Category: My Life (page 1 of 8)

Friday Favorites: Downing Emergen-C like it’s Going Outta Style

Welcome to Friday Favorites, my weekly post where I share what I’ve been loving lately!

CM has been sick with the crud this week. She’s had a fever on and off and has wanted to be in my arms pretty much nonstop. Weeks like this are tough because there’s only so much you can do as a parent. My number one priority is keeping her happy, so sometimes it feels like the house is falling in around me: laundry piling up, dishes overflowing, and dinners definitely not planned out (despite my 2018 goal to do so). I try to give myself grace and remind myself that none of that stuff really matters. The important thing is holding your loved ones close when they need you.

Anyway, here are some things I’ve been loving lately:


My mom used to make popovers for us for breakfast often growing up.  Nothing quite compares to the eggy, buttery, somewhat sweet flavor of a hot popover.  Upon reminiscing on my favorite childhood baked good, I simply had to recreate the experience.

I have baked up three batches in the last month using this recipe, and they have been delicious! Disregard the line about not checking them until 30 minutes have elapsed.  My oven runs hot, so mine were done in about 25 minutes.

Leftovers can be saved in a ziplock in the fridge.  Reheat leftovers in the toaster oven for 2 minutes for a perfect snack!

American Made

Chatham and I watched American Made the other night and loved it!  This movie came out back in the Fall.  It is a (mostly) true story about Barry Seal, a pilot recruited by the CIA to take photos of communist rebels in Central America in the late 1970s.

Barry Seal’s CIA contact (who we recognized as Bill Weasley!) pays him under the table.  The movie implies Seal isn’t receiving enough in salary or benefits to support his growing family.  As a result, he finds freelance work for the Medellin cartel that suits his skill set (I think you can see where I’m going with this?).  This colorful film kept us captivated from start to finish.

Collagen Peptides

As I quickly near the end of my 20s (I turn 28 tomorrow!!!), I am more and more aware of the effects of age.  My skin has started showing signs of damage from all of the sun I exposed it to when I was young and reckless.   To counteract some of the effects of age and sun, I’ve started taking a collagen peptide supplement daily.  You can read about the science behind collagen peptide supplements here.

I heard about this particular brand – Vital Proteins –  from two local bloggers who both mentioned it on their Instagram stories (Destin Duchess and Brushes & Brunch), so when Whole Foods had a sale on supplements a few weeks back, I took the plunge.  I mix one scoop with my coffee each morning.  I haven’t noticed any major effects yet, but since it doesn’t taste like anything, it boosts my protein intake, and the science supports it, I’ll continue taking it until I see a reason not to.

My sister Mellie, who is a chemistry major at Sewanee, told me that collagen works best in the body with the presence of Vitamin C, so I always take my multivitamin and apply my Vitamin C face serum shortly after having my coffee each morning.  Just thought I’d share in case you want to get the best possible value out of your collagen supplement!

How was your week?  What are your Friday Favorites?  What brought you joy?

Let me know in the comments below!


Monday Musings: Aspiring to Be Cool

Welcome to Monday Musings, where I share some thoughts and some links I’ve been loving lately!

Do you ever encounter someone or see a photo and just think, “damn, she is cool”?  And by cool, I mean that hard-to-describe combination of confidence, style, and attitude.  A cool woman has that quality where she knows what she likes and she could care less if you do too.  She knows the outfit she’s rocking or the work she’s putting out or the life she’s living is enough.  She doesn’t care what you think, which charms you and pulls you in and makes you want to know more.

monday musings aspiring to be cool

On Saturday, a friend sent me these photos from her wedding (shot by Lily and Sparrow Photography), and I was struck with the realization that my daughter is definitely one of the cool ones.  And it got me thinking – don’t we all start out cool?  What is it that causes us to question ourselves as we get older?  Maybe if we kept that confidence and devil-may-care attitude we had as children, we’d be braver and more willing to put ourselves out there.  We’d be who we want to be and be unapologetic about it, which is about the coolest thing I can think of.

