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Lorraine is a style obsessed mama to two young kids, a wife to a supportive husband and a family photographer. Lorraine graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006, with a degree in advertising photography. She enjoys quiet moments, silly kids, clothes, shoes, coffee and a little wine too. Can't get enough of her here on FredParent? Check out her personal blog: Rain in Style.

 

Rain in Style

A Love Affair with Charleston, SC

Hi everyone! Welcome back. A few weeks ago I mentioned our little road trip to visit Charleston, SC. And, y'all, not only is it a beautiful city, but I found my people!

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 It's about a seven hour drive from Fredericksburg, and well worth it. I recommend staying downtown at one of the many cozy inns. For five days we called the Elliott House Inn home. It was nice, within walking distance of almost everything and had parking close by. It was also right next to three AMAZING restaurants, 82 Queen, Husk, and Poogans Porch. The Elliott House Inn is currently undergoing renovations, so soon it will be even better! The day we arrived we ate dinner at Husk, but at their bar and grille, not the full restaurant. Best burger I have ever had! 

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 The first picture is in front of Husk restaurant. If you want to eat there and not at their bar and grille, you have to have advanced reservations. The food is that good. As far as what I wore, every single outfit from this trip is either entirely or partly second hand. This outfit is all from ThredUP, except my scarf which is from Grace and Lace. Second picture is the courtyard at the Elliott House Inn, pre-renovations.   

 

When in Charleston, you must try as many restaurants as possible! You won't find a bad restaurant there. We ate at Husk bar and grille, Kitchen 208, Craftsmen Kitchen, Magnolias, Pearlz, Eli's Kitchen... however, I think our favorite was Fleet Landing. They are the only restaurant right on the water, they had the BEST seafood dishes, AND there is a beer there that is hands down AMAZING. The Legal Remedy Mocha Blonde Stout, locally brewed and on draft....it tastes like a cookie.. you can thank me later. We ate there twice, because...it's just that good.  My outfit for one of the evenings there was probably my favorite of our trip. All second hand from ThredUP.  

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Charleston is definetely a foode city, but it's also full of fun things to do. It is the home of the South Carolina Aquarium, a must see. When we were there, they had aquarium creatures made from Legos! Don't miss the albino alligator...he's real (not a Lego). Really very cool. I even found my Prince Charming!

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King Street is full of shops, and, trust me, we went in all of them. Don't miss the Savannah Bee store - it's all things honey and bee made. You even get to taste honey! We only had one day that was above 50 degrees, so on that beautifully warm day we tried to fit in as many of the all outside attractions that we could. First up was Patriot's Point, where three retired military ships are docked: The USS Yorktown, the USS Laffey, and the USS Clamagore. We got on board the first and last of the three. USS Yorktown is an aircraft carrier; you can visit all of the decks and on the top deck there are planes. The USS Clamagore is a submarine...and that is not something to get on if you are claustrophobic! Very tight quarters and small openings to squeeze through. Both are fascinating.

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Another must see place is Magnolia Gardens. You really need a whole day there. We only spent a few hours there and definitely didn't see everything. I've heard it's beautiful there when the azaleas are in bloom! My favorite thing about the south is seeing all of the big trees with Spanish moss, and Magnolia Plantation is full of them.  

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And, if the wonders of nature are your thing too, do NOT miss seeing the Angel Oak Tree. It's on John's Island, only a short drive from Charleston. Magnificent doesn't seem grand enough to descibe it. It is estimated to be anywhere from 400-500 years old, but some say it could be as old as 1500 years old. And that fact alone makes me feel very young! It holds the title of one of the oldest living things in the country.  Just beware of the guardian of the tree... she did NOT like me standing anywhere near the tree in my heels. As if I'd let my babies sink into the dirt...I was on tip toe!  

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Like I said above, I literally outfitted my entire trip in second hand clothing! (except for the tutu outfit) This one below, was one of my favorite outfits. I absolutely love mixing plaid with sequins! The second set of photos is when I started to get lazy. By the last day,  I just changed my pants and shoes for our dinner date. Previously, I would have changed my entire outfit. Plus it was very cold...and we walked on regardless.     

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All in all, even with the cold weather, we had a great time. I cannot wait to return, and I even entertain the idea of retiring there one day. I may have just the house in mind. Although, the heat of summer might change my mind. LOL. Charleston, you make me happy when skies are grey...and I can't wait to see you again.

