Updates!

It seems I've gotten a little behind on my blog here, huh. Well, to be fair, I've been a wee bit busy.

Let's just say preparing to sell your fixer-upper house is no small task... But now that an offer has been accepted, I can breathe again, and get back to building this business. 

So, what's new? The shop link now redirects to Etsy. I'll be selling product through Etsy, including some bomb-ass new tank tops with my fave motto - Live In The Sunshine, and bikinis! The summer collection is inching along (peeling wallpaper interrupted my progress), and IT IS GORGEOUS. For real. I'll be selling ready to wear bikinis in x-small through x-large. Stay tuned, I CANNOT WAIT for you to see them! I'll also be adding some other products going forward, like maybe a beach blanket and a bikini bag... 

What else... well we just got home from a week in St. Maarten/Martin so I'll be sharing photos from that trip soon, along with some tips for enjoying the island. In the meantime, enjoy the sneak peek photo on the home page. Special thanks to my husband for capturing that (maybe he has latent photography skills after all...).

In just a short amount of time, I'll be relocating to North Carolina, much closer to the beach and enjoying a saltwater pool at our new apartment. Expect cool things to come of that. 

I think that's all for now. Stay tuned for deets on traveling to the Caribbean islands of St. Maarten/Martin and St. Barth's. :)

New Bikini Collection at Taylor Monroe Boutique

So I have some exciting news to share! I recently completed a small collection of designer swimwear for a small boutique in my town named Taylor Monroe. They're a little over one year old, but they're making a name for themselves. It's so inspiring to see a team of entrepreneurial young women get creative and work hard to create a gorgeous brand and become a beloved little shop. They carry a ton of cute styles that women of all ages find appealing. 

I am an employee there (which I love), and one day, I thought, how fun would it be to have a small collection of swimwear designed exclusively for TayMo!? I proposed the idea to my boss and she loved it, because she's awesome. So at the beginning of the year she and I picked out three bikini styles and a variety of fabrics, and I got to work making 18 swimsuits.

Well, I've just finished them and they're ready to be photographed and put on the rack. I want to give you a first look at the styles so you can be prepared to purchase when they go online :)

Remember, these are only available at Taylor Monroe! You can shop online - www.shoptaylormonroe.com and on their Instagram - @shoptaylormonroe.


Delphine: Floral & Striped String Bikini

She's flirty, cute, and a little sexy. She might be found lounging around the private beach of a French resort... We picked a pretty floral and classic stripes and paired them with light coral pink straps. The peekaboo top is cute and sexy, but also holds the gals securely, and the classic string bottom is universally flattering.

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Juniper: Floral & Light Blue High-Neck Bikini

She's sporty and adventurous, girly and brave. You might find her cliff-diving instead of lounging on the private beach, or maybe she's out catching some waves. The pretty floral makes another appearance, but paired with the soft baby blue, it becomes a bit more modern and sporty. The high neck top isn't going anywhere, and the wide, multi-string bottom is secure and fun.

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Juniper-high-neck-floral-bikini
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Marissa: Black & Floral Wrap Bikini

Of this girl-gang, she's definitely the edgiest. She's as likely to be found wearing big chic sunglasses at the hotel pool as she is skating down Miami Beach Boardwalk in cutoffs. We've got another floral here (big trend for spring/summer '16), but this one is high contrast and paired with the always-chic black. The wrap style top is comfy and flattering, and the minimalist criss-crossed bottoms hug curves.

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Do you have a favorite? I really can't decide... But I will say, I custom designed the white floral and I'm really enamored with it. :)

Sizes are small, medium, large. Small fits approximately a 30-34" bust, 34-36" hip. Medium fits approximately a 34-37" bust, 36-39" hip. Large fits approximately a 37-40" bust, 39-43" hip.

For The Bucket List

If you're on my blog, I have no doubt that you dream a little, stalk instagram for visual getaways, and have at least a few places on the tip of your tongue to rattle off if you're ever asked about your travel bucket list.

For me, Australia is steadily climbing to the top of my list. I don't know if it could supersede Morocco, but it's getting close. Of course, Australia has a lot to recommend itself! It's a modern country with a relaxed, western mindset. It's culturally diverse, probably more so than the US, and Aussie fashion is really starting to get worldwide attention. It has multiple climates and a lot of coastline which creates an abundance of natural wonders; and it's got a bunch of animals that the US doesn't have. 

