Valentine’s Day Books for Your Little One

Ever since I was little, I remember having access to as many books as I wanted! My parents instilled the importance and a love of reading, and my husband and I are hoping to pass this on to Kaz.

At any given time, we probably have at least fifteen books out and on rotation; everything from silly ones that rhyme to touch and feel.

When Kaz was born, we didn’t set out saying we were going to buy tons of seasonal and holiday themed books, but here we are!

New Year, Best You Giveaway

Happy Monday and Happy New Year, y’all!

2020 was the year of figuring out how to do it all from home; work, school, Zoom, home workouts, etc.

It was a year that really showed just how strong we are and revealed exactly what we’re made of. It wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies, but then again, no year ever is.

It was filled with new trials and obstacles to overcome that we never even thought would be in our path, but if you’re reading this, you made it to the other side of 2020!

That deserves to be celebrated for the accomplishment it truly is!

To kick of and celebrate the start of a new year, I put together this giveaway with some of my favorite things that I’m bringing into 2021 from 2020!

GIVEAWAY PRIZE: (1) three month subscription to Beachbody on Demand, (1) 32 oz water bottle, (1) daily gratitude/joy journal, and (1) $25 Target gift card!

Head in over to my Instagram (@alongftride) to see how you can enter!

XOXO,
Leah

United Monogram Pieces to Put You in the Holiday Spirit

Happy Wednesday, ya’ll! We are officially halfway through the week, and another day closer to the weekend!

If you’re like me, you love being comfy and cozy during the holiday season but also want to look good and put together.

I’ve been buying pieces from United Monogram for about a year now, and let me just tell you I did a little happy dance when they dropped their Holiday Collection!

It’s full of the things we know and associate with the holidays; snow, snowmen, candy canes, cute little red trucks, and all the stops! Did I mention they added glitter designs this year too?? *insert heart eye emoji here*

Today, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite pieces from this collection that are giving me all the merry and bright and festive vibes! These are great “treat your self” pieces or great gifts to give to someone else! Did I mention that they’re all on sale too?!

What piece(s) will you be rocking this holiday season?

XOXO,
Leah

Your Perfect Cup of Hot Chocolate

These cooler temps and all things holiday season have really been getting me in a festive mood!

Growing up, my mom’s homemade hot chocolate mix was always something I looked forward to. Now that I have a home of my own, I love finding ways to incorporate that tradition into my little family!

This year, we opted to add out hot chocolate to our coffee bar! From now until the end of winter, if you stop by we’ll have all the options for your hot chocolate drinking pleasure!

Every good hot chocolate bar starts with good hot chocolate! Three of my favorites from Target are the Swiss Miss packets, Good & Gather Double Hot Chocolate, and since I’m slightly lactose intolerant, I always like to have a dairy free option on hand like this Swiss Miss Non-Dairy mix!

In my mind, the perfect cup of hot chocolate has lots of marshmallows. The more the better! I found these vanilla star and Christmas tree shaped ones along with the peppermint flavored ones on the Holiday section at my local Target. Both are by Wondershop and so yummy! I may have eaten a few of the peppermint ones just by themselves…

Before I found the peppermint marshmallows, I used to sometimes stir my hot chocolate with a candy cane to get that pepperminty flavor. Something about the chocolate and mint combination just gets me! This crushed peppermint shaker is perfect and so cute to sprinkle on top of a peak of whipped cream.

If you’re looking to have single serve and individually wrapped options on hand, these Hot Cocoa Stir Spoons from Wondershop are perfect for you! I picked up a few for my hot chocolate bar as well as to give along with gifts at Christmas!

What are you hot chocolate must haves?

XOXO,
Leah

Holiday Giveaway

Happy Monday, y’all!

2020 sure has been a year for the history books, and I’m pretty sure none of us could have even dreamed that this year would turn out like it has.

With all of the chaos and uncertainty, I’ve been trying to focus more on the moments of joy in my everyday life and on actively choosing joy! It can be found in something as small as a hot cup of coffee or something as big as a new home. The ways joy can show up are endless!

In honor of the holiday season and hoping to spread a little joy to someone, I’m hosting my first ever giveaway over on my Instagram (https://instagram.com/alongftride?r=nametag)!

Entering is super simple too!! All you have to do is give me a follow over on Instagram and like and comment on all of my posts until this Saturday (11/21). You also get a bonus entry if you subscribe to my blog!

