Our Year 2015

If I had to sum up the year my husband and I have had in 2015 I would have to go with whirlwind. I can’t believe I’m sitting here on the heels of the new year and already reflecting on this past year and looking into what 2016 will bring for us. 2015 was a year that brought us immense joy, but along with that it brought us sadness. It was a year filled with laughter and memories forged with dear friends. It was a year in which we traveled a bit and my husband introduced to me new places. This year I found myself becoming more settled in our new California home. In 2015 I’ve learned and shared in the passion of wine with my husband…and most importantly, this year my husband and I began the journey into what will be our greatest adventure yet: parenthood.

Here’s a snapshot into everything that 2015 held for us…
2015 has been quite the year filled with many ups and downs. Take a peek into what has filled my year as I look into what 2016 will offer!

Wine

One of the perks of living in California, and specifically the central coast, is your proximity to delicious wine and beautiful tasting rooms in the Santa Barbara/Los Olivos area. My husband had lived in California prior to us meeting and all while we were dating he would reminisce about when he worked at Artiste, a tasting room in Los Olivos, and how he fell in love with wine. To me at the time wine was just an alcoholic beverage that you consumed after a long day of teaching…which was every day. However, throughout our courtship and eventual marriage, moving to California and getting to experience the dedication, hard work and value the winemakers put into each bottle made me appreciate this delicate process and the wine itself even more. I am so grateful that I could share in his passion and wine tasting become a special thing between the two of us.

Wicked

I had read the book a few times and just fell in love with the story. I love the concept of taking an original idea, The Wizard of Oz in this case, and create an entire backstory to one of my favorite characters. I had always wanted to see it on Broadway (our first Broadway date was The Book of Mormon – another amazing and hilarious play!) but never got the chance…until my husband found that it was going to be featured at the Pantages Theatre in downtown LA. The performances were above and beyond what I expected and I just loved how they brought the story to life (OMG those costumes and sets!)! I can see now why many friends and family have seen this production more than once.

NIOSA in Texas

NIOSA stands for Night In Old San Antonio for those who are unfamiliar and it is a special time of year where the city celebrates it’s culture and diversity with music, food, and performances. I had always wanted to go, but it is held every April and with our work schedules we were never able to make it back to his parents home in time. However, I love that we were able to work around our busy schedules and take time off to visit and experience NIOSA with his parents. If you’re in the San Antonio area or are looking to visit, be sure to check it out!

That Time I Cut My Hair Off

I am always one for experimenting with my hair – even though it doesn’t grow as quickly as I would like. I’ve found that I love long hair, mid-length hair, and even the pixie. So, after I grew out my hair (about to my shoulders) for my wedding I decided to cut it right afterwards into an a-symmetrical bob. I loved that hairstyle and kept it for some time. Then, a few months after we moved I felt the need for change and decided to chop it all off. However, I must preface that whenever one wants to cut off their hair they must put their trust into the right stylist. So, I recommend that you find a stylist you love and after some time with them go with the drastic cuts. I found my stylist, Chelsea, as soon as we moved to Ventura and she’s lovely and extremely talented. Check out the adorable cut she gave me here!

My hair style has evolved throughout the last few years. From long lengths to short cuts, here’s a peek into my hair evolution in 2015.And of course, in true me fashion, here I am attempting to grow my hair out again (aka taking advantage of these pregnancy hormones). We’ll see how long this trend lasts before I cut it again, haha!

Anniversary In Hawaii

This year we celebrated our first year as a married couple and it was such an exciting milestone. When discussing how we would like to celebrate we both figured that we wanted to travel somewhere and take a little vacation just the two of us away from the pup. Narrowing down where we’d like to go was the fun part. Our little place away has always been Turks & Caicos Islands, but this time I wanted to travel somewhere new, so we finally came up with Hawaii. Living on the west coast makes traveling to Hawaii much easier and I was so excited to pack up and get going. We stayed on the island of Kauai and it was absolutely beautiful. We went hiking, ate delicious food, sipped on some pretty amazing drinks, enjoyed many sunsets together and were just able to spend quality time with each other, which was the best part of the whole trip.

For our first anniversary my husband and I celebrated in Kauai, Hawaii. I wonder where we’ll go in 2016?

An Unexpected Souvenir

Returning home from a vacation is a bit difficult to do considering that we both headed back to work. Over the summer I picked up a few hours by working the preschool summer program at my school. It was a great way to earn some income and the best part was that it was just for the month of June – that way I felt I could still have a summer before returning for the new school year. Since miscarrying in March, then making the decision to actively try again for a baby, to then getting stressed out due to trying for a baby, the husband and I decided to take it easy and just let things happen naturally (duh). So although we weren’t necessarily trying for baby in Hawaii, we decided to just not prevent it from happening. Upon our return from our Hawaiian getaway, and roughly around my missed period over the 4th of July weekend, we were happy to find out that the waiting, praying, and accepting of whatever may happen, we were pregnant! You can read more about my journey to pregnancy here or check out everything pregnancy/baby related here.

San Francisco!

