where we want to make our fast passes, and even more fun, ordering treasure for our trip from some really fun shops!

7: WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT:
I think the above question kind of answers this! :)

8: WHAT I’M WATCHING/READING:

I'll have a reading update soon, but I've been so sporadic with my reading since having Beau. I binge read a book in a day or two like every few months. I need to get into a routine here! As far as tv though, I feel like I'm loving all of my shows!! Counting on and Outdpaughtered have been my favorite shows on TLC, I mentioned my new love for Timeless last week.. and of course The Bachelor. I will say that the behavior of this season makes me kind of embarrassed that I'm such a Bachelor fan for life but as soon as some girls get weeded out I'm back being loud and proud, haha!

9: WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:
Oodles and oodles of podcasts, thanks to all of y'alls recommendations!

10: WHAT I’M WEARING:

We're back to having a Texas "winter" so lots of comfy, casual dresses are what's being worn around here! 

And I'm REALLY excited about this dress I mentioned last week and got in. It's clearly wrinkled here, but I love it! I got a question about if it's nursing friendly, to which I couldn't really shed light on, but it would for sure be baby bump friendly! 

11: WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND:
Life right now is all pending on my sweet boy! He had a cold, which then turned into his first ear infection, which then turned into stomach bug like symptoms because of him not getting enough probiotic with his medicine.. it's been a circus over here and I miss my non sick, happy baby so much! We're in such a fun stage with him! If all gets better, we have a wedding, family dinner, and home group on Sunday night.

12: WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:
My new niece or nephew is due March 3.. so that means we could very realistically meet that baby this month! When my niece was born, I was so sure that she was a sweet baby girl, but I have changed my mind about this baby so many times!

13: WHAT ELSE IS NEW:
Monday our kitchen became a construction site.. can't wait to reveal the finished product! The best part about a simple backsplash project is that it was all done and cleaned up in one day!

Bonus question this month: Who is your favorite Bachelor? 

My answer is a little interesting! My favorite Bachelor is probably Chris Soules, but not because of him. He's kind of the worst, actually. Eek! I just loved all the girls on his season so much!
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Our Kitchen Refresh

Before we bought our new house in September, we had one deterrent. The kitchen wasn't my style AT ALL. But ultimately, I don't feel like it's realistic to be able to easily purchase a house in your budget, not having to wait to build, and have it be exactly what you want with every finish. And I'm okay with that. I want to live in an all white world, so our dark cabinets were a surprise to us. But we knew that this house was for us. It was an interesting combination to me, the bright white walls with the dark cabinets and gray granite, but whatever. We knew this house was meant to be ours. We don't plan on being here for more than a few years, but who knows what the future holds, and we want to really enjoy living here while we do. Originally we had planned to budget to paint the cabinets and change the backsplash right away. But when we moved in, I slowed my roll. I wanted to live with it. I don't think it makes sense to paint the cabinets at this point, especially when we probably won't be here forever. Honestly the little bit of dirt coverage on cabinets is nice. The gray granite isn't my favorite for the opposite reason, it's pretty speckled, so it hides too much dirt. It will be interesting to see what we choose for our family long term. The backsplash though, is honestly terrible. I'm sorry if that's offensive to someone who has something similar or likes it, but it just isn't our style at all, and honestly I don't think it really matches the other elements. 



These two photos are from before we even moved in, hence the construction dust. The gray granite is a random choice with the cabinets and backsplash, I feel like they should have gone with something brown, but ultimately I like gray better and backsplash is easier to change. I'm rambling at this point, but I was at a loss to choose something more my style that would unite the dark cabinets with the gray granite. I searched a lot for inspiration, and ultimately decided that white subway tile with a gray grout to bring in the granite, would be a good option. None of it is a perfect option, but I think this is a really good solution. I found a few photos that confirmed my thoughts. 