The winner will be announced on my Instagram in stories and on the original post with the winner getting a gift card to my favorite monogram store (United Monograms) a Rae Dunn mug, and a Target gift card to buy something to fill your new mug with!

XOXO,
Leah

My Favorite Pieces from Vici for Fall

It’s fall, y’all!

In honor of the cooler temps and my favorite season of the year, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite pieces from Vici for fall to share with y’all!

For sizing reference my measurements are as follows: 5’00” tall, 25″ waist, 34″ hips, 32″ bust.

First up we have two of my favorite basic tank tops; the Physique Racerback Tank. I have this style in black and white, and pair them with everything from workout shorts to cute skirts! They’re so perfect to dress up or down. Wearing a size small

If you’ve read any of my other fashion posts, you’ll know I’m kind of picky when it comes to jeans. I’m a leggings and athleisure girl through and through. I’ve had the Universal Distressed Frayed Skinny Jeans for several years now, and they’re honestly one of my favorite pairs! I love that the distressing has held up so well. There’s some stretch to them, which I love. Wearing a size 1

Another favorite of mine is the From A Dream Lace Top! The lace detail is so pretty and adds the perfect touch. I’ve worn this to just run errands or for date nights out with my husband. It does have a black cami lining underneath, but can be removed if you’d rather wear something else. This top definitely gives me all the moody fall vibes! Wearing a size small

Now, it wouldn’t be fall without cute and cozy sweaters! I’m all about getting to look cute while simultaneously feeling like I’m wrapped in a blanket. These two sweaters are my absolute favorites; The Coziest Yet Pocketed Cardigan in taupe and the Moraga Pocketed Aztec Cardigan. Both are perfect to pair with a plain t-shirt or tank and a pair of leggings for a comfy and super casual day. I’ve also paired them both with dresses before for a little more of a dressed up look!

When it comes to fall, I love pieces that are going to last me years to come and are perfect even with a busy toddler! These days, if it can’t stand up to the toddler test, it’s probably not in my wardrobe. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten spit up, food, etc. on each of these and they clean up like a dream. Not only are they cute and so versatile, but they’re also great for whatever life throws your way!

What pieces are you loving for fall?

XOXO,
Leah

Military Life: Reintegration

When most people think of a solider coming back from a deployment, they think of the videos and pictures they’ve seen on social media or talked about on the news. A person in uniform, kids to be surprised, and lots of tears.

Don’t get me wrong, those always bring a smile to my face and the waterworks of pure happiness that those families are finally reunited after being apart, but what you rarely see is what happens after that initial high.

When it was getting close to my husband coming home from his deployment I did all of the things I thought I was supposed to do; decorate, make ‘Welcome Home’ signs, clean the house from top to bottom, stock the fridge and cupboards with all his favorite foods and drinks, buy a new outfit, etc.

Needless to say, I did all the things. In the end though, while they were nice, they didn’t really help prepare us for reintegrating my husband back into our family after being gone for so long and during a global pandemic.

For starters, our almost seven month old was now almost fourteen months old and getting into all of the things. Kaz and I had gotten into our groove of living life just us and Ailey. We had certain ways of doing things and a schedule (or as much as you can have with a toddler).

When my husband got back, we had a few weeks of him not going to work and being home with us. The first few days I think we were all riding on clouds of adrenaline and pure bliss from being reunited. When the dust settled (like it always does), we found ourselves stumbling. If you know me you know that I get set in my ways, I like routine, and knowing what to expect.

With all of the trainings, schools, deployments, etc., over the years, I’ve had to learn how to be pretty self reliant. This deployment was no different, and I had gotten so used to doing everything by myself. If I didn’t do something, it wasn’t getting done. With my husband being home, it was harder than I thought it’d be to let some of those go and fully accept that I didn’t have to be a one woman show anymore.

Now almost two months post deployment, I’d be lying if i said we weren’t still trying to figure it out. Here we are, just doing the best we can for ourselves and our little family.

It’s one heck of a crazy ride, but I wouldn’t want it any other way!

XOXO,
Leah

Photography by: Allison Vrhovac

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy

Happy Thursday, ya’ll!

If you’re reading this, you can already guess from the title, what today is; It’s our sweet baby boy’s first birthday! One whole year ago on July 9th, this sweet boy made his debut and has stolen our hearts a little more each day!

