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I’m not married. I don’t have kids. But I’m still important, aren’t I? When I was younger I truthfully thought that I would be married & done having kids by the time I turned 25. I also thought I’d love high school, go to college, have only one boyfriend who became my husband, & have my first kiss on my wedding day. None of those things happened. No one told me my life would look like that, but at 12 years old that’s really how I pictured it would all happen. Now I’m 26, I am not about to get married, currently on my period so clearly not pregnant, & unlike the Drew Barrymore film, I have been kissed. Clearly I knew nothing, just like Jon Snow. Of course I still want to be married & have kids, but I had no way of knowing that I wouldn’t be living that picket fence lifestyle by the time I hit my mid twenties.

Society says I should have these things by now though, especially in my blogger world industry. Everywhere you look there are mommy bloggers sharing baby products & sleep methods, women sharing their infertility journey alongside their husbands with hope, traveling couples who are living their dream with their destined-to-be person in foreign lands talking about how great marriage can be, & the duo’s who somehow live all three scenarios & are happy as can be. I know every single person’s journey is different. Every single person at one point in their life has wanted something, desperately waited for it, & is now on the other side living it. But where in the world do the women fit in who aren’t doing any of these things yet?

Shout out to the women who aren’t wives or moms, yet. 

Being a wife is important. Being a mom is special. I get it. And trust me, I do want to experience it. But I honestly can’t relate to those women when I’m an almost 27 year old who just isn’t there in her life yet. People say all the time that you’ll miss your “freedom” once you have those things, or that they would trade spots with me just to get a break. NEWSFLASH! No, you wouldn’t. And you shouldn’t want to. You should be grateful for the life you have & are building because at least you have a family to call your own. Do you know what it’s like going on family vacations as a single adult with married siblings who have kids? It’s different, let me just say that. You have no one on your side or on your team or up for anything because it’s everyone worrying about their kids getting naps or getting fed or making decisions for their own little family units that is best for them. Life changes the older you get & the further from everyone else’s lives you seem to be becomes more apparent.

Don’t read this as a complaint. I like my life. I’m happy with what I do & where I’m at & the fact that because I have no husband or little human responsibilities I get to experience things differently than those who have different priorities right now. But who out there is sharing what life is like for the percentage of women who don’t fit into the mom or married category? We need a middle ground. We, as in me, I need to share what it’s like to be a woman who desires these things, but just isn’t at that point yet.

So, shout out to the women who aren’t wives. Maybe you’re single, that’s okay. Maybe you just got out a relationship & are healing. Maybe you’ve never been in a relationship before. Maybe you just got divorced & are feeling lost & broken. No matter where you are in your single life, know that you matter. You’re not defined by your romantic relationship status. You have a value that is measured beyond whether you have a ring on your finger or whether you share a bed with someone at night. I know it’s lonely sometimes, a lot of the time if I’m being honest. But you aren’t alone. You should be proud of the life you’re living. Your life is important outside of marriage. What you are doing with your days still have an impact even if you’re not directly “sharing” it with another human life. You are badass, loved, & beautiful. Don’t wait to live your life once you’ve found that special someone, start living it now. Because if you don’t you’re going to waste a lot of time & miss out on so much life has to offer you right now. Be present, passionate, & live with purpose. Your life & who you are as a person are gold. I see you, I hear you, & you are worth acknowledging, always.

Where are the women who aren’t moms? Shout out to you, girl. Whether single, married, too young, unable, or not wanting to have kids, you’re not a waste of a woman. Your value goes beyond the ability to reproduce & your worth is not defined by whether, when, or if you ever have kids. I understand some of you are trying so hard to become one with no luck, remember you’re not broken. I know some of you desire to be a mom one day & you will be. But you are not less than because you don’t have kids. You are radiant & strong & talented. You are more than the title of “childless”. You have a voice that can chime in even if your experience isn’t the same. You still have room at the table to tell your story even if it isn’t comparable to others. You matter as a human & woman first before being defined as someone who doesn’t get it. Speak up for your truths & give compassion to those who don’t understand because they aren’t living in your shoes. I know what it’s like to live on the outside of a category, but I want you to know that you are an essential part of this world & no one can tell you otherwise.

Don’t get mad at me… I’m not bashing the women who are wives, moms, or both, or even the women who really don’t want to be either. I’m just trying to share the perspective of life that I’m currently living & hopefully shedding some light to those who need a different point of view. Being a woman at any stage in life can be hard & tiring & draining & lonesome, but it’s also fun & exciting & adventurous & so full of love. If you’re in a spot you don’t want to be have hope that one day without even realizing it you’ll be living the life you always dreamed you would.

Shout out to the women who aren’t wives or moms, yet, or the women they want to be, just yet. We all have different stories, goals, outlooks, dreams, realities, & perspectives. Don’t be afraid to share yours, be considerate of others, & love & encourage each other along the way.

Always know that your life has a certain path that is laid out specifically for you, so don’t try & take a short cut or you’ll miss what you’re supposed to experience in life.

– abbey kay

*brought to you by a girl who isn’t a wife or a mom yet

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What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Except not really when you go so many times & bring back dreams of visiting the city again & again & again. I first went to Las Vegas when I was almost 13 for a friend’s birthday weekend to see The Phantom of the Opera. We stayed on the strip, saw the Treasure Island show, ate at Tao, & shopped at all the stores. Despite growing up in Reno, I didn’t go back again until my brother moved there just after my high school graduation & his college graduation. I drove down with my middle brother who was going to a New Found Glory show & my oldest brother showed me Las Vegas Boulevard as an adult. We went up in the Vegas Eiffel Tower, watched the water fountain show at the Bellagio, & had food & desserts at tons of other casinos.

I’ve now been down there 7 times since 2011, each time experiencing all the fun things Las Vegas has to offer outside of the strip. There is so much more to the city than gambling & night clubs like good food, coffee, treats, & stores. Vegas has become a special place in my heart & is now somewhere I love telling people about. So here’s my insight into the city that I’ve been traveling to for the past 8 years to first visit my brother, then also his wife whom he met there, & now, also my niece who was born there just a year ago.

Donuts

Coco Donuts – Donuts? Croissant donuts? And everything in between? Yes, please! This is hands down my favorite donuts I have ever had in Vegas. SO soft, fluffy, & sweet with the most perfect amount of glaze. It

Pinkbox Doughtnuts – Honestly, not my favorite donuts I’ve had before… But they followed me on Instagram & they make super cute unicorn donuts. They get an A+ for style & creativity, but not so much on flavor profile for a donut lover like me!

Donut Bar – This shop was brand new to Vegas when I first tried it back in 2016, they are OG’s to LA. I loved the location of this shop near old downtown Vegas & the cuteness of their donuts. They had nitro cold brew on tap which was super good & I had it there first before any of the shops in Reno started making it. I loved this donuts & the cute courtyard you could sit in while eating them.

Things To Do

Fremont Street – Did you know there was a downtown Las Vegas that existed before the strip got all it’s fame & glory? Welcome to Fremont Street where old downtown Las Vegas lives. It hold so much history of the city, is full of lights & casinos, new restaurants & bars filled in old buildings, a zip line right down the middle of the walkway & home to many local events. This is where I first gambled in Vegas with my brother when I turned 21, & if you’ve never been I just think it’s a really great spot to check out & see when you’re down there.

