October 08, 2018

We're Having Another Baby: First Trimester Recap

We are so excited that we are expecting baby number two, due April 8th! I expect I will deliver a little earlier than this. I delivered Jade at 39 weeks, and this is my second baby. I found out much earlier that I was pregnant this time around and told Brian on the same date I told him that I was pregnant with Jade. Here is a little first trimester recap of my symptoms and experiences. 

Jade: We've been talking to Jade a lot about the fact that there is a baby in mommy's belly. Sometimes she will respond with wanting to touch my stomach while saying "baby," but most of the time she just says, "nope!" It's hard to gauge how much she understands right now, but we try to talk about it a lot with her. She has a baby doll that we've been playing with, so we can practice gentleness, and I am going to try to take her to whatever doctor appointments I can to help her understand more. I know that the transition will be really hard for her at first, but once she is adjusted, I think she is going to love this baby more than anything! 

My mom designed the coordinating tshirt and onesie and I was totally bribing Jade with a sucker all throughout these photos. :) 


Vivid dreams: This was the very first symptom I noticed. I would have the most bizarre dreams every time I slept, whether it was for 10 hours or 10 minutes. They never really made sense, but they seemed so real and colorful. This has subsided drastically and I'm not really experiencing it anymore, but they were there for the first several weeks. 

Extreme fatigue: I wanted to sleep all the time. I was like this with Jade, too. But this time, I had a toddler running around, so resting whenever I felt like it wasn't always an option. I started feeling these symptoms right before starting our new school year, so beginning the year feeling tired all the time was a little challenging. I would come home from work and as soon as Brian would get home, I'd take a nap. Then I would still go to bed early. There's no tired like pregnancy tired, lol. Unless it's mom of a newborn baby tired. Or maybe mom of a newborn baby + a toddler or multiple kids tired. Maybe I should just expect to be tired for the next 10 years, haha! 

Sore boobs: Yep, another early, classic symptom. Jade has a knack for bumping into them all the time, too. Ouch. 

Bloat: This is the worst! The first trimester makes your digestion slow wayyyy down, so there were days when I seriously looked 5 months pregnant when I was only 6-7 weeks. 

Middle of the night sickness: I didn't get sick at all with Jade and I'll admit I've been pretty lucky still this time around. There were two times when I woke up in the middle of the night and got sick. The first time I thought it was just something I ate, but it happened a week later when I had eaten the same things as Brian and Jade. Once I puked, I instantly felt better and went back to bed. It was so weird. I'm glad it only happened twice! 

Intense hunger: Speaking of getting sick in the middle of the night, there were times I also woke up and had to eat something immediately. Like, I felt ravenous. Also very strange. Usually a cheese stick or a scoop of peanut butter would do the trick. It wasn't just in the middle of the night though...I just felt hungry all the time. This seems to have subsided a little in the past week or so, too. 

Cravings: I haven't really had too many cravings for anything specific (at least not yet). There was one four day span where I really wanted an Italian BMT sandwich from Subway, which I definitely indulged in (there's a subway with a drive through right by our apartment, too easy). But other than that, I haven't wanted anything specific regularly. 

Oily skin and scalp: I had to wash my hair more often and I definitely noticed my face was more oily, too. Which leads me to my next symptom...

Acne: Yep. But not just on my oily face. Everywhere. In the weirdest places. What the? 

Back pain: I've dealt with lower back pain before I was pregnant, but I think the fatigue and generally popping out a little faster has intensified it. I've started sleeping with a pillow between my knees at night and this seems to help. 

Popping out much faster: Besides the bloat in the first few weeks, I just started showing so much sooner. When I was pregnant with Jade, I could have hidden my pregnancy until probably 20 or so weeks if I really wanted to. I had a visible bump at 12 weeks this time. I guess your body just knows what to do the second time around and I think your womb is generally bigger after delivering one baby. But yes...I feel like I am where I was when I was 20 weeks with Jade and I am only 14 now. This is normal, right? I'm not going to deliver a 12 pound baby....right??? 

Prenatal: Flinstones Complete Vitamin. I hated taking the giant horse pills with Jade, so I bought some gummy vitamins to try this time around. Oh my gosh you guys, there are disgusting. I told my doctor I could barely stomach them, so she suggested I take Flinstones vitamins. I totally took these as a kid and yes, they taste like candy. I genuinely look forward to taking them each day, haha, and I get to take two! 

