Hello Friday! I welcome you with outstretched arms and a full on body hug. This week felt long and sluggish and I am ready for the weekend. So ya know, just the same feeling as every other Friday.

I have a couple things I am madly obsessing over this moment. One being this song, I think I listened to it over ten times yesterday. Okay I did listen to it over ten times. I am so one of those people. But seri it's worth a listen.

Another thing I have been obsessing about is anything bell sleeve. I think it's because of all the photos I've been taking. I just love how a bell sleeve photographs. We have a wedding to attend in September and I am thinking I need to just purchase this dress now.

I am headed to Southern California in two weeks to hang out with my sister. I am so excited for some sister time but a little nervous to fly with a toddler. Especially after having Steph's incident so fresh in my mind. It's a short fight so it shouldn't be anything too crazy - but if you have any tips throw them at me.

P has her first gymnastics birthday this weekend and you know I went and found the cutest floral leotard. I apologize in advance for the onslaught of photographs that will be coming your way on Monday.

Lastly I just created an Instagram for my photography account and if you have a follow to spare I would love if you followed along! You can find me under the handle @lauraparkerphoto or just click right here!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Five things to stop doing in my thirties

When I wrote the post five things I wish I started doing in my twenties it got me thinking about five things I need to stop doing in my thirties. Nothing like a little perspective right? I am a hard nut to crack when it comes to bad habits, while thankfully, excessive drinking or cigarette smoking does not make the list (because, gross) a bunch of other semi annoying things do. So to shine a spotlight on myself here are five bad habits that need to kick the bucket.

1. Skin care

It's embarrassing to even type this out while this post is still in draft mode. For more than ten years I have had a terrible habit of picking my cuticles. Nail technicians shame me, David absolutely loathes it and one time a Dr. tried to prescribe me Prozac to conquer it at the young age of 15 (to which my parents thankfully said no thanks).

It's gross, it's embarrassing and not even a nice bi-monthly manicure can help it. I pick when I am bored, anxious, stressed you name it. I really want to stop this and have cuticles I don't have to apologize for when I step into a salon but haven't yet found the answer I am looking for.

2. Hitting the snooze button five jillion times

I am as night owl as they come and I always pay the price in the morning. I go to bed only to scroll social media for hours upon end, my eyes bleary and my swiper finger cramping. I never have enough time in the morning to fully get ready because...duh, I'm tired. My alarm goes off at the correct time - it's just that cramped up swiper finger knows how to mute it.

3. Not preparing for a future emergency

With David's accident last year I should know better than anyone to have a plan B. I don't mean by way of savings account, which of course we have. I mean it as in life insurance and a living will. If anything ever happened to the two of us I would roll over in my grave knowing P went into a court system until it all got figured out. The younger you apply for life insurance the lower the rates so what are we waiting for?

4. Sugar

Meet my mistress. Sugar is my number one craving on a daily basis and I need a serious detox from it. I honestly crave it like I imagine an addict craves their fix. Perhaps a good whole 30 cleanse will help shame the sugar out of me. Don't even get me started on Diet Coke...

5. Comparison to others

I saved this one for last because it's easily the worst habit I allow myself to fall into but also the easiest to break. It is so incredibly true that comparison is the thief of joy. Someone somewhere will always have it better than you and someone somewhere will always have it worse. When I find myself in a rut I remind myself of all the things I love about my life (which truly is a lot!) and just know that our story is simply still being written.

Now make me feel better about myself and tell me a bad habit (or two!) of yours!

Life Lately

I don't quite know where the time is going but here we are at the end of April and before you know it, it's summertime. This past weekend we layed low for the most part. It was so nice to have a day with no agenda. I got to take home a giant balloon from our building lobby's Earth Day event and surprise P with it, although I thought she would be way more into it than she was.

It's actually a good thing she wasn't all that into it because it popped later that same evening. Luckily I snagged some photos with it before hand. Speaking of photos, I have been struggling to figure out just what to do with all of mine. I have so many and feel like they just sit on my computer. What do you all do? Make books? I suppose that's the logical thing to do but that just sounds like work. Which sounds like time, which is something I am rather lacking most days.

With the hills in bloom I have been a busy bee with photoshoots and I just posted this gorgeous coffee shop engagement session. The couple is getting married in Lake Como, Italy. Talk about a dream! I have been having so much fun with my photography and just want to say thank you to everyone for their support and kind words always. I adore this blogging community so much and a little special shout out to my girl Tawnya who (thank goodness for iMessage so I can text this Canadian mama) has been my go to for photography support. I'm fairly sure in non internet life I would BFF the crap out of her!