Lately, many of the designers, people, and places I've been attracted to are Australian. It makes me wonder, would Australia be livable for me or is it simply too far away? Visiting would solve this question, but that's probably a long way off. Anyway, here are my top attractions compelling me to visit.

The Great Barrier Reef 

(of course!)

What would I give to go snorkeling and scuba diving in the GBR? I don't know. No one has given me an option yet. But this natural wonder, located on the eastern side of Australia, is a Unesco World Heritage site and is one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems on our planet. Just look... I mean, really, just google the Great Barrier Reef and tell me you wouldn't die to dive there.

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The Whitsundays Islands

Seventy four sandy islands peppering the Coral Sea, hemmed in by the Great Barrier Reef, create a visually stunning and sublimely peaceful collection of beaches. Whitehaven Beach is considered to be the finest beach in the world and is made up of pure white silica sand. I'm just imagining sailing from one island to the next, jumping in and wading to the next sandbar for a bit of a float in that shallow, clear water. 

Central Australia

Central Australia is home to landscapes that mimic the Southwestern US. It's dry and deserty, but also has a flourishing wine-producing region. Hiking, rock climbing, and spotting the wildlife would easily fill up a couple days, bonus points for each one capped off with a local wine!

The Major Cities - Sydney, Melbourne, Perth

Sydney, the major, bustling, architecturally inspiring Harbour City. Melbourne, the Gold Rush era, artsy fartsy city, closest to Tasmania. And Perth, the distant, old mixed with new beach town. Of course, there's Brisbane on the Gold Coast, Adelaide in the South, and Darwin in the North on the Timor Sea. It would be a challenge to pass through them all, but also a challenge not to...

 Sydney.

Sydney.

 Melbourne.

Melbourne.

 Perth.

Perth.

So, I want to know, is Australia on your bucket list? What would you see first? Where are you going in 2016?

A Wild 2015, A Wilder 2016

This past year has been a wild, wild ride. The highs were pretty high, but the lows were pretty low. Overall, it has been a year of painful growth, though I can tell that 2016 is not going to be much different; but I'm certainly more excited about the things that will facilitate the painful growth. 

Wonders of Nature by Jannicke C Hallum on 500px.com

2015 forced me to look closely at my relationships, my past, my dreams and goals, life and death... Near death, death, healing, and life were constants in 2015, and I learned to accept these things and release them to God. My husband experienced even greater transformation this year, from being seriously injured to being accepted to one of the best MBA programs in the country. I discovered and accepted what I'm truly passionate about, and I've been able to articulate my own goals for possibly the first time in my life.

Palm trees growing on sandbar in tropical ocean by Gable Denims on 500px.com

2016 brings even more upheaval, but it's the kind that we're choosing and we're truly excited about it. I have a special project in development for this little brand right here. We're uprooting our life in Dayton in the next 6 months. We already have two vacations booked for the first half of the year. We have close friends achieving life milestones this year. It is truly the first time in my life, that I am as genuinely excited for my life as I am nervous. 

Endless Summer #2 (Click to view on Black) by Matt Anderson on 500px.com

I have hope for the year ahead. We live in a strange world, no doubt, but it is a waste to live your life in fear. I have lived many years in fear and anxiety, and I have missed many opportunities to be happy. I only have one life, and I intend to live it as fully, as openly, as lovingly, as fearlessly as I can. Many things don't happen the way we want them to, and many people do things that we cannot agree with, but that is no excuse for choosing not to embrace the life YOU have. It is YOUR life and you can choose how to respond the lives others live around you. It is a waste of your life to not be present in your own life. 

Paradise #2 by Matt Anderson on 500px.com

So, as we round the corner into 2016, I encourage you to take ownership of your decisions, your words, your desires, and your happiness. Maybe that means stepping away from social media, maybe that means finally embarking on a diet that will achieve your health goals, maybe that means talking openly about a problem in a relationship, maybe that means quitting your job to do what you actually love, maybe that means releasing your pride, maybe that means tackling your job with fearlessness. Maybe it means letting yourself experience the happiness you feel in moments throughout the day.

