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Chambray Love

April 29, 2016

Now that we've skipped right over Spring and into HOT I've got to get ahold of a chambray dress.  I practically live in my long sleeve chambray shirt this time of year and I think a dress made of that same structured but breathable fabric is a must.  And apparently it's right on trend this year as well.

One || Two || Three || Four

The second dress is the least expensive and it's also on sale! Cardholders take 40% off.  No card?  Take 30% off with code: THANK YOU

Check out a few more favorites below:

*affiliate links used

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J.Crew Sale

April 28, 2016

Whoa, I just noticed that J.Crew is running an extra 40% off sale items and 30% regular priced styles with code: SCORE.  Plus free shipping on overs over $150 which practically forces me to add a few things into my cart in order to save the $5 in shipping.  That's just good basic math.

Among the many awesome deals I'm most excited about snagging a few new pairs of my favorite shorts for $27!  You'll notice I linked the 4" shorts, I think it's time for me to retire my beloved 3" from circulation outside of my backyard.

I also really love this top in the flax color and I'll need this dress for work.  And this tassel tunic because nothing says this summer is going to be carefree and breezy with a sunscreened and popsicled-up four and five year old at the pool quite like a white linen tunic.  Plus this scalloped swimsuit and this striped off the shoulder number will clearly encourage my children to play nicely together in the shallow end while I lounge in a chair and read a book.  Or perch on the end of a boat.  Obviously.

A few more things that I love below

 I found some cute things for the kids as well

*affiliate links used

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A little less talk and a lot more action

April 27, 2016

A little less talk and a lot more action.

I mentioned in a previous post that I've been obsessed with podcasts lately.  I can't get enough.  It physically forces me to tune out the noise in my head and around me and just listen.  I'm talking about the constant loop of thoughts that many of us have trouble turning off.  Ever.  Podcasts help me retrain my Mom Brain to focus better.  Plus they're fun, portable, and I'm learning a lot of cool stuff.

Stuff Mom Never Told You, The Anxiety Guru, and The Life Coach School with Brooke Castillo are my current favorites.  I would add Serial by This American Life but I thought season two was about as #wompwomp as season one was exhilarating.  We can chat more about that later.  I would love to hear your thoughts on Adnan.

Massive Action not Passive Action.  Brooke Castillo talks about this distinction and it really really really hit home for me.  So much so that I wrote it down and taped it to my bathroom mirror as a daily reminder.  I like passive action. I like to spend hours on pinterest, scrolling through instagram, listening to podcasts (ironic, right), reading blogs, reading articles on real estate, looking at listings, finding photoshop and illustrator tutorials on you tube, binge watching netflix, reading books, etc.  I like to make lists and plan and dream.  

You know where I get stuck?  Massive Action.  You know, actually creating something.  Painting in my new art studio instead of sitting inside pinning images of beautiful art studios.  Scrolling through instagram instead of posting a photo on instagram.  Making mock-up business cards and logos in photoshop instead of actually turning in my real estate paperwork to DPOR and making my license official.  Looking at someone else's writing or blog post instead of writing my own.  Now, these may all be examples that you can't directly relate to.  Not everyone needs to write or blog or paint or sell real estate.  But I'm guessing you can fill in the blanks with your own life.  Okay, full disclosure.  My biggest one is probably pinning articles and pictures of organized homes instead of actually getting off my butt and organizing my home.  Please tell me I'm not alone in that one.

So my new daily goal is to create something.  Even if it's just one thing.  Even if it sucks.  Even if it's not well received.  My goal is not to please everyone but rather to be pleased with myself for trying.  For doing.  A life well-lived.  Today I created this blog post.  Tomorrow my plan is to order new stationery.  Thursday I plan to make a recipe I pinned.  Not everything has to change your life. Mostly it's the small things that add up to you living your life and not just sitting on the sidelines.  Anyone else feel a reference to the best movie of all time coming on?  Wait for it...

Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend.  You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.

You're so right.  You're supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for god's sake! Arthur, I've been going to a therapist for three years, and she's never explained anything to me that well.