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-xo

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New Year's Resolution: Fitness

Hi everyone! The New Year is here, and we all know what that means...it's time to eat the traditional "Money Casserole"... wait, what? What's the Money Casserole? It's a family tradition in my family where we all eat a casserole made with sausage, bacon and sauerkraut on New Year's day. Why would we do that? It's supposed to bring you money in the new year. Maybe it's a German thing. I don't know, it's just what we do. Besides, I  think maybe I'm doing it wrong, there hasn't been much money coming my way...  

 

But, anyway, enough about casseroles. It's also time for your New Year's resolutions. I thought I'd talk briefly about a common one, fitness. I started my own fitness journey about 2 years ago. Usually, there is an event, like New Years, to get us thinking about changes. For me, it was two things, wanting to be a role model for my kids, and also because of my photography job. When I am on location, I usually bring a lot of stuff with me, and I haul it around by myself. I started realizing that I would get out of breath easily, and my entire body would ache days afterward. Not good. Here are a few photos of me around the time I started thinking that I needed to change. The second is a comparison shot from then and now. 

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So, I did it. I made a change, and hired a fantastic personal trainer, Shannon. Find her facebook page here. Now, don't get me wrong, in the beginning I didn't necessarily take this working out thing seriously. It took months for me to actually get on board with it and be SERIOUS about it. Once I upped my workouts to 6 times a week for about 30-40 minutes (including warm up and stretching) I started to see and feel the changes that I wanted. I do a lot of High Intensity Interval Training and lifting. I've found that those two things combined are what works for me. I love Holly Rilinger's workouts at Healthination.com, here.  I also really regret not taking photos in the very beginning. Here is a progression from probably a year ago, until present.  

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Progression shots are important! I encourage you to take them. They fuel you, they get you up off that couch, they remind you how far you have come and how amazing your hard work is. In the first two images, I am actually sucking in A LOT. I also used to refuse to show anything below my belly button. I am still working on that area, but almost! These photos below, show me in the same dress, from two years ago up to last month or so. The second is the same skirt, snug fitting in the first image from last year, and so loose that I had to roll the top, in the image from a few weeks ago. Seeing these comparisons, it's proof that it works, and that I shouldn't give up.

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So, I kept going. I didn't stop, I couldn't stop. I won't ever stop. Why? Because, here's the truth, I feel so much better now. I am stronger then I ever thought possible, and I know without a doubt that I can be stronger. My body recovers quicker from tough workouts, and now, when I am sore because of it, I don't mind. Because unlike before, this soreness is making me stronger, not dragging me down. I want my daughter to see that strong is beautiful. My son, he needs to see that women can and will lift more then they weigh, and that strength shouldn't be based on gender stereotypes. A woman can, and she will. 

 

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If I can do it, so can you. However, the desire and commitment must come from you. There can be zero excuses. And I do mean zero. My workout is important to me, it is part of me, it is part of my day. I make no apologies for having to do my workout, instead of grabbing a coffee. To be successful with a fitness journey, you must commit. Make it something you do everyday, like breathing and eating. Yes, it is difficult sometimes, but get up and get it done. I promise when you start getting into that mindset, "get up and get it done", will become second nature. You will keep going, you won't stop... you won't want to stop.

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Booty gains alone will encourage you.  Am I right? Whatever your reason, whenever you decide to commit, know that you can do it.  Believe in yourself, and don't let negativity stop you.  You got this.

 

-xo 

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Anniversary Road Trip...in Style

Welcome back everyone. Today, my husband and I are hitting the road. Our 10 year wedding anniversary was December 1st, and we decided that we would take a little trip away to celebrate. Of course we had to wait until winter break so the kids were out of school, and after my son's birthday. If you missed that post, find it here.  

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Oh, funny story, do you know what the traditional gift is for a 10 year anniversary? Tin/aluminum. So guess what? Our washing machine broke ON OUR ANNIVERSARY. Does a new washing machine count as a tin/aluminum gift??? LOL. Luckily, my husband jerry-rigged it with a zip tie, so it's "fixed" for now. How very MacGyver of him.

 But anyway, we are headed to Charleston, SC, and I am so excited! Yes the time away from our kids, away from the stress of the holidays and away from the toy store that is now my home will all be fantastic, but I am most excited about spending time away with just my husband. We have the best time together when we are able to just be together...doing adult things, not having to check menus at restaurants to make sure they have chicken fingers and french fries. Although, I will miss these little goobers...

