Miami Fashion Week 2014

I was thrilled to attend the third night of the 16th annual Miami Fashion Week with one of my very dearest friends!  This was actually my first time visiting the City of the Sun, the most diverse, engaging and multicultural melting pot in the world.  The following schedule outlines the events that we attended on Saturday May 17th:

5:30-5:45 PM                         Eveningwear Showcase                  Fradila Kihel/Magnolia/Teresa Rosati/Olga Bolanos
6:45-7:15 PM                         Argentina Showcase                       Agostina Bianchi/Emprendedores de Muestra                                                                                                              Tierra/Cuarto Colorado/Mariana Castro
8:00-9:15 PM                         Italy Showcase                                Stella Jean/Maliparmi
9:30-10:00 OM                      Swimwear Showcase                       Sambarela/Indie Soul/Yamamay

The evening featured designers from Italy and Argentina which provided a glimpse of the diverse fashion from around the globe.  Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler graced the runway in a variety of evening gowns and beachwear.   A highlight of the evening included a new collection from Indie Soul which was unveiled for the first time at Miami Fashion Week.  Tim Gorgol, Indie Should lead designer stated, "We wanted to honor our hometown by unveiling the collection for the first time in Miami instead of in Paris.  Miami continues to grow as an epicenter of culture and fashion, and Indie Soul has been there every step of the way." 

The Argentina Showcase featured adorable matching raincoats and umbrellas which made rainy days seem positively fashionable! And of course, what would a fashion show be without a bit of weirdness?  This random flower dress featured in the Eveningwear Showcase raised a few eyebrows.  I suppose it is true that some things only work on the runway.

I particularly enjoyed the Haitian-inspired fashion featured in the Italy Showcase which included brightly colored scarves and hats.  This line was refreshing and unique in a way that stood out from the other collections. The fanale of the evening was a showcase that included upbeat swimwear, beach dresses, and sun hats by Yamamay, Indie Soul, and Sambarela.
Not to be a downer, but am I the only one who was slightly disturbed by the super-skinny models that were included in a few of the showcases?  While I understand that being thin is a huge part of the fashion industry, many of these gorgeous girls were obviously not at a heathy weight. Visible ribs were abundant.  It made me sad to see this has become the standard of beauty… I shall now get off my soapbox. J

My overall experience at Miami Fashion Week was quite pleasant, and I was truly inspired to update my wardrobe!  I took oodles of photos and had a difficult time deciding which ones to include.  I plan to return next year to attend a few of the classes as well as the fashion showcases.

"Fashions fade, style is eternal."
-Yves Saint Laurent

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Hip Hip Hooray… It's My Birthday!

I’ve always adored birthdays!  People keeps telling me that at some point they stop being fun… but I’m quite certain that if I live to be a hundred I will still be celebrating the gift of life with a heart of gratitude.  This birthday is particularly meaningful to me because it is the very last year of my twenties.  I have reached a point in my life where I realize that life is a precious gift meant to be celebrated each and every day… and that is exactly what I intend to do!  In an effort to document the countdown to my thirties and to remind myself to make every day amazing, I will be beginning a photo diary ( see Photo of the Day tab).  I am excited to share this next year with all of you!

This has basically been the best birthday EVER!  My super sneaking hubby secretly arranged for one of my very dearest friends to fly down for the week.  I moved over 1000 miles away from her last August, and I have truly missed our many adventures.  Fashion shows have always been something we have done together, so my husband sent us to a day of Miami Fashion Week.
It has been positively lovely soaking up the sunshine and catching up with my beautiful friend.  Her visit was such a perfect surprise, and I am grateful for all the effort that was put into making my 29th birthday such an incredible day.  I am blessed beyond measure to have so many positive and loving individuals in my life. 

Of course, no birthday is complete without a fun outfit!  I am in love with this vintage-inspired dress from the new Tory Burch summer line.

Birthday OOTD
Tory Burch ‘Kimberly’ Ottoman Sheath Dress
Color: Carnival (also available in white at select locations)
Style number: 12141497

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mother's Day 2014: Just Another Day In Paradise

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, he praises her." -Proverbs 31:28

Sometimes the simplest days turn out to be the most unbelievably fabulous.  My Mother's Day began with breakfast, a gorgeous arrangement of flowers, and sweet cards delivered to me in bed by my handsome hubby and baby Cupcake.  We all snuggle up and enjoyed the special morning together.  Cupcake made the moment even more perfect when she gave me a kiss and announced, "You nice!"  That is basically the highest of compliments coming from a 22 month old.  These two sure know how to melt my heart.  