As a total nerd and people pleaser who aspires to be cool (and by that very fact, will never be), I get a vicarious thrill from being around cool people.   There are so many cool women in my life (my sisters, my sisters-in-law, my mom, my mother-in-law, grandmothers, aunts, friends… I could go on and on), but I’m most excited to spend the rest of my lifetime with this cool chick.  May you never question yourself, may you always be confident, and may you always know how cool you are.

monday musings aspiring to be cool


Here are some links I’m loving this week:

  • why you shouldn’t worry too much if your kid is lying to you
  • what makes a Nick Saban quarterback
  • what you should do if your child comments on someone’s differences
  • why I still use a paper planner(I talk about the one I’m using for 2018 here)
  • what’s new on Netflix this month

How was your weekend?  What are you loving lately?

Let me know in the comments below!


Friday Favorites: I Am Very Busy (and also very cozy)

Welcome to Friday Favorites, my weekly post where I share what I’ve been loving lately!

This week we went to storytime at the Destin Library with Carla May’s cousins and had a great time.  Our local library has so many great programs for kids, and it was fun seeing all the children getting into the songs and stories.  Carla May quickly found a new friend with snacks (of course) and followed him around like a little puppy!

Here are a few more things I’ve been loving this week:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

friday favorites star warsOh you had to know from my Instagram and my post a few weeks ago that the new Star Wars movie was going to make my Friday Favorites list!  Y’all, it was SO good! I am really enjoying the new movies in this series and this one did not disappoint. The acting was fabulous and I was impressed with how the producers handled Carrie Fisher’s role as Leia.

If you’ve already seen the film, check out this fabulous analysis of Ben Solo, the millennial villain we need right now.

Wonder Weeks App

friday favorites wonder weeksAs Carla May has grown from baby to toddler over the last 14 months, she has gone through periods of fussiness, periods of pure joy, and everything in between.  The Wonder Weeks app has been so helpful for me to predict what general mood she will be in on a given week.  The app does a wonderful job of explaining why she behaves the way she does, which has helped me be more patient with her during tantrums and fussiness.

For those who haven’t heard of this app, you simply enter your child’s due date, and the app will calculate the dates when your child might go through “developmental leaps.”  You can turn on notifications to warn you when a “stormy period” is about to occur.  There is so much information available through this app on how your child’s brain is developing during each leap, so any data junkies out there like myself will love studying up on why your child behaves they way they do.

Fuzzy White Sweater

I ordered this fuzzy white sweater from Gap a couple weeks before Christmas, and I have worn it SO many times  since then.  It is so soft and comfy and pairs well with almost everything in my closet.  The length is perfect to keep your whole body warm and to cover up your rear if you want to wear some questionable leggings (are they thick enough to be considered pants? doesn’t matter if you throw on this sweater!).

This cardigan is cute enough to wear out and comfy enough to lounge around the house in, too.  This sweater is one of my favorite purchases this winter.  It also comes in black!

Band.o Planner

I have been a loyal bullet journaler for over two years now, a very long streak for a planner junkie like myself.  I had seen band.o brand planners on Instagram and thought they were absolutely adorable, so when I found this one (in my favorite color!) heavily discounted at Homegoods, I took the leap.

This particular planner is actually 17-months starting in August, but I just cut out the pages for August through December to make it a year-long planner.  There are several pages of super cute stickers at the beginning of the planner, beautiful illustrations throughout, and so many note pages!  There is a calendar for each month and two-page weekly layouts with plenty of room for scheduling and to-do lists.  So far I am finding I can use the bullet journal concepts within the structure of this planner and it is working really well for me.

How was your week?  What are your Friday Favorites?  What brought you joy?

Let me know in the comments below!


For more Friday Favorites, check out the blogger link ups with  ErikaAndrea, and Narci!


