Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Fall Trip To Asheville, NC

The kids had a couple of days off from school so we took a road trip to Asheville, NC to catch Fall colors. We had so much fun visiting the Great Smoky mountains last Fall so I thought this year we'll pick a new city to discover. Asheville is a 7-hour drive from where we live. Lots of driving for sure but totally doable. Recent warmer temperatures have certainly delayed this year's peak foliage. Regardless, we still had so much fun exploring this mountain town. Sharing a few trip highlights below:
Hawk's Bill Mountain Trail: The hike is 2.4 miles roundtrip. You'll start the hike with moderate effort but it will change about midway. The trail becomes more difficult and strenuous to the summit. Once you arrive at summit, prepare to have your breath taken away 360 degrees. Elevation change will also drop the temperature significantly.
Catawba Falls: About a 2.3 mile round trip. This is an easy hike to a beautiful waterfall along the river. There are lots of mini waterfalls along the way. This was Madelyn's favorite hike.
Craggy Gardens Trail: This hike is only 1.5 mile roundtrip. There are plenty of craggy rocks and formations along the way up. The trail is quite rocky and uneven but not difficult. Terrific views at the top. Not much was in bloom this time of the year but still very unique and pretty.
{Leopard leggings | Half-zip sweatshirt}
Biltmore Estate: You cannot visit Asheville without seeing Biltmore at least once. This 8,000-acre estate is the largest private home in the United States, built in the 1890's for the Vanderbilt family. Biltmore is such a large part of Asheville's history. The rooms are magnificent and each is unique. Stunning place to visit! The Biltmore is just overwhelming when you see it for the first time. Price is steep but it’s absolutely worth it for a visit.
Grandfather MountainThis is a really unique place to visit. The view from the top is spectacular and the mile-high walking bridge is one of a kind. If you're a fan of the Forrest Gump movie, you'll enjoy part of the drive up where they filmed a portion of Tom Hanks running. 
Blue Ridge Pkwy: Take a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's considered one of the most scenic drives on the East Coast. The Blue Ridge Parkway attracts drivers with its stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A beautiful drive with lots of pull over viewing spots.
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Places were on our list but we didn't have time to visit:
  • Max Patch: It's a bit of a trek from Asheville but I've heard the view is incredible. The trail connects with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is popular for its views of Mount Mitchell and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of hubby's bucket list adventures is to take a month off from work and hike the entire Appalachian Trail. That'd be an awesome experience.
  • The North Carolina Arboretum: This botanical garden has several trails and exhiibits. It's inexpensive and great if you have young kids

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Monthy Recap (August & September)

It's been a crazy few weeks to say the least. September has always been the busiest month for our family with the madness of back to school, Madelyn's birthday, my birthday and our anniversary. I finally caught a break and wanted to do a little life update today.
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We got Courtney a car!!! It's still hard to believe that my first born is now driving. I am bursting with pride and joy, but it’s all also a little bittersweet. I am so proud of this kid. School is going so well for her. She has a part-time job and making a small amount of spending money for herself. She is heavily involved in a lot of active sports and overall, just a happy and well-rounded teenager. College planning is going great as well. Sometimes, I can't help but smile when I look at her. I must have done something right. With the chip shortage, it was quite a challenge to find her a car but we did it. We got her the exact car that she wanted which is a 2022 Honda Civic LX black on black. The kid couldn't be happier. She even got her nails to match her car =)
Last weekend, Madelyn had a slumber party with a few friends to celebrate her 9th birthday. How is she 9 already? Hubby and I entertained 5 girls all weekend long and let me tell you, we were exhausted! They have so much energy (or we're getting old). Madelyn had so much fun celebrating her birthday and that's all that matters.
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I mentioned in the beginning of this year that I was planning on getting a touch up on my eyes. It's been 12 years since I had Lasik. I went through a few evaluations and the dr finally gave it a go. I got a PRK touch up on my left eye last Thursday. I had a follow-up appointment yesterday and it's healing nicely. My current vision is 20/50 (which is better than expected). The vision will continue to change for the next 6 months. I am undecided whether I am going to have a touch up on my right eye or not. Right now, I am using my left eye for distance and my right eye for reading. If they have no problem adjusting then I won't mess with my right eye.

Our anniversary was last weekend as well lol I am telling you, September is a crazy month for us. Since I am still recovering from the PRK procedure and Madelyn was having friends over, we kept it pretty low-key. Went out for dinner with a few friends and call it a night =) Hubby did get me something for our anniversary =) Will share soon!