Downtown Container Park – You know those metal container storage pods that people use for moving/storing things? This mall or park is made up entirely of those things stacked up on top of each other!  The owner of Zappos also owns this unique location which actually has a huge children’s park right in the center of it & the adults gets to play on it once it get dark. They have stores, boutiques, AC (which is huge during a Vegas summer), & food places in each pod & it’s truly an experience. It’s also surrounded by many street art murals which are so cool to see up close on the old city walls located just above Fremont.

7 Magic Mountains – Just below the city is the art installment, the Seven Magic Mountains. My brother drove me out there back in 2016 & it truly was such a cool things to see in person. Huge stacks of brightly painted rocks just out in the middle of the desert. We had tons of fun just going around taking photos of each other in front of the rocks & of the rocks. I even met a really cool internet friend that day, @hotpinkpineapples, who was visiting Vegas from LA. Definitely check out this place if you go to Vegas, rent a car, & have some free time!

Joshua Trees – This was on my list to see one year when I visited my brother. I wanted to see Joshua Tree National Forest so we drove super far south & right into the middle of Joshua trees that surrounded you no matter which was you looked. It was such a cool thing to see. After him living there for awhile, & then getting married at Mt. Charleston, I realized you didn’t have to drive so far south to see them. But it was worth the memory & adventure!

Murals – Las Vegas truly does have some really unique & cool murals to look at & take photos with. My favorite finds have been a painting that was scratched into the bricks, a bright pink flamingo, a Rosie the Riveter lookalike, & a geometric pattern that spelled the words EVER AFTER.

Treats

Milk Bar – Okay, I know I said this post was going to be about places off the strip…but this place is A MUST & is totally worth the drive down main street. The story of this place & how it came to be is on Chef’s Table on Netflix & I recommend watching it to hear about the passion behind the phenomenon that is Cereal Milk Ice Cream created by owner Christina Tosi. If you loved sweet cereals as a kid or even now, then you’ll know the flavor of the leftover milk at the bottom of your bowl once the cereal is all gone. Now picture that flavor in a soft serve ice cream form. Yep, she did that! It’s seriously so good & they also have tons of other sweets like milk bar pie, cookies, & the famous naked confetti cakes!

Nielsen’s Frozen Custard – My brother took me to Nielsen’s on my first solo trip to Vegas & I go back every time I visit. They have a soft serve “flavor of the day” & you can add in toppings. But they also have pints & quarts that you can take home! My favorite flavors have been raspberry, lemon, vanilla, white chocolate, & salted caramel. It’s just so smooth, not too sweet, & has just a mouth watering experience with every bite!

Cinnaholic – Have you ever wanted to build your own custom cinnamon roll? Well your dream can come true at Cinnaholic. YOu can order off the menu with flavor profiles they’ve already created for you, or build your very own. I went with the build your own option when I was there & did my own twist of a salted caramel cinnamon roll combo!

Coffee

Mothership Coffee – I would move to Las Vegas just to be able to drink coffee from Mothership Coffee everyday. Lucky for me, I always brings bags of their Mexico blend home with me so that I don’t have too. But really, they have such good coffee! I love their cold brew & their vanilla lavender iced latte.

Bad Owl Coffee – This coffee shop is Harry Potter themed & you can ever try “buter beer” here. I’ve only been about three times, but the theme & nostalgia totally make it worth it. This is another shop that I buy bags of coffee from to bring back home to Reno to drink so it’s obviously good black coffee!

Makers & Finders – Las Vegas has a few Makers & Finders locations. One at the Summerlin Mall & the other near downtown. They’re both super cute settings, but I love the look & feel & design of the one downtown more so. Such good coffee & I’m pretty sure I had bacon there too…sorry, it was like back in 2016! But I know my sister-in-law still frequents there so I can guarantee it’s the place to check out!

Cafe Lola – Most Instagramable place ever! It’s a cute little garden tea party vibe cafe with speciality toasts, treats, sorbet champagne, & lattes with cute sayings printed in their foam. It has a fake flower wall, a cute neon sign, white marble tables, a porch swing out front & bright pink patio table & chairs. Loved getting to experience this place because it’s the perfect spot for a blogger to do her thang!

Publicus – No one knows how to pronounce this coffee shop name. Public-us? Publi-cus? Not sure. But it does serve some really good coffee like a lime cold brew. It kind of seems to be in a sketchy spot of town, but the building is so cool! A lot of Vegas is commercialized with it’s “hip” places inside shopping centers (like Mothership Coffee), so when they have a coffee shop located in an actually old building it’s a pretty special thing.

Food

I have had some of the best food ever on trips to Las Vegas. From expensive restaurants to fast food dining, they truly have such a unique food scene with so many options & places to try out. Here are my favorite spots I’ve eaten at while visiting Sin City.

Cafe Zupa’s – This is the best place for lunch hands down. The menu is filled with fresh ingredients to make some of the yummiest sandwiches & salads I’ve ever eaten. They have soup options every single day as well & every meal comes with a chocolate covered strawberry. My go to order is a turkey club with a cup of tomato basil soup! My mom loves their strawberry vinaigrette salad. Order out or sit in, it’s like a Qdoba but for light sandwiches, soups, & salads!

Dirt Dog – Loaded hot dogs & loaded fries. Nuff’ said. My family & I loved eating at this place the last time we were in town. I got the House Dirt Dog that comes with thousand island bacon sauce, mustard, ketchup, onions, & peppers & ordered carne asada fries on the side. SO MUCH FOOD. And it was so good. They have a location in LA & I loved how they can turn a hot dog into so much more. They had fried twinkies & Oreos to try out. My niece had a bacon wrapped hot dog which made the joint kid friendly.

Echo & Rig – I have never been to a fancier place to brunch than Echo & Rig. And I may have also gotten mimosa buzzed… I had their quiche breakfast that was so buttery & good that I didn’t even mind that it came with a breakfast side salad that was also super yum! My mom & I split blueberry pancakes while we where there & those were delicious too. Love this place & it’s worth every penny.

Bruno’s Taco Bar – Authentic tacos with unique flavors, check! But they also serve coffee where they can print any design on top in the foam. This place does it all. Loved their mango margarita on the rocks. Loved their house-made salsas to try. Loved the taste of their tacos. And it was so much fun to get my ABBEY KAY logo printed on top of my coffee upon my second visit!

595 Craft & Kitchen – Hipster places always win. We had fried deviled eggs, soo good! Soft pretzels, baked wings, bahn mi’s, ahi tuna burger’s, this place truly has it all. A great place to grab a beer or a cider & enjoy some bar food too! I’m sure we’ll be going back next time we head to Vegas!

Rachel’s Kitchen – I love Rachel’s Kitchen. Mainly because they have really good fries, but also because they make a really good grilled cheese sandwich & turkey club. I haven’t tried their smoothie yet, but they look so good. And my brother ordered a kale chicken salad once & it looked so healthy & delicious.