2017 Recap and 2018 Goals

A year with a toddler feels both so short and so long at the same time.  I thought with the beginning of a new year, I’d take a trip down memory lane and recap our 2017.  I’d also like to share with you some goals I’ve made for 2018.  I’m hoping you can help hold me accountable!

We traveled to…

We celebrated…

My favorite posts to write were…

My goals for 2018…

Be more present by being on my phone less.  I downloaded a great app called Moment to help me track time spent on the phone each day.  I am setting a personal goal of less than 2.5 hours on the phone every day.  That seems like a lot of time, but y’all! – The average young adult spends five hours on their phone each day!

I’ve turned off a lot of notifications (something I’ve talked about before), and I’m trying to keep my phone out of my bedroom, since I often find myself scrolling the social feeds when I’m tired rather than reading or just going to sleep.  I used to use my phone as an alarm clock, but after this study came out, I ordered this vibrating alarm clock to use instead.  I’ve been using it for almost a month now and have been really happy with it!

Read more nonfiction.  I read a lot of books in 2017 and roughly a third of them were nonfiction.  I’d like to bring that ratio closer to 50:50 by alternating back and forth between fiction and nonfiction.  I have sooo many fiction books on my To-Be-Read shelf, but not as many nonfiction.  Please share your recommendations for educational, but still exciting, nonfiction reads!

Run another half marathon!  The last half marathon I ran was the Disney Princess Half the week I found out I was pregnant.  Strangely, I was sick all weekend except for during the race – morning sickness is so weird!  I miss the tired legs and sense of achievement I only feel after finishing a long run.  Chatham and I signed up for the Seaside Half Marathon, which is coming up on March 4.  This will be his first half marathon and my first since having a baby, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Get back in the swing of meal planning.  I used to be great about meal planning and even wrote a post about how I do it.  Over the last few months, with the holidays and with Carla May needing so much attention, meal planning has fallen by the wayside.  I always feel better about my day when I know what we are having for dinner, so I’d like to get back in the routine of planning and prepping our meals at the beginning of each week.

Keep coming up with new ideas for Hello Marilu.  Blogging has been such a fun creative outlet for me this year, and I wish I had started years ago!  Documenting our lives and sharing things I care about with you brings me so much joy.  I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone by shooting style posts, getting accepted into, and sharing personal stories.  I have learned so much about blogging and so much about myself. Thank you for your support and encouragement!

Outfit Details: scrunchie (similar), pullover (same style different color), leather leggings, tennis shoes, baby romper, baby jacket (similar)


What would you like to see more of on the blog?  Books? Travel? How to’sRecipes? Style

This blog is about me but it would be nothing without YOU!

Looking forward to a wonderful 2018!


Monday Musings: COLD Weekend with Aunt Mel and Granny Calamity

Welcome to Monday Musings, where I share some thoughts and some links I’ve been loving lately!

We had a wonderful visit with my mom (Granny Calamity) and sister (Aunt Mel) over the weekend.  It takes them about 7 hours to drive down, so we don’t get to see them near as much as I’d like.  Spending a few days with them was a real treat!

We mostly just ate a lot of food (my favorite activity), played with Carla May (when she was awake), and played board games (when CM was asleep).  What else can you do in Destin when it is this cold outside??  By the way, Bears vs Babies is such a fun game once you get the hang of it – I could not stop laughing!

My mom brought her guitar down, which Carla May LOVED!  She was bouncing and dancing to the music.  My mom also surprised me with my Christmas present – a gorgeous painting of our family in the Bahamas.  I absolutely love it and continue to be blown away by her talent!


Here are some links I’m loving this week:

  • Alabama is playing in the National Championship game tonight! ROLL TIDE!
  • my best friend started a blog!!!  check her out here
  • why you don’t need a daughter to want a better world
  • handy chart to determine if it is too cold to walk your dog
  • so many good sales right now: J. crew (up to 75% off), Anthropologie (extra 40% off), Gap (up to 60% off)

How was your weekend?  What are you loving lately?

