Personalized gifts are some of my favorite to buy! From the time I was probably in middle school, I always loved a monogram and while I've moved out of the stage of monograming everything I own, I do love a gift that adds a personal touch. One of my favorite places to find unique and customizable gifts is Etsy - I've done quite a bit of gift shopping online over the years and I love that the site has so many small businesses to choose from. I always find fun stuff at Mark and Graham as well!

  1. GiGi New York Crossbody - how gorgeous is this bag? I have always loved GiGi New York bags - I still have the clutch my husband gave me for my 22nd birthday (7 years ago!!) and it's forever been a favorite.
  2. Acrylic Tray - Little trays are always a great gift option as they're so versatile.
  3. Personalized Yoga Mat - I've seen a lot of cute yoga mats but love the idea of this personalized one!
  4. Monogram Clear Bag - I've gifted this bag from Barrington several times over the last year. Especially in the days of keeping hand sanitizer and masks readily available, this a great addition to anyone's handbag.
  5. Acrylic Coffee Mug - such a cute little mug!
  6. Handwriting Necklace - how sweet is this? I love being able to capture a loved one's handwriting in this sweet memento. 
  7. Small Travel Jewelry Box - I gifted these jewelry boxes to my shop gals last year and they ended up getting me one for my birthday! The perfect little travel jewelry case.
  8. Cocktail Napkins - Need a cute hostess gift? These are a great option.
  9. Front Door Mat - A great way to add statement to a friend's front door!

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Back in August, I had the opportunity to sit down with Melissa of Melissa Tyson Designs and work with her to design one of her gorgeous cluster rings for my jewelry collection. I've known about Melissa Tyson for years and first came across her when a friend and I were chatting about unique engagement rings.  

In our initial conversations before my appointment with her, she suggested that if I had any stones that I would like reset, this could be a great way to change up the look of the jewelry but add some sentimental value to the stone. I searched through my jewelry collection and decided to take an opal necklace that my Nonny gave my mom years ago as our inspiration piece. Melissa evaluated it, we talked out design, and then began choosing stones that would compliment the piece. What I love about the MTD cluster rings is how unique and fun they are, and I loved that our opal spoke to that!

Melissa's studio is what jewelry design dreams are made of. As we chatted through style and design options, it felt like my options were endless! My birthday is in May (and our little girl's will be, too) so I've always had a soft spot for emeralds. Once we decided that one of the complimenting stones would be an emerald, Melissa began offering suggestions of what would go best style-wise. We opted for a blue topaz or the secondary stone, and while it also complimented the opal and emerald perfectly, we honed in on the sentimentality that we would use an emerald to represent my May birthday, a blue topaz to represent Stephen's December birthday, and the opal. At the time, I had no idea I was pregnant, and I love the idea that this piece can one day be passed down to our daughter - an heirloom ring created from a gift from her great-grandmother. 

The stone selection wasn't the only design aspect of the piece. Melissa put together 6 different layouts and we worked together to decide what would best compliment my hand. In addition, I could choose the gold and finish, opting for a 14k smooth band. I love that this ring has both sentimental value and aesthetic appeal. This ring reminds me of the depths of the ocean and it's a dainty piece that still has a statement value to it. 
If you are looking for a great gift for Christmas, engagement, or just because, I would highly recommend looking into Melissa Tyson Designs. Custom orders take 8 - 10 weeks and there is a rush fee available foé those looking to have Santa deliver something underneath the tree! 

Are you looking for an engagement ring? Melissa creates some incredible pieces. One of my best friends has a gorgeous MTD elongated hexagon salt and pepper diamond engagement ring that she and her fiancé designed. Click to see it here!

While her custom pieces are gorgeous, Melissa has an amazing collection of ready-to-ship pieces! Sizing is complimentary and that means you also have the perfect gift just in time for Christmas. One of my personal favorites is the Emerald Sea ring

While Melissa Tyson Designs designed this ring in exchange for this post, all opinions are my own. 
Thank you so much for all the kind words, messages and texts on the news of Baby W! We are so overwhelmed with all the love we have felt. It's safe to say that this first trimester has been a whirlwind! 

Q: How did you find out?

I woke up early on August 31st and decided to take a test. I had taken lots of tests in the months prior - and had even taken one a few days before - but they had always been negative. It was also super early in the month, so while I hoped that this one would be positive, I was fully prepared for it not to be. I was actually about to throw it away when I saw a faint line pop up. All the other tests I had ever taken were very clearly negative so the faint line definitely surprised me. I'd always thought I would tell Stephen in a cute and sweet way but I literally walked out of the bathroom where he was in bed and half asleep and told him I wasn't 100% but I might be pregnant! We were both in a daze but also so excited, just trying to take it all in. 