-The Holiday

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Art Sale Lowcountry Marsh Paintings

April 26, 2016

Lowcountry Marsh Paintings.

I can't even begin to explain to y'all how incredible it is for me to have a dedicated art space at home now.  #blessed.  Just kidding, I don't want to have to punch myself in the face.  But seriously, I am so grateful to have a place that I can spread out and jam to music and paint.  Heaven.  There is absolutely nothing else that helps me unwind quite like standing in front of a canvas.  I truly appreciate all of your past encouragement and support and I hope you all like this latest collection of marsh prints as well.

A collection of oil and acrylic paintings on canvas.  These paintings are inspired by the lowcountry of South Carolina.  Specifically, the creeks of Pawleys Island.

To purchase please email me at juliakyleryan@gmail.com with the painting number you'd like.  It's also really helpful to go ahead and list a back up, if you have one.


Thank y'all so very much for so much support and kind words. I've moved the available pieces to the top to make it easier.  If you are looking for a specific size I am going to open up a few commission spots so just email me for details.  Thank you, again.
14x18 flat canvas
14x18 flat canvas
8x10 on raised canvas

 Marsh 17
Marsh 22

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Get The Look: Striped Dress for Spring

Get The Look: Striped Dress for Spring

I have about a million LOOKS I LOVE saved in a pinterest folder.  I will literally open the folder up and study it before I have somewhere special to go.  And by special I mean somewhere that I can't wear sweatpants or yoga pants.  It's as if I think this will make outfits I love magically appear in my closet.

Time to go to the next step and actually buy some of the clothes and accessories I pin over and over again.  So many of the images I pin are all the same style.  Not the same item, but the same style.  I'm going to start doing a better job of editing my closet to add a few of these items in to rotation so I can actually pull together the outfits on the fly instead of just thinking, "oh this would be so cute if only I owned a blank."  I'm betting this will save me money in the long run as well.

I found this outfit last night on pinterest and decided to recreate it!  I was blown away to see that the dress is on clearance for $7.99, what what!!! If you wanted to try a dressier office appropriate version of this outfit I think dress is amazing. Plus it is eligible for a gift with purchase promotion.

long sleeve striped t-shirt dress (ON MEGA CLEARANCE FOR $7.99) (Also a major fan of this striped maxi dress) || booties || sandals || Necklace || Black leather tassel clutch (big fan of this similar bag and I also love THIS ONE which would be perfect to gift yourself for Mothers Day) (and this one is a perfect look for less, just add a tassel || airbrush tan (this stuff is amazing!) || sunglasses || Julie Vos Botticelli Ring (another good Mother's Day gift idea)

shop the look above:

*affiliate links used

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What Your Rooms Say About You (or so my life coach says)

April 25, 2016

 What Your Rooms Say About You (or so my life coach says).

For the past few months I've been working with a life coach.  My quick description is that it's like therapy-lite.  We're working on my goals, both short term and long term, and how I can get there and what obstacles (mostly of my own creating) are holding me back.  I'm trying to find out who I really am as an individual beyond wife and mother and what will really fulfill me.  How to be the best version of myself which will in turn make me a better wife and mother.

It's like meeting with your really insightful and compassionate friend who is aware of all the latest cool information on self-actualization and mindfulness and motivation and knows how to keep the conversation focused and moving deeper.  She lets me talk about myself the whole time in a caring and supportive manner.  She knows the exact right question to ask to make me analyze my thoughts and dig a bit deeper.  Basically, I've hired myself a cheerleader with no strings attached to the outcome.  To sum it up, if you're like me and used to be obsessed with the old "What's your BLANK style" from Seventeen Magazine or Cosmo and you suddenly find yourself wholly relating to the title (maybe not the entire plot line) of "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" then you might find it a good fit for you too.

teepee || chairs (similar look for less) || pillows || rug (currently 70% off) || lamp (Similar) || black and white beach print || bench (similar) || 

Anyway, back to the room thing.  This week we touched upon a fun little exercise about how the rooms in your home are a reflection of you. Duh, that's nothing new right.  But let's dig deeper.  More specifically, how you verbally describe both your favorite and your least-liked room is in direct correlation to how you view yourself.  Try it.  What do you love about it, why?  What do you hate about it, why?  The words you use to describe them will typically mimic the way you feel about yourself.  Your shortcomings, what you wish you could change, your strengths and gifts to the world.