Can you tell yet that my husband and I don’t like sitting still for very long? Since moving to California my husband has been itching to take me all over the state and show me around it’s various cities and it was only right for him to bring me to San Francisco first. What I loved about this trip was that he planned it so we took our time getting there; taking in everything the coast had to offer us. As a last-of-the-summer weekend vacation, we began with an overnight trip up the 1 to Pismo then staying the night in San Louis Opisbo (SLO for short). We made it just in time for the Farmer’s Market on Thursdays and I swear it’s heaven for any pregnant woman – aka food everywhere. The following day we jumped back in the car and continued north to Carmel and stayed overnight in this cute little town. Then, again we packed up and continued on our way until we hit San Francisco and were able to spend the weekend visiting, eating, trolleying, and exploring. I had such a great time that weekend and I loved how it was broken down so I could really take in all the different places the hubs wanted to show me. Plus it was perfect timing because those pesky first trimester symptoms, aka nausea, had finally dissipated.

As a last of summer vacation the husband took me up the coast to spend a weekend in San Francisco. See what we did on the blog!

Pumpkin Patches

Fall is my favorite season and I love that this year we were already pretty settled in our home so I had plenty of time to do a little research into what Ventura and its neighboring towns had to offer us during this time of year. I love creating date night ideas to share with my husband and experiencing the city in which we now call home. This year we built a gingerbread haunted house, watched scary movies, went to a pumpkin patch, picked our own fruit (in CA in October it’s strawberries – not apples), and carved pumpkins. It was a month filled with fun and I’m so happy I have a partner in crime to celebrate with.

Our Growing Family

Obviously I cannot end a year in review post without mentioning one of the most important events in our year, which of course is our growing family. I never would have thought that this year we would experience both sides of the pregnancy spectrum and everything that comes along with it in between. I also never would have expected that we would even be pregnant or thinking about expanding our family – just goes on to show God’s timing in our lives. However, with that said, pregnancy has been an amazing journey and I can’t believe we’ll be greeting our son in just a few short months. I’m amazed at the power of the female body, the intricate process of pregnancy, and the bond that my husband and I have forged during these last 31 weeks.

2015 was an amazing year that seemed to have gone by very quickly, but I look forward to the new experiences and joys that 2016 has in store for me and my little family. I hope you all have had an equally as exciting year and I pray that all of you have many blessings in the year the come! If you have a year in review post be sure to comment with a link so I can be sure to check it out!

Happy New Year!

xoxo kelly.001

Linking up with…

Ember Grey

A Merry Christmas

Today is an important day for it is when we celebrate our Lord’s birth and serves as an ever constant reminder of the grace we have been given. On this day I am more than thankful, but am humbled by the amazing grace He has given to me and my family this past year. In reflection I am reminded that this life of ours is never without challenge, sacrifice or pain. Just because I walk in faith – it doesn’t mean I, or my family, does not struggle or face uncertainty with the same fear or anxiety that others experience. But, it is because I walk in faith that He is revealed to me and it is because of that I find my ability to place one foot in front of the other despite what this world may throw my way.

2015 has been a wonderful year full of the unexpected, sadness, remembrance and love. It has been a year of many blessings and new experiences both personally, professionally and within my own marriage. This year my husband and I faced miscarriage, but remained strong and faithful that in His timing we would experience parenthood. Today, I sit in my 30th week of pregnancy anxiously (and somewhat patiently) awaiting our son’s arrival in the next couple months. This year I remember the love of a sister lost, but have found gratitude through my healing. And it was in this year that I’ve grown in my writing and have finally found a voice for my blog! It’s exciting to see the evolution of something so personal and continue to envision the growth 2016 will bring for this tiny corner of mine.

I don’t know what to expect in 2016, even when welcoming Greyson into this world, but I am confident that despite any shortcomings or struggles I know He is walking with us and will be our guiding light when things appear to be darkening. It is on this day my cup runneth over and stand in appreciation of the life I’ve been given and even more-so, a life I share with my husband.

From my family to yours, we wish you all a merry Christmas and a blessed new year!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

Before parting with you all, here’s a little peek from our maternity shoot when visiting with a dear friend and his wife yesterday. I just love how they turned out and am so thankful – for these will be photos we’ll treasure forever.

This Christmas our family extends our warmest wishes to you as we celebrate the birth of our Lord.

This Christmas our family extends our warmest wishes to you as we celebrate the birth of our Lord.

This Christmas our family extends our warmest wishes to you as we celebrate the birth of our Lord.

A Storybook Baby Shower

This weekend has my heart already overflowing with emotions ranging from gratitude to immense joy over our baby boy. As you all may know, my husband and I are currently in Texas visiting his family for the Christmas holiday. I am so grateful for this time because it will be the last time we’re all together before the baby arrives and when things, well, change in more ways than one.

Yesterday his family threw us a storybook themed baby shower. It was exactly how I had imagined in my mind when writing about my dream baby shower a few months ago. All of Philip’s immediate family along with some of our friends came over to celebrate baby Greyson and it was so much fun getting to share in this not only with his family, but with Philip as he makes the transition into fatherhood. There were lots of laughter and love in the room along with delicious treats, which were inspired by classic baby books, and games.

