Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kate's Journey to 30

I originally wrote this post to publish on my actual birthday, but then I got sick and life got in the way. Here it is in all its glory!

Today, I turn 29 and embark upon the final year of my twenties.

In some ways, it's a little scary that I'm already 29. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was celebrating my 19th birthday in Blacksburg, dancing around and singing the Rent lyric, "I'm 19 but I'm old for my age, I was born to be bad." Somehow, that was a decade ago, and time continues to fly by.

I once was born to be bad. 
For the most part, though, I'm excited to be heading into my thirties. My twenties have been tumultuous, particularly in those first few years after college. College itself was an easy transition for me. When I left high school, my identity was tied to two major things: being part of a faith community, and excelling in academics. Guided by these two building blocks, I managed to fit right in at Virginia Tech. I was immediately welcomed into the catholic community on campus, thanks in part to my older brothers who were already members. Although the classes I took were challenging, I was interested and engaged with all the subject matter, so hitting that 4.0 was not a problem for me (okay, I admit it, it was more of a 3.9, thanks a lot A minuses!). Yes, there were some incredibly difficult times during college (which is a story for another post), but for the most part I spent four years on top of the world.

Virginia Tech Hokies
Just keeping it classy, hanging out on random van seats during tailgates.
And then, just like that, it was time to leave. I took a job in Winchester, and all those things that defined me disappeared. There was no ready-made faith community to welcome me with open arms--I would have to work at meeting people at church, and for an introvert like me, that was difficult. I never felt like I fit in at the church in Winchester, and eventually I stopped going altogether. I also, of course, no longer had my academics to fall back on--without those two things in my life, I was suddenly at a loss.

I suppose Blacksburg itself had also become part of my identity, and for almost a year after moving I tried to cling to that part of myself. Instead of trying to get to know people in Winchester, I made weekend trips to Blacksburg, until one weekend I realized that I was the only person trying to preserve those friendships--I accepted this fact, and the weekend trips came to a stop, but I spent about six months after that grieving the loss of those relationships.

Things got better but they also got worse. I made some great friends, but also made some terrible friends. I went through a phase where I went out too much, hung out with the wrong sort of people, and made zero effort at my job. I was desperately trying to seek connection, trying to collect as many "friends" as possible to prove I was likable, because deep down I believed that my college friendships failed because there was something wrong with me.

I don't think there was any one moment when I had an epiphany and immediately made a change (not even when my roommate looked at me and said, "Katie you're not going to meet your future husband in a bar!" HA! I sure showed her!). I got a new job, and while it wasn't a great job, it was much better than my previous situation. I no longer had to work part time at the restaurant, so I spent more time with myself, my family, and close friends on the weekends, and less time out at the bars with people I barely knew. Slowly, I regained confidence and was becoming comfortable in my skin. And then, I met Matt, and it was as if things all fell into place at the right moment.

Engagement Photos
One of our engagement photos at the scene of the crime, by SoHo Photography
I'm not saying that meeting Matt solved everything--I'm saying that I met him at the right time, when I was ready for a relationship. As my twenties progressed, I still faced many of the same struggles that other women face: low confidence in my abilities, body image issues, etc. However, as each year has passed, those struggles have gotten better. It has certainly helped to have the most loving and supportive husband around!

So now, here we are, and I'm ready to take on this final year of my twenties. I'm excited to welcome 30 next year, but for now I will focus on the present and celebrate the last 365 days of my most eventful decade yet. I don't want life to pass me by, so once a month I will do something to celebrate this wonderful life I have, and the people who are in it (ideally, this would happen on the 13th of each month, but you know, not going to set myself up for failure here). You can follow along in Instagram with #KatesJourneyto30, and I'm open to suggestions for how I should spend my special day each month!

Now, please excuse me while I go eat my weight in birthday food.

