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Today is our 8th anniversary! Blake and I met in 2008. So while we got married in 2010, we've now been part of each other's lives for a decade. I remember seeing other couples celebrating their 10th anniversary and thinking just how far ahead that would be. Now it's sort of staring us in the face! 

We always start celebrating our anniversary early. On our first anniversary I'm pretty sure we gave each other gifts in December because we couldn't wait until February! I kind of love that though. Anniversaries are something we always made a big deal about in our family growing up. I had so much fun decorating cakes for my mom and dad. They ended up hideous, but my parents loved it. 

This year we are keeping it semi-low key because we are taking a bigger trip in June. Spring is just a little too busy this year, so we will just keep celebrating on into summer! No complaints here. 

I always get super nostalgic around this time, so I dug up a few pictures that tell our story:
On our first official date! Disney // January 2009
Hanging with friends at Olive Garden // October 2009
After he proposed! // October 3, 2009

Our Wedding Shower // February 7, 2010
Our Wedding! // February 27, 2010
Honeymooning in Jamaica // March 2010 
Did you know that each anniversary has a traditional gift associated with it? Year 1 is paper...year 5 is wood...etc. Like most traditions, the idea of giving someone a year themed gift hasn't really translated into 2018. But, just for fun I like to read the descriptions and find out why each year has been designated as that theme. 

Year number 8 is the bronze anniversary. While I don't intend to give my husband a bronze statue as a gift, the description of the year fully resonated with me:

Blended of two elements bronze molds into a single entity that is durable enough to last a lifetime. Much alike this long term marriage where the blending of two personalities united by common interests and goals their loyalty to one another is by this point solidifying their trust into a strong and enduring bond. (source)

This is exactly how I feel! There is so much love and newness when you first get married. It's great and essential to start your life together. I just had NO idea how much more you can love a person after time. I no longer feel like my own person. My identity is completely fused together with his just like bronze. 

This past year was SO interesting for us. After reading my post last year again, I realized just how much had changed. We had a tougher beginning to 2016, so we ended that year with some lifestyle changes to fix it. So 2017 was all about reaping the benefits of those changes! It was definitely a harvest season. (Part of the reason I made my mission statement for 2018! It works!)

Last May we moved to a new congregation to be more useful. That was definitely our big adventure in year 7. It was one of those things we had the completely wrong idea about. I thought we'd be helping them, but it was the opposite. We were the ones to grow. Funny how that works. It's ALWAYS a good thing to step out of your comfort zone. Of course, it's even better when you have someone to jump with.

When I look at those kids in the pictures above I'm just mesmerized. How on earth could that be us?! Despite that weird disconnect, I'm SO happy with who those 2 became. Blake and I have complete opposite personalities, but we absolutely have the same mission in life and those goals make me feel more than ever that we are a team. I really think he is the best thing about me.

Happy Anniversary Blake! 
Original Post

Leave a comment below if you feel like time is slipping through your fingers! Do you feel weird when you look at old pictures of yourself? Do you pay attention to the themes of each anniversary? If you do, do you feel like they ring true to your relationship?

Thoughts On Our 8th Anniversary

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Anytime we've visiting the Town Center in Jacksonville or driven past on 295 my eyes have gone wide when we see the giant nets surrounding Top Golf. Every time go by we always said we should go one day! Well we finally did, and now I'm wondering what took us so long. 

FAQ (aka Questions I had Before We Went) 
How it works: Basically it's bowling meets golf. You hit golf balls from your group's bay and try to hit the targets. The balls have chips in them so you know where they end up. There are multiple styles of games you can play, so the targets vary in points. But, essentially the further your ball goes and the closer it comes to the flags equal more points. 

The games: You select your game from the touch screen in your bay, and then when it's your turn you have to select who is swinging. We found it best to hit 5 balls at a time, because only hitting one at a time would take forever. When it's your turn you wave your club in front of a sensor and it spits out a ball. 

