Musing in Ocean City, Maryland

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This is one of the art works by Brooke Rogers on display at the Center for the Arts in Ocean City.

I’m back from a short (but very sweet) vacation at Ocean City, Maryland. It’s about a five hour drive from home, so I’ve gone there many years. This time felt different, though. First of all, I had a toddler with me. That changes everything. I spent a lot of time making tracks in the sand for Carson’s cars to run on and chasing him around in general. I had to coax him to stand where the waves would just barely touch his toes, and each time, he would say, “splash!,” which was adorable to a mommy’s ears. We swam in the condo rental pool every day, and we went through a lot of swimmy diapers (apparently the pool is really relaxing). Our condo rental overlooked an M.R. Ducks and a Billy’s Subs Shop on 140th Street. I ended up buying a cute, bright pink M.R. Ducks sweater to wear on the chilly days, and we frequented Billy’s Sub Shop (yum!). I highly recommend both businesses. Since we were not near the boardwalk, we rode the bus (only $3) when we wanted to stroll the boardwalk, and Carson loved that. If you’re going to Ocean City, especially with a toddler, here are three spots off the beaten path I found that you might enjoy too.

1. At the intersection of 94th Street and Coastal Highway, you’ll see a big blue water tower that has and advertisement for the Art League of Ocean City’s Center for the Arts. At some point each day, my husband and I liked to stop at the Coffee Beanery there (the iced white mochas were great) and then take Carson to the little playground directly behind the water tank. I know it sounds cheesy to tell you to look for the playground behind the water tank, but it’s a really good one for little guys, and the water tank makes the spot shady. We sipped our mochas as Carson played, and I consider that to be pretty relaxing. Just beyond the playground is the actual Center for the Arts museum, and the art is wonderful! If you are into art like me, you’ll like this spot tremendously.

2. Northside Park. I recommend walking the long dock. We saw a lot of people catching crabs there. One guy was using raw chicken neck in his trap, which seemed interesting… but it was bringing up a lot of crabs. Now that you have the image of raw chicken neck in your mind, just know that the spot is really beautiful. There’s lots of room to run, rent kayaks, or play on different playground equipment.

3. Bring a baby-sitter if you can! My husband and I had my parents around to watch Carson one evening so that we could go out on a fishing boat in the bay (the Tortuga at Bahia Marina near 21st Street). I caught five flounder (none big enough to keep) and several crabs that I had to throw back, but I had a really good time. The boat went near Assateague, so we could see the wild ponies, and at the same time, we saw a couple of dolphins.

Me and Another Fish

So much fun! As you can see, I am not worried about making a fashion statement when I’m on a fishing boat. :)

Another piece of advice: seriously, do not bring food on the beach with you at Assateague. My son had a sealed bag of pretzels that one of the wild ponies stole! I was so busy organizing everything that he needed on the beach that I didn’t even think about the pretzels. The pony decided to stand on our blanket awhile and also chew on my Redbook magazine. Lesson learned!

Horse that stole our pretzels on Assateague

Finally, besides plenty of playground, sand, and swim time, Carson especially liked the boardwalk shop that lets customers Photoshop their own faces onto iconic photos and then get the image printed on a t-shirt. Carson immediately chose to have his face put on Ryder from Paw Patrol. It’s hilarious seeing him wear that t-shirt now. He really likes it. He keeps saying, “Chase!!” For those of you not in the know, Chase is one of the dogs on Paw Patrol.

Hopefully I gave you a few vacation ideas or at least made you feel a little closer to the beach!

xoxo Teresa

Fashion Inspired by Melissa McCarthy in Spy

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Melissa McCarthy literally kicks butt in her new movie, Spy. My husband and I cracked up in the theater, and we both thought the comedic timing was perfect. I think this might be the first time — correct me if I’m wrong — that a curvy woman has been the star of this type of action comedy. As always, Melissa’s husband makes a little appearance in the movie, which I think is just adorable.

Anyway, if you’ve read this blog for even a short time, you probably know Melissa McCarthy is one of my inspirations. Driving home from the movie, I started thinking . . . hmm, how about a fashion post inspired by Spy? Here’s the formula I came up with: trench coat + classic dress underneath + heels. What do you think?

