Daughters Love Their Daddys – Mine sure does anyhow!

Daughters Love Their Daddys


This past weekend my family had so much fun together.  We read books, played ball, went to a Valentine’s banquet together, and ate leftover cupcakes and cake squares that my sweetheart bought his two ladies for Valentine’s Day.  We had a great time!  Every Monday I’m always sad to see my husband leave and go back to work.  We still have a good time around the house but it’s not the same as when everybody’s here.  Does that make sense?  Well, yesterday around 3 o’clock my little girl went to the window to wait for Daddy.  She stood there for a while admiring the surroundings and watching a neighborhood cat stroll around but eventually she got tired of waiting and started calling out his name.  “Daddy, daaaaddy.”  It was adorable!  I took a picture {the one above} and shared it with my husband on his Facebook page with the note “Someone sure misses you today!”  He had to come home early from work so I could head out to an appointment so they were able to enjoy some extra Daddy/Daughter time last night.


Reading to Toddler


This morning we went through our usual morning routine and just as he was about to leave she wanted him to read her a book.  He stopped and took the time to read it before leaving which I thought was awfully sweet.  I also took a picture of that too!  {Having an iPod can be very convenient for spur of the moment pictures.}


We waved goodbye to Daddy like we do every morning and sat down for a time of reading.  We read through a few books but then she wanted down.  She will usually sit my lap as long I’m reading to her so when I sat her down I was curious to see where she would go.  You may have guessed it; she went back to the window!  We’re currently “storing” her Minnie Mouse 4-wheeler in front of the window until we can find a better place for it.  {You can just see the front of it in the picture above.}  She worked hard to carefully push and pull on it until it was free from the window.  Then she returned to the window, placed both elbows on the window sill and rested her chin in her hands.  She sat content for a few moments and then again started calling for her Daddy.  How sweet!


When she went down for her nap I emailed her Daddy to tell him what happened. He emailed back, “Oh that makes me sad! Can’t wait to see her again.”   *My heart melts!*  I say, “She can’t wait to see you, that’s for sure!”  Then he emails back and says this,

Emailing Baby

My heart once again turns into a dripping puddle of love.  All I can think is how amazingly blessed I am to have such a sweet husband!  While I am writing to her once a month here on my blog in my Letters to My Daughter series, I never thought about emailing her.  What a great idea!  I can write a long letter or just a short thought for the day.  Gmail has a massive storage so chances are very slim that we would ever run out of room.  I love the idea!


One of my most prized possessions is a small stack of letters my Mom wrote me when she was pregnant.  I hope my husband and I can be a blessing to our little girl the way that my Mother was to me through her letters!


Email your baby now so they can read it later!


What do you think about sending emails to your baby?  Have you ever done it?


Call Me Maybe Nail Art

Call Me Maybe Nails!

These sweethearts whether near or far will always be connected by their love.

Right now, they’re talking on the telephone and he’s making her blush.


One of my good friends, Emily from Live2Save2Live, told me about a nail design contest that Sally Hansen was hosting.  I didn’t really figure I had a shot but I thought it would be fun to play around with polishes to find a design to fit the “Sweethearts” theme they chose.  My final design turned out better than I thought it would so I’ve decided to submit it.  I have titled it, “Call Me Maybe.”  What do you think?  Cute?


To Vote: 

To vote for my design, go to Sally Hansen’s Nail Art Contest to vote for my entry.  Thank you!  {It should pull up my entry automatically but if it doesn’t just search for Ashley Walkup.}


How To Replicate:

To replicate this simple design all you need is a couple basic nail polish pens and a nail polish in your favorite shade.  I recommend practicing once or twice on paper with an ink pen and then once with the polish pen before you dive in.  Also, make sure the polish pen has dried fully before giving it a top coat {if you choose to do so}.

Letter to My Daughter

My daughter


To my dear, beautiful, sweet daughter,


You are the happiest, most amazing, gorgeous little girl.  Today, your Mommy is not having a good day. I woke up tired and it’s only gone downhill from there. Today is one of those days when it’s hard being a Mommy.  I’m trying my best but it’s difficult.    It’s especially hard because you are so precious and I feel like I’m letting you down.  Today, I’m not the Mommy you deserve.


I know that in the long run it’s okay.  Some days will be filled with fun, educational play and some days we’ll settle for blocks and a little cuddling on the couch watching Sesame Street.  I hope you’ll remember the afternoons where we cooked french fries in your kitchen, read books, and had a ball practicing our fake sneezes.  I hope you’ll remember knocking down my block castles, rocking your baby doll to sleep, and dancing like lunatics in the living room.


I also hope that I remember days like these.  In 20 or so years when it’s  your turn to love and care for a toddler I hope that I remember what a hard day is like, how lonely this parenting gig can be, and how cabin fever can mess with your head.


I hope that in remembering I’ll make up for the sluggish days like today by comforting, loving, and championing you; by letting you know that I think you’re a wonderful woman and mother.  I know you will be!  Please know that I will always be your Mommy and I will always be here for you!


You and your Daddy are the best things that have ever happened to me.  I’ll love you always.





A few bloggers and I decided to put together a Letters to our Children blog hop and we hope you’ll enjoy reading these heartfelt letters to our children.  There are 13 blogs in total and to hop over to the next blog please visit, Penelope’s Oasis.  She’s fabulous, I know you’ll enjoy her!

Life Lately: Trampoline Park, Super Bowl, & More!

Trampoline Park

My little girl had so much fun at her friend’s birthday party last week!  This was the first time we’ve been to a trampoline park but it certainly won’t be the last.  That place was awesome!

Happy Baby

Here’s a picture capturing sweet Daddy & daughter time before bed.  It warms my heart!