Let me know in the comments below!


Monday Musings: Cherishing the Possibilities of a New Year <3

Welcome to Monday Musings, where I share some thoughts and some links I’ve been loving lately!

As I write this on New Year’s Eve during my daughter’s nap, I have a smile on my face.  We had a wonderful Christmas holiday with family followed by a visit from one of my very best friends.  My family from Alabama will be here in just a few days.  Spending time with loved ones is something I treasure, and I am so grateful for this time of year for bringing people together.

Carla May is at the most fun age where she understands a lot of what is going on around her and wants to be involved in everything.  She is able to communicate very well, and she is so, so affectionate.  At 14 months, she is still refusing to walk, but she keeps us laughing with her “signature scoot.”

My unofficial “word of the year” last year was relax (for obvious reasons), and after some thought, I am choosing cherish as my word of the year for 2018.  I’d like to cherish these special moments with my daughter, cherish making memories with loved ones, cherish time spent alone on things I’m passionate about, cherish every precious second.

Life seems to ebb and flow through periods of lightness and darkness.  My family is definitely in a period of lightness right now.  Being as happy as I am seems almost criminal, so I want to cherish that feeling.

Outfit Details (on the left): sweater, pants (similar), slip-ons


Here are some links I’m loving this week:

  • why toddlers deserve more respect
  • fabulous analysis of my favorite villain (SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read unless you’ve seen The Last Jedi)
  • if you need something to listen to (linking this here partly so I can go back and look!  I LOVE 1, 2, 10, 11, 16, 34, 36, and 44)

Do you pick a word of the year?  What word have you chosen for 2018?

Let me know in the comments below!


How To Write Thank You Notes

With Christmas behind us, it is time once again to show our gratitude for all we’ve been given by writing and sending thank you notes.  To me, thank you notes are an important way to show gift-givers your appreciation and a great exercise to reflect on your personal gratitude as well.

Thank you notes don’t have to be long or extremely thought-out – just a simple three to five sentences to let the gift giver know that (1) you received the gift and (2) you are grateful!

Step 1: Keep Track of Gifts

During or right after every event (Christmas, birthday parties, birth of a baby, etc.),  keep a running list of gifts you have received and from who.

I try to make notes about things I might mention in my thank you notes, such as if someone made special effort to stop by and visit, or if they came to a party we hosted, or if they’ll be in town soon.

As soon as possible after the event (within one week is preferable), sit down with your thank you notes list and get to work!

Step 2: Gather Materials

thank you notes materialsAll you really need is paper and a pen, but pretty cards certainly make writing (and receiving) thank you notes a little more special.  My favorite thank you cards are from Emily McDowell Studios, Rifle Paper Co., and Target (of course!).  I am obsessed with Pilot Precise V5 pens and use them for EVERYTHING!

Step 3: Acknowledge Receipt of Gift

thank you notesYour first sentence is simple: “Thank you so much for ______!”

Step 4: Compliment Gift or Gift Giver

thank you notesThe next sentence should be a compliment about the gift or about the gift giver, or if you are feeling extra gracious, then both!

Step 5: Catch Up

thank you notesThis is where the note gets personal.  Use a sentence or two to catch up with the gift giver.  This is where my notes from Step 1 come in handy!

Step 6: Thank the Gift Giver Again

thank you notesEnd with another thank you: “Thank you, again!”  And then sign your name.  And send (ASAP!).

Have you gotten all your thank you notes written already?

Let me know in the comments below!


How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You Will KEEP

new year's resolutions hello marilu

Note: This New Year’s Resolutions article appears in this month’s issue of The Beachcomber.

Around January 1st, many people feel motivated to get their life together –  to finally get in shape or get organized or save money.  Then a couple weeks into the new year, those well-meaning goals are forgotten and people continue living the same way they always have.

