Summer Midi

I’ve found that one of the most flattering sundress styles is the midi length sundress. It’s such a perfect length for Summer, and if you select your midi in a lightweight fabric, the dress actually keeps you super cool.

Since I’m short, I always like to pair my midi sundresses with an open toed shoe to elongate my legs. I feel this style actually gives me a lot of length and like an optical illusion, makes me look so much taller than my 4’10” frame.

I paired this amazing baby blue cotton sundress from the Loft Outlet (ps it has pockets!!!) with my go-to Spring/Summer Marc Fisher espadrilles. Wearing a tan shoe also helps to make your legs look leaner and longer, and heels always give you the best posture, so I love how flattering (and easy to walk in) these are.

Accessory wise I wanted to keep things simple and let the dress speak for itself. I threw on my Bourbon & Bowties bangles along with the FL Kate Spade necklace and I was done!

I’ve been carrying this Henri Bendel Crosby crossbody since James got it for me for Mother’s Day and the Sea Salt color goes with everything! It’s got a great amount of room in it for a lipgloss, cash, keys, cellphone and sunnies, so it’s the perfect size for a small bag without being toooo tiny.

What I love about this whole look is that I could easily take this outfit from day to night by added a cropped moto-jacket and dark lips.

While this actual sundress is sold out currently. I’ve linked some of my absolute FAVORITE midi sundress options for under $50 as well as the rest of my outfit details below.

 

Have you tried the midi length sundress yet?

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OTS + Cotton + Stripes.

OTS (off the shoulder) tops are SO my absolute favorite trend right now. I love that I can show off a little collar bone, and still keep my chubby little arms hidden under some sleeves. I also love that all OTS tops regardless of material, print, or color look so chic and fashion forward.

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When you mix the trendiness of an OTS top, with classic black and white stripes AND comfortable stretchy cotton, it creates a year round staple you’ll be rocking for the entirety of 2017 and possibly even 2018. When I found this one for $19 at Target I was SO excited and had to purchase it.

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The length on this top makes it look amazing paired with any color of denim, but it’s also sleek enough to tuck into any high-waisted skirt you may have for a dressier occasion.

While I’m planning many more looks over the next few months with this top, I decided to keep it more laid back in this look with distressed mid-wash skinny jeans, braided detail boots, and a bold lip.

I like to keep my accessories pretty simple these days, and this Kendra Scott Tassel necklace literally matches everything I own, and helps elevate looks to a more polished level, when I want to look put-together without tryingĀ too hard. My bourbon & bowties bracelets were the perfect addition to my wrist to bring out a little personality with the simple options.

Lately I’ve also been really into this “ear crawler” style of earrings. They have all the simplicity of a stud and look great with anything from tee shirts to full on cocktail dresses. Since I’m all about an ear party too, I added my lightening bolt stud in my lower cartilage to make the accessories just a little more 90’s throwback.

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Finishing this outfit off with some awesome boots, that I probably am wearing out (ha ha) was a great choice to run after the kids in. This is also one of my favorite ways to wear my hair. Throw half of it up on the top of your head, and BAM! you’re stylish while only spending 3 minutes doing your hair!

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I linked my lip color in this post too, because I had a TON of questions about it on Insta, it’s a great dark color option for the spring/summer month’s because it’s not TOO deep of a color.

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Before I Die…I want to Live

before i die wall

before i die wall

Have you ever made a bucket list? Have you ever THOUGHT of making a bucket list? I haven’t, and here’s why. I never like to think about death. I know that sounds pretty freaking obvious, but hear me out for a bit. It’s hard for me to list things I want to do “before I die” because I just want to live while I’m alive. hahaha sounds like a Bon Jovi song I know.

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Since experiencing postpartum depression with Brando, I feel more aware of my life, and realize that I need to not just have a desire to live in the moment, but prepare for the future and make myself some real goals.

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Visiting this wall in Downtown Saint Pete with my sister, who is also battling depression was really meaningful to me today. While the chalk didn’t work, and I hadn’t really prepared an answer that settled with me the right way, it still made me think.