Found Art

David often teases me that I have a horrible knack for decorating when I need to find something purposeful. Sure I can fill my home with things here and there but when it comes to big important pieces I usually just let the wall hang empty until the right thing comes along.

I walk a little less than a mile to work each day and from my house to my office I go directly through our downtown area. Trust me - it's nothing but trouble. Everyday I would walk by this one store and see this piece in the window and just love it a little more each time. The funny thing is that I was walking by a high end patio store, not the type of place I would think to discover artwork!

Each day I grew more and more anxious it was going to disappear out the window so last Friday I went right in and said I'll take it. My first thought was that I was going to carry it home however I quickly discovered that was not an option. David came round to get me and we loaded her in the car.

It is a hand carved wooden circle from India and the workmanship to create it has been passed down for many generations. I loved that it was it's own unique piece but I mostly loved how much it reminded myself of me and David. It's like the ocean and the forest combining into one. Just like him and I.

Five years of an empty wall and it was worth the wait.


Bath time with The First Years Disney Baby Bath

Now that P is a toddler she has really started to begin loving movies. Not just any movies of course but Disney movies. While Frozen sits at the top of her list currently we are slowly working our way down to all the movies that I loved as a kid. Thanks to my parents still having a VHS player (old school!) and all the Disney movies on VHS she can catch up on all the classic characters.

With toy stores inundated with princesses of current fame let's not forget the original crew. With The First Years Disney Baby Bath toys & accessories I was able to introduce P to Ariel and her grotto friends plus Nemo and his underwater friends. These squirt toys come in a package of three colorful characters and are perfect for little hands.
The First Years Disney Baby Bath also carries spout covers and drain covers - now all I need is a splash guard for myself! Thankfully it's how the bathroom floor gets cleaned so often. Just don't ask about the rest of the house...
Since bath time is a favorite time in our house I know these will get a lot of use. That is until Elsa arrives on the scene in form of a bath toy and freezes all these guys right in the water!

You can shop The First Years Disney Baby Bath collection on Amazon.

The First Years Disney Baby Bath Squirt Toys, The Little Mermaid

The First Years Disney Baby Bath Squirt Toys, Finding Nemo

The First Years Disney Baby Helping Hands Bath Accessory, Mickey Mouse

The First Years Disney/Pixar Drain Cover, Finding Nemo

The First Years Disney Baby Bath Spout Cover, The Little Mermaid

The First Years Disney Baby Bath toys were provided to me in exchange for a review. As always here on Happily Ever Parker the opinions expressed are 100% my own.

A special thanks to Dreamweave for supplying The Little Mermaid swimsuit and The Little Mermaid towel. You can purchase these items at Walmart.

Loving Lately: Black & White

Well hello there! It seems I went on a mini hiatus over here but I am back. I am trying to get better about juggling my time between this blog and my photography business. Life has been crazy busy - in the best way possible! I have picked up so many cute things for P lately and wanted to share. Even though springtime usually means an abundance of color I am all about the black and white these days!


5 thing I wish I started doing in my twenties

1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

I am fairly certain that in college my body was 50% cheap beer. Between marathon sessions of studying and partying alike I wish I would have paid more attention to my water intake. Health authorities recommend eight, eight ounce glasses of water a day. Since drinking alcohol can severely dehydrate drinking at least a glass of water between each beverage will help lessen the hangover factor. Plus you won't act like such a slob. Win/Win.

2. Wear Sunscreen

Being a college student at San Diego State meant many, many beach days. We studied at the beach, partied at the beach, heck there was even some classes at the beach! My friends and I were always lusting after golden skin and sun kissed hair. While the goal was to get as tan as possible, that also meant exposing our skin to harmful UV rays.With cancer sadly not going away anytime soon, we should all be as proactive as possible to prevent it. Applying sunscreen before sun exposure of at least 50 SPF is a pretty easy solution.

3. Take care of your skin

Speaking of protecting your skin, I wish I had done better at taking care of mine. Having a nighttime routine is beneficial at any age but starting when your skin is youthful is beneficial. Always wash your face before bed and moisturize (with an SPF lotion!) if anything. It may help keep away the crows feet a little longer and the zits at bay.

4. Pay your bills on time

Luckily this is something I have always done (thanks dad!) but one thing that goes with you long after college (well I guess that could be a lot of things - gross!) is your credit score. Make sure to always pay your bills on time and keep your credit score as high as possible. Once you ding that bad boy it is much harder to get it back up again. And when it comes time to apply for a car or put a down payment on a house those three little numbers will carry a lot of weight.

