JuliaRyan.com. Powered by Blogger.

Social Media

Give Me All The Summer Dresses!!!!

March 27, 2017


I had the most fun last night going through the new dress sections of several of my favorite stores!  I actually had to cut myself off because this post was getting too long already :)

I can't wait to come back through tonight and start outfit planning with my top picks.  Lots of lace up sandals and colorful tassel earrings are in my future!

Pin ThisShare on Tumblr

Kids Summer Picks

March 7, 2017


Lots of fun things for the kids!  I swear all my money goes to outfitting my two.  It's just so hard to splurge on myself when they are literally outgrowing their clothes and it's so fun to shop for them!  As usual, I love all the stripes and bright colors for easy mixing and matching. 

affiliates used

Pin ThisShare on Tumblr

SPRING BREAK!!!! (Swim Shop)

March 6, 2017

Well, it's officially Spring Break in our house. We have a few upcoming trips planned this summer and so I can think about are swimsuits and cover-ups!  I'm ready to upgrade my swim wardrobe so I've rounded up all my favorites here in one place.  I wish it could all magically appear in my closet!

affiliate links

Pin ThisShare on Tumblr

Life Lately

February 28, 2017

  Y'all.  I need to write about my February.  I need to write about watching my baby boy grasping for air twice in two weeks and placing him in the literal hands of medical staff and God.  Twice.  I need to talk about how that affects me and my husband differently and at different times.  And how it affects our daughter who's just six and said baby boy who's just turned five and knows what's going on.  I need to fill you in on my PTSD and how my anxiety feels more like a strong under-toe pulling me down and less like waves I can ride out.

 I need to share our experience with asthma and status asthmaticus.  I need to write about our story with life-threatening food allergies and how it doesn't always end with a shot of epinephrine and fours hours in the ER but it also doesn't always end in death.  I need to tell you about his guardian angel Oakley Debbs who was there with us in the parking lot of Wegman's as I grabbed the epi-pen and again in a hospital room at St. Mary's when my son's body was failing and I told the nursing staff that one epi-pen may not have been enough and his body could still shut down completely and they listened and agreed and quickly transferred him down to ICU.

 I want to tell you about my friends who prayed for us.  They prayed so hard.  And I want to tell you about the ones who showed up with coffee and little gifts and treats for our son and with wine and an amazing dinner for me and my husband.  I can't even begin to explain how good non-hospital coffee tastes.  It taught me how important it is to be the person who just shows up.

And I want to talk about shoes and clothes and spring break plans and recipes I've pinned that I'll probably never make. because I've realized that's my measure of me.  It's not deep and it's not life-changing and there are a million better uses of my time and brain power but it's how I know that I'm getting myself back.  Man, I want myself back.  I want to go online today and waste an hour looking at swimsuits and dresses on Nordstrom and coffee tables on Wayfair and art prints on Minted.  I love that shit.  I want so badly to care about that again.  

Our boy is being seen at the Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology Clinic at Boston Children's Hospital in a few weeks.  It's terrifying to know that we might open up pandora's box but it also scares me to know that they'll probably have no more answers than our doctors here in Richmond have for us.  I know in a few days I'll care more about planning cute outfits to pack for our upcoming trip to Boston and less about why we need to fly there in the first place.  I'll focus on my travel day outfit and less on the actual first flight I'll take alone with my allergy kid.  I'll download movies to the ipad and action plans for my wallet.  Then I'll order us both a new outfit so we'll be the best dressed pair on the flight.  That's how I cope :)


I also want to make sure I let you know about the amazing deal at Beautycounter that ends today.  

Score a FREE Rejuvenating Eye Cream + FREE Lip Conditioner with your purchase of $150.  And if you become a Band of Beauty Member you can also receive a FREE Soothing Face Oil and FREE SHIPPING + $22.50 in store credit for your next purchase. 

That's just $179 (but a $353.45 value)


Pin ThisShare on Tumblr

Finding my Tribe

February 6, 2017

I remember sitting on my front porch a few years ago while my kids were really little, I had just finished reading The Red Tent, and I felt so envious of the women in the story.  I was jealous of their shared purpose and bond.  Their automatic entrance into the tribe of womanhood; passing along stories and chores and time with each other and their daughters.  The story focused on Dinah, daughter of Jacob and sister to Joseph, from the bible stories you're probably familiar with.  This book also touched upon the life of her mother, Leah and her sister wives who shared all of the above, plus a husband.  The author didn't sweep over the jealousy and hurt that came with such a situation,  but, as I sat there alone on my porch I couldn't help but think that their feelings of jealousy and inadequacy were surely less painful than my current state of loneliness.  Sitting alone in the driveway of my beautiful air-conditioned suburban house watching my two beautiful well-dressed children play while supper was baking in the oven and my husband was on his way home from work I was supremely jealous of a tribe of biblical sister-wives.  What the heck.  I sure as hell didn't want to share my kitchen much less my husband with other women but I envied their closeness and I wasn't sure how to reconcile that.