I decided to get a digital test later that day and it immediately popped up with the word "Pregnant." It definitely felt more real seeing that test but I think I was still in shock. It was such a happy day! But we also live in a world of pandemic. Our happy day was clouded a little bit when Stephen called me later that afternoon and said, "I hate to have to tell you this, but I have to go get a Covid test because I've been exposed." Thankfully, he tested negative and never showed any signs or symptoms (and neither did I), but it was certainly an interesting few days. We kept our distance in our house, slept in separate rooms, and hardly spent any time together for a week just in case something changed. 

Q: What were your early symptoms? What are your symptoms now?

One thing that did make me wonder early on whether I might be pregnant was that I was cramping. That didn't happen to me a ton, especially that early on in the month, but something just felt "different." Aside from that, after the positive test, I felt pretty normal those next few weeks. But then around week 6, the nausea really kicked in. I've only gotten physically sick once this entire pregnancy which I'm thankful for, but I was nauseous almost all day every day from weeks 6 - 12. I would wake up around 4 or 5am and have to drink ginger ale and eat a cracker while hoping I wouldn't be sick. Around week 12, it started getting better and seemed to just be limited to nighttime. I've also been pretty exhausted and had headaches, which has meant a lot more couch time, very early bedtimes, and a lot less working out. I'm now close to 15 weeks and the nausea is a lot more sporadic. 

My back has also hurt quite a bit - off and on. I've dealt with back pain for years and years thanks to scoliosis but I've definitely had some sciatic issues. 

I'm still pretty tired (I could use a nap every day around 2 if I could!) but I'm just thankful to be feeling slightly more like myself! All that to say, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I remember telling one of my friends over the summer that even the morning sickness wouldn't bother me if I could just get pregnant. While it definitely wasn't fun, I knew each time I felt so terrible that it would all be worth it. 

Q: When is your due date?

Baby W is due May 12th, 2021! My birthday is in May as well so it'll be such a fun and special month.

Q: Are you going to find out and share the gender?

We are! We found out the gender with our parents last week and it was such a special day. We opted to do genetic testing through Natera, which my OB office offers. We selected to find out gender as well. We can't wait to share later this week!

Q: Were you trying to conceive?

We were. I had always imagined that it would just "happen," but it did take some time and that was disheartening at times. I stopped taking birth control in November of 2019 with plans to just "see what happened." We found out I was pregnant at the very end of August. So many well-meaning people will say, "Just relax, and it will happen!" But sometimes it takes longer than others. We just prayed that the timing would all fall into place the way it should and trusted that God had a plan. I am also very sensitive to the struggle of infertility. While we didn't experience it personally, I understand the heartache of wanting something to happen so I don't take this pregnancy lightly at all. In the last year, I've had so many conversations - all with varying experiences. We have friends who got pregnant immediately, friends who took time, friends who have lost precious babies, and friends who in the heart of infertility. I also never want to be insensitive to those who are walking that journey.

Q: What are you craving? Any aversions?

In the beginning, all I wanted was carbs. I ate a mini bagel almost every morning and would also eat one before bed in hopes to help with the nausea.

I haven't wanted much meat (except a thin cheeseburger...) and in the beginning, basically wanted anything that wasn't healthy. Lots of pizza and fries. I've been trying to eat more well-rounded meals now but I really love cereal! I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner - specifically Frosted Flakes! Stephen has also been super great and just going with the flow for my random dinner requests - which are often cheeseburger or Hibachi (fried rice) take-out. 

Q: How is it being pregnant during COVID-19?

Honestly, it's hard. I've suffered from a lot of pandemic-induced anxiety but had worked through a good part of it over the summer. A lot of it resurfaced after I found out I was pregnant. It didn't help that we had a COVID-scare that exact day. Some days, I honestly feel like I'm in a little bubble and that aside from the mask-wearing and washing hands religiously, things feel relatively "normal." Then other days, it hits hard about how NOT-normal all of this is. Because this is my first pregnancy, it's been hard to differentiate what's normal vs. what might be a sickness. I have had regular allergies and congestion for years and have been congested off and on this entire pregnancy, but every little symptom makes me question whether or not it's pregnancy or COVID-19. I can also walk 5 miles but get short of breath walking up the stairs (I've been that way since pretty early on this pregnancy) and that's not a super great symptom to have right now - ha! I've just found that its best for me to stay away from the news and even some social media. My family and friends have also been super helpful in this. I check in with my mama-friends who say "Yep! Totally have that symptom!" And Stephen has helped me with just trying to relax and to focus on positives and truths. I've found that the best way to calm down and is snuggle with Soph and watch Hallmark Christmas movies. 

Q: What is something that has surprised you about being pregnant?