All Love,


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Life Lately

Well it's been a few since we last talked! There are several reasons for that. Life with our newborn is starting to get just a little bit smoother, which means we're getting out more. Aida has a very full social calendar. Grocery shopping, lots of mall walking, walks in the park when the weather cooperates, meet ups with the moms group, and of course, dates at the winery.


Another reason that I've been absent is that I spent most of April worrying and being anxious about my job. I truly did not want to go back. Every time I thought about leaving her to go back to work, I would start to feel ill and would more often than not start crying. Honestly, I think this stress contributed to a Crohn's Disease flare up, which happened right around my birthday. April was a tough month, but both of those things have been figured out--the Crohn's flare was sorted out with some tweaking of my meds, and we've made the decision that I will stay home full time with Aida.


Needless to say, I'm very excited to be staying home with Aida--it's something I've always wanted to do. My mom stayed home with us when we were little, and looking back, I really treasure all that time she was able to spend with us. I feel very fortunate that we are able to make this work, because I know there are plenty of women out there who would love to stay home but are unable to do so financially. I also know there are plenty of women that want to continue in their career, but have to deal with all the emotions that come from recently having a baby, plus all the unnecessary guilt that society lays on. It's a tough gig being a mom, because more often than not, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

I hope to get back into a routine with blogging, but for now, I'm really just enjoying these moments with our sweet girl.

All love,

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Weekending and Spring Outfits

Happy Tuesday! Like I mentioned on Friday, we had a busy weekend planned. We made it out to the car dealership and Matt took care of everything so that they gave me a loaner for the summer. It went really smoothly, Aida was a champ, and I even ended up with the bigger SUV with a technology package. Needless to say, I feel like a boss driving around in it.

After the dealership, we went over to the new World of Beer location and had some drinks and an afternoon snack. I can't tell you how happy I was to be reunited with pretzels and beer cheese!

The whole family had a great time at the baby shower! There was lots of delicious food, and Matt and I definitely enjoyed showing off our sweet girl.

With all of these activities going on, I've had some fun putting together spring outfits. Here's what I wore to the shower:

baby shower outfit

Both pieces are from Target--I felt like the dress needed a little more form to it, so I added the chambray top and tied it around the waist. I was quite pleased with the result!

Last night I went to a mom's night out with the ladies from the newborn moms support group. It was so much fun, and I'm so thankful I have such an awesome husband who made it easy for me to go out on my own for the night. I wore a jumpsuit that I found at Target--sadly, it's sold out, which is so unfortunate. It's a gorgeous print, and it's actually easy to nurse with it as well because the top unbuttons. (I tried to take one of those selfies while wearing this--you know the one, where you don't see the person's face, just a perfectly applied red lip, a statement watch, and the outfit. Well I reviewed them all this morning and every single one was blurry. Womp womp.)

Although the jumpsuit is sold out, there is a romper available in a similar print, plus a couple of dresses in the same print that have potential for fun outfits--they could very easily be dressed up or down. Plus, you can get 15% off clothing at Target right now with the Cartwheel app!




How do you all feel about jumpsuits/rompers? I'll admit, it took me awhile to accept them but now I can't get enough!

This post contains affiliate links, and if you click on one and make a purchase, I make a commission. Thanks for supporting Thoroughly Modern! 

All Love,

Friday, April 1, 2016

Friday Five

Happy Friday! For the first time in a long time, we have quite the busy weekend planned. Tomorrow, we are going to go to the dealership to get my vehicle situation figured out. There was a safety recall on my SUV, and the parts won't be available until August or September! The dealership has offered us a rental, but we're looking into other options--since we're leasing, we might be able to bump up to the latest model that isn't impacted, or go up to the bigger SUV (which wouldn't be a bad idea, considering how much stuff we packed on road trips when it was just the two of us). Hopefully we will get it straightened out so I can stop worrying about it.

On Sunday, I'm heading over to my in-law's house for a baby shower for Matt's sister--she is having baby #2, which means another bff for Aida! I'm going early to help setup, then Matt is coming by later so Aida can make an appearance.

