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Dress Me, Please

Guess what? Today is my birthday!!!! I just love birthdays, don’t you? Jason is taking me out for dinner and to a jazz club while Nora spends the night at her grandparent’s house. Not only will this be the first time I’m out as a 32 year old, but it’s also Nora’s first night away from home. I’m skerred. for both, actually. Anyways, I have no idea what to wear.  Please help by giving me what your favorite look below is. 

Internet powers activate!

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I’d probably wear the jacket when we are outside and take it off inside.

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(How many times do I have to tell Nora to put the seat down. sheesh.)

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It’s worth noting that the back of this dress is really what makes it special. Sorry I’m not centered. Hazard of the self-timer.

And the survey says?

All is right is the world when you can get a pair of Tibi shoes for the same price as a pair of Jessica Simpson shoes.
Shop the Tibi sample sale here.
There are some fantabulous deals.

All is right is the world when you can get a pair of Tibi shoes for the same price as a pair of Jessica Simpson shoes.

Shop the Tibi sample sale here.

There are some fantabulous deals.

Nora’s First Birthday Party

I can’t believe that a mere 365 days ago I met my daughter for the first time. My heart has never felt more full. Nora taught me the meaning of unconditional love. I know there is nothing she can ever do that will make me love her less. It was so wonderful to celebrate her for a few hours with family and friends we hold dear.

Our theme for her party was “Paris.” Jason and I honeymooned there and I have always loved it. I thought I was being really creative with my outside-the-box theme, but turns out it has already been done a hundred times. Oh well. Pinterest proved to be very helpful. I hot glued that table tutu out of an old shower curtain, a billion yards of tulle and some grosgrain ribbon. Just call me MacGyver. I hot glued (do you notice a theme here?) those letters using crepe paper and if you follow me on instagram (@thedailyjulie) you know just how long AKA forever it took me. I appreciate all the people that suggested I hang them up on Nora’s room after the party. Um, with how much time and effort and hot glue blisters I got from those damn things, she better hang them proudly in her adult home.

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(My sis-in-law made that fab cake. Can you believe it? Skills right there.)

I kept the guest list for her party small, inviting only family and a few close friends. I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed catering to a large group, and I knew Nora would have a better time if it was mostly familiar faces. She proved me right when even after a few guests arrived, she was never very far from my side, and if I got too far away, that sweet little bottom lip would start to quiver. 

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After a bit, she warmed up to the crowd. I think she knew they were all a friendly group, and by the end of the party she was having a BLAST! Suffice to say she slept a full 14 hours that night. Party animal!

I served our guest french-inspired fare. There were croissant sandwiches, yogurt berry parfaits, spinach salad, brie with apples and crackers, mini quiches, and a strawberry lemonade punch. When we went to Paris all I really remember consuming was bread, cheese, wine and one random night of sushi. Really, who goes out for sushi in PARIS?!?! Anyways, I am sure our guests appreciated the menu variety and the lack of french sushi. My “table cloth” was a cheap IKEA curtain that looked awful for the 2.5 seconds I hung it was up and has been hiding in a drawer ever since, and I topped it off with a few yards of a sparkly fabric remnant I found on the clearance table at my local fabric shop.

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Nora didn’t really know what to do with her smash cake. In the weeks leading up to her party I’d given her little bites of cake at other people’s birthday to get her used to it, but I think the idea of an entire cake to herself was a little confusing. Nevertheless, it was fun to watch her figure out what to do with a smash cake and after letting her swirl around the frosting for a bit, I cut her a piece and she really went to town. 

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(that right shoe is always missing)

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I always feel a little awkward opening gifts in front of people, and it’s especially awkward opening gifts for your one year old who actually can’t even open her own gifts. I considered telling people to please not bring a gift for Nora, but ultimately I did not because who am I to tell them not to buy a gift for someone they love. And I have to say, Nora has been extremely enamored with everything she received. She is one lucky girl to have such thoughtful gift givers in her life!

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Anthropologexercise

Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters are typically where I go to find a cute dress or quirky/emo clothing when I’m in the mood, respectively. Who knew they carried some really cute workout clothes? I’m noticing more and more and more that activewear is no longer limited to the gym. I think any of these pieces would look super cute at the gym or out and about.