Coffee: While I haven't had an aversion to coffee, I haven't wanted it as much as I normally do. Usually when I get up in the morning it's the thing I want most. Now, more than anything, I want water! So instead of brewing coffee, I chugged water, which is way better anyways. I mostly just drank coffee on the weekends when I could do it lesirely. I've only just started drinking it throughout the week again (don't worry, I'm still drinking my water, too). 

top: Lou & Grey (40% off!) | necklace: The Jones Market | denim: Silver Jeans Co. (borrowed from a friend!)| shoes: Aldo (old...similar style)

 Thank you so much for reading and for sharing in our joy! 


September 24, 2018

My Go To Look For Most Occasions

Fall is officially here! Today I'm sharing a classic look that is my go to for date nights or any "dressy casual" occasion. I got this top for Christmas last year. The blazer, jeans, and shoes have been in my closet for a few years now and know that they will remain there for years to come, since they were investment pieces for me. I absolutely love them. 

First of all, this might be my favorite top that I've ever owned. It's simple, but the drapey cut and cut outs on the shoulders make it unique. I don't think the red is available anymore, but they have black, blush, and lavender. I have never been one to buy the same top in multiple colors, but I just may make an exception here because I love this top so much!  

The temps are finally getting cool enough for jeans and blazers. Ever since I started interviewing for teaching positions, Brian has been vouching for me to get some nice blazers. This Regent blazer from J Crew has always caught my eye. I love dressing it up professionally, but also just wearing it with jeans. It's pricey, but you can be strategic about buying it on sale. We bought it at 50% off around the holidays when I was pregnant with Jade, so if you love it, keep your eyes out for a good sale! 

I got lucky and scored these Valentino sandals at Nordstrom Rack a few years ago. I don't think this version is available anymore, but there are many similar options. You can never go wrong with a black strappy sandal. 

I am loving the cooler temps and am welcoming fall with open arms! A few weeks ago we had ONE cool day and I made cornbread and chili for dinner and had Jade paint some little white pumpkins. Then it got hotter than it had been all summer and lasted for a few weeks! This weekend it finally cooled down and I think we are done with the 80s and 90s for awhile. This week I am wanting to do some baking with pumpkin flavors. Maybe pumpkin bread or pumpkin scones?! I've never made scones before, but have always wanted to try!

On another note, have you guys entered my giveaway with Smile Brilliant yet? You can get 15% off your own kit OR you can WIN a whitening kit of your own! Details here. 

Happy Fall, everyone!


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September 13, 2018

How I Whiten My Coffee Stained Teeth

I used to hate the predictability and structure of routines, but now that I am older (and probably more so that I'm a mom), I am learning to thrive with routines. Morning routines and evening routines keep me sane during the crazy school year. I am all about unwinding from the day to put my mind at ease and to get it ready for sleep. Sleep is very important to me, and since I've gone back to work for a new school year, I start preparing myself a few hours before bedtime.

I love unwinding to either a book, Netflix, a podcast, or a favorite playlist on Spotify.
I just add comfy pajamas, a face mask, lotion, and now most recently, teeth whitening trays.
I basically love anything that feels luxurious, peaceful, and glamorous.
(Since my life is anything but that, ha!)

A beauty luxury that I've kept in the back of my mind is a teeth whitening set.
It wasn't an extra expense that I could justify, being so close to paying off student loans
(which are now paid off! Whoo Hooo!), but I always knew it was something I wanted to do.
When Smile Brilliant reached out about working together, I was like "YES PLEASE!"

It was perfect because I have been wanting to whiten my teeth
(with my affinity for coffee and red wine and such) for a long time
and this was the perfect opportunity.

To begin my teeth whitening process, I answered a few questions about my teeth and
dental history, then Smile Brilliant sent me an impression kit to make
my custom-fitted trays that fit perfectly to my smile! I sent in my molds with the envelope
that Smile Brilliant provided and received my whitening kit shortly after.

The best thing about using the trays is that I can go about my evening with them in.
I can wear them while relaxing, or I can wear them while prepping dinner or getting Jade ready
for bed. I do like trying to save them for rest time though because there's nothing like
sitting down after a long day and doing a little self-care. You can wear them anywhere between
45 minutes to up to three hours!

Check out my results here! This was only after seven treatments.
Each kit comes with 12-16 treatments, which is awesome.