I'd love to know if this was true for you; although please don't feel like you need to divulge all your answers.  I thought it was really fun and helpful for me to think about and I know some of y'all will love this exercise too!

*As you can see the blog has gotten a much needed makeover.  I needed a fresh start.  Unfortunately, my post titles have mysteriously disappeared and I can't seem to figure out how to make the entire post display on one page without the second click.  So annoying.  I'm sorry.  I've emailed the IT person to hopefully get this resolved asap.

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Pretty Little Party Dresses

April 24, 2016

 Pretty Little Party Dresses.

I still haven't decided between long or short so I've rounded up my favorite little cocktail dresses too!  I have a hard time with choosing dresses this time of year because I'm still so pale and not quite ready to bare as much skin as I might in the heat of summer.  But I also don't want to be too covered up and frumpy either.  I think these are all really pretty and sophisticated but with a fresh twist.

Shop the looks above

And a few of my favorite long dresses below

*affiliate links used

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Black Tie Dresses (for Spring weddings + galas)

Black Tie Dresses (for Spring weddings + galas).

We have a family wedding coming up in Charleston soon.  I'm so excited!  We're pretty booked with family things at night but are they any new lunch spots you'd recommend?  Cannon Green has come up a few times so that's on my list but I'd love another suggestion.

I've rounded up a few of the dresses I'm considering.  There are so many weddings and galas this time of year so I thought it would be fun to round up a few of my top picks.  I typically try to stay away from strapless but I'm really loving these strapless maxis. 

Black and white striped dress with the pink sash || gisele strapless silk maxi || pink strapless maxi dress || strapless print chiffon maxi dress || Navy convertible strapless gown || Mara Hoffman floral maxi dress || Pink strapless gisele maxi dress (equally in love with the mint color) || Badgley Mishka fluorescent chiffon gown (via Rent the Runway) || strappy gold sandals || statement earrings (they come in so many colors)

shop the look above:

My favorite cocktail dress roundup below:

*affiliate links used

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Spring Dresses On My Mind Just In Time For Easter!

March 15, 2016

Easter is basically next week and I am way behind.  How about you?  I have nothing to wear and nothing to put in my children's baskets.  Plus Tagg has pneumonia.  Womp Womp.  With his asthma. it's just really hard for him to get over it.  He's been out of school for three weeks.  I'm sure he'll be better in time for Spring Break :)

Time to get over myself and get on it.  Today, let's chat outfits.  I pretty much lived in leggings and sweatshirts all winter while I hibernated.  Literally and figuratively.  But, I'm starting to feel better and I'm ready to put on a pretty new dress.  Nothing like sunshine and pretty dresses to make you feel good!  And I'd pair them all with this wedge, of course.

Striped dress with pink accent (this is Eliza J brand which always fits impeccably and has hidden pockets for your cell phone.  Duh.  True to size or order down if you have a smaller  waist/rib cage) || Betsey Johnson Floral Print (so ladylike and long enough but still so fresh and feminine!) || Embroidered Fringe Sheath Dress (love this and love that's it's a little edgy for me) || Navy and White fit and flare Dress (yes, this is my idea of heaven and is definitely my top contender so far!) || Print Scuba Two Piece Dress (another top contender, I'm obsessed) || Turquoise Shift Dress (love the color and love the shape of this one.  Easy on the eyes) || Lilly Pulitzer Raegan Dress (classic, pretty, Lilly.  Enough said) || Gingham Poplin Belted fit and flare (love love love.  nothing but love)

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Caramelized Onion and Feta Tart (Trader Joe's Inspired) Recipe + Book Club

March 3, 2016

I hosted book club last night so I grabbed a few bottles of wine from Trader Joe's and a package of mini sugar cookies from Kroger.  I'm obsessed with their bakery cookies.  And I recreated one of my all time favorite appetizers from Trader Joe's.  The originals are good but I could easily eat $15 worth myself and I didn't want six trays of frozen bites to cook so I figured tit would be pretty easy to make something similar instead.  Om, it worked.  They were amazing hot and amazing straight out of the fridge this morning.  They were so easy to make and a fun alternative to dips.