Top. Wear that top in yoga class or with a high-waisted midi skirt.

Vest. Very cute as-is but I can also see it worn over a sun dress for nights that are still a little chilly when (if?) spring takes over.

Top. Cute to throw on after yoga class or wear with denim shorts.

Sports bra. I doubt this offers enough support for you busty ladies, but for those of us in the itty bitty titty committee, this is perfect for exercising or wearing under tops with an open back.

Top. It’s just plain cute.

Leggings. That little ruffle details on the back slays me. I would probably live in these.

What do you think? Would you buy workout clothes from Anthro/UO?

Oh, Nora

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I  wrote down my “birth story” when Nora was born. Her birth was actually very easy. textbook even. My doctor said “it doesn’t get any better than this.” What wasn’t easy was the part after. It was the longest, hardest week of my life. I would not wish the experience of your baby in the NICU on my worst enemy. While the NICU itself was as good as it could have been - we had amazing doctors, nurses and facility care - it is such an emotionally trying experience to go through. I say a little prayer every day for all the babies that were there and for the ones that did and will spend a much, much, much longer time in the NICU than Nora. The good news is that (almost) a year has passed and with time also comes perspective. I figured I’d post our story now, the day before her birth day. What is below was written a week after Nora was born as it was originally dumped from my head. There are no pictures because I still really can’t bring myself to barely even look at the pictures of her tiny newborn body stuck with IV’s and monitors without crying.

Come back tomorrow. It’s party time! First birthday party time, that is.

I don’t even know where to start the story of the past week, so pour yourself a drink and prepare for a long and rambling post.

My sweet Nora Lee.

Last Tuesday, I went to bed at 10 o’clock and woke up 15 minutes later because my water had broke. I literally sat straight up in bed and made a loud sound when it happened. Oh, and I was by myself because Jason was in D.C. for a work trip that he couldn’t get out of. I had assured him I’d be fine and even asked my doctor if he thought I was close to going in to labor and doctor said he’d be surprised if I had the baby while Jason was gone. I had my mom on standby just in case something did happen and something did indeed happen.

So, after my water broke, I called Jason, and then the doctor and then my mom, in that order. Jason left D.C. around 11:30 pm and drove straight to the hospital and got there by 4:15 am. My mom stayed with me until he arrived. And if you’re wondering, HELL YES I GOT AN EPIDURAL. Nora was born at 9:40 am on March 20 with just around 11 hours of labor, 15 minutes of pushing, and 1.5 hours of sleep.

All seemed well and good. She looked a perfectly healthy 6 pounds 12 ounces. So, after getting wheeled to the post partum room at the hospital, the nurses began some standard testing, one of which was to measure her glucose levels. Nora had latched on right away after birth and was nursing great for those first few hours, but for whatever reasons her blood sugar levels were not being maintained within a healthy range. She also had a grunting/wheezing sound to her breathing indicative of some respiratory distress and it wasn’t going away. In most babies that have this, it would pass in a couple of hours as they transition to breathing air. So, between these two things, the nurses wanted to take her to do some more glucose testing to see if they could get her blood sugar up and stable. Since I had only 1.5 hours of sleep the night before, and it was already the afternoon of the following day, I took them up on their offer to do the remaining testing in the nursery so I could take a nap.

Two hours later they came back and said Nora needed to go to the NICU because during her glucose testing, when they pricked her heel to draw blood, she had started crying and stopped breathing and did not start breathing again on her own. The doctors didn’t know what was causing her apnea, but there were a number of things that could be the cause:

  • stroke in the womb
  • seizures
  • blood infection
  • aspirating her food
  • immature development (Nora was one day shy of being full term, but the doctors even said based on her development, my due date was more likely somewhere around late April rather than April 11.)
  • and some more things I can’t really remember

To rule out anything that could be really serious, which is most of the above, they had to do a  lot of testing - MRI, blood cultures, EEG monitoring, a round of antibiotics, feeding through an IV for two whole days, and some more stuff I can’t really remember. Not exactly the entry into the real world that I had pictured for my little baby.