When my oldest was a baby I was automatically invited into playgroup.  For seven months each Tuesday or so we went to someone's family room and set our babies down on blankets and drank coffee.  We brought playpens to friends houses for dinner and planned porch happy hours while the babies slept.  We all lived in the same small town and had babies the same age.  It was fun.  It was easy.  When we moved to Richmond I reconnected with some old friends and once again we met up on Tuesdays.  A collection of moms with now toddlers all the same age showed up at the designated playground to let our wobbly children swing and slide in the company of others.  We brought snacks and growing bellies and newborns and portable plastic potties in our trunks.  When my two grew a bit bigger I was gifted the freedom of two and a half hours twice a week in the form of preschool drop off.  It became harder to plan playdates as we tried to fit varying preschool days, (are you a MWF, TuWTh or a TuTh?), unpredictable nap schedules, and clean bills of health into schedules that never seemed to connect.  As the two days turned into four and then five I found myself with more free time but still unable to get enough done.  I was thankful for those kid free mornings but I was also lonely.

I watched what seemed like everyone on social media "find their tribe" so why hadn't I found mine?  I was navigating the growing pains that come with aging out of the mommy groups but not yet settled into in the childhood teams of PTA or Little League or Swim team.  Some women bounce right from one to the next but I had trouble meshing "me" with "mommy" so I was never sure if we were here for the kids or for each other.  Maybe it was both all along and I'm the one who was just too tired or unsure to get that.  Maybe meeting for drinks in restaurants would have helped push us past feeding times in sandboxes. 

Why was it that I was doing all the right things: scheduling playdates, going on walks in the neighborhood, attending preschool functions, but I still felt lonely?  No doubt it was me.  I remember an episode of Sex and the City where they likened men ready for marriage to cabs driving around with their green light on.  If a man had on his red light it didn't matter how perfect you were together, a long term relationship just wasn't going to happen with him.  But the next day, his green light switches on and poof he's engaged six months later to a girl just like yourself.

I think in order for me to turn on my green light I had to start making friends for me not for my kids.  And it doesn't have to be some "tribe" to be my people.  Damn, I wish I had figured this out sooner.  Or maybe I figured it out just when I really needed to. 

Like with any of my ramblings, I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say here (do I ever really have a point? Probably not.) but I feel like there is something in my words that you might need to hear this morning.  That being lonely is okay.  That doing something about it is better.  That it's okay if your whole entire world is centered around your kids but it's also okay if it's not.  That maybe you don't have to find your "tribe" but rather just a few good friends who show up.

Maybe I should stop waiting to meet this fictitious group of amazing women just sitting around waiting on me to show up.  My tribe doesn't have to come to me or make logistical sense or send me an invitation.  Maybe my tribe is who I gather together.

Pin ThisShare on Tumblr

Favorite Tops Under $100

February 3, 2017

Back to regularly scheduled posting!  I've got warmer temps and spring break trips on my brain so I've rounded up some of my favorite tops and dresses for under $100 for you today! I'm loving all the off the shoulder, scallops, and ruffles!  And of course, my favorite nautical color scheme blue and white.  Ahh, I wish these would all magically appear in my closet.  For real.

one || two || three || four || five || six || seven || eight || nine || ten || eleven || twelve || thirteen || fourteen || fifteen || sixteen ||  seventeen || eighteen

affiliate links used

Pin ThisShare on Tumblr

Beautycounter Richmond Virginia

February 2, 2017

I know I've been talking about beautycounter a ton lately but it's because I'm so excited about it!  I'll be the first to admit I looked at all of these companies with a very skeptical eye for years.  I assumed that if it was legit then it would be sold at a brick and mortar store.  And then I found out that it was.  First a pop-up shop on Nantucket, partnerships with Serena &amp, Lily, J.Crew, GOOP, and Target; all places I already know and trust.  If they vetted and believe in this brand then it was worth me investigating for myself.  And the more I looked into it the more amazed I was with the company culture and the products.