My husband liked this look a lot and even said there’s something sexy about it. Thanks, hubby! Take note of that ladies. You could turn some heads in this look. I added a Betsy Johnson watch because I felt like a spy would have a watch with some type of stealthy capabilities, and I also wore a vintage Chanel button that I’ve attached to a necklace for some mystery.

The really neat thing about the trench and the dress is that they’ve both been in my closet for a decade. Classic pieces like these are always in style, and they last a long time if you take care of them. The trench coat still looks brand new.

Before I say goodbye, it wouldn’t be a Melissa McCarthy-inspired post if there weren’t a little silliness involved. In Spy, Melissa wears a lot of different wigs and disguises, so here is me in a blonde wig about eight years ago. I was on vacation in New Orleans, and a friend dared me to wear the wig out for the evening. I was always up for a dare back then (whew, how things change when you settle down). I think it’s a cross between Dolly Parton and Marilyn Monroe, leaning more toward Dolly, haha.

I hope this post made you smile.

Have a great day, sweet reader.

xoxo Teresa

Linking up with Rachel from Garay Treasures.

These Boots are Made for Walking . . . the Runway

Boots 1Today I’m wearing Hillary boots from Boots By Pamela. These are seriously some luscious boots, and I am really excited to be wearing them because designer Pamela Ammeter is one of the talents being showcased at Full Figured Fashion Week in NYC. If you are reading this on Friday, June 19, her boots could be going down the runway right now. If you find this post later, you may have already heard the FFFWeek buzz about her boots.

Pamela sent me the Hillary boots from Canada to coincide with her FFFWeek spotlight. My Hillary boots fit like a glove, and their rich brown color is perfect. The zipper works well, and I really like the antique gold hardware details. These comfortable boots look expensive, with high-quality man-made leather (polyurethane) and all-rubber soles. I’m wearing a size eight.

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What makes Pamela’s business unique is that she caters to women who need wide calf boots. I’m definitely in that category. Most boots I try on in a traditional store are at least an inch or two too small in width, which is very, very frustrating. If you’re a curvy woman, I know you’ll relate to this. Pamela had the exact same experience when she used to shop for boots, so she combined her background in the fashion industry with her need for boots that would fit — and Boots by Pamela was born. I’m going to be bookmarking Pamela’s site on my laptop so that I won’t have to go through the frustration of boot shopping in a traditional store in the future.

The nice thing about brown boots with a red undertone like these, rather than a blue undertone, is that you can match them to almost anything in your wardrobe, including black pants. If you wear brown with a blue undertone, it really doesn’t work with black very well (go ahead, try it). This tip will save you a lot of money if you need to make a choice between brown or black boots, ladies!

I’m calling the look that I’ve put together to showcase my boots Upscale Country. I’ve paired them with a calico dress from Maurice’s and a handmade alpaca shawl from the Backstage Alpaca Shop in Bedford, Pennsylvania. This shawl was definitely a splurge piece for me, but it feels like a giant hug. I saw it when I was on a weekend retreat, and I knew I would regret not buying it. Alpaca is a fiber that was once reserved for Incan royalty, so putting the shawl with the boots just felt right to me.

In the summer, women generally opt for ankle-length, open-toed boots, but Hillary boots are so nice that I would wear them on an extra cool summer evening too. I will probably do another post when it gets cooler outside to show you how the boots and shawl look with skinny jeans.

Thank you, Pamela, for the honor of showcasing your work, and thank you, dear reader, for joining me today.

Pamela

Boots by Pamela Designer

What do you think about the boots?

xoxo

Teresa

I’m linking up with Garay Treasures.

Casual Weekend Fashion Story

It’s a sunny afternoon in late May. My husband doesn’t have to work this weekend, and we can do anything we choose. He says, “Harpers Ferry.” I agree. It’s a beautiful spot in West Virginia. We plan on a three mile hike on the C&O Canal and a stroll around the town. I go to my closet and pick these shorts, this t-shirt . . . DSCN2437Easy breezy.

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Our handsome little man is along for the ride. And yes, the blues and orange in our clothes sort of match. He’s wearing his highly fashionable Thomas Tank Engine light up sneakers that he kicks against the stroller to make them flash for most of the afternoon.