Many of you requested some information about my book club so I figured I would give you the quick run down on what we're doing.  The loose format is that we meet once a week for a month and then take a month or so off before beginning the next round.  This way women who wanted to join in this first round but couldn't fit it into their schedule might be less hesitant to jump in later.  We also have chosen to alternate the format between a study/lecture and a book but all with God as the underlying theme.  It's not a bible study, per se, but there is an intention that we distinguish this night from our usual wine nights by centering around a common yearning for a deeper connection to God and others. A purposeful evening where we can dig deeper and support one another.  I think it's something so many of us crave but don't exactly know how to fulfill.

The first book we read was Redeeming Love.  This was my first taste of Christian Fiction.  I can't exactly say I'm hooked but I did appreciate the overall themes of forgiveness and how easy it was to read.  As one of our members said, it was like Bible Fan Fiction.  Which literally made me spit out my wine.  She wasn't wrong.  From a literary standpoint I didn't love it because it was a simple and obvious story.  But it reminded me of the bible stories for kids that present a message plainly so you can quickly understand it.  I really liked that.

We're starting back up in April and doing the series Restless.  Has anyone read either of these?  Have you ever been a part of a God centered book club as opposed to an actual bible study?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Caramelized Onion and Feta Tart

In a bowl, combine a package of whipped cream cheese and a package of feta cheese crumbles.  It's easiest if these are both room temperature.  Stir in *caramelized onion and smear the mixture evenly onto the **pizza dough with a knife.  Bake according to the directions on the package.  Ours was 425 for 14 minutes.

*How to caramelize an onion
Chop onion into super thin slivers
Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a skillet over medium heat
Add in the chopped onion and stir
Add 1 Tbsp (or so) of sugar and stir
Continue sautéing for about 10 minutes over medium low/low heat
Stir frequently to avoid burning or sticking

**Pizza crust-I just use ready to bake thin pizza crust (we are obsessed with the Pillsbury kind in the pop-can like the crescent rolls or grands biscuits.  We use the classic when making pizza but the thin crust for flatbread style.

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What the heck I've been up to lately

February 5, 2016

What the heck I've been up to lately.

Long time no see, friends.  I didn't mean to take such a long break away from here I just needed to take some time for myself.  I wouldn't even remotely say it was "blogger burnout" because that implies that this blog is a chore or drags me down or was something that I needed a break from.  And thats not at all the case.  In fact, it's so much more than that.  Somewhere over the last few years I've lost myself.  I lost my center.  I lost my happiness.  I think this happens to so many of us.  Maybe you can relate?

I don't know if it's still called post partum anxiety & depression when it unravels three years later.  I do know that it didn't feel like the commercials you see on tv with the checklists.  It just felt like my life.  I didn't realize I had a problem until I suffered a few debilitating panic attacks last fall and sought treatment.  Part of which included a panel of testing to make sure I was physically healthy.  Apparently I'm not dying.  Apparently it's not "normal" to always think that you are.  Sometimes a mole is just a mole.   So many of us suffer from anxiety and it doesn't always look like you think it does.  Through recovering I'm realizing how far gone I was and just how much better my life can be.  I actually have a few instagram friends to thank for that.  For extending their hands out to mine when I reached out.  I'm forever grateful.  And for a few of my friends here locally who have been helping me steady my step and making sure know I'm not alone by just showing up.  Simply showing up for someone is enough.  And my husband, my rock.  But that's a conversation for him alone.

Sometimes feeling stuck doesn't look like not getting out of bed.  Especially when you have small children who need to be fed and cared for and loved every day not just some days.  Feeling like you could harm your children doesn't always look like a monstrous evil act lurking in your thoughts but a simple lack of confidence in your ability to keep them safe and alive and happy.  I know food allergies have played a huge role in my line of thinking but I think much of it has been lurking around forever.  Mostly rooted in self doubt.  Apparently stress and an easy going attitude aren't mutually exclusive.