The last photo is really the one that convinces me that this will look good, even though the granite is a lot lighter than ours. We actually had the backsplash redone yesterday and I can't wait to share all the after photos! Cliffhanger! Haha! :) 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Our Love Story: Part One

For years I've said that I want to write out our whole love story. I was first inspired by reading other stories, back in college. I knew I wanted to do something similar one day, even if just for myself! I'm not sure how long this process will take. I want to share some details and lots of old photos, but I also don't want to wear y'all out. I had honestly forgotten about my intentions to do this until someone mentioned it during my blog survey. Thank you, sweet person, for the reminder to reflect on all that lead us to here: 


S O M E   B A C K G R O U N D

Back when we were in high school, there was only one high school in our district. There are now four, for those keeping up with the tiny details. So when ninth grade was about to begin, three middle schools were coming together. I came from the one in the suburbs, Ben came from one of the more rural ones. A few weeks before school started we went to the high school for the first time for "Fish Camp" where we were divided into our "advisory" (homeroom) groups that only continued to meet for a few more years, but that detail is neither here nor there. The point is, we had 611 people in our graduation class, and that meant a lot of groups. Trying to remember, I think most of the groups were done alphabetically by last name but our group had some S's, T's, and I remember some W's too. So who knows! But my first high school experience, as an insecure crazy mess of a fourteen year old girl (as most of us were) I sat across the circle from my future husband. It's one of those "if I knew then what I know now" moments, but ultimately I'm glad I didn't know. :)

Ben and I didn't really get to know each other for another few years, but I'll never forget everyone having to share their name and where they lived and a fun fact about them. Ben said he didn't know a fun fact and a girl that he had gone to middle school with said "Ben drove here!! He has his driver's license!" Which was certainly a fun fact. He had turned 15 just a few days before, and because his family farm, that meant a hardship driver's license. For whatever reason, that memory really stood out to me.

For the next few years we had little to no contact. Not for any reason in particular, we just never really overlapped circles. During my sophomore year in high school, God's story for my life really started unfolding as I started attending church for the first time. That's a whole other story, but the church I started attending was the same one that Ben had attended his whole life, and where we would later get married. Over our sophomore year, we were around each other so much more, because we were attending the same youth group, but we still didn't talk much that I can remember at all. I knew who he was, and I knew a lot of the girls had a crush on him and his two brothers, but it kind of ended there. The Lord was stirring up a completely different relationship in my life, one with Him. It's pretty sweet to think that Ben was on the outskirts of all of that happening. We heard the same Sunday morning sermons and attended the same Wednesday night youth events. I'm really grateful for that sweet part of our story. In the summer of 2007 I became a Christian, and just a few months later we had our fall retreat. When you're a 16 year old girl who rolls up to disciple now weekend in your silver VW bug, you and your friends take a ton of photos. With everyone. For no reason. This little fact lead to the below photo being taken, one of my favorites of us ever. Ben would have just turned seventeen, and it was our first photo together. Looking back, it looks like we're posing a lot closer together than we actually are. I was just leaning my body in a weird angle where it looks like we could be hugging. Sweet Ben was just being a good sport for these crazy girls wanting photos with every single person in their Sunday school class, haha! We were acquaintances at best when this photo was taken.


Another fun and small detail is that Jeff Johnson lead worship at this retreat weekend. He then lead worship for Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M most Tuesday nights for us all throughout college. We were so excited to take a photo with him, too! Because we took a photo with everyone. And EVERYTHING. :) 


So that's the very, very beginning of our story, I can't wait to share more!
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Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday No. 55

No. 1
It's been a crazy busy week in our house, complete with the cherry on top of a sick baby.. poor little Beau! Even though it's been a really rough week, we captured probably my favorite candid photo of Beau so far (although I will say this changes often!) Ben and Beau were snuggling and playing and I picked up his phone and caught a really genuine moment between them.. I love my boys so much! 


No. 2

I am obsessed with my current tennies, and never want to part with them, but I must confess these really caught my eye (especially because they are 20% off with free shipping!) I ordered them just to see if I like them. It's crazy how much I wear my tennies these days as a mama, and I thought these would be perfect!