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 I am so excited, in fact, that I have already started planning my outfits for this trip. I also keep checking the weather down there, and it seems like they are about 10ish degrees warmer then we are! Hooray! Since we will be eating out a lot and...having an actual night life...say what?!?... I am packing a lot of date night attire. And then there is the dilemma of what to wear for New Years Eve! My husband and I haven't ever been out on New Years Eve before. So, I am going to go big...I am thinking sequins...because sequins are festive and eye catching. Any excuse to wear sequins and I'm all over it.  LOL.  Here are some of my options so far...I am still waiting for a sequin dress to come. At this point, I am kind of hoping I can get away with out having to wear tights, but it has to be over 60 degrees! Yes I have a temperature limit for no tights. I hate being cold!

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I haven't gotten to casual outfits yet, but I will need those, of course. We plan on doing a lot of walking, so don't worry, I will bring my walking heels... No but really, I have walking heels. LOL. But, this pile of outfits on the chair and on the floor is proof that I am getting to casual wear. How many suitcases will I need this time?!?

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So, sorry for the short post, I promise to fill everyone in on what we did and what I wore when we get back.  Here's hoping the eight hour car drive doesn't result in arguing and all around grumpiness. Maybe if I just sleep the entire way...that's cool right?!? And, I am writing these posts ahead of time, so you won't even miss me! Stay tuned next week, for a post about New Year's Resolutions. 

 

-xo 

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A Story About December

Hi everyone! The month of December is a busy one. For my family, it means my wedding anniversary (ten years! I will talk about it in another post), my son's birthday, and of course Christmas. There is so much going on this month, and the holidays are in full swing. Stress levels are high, at least they are for me. So, I thought that I would take a step back for a minute this week. I have a story for you about Christmas, and what this time of year means to my family and me. It's a personal story, but one I feel that I should share. This story is about our son...and our journey to have him.  

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My son is turning seven this year...his birthday is December 26th, the day after Christmas. But for this story I have to start years before I ever became pregnant with him. I had two pregnancies before my son was born.   

We found out in Octoberish of 2008, that we were expecting our first baby. We were estatic. However that pregnancy was troubled from the beginning. And, on Christmas of that year, I started bleeding. We went to the doctor the next day, the 26th of December, and were told the baby had no heartbeat and was not measuring 10 weeks (as it should have been). I ended up having a D and C on that same painful day, December 26th. What followed was darkness. Solid darkness. My husband and I were lost, we struggled. I was angry, I hated everything. I would collapse in tears at any given moment and couldn't watch any movie involving miscarriages or babies. I started questioning why our baby had to be taken away on CHRISTMAS. Actually, I hated Christmas all together. It wasn't fair. Our gift was gone. My husband was quieter about his grief, but it hurt him too. It was a very, very difficult time, a challenging time, and it brings tears to my eyes to this day. 

We found out that I was pregnant again in 2009, but I lost that baby too. It was much earlier then the first, but not any easier. We were sent to see a fertility specialist and I spent the next few months being poked and prodded, searching for an answer to why we were having so many problems getting pregnant. I was put on medication after medication and nothing worked. The doctor tried every procedure, or combination of, three times. Slowly we climbed our way up the ladder of options. Christmas 2009 came and I didn't want to celebrate. Nothing felt merry, nothing felt happy... I hated every minute. It was all a reminder of what we had lost. Somehow, we made it through, a feat harder then climbing a mountain. Somehow, we made it to the top. We were on our third try of IUI, the last stop before IVF, hoping and praying that this would be it. In early April of 2010 we found out we were pregnant again. Thankfully, our last IUI had worked.  

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Owen Theodore was born December 26, 2010....exactly 2 years to the day of my first miscarriage. Our Christmas miracle. When he was born, he had a head full of dark hair, and a bright blonde, almost white, swirl in the back. The nurses told me it is a birthmark, sometimes referred to as an "Angel's Kiss", but I actually think it's Poliosis. Angel's Kiss sounds better though. Our baby, was kissed by an angel and sent back to us. Maybe God was telling us, there was a reason for the pain of loss. There was a reason we had to fight the darkness. And there he was, Owen, my miracle, kissed by an angel...sent to us two years to the day that I lost my first baby. We were blessed.   

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Fast forward a year to Christmas 2011. Matt and I were totally shocked to find out a few days before Christmas that we were expecting another baby! We were completely surprised. I didn't even know. In fact I had just been chatting with friends about the journey we had with Owen and that we were not sure we would ever be able to have more kids. I had said that we were worried I would have to go through the treatments again. Turns out, I was already pregnant with our second miracle, Emma. She was quieter in her timing...she let us know she was there in her own time (still does that to this day). She's spunky in that way.  