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In this wall stands so many different stories, so many different goals (ex: sleep with a 27 year old…Sing like Whitney…Find Myself…), so many different people. Yet we all shared a common experience at that wall, we all stopped and thought, and even if they were meaningless, we all for a brief moment- felt our own mortality. So while I couldn’t just think of ONE thing to put on a wall, I made a list.

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Before I Die…

I will visit France.
I will watch my boys fall in love with someone.
I will own a house.
I will read Don Quixote.
I will get the “Rules of Attraction” tattoo I’ve been wanting.
I will get down to my goal weight (at least once just to say I did it and know that experience for myself.)
I will make macaroons.
I will look up.
I will visit my grandfather’s grave.
I will write my book.
I will not stop loving, ever.

While I know there’s so much more than this list that I want out of my life. It’s nice to have some goals to reach for. I feel like all of these things are things I’m capable of achieving, and I look forward to checking all these things on my list one day.
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What do you want to do before you die?

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Hello Floral Skirt & The Hello Kitty Cafe

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While it may seem unseasonable to most, Spring is basically here in Florida and I could not be more ecstatic. The weather here is nice a breezy daily, and warm-but not too hot. Last weekend the Hello Kitty Cafe stopped by International Plaza and I HAD to wear this new floral skirt I got for the sweet treat adventure.

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This skirt is great. (similar)  The elastic waistband allows movement and stretch, so I can continue to wear it comfortably as I start to shed this extra baby weight that’s been hanging around my mid-section. To keep the skirt more casual for a trip to the mall, I paired it with a simple white tank top and a structured mid-rinse denim jacket.

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I finished off the look with these adorable lace-up ballet flats, so I could easily shop around the mall when I was finished waiting in line for the Hello Kitty Cafe.

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For those unfamiliar with the Hello Kitty Cafe, let me divulge. The Hello Kitty Cafe is a food truck painted in pink and serving up treats every little girl (and grown woman) dreams of. I grabbed a 4 pack of petit fours cakes that were adorably decorated Sanrio style. The cafe also offered: Mini Bow Cookies and Rainbow Macaroons which were hard to pass up, but I stayed good to my one cheat.

My outfit matched the truck perfectly as you can see, and I had such an awesome time. Everyone in line at the truck was in a great mood, ready to experience something cool, original, and super fun. Me and Brando made friends with the three guys behind us in line and all laughed and talked about what we’d be purchasing.

The petit fours tasted just as amazing as they looked, and I know for sure next time the Hello Kitty Cafe comes to town, I’ll totally be matching in pink again, and be grabbing those macaroons too! <3

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Going, Going, Blonde.

from dark brown hair to blonde

Anyone else love to make major hair changes when they go through a huge change? (Raises Hand) I recently made some major changes in my life, like a WHOLE lot, and to celebrate my newfound attitude I totally flipped the script and went from dark brown hair, to ashy blonde.

What Changed?

Life wise A LOT. I went through this serious Post-Pardom Depression where I didn’t want to shop and all I really wanted to do was sleep and eat and drink once the babies were in bed, and it was icky. As a result of the depression, I became completely unhappy in every aspect of my life, stopped blogging (you may have noticed), and blamed my marriage for the most part. James and I separated very briefly, but thankfully he’s a trooper and once I was able to sober up, clear my head from the fog, and see what and WHO really mattered, he was still there by my side.

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I started and finished real estate school and passed my state licensing exam on the first try! Little known fact about me: I actually had my license very briefly in 2007 when I was 19. But the housing market basically collapsed while I was in real estate school, and no one wanted to buy a house from a 19 year old when the economy was in shambles, so it wasn’t really a successful venture at that point in my life.

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Having something to get up and get out and get ready for really brings me joy and I can’t wait to start flipping some houses! <3 PS- Holla if you want to move to Orlando yo, I’ll find ya a great deal šŸ˜‰

To celebrate all these amazing changes, and my new lifestyle going blonde was something I really wanted to do.Ā I was blonde when I started this blog and going back blonde has been something I’ve been considering over the last year. It’s a huge commitment, because to lighten my hair from dark to ash without having breakage it takes about 3 appointments over a 3 week span.

The biggest thing I can recommend is making sure you chose a stylist with a lot of experience with blondes, high quality products, and someone that you trust. When it comes to hair, it’s important to be direct, let the stylist know exactly what you want with plenty of pictures to back your dreams up so you’re all on the same page.