The afternoon was spent picnicking and exploring Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach with my loves.  This was my first visit to the garden, and I was swept away by the beauty. Tropical and subtropical plants from around the world, bridges, and sculptures greeted us as we strolled through the garden.  It was a perfect little paradise that was begging to be explored.  We found a gazebo nestled beside a breathtakingly beautiful pond.  It was the perfect place to stop and enjoy the picnic lunch my husband had prepared for us.  

The only thing missing today is my own beautiful mother.  I wish we were together to celebrate, but she is always in my heart.  She is such amazing lady and one of my very best friends.  Sending lots of hugs her way today!

Much love to the two special ladies who make this day significant to me: my mother for giving me life and Miss Cupcake for making me a mommy.  You both mean the world to me. XOXO

If you haven't read my story of becoming a mother click here.

Mother’s Day OOTD
Maggy London Print Taffeta Fit & Flare Dress (regular & petite sizes available)
Color: soft white/purple
Style: 997827

Ann Taylor Perfect Patent Leather Pumps
Color: nude
Style: 299923

Ruth Saltz Vintage Clutch

Cupcake's gorgeous handmade dress was created by a friend who is an amazing seamstress! 

DIY: Boutique Tulle Puff Headband

Miss Cupcake adores all things girly.  We firmly believe that any day involving tutus and frill is destined to be fabulous!  It was recently requested that I post a tutorial on how to make these oversized tulle puff headbands that my love is often wearing in photos.  These whimsical headbands are a favorite around our house, and every single time Cupcakes wears one she gets oodles of compliments.  The following steps will show you how to create a princess-worthy headband for your little lady in 10-15 minutes!

You will need:
  • Glue gun
  • Tulle
  • Crochet headband
  • Scissors
  • Heavy duty thread (optional)
Let's get started. J

1. Decide which color(s) you would like to use for your tulle puff headband.  These can be done in all one color or several colors for even more fun!  Rolls of tulle and crochet headbands can generally be purchase at any craft store for less than five dollars, and there will be enough left over to make several more headbands!

2. Cut strips of tulle.  I typically do around 20 strips because I like the puff to be extra dramatic!  The fastest way to accomplish this is to wrap the tulle around a book and then cut both ends leaving you with the strips. (I am putting my $150+ textbook to good use!)
3. Tie the tulle strips together in the middle with heavy duty thread.  
Alternatively, one of the strips of tulle can be used instead of thread.
4. Trim the ends of the tulle to ensure that the strips are all the same length.  For an extra large puff, leave the strips 5-6 inches long.  You can trim the tulle a bit more later if the puff turns out to be bigger than you anticipated.
5. Hot glue the strips of tulle onto the headband.  It is best to apply the glue to the seam of the headband to avoid the glue seeping through the holes and causing the headband to adhere to itself.  Press the middle of the tulle strips (where they are tied together) to the glue.  Allow the glue to dry for several minutes before moving on to the next stop.
6. Fluff up the puff!  This is the fun part.  Gently begin separating the strips of tulle, and a gorgeous puff will form before your very eyes. J
"I believe in manicures. 
I believe in overdressing. 
I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. 
I believe in pink.
 I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls.
 I believe that tomorrow is another day, and... I believe in miracles."
-Audrey Hepburn

Memoirs of a Mommy: Cupcake's Birth Story

Some of my memoirs of giving birth may be slightly graphic.  Read at your own risk. J