Each bay has: A set of clubs, so you don't have to bring any unless you want to. Each bay also either has a table or a couch for you to lounge on. It's also a full service restaurant, so while you wait your turn you can have a drink and snack on something! 

The food: If you didn't feel up to golfing, you could totally just go to eat! Blake and I ordered the Pineapple Punch, which was not only delicious, but it also came in a hilarious golf bag light up cup! We also ordered the cheese fries and the guacamole appetizer. It was so good and perfect for sharing. The real MVP were the donut holes...which came with filling injectors!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

How much it costs: So, this is what I had the hardest time researching! That's why I wanted to share, in case any one else is curious. 
- To reserve your bay: Some days of the week, usually peak times, require you to pay to reserve your bay. We went on President's Day in the afternoon and did not have to pay for our bay. But, a Friday night at 7:30 does usually cost something. You can make a reservation online though, which I thought was great! 
- Membership card: They do require that you buy a $5 lifetime membership card. You only have to buy it once. 
- You pay by the hour: Just like bowling, you pay by the hour. And the hour price is based on the time of day. Early in the day is $25/hour, noon to 5 is $35/hour and 5-close is $45/hour. You can have 6 people in your bay, and it's easy to split those fees from your touch screen. You'll get time warnings from your screen and you can easily add more time if you are having fun and aren't ready to quit! Which is what we did. I think we played for 3 hours! 

We had a blast. It really was the perfect way to spend an afternoon. The whole time I kept thinking about when we could go back and who else would love it! Even if you aren't a golfer you will have fun. There are several targets quite close, so it's easy for kids or inexperienced adults to get points. 

Leave a comment below if you've ever been to Top Golf and what you thought of it! If you haven't, let me know if you would consider it! 

Top Golf - One of the most fun things I've ever done!

Friday, February 23, 2018

After months of planning, I was so so so excited to host my sister's baby shower this past weekend! It turned out beautifully and better than I could have dreamed. We did a bumble bee theme to celebrate the "mommy-to-bee" and "bay-bee" Lennox. 

This is her second baby boy, so she really didn't need a whole lot of stuff, but it was nice to get everyone together nonetheless. She loved it and they got all their baby supply bases covered for his arrival sometime at the end of next month. Can't wait to hold him! 

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Bee Themed Baby Shower Inspiration // Pugs & Pearls Blog

That last photo cracks me up! All the kids LOVE to watch you open up presents anyway, but when Carter opened up his big brother presents they went bananas. I was also really tired at this point, haha. Thank you Chabeli for these great pictures!

My favorite touches:
The backdrop was a labor of love. Blake and Austin worked really hard to build it. It's pretty amazing, and kind of deserves it's own post! It's modular so it's easy to transport and it's also very secured on the back. Carter ran full speed right into it and it didn't budge! Big thank you to Staci for painting the hexagon design for us!

My friend Neena made the flower poms that hung over the tables. I'm positive those will be at every party I throw from here on out. Also, one of her students keeps bees, and he made us the bees wax lip balms and honey straws. It's legit better than Burt's Bees! (I made the gift tag cards using Canva.)

I'm SO happy we included a kid's area in the backyard. We covered their table in craft paper and they went to town coloring on it. I also bought a few dinosaurs, some hula hoops and bubbles. They loved it and it let their mom's relax. My gift was a teepee for the boy's room, which I added to the kids area. It was a cute idea, but 10/10 do not recommend putting it at a party. It's meant for quiet reading in a bedroom not for crazy kids chasing each other in and out of. 

The cake came from a local baker, and I added this cake topper. Not a slice was leftover! I also loved the way these wooden hexagons turned out and I can't wait to reuse them in my house. Most of the food came from Publix, including the cupcakes that I dressed up with sugar bees and dessert skirtz. The bee pillow and honey dippers turned out really cute too! I have to say that these feather winged bees were a great purchase too, because we were able to place them around the party to keep the theme going. 