On this day of reflection I am grateful for:

+ family and the power of unconditional love
+ the generosity of the village in which our son will be raised in
+ the inspiration that has filled my life through my favorite storybooks
+ yummy chocolate cake 😉
+ monogrammed everything
+ my husband and the ever evolving man and father he will become
+ the little life I have the honor of creating and bringing into this world

Here are a few photos from our shower!

Can I just say how adorable my blog onesie is? OMG I nearly died when I saw this come out of the bag because of how thoughtful and unique it was. Blogging has been such an important part of my transition when we moved because it was all I had as I got acquainted with my new home away from our family and friends. To see this and it be something I can share with my son was very touching and one of my favorite gifts.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram if you’re interested in seeing more photos from our baby shower or just want to know what’s going on in the Daniel household!

Linking up with…

Ember Grey

Packing A Carry On In 3 Easy Steps

It only takes losing your baggage once to make you rethink your packing strategies. Or at least it did for me.

When I first began flying my only concept for how to pack was, of course, to check a bag. I had this mentality of I’d rather pack it and not need it versus needing it and not having it. Although that mentality does work in certain situations, however packing for travel it does not. I always found myself packing more than I needed, not having enough room for the things I wanted to bring home, and having the struggle of toting around a massive bag around. I mean, for a girls trip to Vegas for three days (THREE DAYS, people!) I had a checked bag just for shoes. Oh, and I only wore one pair along with sandals the whole trip.

Flash forward a few years later, plus the addition of my husband, and I quickly learned a more efficient way to travel: a carry on. One thing my husband and I immediately bonded over when we met was our love for travel. The thought of packing a bag, jumping on the next flight and jet setting to who-knows-where was, and continues to be, an exhilarating idea. However, the way in which we traveled couldn’t have been more different. He was capable of packing everything he would need neatly into his Jack Spade duffle bag whereas I had a hard time just thinking about how I would fit everything into my newly purchased carry on.

Pros to Carrying On:
+ No checked bag fee
+ No potential lost baggage
+ Quicker getting in/out of an airport

However, over the years I can say that I’ve grown a lot since that checked bag girl of the past and have really learned the carry on game. With us heading for the airport yet again this week my mind has been all about what I’m going to pack for our trip. Here are some of the tips and tricks to packing for a carry on that I live by no matter where our destination lies.
Tips & Tricks for Packing a Carry-On. Try these helpful tips for when you’re planning your next trip. www.theprimarilyinspired.com

Plan & Coordinate
I will always make the case that it’s much harder for women to pack a carry on than a man simply because we have outfits that need to be practical, comfortable and, of course, cute. Whereas men, they can wear the same shirt and shorts all throughout their trip with no problems. With this being said, us ladies have to get creative and resourceful when planning outfits to pack. Here are a few well known tips:

+ To get the most out of the space in your bag, plan and coordinate outfits that share common pieces.
+ Always pack the basics such as camisoles, cardigans, neutral shirts and jeans (don’t forget your underwear and bras!)
+ Dresses are easy outfits to pack and they work for warm or cold weather!
+ Pack accessories such as jewelry, scarves, tights, or hats.
+ Use Pinterest for outfit inspiration!
+ Always check the weather prior to packing so you know what to prepare for. It’s a no-brainer but a step that’s easily forgotten.

via

Genius Space-Saving Ideas for Packing Your Suitcase

Saving Space & Packing Smart
The ultimate key to fitting multiple outfits in a carry on is about how you pack it all. Be smart and try to fold, roll, or squeeze as much as you can to make room for your clothes. Also, consider wearing larger items like boots and outerwear while flying rather than packing them in your luggage to save room.

+ Save space by rolling your clothes, bag them using gallon-sized ziplock bags or use packing cubes.
+ Take 2-3 pairs of different shoes depending on where you’re going and reuse them for different outfits.
+ Use a shower cap or bags to keep shoes from getting your packed clothes dirty.
+ Plan a comfy airport outfit and think in layers.

via

14 Clever Travel Hacks To Make Your Trip Awesome

Put Your Large Purse To Work
If you don’t have a larger tote or purse it would be wise to invest in one. I highly recommend Longchamp personally because mine have been everywhere with me and I use them as my work purse when not traveling. Longchamp totes are durable, waterproof and don’t have flashy labels, which is great for traveling overseas. They are easy to clean too!

via

What’s in my bag?

+ My iPhone (always) and sometimes my iPad for entertainment.
+ Earbuds for the plane.
+ Wallet on hand that’s easily accessible for when navigating the airport.
+ Sunglasses and my regular glasses.

Keep room for:

+ Any snacks or drinks purchased after the security checkpoint
+ Magazines or books
+ Anything your husband wants you to carry 😉

DIY Travel Hacks That Will Change How You Pack Forever

Never leave home without these carry on flight essentials! See more and other travel tips for packing for a carry on!

Outfit | Purse: Longchamp | Earbuds: Beats by Dre | Wallet: Kate Spade
Luggage: Longchamp (similar) | Scarf: Shein | Hooded Neck Pillow

Do you have any travel hacks or tips to share? What are your favorites that you know are tried and true?