Review of 2013 – Happy 2014!

2013 Recap…

2013 was just full of surprises for our little family. Opportunities we thought were coming our way crumbled right before our eyes, but God opened other doors and brought blessings that were better than we ever dreamed.

From January through May I posted lots of different looks and styles here on RubysNPurls. I had fun with them but once June hit and I returned to college part-time, I found that I simply didn’t have enough time for everthing and blogging too. I was also really unhappy with my weight & to be honest was tired of posting photos of myself in outfits that weren’t that great. I knew once I started walking to school my weight would improve and it did somewhat over the summer, however it wasn’t until Caveman and I started the Paleo Diet in early September (4th to be exact!) that I really saw an improvement in my weight, my mental health and my energy levels.

As I’ve lost the weight, now down 30 lbs, my style has evolved as well. I am turning to more classic/taliored looks and surprisingly to me, wearing more black. I’ve always liked black but as Caveman told me recently, “Honey, black is your color!” LOL!

I also highlighted a few home improvements that we tackled in our backyard, along with the bounty from our garden and a quick little DIY. It was a good year, but as we look out over the coming 2014 we’re seeing lots of big changes in our future.

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2014 Goals

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I saw a quote similar to the one above on Pinterest the other day only it said “Amazing, Loving, Strong, Happy, Selfless and Grateful”. I think these are the qualities I will be striving for, as a person, as well as a Mom this year!

2014

I saw this one too and (I’m not sure of the source for either of these, so if you know it could you please pass it along?) I really liked it…

“2014 is your year to ..Begin, have NO regrets, Hone your personal style, Love, Simplify, Go on an Adventure, Change your outlook, Love WHAT you do, BE YOU!”

Most of these were already my goals for 2014, this just put them into words beautifully!

As far as social media, you’ll find me on Pinterest & Instagram because I enjoy both so much. But here on this little space, my time will be limited. My focus has shifted away from style/fashion posts to spending quality time with my family, being real and in the moment. I think that’s one reason I really like Instagram because it’s a snapshot of a moment, not some longwinded explanation of what’s been happening with me, blah, blah, blah. That’s not to say that I don’t love dropping in with a post every so often, so for now I’m keeping an open mind and keeping the blog open. I’ll re-evaluate as the year progresses!

I hope all of you have a truly blessed and wonderful 2014.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

I promised to be back with our Christmas Cards this year and I aim to deliver, even if it is a couple days after Christmas!

I’ve been using Shutterfly for about 4 years now. I like the quality of their photos, photo books and photo cards, as well as their prompt delivery of said products.

After Caveboy was born I was very insistent on having a family photo each year and would force my guys to comply and the photos always looked like they had been forced, but over the past couple of years I stopped trying to force the photo shoot horror on them and have attempted to just get a few decent photos of Caveboy.

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Front – Christmas Card 2013

This year, with my crazy school schedule, work and just normal life stuff, Caveman gave me the best Christmas gift a few months eary – a family photo shoot. Oddly enough even though my guys were cooperating, Caveboy looked like he could cry or was completely bored in most of the photos or they just turned out too blurry or dark.

This cover photo is the very first photo we took and it is completely us right now! Caveman has never been that relaxed in front of the camera so he looks to be more at attention, Caveboy currently sings/rhymes/talks all.the.time. these days and I’m smiling praying everyone else is too! This is what happens when you use the self timer to get family photos, but again this photo is completely us at this stage in our lives.

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Back – Christmas Card 2013

I decided to use our Halloween costume photo on the back because it was really cute and turned out remarkably well for an inpromptu family photo. If you’ll recall I wasn’t able to make the dress I had planned for the day of Halloween but the weekend after Halloween I quickly finished it in time for the postponed party at our church where we were able to attend as one of the Duck Dynasty families!! The pink & olive green camo pattern mini dress was a hit along with Caveboy’s fleece beard and Caveman’s attire. It was a great memory and a great photo to include in our Christmas greeting this year!

The individual photos of Caveboy were included because everyone loves to see how much he’s grown. On the cover that photo was taken after we had returned home, in our front yard. The photo on the back was taken during the photo shoot earlier in the day. It was the least dark and actually in focus of the bunch. So I guess you could say this Christmas card is filled with planned and unplanned photos and that makes it all the more special to me.

Shutterfly makes creating cards easy, just upload your digital photo and place in the card. Shutterfly makes picking out a card extremely hard because there are just too many great card templates to choose from!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and has a very blessed and Happy New Year! See you in 2014!

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Shutterfly. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. I did not receive anything from Shutterfly to endorse them, I just like passing along info on a good company when I can.

October!! Already!!

Between school for both Caveboy and I, his being preschool two days a week and mine being university life every.single.day. I don’t have much time for anything but the absolute necessities. So to say life has been crazy lately is the biggest understatement EVER! I just thought I’d pop in with a few quick & random things though…and play along with Five Favorites again today!

