As soon as school ended this year we packed our bags and headed for the good ol' US of A. Our first stop was Anna Maria Island, Florida. A cozy 7 mile stretch of white sand and teal waters. A local hotspot and mostly unknown to tourists which is a huge bonus! Having lived in the Tampa Bay area for 3 years we loved loading up the car and making the short drive to Bradenton. Not much has changed on AMI and I was in heaven eating fish tacos, sipping margaritas, and sinking my toes in that pretty white sand. We even got to meet up with old friends for a day. To say it was the most relaxing time of our month long stay in the states is an understatement. It was so nice to be unplugged with family. Away from the stress and obligation of seeing everybody and making plans. As much as we love coming home, it is never quite a holiday. Mental note that all holidays must consist of a beach, a cocktail, and a good book.
We rented a great beach house right on Bradenton. You can find the listing here. The couple who owns the beach house was right next door and was such a big help. The 3 bedroom house had everything we needed: beach toys, a pool, a gas grill, and fabulous patio where we enjoyed our coffee every morning listening to the waves crash with a killer ocean view.
The sweet couple even let us borrow their new kayak. If you are in the area we highly recommend this little beach house! We cooked several nights at the beach house. Publix was just down the street off the island where we found some local fresh catch. However, if you want to know my favorite spot on AMI to grab the best seafood in town go to Starfish Co.
This little dockside seafood shack accepts cash only, serves the food in paper boxes, and has no waiters (you place your order by the bar), but that doesn't mean the food is subpar. The best seafood in the area hands down. I always get the crab cakes, but the hubby tried the grouper and it was delicious. The hushpuppies. Amazing. Crab cakes and Stella. A match made in heaven.
Nothing beats a Florida sunset and cotton candy skies. xo.
There are really only two times a week (despite what you think) that I look cute and put on mascara: weekly coffee date with my girlfriends and date night with my husband. We determined that this would be a great starting point for our 24 hour #igtruth challenge. Essentially, the challenge involved 24 hours of letting our walls down or in this case, allowing our followers to see what is really happening behind the scenes of our otherwise seemingly perfect Instagram accounts. I do kind of feel like I cheated. I'll be honest my house was pretty clean that day (aside from the OCD nightmare at the end of the hall otherwise known as the kid's room), because we had dinner guests coming. I was diligently following my ducks around to keep at least the dining room free of Legos and pirate ships.
Exhibit right is what I posted Thursday but on the left is what was really happening. My drooling, no napping side kick helping me do everything BUT set the table properly. She loves taking selfies already. I am so not ready for the teenage years.
No nap means early bath time for this baby in her awesome reptile/snakeskin tiled bathtub. *No animals were harmed in the making of those tiles, just your eyes.
It's 5 o'clock and in the Ergo she goes white we show the world just how messy my older children can be. It actually got worse before the night ended. In fact, I am pretty sure 3 days later it's still a mess. I try to have blinders on when I go in their room carefully tip toeing the lego land mind. They should probably pick up their toys and put them in their respective places but there is more to life than organizing toy bins.
Back to where we started. The ugly paisley couch and my post-wine lazy self. Big Warby Parker glasses hide the dark circles. So does the Pic Tap Go App. And in case you were wondering we were interrupted during dinner twice by my middle child because he had and I quote a "real big problem" because he discovered a rip in his sheet. Bébé fell asleep for an hour and was awake until our guests left around 10. Real life.
By Friday I was back to pretty photos of Chinese knock off French Monopoly. xo.
How did you ladies do? Loved your post Khady!
http://instagram.com/kmasson | http://instagram.com/jenndeatley | http://instagram.com/danielleliebenow
Something has been weighing heavy on me before I even read this (Thank you Kari for sharing) and while I giggled at the accuracy I also cringed at the ridiculousness of it all. Thankful for friends and followers who challenged me to an #igtruth day, but maybe it shouldn’t be one day, maybe it should be more often than that. When we moved to Senegal a few years ago I really wanted to blog about my experiences: the good and often times the bad. What it feels like in the throes of culture shock so I could look back on this journey and see how far I had come. I wanted to share these experiences on Instagram as well. I wanted people to see that beauty is everywhere. That life is this incredible canvas. I wanted to inspire.