     With the impending arrival of Mother’s Day, I have been reminiscing about my pregnancy and nearly two years of motherhood.  I was actually quite surprised when I realized how much I have truly changed.  Sometimes I barely remember what life was like before Cupcake joined our family.  Giving birth to my baby girl turned my neat little world upside-down… and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 
     The day we found out we were expecting our little love was one of the most joyous days of my life!  More than nine long months had passed since my dear hubby and I had agreed that we were ready to start a family. We had waited with great anticipation for this day, and we already loved our little Cupcake more than life itself.  We simply could not contain our excitement.
     My pregnancy was surprisingly enjoyable.  I relished the experience of having a precious life growing inside me (minus the random strangers who insisted on rubbing my belly).  I conceived in my last semester of my undergraduate and was overwhelmed with all the new beginnings. This was a period of my life that I look back on with a great deal of happiness.  
     The week before I went into labor was unbearably uncomfortable.  It was blazing hot.  I swelled up like a balloon, and shoes were no longer an option (besides one pair of flip flops that left deep indentions from being forced onto my puffy feet).  The day before I was 39 weeks I began having complications and was sent to Labor and Deliver.  After hours of testing, I was told to go home.
     That night I woke up tossing and turning uncomfortably.  I stood up to go to the restroom (for the twentieth time that night) and found myself standing in a pool of blood.  I had been experiencing mild bleeding for the last 24 hours, but this was different.  I was weak and dizzy.  I had never even seen this much blood before.  That was the single most terrifying moment of my life.  My dear hubby and parents took me to the hospital.  More tests were ran, I was told that I was having close and intense contractions.  The baby should be arriving shortly.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.  After laying there for hours, I was still barely dilated.  I finally asked for an epidural because I was in a great deal of pain with no end in sight.  Due to the fact that I have slight scoliosis, the epidural was extremely difficult to administer.  I am not sure how long it was in reality, but it felt like hours of digging into my spine.  I was already exhausted, dealing with intense contractions, and having a huge needle pry between my vertebrea simultaneously.  I had never even considered the fact that the epidural may not be an option, and I began to panic.  Thankfully, it was eventually successful.  Hours later I still had not began to dilate, and the doctors were becoming concerned for the safety of my baby.  Since I had requested that a c-section be the very last option I was given Pitocin to move things along.  A completely natural birth would have been my ideal, but at this point that was not going to happen. Even the Pitocin was very slow to cause dilation.  Every few hours they gave me more.
     The moment finally arrived, and the doctors rushed in for my delivery!  To their surprise, Cupcake had shifted and was no longer in the proper position.  I still wanted to attempt a vaginal birth if possible (obviously, I would have done anything to keep my little love safe).  About an hour after the doctor stated, "Well, she has a lot of curly hair!" the tiniest little human was placed in my arms.  I could not even form words at this point.  All I could say was, "Ohhh, Ohhh" as my entire body shook profusely and tears poured down my cheeks.  Her eyes were wide open and eager to see the world.  I was in love.
     I will never forget the first night I brought my little bundle of joy home from the hospital.  I had barely gotten a wink of sleep in three days.  I was looking forward to curling up in my own bed again.  Little did I know that I could forget catching up on sleep anytime in the near future.  Cupcake screamed her head off that night… and EVERY night for the first seven months of her life.  I was a newbie and didn’t know what amount of crying was considered “normal” for newborns.  I held my screaming baby all night and walked the floors all day with tears pouring down both our cheeks.  Ultimately, the pediatrician informed me that I just had an extremely colicky baby.  There was nothing to do but wait it out.  I was told she would probably grow out of it in a couple months.  A couple months came and went.  She was still crying constantly.  I tried natural remedies.  I tried medication for reflux.  I tried exclusively breastfeeding.  I tried special bottles.  Nothing made a bit of difference.  I will always remember the morning I woke up in a panic because I had fallen asleep and never heard a cry.  I rushed to my sweet baby to find her soundly sleeping.  This was my first time I had slept uninterrupted for more than about an hour in nearly seven months.  I watched my baby sleeping soundly, and I shed happy tears this time.  I had just gotten six hours of sleep, and I felt like I could conquer the world!  I barely remember those months due to extreme exhaustion (both physically and emotionally), but I do know that I survived.
     My baby Cupcake is now 22 months old, and she is the most happy-go-lucky little lady I have every encountered!  I adore watching her sweet personality blossom.  I love celebrating each and every milestones she crosses.  Her joy is contagious, and she makes me laugh every single day of my life.  She filled a hole in my heart that I did not even know existed.  I can not even begin to imagine life without her squishy little face.  She made me a mommy.  She made me a better person.  And I love her to the moon and back.  

"Before you were conceived I wanted you.
Before you were born I loved you.
Before you were here one hour I would give my life for you.
This is the miracle of life."
-Maureen Hawkins