Smile Brilliant is offering a FREE whitening kit to one of you! Enter here to win!
One reader will win a credit for a FREE whitening set and all others can get theirs for 15% off!
Just use the code thegoldentabby15 for your discount.
The giveaway and deal goes through September 27th and is open to all
USA, UK, Australian, and Canadian residents. Good luck! :)

Thanks so much for reading!


Tooth Whitening Gel

August 13, 2018

The Magic Of Two

This post is all about celebrating the magic of two

Because I'll be honest...most the the time, parenting a two year old is no walk in the park. We have attitudes, independence, and strong wills galore. 

"One day she will use that strong will for good," my mom recently told me. 

I do believe that. In fact, in a lot of ways, I am proud to have a strong willed little girl. She is the opposite of how I was as a child. I was pretty easy and compliant, but I also didn't have a lot of self confidence and leadership didn't come naturally to me. So I am reminded that her strong will is a gift. I keep telling myself that when she fights me on everything. 

There have been many moments that I want to savor in my two year old. Like recently, when we went to the beach and she just wanted to run in and out of the waves and giggle. She never got tired of running back and forth as the waves crashed over her feet and she never stopped giggling. She looked like a little fairy prancing there on the beach, inspiring the name "Twinkle Toes." I'll never forget that messy bun on her head, her squinty eyes, or the way her silver bangle glistened in the sun on her tiny wrist. But most of all, I'll never forget those precious giggles and splashing feet. 

That vacation week was a particularly hard parenting week and I found myself overtired, irritable, and not myself. But as she was prancing on the beach, I deeply wished for time to stand still. I remembered the year before, when she wasn't a fan of the sand and the waves, and how differently she was responding in that moment. I looked to the next year and realized she probably would not respond to the ocean in this same way at three years old (though I'm sure three will have magic of its own to revel in).  

I'm never going to have this experience with her again, I told myself. This is the magic of two. The way she experienced the ocean at this exact age, as my twinkle-toed-two-year-old, was beautiful to behold. 

There are other magical parts of this age as well. The way she will push her daddy and I toward one another for a kiss. The way she cups our faces with her hands. The way she thinks our freckles are "boo boos" and kisses them. The way she warns us that our coffee is hot so we won't burn ourselves. When she growls at us like a monster and we can't help but laugh because she is so tiny and fierce. 

The truth is, it's so easy to feel like I'm going to lose it most days. And then there are also many days when I actually do lose it a little. There are many parts to this stage that I just cannot wait to move past, parts that I will not miss. But I know that for every part that I am wishing away, there is a part that I will long for again one day. So I will cherish the sweetness of two. I'll remember that there is chaos and there is magic in every stage. I'll choose to cling to the magic. And I'll probably eat a lot of chocolate to cope with the chaos. 

What gets you through this crazy, hard, and beautiful stage?

Thanks for reading!


July 30, 2018

My Favorite Leggings and Shoes for Running

Confession: Not only are these my favorite leggings and shoes for running, but they are also my favorite for just being comfy.

I'm wearing the Fast & Free 7/8 Tight II  Nulux 25 tights by Lululemon and the Ultraboost shoes by Adidas. 

Let's talk about the leggings first. They are not cheap, but they are 100% worth the money. There are very few pieces that I don't take a ton of time considering before purchasing, but I tried these on and immediately knew that these would be a staple for me. They are so comfortable...honestly, it feels like you're not wearing anything, haha. They're kind of like a second skin. 

A feature I love is all of the pockets. It's nice not to have to carry anything on a run. I wore these leggings for my marathon and I was able to keep my phone, keys, chapstick, tylenol, and gels in them so I could keep my hands free. 

When I was training for my marathon, I began researching shoes. I've always ran in either Brooks or Sauconys. I've heard that these two brands, along with Asics, are the ultimate shoes for runners. So that's kind of what I was expecting to get for my marathon. When I went shopping for it, I went in various stores and asked the associates about their number one recommendation for a running shoe. Three out of the four associates I talked to recommended the Adidas Ultraboost

I honestly was nervous to commit to a different shoe brand for running. I always thought Adidas and Nikes were great for cross training and of course fashion, but I wasn't convinced that they were for long distance runners. 