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Christmas holds a special place in our hearts. We have had a gift taken away, and one given back. Then another miracle surprised us around the same time. Had you asked me a long time ago if I believed in miracles I would have said no. But I cannot deny that there are miracles at work here. I have proof of an answered prayer, a miracle baby, my son. And, we were blessed with news of our daughter Emma around Christmas, too. Two of the most amazing gifts I have ever received.

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This holiday season, love those you are with. If you are in a place where we were, know that there are others that understand. Know that what seems dark and unfair, might be the start of something brighter. Sometimes, it has to be dark before there's light. Try, if you can, to find joy... it's out there. It might be exactly what you need to brighten the night.

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-xo 

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Holiday Outfits: Sequins and Velvet and Parties Oh My!

Cheers everyone and welcome back! Are you lucky enough to have holiday parties to attend, either at work or elsewhere? Not me, at least not this year.  I love a good party though, LOL.  So, let's talk about outfits for holiday events that require you to look a little more dressed up. 

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"This is beautiful...what is that, velvet??" LOL... who else thinks of that scene from Coming to America when they see velvet? Oh, just me?!?  But, believe it or not, velvet is back, and it's back in a big way. Yes, the dress that I am wearing above is black velvet.  It is by H&M, found on Thredup.

This little dress will be coming with me on our anniversary trip at the end of the month (10 years! more on that in another post). Velvet is actually perfect for holiday parties and festive occasions. It's luxiourious looking, and is relatively easy to wear. I found some beautiful ones at Nordstroms. Like this one,  this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one.  Why are they all dark colored? Because, colored velvet, for me, brings back bad memories from a high school dance. I wore a beautiful red velvet dress, but I spilled something on myself right before the dance, and had to go with a stain in the velvet.  So, I like dark velvet because it's better at hiding stains, sort of.  Anyway..make sure to consider accessories too.  I love a sparkly statement necklace with velvet.  The pairing of opposite materials works.  Go for a metallic or glittery clutch too.  

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If you aren't ready to get on the velvet train, then another consideration is sequins! Sequins make a beautiful statement. Similar to velvet, sequins are perfect for holiday parties. I have yet to add a sequin dress to my collection, but I do have sequin skirts and tops!  

The thing about sequins... if it's a top or a dress without sleeves, they will cut you. I am not joking. I almost always wear a cardigan over mine for these reasons. You could also wear a fitted blazer or faux leather jacket over top. Trust me...your arms will thank you. Here are some of my favorite ways that I have styled my sequin items.  These would be more casual attire, not for really fancy cocktail parties.  

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 Most of my sequin things have come from Thredup, but I have found similar items for you! A note about the last photo...It is the same sequin top as #5, but I wouldn't wear jeans to a party unless it's kind of casual.  But pair the gold tank with a white blazer or jacket and black pants, even faux leather pants! Always pay attention to the preferred dress code, though.  

  • Black and Gold sequin tank- I couldn't find a smilar one to this.  its basically a black tank with gold sequins over top.  
  • Burgundy sequin skirt
  • Gold Sequin Tank
  • Black Sequin Skirt- the first one with the plaid shirt is too big for me, the second one is similar to this one.
  • silver sequin skirt- (more like rainbow mermaid-esk)- I couldnt find a similar one, but this is close (except not rainbow).  I might be ordering this in rose gold 

 

Nordstroms has some beautiful sequin dresses, here. They are fancier, and better suited for cocktail dress attire. Those prices are a bit high, I admit. Check out LuLu's, here; they also have some beautiful cocktail dresses, at a lower price point. I kind of want everything there. My husband won't notice, right?!?!? If I buy a ton of these he'd have to take me out to a party right?!?! Come on help me out...my mama always said "buy the dress and the event will come". Soooooo...

 

Then again, you can always shop your closet too. If you have a little black dress, add accessories to it to make it different and fesitve. Try a faux fur wrap, fun colored or glittery heels, or a statement necklace that sparkles. A little black dress is the perfect foundation to really have fun with!  And what's a holiday party without fun?  

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Whereever you are celebrating, whatever you are doing, be merry and have fun. Think of me and my pile of cocktail dresses that are just waiting to be worn.  LOL.  Or better yet...invite me to your party next year! I will bring wine and good cheer.  

 

Stay tuned next week, I will be sharing with you a personal story about Christmas and what it means to our family.  

 

-xo  

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