It's not worth it to live in fear. 

It's not worth it to live in fear. 

It's not worth it to live in fear.

Go out in the age of worry and say, "worry, get out of here."*

CHEERS to 2016!

Please click the photos to view the amazing photographers on 500px.com

*Quote by John Mayer

Gift Guide for The Beach Babe

I've been seeing a lot of gift guides, unfortunately so many of them showcase ridiculously expensive and outrageous items. The Conde Nast Traveler I just got had items in their gift guides over $100,000. I don't know about all of you, but that is nonsense. So here I present to you a very reasonable gift guide for the beach-loving gals in your life! Tell me below, what's on your wishlist?? Ps. You might see something new here... :)

beach-babe-gift-guide

Photo Diary Los Angeles

We spent two and half days exploring LA this past weekend because Joe had an interview for the part-time MBA at UCLA. Since I had never been and we are considering relocating there, we thought it would be good to explore and see what we could of the city. I mostly took photos with my iphone, so here they are!

 First impressions... Oh.

First impressions... Oh.

 Venice beach. It blew my mind how big and wide and empty the beaches were!

Venice beach. It blew my mind how big and wide and empty the beaches were!

 Venice Beach from the pier.

Venice Beach from the pier.

 The canals of Venice.

The canals of Venice.

 Golden Hour along the coast at Ranchos Palos Verdes.

Golden Hour along the coast at Ranchos Palos Verdes.

 The gate at Bel-Aire near UCLA.

The gate at Bel-Aire near UCLA.

 Loved seeing this turtle hangout spot at the Botanical Garden at UCLA

Loved seeing this turtle hangout spot at the Botanical Garden at UCLA

 Botanical Garden at UCLA. Such a lovely thing to have on a campus!

Botanical Garden at UCLA. Such a lovely thing to have on a campus!

 Walls and walls of fabric. Mood Fabric LA. I came home with some knit and some ultra suede.

Walls and walls of fabric. Mood Fabric LA. I came home with some knit and some ultra suede.

 Somehow we managed to get lost in the hills near Laurel Canyon, but we found this view!

Somehow we managed to get lost in the hills near Laurel Canyon, but we found this view!

 Santa Monica. So so cool.

Santa Monica. So so cool.

 The pier was crazy busy on this Saturday night.

The pier was crazy busy on this Saturday night.

 Had to take a photo of the Route 66 sign as I've been on quite a bit of it in the southwestern states.

Had to take a photo of the Route 66 sign as I've been on quite a bit of it in the southwestern states.

 The ferris wheel. 

The ferris wheel. 

 Joe sitting in a Tesla for the first time.

Joe sitting in a Tesla for the first time.

 We took a 25-30 mile round trip bike ride from near Venice down to Redondo. This is an empty Manhattan beach.

We took a 25-30 mile round trip bike ride from near Venice down to Redondo. This is an empty Manhattan beach.

 I loved the architecture in Manhattan Beach!

I loved the architecture in Manhattan Beach!

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 These little alleys/courtyards between houses are so adorable. I'd love to live here...

These little alleys/courtyards between houses are so adorable. I'd love to live here...

And that concludes my photo diary. I took more photos but not really much more in terms of variety. We also snaked our way downtown and through Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills and Culver City. I loved the stretch of beach/shopping/housing along Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beaches. Theres a little triangle of shopping and dining in south Redondo that I loved immensely. That's where I'd want to live if we move to LA. But we'll see how these other interviews go...

A Sexy Bikini for a Trip to Jamaica

My good friend, Crystal, came to me with a strong idea of the type of swimsuit she was looking for, and I was very excited to make her something unique and sexy. Crystal is a cool girl with a rock n roll meets southern belle vibe, and she's got a hot bod. 

Crystal wanted a high neck black bikini with a fun print on the reverse. We toiled a little bit over finding the right print, but as soon as I saw it, I knew she would love it. -->

She wanted it to fit like a glove. Hidden elastic in the top and bottom make this reversible, seamless-style bikini comfy and ultra flattering, not to mention secure enough to enjoy some body surfing or snorkeling.

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Thanks for the opportunity to make a gorgeous suit, Crystal! Can't wait to make some sexy ones for us both for St. Martin! <3