After two trying days for me and Jason and lots of monitors, poking and prodding on Nora, the doctors had deemed her test results normal and felt confident saying that her problems were because she was born premature. The bad news is that she needed to stay at the hospital for 5 days without an episode of apnea (in infants, apnea is a period of 20 seconds where they stop breathing) before she could go home. The good news is that her last episode of apnea was  Friday, so today she came home. Best day ever!

I never thought that the day I got discharged from the hospital, I would leave my baby there. I never thought my hands and forearms could be so dry because I had to wash them for 3 minutes upon each entry to the NICU using a scrub brush and surgical grade soap. I never thought I’d spend my first week post partum sitting in a chair in the NICU for 12 hours so I could be there for her daytime feedings every three hours once she got her IV removed. And since she is so small and her reflexes are still a work in progress, her feedings take about 45 minutes, and then I like to hold her for 15-20 minutes before putting her back in her bed, and then I pump for another 20 minutes after each feeding so that the nurses have enough milk for her evening feedings when I’m not there. I never thought I’d need to set my alarm in order to wake up every three hours during the night to pump milk for a baby that I don’t have at home. I never thought I’d know which public bathrooms were the cleanest and least often used at the hospital because I preferred to tend to my post partum nether regions in those.

I also never thought I’d love one little person so much. She makes me so happy and is seriously the best thing I have ever done.

My sweet Nora Lee.

 

Fashion Forward

Last night was the Fashion Forward event at Belk and featuring Trina Turk that I told you about a couple weeks ago. It was SO fun, with all proceeds benefitting the Junior League of Raleigh’s charitable efforts.

You seriously can’t go wrong with a little wine, some fun shopping and giveaways, and a department store full of enthusiastic women. I really enjoyed running into a lot of familiar faces because lord knows I was nervous waltzing in their by myself, but I tend to take the Tina Fey approach and just say yes and figure out the rest later. I captured a few of my favorite moments and outfits from the show, so read on for pictures and details!

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This is the outfit I wore. My dress is from Plenty by Tracy Reese. Shoes are from Sole Society. The clutch is about eight years old but originally from a cute little store called Hallelu. My earrings are from Kendra Scott and because it wound up being a warm, beautiful day, I got my faux tan on with some Vita Liberata self-tanner. The BEST self tanner out there. I mean it this time.

I’ve been looking for a cute, nude wedge that can easily be dressed up or down and these Steven by Steve Madden ones I spotted totally fit the bill. Love them for wearing with pretty much everything this spring.

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Good news, Raleigh! We are getting a Jo Malone Counter. I’m not yet sure when it will open, but my house will be smelling gooooooooood when it does.

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After a couple glasses of wine, visiting with old and new friends and oogling the pretty clothes, shoes and jewelry, it was time to get settled in for the fashion show. There were three themes for spring:

  • Minimalist - think black and white everything
  • Jet Setter - think boho, flowing, and fun (this was my favorite)
  • Feminine Charms - think sweet, pretty in pink and white and lacy

I captured my favorite outfits using my trusty, yet sometimes blurry iphone.

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I actually saw these fun printed jeans during the pre-show shopping but I had no idea how to wear them. I loved how they were paired with a fun, patterned top. I think this is a boho look anyone could pull off. I’m so sorry but I don’t remember who made these jeans. womp.

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This dress is from free people. Here’s a better picture.

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The high/low trend is really hit or miss for me. I think the trick is that it has to be a slight high/low meaning no mini in the front, maxi in the back; and the fabric has to be loose and flowy. This dress fires on all cylinders.

My favoritey-fave-fave-FAVE(!!!!) outfit of the night was this set by Trina Turk. 

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I think it’s a really attainable way to take part in the crop top trend, plus the pieces are really beautiful enough to stand on their own. I tried this outfit on after the show and I had even less midriff showing than the model. I think most would unless you are also 6 feet tall and gazelle-like with extremely toned abs. You can buy the outfit here and I’m pretty sure that necklace is from Towne & Reese though Trina has a very similar one.

The highlight of the evening was meeting Trina Turk after the show. She is very glamorous yet also very personable. I am not really even sure what I said to her but I hope it wasn’t too dorky.

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A couple fun facts - she manages her own instagram (@trinaturk) and just launched footwear this spring. Imma need to find where I can get those sandals she’s sportin’.