And now, for something else I haven't done in a while--five things for Friday!

// I recently bought a jumpsuit from Target--it's similar to this one, looks like the actual one has sold out online! I can't wait to wear it to a mom's night out at a local wine bar on Monday. This is kind of a big leap for me, I'm not even much of a romper person, but the colors were gorgeous and I know it will look great with my new heels I showcased the other day.



// The other day I saw a car decal that said "your girlfriend loves my car." Dude was driving a Nissan Altima. Come on, buddy.

// Matt and I have weeded out a significant number of TV shows. For the most part, they were already shows that we had a fading interest in before she was born. On the other hand, I've taken up binge watching during the day. Some of my favorites include 30 Rock, Girls, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and Fuller House (watched the entire season in one day--can you blame me?).

// It's my birthday month! I honestly have no idea what I want to do for my birthday, which is highly unusual for me--usually I have it planned out months in advance. Obviously, things are different this year and I don't really know what I want. Maybe a nap?

// We're still trying to get into a routine around here, and it ain't easy. I totally get the idea of "eat, activity, sleep," but it's difficult to achieve that when baby refuses to settle down for a nap. The one routine we have managed is I usually nurse her around 4pm, then treat myself to a beer or glass of wine and Matt takes over the next feeding with a bottle. We all do what we gotta do.

This sweet face.
Aida and I have ambitious plans to go to the new mom's support group today, followed by a trip to the mall. Follow along on snapchat (@modernkate) to see how it goes!

All Love,



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spring Colors

As springtime rolls around, seeing vibrant pops of green outside just makes my heart flutter. Consequently, it makes me want to dress in clothes that are just as colorful as the landscape outside.

kate spade tory burch draper james

Most days, I'm wearing yoga pants or loungey shorts--no point in dirtying up my nice things if I'm just hanging around the house! Aida just hangs out in her pajamas. We're real casual around here.

kate spade tory burch draper james

However, when I do get out of the house, I take great care in putting an outfit together. Wearing cute (and what I hope are stylish) outfits was part of my personality before baby arrived, and it continues to be one of my favorite things to do--obviously, it doesn't happen that often, so when it does a photo shoot is necessary!

kate spade tory burch draper james

I built this whole outfit around these shoes from Nordstrom. I had my eye on them for several months, and finally took the plunge and bought them during a bonus points event.

kate spade tory burch draper james

I'm quite smitten with these shoes! I just feel like the trendiest gal around when I wear them, and I love Halogen's shoes in general. They always fit me comfortable, and my feet don't feel miserable when I've been wearing them for a few hours.

kate spade tory burch draper james nordstrom

I was pretty pleased that I was still able to wear this peplum top! My body has changed quite a bit since pregnancy, and I'm still trying to come to terms with that fact, so it's nice when I find I can still wear some of my pre-preggo clothes. (I bought this top almost three years ago at the Kate Spade outlet, so I've tried to link a few different tops.)

kate spade tory burch draper james

My pants are from J. Crew Factory and were probably one of my best purchases. They're thicker than a legging and look like a dress pant, but the waistband is elastic! And there was much rejoicing.

kate spade tory burch draper james

Although most of the time I carry around a diaper bag, I'll sometimes use one of my regular purses/totes if I'm heading out of the house by myself. I had used my Draper James tote the day before, and just didn't bother to switch everything back to the diaper bag.

kate spade tory burch draper james

Lastly, please note that Burt's Bees makes lipstick and it is the bee's knees! (Pun intended.) Get yourself to Target and get some (plus a million other things you don't need, amiright??).

kate spade tory burch draper james



What are your favorite items for spring?

This post contains affiliate links, and if you click on one and make a purchase, I make a commission. Thanks for supporting Thoroughly Modern!