No. 3


This week I feel deep into the tunnel of binge watching this new show, Timeless. I'd highly recommend it. I was instantly intrigued, it makes me want to know more about history, and I didn't notice until I'm typing this out but it's pretty clean I think! I promise you'll be hooked. The most recent episode left me SO anxious for live episodes. My DVR will be working hard on Monday night between this show and of course, The Bachelor. (Don't even get me started on this season though.. ugh)

No. 4


I'm trying to get hip with the current social media times and actually use Instagram story. I haven't really ever got super into snapchat either. It's just not my instinct to record life as it's happening. That sounds silly to say because I love photos but if I'm with people, for the most part my phone is the last thing on my mind. However, it is fun to record some tiny everyday moments! Follow along @victoriastrader

No. 5
Y'all gave me such great recommendations on this post.  I've been listening to all my podcasts like crazy!! Thank you!


All of my Friday posts can be found here.



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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bits of Victoria: Favorite Household Products

I always think it's super interesting to see the products that people use around the house. For Christmas, my accountability group did a Favorite Things gift exchange. What I got was my friend Tiffany's favorite detergent. It's a fancy natural detergent that smells of frankincense and myrrh that she uses specifically on her sheets and towels. It smells up the whole house every time I use it and it's amazing! It takes away the musky towel smell. This lead me to thinking that it might be fun to share the products that work around the house for us! I try to use a lot of more natural products, but sometimes it's just like, let's use windex and call it a day. Balance, you know? :)


Detergent: Babyganics
Wipes: Water Wipes
Dishwasher Pods: Whatever is on sale :)
Dryer Sheets: Babyganics is what I've been using, but I just ordered Mrs. Meyers... anyone have a recommendation? 
Multipurpose Cleaner: The Honest Company (this is by far my favorite cleaning product!) 
Bathroom Cleaner: The Honest Company (smells incredible!) 
Mirror and Window Cleaner: The Honest Company (I'm pretty sure this is just vinegar actually, haha!)
Magic Erasers are my favorite things with our white walled home! When we get a scuff, just wipe the eraser with some warm water and clean it away magically!)

Do you have any cleaning products that you absolutely swear by? I'd love to hear about them! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I'm Loving: Podcasts

Sometime in November, I decided to become a podcast person. It stemmed from rediscovering the podcast that now is my only connection to some of my favorite bloggers ever, John and Sherry from Young House Love. YHL was the first blog I ever read, after my friend Katherine showed it to me. We even went to their book signing in 2012 and met them!


Anyways, I rediscovered their podcast and began listening. It quickly became addicting and I was catching up on all of the previous weeks when I was folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher, and driving in the car. Let's be honest, Beau is now probably thinking "hmm.. what are John and Sherry up to this week?" From there my love of podcasts kind of spiraled. I found another, and another.

So far I've been listening to: 


And I just downloaded Serial, which I know is a different style of podcast, but I remember hearing loads of buzz about it.

Do y'all listen to podcasts ever? Do you have any recommendations? I actually got asked to be interviewed by a podcast a while back, I can't really remember what happened with it, but I clearly didn't do it. Now I love asking myself questions in my head after listening to these awesome interviews. I love that it's a different way to glean information. I especially love hearing from awesome, inspirational women on their businesses, their faith, and being mamas. If you have any podcasts that you listen to regularly, what are they? I'd love to hear your recommendations! My friend Meredith just recommended another one to me today!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday No. 54

No. 1

Last weekend we had a "snow" weekend. It was basically just freezing cold with some tiny flurries that didn't stick to the ground.  We put a sweet and "punny" onesie on Beau for the occasion.




We stayed in our jammies and snuggled in the cold all day, before heading outside to feel the snow and take a few photos before Ben got home from work. 



The next morning at breakfast it was so cold that the building was too, so Beau hung out in Ben's coat the whole time. :) 


No. 2

I challenge you to watch this video and not cry! 

No. 3
Beau's been soooo much more social lately! It's been especially fun because we can get him to pose for photos so easily, haha! It's made the days so much more fun now that Beau can interact with us so much more. 

No. 4
I'm dying to go look at the following new arrivals at Anthro in store.. so cute! But so often when i try on it's a womp womp moment, so we'll see, haha! 







And this dress literally gave me a heart attack.. it's under $60 and I immediately ordered multiple sizes because I feel like it's going to be an item that sells out! 



Happy Weekend! 

All of my Friday posts can be found here.



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