This was a really fun event and I’m already looking forward to next year’s Fashion Forward spring fashion show. Thanks for having me Belk and Junior League Raleigh!

Friday Favorites

It’s Friday. Holler! Here are the things that caught my fancy this week.

1. Lent started on Wednesday. Every year, I strive to do something that will make me a better person and Christian, rather than give something up. This year, I’m zeroing in on my attitude of gratitude that I initiated the beginning of the year. However, I really enjoyed this article of 20 things to give up for Lent.

2. I was gifted some Mustela bath products and I am loving them. The multi sensory bubble bath is so clean smelling and makes really long lasting bubbles. Nora loves splashing them around in the tub. And the new hydra bebe lotion makes her skin incredibly soft. Plus it’s really fast absorbing. I highly recommend both for your little ones! 

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3. I’m a big fan of jokes and puns. The cheesier and nerdier, the better. Jason told me one this week that I’ve repeated to more than a few of my like minded friends - Why can’t you trust an atom? Because they make up everthing!

4. I’ve hesitated to tell you about my latest monthly subscription addiction because I feel like I’m always talking about them. But I DO love them and this one IS good. It’s a Julep Maven box (referral link, yes). I cancelled my birchbox because after 2.5 years of receiving it I felt like I’d gotten every sample they could possibly send me and had been disappointed at my last few boxes. Julep is $19.99/month but you get full sized products and you can select what you get each month and your first box is free (just pay shipping). It’s centered around nailpolish but there is a “Modern Beauty” box if you’re not interested in the polish. But I’ll warn you, the polish is good. real good. and the colors are fab. real fab. My last box included two fun nailpolishes and a lipgloss that I am obsessed with. Anyway, if you’re like me and love a monthly box of goodies showing up at your doorstep, I’d check out Julep.

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Have a great weekend, lovers. Today will be the last day of my closet clean out sale. I’ve lowered the prices on most remaining items. Everything ships out next week.

Style Evolution, not to be confused with a Revolution. Or Revelation for that matter

Since having Nora, I’ve really had to think a lot more about what “my style” is. Coming up with a uniform of sorts makes getting ready a LOT easier. My mornings these days are a mad dash of make the bottles, wake the baby, dress the baby, change the dirty diaper that happened right as you’re ready to leave the house, wipe the spit up off the blouse, where’s the baby’s coat damnit I just had it, get the baby in the car, oh crap I forgot the bottles inside, okay we are ready to go, shit she needs more diapers at daycare, is the dog back in the house and did I unplug my flatiron? And somewhere in there I chug some coffee and eat a banana and get dressed and maybe remember to brush my teeth. I do everything in that last sentence in approximately 45 seconds. 
When I started this blog, I had a completely different lifestyle and had the free time to contemplate outfits and come up with new, fun combinations of thing  to wear. Um, I also had the time to actually go shopping. These days, if I can’t buy it online I don’t usually buy it. And if it’s not on sale, I don’t usually buy it. Mama’s got daycare tuition to pay for. 
I work in corporate America, so my daytime work wardrobe is business casual. I focus on simple, neutral pieces that I can mix and match and punch up with a fun accessory. I typically try to stick to black and white pieces only. Discipline is freedom as Jane Fonda would say and the same goes for having an edited closet. Oh, and all items must be washable. There is a small corner in the back of my closet where I have stashed my dry clean only stuff. Hopefully, in 18 years it will still be fashionable. My go to brands for work clothes are The Limited, LOFT, Theory and BCBG. The last two I only buy on major sale. Shopbop created this really pretty photo roundup for me which basically sums up my work style in a picture. I’m just 20 pounds and a modeling contract and probably a really cool apartment in NYC full of artists and Jared Leto away from basically being that girl
My off duty, outside-the-house clothes are much more relaxed and bohemian. The looser, gauzier and softer the better. I think in my previous life I burned patchouli, smoked weed, and lived on a farming commune. In this life, I drink kombucha after too much wine, put green tea powder in my smoothies and wear free people. I rounded up a few of my favorites from Shopbop who is having a killer sale right now with some really choice Free People clothes. I had to do this one all on my own.

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(most of these are on sale, some are not but were too good to resist)