There is a reason you are seeing a rise in this type of business. People want and need options.  More and more families are wanting or needing to find new and creative ways to add income to their monthly budgets without adding in additional childcare costs.  Not surprisingly, women are finding ways to meet the immediate needs of their families like new tennis shoes or matching outfits for holidays or cell phone bills and school tuition, growing food and medical and housing costs, or achieving long term financial goals like college tuition and full retirement accounts. 

Beautycounter believes that the product and the message is best told friend to friend and realized the future of sales is in convenience and direct access.  People want to go online to find out what's good and then order it.  That order might come at 3am while you're nursing or on your lunch break at the office or while you sit in carpool lines.  It's bringing the products to you in a way that works around your needs and schedule.  You know, like amazon prime or Nordstrom online have mastered and companies like Blockbuster failed to embrace.

I also happen to have the most incredible team of all time (#teamawesome) and we're hosting an event in Richmond this Monday, February 6th at East Coast Provisions in Carytown.  I'd love for you to join us.  There is zero pressure or commitment and it's not a sales event.  It's just a great chance to hang out with a great group of women and have some drinks on us.  We'll have products and information on hand if you want to sample anything and we'll be talking about work, and families, and husbands, and the damn weather and our favorite face cream to look younger and all the other normal things women talk about when they get together.  We'd love to have you.
Beautycounter is more than a company, we're a movement for making the beauty industry better. We do that with valuable information, safer products, and your help. Interested in learning more about how to get involved? I'm also more than happy to chat with you individually about the mission, the products or the business opportunity.  You certainly don't need to be local to Richmond to join my team.  In fact, right now we represent Richmond, Nashville, Philadelphia, Miami and as of yesterday Newport, RI (welcome Erica!)

And we're on the road!  Let me know if you're interested in attending the event in Richmond or in one of these cities and I'll get you added to the list! 

February 11-Jacksonville, FL
February 11-Columbus, OH
February 25-Toronto, ON
February 25-San Antonio, TX
February 25-Pittsburgh, PA
February 25-Grand Rapids, MI
March 4-Cincinnati, OH
March 4- Calgary, AB
March 18-Los Angeles, CA
March 18- Framingham, MA
March 25-Charlotte, NC

Pin ThisShare on Tumblr


February 1, 2017

Dang it, I missed January again.  It's the official month to kick start new habits and work in fresh new ideas and every year I seem to slip away from the blog this time of year.  I think it's because I'm actually busy doing.  Cleaning out closets and organizing new toys.  Getting back into a routine.  And breathing.  January is my cleanse month to step back a little bit and figure out what is working and what isn't in my life.  To reevaluate priorities and time management.  This month has been full but I'm glad it's over.  February is my new fresh start.

Lots of illness.  I spent about four weeks straight on some sort of antibiotic or another.  Strep throat-bronchitis-sinus infection-plueritis.  Y'all.  That sucked.  My girl was battling some yucky virus followed by my sweet boy with strep throat, sinus issues and a stint in the PICU last week.  More on that later; it deserves it's own post.  We lost my husband's mentor and former boss to cancer a few weeks ago and it's hit him really hard.  But true to the circle of life, a friend had a baby.  Babies are the freaking best and I can't wait until we're all totally healthy in my house so I can go snuggle that little itty-bitty.

So I'm doing awesome and awful all at the same time and I'm learning to love that mix.  Because it means I'm here and I'm showing up the best way I can for the best things I can think of in the best ways I know how.

 Work and Work.  I'm so thankful for this one.  Real Estate has taken a front seat priority in 2017 with beautycounter in second place and the blog delegated to third.  The opportunity to juggle these in with my home life and the blog is a huge blessings and I am so thankful for that.  You might be curious how I'm balancing it all professionally.  I'm going to try to write a real post on that.  I'm not doing it perfectly but I'm happy to touch on how I make it work.  Mostly I compartmentalize rather than multi-task so certain things get my full attention at certain times.  The truth is I've had to let the blog take a major back seat in order to prioritize the other two for a while.  After taking care of my family and myself, selling Real Estate is my job and it directly affects others with immediate and lasting impact so it automatically gets the top spot. It's an incredible career and offers me the flexibility to work the hours I want with clients that turn into friends.  I love the project based timeline of events and the immediate end game.  Walking my clients through the process of buying or selling a house is such a high, it's like winning a big game.  But winning isn't everything and I need balance to feel fulfilled.