Monthly purchases: Other than the big haul for my birthday, I didn't make any additional purchases (which is great). I am planning to add a few basics to my Fall wardrobe.

Looking forward to:
  • I am looking forward to the cooler weather. We are going on a camping trip with 5 other families next weekend and I am so excited. I have never camped before so this should be fun
  • We also planned a weekend trip to see Fall foliage in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to beautiful Fall scenery, hiking trails and connecting with nature
  • Running is basically non-existent these days. I try to walk at least 2-3 miles a day with Finn but really wanted to get back to running. Happy October everyone! I hope you all enjoy spooky month!

Monday, September 13, 2021

What I got for my birthday 2021

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Today, I am sharing what I got for my birthday. If you're a long time follower, you know I do this every year (2020, 2019, 2018).
First up is this gorgeous Cartier diamond Juste Un Clou bracelet in rose gold. I have always wanted to add another Cartier bracelet to my wrist. At first, I wasn't sure what to get but I knew for sure that I didn't want 2 LOVE bracelets for 2 reasons: # 1: Since it cannot be easily taken on or off, it's just too much to have 2 bracelets on my wrist 24/7. #2: I want to add some variety/options to my collection, definitely didn't want to spend another $7K on the same bracelet. After much consideration, I decided to go with the small diamond Juste Un Clou bracelet in rose gold. I'll do a separate post sharing why I decided to go with this particular one as well as comparing the Just Un Clou and the LOVE bracelet. I blogged about the Cartier price increase here and I was able to purchase this bracelet one day before the price increase. I have this for over a month now and I absolutely love it.
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Next up is this stunning Chanel belt - I am a huge fan of designer belts. My outfits are pretty simple and plain for the most part. I feel like adding designer accessories can kick a boring outfit up a notch. I wear my Hermes belt and my Gucci belt so much that I thought it's time to add a Chanel belt to my belt collection. I decided to go with this particular belt because #1: It's reversible. You get more bang for your buck (one side is black leather and the other side is burgundy leather). #2: The buckle is silver. My other 2 belts are gold. Again, talking about having a well rounded collection.

The last piece that I purchased for my birthday is this adorable pair of Chanel earrings. I have a few pairs of Chanel earrings but they're all stud earrings. This one is drop earrings. They give me the best of both worlds: the sparkle of crystals mixed with classic pearl elements. They are timeless, elegant and makes the perfect addition to any holiday outfit.

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Courtney got me a couple of items from Jo Malone. The candle in Peony & Blush Suede is a repeat purchase. My previous one is completely gone. We did go shopping together. I was on the hunt for a new fragrant. I tried on a bunch of different scents but ultimately, decided to stick with my favorite brand. Blossoms Nashi Blossom is a limited edition. It is a very light scent which is what I like. Strong/heavy perfume drives me nuts. This is great for everyday wear and lasts all day. Madelyn made me a sweet card. I love it so much. Another year has gone by. As mentioned in my previous post, I am not afraid of getting older. I love my late 30s and 40s because of all the love and support from my family. They make me feel like everyday is my birthday. I feel fulfilled (without material things), appreciated and loved. My husband and I work hard everyday to provide for our family and take care of the kids' future. However, it's important to love yourself and treat yourself once in awhile because you cannot take care of others until you take care of yourself first.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

It's my birthday!

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxed weekend. I didn't even attempt to blog. We spent a lot of time with friends and family. Trying to soak up the last bit of summer. Today is my birthday! I am not afraid of getting older.  Every year gets better as I get to know myself more and feel more confident in my own skin. I enjoy different things at different stages of life. And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln. My girlfriends and I went out for dinner last Friday. It is always so much fun catching up with the girls. My parents took us out for a birthday dinner on Saturday. We tried a new Italian restaurant in town and everything was so delicious. We went boating a lot with friends this past weekend. Tonight, my husband and I are going out for the last birthday celebration while the kids are at their practices. Every day is a blessing despite the challenges the world is facing right now. Sharing a few snapshots from my birthday weekend. Outfit details: Dress *60% off*| Chanel classic flap | Chanel earrings | Shoes | Mom's bag
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Friday, August 27, 2021