Hobak Korean BBQ – My brother, the one who doesn’t even live in Vegas, somehow always finds the best places to eat by random chance. This is one of those places & I’m not even joking. None of us had tried Korean BBQ before but we were all sold after eating at this place. They cooked the meat right in front of you, had the best fried rice I’ve ever eaten, made delicious noodles, & had really good ice cream sandwiches made with rice cakes for dessert. We will definitely be adding this to our list of favorite Vegas spots!

Park on Fremont – I first ate at Park on Fremont back in 2014 & that’s the day I fell in love. They had sweet potato tater tots that were to die for. The second time I went back I tried their honey bbq boneless chicken wings & my brother had a mac n cheese covered hot dog. Again, so good! I loved this little restaurant that has the cutest dining courtyard just above old downtown Vegas & it holds a special place in my heart!

Egg Works – First place I ever ate at in Las Vegas after my middle brother & I road tripped all night from Reno to go visit my oldest brother in 2011. The menu is full of every kind of breakfast egg options you can imagine & it’s super good every time I go. It also helps that they have one on almost every corner!

Carson Kitchen – Another favorite of mine in Vegas is Carson Kitchen which serves American style tapas, or small dish foods. My brother took me here a few years back & besides absolutely loving the aesthetic & lighting of the old building, I was in awe of the food! Crusted mac n cheese, fig jam on crustini, & tons of other flavors in cute little cast iron dishes. I dream of going back!

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The beginning of the year hit & I feel like I haven’t slowed down one bit ever since. Normally, this is my slower time of the year, but for some reason I have been non-stop busy with projects & I’m super grateful for it. My feed has been filled with tons of sponsorship posts which means I’m getting paid to take photos & do what I love. And my inbox has been constantly being filled with new opportunities & jobs. I’ve always said that I never knew this was my dream because it just sort of slowly happened to me, but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Being busy is great, but being a blogger is a lot of hard work & it usually means working every day of the week with no set hours & constantly adding things to your to-do list. My work day is truly never done, it just comes to a point in my day where I can justify leaving the rest for tomorrow, or the next day, or if I’m being honest the next week(s).

Being this busy has created seclusion for me lately & honestly a ton of stress as I am a one woman show running my business & figuring it all out as I go. It’s also left me little to no time to sit down & write which is one of my favorite things about what I do. I should force myself & create time to write because it’s honestly like therapy to me, but the truth is I don’t get many dollar signs for writing encouragement which is why I do sponsorships. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking product photos, they make me feel alive so it’s cool to me that I can take a photo of some cereal (that’s really good btw) & then get paid to post about it. But, writing is the meaningful side of my job & I feel like what I do can seem so empty & vain without it. So here I am writing. My main goal was to deliver an update, to say hi, & then hopefully through whatever I have to say, some encouragement comes out.

Remember how I said I’ve been pretty secluded lately? It’s true. I didn’t mean to do it, but I sort of just stopped going places & hanging out with my friends. I’ve never been the kind of friend to ask to hang out because I’ve always just waited for them to ask me. It kind of back fires though because while I’m doing all that waiting I start to think that my friends don’t like me anymore because they’re not asking to hang out. I could easily ask them to do things, but whenever I think about doing that all these little voices tell me all the reasons they can’t or won’t be able to hang out. Maybe that’s anxiety? Maybe that’s a fear of being rejected or turned down or something. I’ve lived a pretty lonely life of doing things usually on my own, so I’m used to it. I hardly feel like people are there for me. That’s a lie though. My personality just tells me that, not the actual people around me.

Update #1: I’m gonna work on trying to be a better friend by asking people to do things instead of waiting around to be asked. 

Despite being secluded, I actually haven’t been that sad lately & I’m not sure why. It could be from drinking celery (& green apple) juice everyday. Yeah, I jumped on that band wagon mainly because I read a benefit of it is that it helps with anxiety & depression & I thought it was worth a shot. So far so good. I mean, I’m sure other things have factored in, but I enjoy drinking it everyday so I’m continuing to do so. That could be another reason I haven’t written in awhile because I’m not sad. More often than not, I write what I myself need to hear. When I was super sad about my grandpa passing away, like legit mourning for almost an entire year sad, I wrote every week about sadness & happiness & the reality of trying to live with both feelings & emotions being so prevalent in my life. I wrote about my true feelings. But it’s so much easier for me to write about sadness because it just feels so much more real than writing & saying I’m fine, I really am. And I mean it. Like, who really believes that? Besides, I like being that voice to others on the dark side who reaches out with one hand while using my other hand to cusp around my mouth in order to make my shout of it’s okay to not be okay louder. No one hears or sees those people, but I want to. So even though I really am doing okay, or better at least, I want you to know, whoever you are, that it’s okay to be where you’re at right now.

Update #2: I still know what it’s like in the deep end, but I’m just hanging out on the other end right now.

I’m learning to say no more & speak up for what I want out of my business, life, & time. That’s something I have always struggled with: saying yes & regretting it, or saying no & regretting it. I’ve joked a few times that this year is “Abbey Kay Don’t Take No Shit 2019” & I think it’s working. I don’t mean this to be rude. But I feel like in the past I have said yes to jobs & their requirements & then I’ve dreaded completing them. I don’t want to feel that way anymore. My job is to be creative & creativity shouldn’t feel exhausting & soul sucking. It should give life! I want every project I do to give me excitement & purpose & joy while capturing it. So I’m speaking up, I’m turning down jobs, I’m only committing to the projects that I know I can give 100% of myself & my passion to.

Update #3: I’m working my hardest to hone in on my Abbey Kay brand & I’m loving it.

My brother told me the other day that he thinks my encouragement can lead people no where sometimes. I was honestly super pissed that he said that to me. But I can get his perspective. Words have impact, but are they the right words & do they have any substance to back them up? I don’t want to be a hand holder. But I do want to be on your team. I love writing & I love talking, but I mainly love connecting to other’s stories, lives, & realities. Not everyone has someone, & I want to be that someone for them. I want to tell you that dream chasing it possible & totally worth it. I want to tell you that you’re capable of loving your body & your story. These are truths. People need to hear it. We are imperfect beings, but we were created intentionally with purpose. This is my purpose, to write words that carry meaning & provoke change. It’s just in me & I have to do it.

Update #4: I’m still rooting for you, & her, & the daily struggle we all face.

I’m hoping to write more. I’m hoping you’ll hold me to that hope. And I hope that you enjoy reading what I write!

Always know that life is never going to look like it does right now again. Whether you are somewhere good, somewhere low, or somewhere in between, know that you’re heading somewhere better than you’ve dreamed.

– abbey kay

*brought to you by a girl who is happy she took some time to write

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Recently someone reached out to me & asked for advice on what to do when you can’t stop comparing yourself to someone else in an unhealthy way. I felt very humbled that this person trusted me enough to confide in me & that she thought I would know how to beat it. Truth is, I struggle with it too, but I did my best to give sound advice to her situation. I admit that I have by no means fully overcome the beast that is comparison, but I have practiced ways to help manage it when it gets out of hand. I know that a lot of people & women deal with this too, so I figured we should talk about it & try & walk through this thing together. So here it goes…

You are not them, & they are not you.