 So if Real Estate is my job, then Beautycounter is my hobby.  I literally tried it initially because one of my best friends asked me to do it with her for fun.   Much like some women join a gym, or book club, or play tennis together; talking makeup and skin care products over coffee is my jam.  Real Estate is where I get to exercise my competitive muscle and compete against both myself and my colleagues.  But it's a competition ALL THE TIME. While that fulfills my need for success, I wouldn't be happy with just that measure of my worth.  The same reason people have passions and hobbies outside of their career, Beautycounter allows me to maintain my sharp networking and marketing skills while working alongside other women for a common goal. We are working together to better the beauty industry for our children so that one day they won't have to read labels in the personal care products they buy.  It's a hobby that pays me to make it a part of my life instead of the other way around.  Plus, I get to work with my friends to give other women a chance at the same job flexibility and potential monetary contribution to their families that I have been afforded. Oh, and we have Bono.  (Bono and his wife are investors in the company).
Now the blog.  My wonderfully perfectly imperfect space.  It's neither work nor a hobby but something in between.  It may be the ball that has to sit out for a while but it always comes back in to play.  After a break I always miss it and get excited about sharing on here again.  I like that feeling.   I think a little time away can be a good thing and it leaves me ready to come back fresh!

And if you're still here and still up for reading, welcome back!  I hope you're 2017 has been off to a great start.  And if not, let's cheers to #februaryisthenewjanuary with a fresh new month today!

Pin ThisShare on Tumblr

New Dining Room Chairs

January 24, 2017

 Compensation for this post was provided by Kohl's.  All selections and opinions are my own.

Navy Blue Dining Room Chairs

I'm so excited to share a small update I made to our dining room just before Christmas.  Kohl's contacted me about working with them to showcase their selection of chairs so I went right to the website to check out the occasional chairs and dining chairs in hopes I would find something I loved to replace our old cane chairs in the dining room.  I love the look of fully upholstered chairs and knew that was just what our space was missing. 

My first instinct was to go with a soft grey or white like this one or this one because I love the look of light upholstery. But I also want this room to stand out and stand up against lots of use so I knew I needed to go bolder and darker.  The cream colored seats on our old chairs were so impossible to keep clean.  I'm so glad I took a risk with the color!  I absolutely love the way the azure blue in the Juliette chairs tie in the navy bookshelves, the glass door and all the touches of blue in the adjacent rooms.

The chairs look much lighter in these pictures, but, in person they're a much closer to match to the hale navy built-ins.  I think the fabric catches the light in a way the paint doesn't.  I was provided with a gift card to purchase a chair so that my shopping experience would match what everyone else would get and I could give it a fair review.  I spent about an hour browsing the site before placing my order.  Most of that was hemming and hawing over the color choice.  They arrived in two main pieces plus the four legs in less than a week.  Shopping online was so easy and then my husband was able to put all four together in about 30-45 minutes.  He did use his own tools rather than what was provided in the packaging in order to get a firmer grip on the screws.  The small tool provided was hard to use.

I am so thrilled with the way this room is finally coming together.  It's been really hard for me to find the right balance of casual and formal in this space.  It's the first thing you see when you walk in our house and I'm so excited that it's now a space I love to use and not just a pass through to other rooms!

I've also got a few sales coded for you so you can score a great deal on chairs too!
  • Home Sale - $10 off $50 home purchase with promo code HOME10 1/27-2/5 
  • Kohl's Charge holders - 15% off 1/29-2/1
  • General Public offer - 20% off $75 purchase, 15% off all purchases 2/2-2/5

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.These affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.

Pin ThisShare on Tumblr

Winter Sale

January 2, 2017

The Beautycounter Winter Sale has some great deals available so I snagged the purifying charcoal mask and another bottle of the hydrating oil during the first day of the sale so it would get here in time to start the 30-day #BCSpaChallenge.

I absolutely can't live without the hydrating oil and the sale price is better than my consultant price so I signed Matthew up to get the deal on the oil and the $16 lipgloss!  The oil makes my face so velvety smooth; I put it on morning and night and over my makeup for an afternoon pick me up!  BUT, as much as I love the hydrating oil literally every single other person whom I've shared the oils with to try out swears by the Soothing Oil.  Just wanted to put that out there.