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First off… I’m so, so glad fall is here! Not only does fall bring spectacular colors, crisp mornings and evenings but it also brings pumpkins and loads of fun festivals. I do so hope we can squeeze in a couple this year despite my crazy schedule.

Second, have you guys signed up for Everlane yet? I love silk blouses and I really want to try one from Everlane. Corilynn showed her’s off today and it is gorgeous! I think I’d like one in the cream or olive!

What’s been happening in our little corner of the world besides school? Well Caveboy turned 4 earlier this month & I made up some super cute Save The Date Invitations for the kids.

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I downloaded the blank dinosaur printables from here (& I would love to be able to use these somewhere!) and then tweaked my information in Photoshop using some Dinosaur fonts (Dinosaur Jr, Prehistoric, Jurassic Park, You Are Loved – to name a few). I downloaded this Dinosaur Party Pack from Tip Junkie and tweaked them some in Photoshop to better match the colors I was using and to create water bottle labels.

Caveman texted me the other day and asked if we could start the Paleo diet? Of course I was on board, but neither of us was prepared for the amazing results that would follow. Within 24 hours (cause we kinda jumped in cold turkey and all) Caveman and I both felt fabulous. As in I was waking up earlier without joint pain due to inflammation, dido for Caveman. He’s been having so stomach pains and thought originally it was an ulcer, that has completely cleared up! We are both down by 10 lbs within a week and a half of going Paleo, so I’m not seeing any grains in our diets for a very long time… as in ever! We are both hooked and (because we needed an AND) Caveboy loves eating this way too. In fact, he’s actually eating his Paleo lunches I send with him to school, where as he hadn’t been eating the grain filled lunches before. Winning!

Thanks for continuing to stop by and check in on the little blog, but I have to warn you now that blogging might be a little sparse for a while longer. I’ve wanted to post a few times recently and even took some outfit photos last month, but they looked terrible and I simply haven’t had time since. I have been on Pinterest lately though so you can catch me there too.

Until next time… Happy Fall Y’all!

5 Things: Life lately

I thought I’d play along and link up with Hallie this week for Five Favorites!

Y’all I’ve been longing for Fall! Caveman & I were talking the other day about the changing seasons. He is definitely a summertime kinda guy, while I absolutely love and get giddy, excited for the fall! Weird considering that I was a summertime baby and he was a middle-of-winter baby, but I digress. There is just something about the coming fall. The subtle changes in the leaves, the smell of the air, the light as the sun moves farther and farther south, the coming harvest with hayrides, fall fruits and vegetables and pumpkins and the warm mugs of apple cider or hot coco. I’m just so excited about the coming fall and all the changes it brings.

But back to our summer adventures….Let’s Talk about my Cavemen’s green thumbs!

Sunflowers

Caveboy’s Sunflowers Turned Out Really Beautiful This Year!

Our Garden

When we were getting seeds and seedlings ready for our garden this year, the first big garden we’ve had I might add, Caveboy requested sunflowers. Not just any sunflowers but the giant sunflowers. Caveman planted them along our chain link fence in front of our garden. I love seeing them everyday when we drive up! They are so happy and carefree looking. We are already talking about planting them again next year, only more of them too!

After the sunflowers were growing in the ground and while we were walking around the grocery store one day, Caveman commented he’d always wanted a Venus Fly Trap. Of course there were a few in the store so we bought one and brought it home. Let me just stop right here and say Caveman is truly a Renaissance Man; he gardens, raises fish, Mountain Bikes, can talk circles around most about Politics, is a very good engineer and financier; not to mention he really should have been a doctor! So when he said he wanted a Venus Fly Trap but really didn’t know anything about them, I had complete faith in his abilities. He researched on the internet, gathered his supplies and put it all together in a little fish bowl with rocks, water and peat moss.

Venus Fly Trap in Bloom

Caveman’s Venus Fly Trap in Bloom

Planting a Venus Fly Trap

**To assemble, start with a clean bowl, place the rocks in the bottom to a couple of inches deep, creating a depression in the middle. Then place Venus Fly Trap plant with peat moss surrounding it in the depression and fill to the top of the rocks with distilled water.**

Caveman started out with it inside the house but it just wasn’t thriving; so after he put it outside, with full sun most of the day it started putting out new growth like crazy. It’s been going strong and growing beautifully ever since, so much so that it bloomed last week. It seems that when they bloom, it starts to hurt the plant, but if you cut off the flower stems it saves the plant and you can plant the stems to make new plants. Just after I took this photo, Caveman cut the blooms and then stuck the blooms down into the peat moss. I’ll keep you posted on any new growth!

Family Running

Running with my Cavemen!

