Hey girl…Hey…..Entrepreneur Spotlight…Introducing Girl Boss Kelley Raye!

Oh Sh!t Vail Valley // Andria LindquistHey y’all! I’m just back from Spring Break vacation enjoying a very busy week with my Kiddo, Bean. I know I am long overdue on a blog post. Today I wanted to take a minute and show some love to one of my favorite photographers, dear friend and former Squirrel (you read that right) Kelley Ray! (She says she was a Squirrel in her past life LOL ).

Kelley is an Atlanta-based photographer who specialized in Weddings, Branding and Lifestyle Photography. And in my opinion she should add SUPER AWESOME to her resume. My family and I do our annual shots with her and I also do my annual branding shots as well. She just gets us so well. We give her an idea of what we are going for, and she captures it. Every..Single..Time..

I met Kelley back in 2013 when we worked in the hospitality industry together. Let me tell y’all why I admire Miss Ray so much. She quit her Director of Sales position for Hilton in pursuit of her dreams! She took a huge risk and jumped, but her flight has been such an awesome one to watch. How’s that for flipping corporate america the bird!? Kelley lives her life on her own terms and this is something I think every one dreams about, but few are willing to act on. Not only has her awesome photog business taken off, she’s constantly in high demand and even gets to travel the world to all sorts of exotic places, taking pictures or brides, celebrations, or just to life travel with her Fiance Fallon. During her travels, she spends her days learning different cultures, trying delicious foods, capturing many amazing moments and just being bad-ass. She IS GOALS!

My family and I did our most recent shoot at the Goat Farm in Atlanta where Kelley has a quaint little studio, and it wasn’t anything like I expected. Goats actually roam the grounds! It’s super artsy fartsy there. There were people doing Yoga half-naked (cover your eyes Bean), other photographers taking pictures, people walking around basking in the goat-ness. I loved it. Kelley is so hip and fun, this area really suited her personal style well.

If you’re looking to book a wedding photographer for your upcoming nuptials, I highly recommend you check her out. You can find all her deets here: http://kelleyraye.com I think you will be pleased with her level of service, her work AND she will travel anywhere in the world to shoot you! Oh and her website is absolutely EVERYTHING in life, check it out!!! And if you’re looking to establish some branding for your side hustle, business, products or whatev,  she can help capture your vision and help you channel that inner Beyonce of yours! No lie!

Here are a few of our pictures we took with Kelley!!

Casual Friday on a Budget 2.0

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Hey y’all!! I posted this pic of my Casual Friday outfit last week up on my Facebook and IG page and received so many questions about the deets. So here we go! As you may already know, I am frugal when it comes to my purchases. I’m a believer that you can look like a million bucks with any budget you have.

I always make it a point to purchase solid pieces that I can marry with things that are already in my cost. My jacket I purchased from Forever 21 a few years back for around 20 bucks. You can get a similar one here for around the same price: Green Jacket

I wear it with jeans as well and white converse sneakers make for a week rounded look. My stripe shirt I purchased from Old Navy for around 20 bucks as weak last fall. You can actually snag it for under 10 bucks right now. Here it is: Stipe Shirt

My pants look like leggings but they are a little more structured. They have a raised line down the front and they are high waist (WINNING!). The brand is Romen+Juilet Couture, I snagged these from Marshalls for $16.99 and unfortunately, Marshalls doesn’t have a website but you can grab similar ones here: High Waist Black Pant

And finally, the wedges I am wearing are so dope y’all. And they’re super comfy which is the icing on the cake. These are Jessica Simpson wedges I grabbed a few months back from Dillard’s. They are no longer on Dillards.com or JessicaSimpson.com but there are still up and i have them in brown. They are also comfy and super cute: Peep Toe Suede Wedge

Get creative with your clothes! Don’t be afraid, wear what YOU like!! It’s all about what you feel comfortable in and what you want to spend. I am sure some people don’t care for my taste in threads, but you know what they say about opinions..right?? LOL. Drop me any questions you have about my outfit. I’d love to help you achieve the perfect outfit!

Want to create a work look that’s effortless chic Olivia Pope style?…. #ItsHandled

IMG_1670Without fail, every Tuesday I hop into my favorite stores to check out the new inventory. Believe it or not I am frugal with most of my purchases. I don’t like to spend more than $20 on any one article of clothing. I might occasionally splurge, but not very often.

I wore this look today and got so many compliments on it. It’s a complete mash-up on things I had in my closet. Here is the run down. The dress is Stella Luce, I paid $12.99 for it at Marshalls but here is a similar one on Posh Mark:Black Dress They have these type of dresses in stock all the time. They can be dressed up or down. Pumps or a cute pair of Tori Burch sandals can really round out this look. The dress is mock neck, cap sleeve and super stretchy. Oh so comfy! I grabbed one in black and one in mauve.