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We walk across the bridge that spans the Potomac and watch for trains. My little man calls out “choo, choo!” The view is stunning, and the breeze is blowing. We wave down at some people rafting in the water below.

 We find a quiet spot just off the canal to look at the river.

What more could anyone ask for? ♥


The inspiration behind my casual weekend outfit came after seeing palazzo pants combined with a graphic t-shirt at a Macy’s Fashion Show (check out my post about it). I decided to use that idea with printed shorts that are made in the same breezy style because, as a short gal, it’s so much easier to find printed shorts that are the right length than palazzo pants. I love the tribal detail down each side of the shorts (see the close up of that in one of the circular photos at the top of this post). I wore black Crocs flip flops that were pretty comfortable for an easy walk on the flat C&O canal and Nine West sunglasses. 


What’s on your bucket list this summer?

xoxo Teresa

Linking up with Oh, Hey Girl!, Style Me Wednesday, Top of the World Style, and Wednesday Pants Link-up.

 

I’m in the June Issue of Bella Grace

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Bella Grace celebrates the beautiful moments in life, the nostalgic thoughts, and the parts of life that women cherish.The first time I discovered Bella Grace magazine in Books-a-Million, I was blown away by the beautiful photographs and soul-felt writing. The magazine is printed on high-quality paper stock, so that adds a lot to the sensory experience. Imagine flipping through it with a chai latte in your hand and an indie song track playing in the background — pretty relaxing.

Anyway, I am published in the June issue! This is my first time being published in a nationally-circulated magazine that is sold at major bookstores, so I am in awe when I see the June issue on the local newsstand now. My personal essay, My Selfie in Words, is on page 68. It’s about my identity as a mom and wife, along with the many versions of my self over the years — including young girl fishing on the farm, and later newspaper reporter looking for the next story in her Jetta with a “News Girl” vanity plate. The photo below is my selfie in front of the new issue of Bella Grace at Books-a-Million. As you can see, part of my face is cut off in the photo because I have an old phone that is not set up for taking selfies. That’s why I had to write my selfie in words. I hope you’ll stop by your local bookstore and see if you spot my article.

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xoxo

Teresa

Meeting the World’s First Plus Size Supermodel

Today I got to say “hi” to Emme, the world’s first plus size supermodel, at Macy’s in Columbia, Maryland, after a plus size fashion show. As you can see in the photo, she is much taller than me!

Emme & Me

I met Emme, the world’s first plus size supermodel, at a fashion show on May 16.

Emme is such a beauty and a role model for body positivity. The show featured fashion-forward Macy’s ensembles that were inspiring. I want to make you feel like you were there, so I’m going to post a photo slideshow of my view seated near the runway. First, though, I want to mention that I’m wearing a Macy’s top, since this special day was made possible by Macy’s, and also give an extra shout out to Haiku Bags for the purse I carried that day, which was gifted to me (click here for my review of Haiku Bags).

Without further ado, I present to you a fashion show hosted by Emme . . . *cue the dance music.*

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After the fashion show, my family took a little side trip to Annapolis to show my son all the boats. It was a wonderful day!

xoxo Teresa

P.S. If you were at the fashion show or are in any of the photos, leave me a comment if you’d like me to email one of the photos to you!

Linking up with Top of the World Style, Mahogany Closet, Whitney Nic James, Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me, and Rhea Et Cetera.

My OOTD: Coral Summer Maxi

I wore this coral plus size maxi dress from Deb’s to an outdoor concert and a car show over the weekend, stayed cool, and had a fabulous time. I thought the crochet white purse and the handmade-style bracelet added a nice summery touch. It’s hard to see the sandals, but they’re the same ones from the bottom of this post. 

If anyone guesses where I bought the purse, I will send you a little prize. I bet you can’t guess it!

Have a good week, sweet reader.

xoxo

Teresa

Full Figured Fashion Week Designer Spotlight

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I am so excited to spotlight a beautiful young designer who is making a debut at Full Figured Fashion Week in NYC later this month. She’s 19 years old, creative, driven, and full of vision. The Nebraska native is sure to inspire you too and make you feel proud to call her a curvy sister. Let’s welcome Hannah Olson from Hannah Caroline Couture to Mama Muse Me Blog today!

