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Every year during the holidays, Steve and I try to host a small group of friends at our place to eat dinner, drink cocktails, play board games, and spend quality time together before departing Nashville for Christmas and the New Year. This year we’re so excited to host a dinner party at our new house. It’s going to be extra special with it being the first year hosting as homeowners. I’ve partnered with Basic Invite to show you how simple it was for me to create custom invitations and holiday cards for the occasion.

holiday cardsBasic Invite made it so easy for me to create the ideal, simple, festive holiday invitations. They allow all customers the ability to order an actual printed sample of their invitation so that you can see exactly what it looks like before you ever have to place your final order. You can’t go wrong! You’ll always end up with exactly the invitations or holiday cards you’re looking for.

holiday cardsholiday cardsBasic Invite is also incredibly colorful! They offer just as many custom colors for their envelopes as they do for their invitations. There’s a huge variety of colors to choose from. With over 40 different colors, you’ll always have the perfect custom design you’re trying to achieve. All of their envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed without licking a single one.

holiday cardsThey also have their own address capturing service that lets customers simply share a link on whichever social platform they choose to request their friends and family’s addresses. Their addresses are then stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. They make it so easy to organize everything you need to send out holiday cards!
holiday cardsPlanning your own party? Check out Basic Invite for family Christmas party invites! I cannot wait to get these invitations in the mail and have my closest friends over for a lovely holiday dinner party.

Bring on the holiday season! 🙂

nashville blogger

Whew, Monday! You are brutal. I’m happy to throw myself back into a steady routine after several weeks of traveling and being away from home on weekends. I had an incredible time in Orlando with some of my coworkers eating and drinking at the International Food and Wine Festival over the weekend. I’m so glad I went and had some quality time with strong, smart, ambitious women.

stripedAlthough I’m still trying to catch up on rest, I’m more ready than ever to get stuff done and hammer out some new projects and get some more things done around the house. I feel like after the first month or two of getting settled into our house I kind of stepped away from stressing about decorating and making all of the rooms look cohesive. Now I’m excited to get back into it and make our house extra cozy and festive for the holidays.

stripedstripedNow let’s jump into this style post. These are some of my absolute favorite striped jeans from Zara because if you know me, you know I’m obsessed with stripes. My friends were laughing at me all weekend because everything in my suitcase had striped and everything I bought when we were out shopping had stripes as well. S.O.S. someone help me. I need to chill. I decided to wear these striped jeans with a neutral sweater to let the stripes be their own statement. I paired it with my favorite open-toe booties from Vinnie Louise. The camel color is so perfect for autumn.
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stripedstripedJeans- Zara // Sweater- Madewell [last season] // Shoes- Vinnie Louise // Cross-body bag– Hush Puppies // Necklace- Lee & Birch

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Photos by Katie Kessel.

Have a great week, everyone!

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Today I’m going to share a bit about my experience at my very first boudoir photoshoot with The Adore Girls. I knew it would take a dose of bravery for me to share this with my readers, but there might be some women out there who have been toying with the idea of booking a photoshoot but haven’t brought themselves to actually doing it yet.

To start, let me give you a short back story…

The past couple years I’ve been in a constant battle with myself about my body. I won’t bore you with the details of all the negative things I’d been thinking about myself, but I’ll tell you I wasn’t nice. Then one day I was contacted by the incredible women behind The Adore Girls and was asked to do a session.

Several things ran through my mind. “I’m scared.” “What will people think of me?” “How do I lose weight in four weeks (while still eating tacos and donuts)?” and “Is this right for me?” I sat on it for a day or two and then finally responded with a YES. “I’ll do it.”

I decided to set aside my inhibitions, doubts, insecurities, and fears to do something for myself that would make me feel like the Laura I once knew. Brave, confident, and comfortable in my own skin. I knew the insecurities I had with my body would come bubbling back up during the photoshoot, but I decided to hell with insecurities. This was something I was going to do for me.

When I arrived at the studio, the women who worked there greeted me with smiling faces and made me feel right at home. The studio itself is a house they turned into a fully-functioning photo studio, so in a way it was a home. They offered me some refreshments (they even have mimosas!) and a place to sit so we could chat about working together. I also brought a full bag of items with me so they could help me pick out what to wear (since I was absolutely clueless and wanted a different opinion). I told them I wanted to be tasteful and have a few photos that I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable sharing since this collaboration would mean sharing a few of the images myself. They looked through my things and made the decision so much easier.

After getting to know their team a little better, I went over to the hair and makeup chair so that their stylist, Sarah, could start working some magic on my mug. She was excellent and made sure she wasn’t giving me a look that was unnatural to me. When she was finished, Jamie took a few head shots of me before I changed into outfit #1 of my wardrobe.