Back in 2013, I set a New Year’s Resolution to give up coffee for a year.  After 365 days without coffee, but with a newfound sense of self-discipline, that hot cup of Joe on New Years’ Day 2014 was a real treat.

Today I’d like to share with you a few tips and tricks to get a little more leverage out of your New Year’s Resolutions for 2018.

#1: Keep it Simple and Intentional

So many people plan to start exercising, eat healthier, quit smoking, get organized, read more, and save more money all at the same time.  My advice is to pick just one resolution that means the most to you and focus all your energies on that.

I chose to give up coffee because if I had to go without it for one reason or another, I was grumpy and miserable.  I didn’t like being dependent on a hot cup of caffeine to get me through the morning.  I made no other resolutions that year – going without coffee was enough of a change!

According to the American Psychological Association, willpower-depletion can cause the brain to function differently, leading to a loss in self-control.  In other words, the best way to set yourself up for failure is to have a list of resolutions a page long.  Keep it simple and intentional: pick one resolution, and make it one you care about.

#2: Be Specific

Your goal should have some kind of measurable quality to it.  It should be clear how and when this goal will be achieved. My coffee resolution was simple and specific: Don’t drink coffee.  If I made it through each day without a cup, I achieved my goal.  Other examples for common resolutions:

  • Rather than resolving to “eat healthier,” resolve to “eat vegetables with every meal.”
  • Rather than resolving to “save more money,” resolve to “put $200 in savings every month in 2018.”
  • Rather than resolving to “read more, ” resolve to “read twenty books in 2018.”
  • Rather than resolving to “start exercising,” resolve to “go on a thirty minute run three days a week every week in 2018.”

The key to setting yourself up for success is to be as specific as possible and to create clear points of achievement so you know when to pat yourself on the back.

#3: Make a Plan

I would guess that this is the area where most well-intended goals fall by the wayside.  Think about your resolution, and put together a plan of action for accomplishing it.

This step will look different depending on your goal, but here are a few examples:

  • If your goal is to improve your diet by eating vegetables with every meal, then set aside some time in your schedule each week to meal plan and prep.  Download a meal-tracking app like MyFitnessPal and keep up with your daily intake of vegetables.
  • If your goal is to save $200 each month, set up auto-transfers from your checking account to your savings account on the day you get your paycheck each month.  Or mark your calendar for the same day each month to make that transfer yourself. Think about ways to cut costs in your daily life to make this transfer possible.
  • If your goal is to read twenty books in 2018, set up a shelf in your home of books you’d like to read or make a list of books you’d like to check out from the library.  Think about all of the time you spend scrolling through Facebook or playing games on your phone: Where are you typically sitting when you are zoning out on the social media feeds?  Put a book nearby so that you’ll remember your goal and read instead.
  • If your goal is to exercise three days a week, pencil that time into your schedule.  Even better, pick a fitness class or a workout buddy to schedule in each week, so that you’ve got help holding yourself accountable.

#4: Reward Yourself

You may remember “chore charts” from raising your children or maybe from your childhood.  It’s time to bring back the concept for yourself – Don’t underestimate the power of a gold star!

Draw up a Goal Chart to keep on your refrigerator or in your planner, and give yourself a gold star every time you make a step toward achieving your goal (every book read, or workout done, or savings transfer, etc.).  The feeling of accomplishment you get from adding another sticker to your chart will remind you of your progress and keep you motivated to continue working toward your goal.

Extra Credit:  Read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.  Author Duhigg shares the science behind how much of our daily behavior is attributed to habits.  He shares science-based strategies for changing your habits and improving your life.

Good Luck!

Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions this year?  

Let me know in the comments below!


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Monday Musings: Of Course We Saw Star Wars on Opening Night, Didn’t You?

Welcome to Monday Musings, where I share some thoughts and some links I’ve been loving lately!

This weekend was a busy one – Are Decembers this crazy for everyone?