The pumps are Lauren by Ralph Lauren. My hubby grabbed these for me as a birthday gift from Dillard’s last year. Not sure if they still have them in stock. For all of you who didn’t know this, my favorite color is leopard 😜.  It’s so versatile. Every woman should have some sort of leopard in her closet. I love these pumps with jeans, dresses skirts you name it. You can get leopard pumps everywhere! Check your local second-hand shoe stores as well as department stores when they have sales.

The jacket is from The Limited. Let me be totally transparent here. The blazer goes with a suit I own. I WILL spend money on a nice tailored suit, but I love that I can pull pieces from my suits and wear them with other things in my closet. This blazer looks great with a pair or jeans or most little dresses I have. I think I paid $134 for my blazer but you can get similar one here: Target Blazer

It’s so easy to take random items from your wardrobe and make a statement outfit without breaking the bank. I think this is a look any woman can appreciate.

When I walked into my office this morning, someone looked at me and said, “What scandal are you fixing today?” My reply was “It’s already handled!”

Hello There!!

Hey there!!! So you must of just heard the announcement that Ruthielyons.com is now live! I’m so excited about my new landing page and I’ve been working on it for awhile now. What REALLY gets me excited is the work I’m pouring into my business and my blog. I’m looking forward to sharing all of my favorite things with you from family, to business, travel, food and fashion. I’m excited for the growth this journey brings my way and I hope my efforts bless you in some fashion.

Lastly, I thought I’d share the Lyons family photo for 2017. Why does my husband have to look so serious?😂

Photography by Kelley Raye

DIY Fireplace Re-Do

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I have a unique sense of style. I march to the beat of my own drum, and could care less about someone else’s opinion about it lol. I’m a creative person and I love to switch things up according to whatever mood I’m feeling at the moment. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, my need for frequent change gets Terrence to huffing and puffing on the regular.

My latest idea was to re-do our fireplace in the downstairs living room. We’ve owned our home for 5 years and it’s been a constant eye sore for me. One day I woke up with the idea to freshen it up. Surprisingly, Terrence didn’t need much convincing! My down stairs living space doubles as my office and the old fireplace didn’t mesh well with my office decor AT ALL….

I hopped on Pinterest for some inspiration and found some amazing ideas. While the inner eccentric in me wanted to go a little on the wilder side, I had to be reeled in with the home re-sale talk. We compromised on a look that was clean, textured and aesthetically pleasingly to the both of us.

I found some beautiful stone at one of my favorite places in the world, Lowes! I could shop there every day, I love to wood smell that welcomes you into the store. The stone that frames the fireplace it self is limestone. It has a subtle sparkle to it (Duh!) had to throw that in there. And the lower tiles are Carrara Marble. Just like paint color, picking out tile is difficult. Confession…I was watching an episode of Property Brothers not too long ago on HGTV and the female home owner kept raving about how she HAD to have Carrara Marble in her kitchen. She was super stylish might I add. This is what helped me land my decision on the Carrara lol. Easy peasy….

I really love how it turned out! I’ve had a few friends over since we completed it and they think it’s quite a show piece. We are in the process redecorating the mantle as well so I will update this post once we have it complete. We spent less than $200 on the materials and it took us a weekend to complete.

My yearly Do-Over

Every year I grow. I develop in so many ways and because of this I think it’s important to revamp my entire life. My relationships, my finances, my business, me! This year I started a website. I want to share everything that I love from my family, to my skin care business, to my travels, fashion and food. I want to capture those most important moments and things that make me, me.

I’ve been working really hard on my latest project and while I had hoped to launch it at the beginning year, life doesn’t always go as planned. I wanted to take my time with it, make it feel authentic and not rushed. Really pour my time and energy in developing some good content on my blog, and most importantly thinking of ways I can pay it forward to others. Since my project hasn’t launched yet, I won’t give away too much of its content, but my featured image on this post is a clear indicator that it’s going to be something fierce!

Are you a small business owner who would like to be featured. Shoot me as message and I will check your business out! I’m all about paying it forward and helping a fellow entrepreneur. Shoot your deets to: upsideof30@gmail.com

My official launch date is February 28th because that day holds significance to me. I will share on launch day why. Be on the look out and I hope you enjoy what I have in store for you!

 

Xoxo,

 

Ruthie

 

 

The Lyons’ Go Smart

Don’t you just hate to see your electric and gas bill come through the mail? Especially during the winter months. I tend to run cold so the heat is usually cranked, but Terrence on the other hand likes it a little cooler and would rather layer up. We have a pretty nice fireplace downstairs that is gas, but that is a sure-fire way to jack up your bill if you run it regularly during cold season. We have been thinking on ways to bring our electric/gas bills down without breaking the bank or compromising our comfort. We finally agreed on something.