Simply put, you can never be another person no matter how hard you try. Dye your hair, buy their clothes, take photos like them, talk like them, post like them, buy a home like theirs, have a job like theirs, & even when you do, you will still not be them. You’ll become less & less you, & more & more miserable, & I can promise you that. They are being themselves & that is why you can’t be like them. And honestly, you shouldn’t want to be. I think comparison starts to happen when we see less value in ourselves & more value in someone else.

You need to see your value & what you bring to the table.

If you’re serving something cold for dinner from someone else’s table, I don’t want to eat it. I want the you who you are too afraid to discover. I want the you that likes what you like & enjoys what you enjoy. And you should want the same thing for yourself. You have talents & abilities & traits that no one else around you has. They are valuable, they are your gold. I want to see that gold, but I want you to show it in a way where everyone around you knows it’s yours & not from a pawn shop. Own it. Be you. Do something with it. It’s never too late to start.

Don’t think you have to be on anyone else’s timeline other than your own.

I get it. I’ve been there too. For the longest time I was the only single one. Then I was the only not married one. Now I’m the only one without kids. Does it hurt & does it suck to watch people around you have things that you want so badly? Hell yes it does. Some days are easier than others, but sometimes I ache for the life I want. But you have to remember that you are on your own path & not theirs. Your path has a beautiful destination, but you’re going to miss the beauty along the way if you keep looking to see what is on everyone else’s path. Stick to yours & it’s going to be more enjoyable in the end. Whether you struggle with comparing your career, relationship status, height, weight, or whatever, it’s not doing you any good to be so fixated on someone else’s existence.

You are just as important as the girl you’re comparing yourself to so don’t tear her down by trying to build yourself up.

Have you ever thought that maybe the girl you are looking at is looking at someone else, who is looking at someone else, who is looking at someone else, who is maybe looking at you? We are all constantly comparing ourselves & our lives to someone or something we think is greater than ourselves. This is bullshit. Humans are flawed, we can’t keep holding each other up so high. Because if one person falls, then we all fall. We need to learn to stand on our own, support the girl standing next to us, & lean into one another when the ground gets shaky. Your dream should be your own. You should support her dream for being hers. And we should inspire each other along the way. We should want her to win as much as we want to win for ourselves. But how do we get there?

Know yourself more than you know anything else in this world.

When you confidently know who you are comparison stops winning because you already know all that your strengths, weaknesses, passions, & desires will get you in life. I can stop comparing myself to the mommy blogger because I don’t have kids. I can stop comparing myself to that designer blogger because designer clothes are not my thing. I can stop comparing myself to that wedding photographer because I don’t desire to ever photograph weddings. I can stop comparing myself to the size 0 or 2 or 4 girl because I will never be that size & I am okay with it. Know who you are & what you want. You are responsible for getting yourself to your end goal, & comparing your dreams to their dreams only delays you getting there. Take what you are good at, practice that ability, turn up your voice, & get moving. And when the bad days come because they will, know that it’s okay to have them.

Love yourself when you fail, & do something you love to create joy.

I’m all for the truth that not everyday is going to be a good day. It just simply doesn’t work out that way. So when you fail, when you inevitably start to compare, recognize what you’re doing & stop. Tell yourself that you don’t want to go down that rabbit hole that leads no where good. Be kind to yourself. Say out loud things you love about yourself & remind yourself who you are & who you want to be. It also helps to try & do something that feeds your soul right away to regain some joy. Snap a cool flatlay, make a cup of coffee, go back & look at your own achievements, put on a trendy outfit, do your hair & make up, go for a walk…do whatever it is that you know gives you life. Then, remember to keep doing those things daily so that you don’t forget the little things that are so simple yet so good. Little things add up, & they are worth experiencing over & over again if you enjoy them. So find your little things that are filled with love & remember to do them often so that joy fills your days.

Comparison is going to naturally happen, fight it when it starts to creep in.

You got this. You can beat it. You don’t have to let it steal your light, energy, time, & happiness anymore. Know who you are, know your value & your own personal dream. When you live everyday striving for your goals, & not theirs, comparison starts to slowly fade away. Don’t let it ruin another moment of your life. Stop comparing waist lines, diets, work out routines, parenting techniques, Instagram filters/feeds, incomes, relationships, jobs, opportunities, faces, shapes, & beauty. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where we all walked & talked & looked to same. I want to encourage you to strive to be a part of one that celebrates our differences instead of pitting them against each other.

Always know that what you have to offer is worth offering.

– abbey kay

*brought to you by a girl who is in the battle of comparison with you

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A year is a long time. So much can happen in 12 months & it’s easy to forget. Blogging has always been a way that I have documented my life & where I’ve been since I was 19. I’ve written parts of my story on the internet for literally anyone to read, I’ve invited everyone in. From starting out talking about only outfits & sounding like the teenager I was, to sharing real life sadness & encouragement on the days that I just needed to get my emotion out. My voice has changed over the past 6 1/2 years, but writing has always been an outlet for me to explain myself. I am grateful that because blogging is my job & that writing a year in review post is a trend in my field, it allows & even forces me to pause & reflect on all that the year has brought me in finance, opportunity, experience, love, & growth. Here’s what it all looked like.

This past year was my first full calendar year of working entirely for myself. Even though I have technically been self-employed since I was about 20 when I started being a nanny, this year is the first full year where all the money I made solely came from blogging & photography. Every single check that I received was because I said hey so & so, I can do this or that for you or your company, & they all trusted me & my creativity enough to allow me to do it AND pay me for it. All of the money I made & used to live with this year was given to me from people who trusted me & my work. That blows my mind. As someone who started sharing her life, what she bought, her favorite things, etc., with photos she took on her phone & then shared online for fun, to now being so good at it that people hire me to take their website photos, run their social media, write blogs for them, create content, share products, & more, it’s truly humbling & a dream come true. I will forever be grateful for 2018 & my first full year of making it on my own.

Opportunity started for me as soon as the fireworks stopped going off last year. I entered into the New Year last year with so much coming my way. I had the privilege of getting to plan & help host a Yelp Elite Event with Whole Foods & their Clean Beauty products & got to hand pick the guest bloggers for the event. It was wild every step of the way from having my face all over my local Whole Foods talking about my favorite beauty picks, to my dad building donut dowels for the event. It was something I’ll never forget & forever be grateful for having been a part of. I was a part of so many photoshoots that I modeled for in this past year, & as someone who walks away feeling so inspired from them I’m grateful for that chance. I was gifted AND paid to be a part of so many campaigns both big & small. Yes, I have the exact number of projects I worked on, but I don’t feel the need to share it, just know that I am humbled by the number & extremely grateful for that opportunity as well. When a company wants to give you something & sees value in what you do, words just simply can’t express the gratitude that I truly feel. Giveaways, takeovers, features, they’ve all exponentially grown in 2018 & I can’t believe the opportunities that come my way. I am happy to have been invited to events & to have even reached my product photography new client goal for the year. If you truly want to know numbers, you can ask. I just don’t ever want you to feel like I’m bragging. I put in a lot of hard work, so these opportunities are well deserved, & if you put in the same hard work I know you could be right where I am too! Truly, I’m just still in awe of the year I’ve had & it makes me cry tears of joy.