Affordable yoga matching sets

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Happy Friday, ladies! I am so ready for the weekend. Kids are back to school so I have a little more time during the day to get things done but there are never enough hours in the day. Today, I am sharing one of my favorite Amazon finds. I see a bunch of cute and affordable workout sets on social media and wanted to give them a try. I ordered 2 sets (this one for me and this one for Courtney). Both sets are extremely well made. The fabric is thick and ribbed but also super stretchy and comfortable. Both sets come in a bunch of colors. I paired this set with a chambray shirt when we went canoeing and it was perfect. Outfit details: Yoga set *size S* | Sunglasses | Visor | Nike Tanjun sneakers | VCA necklace

Thursday, August 19, 2021

First Day Of School :: 2021 - 2022

And just like that, we have a junior and a 4th grader. After a full year of constantly changing learning environments, going back to the class room full time will be a huge adjustment for the kids. The girls are nervous but approaching the new academic year with an open mind. This pandemic has been stressful for millions of children. They really needed our patience, flexibility, understanding and lots of love. Wishing all students a successfully and healthy school year! 
Courtney's outfit: Dress | SneakersCardigan
Madelyn's outfit: Skirt | T-shirt | Boots | Backpack 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Journey To College :: Getting Started

Happy Tuesday, everyone! As mentioned several times before, my life has very little to nothing to do with fashion these days. The pandemic has shifted my priorities in a big way. I will only be sharing what is important to me and what makes me happy. With that being said, today's post is a little different. I am starting a new category called "Journey to College" to capture my daughter's journey to college. She is a rising junior. For the past 6 months or so, Courtney and I have begun to deep-dive into the world of college planning. Knowing that she wanted to become an anesthesiologist or to specialize in pharmaceutical sciences, we started out with a list of best colleges with pre-med programs. However, it didn't take us very long to realize that there is so much more to it than just picking out a college. The admissions process is very time-consuming and complicated. The college selection and admission process is vastly different now from what it was when we were students. Not every student needs a college counselor. It really depends on your needs and goals. Could we do our own research? Absolutely, yes. However, with our demanding jobs and everything else going on in life, we just simply cannot find the time to really sit down and do extensive research ourselves. We don't want Courtney to miss out on any potential opportunities because of our lack of knowledge. We wanted to create memorable experiences through the college admissions process for Courtney. The college consultant can take a lot of stress out of the application process and will guide her through the next 6 years of school (until she completes the medical school application process). I just finished reading "The price you pay for college" and "Who gets in and why". I highly recommend both. It really opened my eyes about the college admission process. Very informative to say the least!

First, her stats: 4.286 wGPA, 4.0 GPA, APs, 27 ACT (1st try - 32 is what she's trying to achieve), unweighted rank: 23 out of 509 students and in the top 5% of her class

After much thought and careful consideration, we decided to sign a contract with a local college planning firm. The firm is dedicated to aiding individuals through the chaotic schooling process. College is an investment. Because it's an investment, the return on investment (ROI) is important (although it's not the only important factor). College planning is a way to research, organize, and understand all aspects of the college admissions process so that you feel comfortable when the time comes to apply for college. We had 2 meetings with the owner of the company and we were blown away by his knowledge and expertise. We touched base on the financial aspects of college but got more specific when it came to connecting Courtney's interests to a career (for lack of a better word, let’s call it a brainstorm session). To start, the owner listed out the five main career paths individuals tend to follow. There is Technical, Business, Liberal Arts, Health, and Education. He then made Courtney list out her interests and to elaborate as to why she enjoys it. The interests were very general, such as “Science related studies” or “Organization”, but as she talked more about why those interested her, the owner was able to find majors that intertwined all her interests. She then had to cross out any careers she would almost never follow and that compiled a specific but opportunistic list of jobs/majors she would be able to pursue. A few include, Biomedical Engineering, Pharmaceutical Science, and Biochemistry. We wrapped up the first session with a few ideas for a minor she’d be able to partake in, but the main focus was a major and getting us comfortable with the program. 

During the second session, we were given time to ask all the questions we had thought of after the first. Our main concern was the timeline in which Courtney would be guided through their firm's process. The owner provided a visual timeline, outlining the entire process for her final 2 years of high school. Without going into too much detail, the first few months are dedicated to career development, then the application phase, then the financial aid phase and will wrap up the end of senior year with the award letter phase (scholarships and such). After these two sessions, she was paired up with a specific consultant. The consultant will work with her through the next 6 years of schooling with the firm.

