friday link love

It's getting to "summer countdown" time and I feel like everyone I know is trying to squeeze every last bit of summer goodness that they can out of these final weekends!  We are lucky to have a night out with friends planned and then are keeping it low key with family time around the house (mowing, church, etc - I know, our lives are exciting haha!)  But seriously we are really enjoying all of the calm after a hectic beginning to our summer.  I hope you are relaxing as much as we are!  

Here are my favorite links from this week - I really missed doing these posts so I hope you enjoy reading them!  

Apparently they made a candle that smells like two of my favorite things ever.  I'm not sure I can live without it.  

I keep hearing that this book is hysterical (written by Amy Schumer's lead writer) and I think I'll have to start it this weekend.  

Healthy raw cookie dough that you can eat with a spoon (and make in less than 10 minutes!!)  

Ariana Huffington's morning routine.  

I really need this Gilmore Girls tee.  Also, have you seen the trailer??

Wearing scarves like the french do is a huge summer to fall trend, and I'm totally on board!  

Lastly, you know I can't resist a good updo, and this post highlights some of my favorites for summer in an easy, chic way!   

PS - if you want to follow along with our weekend, I'd love if you'd follow me on Snapchat @maryhayes or Instagram here!  


new blog feature & an instagram round up

Hat // Top // Jeans // Shoes - ps, pretty much everything linked here is on sale!  

For size reference, I am wearing a S top, a 27 in the jeans (but I wish I had sized down to a 26, the waist is a little too big and they're going to get a go in the dryer later!)  

Wearing S in the dress, but you can really wiggle between sizes in this brand, it's very stretchy!  This dress is extremely nursing friendly, although I'm not nursing Claire anymore at this point.  The hat only comes in one size and I have worn it SO much this summer.  

Hat // Top // Jeans // Shoes // Bag

I linked to a different top here because this one is out of stock!  I tried on the one I linked and the fit is true to size, I was my usual small.  This purse has been getting a ton of use here and I really hope they restock this color.  The jeans run a big large and I sized down to a 26.  Lastly, these shoes are some of the best shoes I have ever bought for the price.  They are so comfortable and match a ton!  Everything linked here is either on sale or under $100!  

Last oufit, this dress is from a brand called Lularoe that is sold through consultants.  It's great quality and I've really grown to love the brand, so I linked to my friend's Facebook shop.  I don't get anything for linking to her, she's just who I prefer to shop through and though you may like her as well :)  
I'm wearing a size small, which is my usual size in the "Amelia" style dress.  I'm also loving these burgundy suede Joie sandals, which were on sale, and give you a little fall feeling even though they are totally summer appropriate!  

Claire's dress is Matilda Jane, a super popular children's brand that is also sold through consultants, and I linked to my personal consultant there as well - no strings attached, no benefits to me if you buy anything through them!  

As I've gotten back into blogging, one of my favorite things to post is of course my outfits!  
While I haven't yet gotten back into the schedule of shooting outfits with Darrell on the weekends, I'm planning to soon (we have a backyard to shoot in now!!) Until then, I post daily on Instagram, which is great for throwing up something quickly but not so great for sharing details if you'd like to buy something.  I recently worked out how to get a "shoppable" Instagram page on the blog - click the link in the top bar! - and I hope you'll find it useful.  For today's post, I linked everything individually below its photo and wanted to share fit information for each outfit.  Thank you so much for stopping by!  


the weekender/splash pad season

You know how grateful you are, when it's Monday morning and you're ACTUALLY NOT UPSET because you had such a relaxing, rejuvating weekend that it leaves you feeling ready for the week?  Yeah, those are way too rare in my book too, but here I am on the other side of one and it makes me want to do nothing but stay at home every weekend for the rest of the summer.  Here are my favorite snaps from our weekend in St Louis!  

Since we moved to Webster Groves from the Tower Grove area we had really been missing it, and kind of shaming ourselves for not hitting up the farmer's market there once yet this summer!  So we made plans with friends to meet up there and of course, Claire had a total blast.  This park has (in my opinion) the best splash pad in the city and they even fill the fountain as a wading pool from 11-1 on weekends!  

Just for fun, here's a little throwback pic - this is Claire in the same fountain on the SAME WEEKEND last summer.  I always see her as a baby but comparing these two photos shows me how big she has gotten!  

Darrell & I also gardened our hearts out on Saturday (in 100 degree heat, YUCK) but our yard basically looked like a rainforest due to our excessive travel lately so it needed to get done!  Then we hung out outside the rest of the day until Claire declared it "too hot" and we retreated to the basement which was much more fun than usual because....

we redid Claire's playroom a little bit with a makeover!  It got a facelift from a ton of "Pillowfort" products from Target as well as some alternative lighting, and although there's still lots to do down there she is REALLY enjoying it so far.  

Last but not least, I hope you'll come back tomorrow if you want to see a new feature I'm adding to the blog!  I have a lot of fun sharing my outfits on Instagram but thus far haven't really enjoyed the process of making the posts "shoppable" for you guys in an easy way.  The service I use to link products, Shopstyle Collective, recently upgraded their platform and I'm working on getting it set up tonight :) 

So I can't wait to hear what you think and if you find it easy to use!  


reading list

Although I read voraciously year round, I really ramp it up in the summertime, when the publishers release their best!  I've included here my favorites lately, including one particuarly excellent novel and a fairly life changing memoir.  I'm so excited to share these awesome books with you, so let's get into it!  