This was such a fun party to plan, and it went perfectly. My only wish is that I could have enjoyed it as a guest! 

My Sister's Bee Themed Baby Shower!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

This is a fun tag going around for the Sunshine Blogger Award, and Jess tagged me to answer her questions! I thought it'd be fun to participate, and do a little soul searching. Pop over to her blog and say hello! I really loved her recent post about the differences between Germany and America.

So here we go:

Why did you decide to start blogging?
I originally started blogging when I got married and was learning how to cook for my husband. I had a recipe blog where I only shared recipes that we actually liked. It was lots of fun, and Blake quickly learned to let me snap a photo before we ate anything. Pretty soon I started doing home projects and renovations that I wanted to share too, but felt like I needed to 'rebrand' and start a fresh blog. It was 2014 when I first posted here on 

What would you do if you weren’t blogging? If blogging is your side hustle, what would your side hustle be if you weren’t blogging?
I really consider blogging a creative outlet, so if I wasn't using all of my creative juices here, I'd probably get back to painting or other crafts. 

Where was the last place you traveled?
We went to Disney in January! Not exactly groundbreaking, as we live about 2 hours away and we've been many times. But, this was our first trip with our niece and nephew, who we'd been dying to take since they were born! We have 1 day left on our ticket so we will probably hop over there again soon. 

Who was the last person you texted? What was the text?
My sister. I was asking her how to make meatballs, LOL! I bought a big bag of meatballs at Sam's to make for her babyshower and I thought I'd just throw them in the crockpot and call it a day. But, the back of the bag said to add sauce! What sauce?! She told me that she makes them with chilli sauce and grape jelly. It's a thing. I looked it up. 

Where’s your favorite place to shop?
For clothes? J. Crew hands down. I love it all. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?
This varied as I aged. Most notably, I wanted to be an opera singer. If you don't sing opera in your car from time to time, you're lying. (btw I can't sing at all, it's just for laughs) But, I did legitimately want to be a teacher. We always played school as kids, and as the oldest I was always the teacher. 

What’s your favorite season and why?
Summmmmer! It's a good thing I live in Florida because I come alive in the heat. Fall and winter clothes are my favorite, but I can't stand dry skin and when my hair is staticy. It's been 80 degrees here all week and I finally feel like myself again. 

Favorite motivational quote?
Still totally feeling my 2018 mission statement: Do something today that you'll thank yourself for tomorrow. It works with every aspect of your life. Seriously, fill up your gas tank tonight so you don't have to do it early tomorrow morning. Start your savings account today, and thank yourself at the end of the year. Do your work out first thing so that you don't have to worry about it when you get home from work! 

What’s your favorite sport to watch and play?
Watching sports is only fun if you are there live at the game. Watching on tv is just not appealing to me. I love going to football and baseball games. To play is totally different! I love tennis the most, followed by golf. (Does ping pong count, because that might trump everything!)

If you could only go to the same destination for vacation each year, where would you go?
What a tough question! We always go to West Palm Beach in August, and I really really love that vacation. The hardest decision of the day is whether or not to go to the beach or pool. I could totally deal with that trip for the rest of my life! If it wasn't West Palm, I know it'd be another beach somewhere. 

What advice would you give to your 16-year old self?
You know, I really don't hate who I was at 16. I was really steadfast and confident. I know I was a lot more fun and silly than I am now. About that time I really wanted some new friends. I wish I could tell myself that they would show up and not to worry too much about it. Maybe I'd tell myself to hug my grandmother more often because she wasn't going to be there much longer. Oh! I know. I'd tell myself to NEVER dye my hair, no matter how tempting it might be. (Or have a professional do it...)

I nominate: 
1. Miranda // My Restless Soul
2. Julie // Jewels Wandering
3. Katie // Sunshine Style
4. Allie // All That Glitters
5. Joanne // Europafox

(Don't feel obligated guys, but I am very interested to see what your answers would be!!) 