Unfortunately my posts were met with some pretty nasty comments. Obviously from people who didn’t know my heart, (or that I had just moved to Dakar), and thought I was just a silly privileged white girl. Granted, I did arrive with a suitcase full of preconceived notions, and I was pretty damn naive, but I was open to learn and to grow and to allow myself to be shaped by this experience. However those comments left a lasting impression and since I’ve censored what I put here on the blog and on my Instagram feed. I've convienently used the excuse: it’s for my business and I can’t be too personal. However, when I look at the posts that gain the most interaction it's where I am being open and honest, the ones where I am a mother, a person, someone that is relatable. Yes I have a messy house. Ahem, 3 kids. Yes I have breakdowns. No life isn't just a bunch of styled cocktails. Additionally there is only one room in our house that has any natural light and it’s only between 3-6 pm so that is my window (literally) to get pretty airy iPhone photos. My apartment came furnished. You should see the red and gold paisley number in the playroom. Which is why I don’t post photos where you can see that unsightly couch! Can you believe I just said that? Who am I? Who are we? Why does everything have to be perfect? The sweet Lara Casey just posted this on her Instagram feed and it couldn’t come at a better time. Purpose over perfect. My purpose is to inspire women over shared experiences: as mother, as wife, as designer, as business owner. My purpose is not to portray a perfectly styled life. Don't get me wrong, I love Instagram feeds that are cohesive and aesthetic, but I want my social media presence to reflect my desire to make connections and create a sense of community. So, while I will still post pretty food and cocktail photos on Instagram, my hope is to fill my feed with more #igtruth moments: the screaming baby, the messy kitchen, my fears, my frustrations with Dakar but at the same time the beauty of Dakar. I want to scroll my feed and know I'm presenting not only the best, filtered version of myself, but also the messy version of myself. So to those of us who take 20 photos to get that perfect one, let's challenge one another to find that balance. The pretty and the messy. xo.
Just popping in to share my homemade salsa recipe. We made fresh salsa all the time when we lived in Germany but I became lazy in Florida and then I just settled for what I could get at the American Store here in Dakar after we ran out of my favorite store-bought salsa (Hell on Red- it's soooo good!). Well I thought hey let's just make our own today and maybe I should you know write it down so I can easily remember next time! Wahoo for thinking ahead despite jet lag and an all-night nursing bébé.
1 large can of whole tomatoes less 3 or 4 (28oz can)
2-3 small garlic cloves
3/4 cup of fresh cilantro
1/2 of a large white onion
Fresh lime juice (1.5 large limes)
1 tablespoon of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Throw it all in a blender/food processor and pulse until it's the consistency you would like and everything is chopped pretty well. I left the garlic gloves whole but chopped the onion in a couple small pieces same with the jalapeño (I left the seeds for a kick-remove for something more mild).
Can you believe Mother's Day is in a few weeks? My days and weeks seem to just blend together with wedding clients and babies so yes I was shocked to realize I only have a few weeks to send something to the best mom in the world! I love UncommonGoods! It's a sweet little online shop that has so many fun and unique gifts. In fact, last year my full service brides received the state dish towels as a little gifts for booking. I'm loving their Mother's Day gift guide this year, you can peruse it here. They also have a wonderful selection of personalized gifts for your special mom! I've put together my own little round-up of my favorites. Since we will mostly likely be at the beach on Mother's Day I would love those little speakers (hint hint hubby- if you order now they may make it on time!) and I really need that cocktail towel.
And if you know me, you know the fact that UncommonGoods has raised almost 60k for Women for Women International, puts a huge smile on my face. A charity I've known about for quite some time (including a paper I wrote about the work they do in Afghanistan in college once upon a time :)). They are actually not far from us in Nigeria (doing great work) and helping give women the resources to sustain themselves. Their Better to Give program donates $1 to charity for every purchase you make and has raised a hefty sum of $700,000 dollars.
A sweet little online boutique that gives back is definitely something I am willing to support. Happy hump day! xo.
Wow. I'm blogging. It's been FOREVER. I don't even know what happen to the first three months of 2014? Sweet Evie's little announcements were featured on Oh So Beautiful Paper a couple of weeks ago! So thrilled always to be featured on Nole's fantastic blog. Take a peek here.
The sweet details and big thanks to Joelle Duff of A Charming Occasion for doing the custom calligraphy. We just love our little nugget. Cannot believe she is turning six months tomorrow. Where does the time go mommas?! I promise to return soon, maybe with a new cocktail? xo.
This was taken a month ago... time flies. xo
I know it's a bit late but you know.. I have a wee little bebe! Merry Merry Everything! Download here. Works best on the iPhone 5 and 5S. I haven't tried it on a 4 or 4S. xo.