I have a wonderful Q&A session with Hannah to share with you, but first I want to give you a sneak peek of the collection that she will be showing at FFFWeek. It’s called Gilded, and the complete designs are still top secret until the fashion show.

The bead work is pretty spectacular, and I like the feeling of elegant drama that Hannah is evoking. Hopefully you are intrigued too. Hannah does custom designs for women of all sizes, and the prices on her site are reasonable. I really believe Hannah Caroline Couture is going to become a well-known brand, so keep your eye on this young woman. Now here’s our Q&A to let you into the world of Hannah.

1. What made you decide to show at Full Figured Fashion Week?
I decided to show at Full Figured Fashion Week because I love the idea of a whole week devoted to girls our size. In almost every other fashion week, we are lucky to see maybe one look in a collection, or even luckier, one designer that does plus-size garments. I love being part of a community with FFFWeek that isn’t about competition, but about cooperation and building an industry together. I researched FFFWeek for about a year and realized it’s where so many women go, whether customers or media, to find out the trends and emerging designers in the industry. Once I realized it was the place to be, I knew I had to apply and figure out a way to get there if I got accepted.
2. What process did you go through to be included there?
After I did all my research, I came up with the ideas for my best collection yet and compiled them in my application. I had to include information about my online presence and lots of photos of past work. It was a really long application so I was super nervous after I submitted it, but it made the acceptance email even sweeter!
3. What are you looking forward to the most, and what scares you the most about it?
I’m looking forward to getting more press about my brand outside of Omaha. People know about me and my company here, but I am excited for the huge boost that will hopefully come from being associated with FFFWeek. I’ve already been discovered by a few blogs, and I was asked to submit photos after the show to be featured in a fashion/lifestyle magazine. I hope it keeps coming! I think I am the most scared of not leveraging everything to the fullest. There are so many opportunities during the week and I want to make sure I network as much as possible, stay organized, and not miss anything. I’m not sure I’ll be able to come back every year, so I’m really trying to make sure that this trip was worth all the fundraising and all-nighters (I know it will be!).
4. How did you get started in design?
I got started in design when I was sophomore in high school, after I took a sewing class. I created a couple accessories in there and ended up selling them to friends, which started my accessories company. Then junior year I started making clothes for myself based on what I could teach myself from Pinterest, and friends starting asking for clothing too. So my business really started out of a necessity for myself, and then I realized that lots of other people had similar issues with clothes fitting right. Now I’m going to be a junior in college and I’m 19 years old. College has really helped me so much with the business side of things. I’ve been applying all my business administration classes directly to my business with things like accounting and marketing, so it’s really helping, but business school can’t necessarily provide me the kind of exposure that FFFWeek will, so I’m very excited for what will come from this week. I believe all the shows I had done here in Omaha have really prepared me for this one.
5. Why did you choose to focus on plus size women with your designs?
My company makes clothes for women of all sizes, but offering plus sizes is really what makes me stand out in the custom-clothing world. I’ve always been bigger, so it was really to meet my own needs first, and then I realized I had a business in it. It has proven to be so rewarding along the way though, because I’ve had plus-sized women just come up to me before and hug me or have tears in their eyes and thank me for making clothes for women their size. That’s something that has really kept me going and trying to build this business.
6. What is your design aesthetic, and what inspires you?
My design aesthetic is pretty dark and edgy. Most of my collections are black with some kind of accent color, usually a shade of red or purple. The collection I’ll be showing at FFFWeek is called Gilded, and it’s very true to that aesthetic. Most pieces have a vintage applique on it and there are cool patterns and textures involved. There’s leather, rhinestones, studs, and beading throughout the collection and it’s the most sophisticated collection I’ve done so far. I usually do casual everyday wear and party wear for my shows, but this is more cocktail. One of my favorite fabrics is a silver textured material and I’m really excited to see it under the runway lights with all the beaded appliques.
7. How is your business going so far?
My business has picked up a lot in the past year or so. Last April I won the business plan competition at my university and I received some funding and a lot of confidence and validation from the community. That really helped spur my business along. One of the five-year goals I presented in that competition was to be in FFFWeek, so I’m blowing a lot of my business goals out of the water! I focused my business on custom clothing and that has brought in a lot of business, especially with things like prom. I’m excited to see where things are next year and in five years, because I just stopped planning more than 6 months in advance based on the rate I’ve been growing.
8. What has been your greatest success?
I definitely think getting accepted into FFFWeek at 19 is the biggest thing that has happened to me and my company so far. It was my big, scary, five-year goal just a year ago, and now it’s going to be a reality before the month is over. I keep joking that it won’t really hit me till I step off the plane, or maybe when I come out with my finale model on the runway, but it still feels like a dream right now. I went straight to work preparing for it the day I got the acceptance email and my family keeps trying to get it through my head, but it hasn’t sunk in yet.
9. What makes you stand out from other designers?
I believe offering plus sizes continues to be what differentiates me from other designers. In the shows I’ve done in the Midwest, I was the only plus-size designer. Now, I’m anxious to see what will set me apart from the other plus size designers in New York. I’m excited to learn from their businesses and successes.
10. What is your biggest dream?
I want to be the person that people are willing to drive in to from all over the country to have a piece made by me. I don’t necessarily want to be a true couturier because I like producing custom clothes for people more than producing collections twice a year. But I would love to be the name that women get excited about when they get asked to prom or get proposed to or have a special event coming up.
11. What’s your favorite thing you have designed?
I don’t have a clear favorite, but more like several things that I like better than others. That comes with every collection I make. But there was a prom dress I really loved that I made for a friend this spring, and there’s a piece in my Gilded collection that I made for a model with my same measurements, so I’m secretly hoping it doesn’t sell because I would wear it so often!
12. Which designers, models, actors, or other muses have influenced you?
I like the music and aesthetic of the singer Lorde, but otherwise I gain most of my inspiration from materials rather than people. I like architecture as well, but mostly I like to take general ideas and complete them with whatever I discover at my favorite fabric store in Chicago. I usually let that determine what the collection will be like beyond a basic idea. For instance, I found a bin of vintage beaded appliques at that store this spring, and the concept of Gilded was born.
♥Thank you for joining Hannah and me today, dear reader!
xoxo
Teresa from Mama Muse Me Blog
Interview copyright 2015.

