2019 – Goals & Resolutions

2018 was the best year of our lives.

In 2018 we became parents, the day Hayes was born will forever be the most memorable and magical day, I could still tell you every single little detail of that day as if it happened yesterday.
Bringing Hayes into this world was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the most physical pain I have ever experienced, but I still wish I could relive it over and over again.

2018 was full of blessings, and love, and tears, and arguments, and laughter, and shock, and confusion, and questions, and happiness, and excitement, and changes, and GROWTH.
In 2018 Kyle and I grew so much together and we learned so much together.
Becoming parents is absolutely life changing, having a baby will rock your entire world.
You will experience a love that you’ve never known before, both for your new baby and for your significant other.
And you will experience a level of exhaustion that you’ve never known before, but don’t worry friends,
it’s worth it.

Now let’s talk resolutions…I have always been someone who loves to document things, even before iphones and social media were around I would always have a camera on me and I LOVED taking pictures of everyone and everything and capturing moments so that I’d always have a photo to look back on. That’s just who I am. That’s one of the main reasons I started my blog in college, I wanted to remember all of the little things, the simple days of when Kyle and I had just started dating and when he’d leave me little love notes in my apartment bathroom and of course the big moments like our engagement on the beach. The blogging world and social media have come a LONG way since I was just a college girl, and it’s so easy to get caught up in that world of perfectly edited and staged photos.

I have a lot of goals for 2019, but I’ll start with this one.
In 2019, this little blog of mine will be filled with a lot more daily life posts and imperfect photos. I will still share fashion and sales and deals for y’all but I want the main focus of my blog to be more lifestyle & family related. I’m hoping y’all will be able to relate more to these posts, BUT of course you’ll still be able to come on here and find a super affordable and cute outfit that you feel awesome in.
Basically, my goal in 2019 is for my blog to be the best of both worlds!

Kyle and I have moved a lot since we’ve been married, and we still aren’t in our forever home, but one BIG goal is to find a home church and go regularly. We haven’t been to church since Hayes was born and I’m so ashamed of that. I’ve had pretty bad postpartum anxiety and honestly,  the thought of just dropping Hayes off at the church nursery with “strangers” makes me sick to my stomach. BUT I’m determined to get past that this year, because WE need more Jesus. Another goal of mine is to let Hayes spend the night with one of our parents so Kyle and I can have some time together. I’m just such a control freak and worry wart but gosh we NEED some good ol quality time together. So prayers are very welcome because this goal will be VERY hard for me.

Kyle and I both do a lot of work from our phones, so we’re both guilty of being on our phones a lot when we should be spending time together or with Hayes. We both agreed to choose one night a week where we turn off our phones and the TV and just BE together and do some kind of activity as a family, I’m REALLY excited about this one and I hope it turns into something we do more than once a week.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am SUPER ADD. Like cannot focus on just one thing for the life of me. I’m always doing 5 things at once and my mind is always going crazy thinking about 82819 things. Like it takes me DAYS just to finish one blog post. The point of telling y’all this is because my
MAIN GOAL for 2019 is to be more present in whatever I’m doing. Whether it’s playing with Hayes, writing a blog post, responding to DM’s, having lunch with a friend, whatever it may be, I want to be FULLY present. This is another one that will be extremely hard for me but it’s something that will make my life so much happier and more fulfilled and honestly I think it will help me tremendously when it comes to getting things done.