I ended up doing some research and found others who have ran multiple marathons in this exact shoe and decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did! Not only are they insanely comfortable, but I appreciated the softer top. My toenails tend to get sore in shoes with harder tops, no matter how short I cut them. These really helped eliminate having sore toes after long runs. I also really appreciate the simple look to these. I'm not a fan of the obnoxious colors that most running shoes come in. I love that I can wear these with anything and they won't clash. 

Have you ever tried these leggings or shoes? If you're a runner, what do you love running in? 

Thanks for reading!


Photography by Lylah Rose Wolff

July 17, 2018

Summer Coffee Date Style {With My JORD Wooden Watch}

I'm not sure if there is anything more quintessentially "summer" than white t shirts, sunkissed skin (after sunscreen of course), and iced coffee. Sometimes in between errands, Jade and I will stop and have a little coffee date. Although *I* get the coffee and she gets some kind of snack, I pretty much always end up sharing my coffee with her. She is a girl after my own heart! 

I wanted to share a new accessory that I am loving. JORD makes the most beautiful and classic wooden watches. There are tons of styles to choose from, but I loved the sleekness of the Cassia Ebony & Sable design! It can be styled with anything, from your most elegant outfit, to your every day jeans and t-shirt look. 

I won’t lie, I am a sucker for product packaging. When my watch arrived on my doorstep, it came in a beautiful wooden box with the watch elegantly wrapped around a cushion. It also came with a custom cloth and cleaning solution to keep it in the best shape possible. I love when brands not only make quality products, but when they also put thought and care into the packaging and presentation of their product! 

I paired my watch with this white anthro tank (on sale) and jeans. Jady Bug is wearing this adorable Osh Kosh jumpsuit that I wish came in my size. ;) 

Can you guess if Jade is laughing or screaming in this picture?? 

JORD is being so generous and is offering one of my readers $1oo to put towards a watch of her/his choice! Simply choose your favorite watch, fill out this form, and JORD will randomly select a winner! One person will win, but anyone who enters will receive 10% off an order! The contest will close on August 12 at 11:59 p.m. 

Which watch is your favorite? Good luck! 


**In collaboration with JORD**
Photography: Photo by Levi

Wooden Wrist Watch

June 08, 2018

We're On Our Way To Being Debt Free: Tips For Staying Focused On Your Financial Goals

We are doing it. We are getting out of debt. 

And while this process has seemed endless, we have been so diligent to pay off our student loans as fast as possible. I am pleased with our diligence and how far we have come. Thankfully, we do not have any other debt. We are not credit card users and are only renting an apartment right now. Our cars are paid for (though we will be needing a new one soon). Basically, if we can avoid more debt, we do. Debt enslaves you and prevents you from living your best life. I LOVED my college experience, but I don't know if I would say that it was worth the thousands of dollars of debt it brought, when there were cheaper options available.  

We had almost $100,000 in student loan debt. It's sickening. But we are on track to have it ALL paid off in August, which means it will have taken us 6 years to pay it all off. It has become so normal in our society to spend YEARS, even lifetimes, paying these things off. But it IS possible to pay them off quickly, even on a pastor and teacher's salary! Is it easy? No way. But it's possible. I love how Dave Ramsey says, "If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else." We are doing things a bit unconventionally. Technically, we are a two income family, but we are choosing to live on one income until we are out of debt. We have been married for eight years and have a little girl, but we are choosing to wait on our dream for a house and to live in a modest apartment. We are doing these things so we can have the FREEDOM of not owing anyone anything in the very near future! 

Here are some tips that have helped us stay the course and what I would recommend to anyone who wants to get out of debt as quickly as possible: 

1. Track your progress. Write down how much you pay off each month, either in a planner or on some kind of visual that you will see often. Progress provides more motivation to keep going and it will be exciting each month to see that number dwindle down. 

2. Decide ahead of time where you want your money to go. The point of this is having complete control over your finances. I love using Every Dollar because it allows you to set up a budget with categories and determine what percentage of your monthly paycheck you wish to put towards each category. It's a completely free tool! The point is to be aware of where every single dollar is going, so you're not shaking your head at the end of the month wondering where your paycheck went. You control your finances, not the other way around. :) 

3. Find some side hustles that you are passionate about. Chances are you're already working full time, so find some other ways to make extra income that are FUN! I worked a retail job during my first full year of teaching...it was hard, but every paycheck went to help us get out of debt. The company also offered a few free items that I otherwise probably wouldn't have bought due to trying to live frugally. It also offered a discount for when shopping was in the budget. Maintaining that second retail job wasn't realistic for me long term, but I'm glad I did it temporarily. Right now, I blog and am a consultant for Rodan + Fields, which are things I love doing anyway AND they offer extra income, discounts, and occasional free products. 