Although this book has been very highly publicized this summer, I've actually anticipated its release for about a year now.  I've been a longtime reader of the blog "Cup of Jo" and the author is Joanna Goddard's brother in law.  During his fight with lung cancer, he published several moving essays about being a cancer patient, and the inner turmoil he found as a patient who was also a doctor.  He struggled to balance his theological views with his medical ones, and the book certainly explores that.  It also outlines the difficulties and surprisingly the gifts his illness gave his struggling marriage.  The book finishes with a rumination on their decision to have a child during the culmination of his life, which you may see as controversial but I found heartbreaking and beautiful.  It's filled with stirring passages like this one from a letter to his daughter: 

“That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.” 

It's a short read, as Paul wrote it while he was sick and apparently wasn't completely able to finish it.  I highly recommend reading it, but you will really only need tissues towards the end.  For the first 3/4, it's more introspective and observant about the patient doctor relationship than it is tear jerking.  10/10.  

Another essay by Paul, if you'd like to see more of his writing here, and his obituary here.  

The Royal We

Okay, on to lighter fare!  This book is fairly fluffy but REALLY fun to read.  Very juicy, it feels as though you're in on the secrets of Will & Kate's relationship - even though it's purely fictional and only loosely based on them!  I'd highly recommend it for a long plane ride or a beach vacation.  

Underground Airlines

I heard about Underground Airlines on the NPR podcast "Fresh Air."  (You can read their far more comprehensive review here!)  I probably would have never picked it up otherwise!  It's a dystopian novel about a future America where slavery is still in practice in 4 states.  Unlike in the 19th century, slavery is more of a factory labor practice in current day and age, with merchandise marked like "fair trade" coffee (except labeled "clean hands")  and America is essentially Cuba to the rest of the world.  Not a part of the UN, with many trade embargoes against us.  It's got a crazy plot twist in the end, and I'd be surprised if it didn't come out as a movie somewhat soon.

May Cause Miracles
This one is a bit different....I've been meaning to start a meditation practice for some time now, and although I'd read a couple of Gabby's books before and LOVED them, I never put her techniques into action.  So I picked up this 40 day guidebook and bought the Audible read along with it.  Each morning and evening, there's a reflection passage and intention to set that you meditate on.  I've found it to be the easiest way to add meditation to my routine of anything I've tried so far.  Have I done every day perfectly?  No.  I actually got stuck on day 9 for FOUR DAYS so there's that.  But it has been an undoubtedly positive thing to add to my days.

I Quit Sugar

You might be ready to close out the window now, but stay with me!
I read this book in an attempt to break my full on addiction to all things sweet.  I have always been a relatively healthy eater.  I eat a mostly vegan diet, I eat a ton of vegetables each day, and I workout 4-5 times a week. But, anytime I'd want to lose a couple of pounds I'd really struggle with giving up something sweet before bed, and I felt like this was a major detriment to my goals.  I was totally addicted to it.  So after finding the author on Instagram I picked up her book...and I was completely right.  I ended up going on a week long "sugar cleanse" (still haven't done her 8 week program, but I might in the winter!)  where I eliminated any superfluous sources of fructose from my diet - yes, even fruit!

I have to say, it was amazing how much my mood stabilized and how much more energy I had.  However, it was REALLY HARD.  Sugar is in EVERYTHING!  It makes everything taste good, so the food industry puts it in anything they can get away with it in, and this book made me so much more aware of that.  It also referred me to THIS video (if you feel like getting really scienc-ey.)  These days, am I still eating sugar?  Well, some, and more fruit, but not nearly as much as I used to and I'm always on the lookout for lower sugar items that I can eat.  


life update + probably far too many baby photos!

Oh hai.  Honestly, it is such a struggle to start blogging again after such a long break, so I'll just jump right in with a little update.  

When I last left off, we had bought a house, yes!  So, that really explains a lot of where we've been.  However, we also have travelled a ton (California, Vermont, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Georgia, the Ozarks, end scene!) so my free time has been non-existent.  Last but not least, just when we were planning to get back into a groove and I was, yup, planning to start blogging again, our house basically fell apart.  Our fridge broke, which is a bigger deal than you'd think?  We have a mini fridge, but that required daily grocery trips.  Then, our AIR CONDITIONING WENT OUT the week of a heat advisory, and we still have no fridge.  

So we abandoned ship.  I'm so, so grateful that my parents also live in St Louis and have a condo that we're able to stay in while we're displaced.  (Claire literally could not handle the heat at the house, we took her back to get different clothes one day and she cried the entire time we were there just saying "I'm hoooooooooot."  I felt so bad!)  My parents are at the lake a lot in the summer so we're - hopefully - not tooooo much of an imposition.  We have a repair appointment today for our A/C and our *new* fridge that was installed incorrectly and was leaking water all over our kitchen floor.  

So yeah!  Kind of difficult to fit in outfit shoots & blog posts within all of that :/  

I have taken a lot of photos of life the past couple of months, so I thought I'd share them and then maybe tomorrow y'all can come back for a "Reading Lately" post?  Because I have been reading a TON on planes, and so so many new and amazing books have come out this summer.  Okay, on to the photos!

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