I experienced a whole lot this year. I found friends who are in the same fields as me, who care about social media as much as me, & who are actually there for me as friends & who are my versions of coworkers. Having done blogging alone in Reno for so long it’s 100% refreshing to finally have people in my life who get this part of me because they care about Boomerang’s & creating content too. I went through heart ache in more ways than one can imagine & understand. I learned more about me & what I need, & am finding a way to voice it more loudly. I lived days & moments that I look back on & wished I handled differently. And I worked on projects that I didn’t like the outcome on & now I know to be bolder & more firm in what should be expected. I got to live out my Instagram dream by going to The Museum of Ice Cream & visiting one of my favorite stores in SF, Everlane. I experienced adding & subtracting people in my life this year. I figured out ways to be on guard to own emotions & I protected myself for what I knew was truly best. I’m a firm believer that you don’t truly know what something is like until you have experienced it yourself. We as humans can try our best to be there for people, but it’s really our experiences that tie us together. Experiences are bonding. Sometimes I think even just talking about our experiences can help us to better understand one another. I’m also all for that. Don’t just experience trips, concerts, & excitement with one another, but experience loneliness, sadness, & the happiness of the every day with those around you too.

This was the year that I truly loved myself more than ever. I talked about this all year long, that even though I am at my biggest size yet I have never loved myself more & been more comfortable in my skin. I’ve been more honest & real & have surrounded myself with people who don’t view me as a size, but just see me instead. There is no pride in being a technical “plus size” girl, there is only pride in being me & loving me. I think a lot of women hit a point in their life where their body does a drastic change & it’s one that they are not prepared for. Whether it comes after marriage or after giving birth, I can see that a ton of women go through these natural changes & have an identity crisis. I for one, have always had a body that has constantly been changing. I have always been curvy, have always fluctuated in weight, & therefore have always been okay with whatever my body looked like. My encouragement for you would be that you would learn to love your body & be proud of what it does every single day, which is allow you to live & breath, despite the look of it.

Last but not least, let’s talk about growth from the past year. There comes a point in your life, or at least in my life, that excuses just don’t work anymore. Things can describe you, your behaviors, your actions, your thoughts, but they don’t have to always define you. This is where growth comes in. You have a choice to change & be better. You have a choice to look back at your past, see the things you did or did not like, & work to improve on them. Whether it be in your business & being better at responding to emails more quickly (guilty), or saying no to more projects & giving better quality to less of them, or knowing you react a certain way to change & choosing to acknowledge that you can be be better, or even waking up every day & choosing to show up & not let the sadness win. This past year I have grown a lot. I have grown emotionally. I have grown in responsibility. I have grown in my business & personal life too. Life is all about willing to see who you’ve been, who you’re wanting to become, & making sure that the person you are today is a healthy combination of both who isn’t afraid to face their past as long as it helps them achieve their future. Growing pains hurt, but they’re worth it in the end.

Thank you 2018 for giving me all you had to offer. I am who I am right now because of all the opportunity, experience, love, & growth you allowed me to have. Cheers to 2019 & even more of all of these things coming my way! I hope that this next year brings me things I am not ready for, things I never dreamt could be mine, & more that is disguised as less.

Always know that you can’t force things to be. They will happen when they are supposed to happen & all you can do is be ready for when they finally come your way.

– abbey kay

*brought to you by a girl who is now ready for the new year to begin

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Christmas is just a few days away & I can hardly believe it. I’m usually way ahead of the game & have all of my presents bought & wrapped & ready to be opened by all of my loved ones. This year, I’m cutting it close & STILL have some last minute items to pick up. But thanks to Macy’s & their Mystylist center I was able to cross a few more items off my list earlier this week! Macy’s has so many options besides just clothes & accessories. They carry make-up, perfumes, home items, kitchen ware, electronics, & more. If you’re still needing some ideas for what to get the people in your life, I’ve got you covered!

For Him

Did you know that Macy’s carries brands like The North Face, Nike, Adidas, & Levi’s? They have so many name brand items that are almost always on sale! I grabbed a camo North Face jacket at a great buy at only $110, & their basic logo tees at only $25 are a steal too. Nike has some amazing men’s athletic shorts that he can wear to workout or even to bed. They come in blue, green, maroon, grey, & black! Also, all of their Adidas jackets & sweats are a great last minute buy for your guy. And you can never go wrong picking him up a pair of his fave Levi’s jeans because I swear that’s the brand that every guy ever wears.

But what if he’s not into clothes? Macy’s also carries electronics like The Echo Dot, headphones, remote  control collector’s cars, some camping gear, & more. They have backpacks, shoes, wallets, luggage, & so many things that he needs, but will never buy for himself. The Macy’s Men’s Department at the local Reno Mall is located under the Macy’s Home Department so when you’re done shopping for him just head right upstairs to grab gifts for the new home owners on your life.

For the Home

Some of my favorite kitchen ware can be found at Macy’s. They carry such modern & clean brands like The Cellar & Modern Farm House. I love their wooden bowls, cutting boards, cheese plates, & wooden serving spoons. Are your friends into Moscow Mules? Macy’s has such unique copper mugs in different shapes & styles, & even has some holiday themed ones. Their entire kitchen section makes me swoon with their selection of french press coffee makers to mug selections, & they even have the cutest kitchen towels sets. Are you looking for something a bit more cozy? They have the best sherpa blankets in an assortment of colors! My favorite find was this ceramic colander & this llama wine stopper!

For Her

Once you’re done grabbing items for your loved one there, take a left out of the Macy’s Men’s Department & head for the Women’s Department on the other side of our local Reno Mall. As soon as you walk in there are so many gift buying options like items from MAC Cosmetics, Origins, Clinique, & more. Perfect place to grab a few perfumes or lipsticks for stocking stuffers, or to grab yourself a little gift too. Shoes & slippers are always a good idea when buying something for a sister, daughter, or friend, & Macy’s has all the best options! I love these boots they have from American Rag! Don’t forget they also carry brands like Free People, Levi’s, Champion, & Adidas for her too! If you head upstairs from the Women’s Department, you’ll find more women’s items like lingerie, coats, & more brands to choose from.

For the Kids

Upstairs is also where you’ll find the kids department with brands like Carter’s, which is a personal fave! They have such great deals on children’s mix & match leggings/pants & tops, & I can almost always find something for my nieces & nephews there. We even picked up their Christmas outfits a few weeks ago from Macy’s & they’re all going to be matching, how cute! They have a great coat selection for your little ones, & some snow suits for the tiny ones too.

For the Bargain Hunter

Just this past summer Macy’s launched something new called Macy’s Backstage & you’ll find this section just past the children’s department upstairs. It’s basically an entire part of the store that carries items from all of the departments, but all the items are crazy marked down & on sale! They have children’s toys, coats, fleeces, comforters, Christmas decor, pots & pans, women’s accessories, & everything you can think of ALL ON SALE! I have found such goods things at our local Macy’s Backstage, like this hat for $14 & Christmas jammies for my niece that came two for one. If you haven’t finished up your shopping, but are almost all out of Christmas budget, head here & you might just be able to find that last minute gift you need at a fraction of the cost!