4. Celebrate reaching milestones along the way. Determine the milestones that you want to celebrate. Whenever you reach that milestone, creatively and frugally celebrate that milestone. Make room for these celebrations/rewards in your budget! Maybe each time you pay off 10% of your debt, you take your significant other on a special date. Just find something to celebrate your progress so you will be motivated to keep going!  

5. Accept that you are going to be "behind" for a little while. Getting out of debt as quickly as possible is going to require some sacrifice and intensity. You will watch everyone around you "move up" in their lives by buying beautiful houses and nice cars. You'll see them take regular exotic vacations. It can be hard to feel like you are behind. Don't fall in to the comparison trap. Everyone's journey is different. Plus, we only see a small portion of people's lives on social media. We have no idea what other struggles they have... I guarantee their lives are not all fun and games. The point is, we don't know, we can only focus on our own progress and goals. Society and social media will tell you that you're behind. Be okay with it for now. Remember that it is temporary. Live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later. 

Getting out of debt quickly is possible. Make it one of your top goals and don't stop until you get there. Trust me, if we can do it, anyone can. You just have to want it badly enough! 

Do you have any other tips for getting out of debt? I would love to know! Thanks for reading!! 


May 04, 2018

Free People Tank & Bralette

This is the time of year for layering. When Brian saw this outfit, he said "Yep, this is the 'skipping-through-meadows' free spirited hippie Courtney that I know." I don't find this look super bohemian, but the comment made me smile. 

I'm loving the contrast between the blueish/purple with the black! This long cardigan is from Loft, but I received it several years ago from a friend, so it is no longer available. Same with these pants...I bought them a few weeks ago on sale at Abercrombie & Fitch. I'll link some similar styles below! 

It's just not realistic for me to only wear "new" things as a blogger. Even if I had the funds for it, I wouldn't want to! Isn't the point of buying something because you love it and want to wear it for years to come?! I can't imagine how crowded my closet would be (and how measly my bank account would be!) if I was only wearing new things. I am baffled at the bloggers who are always showcasing brand new things...I'm just like, "but where do you store it all?" Or, "Don't you get sad only wearing it 1-2 times?" All of this to say that my cardigan and pants are old and no longer available, and you'll find me re-wearing things time and time again on my blog. 

I've always been a fan of Free People, but they can definitely be pricey. I love that this flowy tank is only $20! It runs large so size down. I am normally a medium, but sized down to a small. It is slightly cropped, so be aware of that. I'll be living in this with some high waisted shorts this summer.

The bralette I'm wearing is also by Free People. It looks so pretty layered underneath just about anything! 

Have a wonderful day, everyone!


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April 30, 2018

30 Before 30

1. Run my first marathon
2. Pay off all of my student loans
3. Create more fashion/styling content
4. Potty train Jade
5. Read more books 
6. Spend more time working my Rodan + Fields Business

7. Buy a reliable car
8. Protect my skin from the sun
9. Drink more water
10. Wake up earlier for some alone time before the work day
11. Minimize

12. Make prints of family photos and hang them up
13. Make business cards
14. Host a Rodan + Fields event
15. Put together a capsule makeup collection
16. Make homemade pop-tarts for Jade

17. Visit my best friend in Chicago
18. Go to Cedar Point
19. Strive to blend gentleness and firmness in motherhood
20. Listen to more podcasts
21. Start a Bible study
22. Surprise the people around me with random gifts/cards to brighten their day
23. Get another ear piercing

24. Try an Orange Theory Class
25. Eat less dairy
26. Do more day trips and weekend trips to Michigan
27. Actually sit down to eat good breakfasts
28. Learn about and use more essential oils
29. Make homemade blueberry muffins
30. Get out of my cooking rut and be more adventurous with family dinners

I turned 29 back in February and made a fun little goal/bucket list of 30 things I want to do/experience/grow in before my 30th birthday. Some are actual big goals, others are just small fun things I want to try. Some of these I've already tackled (like running my first marathon, yay!), some of these I'm in the process of doing, and others I have not started yet. I just thought this would be a fun, but realistic "bucket list" of 30 things to do before February of next year. If you have anything on your bucket list, I'd love to hear!

Thanks for reading!