All love,

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Motherhood Update

Well friends, as we like to say around here, this has been quite the "rufferee" of a few weeks. (Did you also beg your significant other to let you buy that pet costume during this past fall at Target? And did you never buy it but start using the term "rufferee" all the time? Me too!)

goldendoodle
Poor Millie, she never gets to wear Halloween costumes! All pictures by Hannah Elise
Aida has been super fussy and we've had trouble getting her to fall asleep. She'll doze off in our arms, but once you lay her down on her back, she gets LICK and all hell breaks loose. ("Lick," meaning angry, another connotation invented by our household. Origin unknown.) Acid reflux was the culprit, and it seems to be getting a little better, with some baby Zantac and less dairy in my diet.

Motherhood is tough. I criticize myself on a daily basis when I feel like I'm not "productive,"--especially when it comes to putting together blog posts (I've been working on this one for two weeks). It certainly doesn't help when I read posts from another blogger, bragging about putting her baby on a "schedule" and sounding downright condescending towards moms who may not shower everyday, or wear something besides yoga pants. (Not showering everyday and wearing yoga pants was my life before baby, so why should that change?) Everyone around me tells me I'm doing a great job, everyone except one person, and I guess I should tell her to shut it and get to steppin' (that person is the demon voice in my head--read all about it in Amy Poehler's book).

Newborn Photos

And yet, just the other day, as I walked circles in the living room trying to soothe a fussy baby, I thought to myself, "we're just having a bad day," and without another thought I immediately corrected myself--no, this is not a bad day. Yes, sometimes this girl lets loose a pterodactyl cry that could wake the neighborhood. Yes, sometimes she wants to nurse all the time and I have to convince myself all over again to continue breastfeeding. But does that really make it a bad day? Even when we're having a tough time, we'll work things out, and maybe thirty minutes later she'll curl up into me, look up at my face with those beautiful eyes, and give me a great, big smile that makes my heart so full.

Newborn Photos

So, this is motherhood for me right now. Feeling exhausted and totally at the end of my rope one minute, then so full of joy and wondering how I ever deserved such a gift the next. I wouldn't change a thing.

All Love,




Thursday, March 17, 2016

Newborn Photos

I'm not big on photo shoots with professional photographers--sure, they look great and I always love the pictures, but it's just an extra expense that I find isn't necessary to have all the time. However, I knew for sure that I wanted some newborn photos. It is just much easier when you're an exhausted, first time parent to leave it to the professionals!

Newborn Photos

I noticed that a sorority sister, Hannah, did photography on the side, and I always loved the pictures she would share on Facebook, so I contacted her back at the end of summer and set things up. I'm so glad we connected, because she did such an amazing job, and was incredibly patient the whole time (especially as we tried to wrangle  Millie). If you're in the Northern Virginia area, I definitely recommend her--you can find her information at Hannah Elise Photography. 

Newborn Photos

During the photo shoot, Aida was a little fussy and basically refused to stay calm unless she had a pacifier. Didn't matter though, because we still got lots of great pictures!

Newborn Photos



At one point, we had to do a diaper change, and it worked out perfectly because Hannah was able to capture some of our favorite facial expressions!

Newborn Photos

Newborn Photos

And of course, we couldn't leave Millie out! We don't use the #FamilyofThreePlusMillie for nothin! No surprise, Millie was a little difficult to wrangle. Since Hannah was a visitor, Millie had to constantly check on her, then check back on Aida. So, Millie went back and forth, from one to the other, carrying her tennis ball just in case anyone wanted to play. It was almost impossible to get her to settle down for a photo, and I was worried we wouldn't get any, but luckily Hannah caught some great moments on camera!

Newborn Photos

Newborn Photos

Newborn Photos


It's obviously impossible for me to pick a favorite, and as much as I want to hang some around the house ASAP, I can't even decide which ones to get printed! Hannah also took some great detail pictures of the nursery, so I will be sharing those soon for Aida's nursery reveal.

How do you feel about hiring professional photographers? Worth it, or should you just DIY? As an exhausted parent of a newborn, it was definitely worth it!

All Love,
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