Family Summer Fun: Running

Lately, as in a few months now, we’ve been taking Caveboy to a local park next to the river and running with him. When we first started in the late spring we went with the intention of walking, but Caveboy had other ideas. Caveman & I both used to run before Caveboy came along, so now that we can all enjoy running together it has really become such a blessing and stress reliever for all of us, not to mention great family time. The track is 2 miles long, so we let Caveboy set the pace and then we basically interval train with him. He loves relay racing, “On your mark, get set, (long pause) GO!”! We do this with him, stopping at various points then running to another point and/or roaring like dinosaurs! Yes we are those people! The other people enjoying the track either love that we are all running or think we are killing the little guy! HA, he’s usually killing us!! When he takes off, boy you had better watch out and Momma is usually bring up the rear!

Sunset, River

Sunset on the River

Moving on….

Caveboy starts pre-school this week and in another month he’ll be 4! I seriously want my baby back! Kidding mostly, I’m so excited to see him grow and mature, but I also long for him to be little again. He tells everyone who’ll listen, “When I was a little baby…”, as if it were soooooo many years ago! He’s already talking about being a Pirate again this year for Halloween and then what Santa’s gonna bring him…. a corn snake!! Heaven help us! ;-) :-)

Upcoming DIY Plans…

If you’ve been following me on Pinterest lately you’ve seen all the bedrooms I’ve been pinning, especially Navy Blue bedrooms. Caveman has promised we will paint an accent wall in our bedroom Navy Blue as soon as the weather turns cooler and less humid! I’ve been gathering ideas and planning/pinning my little heart out. I’ve also got a few DIY’s up my sleeve; sewing a few pillow covers, photo frame projects, DIY curtains, & maybe even a bleach job that I’m planning. They may not come on a schedule, but I’ll have a few posts on our Master Bedroom Redo: Operation Cozy upgrade throughout the fall.

Hope you guys are having a great week!

End of July Update….

Everyone having a great summer so far?! This one seems to be flying by for us.

Crepe Myrtles

Neighbors Crepe Myrtles

Dressing for summer weather while working in an office is always tricky. I mostly keep one of my lightweight scarves to double as a shawl or a lightweight cardigan that goes with everything. In summers past I’ve worked all day inside with only a short break outside during lunch, but this summer has been a little different! I’ve been taking summer classes at the University of Tennessee to further my education and since the university is only a few blocks from where I work, I can easily walk to and fro. Therein lies the dilemma, my outfits need to be office casual, lightweight and breezy enough for the hot midday sun, and easy to walk in. I’ve found that with a little planning and creativity I can easily pull this off with my current spring/summer wardrobe. I’m not exactly wearing my dressy office wear this summer but I’m not completely casual either – because in our office shorts are a no-go. Here are a few looks I’ve documented, not the basic pieces and the simplicity of each. The top look is what I’m wearing today, Silk Sweater and Navy Capri’s.

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Capri’s and skirts have been in heavy rotation, but I’m also sticking with loose, billowy skirts instead of pencil skirts unless they have stretch to them (blue one above qualifies ;) ). I’m also relying on more casual sandals instead of heels this summer too.

So I pass this view everyday on my walks…

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and knowing I would be out and about in the rain at times, I purchased a cute, but very useful umbrella that I love. I thought it would be getting heavy use today because we were forecasted to get loads of rain but thankfully its held off so far.

If you didn’t already know, I’ve been mostly on Instagram this summer and am currently participating in the #30dayselfportraitchallenge with #abeautifulmess. Here are a few random photos from the challenge so far. Today was #day15 (or 15/30) so I’m are halfway there!

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I hope to get back into blogging more in August, so until then. Hope your Hump Day is great!

Sundays: What I Wore Sunday linkup / Sunday Style

Mondays: Funday Mondays! / Monday-Mingle / Visible Monday / My Style Monday / My Style Your Style / Color Blind- Thrifters Anonymous / Lowercase Letters- Miscellany Mondays / Covered in Grace- Monday Meet Up /Claire Justine oxox- Creative Mondays /Southern Sunflowers and Coffee Beans- Monday Mingle /Join the Gossip- Monday Morning Gossip / DC in Style /

Tuesdays: Real Girl Glam Link Up / Anything & Everything / Style Statement Tuesday / Style Sessions Contributor

Wednesdays: WIWW @ Transaltantic Blonde /Whatever Whenever Wednesday / Get Your Pretty On / Wardrobe Wednesday / Dress For the Day / My Whims Wednesday / Diaries of a Bargainista Whatever Works Wednesday / What We Wore, Read & Made Wednesdays / Trending Pretty WednesdayRandom Wednesday @Shannasaidso / Wildcard Wednesday

Thursdays: Think Tank Thursday / Three-fer Thursday /Look What I Got! / #ThrifterThrusday / All Things Pretty Thursday!

Fridays: Casual Friday Link Up / Fridays Five / Fashion Friday @ All Things Chic / Favorite Frock Friday / Fridays Fancies / Fashion Informant Link Up / Style Me Friday / The Best of Friday Style Link-Up! / White Tee Challenge

Saturdays: Watch Out For The Woestmans / Weekend RecapSami’s Shenanigans- Weekend Update /