Overall, I truly believe this program can hugely benefit Courtney with providing her opportunities she would’ve never been able to experience alone. The guidance she will receive from the program will set her up to be successful. I will share more details as we get further along in the program.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Monthly Recap (June & July)

Hi ladies! It's been a few weeks since I last posted. First of all, I stayed off social media for a while because my feed was flooded with content from the overhyped Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. You know I love a good sale but the amount of coverage was just overwhelming. I bought absolutely nothing from the sale because I didn't really need anything. I've been home for 17 months (wow, that's crazy to say) and I am still working from home full time. The pieces I purchased last Fall are still sitting my closet untouched. Second of all, work has been extremely busy for both of us. Between a full-time job, running my business, transporting the kids to summer camps, horseback riding lessons, tennis practices, tennis matches, Courtney's job and Madelyn's gymnastics practices, I have absolutely no time for anything else. I decided to take a few weeks off social media to focus on other important things. The kids are heading back to school in a couple of weeks so I wanted to take the time and enjoy the last bit of summer with them. With that being said, there is not much to share with you. My life is pretty uneventful for the most part. No summer travel for us. I mentioned in this post that I was thinking about either going to St. Thomas or heading out West but we decided to hold off traveling for awhile. COVID cases in the U.S. Virgin Islands are very high right now and it's just too hot to be out West with young children in August. We are delaying the trip until Spring Break.

{Magma grill, Airhead tube, SOWKT floating pad}

Highlights of the months:

  • We go boating pretty much every weekend. My husband installed a BBQ grill on the boat and let me tell you, it takes boating to another level. We typically go boating with a family friend. Kids can play together in the water. The adults can grill, relax and enjoy some perfectly grilled food on the lake. It is so much more fun when it involves food =)
  • We also hang out a lot with our amazing group of friends. We barely saw them last summer due to COVID so this summer, we are making up for lost time. We hit amusement parks, went canoeing and lots of backyard BBQs.

{Chambray rompers | Gucci Ace sneaker | Adidas visor}

  • Courtney took her very first ACT and her score was a 27 (she's aiming for 32). Compared to all test-takers, she's in the top 25% (not too bad for a first try if I say so myself - especially she's a rising junior). She also passed the AP Biology Exam. I am very proud of her. It wasn’t an easy exam but she did it. She's going to retake the ACT in November. We're in the process of hiring a college consultant to guide her through the next 6 years of school (the last 2 years of high school and the first 4 years as a pre-med student). I will go into more detail about the program in a later post. We had 2 meetings with the consultant so far and it really is an eye-opening experience.

Recent purchases: I bought some new activewear sets and am looking forward to wearing them. I just need to find more time to run. I am very pleased with everything I got. Check them out below if you're interested.

8. Braided mules (a great Bottega Veneta dupe)

Monday, July 19, 2021

Finn is 2!

Can't believe my boy is 2! I still vividly remember the day we brought him home. My husband drove 14 hours in one day to get him home on my birthday. He was tiny and so adorable. To be completely honest, I never thought I would be a dog Mom. I don't dislike pets, I just had no desire to have one since our life was (and still is crazy busy). I got Finn because 1. My kids have been begging for a puppy for years. They promised that they would help taking care of the dog and 2. I completely fell in love with a puppy Samoyed. I mean how can you not? A lot of work is a serious understatement when it comes to raising a Samoyed. Training a puppy takes lots of patience, time and efforts. Finn is completely trained now and I couldn't be happier. If you want to learn more about Samoyed, check out this post. In a way, he has changed me. I used to have a cleaning obsession. I wanted to keep my house tidy and spotless at all times. My husband and I are definitely clean freaks. Now, I learn to accept the fact that the house will never be spotless because we are raising a 60-pound fluff ball =) I still work hard to keep up with the cleaning but I am no longer obsessed with keeping everything extremely clean at all times. The carpet wears a lot quicker, things get dirty sooner but the joy he brings to this family is well worth it. He's such a loveable boy and I cannot imagine my life without him. Happy Birthday, sweet boy! My dress is from the H&M Wild Flower Collection
{The day we brought him home}

Saturday, July 17, 2021

My favorite dress is 60% off right now

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Happy weekend, ladies! Just popping in to let you know a sweet deal - my favorite dress is now 60% off. I have this dress in 3 different colors/patterns (which is very rare for me). I don't like buying multiple of the same item but this dress is worth it (especially at this price). It's so comfy and easy to wear. Great for those working from home days. It can be dressed up with a pair of heels or dressed down with a pair of sneakers. I have worn it both ways. The fabric feels really good against the skin. I can't say enough good things about this dress. Grab it now while it's still in stock.
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