A lot of things. But honestly, how long I have to go between appointments! We found out pretty early, when I was around 3.5 weeks - my first appointment wasn't until 8.5 weeks. It was the longest month (more than!) of my life, and it honestly hasn't gotten any easier! I would go in weekly to check on the baby if I could! It's hard to just trust that all is well but it's something I am trying to work on. I did decide to sign up for a local private ultrasound center and it's been nice to check in from time-to-time.  I do love our doctor's office though and feel like we are so well-taken care of there. 

Q: How are you feeling now?

Physically, I'm tired! But honestly, I'm just so excited and thankful and grateful. I feel so honored to be this tiny little one's mama and I can't wait to see who he or she will be. I don't want to rush pregnancy away, especially since this is my first pregnancy, but I just am so excited to watch this little one grow. I also just can't wait to see Stephen become a dad. He's going to be the very best.

‘For This Child We Have Prayed.’ 1 Samuel 1:27

We're so excited to announce that sweet Baby W will be making his or her debut in spring! This has been the biggest blessing and answered prayer in such a crazy year and we cannot wait to see who this sweet little baby will be. Baby Wiggins is already so, so loved by our friends and family and we could not be more thankful!

We are overwhelmed by the love we have received so far - this baby has been so prayed for and it feels so surreal to be sharing that we are pregnant. I look forward to sharing more about these next months with you! And we can't wait for Soph to be the best tiniest big sis ever. 


Dress is linked here
This post has been a long time coming! If you know me, you know that I have an infinite love for white kitchens and have been wanting to update ours practically since the day we moved in. I always love to say that our house has good bones but it was (and still is) full of lots of orange oak and birch. In the spring, Stephen and I finally made the decision to give our kitchen a makeover and it's amazing how much it has transformed the space. While we still have oak trim and floors, the kitchen update has brightened up our space in a serious way and I love spending time in the kitchen now more than ever. 

I will say that I was slightly hesitant to paint even up until the day the painting started. Our cabinets - despite the color I didn't love - were high quality and once you paint them, you can't go back. That being said, the paint and hardware change has brought our kitchen into this decade and I have no regrets at all! 

While I considered doing it myself (I did our bathroom vanities last year), I decided that a kitchen paint job was a) more of a project than I wanted to handle and b) I was too scared of messing it up! We hired a painter who removed the cabinet doors, took them off-site to spray, changed out our hardware, and even built a few doors for some weird spaces. We had an open area that we planned to do a built in microwave, but we could not find a microwave and trim kit that would fit (after months of searching). So we decided to have doors built to cover the awkward area and I think I like it even better!

We also had glass doors put in above our coffee nook and that has made all the difference with that space. Before, it seemed that those shelves accumulated junk and mess whereas now, we have a pretty little area that I actually enjoy looking at. 

At some point, I would love to enclose the space under our coffee nook (it is one of those kitchen desks that we never use as a desk) and create a pull-out trash can area but that's another project for another day. 

The Punch List:
  • Paint Cabinets
  • Paint
  • Update Hardware
  • Add doors over microwave and coffee nooks
  • Change out faucet 
  • Change kitchen and breakfast nook light fixtures
Earlier in the spring, I also recovered our breakfast nook chairs and bar stools. I've thought about changing out our bar stools completely at some point (the paint color we chose for the bar is much more similar than I had originally planned) and but for now, I think the reupholstery works!

Our kitchen project has been a long time coming and also a labor of love but it's been so great seeing it all come together. While there are still a few things I'd love to have done (a backsplash being one of those!), our current updates have really brightened up our home and created a space I love. 

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Growing up, I always loved chicken and pastry (or chicken and dumplings). When I was little, our church would do a Pot Luck Sunday every few months and the chicken and pastry was always one of my favorite things on the menu (along with homemade chocolate layer cake, of course). I've only made it myself a handful of times, but it really is so easy to make as long as you have a few minutes to stand with the pot! 

A friend shared her recipe and I made a few changes to make it our own. It's a great weeknight meal and perfect for cool fall evenings!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Anne's Frozen Dumplings
  • 2 - 32oz chicken broth
  • 32 oz water
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 Lipton French Onion Packet
  • 1 tbsp. (or season to taste) Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, boil water with Lawry's Seasoned Salt. Add chicken and boil for an hour. Remove from pot and shred. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, boil the chicken broth and water (should be 96 oz of liquid total). Add in garlic powder and French Onion Packet.
  3. Drop in dumpling strips 8 - 10 at a time, continuously stirring lightly. Let the pot come back to a boil before adding in the next step. Continue until entire package is in pot.
  4. Continue cooking for 8 - 10 minutes. Stir continuously.
  5. Add in shredded chicken and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
  6. Remove from burner and set aside for a few minutes to cool.
  7. Serve and Enjoy!


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