A common misconception: You don’t have to be nude or even half-naked for it to be considered boudoir. Boudoir is about being body confident and feeling beautiful. It doesn’t have to be about sex or gifting a photo of yourself to a significant other.

You also don’t ever have to do anything you don’t want to do.

boudoir photoshoot

boudoir photoshoot

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boudoir photoshoot

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boudoir photoshoot

Jamie (the photographer) and her sister were super supportive and easy to work with. They made the entire boudoir photoshoot feel seamless and refreshing. From helping with poses and cracking jokes, we all had a great time. In the end, I felt like a body positive badass who deserved to feel good about getting her photograph taken. I cannot recommend this experience enough.

Don’t ever let anyone (Ahem, even YOURSELF) make you feel like you are unworthy of feeling anything less than beautiful. We can all be mean to ourselves sometimes. Instead of insulting your so-called flaws, try loving them for making you different.

Here are some tips to note before booking a boudoir photoshoot:

  1. Bring multiple outfits/wardrobe items and have your photographer help you choose. They’ll have a better understanding of what photographs well and what doesn’t.
  2. Don’t get a spray tan, spend too much time in a tanning booth, or wear sunless tanner right before a session. Natural looking skin is the most beautiful in photos.
  3. Stay true to yourself. Don’t wear anything you wouldn’t feel like yourself in, don’t overdo your hair and makeup, and don’t pose in any way that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  4. Relax and be open to the ideas the photographer has. They have way more experience doing boudoir than you do. You might surprise yourself.
  5. Don’t be negative. The photographer is there to bring out the inner beauty and make you feel confident. Be positive and be a goddess.

For anyone interested in booking a boudoir photoshoot, you can book a Dream Session with The Adore Girls for $100 off using code LAURA at checkout. Click here to visit their website.

If anyone has any questions about my experience, PLEASE don’t hesitate to comment or send me an email. I’m happy to give any advice that I can.

And, remember– You are beautiful.

nashville blogger

 

Today I’m celebrating Lifestyle Blogging Basics being on the Amazon Best Sellers List for 6 months! To commemorate the occasion, I’m hosting a giveaway for all those who want to celebrate with me. I’m also going to be releasing the paperback version of my book in a couple weeks, so stay tuned for more information!

lifestyle blogging basics

About the giveaway: One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book. All you have to do is fill out the entries below. Buying the ebook and leaving a review earn you 3x points!

Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian readers. Giveaway ends on the evening of Sunday, August 27th. 

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Moving is hard work. Getting settled in and making a house feel like a home is even harder. Steve and I have spent the past month and a half working tirelessly to put each thing in its right place so that we can get comfortable in our new digs. One of the first orders of business was setting up our new living room. A nicely polished common area is important since we have so many guests who come visit us in Nashville.  I was so excited to start from scratch and redecorate with fresh, new pieces of furniture.

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We got rid of all of our old living room furniture, including the giant leather sectional I’ve had for several years, so that I could start fresh with new furniture in a new living room. I knew I wanted the room to be bright and colorful, but I wasn’t sure where to start. I decided that picking out a new sofa would be the first order of business. I knew that once I found the right sofa, I’d be able to build upon whatever aesthetic I was going for. To make the process simple, I visited furniture.com to start browsing for a brand new sofa. It wasn’t long before I found this Cindy Crawford Home Park Boulevard sofa in the perfect shade of blue. This became the foundation of the room and redecorating became simpler.

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The great thing about using a site like furniture.com, is you can filter your search according to your style, color preferences, price range, material, and more. I knew that I wanted to find something modern and colorful but keep it under $1,000. When this sofa appeared, it was love at first sight. They even have tips for designing a room, which made my life easier since decorating doesn’t come as naturally for me as I’d like. Once I knew the aesthetic and theme I wanted to achieve, I just had fun with it. The next few purchases were throw pillows, a coffee table, and curtain panels. When I knew I really loved the color palette, I purchased the two chairs to place in the living room along with some new houseplants.

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daphne armchair wayfair

redecoratingThe best bit of advice I can give when decorating or redecorating a room is to start with the foundational piece of furniture you know you want and love. Once you have that piece of furniture where you want it, let everything else become an accessory to that piece. The second best bit of advice I can give is to let yourself have fun with it. I was inspired by the bright greens and blues of the grass and sky from outside our window in our new country farmhouse, so I wanted to bring those happy colors into the interior. Now when my husband and I sit in our living room we’re filled with so much joy at how bright and happy it feels.

furniture.com sofaredecoratingredecorating made simpleredecoratingPhotography by Katie Kessel of Roaring Frog Photography
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