Macy’s is pretty much a one stop shop for all the gifts you could ever dream of or need for you & your loved ones. They are always having the best of sales & I love working with their Mystylist personal shopping center that is a FREE service in order to help me find exactly what I’m looking for. The Mystylist personal shopping center is located on the first floor of the Women’s Department tucked in the corner. You can call ahead to schedule an appointment, or ask them to pull items that you are interested in buying to help make shopping easier for you. Again, it’s a free of charge service & costs you absolutely nothing! The ladies who work there are so helpful & nice & it makes my shopping experience at Macy’s so much easier & more enjoyable!

Thanks so much Macy’s for letting me shop with you this holiday season & throughout the year!

Always know that giving gifts should be joyful & it doesn’t matter what you give, as long as you give it with intention & thought.

– abbey kay

*brought to you by a girl who truly loves gift giving

This post is sponsored by Macy’s. The opinions & item selections are all by Abbey Kay.

Cover photo by Abbey Kay Photo. The other images found in this blog post have been selected & pulled from the Macy’s website.

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Christmas is almost here & one of my most favorite things about the holidays, or any special moment really, is selecting my outfit! There’s just something so fun to me about knowing what you’re going to be wearing ahead of time, putting some thought into the look & feel of it, setting it aside, & feeling fancy for a day. I am all about comfort, class, trends, & personal style whenever I dress up, & thanks to Macy’s found the perfect holiday outfit that has all of those elements! Every great outfit has a beginning, so let’s start there!

Earlier this week I went to my local Macy’s & met with Suzi Royls who works in the Macy’s Mysylist personal shopping center. I have worked with Suzi quite a few times this past year in order to pick out outfits for collabs like Go Red For Women last winter, & Summer Into Fall transitional pieces just a  few months ago. She is always so kind & helpful & knows where all the brands are located. Best part? Now that we’ve worked together for over a year, she knows my style, the brands I will or won’t wear, & my size too! Together we walk around the Women’s Department at Macy’s discussing & looking for the perfect look that we both have in mind. This go round was no different!

When I came in this past summer we honestly had a hard time finding items & I was worried that would happen again. The only reason last time was so difficult was mainly because the summer trends that were on display & the sizes on the floor just weren’t working with my body. It was hard to find pieces I loved & ones that looked good on me, but after two hours (no joke), we did it. This time though I was more confident in finding itms that worked because winter & sweaters are a best friend to girl like me….hello baggy sweater trends! I was set on picking out a new seater for my holiday look & so once we found a Free People one that I liked in two colors we were set on trying to find some flared or stretchy pants that I could feel comfortable in. And just before we headed into the private fitting rooms that the Mystylist center offers, we found the most perfect velvet ones…

I headed to try on the first look, & we were sold. It was perfect! Everything fit, it all looked good, & even though I was slightly unsure about the pants, I knew we wouldn’t find anything better! We ended up getting this Free People Bell Sleeve Sweater in light grey. It also comes in a pretty forest green that I really loved, & of course black, which I’m surprised I didn’t select. The dreamy I.N.C. Velvet Ruffled Slit Pants looked absolutely perfect on my body & they went with the crop length of the sweater so well. I knew the pants were a bit unlike anything I had worn before, but I also know that I’m not afraid to rock new things & that the style would grow on me. Suzi & I were so stoked that we found this holiday outfit in literally minutes! I’d be pairing the duo with my black velvet booties that I got earlier this year, & one of my handheld brown leather clutches from my bag collection.

Not sure about these pants of this sweater combo? No worries. I’ve got some similar ideas for what else you can find & wear from Macy’s this holiday season. Velvet is a perfect fabric to wear during the holidays. It’s comfortable, yet it looks expensive & chic. Try these Red Velvet Pajama Pants I would totally rock during the day. Just because there is a label telling you what the item is, or when to wear it, doesn’t you have to follow their rules! Fashion is rebellious, there are no real rules. I’d pair those pants with this Free People Fluffy Turtleneck Sweater in black & tuck it in on one side on the front. Tucking shirts fully o half way in or tying them in knots on the side totally transform a look & help to define your waist that your shape doesn’t get lost in the fabric.

For the holidays, you can never go wrong with adding a black booties to your collection of shoes & these Michael Kors Black Boots would go perfect with either look above. And if you’re feeling a little more fancy then these Rhinestone Booties are exactly what you need. I’m a weirdo & refuse to wear open toe shoes, flats, or any shoe that exposes the foot even just a bit during the winter months so I always wear boots with my holiday looks, but you could wear a cute stiletto with these velvet pants too! And no matter whether your holiday outfit is worn in the morning, during the day, or at night, I think a handheld clutch is a must. My favorite one’s from Macy’s is this Bow Hand Clutch or this Envelope Clutch that both come in black.

Macy’s has so many great options & brands to choose from when you’re looking for the perfect holiday look. They always have great sale sections, & even better deals for their card holders. The staff is always so friendly & helpful & I love working with their Mystylist personal shopping center that is a FREE service in order to help me find exactly what I’m looking for. The Mystylist personal shopping center is located on the first floor of the Women’s Department tucked in the corner. You can call ahead to schedule an appointment, or ask them to pull items that you are interested in buying to help make shopping easier for you. Again, it’s a free of charge service & costs you absolutely nothing! The ladies who work there & Suzi are so helpful & nice, & it makes my shopping experience at Macy’s so much easier & more enjoyable especially on the days where I can’t seem to find pieces that I love or even fit! If you have a hard time knowing what to buy, where to find items, grabbing your size, or don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, check out the Macy’s Mystylist personal shopping center. I promise it feels so natural & like you’re shopping with a good friend!

Thanks so much Macy’s for letting me shop with you this holiday season to find my holiday outfit! I can’t wait to wear it to my upcoming family events & transition the pieces into other looks too.

Always know that no matter your body type, size, or shape, you can find trendy pieces, wear them, & look good & be confident while doing it!

– abbey kay

*brought to you by a girl who is in love with this holiday look

This post is sponsored by Macy’s. The opinions & item selections are all by Abbey Kay.

Cover photo & outfit photos are by Abbey Kay Photo. The other images found in this blog post have been selected & pulled from the Macy’s website.

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Abbey Kay by Abbey Kay - 7M ago

I’ve thought a few times about what I wanted to write for this birthday post of mine today. I want it to be honest, I want it to be encouraging, & I want it to be a way to sum up who I am right now. I feel most often that’s how I like to write in general, with truth, no holding back. But I want this to be more than that. I want this to be a part of my story, but also yours. I want this to be about how I see myself, but also how I see you. So here we go, let’s dive right in. Let’s talk it all out. This is 26.

At 26, I feel more myself than I ever have before. I feel like I’ve become aware of who I am. I’ve watched & paid attention to how I react to things & situations, I’ve figured out what I need when I feel lost, & I know how I operate & what affects me & why. I’ve been learning this past year how to walk through life by understanding who I am & it’s so freeing. I don’t have to make excuses for feeling what I feel or having emotions in general, I’m allowed to have reactions & I’m allowed to need space. I’m validated in feeling all alone at times & am okay that I am not always okay. I do not by all means fully know myself at this age because I will always be changing. But I am continually discovering who I am daily, & that’s all I can ask myself to do. This is 26, recognizing & knowing myself.