I can’t end this post without talking about health & fitness because fitness has always been a huge part of my life… but then I became a mom and to be totally honest, working out took a backseat and I didn’t find it as important or necessary. Since I became a mom the way my body looks no longer makes or breaks who I am as a person. I used to be SO concerned about the way my body looked and always felt the need to be “bikini ready”. I’m happy to say that I have never been more content with my body. It looks totally different and I have extra skin and less muscle but y’all…there are SO many more important things in life than having a picture perfect body or obsessing over fixing the flaws on our bodies. I used to pick myself apart daily (whenever I looked freaking phenomenal *insert eye roll emoji*) but I just don’t have time for that anymore and I don’t want to waste my time doing that, because it’s silly, and I’m so much more than my physical appearance.
WITH ALL THAT BEING SAID, Please please don’t get me wrong. My goal this year is to start working out at least 3 times a week…I still want to be strong and healthy and of course I still care how I look and I want to be physically attractive for my husband and want to feel good about myself, I always feel best whenever I’m in shape and doing some kind of work out regularly. I guess I just felt the need to mention that stuff before because I’m honestly so proud of myself for not picking myself apart anymore and focusing on every little flaw.

Anyways, I really am SO excited about 2019…I asked all of you on instagram what was one thing you REALLY wanted to see from me this year and the overwhelming majority said MORE HAYES and ANOTHER BABY! haha
Kyle and I want a big family and most days Hayes makes me want 10 more babies, so we’ll see…
We’d love to have another baby in 2019.
But the Lord made it very clear when we were trying for baby #1 that it’s not up to us and it’s not going to happen when we want it too…it’s going to happen when the time is right and when God says so.

If you made it this far, thanks so much for reading!
I hope this post left you feeling a little inspired and I hope 2019 is the best year of your life.

Hayes’s First Christmas

Every year we get matching pajamas and this year we went with camo, Kyle was THRILLED.


I have never been more excited about Christmas than I was this year. It was our very first Christmas as a family of 3 and I could NOT wait to start our own little family traditions! I’m not going to lie though, I totally stressed myself out trying do all.of.the.things and come up with the most perfect traditions and finding the cutest most creative way to document them all…which is honestly ridiculous because Hayes is litarally 10 months old and won’t remember any of this and doesn’t even understand what’s going on…BUT I just wanted it to be perfect, which is understandable right?! Well, the good news is, it was perfect. And it was perfect in our own special way. I don’t think we did ONE of the traditions that I had in my head that I wanted to do, but WHO CARES.
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Kyle has a really big family so we typically spend a few days with his side. We spent the 22nd and 23rd over at his Nanas with the whole crew and it was pure chaos but SO much fun! All of his cousins were in town and we’re all SO close so it’s just a ton of fun every time we get together.

terrible picture but the best people – there will be {at least} 3 more babies this time next year!

The weather was so beautiful the days we were over there so we spent the majority of our time outside playing games and wearing the kiddos out and did a WHOLE lot of eating. So far Hayes is the ONLY boy on both sides…he has two girls cousins and will be getting two more girl cousins in the Spring!! Hoping and praying someone (or we) have a boy soon so he has a buddy to play with. Kyle’s family is mainly boys so it looks like the roles are reversing, funny how it always seems to do that!!

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So I fully intended on our Christmas Eve being filled with decorating Christmas cookies, driving around looking at Christmas lights, eating a special dinner together, and just doing all of the picture perfect things that families do on Christmas Eve. Well, none of those things happened…The majority of my Christmas Eve was spent running around Target by myself in a panic searching for last minute gifts (typical Monica), getting home to realize we have no food to eat, sending Kyle off to get fast food and him calling me 3 different times to tell me each place was closed. We ended up eating grilled cheese sandwiches and sipped on some eggnog, which was honestly phenomenal, so looks like grilled cheeses and eggnog just may be our new Christmas Eve family tradition!
We also let Hayes drive to his Uncle Bryan & Aunt Skyes house on Christmas Eve…10 months old and already behind the wheel, Lord help us!

just out searching for Santa Claus!

After we put Hayes down Kyle and I got to play “Santa” together for the first time and it was honestly THE BEST. I was so excited to set out all of Hayes’s new toys. When I was little we’d always wake up on Christmas morning and have some presents wrapped underneath the tree and those were from my parents and then the ones Santa brought would just be sitting out and ready to play with (because Santa is always in a hurry, duh)

Christmas morning was spent playing with all of his new toys!