I have a good friend Jen who works at Eyes on You Salon & Spa, I’ve known Jen for more than 10 years, and knew I could trust her with my locks. Over the past 3 weeks, we’ve spent 3-4 hours a week together getting my tresses lightened and it’s been such a blast.

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For starters, the salon uses Olaplex, which helps maintain your hairs integrity while it’s lightening. This is SO important for me because I didn’t want to lose any length during the coloring process. It’s just an extra $25 for the treatment, and I can’t recommend it enough! My hair felt so soft and smooth when it was all done!

from dark brown hair to blonde

Jen has one of those easy to chat with personality’s (as do all the other ladies at this salon), so going in for a 3 hr appointment actually flies by. They make you feel as relaxed and comfortable as you do hanging out with friends in your own house. (plus you know, your kids aren’t running around ROAR-ing like Dinosaurs at the salon, so it’s a little more refreshing)

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Jen also didn’t rush through our appointments. She took extra time to hand paint on most of my lightening treatments because I personally prefer a little root growth. She did the most perfectly blended natural looking ombre blonde hair I’ve seen. I love how my colors look natural and not so “bottle blonde”. The time she took to put in the extra work really paid off and I couldn’t be more appreciative!

from brown hair to blonde hair

If you’d like to refresh your look for spring and are in the Tampa area, give the ladies at Eyes On You a ring, they will make you look and feel amazing! <3Ā If you book an appointment with Jen and tell her I referred you (Brittany Clark or XoXo,B) she’ll hook you up with $20 off any treatment of $50 or more! Jen can also do a wide variety of treatment options including event make-up&hair, spray tanning, and individual lash extensions. Ā Just LOOK at the amazing before and after of these lashes (the top is the after)!

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DIY Flannel Placemats

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BoursinCheese #CollectiveBias

Holiday entertaining is one of my favorite things about the holiday season. Getting my house decorated, baking, and having good friends over for ornament and gift exchanges is just so much fun for me. One of the major decorations I love during the holiday season, is Tablescapes.
Tablescaping is somewhat of a new field for me as we JUST (3 months ago) got an actual dining room table as opposed to the small bar table we had been using for the past 3 years. Holiday season, starting with Halloween has been such a blast coming up with new themed tablescape ideas for each holiday. This year, for Christmas, I decided to go with a “Christmas in the Mountains” themed table along with an incredibly delicious cheese plate featuring BoursinĀ® Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese.

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My family lived in North Carolina for 5 years, and during the holidays when it would snow and fireplaces would be lit, is when I miss the mountains the most down here in sunny Florida. A country themed table, filled with lumberjack plaid is the perfect way to pay homage to my past while celebrating the holidays with new friends and family.

To create this table, I wanted some amazing cloth plaid placemats, but I didn’t necessarily want to spend the $9 per placemat that retailers are charging so I got thrifty. I bought 1 yard of a great machine washable red&green flannel fabric and liquid stitch-which is also safe to wash.

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I used last years Christmas placemat to trace the size I needed, then cut out 4 rectangles from the flannel.

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After my mats were cut, I outlined each side with liquid stitch and folded the seam over to create a “seam” so that all the exteriors were perfectly neat.

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I cut the interior corners on the seams at an angle so each mat laid flat and there was no bulging at the edges when they are turned over and used.

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After allowing my completed placemats to dry for 30 minutes, they were then ready to be used!

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This craft was so simple and ran me $7 total compared to the $36 it would have been to buy similar ones in the store! Plus it took less than an hour to complete including dry time!

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To finish off my Christmas Cabin tablescape I added a great wood bowl filled with cinnamon pinecones and mini christmas ornaments, then placed these amazing vintage candlelight lanterns that my mother gave to me on each side of the bowl for great symmetry.

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Once the table was complete I needed something delicious for me and holiday guests to enjoy at the gorgeous tablescape I created! Since having my second child in June, in order to loose baby weight I have been living a low-carb lifestyle. I LOVE the energy the mass amounts of protein I get on this lifestyle, and one of my new go-to snacks is a charcuterie spread.