At 26, I feel more confident than I ever have before. I have mentioned this before during this past year, but I am currently at my “biggest” size ever, but I have never loved myself more than I do right now. Yes, I have bad days. There are days I feel frumpy & hate every clothing item I own. There are days that I don’t feel my best. But I am me, the yesterday me, the 30 pounds lighter me, the more wrinkles than today me, the 10 years from now me, & the 2 sizes ago me. The future wife life me, & the one day mommy me. The too-filled-in-eyebrows me, the with less stretch marks me, the with more curves & tomorrow’s dirty hair me. I am the today’s hormonal acne me. My DNA did not change, I am still me, & it’s damaging to think any different. There is no guarantee that others will love you or accept you because they truthfully don’t have to. But you were given your body, it was designed specifically for you. It was not made to be picked apart, it was not made to be compared to. It was made to carry you through the everyday’s of this life. It was made to give you experience & perspective. So I challenge you to love it, respect it, treat it kindly, & to thank it for allowing you to live out all the good & all of the bad. Happiness doesn’t come from little numbers or letters attached to a tag. Confidence doesn’t come from a height or a size or an amount of mass. Everyday you have a choice to make: will you drink the poison of comparison or walk in the light of self-love? You were made with a purpose, for a purpose, & you’re purposely made to not look like anyone else. This is another freeing moment, the moment you fully love yourself at every stage in life knowing it’s still you no matter what. This is 26, loving myself.

At 26, I feel more consideration of others around me than I ever have before. Life is not about me. It’s not about nice things. It’s not about forging a pathway that only screams success for me & not others. It’s not about my strength & their weakness. It’s not about what I can get or how much money I can make or what person I can beat out or be better than. All humans bleed. We all feel pain. We all want to be loved, heard, understood, accepted, befriended, thought of, & invited sometimes. It’s not about me. I don’t want my life to be an image of greed, jealousy, or self-centeredness. I want people to look at who I am as a person & use words like selfless, giving, understanding, not so that I can be praised, but so that they can feel loved because of my actions. I have felt many times in my life that I was alone. I felt unwanted, unchosen, unloved. I know what that isolation feels like & I want to be the source of comfort for people who have felt the same way. I want to be the encouragement for when they need it. This is 26, serving others, not myself.

At 26, I have done a fair amount of living all while knowing there is still so much more to live. I have cried because there were no words & only emotion. I have felt joy inside of me because that’s what being known & loved will do to you. I have grieved a huge loss & discovered parts of myself I would have never known if I had not lived through that type of pain. I have created a dream job that I fell into, but was somehow always meant to be. I have seen the creativity inside of me come to life seemingly out of nowhere. I have woken up & felt frozen in anxiety & alone in depression. I have discovered that I am a dreamer who loves encouraging others to dream too. I have embraced the ups & downs that come with life knowing that I can’t control most things. This is 26, accepting the journey & myself.

This is 26. This is being bold & daring & fierce, & someone who will always stand up to defend what is right. This is being confident in every curve & pound that I carry. This is loving who I am, who I’ve been, & who I am becoming. This is being a woman & knowing I can do anything I put my mind & effort towards. This is knowing I have strengths & I have weaknesses because I am human & flawed. This is taking the time to be there for others when they need it & asking questions to let them know I care. This is knowing more of myself so that I can be a better person, friend, daughter, worker, partner, & sister. This is owning up to mistakes & handling the consequences. This is wanting to be me, not her, him, or them. This is living with the truth that life is unpredictable & I can’t change that. This is using my voice for the voiceless & encouraging others through words & action. This is being loving & kind & caring. This is 26, being myself.

I want to challenge you to think about these things & where you are personally in your life. I think it’s important that we all know ourselves, accept ourselves, love ourselves, be ourselves, & serve others. This is 26, but this is also 37, 52, 76, 15, 28, & 43. This is you & this is me.

Always know that you have value & worth at any age in your life & that it’s never too late or too early to start loving & accepting yourself for who you are today, right now.

– abbey kay

*brought to you by a birthday girl 

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Abbey Kay by Abbey Kay - 7M ago

This year I’m trying something different. This year I’m sharing with you all a guide to all gifts. The previous years I’ve done multiple gift guides all with their own themes & I try & make you come back to my blog so many times… But I get it, I’m right there with you. Quicker & easier is always more efficient & it’s really what we all want. So here we go, a guide to all things gifts. For him, for her, for the kids, for the locals, for the makers, all Abbey Kay approved because I either already own these items or have personally bought these items for my loved ones this year. Check out my best picks for gifts below!

All Things Cozy

During the holidays it’s a sin if you don’t like to be cozy. Well, I’ve got the best items to keep you warm. These Aerie Joggers & Ribbed Long Sleeve Tee are seriously so soft & are such a great deal right now. I also own these Fuzzy Boots from JustFab & they are perfect for heading to the movies, lounging around at home, playing in the snow. Sherpa blankets are a must during the winter & I love this Plaid Sherpa Blanket from Amazon. And everyone loves a good mug for their hot cocoa or coffee, & Monogrammed Mugs are always a good idea because they can be used year around.

All Things Baby

I love buying gifts for my nieces & nephew who are all currently under three. I normally buy presents in themes that either fit their personality, the style of their room decor, or the look of their party. My niece will love playing with this Wooden Toy Camera (just like Auntie!) & she loved playing with this Donut Stacking Toy when she was younger. This is also the cutest Book for anyone who is expecting a baby, or whoever’s little one is about to become a big bro or sis. I can’t wait to gift my little niece this Wooden Toy Pull Elephant & my nephew this Plush Toy Fox. It’s both something I know they’ll love (they’re 7 & 5 months old for reference).

All Things Mickey

Ever since I started following this Disney themed Instagram account called Magic Kingdom Mamas a few months ago I have been obsessed with everything Mickey Mouse! I want to live in Anaheim so badly so I can go to Disneyland 2-3 times a week just like Emily does. But, since I’m not moving anytime soon, here’s some gifts to fill the Disney void. I bought a similar Mickey Hat just last week, I’d totally serve guests (or myself) some cheese from the Mickey Shaped Cheese Board, would kill to have a Mickey Print Backpack, & I mean, who wouldn’t want this Mickey Shaped Clock, or Mickey Styled Shoes that were created to help celebrate Mickey’s 90th Birthday last month. See, I told you I’ve been obsessed lately!

All Things Her

Here are some gift ideas that I pulled from my own wishlist & every day items. Cannot wait to start wearing this Teddy Coat from Express, would love to sip coffee from this mug that reads Create, you can’t go wrong with a good pair of Cozy Socks, seriously use this MAC Make Up Setting Spray every single day, have loved adding a Facial Cleansing Brush to my bedtime routine this year, & I’m in love with everything from Everlane, including this Grey Tank that I have in black!

All Things Him

Guys are tough to shop for sometimes. Here’s some things they may need, but don’t already have. A hip & cool Wall Mount Bottle Opener, a Crewneck Sweatshirt for working out & for looking good, a Stainless Steel Travel Mug for the early mornings or outdoor activities, a Beard Grooming Kit that comes with all the essentials from wooden combs to trimming scissors to beard oil, & more, & last but not least, a warm Winter Beanie.