Then we got ready and headed over to my parents house to celebrate with my side of the fam! Which is WAYYY smaller and more chill than Kyle’s side haha It’s usually just my parents, my sister and brother in law and us 3!

Hayes decided to pick his nose for the very first time during our family Christmas photo

It was a perfect day of opening presents, eating a TON of food, and relaxing together. We were desperate for a chill day after all of the Holiday festivities all week long.

Hayes’s first Christmas was definitely a success. Cannot wait for next year when he can really understand more and enjoy it!! So far he has been LOVINGGGG all of the gifts he got and plays with them every single day!

5 Rules to Follow to Make Sure You LOVE Your Fall Family Pictures


Photography by: LentillePhotography // Hair & Makeup by: bespokenbeauty //
Outfits borrowed from studio wardrobe

Family photos are something that have always meant EVERYTHING to me, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how important it is to INVEST in your family photos, that way you will love them now, and for years and years to come.
When Kyle and I got engaged I was ALL about going the cheap route…even when it came to photos.
And I can’t even begin to tell you how much I regret that now.
I look back at our wedding photos and I’m so unhappy with how they turned out and that’s 100% MY FAULT for not doing my research and for just choosing the cheapest option and thinking “well, they have an expensive camera surely they’ll turn out good!” But its not just about the camera equipment y’all…it’s about the photographer and connecting with them and feeling comfortable. If there’s one thing I URGE you to do…it’s to really INVEST in your family photos, because they will be around forever & you want to be proud of them…
So today I’m going over 5 different rules that I think are total game changers, if you follow these simple rules I promise that you really will end up L O V I N G your Fall family pictures!

#1. Finding the right photographer – INVESTING in the right photographer
This is HUGE. I know you probably have a family member that is starting a photography business that will do your photos for free…and I know you found this awesome photographer that’s CRAZY expensive and you’re going to book a 10 minute mini session because that’s all you can afford and SURELY if the photographer is that great you’ll get a shot.. Y’all, DO NOT do either of these things! I’m telling you, the most important thing to ensure you LOVE your family photos is to INVEST in a great photographer. Not just any photographer, but a photographer that will take their time, make you feel comfortable in front of the camera, a photographer that will make it easy for your family to just be silly and be themselves so that you get natural, unposed, REAL, beautiful shots. Oh and trust me, I’ve done mini sessions and they are STRESSFUL and dang near impossible with more than 1 person involved. Don’t add more stress to the situation by giving yourself a strict time limit.

#2. Hire someone to do your hair & makeup…
I don’t care if you yourself are a professional hair & makeup artist…the last thing you want to be doing is trying to get yourself ready and then wrangling up all your kids, only to have your baby yank your hair and mess it up before you get to your location and get applesauce spattered all over your outfit…I can’t tell you how RELAXING it was to be able to show up to Allison and Bridgettes studio looking like a train wreck, and then getting to sit and have my hair and makeup done professionally right before the shoot. Bridgette (bespokenbeauty) is hands down the best hair & makeup artist in Houston. I would travel hours and hours for her work. The two times she’s done my hair and makeup I have felt SO beautiful and confident (which is SO important when you’re about to take photos) Kyle prefers me with minimal makeup and Bridgette just has this amazing way of doing a full face of makeup on you but making you look SO natural. It says A LOT when your husband prefers you with no makeup and even he compliments your hair and makeup after it’s been done professionally. I just have to show y’all this pony Bridgette created…that is ALL my real hair!!! Trust me, it is no where near as thick as it looks…Bridgette is a magician and will make you feel like a million bucks, I’m going to share the two looks she’s done for me below so y’all can see how talented she is!!