Fresh Summer Style from eShakti

Now that summer is here, it’s time to show some skin, romp in some rompers, jump in some jumpers, or just lounge in bright, tropical prints. I adore (and just ordered) this romper from eShakti.

I keep my eye on is eShakti because I love how the clothes can be customized to your exact measurements, whether you’re a short, curvy girl like me, or any other shape under the sun. The company contacted me this weekend to ask if I would review the new summer offerings on the site, and I am happy to do so! Look for the $35 off coupon code at the end of this post to have your own shopping fun.

EShakti has launched thematic lines such as Contemporary and Bohemian, introduced products in new categories like jumpsuits, pants, and shorts, and has also made changes to the look and feel of the site. I am glad that eShakti is branching out to include separate jumpsuit, pants, and shorts categories because, honestly, as a mom, I have a lot more mobility in those types of clothing than in dresses. These types of clothing can fit into my everyday life. I can take my son to the indoor gym or a play date and actually be active.

The photos I’ve posted are all wish list items for me! Yes to little pom poms on the shorts. Yes to scalloped chambray.  I think the redesign is approachable and also more modern and fresh than eShakti’s previous offerings. This company has a special place in Mama Muse Me’s heart because eShakti was the first to ever send me a design to review. Here’s the photo from this past winter.

I'm wearing a custom made red jacket from eShakti, a classy scarf, black boots, a black top, skinny jeans from Deb's, and a Betsey Johnson watch.

I’m wearing a custom made red jacket from eShakti, a classy scarf, black boots, a black top, skinny jeans from Deb’s, and a Betsey Johnson watch.

Anyway, eShakti is sending me a gift card for sharing my thoughts with you — so I will be doing a little shopping! EShakti has also kindly offered a coupon code to my readers. Just enter MAMAMUSEME35 at checkout to receive $35 off a purchase through June 21.

eShakti Gift Coupon Code: MAMAMUSEME35Valid till 06/21/2015
Enter this code in the ‘Gift Coupon / Referral Code’ box at checkout
Only one gift coupon can be used in an order
Not valid on previous purchases / purchase of gift cards.
This gift coupon cannot be transferred, re-issued or exchanged for cash.