You guys answer the following:
1. What habit are you most proud of?
2. What is the number one thing on your wish list, and why?
3. What is a compliment you've received recently?
4. What do you think is the hardest thing about blogging? 
5. Have you ever met anyone famous? 
6. What movie always makes your cry?
7. What is your favorite thing about the age you are now?
8. How far away do you live from where you were born?
9. Would you describe yourself as an introvert or extravert? 
10. NSYNC or Backstreet Boys?...98 Degrees?
11. What is your favorite question to ask someone when you are getting to know them?

The rules of this tag are:
1. Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
3. Nominate 5 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Leave a comment below if we have anything in common! Feel free to pick a question to answer yourselves. I'd love to hear about you. 

Eleven Things You May Not Know About Me!

Monday, February 19, 2018

one// Cork Wreath
My mom has been collecting corks for years! After she had accumulated quite a few, I made her a corkboard. But that was a few years ago, and since then the collection grew even bigger. So I took home a big box full of them and crafted a wreath for her. I still probably have enough to make 2 more...

It's a foam wreath frame, and I just hot glued the corks down in rows. Honestly, I could have stopped there but there were so many corks that I just kept adding more. BTW after I did this project I discovered that Gorilla Glue has a hot glue-and it's excellent! I wish I had some when I was working on this. 

two// Pug Love
It's been awhile since I shared some pug pictures here! Pug pictures make up 70% of my camera roll. If you want to see more make sure you are following on Instagram

Can you spot the pug?

Okay, how cute is this? I took the left photo of Winston when he was about 12 weeks old, and then the one on the right last weekend. 

Let this be a lesson to you: always enter giveaways!! I won Katherine's giveaway of a handmade pair of leather earrings from TaylaMade Designs. These earrings are gorgeous, and she shipped them so fast-even though they are made to order. I can't wait to wear them to my sister's baby shower this weekend.

four// Fresh Batch of DIY Skin Care!
I always feel like a chemist when I whip up a fresh batch of my skin care system. I just love this routine, and my skin really hasn't ever looked better. I'm sharing because this time I used Grove Collab's new castile soap! The Grove store brand items are all really great, but I'm especially excited they came out with castile soaps. 

After downloading the Think Dirty app, I'm really set on eliminating toxic products. Castile soap is a great body wash, so I'm looking forward to trying this out in both my face wash and on my body.

By the way, I scanned my deodorant and it was a 9 out of 10 for toxicity! I was shocked. Attempting to try out a more natural solution I tried the Schmidt's kind-and had a horrible reaction to it. So ironic. Apparently that's super common for people with sensitive skin because of the baking soda in the formula. To be honest, I didn't really like it anyway because it was very difficult to apply. So, this week I bought the Tom's of Maine brand and I'm giving that a shot. So far I like it, but summer temperature will be the true test. (I really like their toothpaste.) 

five//Make My Day Wedding Expo
I was really excited to join and assist for a wedding expo in Jacksonville! Not only are we family, Chabeli also does my outfit photos here on the blog, and I consider myself their number one fan! Have I mentioned I also 2nd shot a wedding with them last May? Maybe I need to do a post about that...

Anyway, we had so much fun at the MMD wedding expo! It was a lot of work to get set up, and it was high pressure to make a good impression on the brides that came through. Afterwards was a VIP party with a wedding dress fashion show and we got to meet Desiree Hartstock of The Bachelorette fame. She designed the entire collection.

I get SO flustered meeting people like that. You should see me meeting Disney princesses. It's embarrassing. But we mustered up enough courage to introduce ourselves and take a picture. She was so sweet and just stunning. 

I have to work on not cheesing so hard in pictures. I just hate it when my eyes are all squinty!

Have a great weekend!
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Friday Five (Including at celebrity encounter!)

Friday, February 16, 2018


Hi friends! I'm Kristen, and this is the Life and Style of an early 30's Floridian living the Best Life Ever, with her husband and three pugs. Runner | Avid Reader | Small Shop Owner

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