My husband and I saw the new Star Wars movie on premiere night and had a great time.  I dressed up like my favorite Han Solo meme but nobody noticed (or if they did they didn’t say anything).  At least I got a good laugh.  Have you seen The Last Jedi yet?  What did you think???

On Friday, we met a friend and her one-year-old son out at Seaside for a play date.  Seaside is a special place where you can still find an independently owned grocery store, an independently owned record store, and an independently owned bookstore (along with a ton of independently owned boutiques) all on one block!  I love exploring Seaside anytime, but especially around Christmas.  Seeing the place decked out in garland and lights makes it even more magical.

Another exciting event from this weekend was the groundbreaking of Camp Longleaf, the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center‘s new summer camp facility!  I am so proud of the Biophilia Center team for bringing to fruition something we’ve been talking about for years.  I’ll share photos and more info soon!

monday musings seaside

Outfit Details: jacket (similar), leather pants (similar), top (similar), backpack, baby outfit (similar)


Here are some links I’m loving this week:

  • 2017’s top ten best books (I’ve read 3 and have another on the shelf!)
  • how to treat yourself without spending money or eating junk
  • absolutely fascinating and very important deep dive into why millennials are screwed

How was your weekend? What are you loving lately?

Let me know in the comments below!


Friday Favorites: Fashionista in Training (Just Kidding!)

Welcome to Friday Favorites, my weekly post where I share what I’ve been loving lately!

This week, my daughter has been obsessed with shoes!  Carla May will hardly ever keep her own shoes on, but she loves to crawl around with her hands in mine, especially this gorgeous pair of red mules that I picked up at a local Fashion Flash Sale recently.

Another thing Carla May has been doing that has had me cracking up this week – she loves purses and bags and has made the connection that when mommy grabs her purse, it’s time to leave the house.  SO whenever she happens upon a bag she puts her arm through the handle and drags it behind her while she scoots off yelling “byyyyeeee!”  I really love this age!

Here are a few more things that have brought me joy this week:


I am so proud of my home state right now!!!  I had mentioned my support for Doug Jones here on the blog before, but only a small part of me thought that the people of Alabama would elect him since “democrat” seems to be a dirty word in much of the state.  In this case, to be proven wrong is such a thrill!

Watching the election coverage on Tuesday night was so inspiring for me.  I am very excited to see what Senator Doug Jones will accomplish.

Sidenote:  I love the fact that the majority of the 22,000+ write-in votes were for University of Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban!  Roll TIde!

Library Extension for Chrome

friday favorites library extensionFor my library enthusiasts, this may be a life-changing tool for you.  It certainly has been for me!  The library extension for Chrome is available for FREE download here.

When you are browsing or or any other online bookseller, the library extension shows you whether that title is available at your local library.  The extension window allows you to place a hold on that book with just one click.

I can’t tell you how much money this has saved me by encouraging me to check books out from our fabulous public library rather than purchase them!

The questions I get asked most often (surprisingly) from blog readers or Instagram friends are usually about what I am wearing.  You may have noticed from my blog and Instagram posts on Wednesday that I am using a new tool called, which allows me to more easily share with you products I like or similar clothing items to the looks I am wearing in my photographs.  I’m sharing this with you on Friday Favorites because is a somewhat exclusive program, so I am excited to have been accepted!  I even have my very own profile on their website and app (screenshot below)!

friday favorites liketoknow.itWhat this means:  If you click on any of my links from my blog or Instagram and make a purchase, I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you), which helps me cover the expenses of running Hello Marilu, so thank you in advance for your support!  I’ll always try to link products or items of clothing that appear in my blog posts or photographs.  Also, I’ll likely create more fashion or style-centered posts in the future, but don’t worry!  I’m not going to go all fashionista on you.  I’ll stick with my usual mixture of classic neutrals and quirky, fun pieces!

How was your week?  What are your Friday Favorites?  What brought you joy?

Let me know in the comments below!


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