Bridgette and Allison share a studio together but Bridgette does hair and makeup for all kinds of events!
Wedding/Bridal/Special events/Photography…you name it.
Also, I was being dead serious when I said I would travel hours and hours for her, if you’re getting married soon or have any event where you want to look your best OR are currently planning your family photos – I HIGHLY recommend Bridgette!
You can head straight to here Instagram to see her work {HERE} Or send her an email at bespokenbeautyinfo@gmail.com

Alright, onto rule #3…


#3 Stick With Neutrals/Muted colors
Yes, you may be a fashionista who is up to date on all of the latest trends and everyone is always asking where your outfits are from, BUT a family photoshoot is not the place to make a fashion statement or try out a new trend (in my opinion). No matter what season it is, neutrals are ALWAYS best. One of my favorite things about booking with Allison (LentillePhotography) is that she provides wardrobe for all of her clients (like REALLY cute clothes y’all), all 3 of our outfits are from her studio wardrobe…I had so many gorgeous options to choose from but ended up going with this beautiful Free People maxi because I completely fell in love with the color. Not only did I not have to worry/think/stress/come up with outfits for all 3 of us but I also didn’t have to pay for new outfits for all three of us! Y’all know how quickly outfits & accessories for a family can add up!

#4 Find a photographer that understands the importance of PRINTS &
offers high end products and not just a USB

There’s something so special about receiving actual prints of your photos after your session and having beautiful high quality images to frame around your home! Allison has carefully curated a line of heirloom products, and all of her clients choose digitals plus an album, or framed fine art prints. Seriously y’all, HOW MANY TIMES have you wanted “just the digitals”, with full intention of printing them, but never did? Family pictures should live on your walls, and not on a USB.

And lastly, Rule #5 Bribe your husband & children if necessary
I know y’all are probably laughing at this BUT men & children do not love photos as much as we do…if I give my husband a good pep talk & explain how important these photos mean to me before the photoshoots {& also promise him something he loves if he smiles and cooperates} he tends to be a much better sport! As far as kiddos, Hayes isn’t old enough to be bribed but we did bring a few of his fav toys and had my mom hold them up right behind our photographer! There was also a lot of peek a boo action going on behind the scenes lol

I’ve been dying to share the rest of these photos with y’all! I have never been SO happy with a photoshoot in my entire life.  I typically pick and pull myself apart in every photo – but thanks to Bridgette I felt SO confident and comfortable in front of the camera and Allison always makes the photoshoots so fun & easy!! If you’re in Houston or even the surrounding areas make sure you check out these two babes if you’re in the market for some family photos or just on the hunt for a good hair & makeup artist!





Allison is completely booked for 2018 but is taking on clients for 2019, She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, and family photography in the Houston area and is the sweetest human alive!!
Let me know if you end up booking with Allison or Bridgette and be sure to tell them I sent you!

The baby book of my dreams

Happy Friday Friends,
I’ve been a little quieter on Instagram stories this week because Hayes and I had our first {bad} cold and
BOY was it rough…
Not only did I feel like absolute crap but seeing Hayes be so uncomfortable was freaking heartbreaking.
BUT we are almost back to feeling ourselves and I can’t thank all of you enough for your prayers and sweet messages!!

I’m talking all about Hayes’s new baby book today and I’ve got a DISCOUNT CODE for y’all!!
Use code “MONICA99” to get this baby book for $99 (originally $120), code is valid through October 12th!
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I remember before Hayes was born, finding “the perfect” baby book was extremely important to me. I absolutely love going through my old baby book and old photos anytime I’m back home at my parents house, and I wanted to make sure Hayes’s baby book was something I was proud of, something that he’d love to look through one day, and something that was unique. I purchased a baby book before Hayes was born but for some reason I just wasn’t in love with it like I was hoping to be. When I’d go to fill in the blanks or add photos I kept finding myself stressed or disappointed because it just wasn’t looking how I wanted it too.

 Well, Recently I came across this baby book called “The Story of You” by Artifact Uprising and I pretty much fell in love as soon as I saw the name of it. It was a more modern take on a baby book and the more I researched it the more I knew I NEEDED it.