5. Love Yourself

Long before Justin Beiber sang those lyrics I wish I had appreciated them a little more. Living in San Diego meant I was constantly surrounded by beautiful people. I should have realized more often than not that I was one of them. We can get so wrapped up in everything we are not we forget to love everything that we are. "And I never like to admit that I was wrong" but oh was I wrong about that one.

What is something you wish you started doing in your twenties?


One of the many things I love about my husband is that he is a big picture person. He always drives me through different developments in various neighborhoods and talks about our future. We pick out homes, we comment on their landscaping, we say what we would do different. He never forgets to mention the big wrap around porch we will add to any house (my one and only real house desire) and I chip in "lots of natural light"! He already knows, I just say it out of rote.

If I close my eyes I can see all of it. The exposed wooden beams in the ceiling, the farmhouse sink in the kitchen. I listen and hear the sound of P (hopefully a big sister by then) running around playing hide and seek. The soft pitter patter of tiny feet and the giggles that are bound to ensue. I smell the rosemary that will be blooming in our garden and taste the fruits and vegetables that will become a staple in our diets. Finn will be in sensory overdrive in our backyard and if he had a tail I assure you it would be wagging. I hear a skill saw in the garage as David works on yet another project, likely one that I have requested.

But the best part of these visions? Is that I can picture David walking up behind me. I can smell him - a mixture of fresh wood shavings and laundry detergent. Placing his safe familiar hands on top of mine and whispering "I told you so".

Our dreams are plans we are just busy drafting blueprints.

Until then we will play, we will laugh and never dare to stop dreaming.


Loving Lately: H&M

I often get into Baby Gap tunnel vision and forget that other retailers are selling clothing just as adorable. H&M is in my direct footpath home so naturally I had to wander into it (so much for that "shorter commute"). I went in looking for stuff for me and obviously came out with nothing for me and everything for P. Such is life.

If your less body conscious than I head into the store in person. They have some really adorable pieces like this skirt (comes in multiple colors) that just so happened to look better on the hanger rather than on my hips. Oye!

The kids section did not disappoint and now that P can wear their larger clothing sizes there was no holding back. I even snatched up these in light pink to give her at Christmas. How's that for planning ahead?

flats // slip ons // floral headband // star clips

This is not a paid post, I was just literally loving everything!! One day I'll get it together and include you boy mama's too.

They don't see me strollin'

I've talked about it ad naseum but there was one thing I wasn't prepared for when I started working closer to home. In fact it honestly had not even crossed my mind until I went out to lunch yesterday and they were everywhere.

They as in strollers.

With P being over 19 months old now I have grown accustomed to working. We have a routine, it works, heck I even have a side business. So being away from her is something I have grown used to (and often enjoy)! When I was in San Francisco I would see strollers all the time and it didn't phase me. But there is something about being in my town at all the places I go to post 5pm or on weekends that it suddenly felt like 100 strollers rolled over me.

I was envious of the mom who's kid was crying in Target at noon. I was envious of the group of ladies having a playdate. And while athletic clothes are not my go to - I was envious of all the elastic waistbands surrounding me. So.much.leisure.wear.

I really don't think the grass is greener on the other side. It's green where you water it. So tomorrow after I walk to work (and inevitably pass a stroller or two) I will say hello with a nod of my head and just know that all my bathroom breaks today will be nothing but bliss. Silver linings right?
Proof that the grass is greener where you water it. Like this empty lot above my house!

This & That

So far (you know all five days in) I am really loving April. On Sunday I convinced David to head to a popular antique faire that happens on the first Sunday of every month. Not only did he come with me but we scored on an awesome Hungarian baby bathtub!

Which I know may sound strange but I started looking for one of these before P's first birthday to serve drinks in. However all the ones I was finding were priced over $250 and well I just couldn't hang with that. When we found one at the faire for less than half the price I knew it was coming on home to mama. Thanks to David and some smooth talking (I was told to stay away as I was "too excited") it was ours. Got to love a man that can appreciate the value of an antique!

I also started my new (but temporary) commute and it is amazing. Having no commute really makes a difference as far as mood goes. Plus I can get home way faster to this little lady and that is just icing on the cake. Because writing in chalk trumps sitting in traffic.

In photography news, I'm so humbled to say that I am booked every single weekend in April for photos. Insane. The amount of support I have received from everyone continues to floor me I am so excited to continue on this journey. This is a little sneak from a smash cake session I just did.

I've been spotting some adorable things for kids so I'll have a loving lately round up coming your way soon. Including this little number that I thought got lost in the mail but showed up two weeks late! Woot Woot, happy dance!