This first year, we decided to not share a ton about our little babe just out of wanting to be overly cautious while we got the hang of this whole parenting thing along with navigating this Army life of ours.

While this is certainly not the way I had always imagined a first birthday would be (global pandemic, hundreds of miles away from family, deployment…) I wouldn’t change a thing.

As crazy as that sounds, this last year has stretched and challenged both me and my husband in ways we never thought possible. I didn’t even know growth in the ways we have was real. Don’t get me wrong though , we’re still just winging this whole parenting thing and doing the best we can. We are by no means experts nor will we ever be!

There is something so incredibly beautiful in all of this though.

Our sweet baby has had his daddy gone more than he’s been home. He’s lived (and still living) through a global pandemic. We stayed with Grandma and Pa for several months. 

He is silly and so expressive! He loves his Ailey girl and giving her pats. Reading stories and singing songs are his favorite things to do. He has ten teeth and knows how to sign and say different words. He crawls around the house like nobody’s business, and walking isn’t too far off! He has been so incredibly sweet and patient with his mama while she’s navigated this (temporary) single parenting gig. We really did luck out!

Happy 1st Birthday, sweet boy! If you remember nothing else I say to you, I hope you’ll always remember this; You are kind. You are smart. You are strong. Mama and daddy (and Ailey) love you!

Hi world, I’m Kaz!

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XOXO,
Leah

Military Life: Month of the Military Child

Happy Monday, y’all!

Did you know that April is the official Month of the Military Child? This is the month we recognize and celebrate the strength, bravery, flexibility, resiliency, and sacrifice that the littlest members of military families make everyday.

When my husband and I decided we wanted to try to expand our family, we knew that our little one would have a wildly different life than either of us did growing up.

In Baby K’s first year of life, his daddy will have been gone more than he’s been home. Heck, my husband was even gone for training over my due date!

While he doesn’t know life any other way, my husband and I do. We often wonder if this path we’ve picked is the right one or not.

We may not regret a second of this life we live and how far we’ve come, but that little bit of guilt is always there.

For our sweet baby it means a lot of confusion as to why we sometimes only talk to and see daddy through a screen. It means crying out for him in the middle of the night and him never coming. It means seeing a whole lot of mama and always looking for daddy.

As he gets older, it will mean having to say goodbye to friends more often than if we weren’t part of the military world. It will mean his daddy will have missed being there in person for major milestones like crawling, first words, and maybe even walking and first days of schools.

We are not the first family to face a deployment, and we certainly are not the last. There will be many more times where duty will take daddy away.

Our little boy is so kind and loving. He is made of tough stuff. He is resilient and flexible beyond belief. He is sacrificing more than he even knows while his daddy is away.

Today and every day, I am in awe of this military child of mine!

XOXO,
Leah

Spring Products Refresh

Happy Monday, y’all!

A month or two ago I decided to switch umm routine a bit with spring being right around the corner. I happened upon these products by Pantene and Olay and am so glad I did!

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First in the line up is the deep detox & restore pre-wash! I love how it gently exfoliates my scalp and helps remove product build up. I use it once or twice a week when my hair seems to be hanging a little heavier, just remember that a little bit of this goes a long way!

With all of this social distancing and sheltering in place, I may be reaching for my dry shampoo more during the day than if I was out and about.

The miracle moisture boost shampoo is made with rose water and gives me all the spring vibes! Not only does it smell good without being overpowering, but it is so moisturizing!

I’ve always been a fan of lots of suds when I lather up my hair, and this does not disappoint. Even after just the shampoo my hair is left feeling softer and smoother! Once dry, it doesn’t get as frizzy either!

Even though I feel like I might not need it, I always follow up the shampoo with the miracle moisture boost conditioner. Just like the shampoo, the conditioner leaves my hair feeling so much better!

I’m all about having smoother, softer, and more voluminous hair. The fact that these are sulfate free is an added bonus! These products give me a high end feel without the high end price tag, and the packaging is too cute!

Last but certainly not least is the Olay cleansing & firming body wash with B3 and collagen. It feels so silky and smooth. I don’t think I can ever go back now that I’ve found this!

Paired with a loofa and it’s like a spa treatment in the comfort of my own home! The loofa helps to exfoliate while the body wash seems to wrap my skin in moisture and helps it stay toned.

If you’re in the market too switch up your normal routine and wanting to try something new, I’d definitely recommend these! After trying them out, they have quickly become my new go tos!

XOXO,
Leah