At Beautycounter we put the mission of awareness and change in the beauty industry in the forefront.  As consultants we are not trained on how to sell the products but rather we are encouraged to educate and empower women and to help lead the way for changes in Washington.  The products speak for themselves so we use our facetime to talk about the broader issue of safety.  We have to look out for each other and share the truth about what's in the food we eat, the cleaning products we use in our homes and the products we put on our bodies and our children. That being said, when my girlfriend first started talking to me about BC I was intrigued by the company and it's mission and it's pretty packaging and I jumped down the rabbit hole online trying to educate myself as much as possible about it's claims. There are lots of reviews and pictures of models with perfect glowy skin and a host of youtube videos featuring pretty girls teaching you a trick or two about different looks you can create with beautycounter makeup.  But what I wanted to see but couldn't find were good old fashion before and after shots.  Like, okay I'm listening; this face stuff is good for me and what I've been using is bad for me but does it work? 

I decided to put my walk where my talk is and bare my face, my bare face, to give you a little before and after eye candy this morning.   I took a picture of myself before doing a charcoal mask and following up with the hydrating oil and then another picture after to show you just how much my skin improved in less than 20 minutes.  The mask removed toxins and cleaned out my pores and the hydrating oil restored my skin's natural glow.

 First, I washed my face with the Nourishing Cream Cleanser.  Then I applied the Purifying Charcoal Mask and let it dry and sit on my face for about 10 minutes or so.  Then I washed it off with warm water and followed up with the Nourishing Cream Exfoliator.  I gave my face a spritz with the Rosewater Spray (a free gift when I signed my husband up with a band of beauty membership) and then liberally applied the Hydrating Oil all over starting on my forehead and then each of my cheeks and working my way out and down my face.  I finished with a pump of the Nourishing Night Cream because it was bedtime.

BEFORE (Image on the left):  Not bad y'all.  Especially considering I'm 35 and used to bake myself in the sun for a decade.  But you can see freckles and slight wrinkles stretching all across my forehead.  The skin on my forehead and cheeks looks parched and a bit rough and appears to be sagging down just a bit.  I had some blemishes on my chin that are red and angry.  Even my lips look a bit dry.

AFTER (Image on the left):  Not perfect, but dang the lines on my forehead are basically gone.  My freckles are still there but they're lighter and my pores are much smaller and less noticeable.  My cheeks are bit more plump making my face appear lifted and my lips look fuller (from the rehydration of the oil).

You can actually see all the little tiny black dots all over my nose and forehead and chin.  Those are my pores letting the charcoal in to detox and pull out dirt and impurities and toxins.  You can also see in the image on the right how the mask is literally pulling my skin taught as it dries.  Amazing.

Join our private facebook group or send me an email if you want to learn about the products, the mission, or some easy ways to score free products!

Pin ThisShare on Tumblr

Pretty Dresses All Around

December 31, 2016

I've had the best time shopping for dresses recently.  I'm such a jeans girl but every time I need a dress for a special occasion I head to Nordstrom and I remember why I love them so much.  I can pop into the store and typically find something for any occasion in my price point.  Our store is small and doesn't have a large dress department but thankfully I can hop online and with free two-day shipping still get an awesome dress even when I've waited until the last minute to shop!

I wore this stunner one-shoulder long black dress to a family wedding a few weeks ago.  It's perfect for a winter wedding or gala when you want to look glam but not totally bare.  Y'all, I cannot say enough good things about this pretty dress.  LOVE this dress so very much and I got so many compliments on it!  It also has a little bit of a train in the back which makes it super fun for dancing.

What a beautiful wedding; if only I could have stayed all night enjoying it.  My mistake for bringing kids to an evening wedding.  Maybe we'll try again when the next cousin gets married :)

I am also so excited about this floral dress I found at Nordstrom yesterday!  It's perfect for two wedding showers I have coming up this winter; both of which I needed something pretty and feminine and slightly dressier than my typical go-to sweater dress and boots outfits.  I typically think of summer when I think about dresses but I love a good moody bolder floral to brighten up the cold weather.

They didn't have my size in the store so we clipped the back a bit to see how it would look with a more fitted middle true to the silhouette.  You can see some bunching in the top that should go away with the size down.



You really can't have too many little black dresses and I'm 99% sure I'm going to go back and buy this one.  It's just too pretty to leave behind. And it fits so dang well.  The material is thicker so it's smooths it all out and has pockets.


Oh, and this dress.  Oh, this dress.  Its full on glitter and sparkles from afar in a way that you just can't imagine from the picture.  I have absolutely zero place to wear it or reason to buy it.  I'm picturing it for my enganged cousin.

Thank you to Nordstrom for partnering on this post.

Pin ThisShare on Tumblr

Julia Ryan© Theme by Blog Milk