We decided to install a 3rd generation Nest thermostat system for our upstairs unit. We actually grabbed a deal on it because it was refurnished and spent $130.00 on it. It’s actually really neat, and I have to admit I’ve been too hot or too cold since we installed it. It has an app you install to your phone and set your preferences. You tell it what time to switch temperatures and it does it automatically. You can set it to an away temperature as well as adjust it while you’re away from home, all with a touch of a button.

The Nest provides a month read out of how much you’re saving on your electric/gas bill and the total time you’ve run your unit over the course of the month. Right now, we only have the Nest installed for the upstairs unit, but plan to buy one for downstairs soon. What we are doing is we set our downstairs unit to a little cooler than upstairs so we have cut back on that unit as well.

We even took this whole SMART thing a step further and purchased an Amazon Echo Dot. Alexa is linked up to our Nest as well and responds to commands such as, “Alexa, set thermostat to 70 degrees.” She responds with , “Ok” and the temperature is set. She’s such a great addition to the family. She can even play games with you when you’re bored.echo-dot

Besides the Nest and Amazon Echo Dot, we also purchased some Phillips Hues SMART lighting. We have 4 total bulbs but just ordered a few more (they aren’t cheap but we shop around for deals. Check out Groupon.) Alexa also controls the lighting with these bulbs. We also have a light strip being installed for under the cabinet lighting in the kitchen. I think these lights are my favorite! I love saying, “Alexa, turn bedroom lights to 100%.” She responds, “Ok.” and our lights cut on. There are several lighting choices you can pick depending on what mood you’re in. Terrence is terrible about leaving lights on heading out the door for work, and now this is ok. We can cut them off and on from our phones as well. If you’re looking to purchase Phillips HUE you have to purchase a starter kit which can run upwards of $200+. Groupon has a deal running where you can snag it for $94!! Here’s the link: Phillips Hue Starter Kit/Groupon Dealhue

We always look for functionality when we decide to invest in anything and these little gadgets have made life a little easier. We look forward to adding more SMART devices to out home in the future. Now to find one that can fold laundry for you….

Here is where you can purchase these SMART devices:

Amazon Echo Dot

Phillips HUE Lights

NEST (check Best Buy for Refurb devices as well)

My Love Hate Relationship with Water

If only it tasted as good as it looks….I’ve been trying to get a little better about my habits this year (any every year), but I can’t seem to get on board with water. I know…I know… it’s something I shouldn’t compromise on, and I don’t, but I still HATE it. It’s nasty and tasteless. I’ve tried it infused with herbs, fruit, powder favors you name it. I still can’t even deal.

A friend of mine gave me one of the best suggestions that I’ve yet to try but another friend who despises water just as much as me tried it and loved it. Pellet Ice! She advised I visit Sonic and order a cup of ice and she’s 100% positive it will make it a little more bearable. Typically when I do drink water, I add in a lime slice, or two, or the whole thing to drown out the blandness. Most times I find myself throwing it out and grabbing a Vanilla Coke (which happens to be my absolutely favorite). So I need your help on this one. What do you love to put in your water? I need suggestions and tips on how to make my water drinking more enjoyable because right now, water and I are on the outs.

Leave me a comment!

XOXO,

Ruthie

Bean There…Done That

I had to travel to Chicago for work earlier this week and had the opportunity to spend the whole day Wednesday sight seeing in the Windy City. Thankfully, Wednesday was about 47 degrees, a little rainy but tolerable so I thought I’d take advantage.

I took off walking from the beautiful Hilton Chicago, and found myself at this cute breakfast spot called Wildberry Cafe. The Berry Bliss Pancakes were the staple on the menu, so of course I tried those and they were everything!

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Berry Bliss Pancakes from Wildberry Chicago

 

My next adventure took me to the Chicago Bean in Millenium Park. I was told a company leases office space in the Bean?? Not sure of the validity of that, kind of a small space. I took the obligatory tourist photos, admired for a bit and moved on.

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The Bean Millenium Park

Next up, Magnificent Mile. I walked at least 5 miles easy, hitting up some of my favorite spots, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Nike, Zara and Louis Vuitton where I snagged my first LV!!

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Louis Vuitton Chicago

I was adventuring alone so I tried not to bring too much attention to myself, so I didn’t get too many pictures of the beautiful city! Secondly I bought this bag which came in a huge box and I again didn’t want to bring too much attention to myself, so I ended up Taxiing back to the hotel to drop it off! One of my friends brothers owns a restaurant in Chicago called The Vig! So I made a dinner stop there with an old colleague and it ended up being so worth the trip! Check it out if you’re ever in the area.

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The Vig Chicago

Chicago was so good to me and I know I’m definitely going back soon. My family will have to tag along next trip but we will make sure we go when it’s a bit warmer!!