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The perfect cheese tray is all about balance. It needs to be just as visually appealing as it is tasty, which is why I always choose high contrasting items to arrange on my cheese tray. I center my choices around one good cheese, for this appetizer I selected BoursinĀ® Garlic & Fine Herbs Cheese.

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The Boursin line of cheeses is great, you can find all the varieties easily in the fine cheese cooler at Walmart. I’m a sucker for anything garlicy, but they also have these other amazing flavors: BoursinĀ® Red Chili Pepper, BoursinĀ® Cranberry & Spice, BoursinĀ® Basic & Chive, BoursinĀ® Cracked Black Pepper, and BoursinĀ® Cranberry & Apple that are equally delicious. Delicous and full of a surprising WOW factor, BoursinĀ® cheese is creamy and crumbly and perfect for guests at any gathering you plan this holiday season. Now you can enjoy it even more with a special $1.00 cash back coupon on Ibotta!

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After my cheese was selected I chose: dried cranberries, flax multigrain crackers, bacon, grapes, fresh cilantro, and roasted almonds as great low-carb compliments to the cheese. I arranged them on my tray in an alternating sweet-salty patterned circle around the cheese, and garnished with the fresh cilantro to add some great color.

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This charcuterie spread was a HIT and my holiday guests were wowed at the amazing flavors the BoursinĀ® cheese literally brought to the table! I love how such minimal effort goes into a cheese tray, yet it’s always a party hit and absolutely a wonderful option for those guests like myself who are still watching their waistlines during the holidays. Even better, the wood cheese board looked perfectly rustic atop my Christmas cabin themed table!

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Do you have tablescape themes & matching recipes for holiday gatherings? Share them below!

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Messy Moments & Life.


ā€œThis post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.ā€

The adjustment to two children has been a chaotic one for sure. Cash was such a low maintenance child and continues to be one, while Brando on the other hand wants 100% of the attention 99.9% of the time. There are days full of overwhelm, sleepless nights, and days where I literally can’t even fathom leaving the house with both boys, but then I’ll have those precious gleaming moments that fill my heart with so much joy it makes all the turmoil so incredibly worth it.

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Some of my favorite first moments with Cash were: him getting his first tooth, crawling for the first time, and the moment he said “Mama”. The first time Cash met his baby brother, and then weeks later the first time he actually gave him a kiss melted my heart completely. It reminded me that I gave him a friend for life, and that makes the struggle so worth it. My children’s first smiles were so magical, the moment you know it’s not gas, but in fact them just being completely happy being in your arms, they should bottle the kind of happiness that brings a parent.

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The funniest first moments with both boys were our first “champagne showers” if you know what I mean. šŸ˜‰ Olivia Wilde said it best when she said, “Being a mother has taught me many things, one of them being that every grown man has at one time, peed in their own face.”

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Brando has recently started rolling on his belly, which means he’s one step closer to being a crawler, and as much as I love these first moments, hitting each one means my sweet baby boy is one moment closer to not being a baby anymore. So I cherish these moments as much as I can.

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I absorb & appreciate the good days when I’m full of energy for the park, when I’m not struggling to keep up, when my husband leaves an iced coffee drink for me in the fridge for me to wake up to. What I have learned, as cliche as it sounds, is that life is just a culmination of all these little precious moments, and it’s so important to appreciate them as they happen, so that the memories of these moments don’t fade. I want to always remember that there’s this HUGE period of my children’s lives where all they really want or need is who I am, and for me to play, laugh, and love them.

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Waterwipes understands these moments, and wants to help spread the word that these moments are invaluable. Chemical free, made with 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract, they are the safest wipes on the market for your little ones. I love this video that they created to share our special moments, try not to tear up watching it, as you remember your sweet little babes first moments. I dare you.

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Fall Accessories

Since it’s still 90 degrees out on a daily basis here in Florida, I can’t exactly pull out my Ugg boots and scarves just yet, but I still want to incorporate elements of the new season’s fashion into my attire. In order to do this I’m adding fall trend accessories to my outfits, so I can still enjoy a little wardrobe refresh.

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For Summer, I wore this H&M Alligator tank top alone with this light denim pencil skirt from old navy and topped it off with a casual black espadrille flat. To mix it up a tad I added this fabulously trendy antique buckled black belt, a camel slouchy open-front cardigan from Target, Chuck Taylors, and these GORGOEOUS Kendra Scott dangles I got in this month’s Rocksbox.