Bright Ideas

Happy shopping!

xoxo Teresa

A Good Week for Curvy Ladies

Curvy ladies are having a good week in the media. Here is the Mama Muse Me top five list.

1. Size 22 model Tess Holliday is on the cover of People. I picked up a copy. Way to go, Tess! Tess Holliday on People

2. Rebel Wilson is at a theater near you in Pitch Perfect 2. I plan on seeing it at the drive-in theater this weekend. Rebel cracks me up. Plus, did you know that she is going to be doing a fashion line for Torrid?

3. We are still looking forward to Melissa McCarthy’s fashion line that is expected to launch this fall — and teasers for her new Spy movie are out now. It will be in theaters June 5. Melissa McCarthy just got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 19.

4. Full Figure Fashion Week is quickly approaching in New York, June 14-20, and I’m seeing internet buzz about it. I’m looking forward to the photos.

5. Yamaneika Saunders was representing curvy women on the season finale of Funny Girls, a reality show about up and coming female comediennes, with brave body positivity.

Whether you’re curvy or not, I think showing variety is a positive move for all women. Let’s embrace that. Celebrate the talent and stereotype-breaking courage of these women along with me!

xoxo

Teresa

High Five for Friday

We made it to Friday! Hope yours is going well. Let me tell you about the sparkle in this past week. Here is my top five:

1. I saw a bald eagle when my family was out for a walk, and even though we live near a nature preserve, it is only the second bald eagle I have ever seen. Nothing inspires me like nature, especially seeing a symbol of freedom flying across the sky.

2. I discovered a new book that I adore. My Brilliant Friend was a hit in Italian first, and then it was translated to English. Elena Ferrante is a wonderful storyteller. She doesn’t hold back when she describes the childhood of the two main characters, Elena and Lila, and she portrays a female friendship between those two characters that has a ton of complexity and competition. I know this book is part of a four part series (the last book is coming out Sept. 2015!), so I’m looking forward to continuing to get to know these two characters. One of my other favorite books is Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, and I was thinking about how the female friendship between Anne and Diana is so pure and supportive, in contrast with the ups and downs between Elena and Lila. Seriously, if you like to read, pick up this book ASAP! It is captivating and holds nothing back when it describes the girls’ adolescence.

3. I took my son to the indoor jumping gym in my county this week, with trampolines, foam boxes to tumble in, hula hoops, and parachute time at the end of the session. When everyone walked into the rec center, a woman said, “Hi Carson!” to my son. Considering that I’m a full time mom, I know most people who recognize my son, so I was surprised. I asked her how she knows Carson. Ends up she’s his Sunday School teacher at a new church we’ve been attending. I thought that was so neat. We talked most of the time that our kids played, and I got to know my son’s Sunday School teacher! That was a highlight of my week.

4. My husband and I have been following Mad Men since the beginning, so we spent a lot of this week talking and thinking about the series finale that was on Sunday. We will miss the show! I was so glad that Peggy found love, finally, and that it wasn’t with Pete or Don because she could do better than both of them. I felt like I was saying goodbye to characters that I knew well, so it was bittersweet. I liked the 1970s ending of the show, and I hope some of that inspiration resurges and stays in current culture and fashion awhile because it’s fun — disco music, jumpsuits, paisley print, fringe, and the boho look. My husband and I were also talking about how we would like to see a Mad Men spin off that would focus on Peggy and Joan in the 1970s and early1980s. Please pass that idea on to Matthew Weiner if you know him (lol).

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5. My summer pedi! I’m wearing a bright, summery blue polish, a temporary henna “love” tattoo, and sandals from Ocean Minded. I’m still in my PJ’s — so an outfit post is out of the question! My husband and I are celebrating our 5th anniversary this weekend; I thought the “love” temporary tattoo was good for that!

xoxo

Happy Friday!

Teresa

Linking up with 5 on Friday, Friday Favorites, and these three:


That Friday Blog Hop