So there you have it, OCD, perfectionism, depression, anxiety, panic attacks.  Why the heck am I publicly sharing this?  I'm not worried about the stigma.  There are plenty of reasons you might not like me but I can assure you this brand of crazy isn't it.  That's part of who I am and I will proudly share it with the world.  Because I'm also really creative.  And smart.  And thoughtful.  And a freaking awesome wife and mother.  I love the crap out of my husband and my kids.  And I'm all kinds of full of empathy and love to help others.  And I'm turning into a pretty good vegan baker.  And I make a ridiculously good chicken broccoli casserole.  And I like to read.  And listen to podcasts.  Oh, podcasts are my new favorite.  I have a few favorites I'd love to tell you about.  It's really nice to just sit and listen to someone else without the ability to interrupt or add in your own experience.  I think that's good practice for the real world.  And I could win a Real Housewives of everywhere trivia tournament.  Like, rock it.  And I learned that I could give up wine without even thinking about it but not coffee.  Lord, please don't take away my coffee again.  And I like taking really long walks but still hate to run.  I'm starting to learn that saying, "No, that doesn't work for me" is so much better than saying Yes and then regretting it.  And I used to be really fun and funny and I'm slowly getting that back too.  And I'm good at photography.  And I love to write.  No, more like I need to write.  And I love cute outfits and pretty rooms.  And putting together mood boards.  And imagining all the pretty stuff I'd buy if I won the powerball.  And finding recipes I may or may not ever make.  And blogging.  Yes, blogging.

So now that I've taken some time to sort through was brings me joy and what I want taking up space in my head and in my life I'm excited to say that this blog is on that list.  And as much as I want to make it 100% about the pretty I just can't.  I thought for awhile that might be a bit better for me.  To keep it all light and positive.  I need to mix in a bit of the real and dirty and raw in with that even if it's not popular.  Even if it leaves me wide open.  Vulnerable.  I have Brene Brown to thank for that via my very brave friend Katharine.  I wanted to be sure of that before I moved forward.  Writing and blogging helps me look inward which is an important part of my recovery.  I'm excited to use this blog again as a place that brings me joy and connection.  I hope it can do that for you too and that you'd still like to move forward with me!

I feel like this is where I should share some uplifting quote on being courageous or strong or whatever so I guess I'll hop on over to pinterest now and find something fitting.  Although really my husband said it best this morning, "You can't just stay home and vacuum forever."  That sentence gave me the courage to hop back on here today and I hope this post gives you the courage you need today too.

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Family Room Christmas Tour | Part 2

December 1, 2015

Welcome!  Welcome! I'm sharing more of our family room Christmas decorations this morning!  Of course if you follow me on instagram than you may have noticed that I've already swapped the art all around since I photographed this.  What fun would it be if I left it all the same all the time?!  I feel like I should offer you a gingerbread latte or a hot chocolate to snuggle up with.  This room is just so warm and cozy in person, I wish you all could come check it out!

Now that I just said gingerbread latte, have we talked about how I'm on week three of no caffeine?  Which means three weeks with no coffee?  Let's discuss real quick.  It's been hard.  Really hard.  Really really hard.  But amazing.  I'm glad I'm doing it.  But I miss it.  Maybe I really am a coffee addict because it's a struggle every single morning not to go make myself a cup.  I didn't anticipate just how much of the routine I'd miss.  I tried to replace with decaf calming tea the first week.  What a joke.  I'd rather just have a big glass of water.  The tea actually tasted great but it reminded me of what I'd rather be having in my cup.  I might buy a box of decaf coffee to make in the mornings if I still really miss the routine in a few more weeks.

I'm loving the cozy winter wonderland theme!  All that faux fur is the best snuggled up in the morning and evening.  I love that I can leave those out after Christmas as well.  And those bottle brush trees have been such a hit with the kids.  I decided to only use things on the coffee table that they could mess around with. They like to rearrange them and bring little toys in to play in the forest.  So cute.

bottle brush trees
boxwood wreaths

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