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Have you heard about Rocksbox? I did a series on them last spring and I am SO excited to be part of the Rocksbox It Girl community again! Rocksbox is a wonderful premium jewelry subscription box. For $19.99 a month you get 3 pieces of designer jewelry to try out and wear as often as you like, when you’re done wearing the items, justĀ simply send the jewelry back and they’ll ship you out another set of 3!

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If you fall in absolute LOVE with some of the pieces, fret not, you can actually buy them at extremely discounted rates and still get your next box! I’m excited to share with you the other two pieces I received, (spoiler alert: Nicole Richie & House of Harlow 1960 is a definite must have) but until then you can use this code: xoxobxoxo to get your first month with Rocksbox free to see if you love it as much as I do!

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Are you experiencing cooler weather yet? Give me all the fall details! <3

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Hip Mom Hair – in 5 Minutes!

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I’ll be the first to admit I’m TERRIBLE at doing my hair. I wash and condition it every other day as recommended, but when it comes to day-to-day hairstyles, I typically just have air-dried hair with my bangs bobby-pinned to one side, and I have super thin hair, so honestly most of the time it isn’t even brushed. I say I’m going for that “messy look”, but in actuality a lot of the times it just comes off as messy and unpolished.

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In an effort to make myself feel super confident as my face starts to round from this pregnancy, and since I’m basically just wearing stretchy cotton on a daily basis now, I’ve started to put forth the extra effort to finish off my looks with cute and simple hairstyles. This is one of my favorite go-to casual hairstyles, that only takes 5 minutes to pull off and makes me look like one of the “cool” moms as opposed to the hot mess I normally am.

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All you need for this hairstyle is : 2 ponytail holders, a brush, a comb, hairspray and texturizing spray.

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First, wake up with messy hair like I do daily, then spray in your texture spray and brush it out. After you’ve brushed your hair, use the comb to part your hair all the way down the center. Once you have your hair parted, gently & loosely braid each side, securing each braid with a ponytail holder. Pull random strands of hair out of place around the frame of your face, and pull sides of each braid to loosen it more. Finally, finish off the look with a lightweight hairspray and run your hand through your bangs if you have them.

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There you have it! Cool and Hip hair that’s perfect for a music festival or an all organic picnic lunch with your little one. I love how this style slims my face, makes my eyes stand out, and feels super fun.

Braids or Platts,

B

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Berry Pickin’ Good!

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I know my way around a Strawberry plant. Ever since I was little I’ve picked strawberries, my great-grandfather was a strawberry and citrus farmer growing up so we never had a shortage of some type of fresh Florida fruit!

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Until I can get my own garden growing as good as my grandmother does, I want to at least maintain a sense of ethical farming practices and show my children the wonder of nature. Showing them where our food comes from, teaching them how it’s grown and harvested, and sharing with them a lifetime of memories surrounded by delicious foodĀ like I had as a child is really important to me.

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Along with shortcake season at Parksdale, certain farms in the Plant City area offer “U-Pick Season”, where for next to nothing, you can go onto their farms and harvest your own berries. This is such a great way to connect with your family and get a taste of down home farm-to-table life!

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We purchased a cardboard flat for $1, and the farm owners allowed us to pick by the quart for .50! In total we paid $5.00 for the enormous amount of berries we picked, and burned some calories we can use to splurge on chocolate covered strawberries tonight!

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Cash had a blast! He ran up and down the rows of strawberries, stopping and pointing at them, and nibbling on freshly picked berries. He is in love with strawberries and was so proud to be “helping” as he carried the quart we were filling with berries I was picking. It was a wonderful memory, and I can’t wait to go back next year with a second little boy to create memories with too!

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Spivey Farms in Plant City is continuing it’s U-pick season through April. Check their website for details and daily hours of operation.

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(OOTD Details: Black & White Striped Pocket Tee J.Crew Factory $22.50; Light Wash Denim Shorts Target $15; Floral Statement Necklace Target $16.99; Black Espadrille Flats Target $27.99; Cable Open Sweater Target $39.99)

Plants & Plant City,

B

 

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