All Things Home

Your home could always use a little update. So here are my top gift picks for doing just that for you, your loved one, or even a friend. Copper is forever in & this Copper French Press is the way to make that trend happen. I love these Octagonal Shelves & they would be a great gift for that friend who just bought a new home. For the friend who loves to entertain, you can’t go wrong with a set of Moscow Mule Mugs. Throw in some Marbled Wooden Coasters too & it really makes for the perfect entertaining gift. And to spruce up any bed or couch these Round Velvet Pillows certainly add to whatever might be missing.

All Things Local

I’ve gotta show some love for my favorite local makers here in Reno. Made By Mel..

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I’ve been asked many times to do a boudoir photoshoot & my answer was always the same. No. No. No. I never saw the point in taking revealing pictures & said that the only time I would maybe do one was when I got married one day. I never felt that I couldn’t do one because of my size or shape, I just honestly didn’t see the appeal in taking half naked or fully naked photos just for the gram or whatever. I had heard that some girls do them just for themselves, but I still wasn’t up for it. Fast forward to a few weeks ago…

My friend Caitlin was doing her second boudoir shoot as a surprise gift for her husband for their one year anniversary. Her first shoot was a year before then when she did one for her soon-to-be husband as a wedding gift. (See, I’m not the only one who thinks this is something that should be done for a spouse!) She had mentioned that she was doing a session with a girl named Lexi, who I had actually gone to high school with, & that she had welcomed any of Caitlin’s blogger friends to come take photos too. Lol, that would be me because I’m one of her blogger friends. When she told me this I was just as opposed as I always had been, but the longer I thought about it, the more I was actually wanting to do one.

This past year I have become my “biggest” I have ever been, but it’s also been the year that I’ve loved my body & felt most comfortable & confident in my own skin. I’ve always been a girl who is somewhat self-conscious & I of course have flaws that I would wish to change, but this year I have accepted who I am & what I look like at any stage in life, & have chosen to love every curve & pound. I can’t believe that this year is also the year that I have done three different photoshoots in swimsuits. Like, WHAT! You’d think with my body changing into something more & more “unaccepted” that I’d want to cover & hide my body, but nope! I have showed up in swimsuits, have let people take photos of me in them, AND have actually posted them on social media. So I thought, if I can be confident enough to use my swimwear photos to speak encouragement & #bodypositivity, then why can’t I use boudoir photos to do the same?

So that’s what I planned to do. I told Caitlin that I would join her & let Lexi take my first ever boudoir photos in a way that speaks body love over anything else. Honestly, I was still nervous & unsure how I would feel about it once I did it, but I think it helped that I knew the photographer growing up which did make me feel more comfortable from the beginning. Lexi does these sessions in her home which also makes you feel way less exposed during posing & changing. She also makes sure that you are positioned or covered up how you see fit before she even takes a photo. This type of a photoshoot was a bit of a stretch for me, & I was definitely wary in the beginning. But, then ya know, it helps when you have two other badass girls praising your wardrobe choice or saying from behind the lens, “oh dang girl, you look good!”. I highly recommend doing one of these sessions with a friend, as awkward as that sounds, because even though we obviously weren’t in any photos together, it helped having a friend cheer you on from the sidelines in a moment where you did feel exposed (though still covered) or vulnerable.

Here’s a few quick questions I’ll answer for you about boudoir sessions:

Do you have to be naked?

Umm, no! Neither of us bared it all to take these photos. We wore what we were most comfortable in. It was more about just feeling good about our bodies and overall ourselves.

Do you have to wear lingerie?

I didn’t. But you can. I felt most comfortable in a matching set of Calvin Kleins & a long t-shirt robe, & I also did a few poses in some high waisted jeans & a velvety bralette. I took a few other photos in a denim jacket & a silk robe, & even though I love how they look in them I think they’re too revealing & those won’t ever be posted. I felt best more covered up & love those images the most. Caitlin wore a few bodysuits that she would normally wear with jeans, & some similar looks to mine. You can be as sexy, as simple, as covered up, or revealing as you’d like. Lace, cotton, robes, #freethenipple, or whatever, it really is just all about feeling your best in whatever you choose or don’t choose to wear.

How does the posing work?

I’m sure we’ve all seen those over the top seductively seeming photos, but none of that happened that day. Lexi’s main point is to help you feel confident with who you are. It’s basically more like an outfit photoshoot, but you’re wearing a bralette, or a robe, & you’re laughing & smiling just like a normal photoshoot, but ya know, with less layers.

Do the photos have to be posted online?

No way! Lexi was very upfront about wanting to share her work on social media, but also promising to only share photos approved by you. Photos like these can be for your eyes only or you can post them if you’d like!

Is a boudoir photoshoot uncomfortable?

Yes. And no. I would say the beginning is slightly uncomfortable only because you’re doing something new. I do photoshoots all the time & even fully clothed ones are a little hard to get into at first. Add being less clothed & of course it’s a little uncomfortable when you start, but it gets easier from the first pose on & it helps to have a photographer that you are completely trustworthy of. I’ll say it again, don’t do a boudoir photoshoot with a creepy photographer & it won’t be an uncomfortable experience for you. Personally, I would never do one with a male photographer ever, but that’s your judgement call to make.

Is a boudoir photoshoot for anyone with any body type?

I am here to confidently say, yes! No matter your size, height, shape, relationship status, or age you can & should do a boudoir photoshoot. If anything, it helps you to see yourself in a beautiful light that can sometimes be dimmed by the worlds standards.

I took these photos because I love doing photoshoots. I never planned to get naked, I never planned to be too revealing, & I never did! I wanted to try out this style of a photoshoot that was different than anything I had done before. I knew I had pieces of clothing that I could wear that would cover me up enough to where I was comfortable enough to take photos in them, but also could prove that this was for everyone. Does my body look anything less than worthy of these kind of photos just because of the size on my clothing tag, or my relationship status? No. These photos make me feel beautiful, confident, happy, radiant, & satisfied with my body. They serve as a reminder to love myself & to be kinder to the body that literally carries me from day to day. Sure I took a few that will never see the light of day just for fun that are still completely innocent, but my main focus was to get images that I could share to show others that no matter what your body looks like you need to know that you are perfect, desirable, complete, & dare I say it one more time, beautiful.

Doing a boudoir photoshoot is an experience that I don’t regret doing. Will I do them all the time? Definitely not. Will I do one again? Probably. There was no shame involved in doing this boudoir session. There is nothing wrong with doing one that helps you to unleash your confident side as a woman. I believe as a photographer myself that a camera captures the beauty that is already there & just exposes to the world in a way that is now being noticed. Your beauty was there before the camera captured it, know that truth.

Always know that you are not defined by what others say about you, & to be confident in who you are, just as you are.

– abbey kay

*brought to you by a girl who said she’s never do a boudoir photoshoot, but then she did & she’s so happy about it

All photos by Alexis Lynn Photo.

Velvet Bralette – Target (similar)

Black Denim – Old Navy (similar)

Black Robe – LuLaRoe

Calvin Klein T&B – Nordstrom Rack (top & bottom)

Robe with lace – Macy’s (similar)

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