As soon as the book arrived in the mail I was SO excited, it even comes with a rose gold pen and some adhesives for your prints!
OH, and the best part?! You can order print sets straight from the Artifact uprising site and they come in a variety of different sizes. You can also choose to have a border (like mine) or no border. I wasn’t aware of this before I ordered my prints but they’re actually not regular prints, they’re this awesome textured card stock paper and the pictures are such good quality!!
Kyle was SO impressed when he saw them and loved the uniqueness and quality of the pictures.

This baby book is typically $120 (worth every penny) but they’re offering all of my followers a special discount code through October 12th and you seriously DO NOT want to miss this deal! I wish I could go through and show you every page BUT I didn’t have time to take that many photos haha BUT I just might hop on instagram stories today and do a little flip through so y’all can see the book in more detail!

Some of the pages have the sweetest quotes that literally bring tears to my eyes, this book is so incredibly well made and is definitely not your “average baby book”. But it still has all the best things that a baby book should have!
Each month has the same three prompts + two unique prompts or questions!
Each month you’ll get to write about the following
“You spent most of this month…”,
“You surprised us when you…”,
“This month we learned…”

I LOVE that this book gives you prompts and it’s not just a list of things you check off.
You can write as much or as little as you want and make it as personal and detailed as you want it to be!


I can’t wait to fill these pages with the sweetest memories – thank you Artifact Uprising for creating just what this mama had always pictured but couldn’t find.

Make sure y’all head over to my Instagram to see a more in depth look at the book!
And if you decide to order don’t forget to use my code.
Love y’all, hope you have the best weekend ever!!

Kissing the last days of Summer goodbye

Thank you JaM Cellars for sponsoring this post. Looking for JaM Cabernet and Butter Chardonnay near you? Check out their easy-to-use Store Locator! Just pop in your zip code and the wines will be waiting!

Well y’all, Fall is officially here! My little fam spent the last week of Summer vacationing in Hawaii and it was SO nice getting away. It was really important to me to spend the last few days of Summer soaking up the sun, soaking in some beautiful scenery and relaxing with some GOOD wine (and my 2 best dudes of course). This past week we stayed at a cute little condo in Kauai that actually sat on a cliff which made for some pretty awesome views, and some really relaxing evenings!

Now, If y’all know me, you KNOW that I’m a huge fan of wine – red, white, rose…you name it, I love it all. Having a picnic in Hawaii near the ocean & on top of a cliff was all my heart wanted and I’m happy to say WE MADE IT HAPPEN. We ordered a pizza from a local pizza place and had the cutest little picnic outside of our condo, and I mean, is a picnic even a picnic without wine?! NOPE. We enjoyed some JaM & Butter from JaM Cellars, which may just be my new “go to” weekly wine order.

JaM Cabernet and Butter Chardonnay both made an appearance at our date night picnic, because sometimes ya just can’t choose between white or red so you gotta go with BOTH. We did a little exploring, a whole lot of sipping and listened to the waves crash into the rocks – talk about #SummerBucketList goals…

All my wine loving ladies LISTEN UP,  I’m obviously no wine connoisseur BUT I do know what I like and what I don’t like and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first sip of JaM Cabernet. It was ridiculously smooth and so delicious, the flavor has just the right amount of fruitiness and if I’m being honest I could totally drink the entire bottle in one sitting…Okay, okay I totally did drink the entire bottle in one sitting because Lord have mercy it was GOOD and mama needed some wine!! Don’t worry I did share some with Kyle, the JaM Cab was both mine and Kyle’s favorite – I typically get sick of the taste of red wine after one or two glasses but JaM Cab is definitely an exception. I’m placing an order for more this evening because Kyle and I are completely obsessed. The Butter Chardonnay was really tasty as well, and SO refreshing, we actually took it to the beach with us one day – it kind of just melts in your mouth which is actually fitting seeing as it’s called “Butter”…and I mean, let’s be real, everything’s better with butter!

Oh, and the best part?! JaM Cellars products are extremely affordable. so If you go through wine QUICKLY, like me, these are perfect for you! Let me know if you end up getting some for yourself, these would also make such a great gift!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.