Last week went by insanely fast, so I guess it only makes sense that this one felt sluggish and rough.  Even though it was stormy and rainy today we’re supposed to have temperatures in the high 70’s for the next few days.  That would be nice!  Some of our family should be visiting in a few weeks, that is, if everyone can stay well.  {This month has been awful for illness, hasn’t it?}  That will be a nice break from our regular routine and if the weather’s nice it would be a good chance to get out and enjoy it.  It’s hard to believe the Super Bowl is this weekend!  While I’m not one to really care about The Big Game (you know the one!), but you can guarantee that I’ll watch the commercials.  After we TIVO it that is.  I have my Big Game nail art all ready and ready to cheer on…wait, I haven’t consulted with my husband about which team we’re cheering for.  Can you tell I have no clue about football?  I know my husband likes the Georgia Bulldogs and Mark Richt but other than that I’m clueless.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and thank you for letting me share a little about what’s going on in my world lately!  How are things in your neck of the woods?

Why I Love Living in the South

Why I love the South


I’m excited to announce that Embracing Beauty was recently voted as one of the Top 25 Southern Mom blogs.  After I received my reward I was asked to participate in an interview with them.  It was fun to be interviewed and I wanted to share one of the questions from the interview with you.  I was asked “In what way is the South unique from other places you’ve lived or traveled?”


*Preface- I know that some or even all of these things are true in other parts of the country/world.  I meant no offense to anyone or any region.*


Here’s my answer:


In one word “atmosphere” is why I love living in the South. This atmosphere is unique and charming. It’s probably impossible to adequately describe the atmosphere but I’ll give it my best shot!


I live in the South because I want:
– my kids to value manners and their elders
– to live in a place where I can hear a wooden screen door slam shut
– to lay outside at night and see a blanket full of stars
– to hear crickets and watch fireflies
– to see women with teased hair and sun dresses
– to see men in overalls and cowboy hats
– to hug people I just met
– to smell honeysuckle so strong I can taste it
– to feel the ground beneath my feet
– to eat blackberries off the vine
– to drink Cheerwine and RC
– to fall asleep on a porch swing listening to the birds
– to hear banjos and fiddles
– to go for a walk and leave my door unlocked
– to actually know my neighbors
– to not be the only woman who brings a homemade cake to a get together
– to see spray painted graffiti on rocks and water towers
– to drive past walls of beautiful kudzu covering the landscape
– to let my kids swim in a creek and learn how to fish.


If you live in the South, why do you love it?  Or if you live anywhere else, tell us what you love about that area.

Childhood Dream Coming True?

Julep spring collectionEver since I was a little girl I have loved nail polish!  From as far back as I can remember I had a fascination with beauty products.  I remember many times my mom would get ready and she would lovingly allow me to set on the counter and ask her a million and one questions about make up colors, tools, and nail polish.

Eyelash curler

I remember the feeling of sheer embarrassment when I passed along some of her information to my aunt only to find out it was wrong.  My mom told me that you set an eyelash curler on your nose to use it.  Looking back now, I can see why my aunt laughed so hard when I gave my explanation and I can also see the reasoning behind my mom not wanting to tell me the correct way to use one.   Even after that embarrassing 4th of July night (yes, I still remember that night well!), I continued to seek beauty advice from the comfort of that counter.  My mom was a wonder!  She could put lipstick on with one hand and without a mirror.  My hero!   In my mom’s make up bag, which I can still picture vividly, she had all of her make up products along with her chipped red handled Revlon blush brush, Elizabeth Arden Red Door perfume, and the most amazing bottle of Revlon nail polish.  The nail polish was extra shimmery but not glittery.  I remember holding it and staring at it’s beauty while my mom and I talked.   I painted my nails with that polish, my mom’s nails, and even my Dad’s when he was sleeping.  : )  I thought it was the prettiest thing I had ever seen!  As the years past I found other colors to love and became pretty good at painting little decorations on my nails.   Somewhere along the line I developed the dream to one day name a nail polish color.  I know it sounds silly but hey, I was a kid.  I’ve always half-jokingly said that naming polish colors would be my dream job.  Then, last month, during a Twitter party with Julep I found my moment, my perfect opportunity to ask if I could name a polish.  I asked and I didn’t receive a response back because seconds after I asked Julep was flooded with requests to name a polish that was this or that color.  I’m sure they didn’t know who it was that originally asked.   Pretty pinkThat brings me to why I’m writing this post.  The smart people behind Julep took my idea that immediately spread like wild fire and turned it into a marketing project.  They’re pretty brilliant if you ask me!  However, now I have to work a little to get to be able to name a nail polish color.  I’ve already made it to the second round and this is where you come in!  I need you to vote for my color and comment on it.  I chose the ever girly hot pink color in honor of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Voting ends this Friday, Sept. 28, 2012.


Here’s how to vote:

  •  Visit Julep on Facebook through this link – http://on.fb.me/QQi0GZ
  • “Like” their Facebook page.
  • “Like” my “Pretty Pink” board.
  •  Leave a comment on my board. I get points for BOTH “likes” and comments!

This is a one time vote that will only take a few seconds of your time.  Thank you for helping make my little silly dream come true! : )


While you’re there, feel free to follow Embracing Beauty on Facebook too.  Oh, and AFTER you vote for me be sure and check out how you can get a Julep box of polishes for only $0.01 shipped!  It’s a legit deal I promise and the polish is amazing!

Pumpkin Gummies Are Back!!!

pumpkin gummies


I am drooling! I can’t tell you how many years I’ve looked for pumpkin gummies but apparently it was never at the right time.  YES!  I. am. so. excited!  I’m trying to hold myself back from ordering 5 lbs.  I just wanted to write this post and share my love for gummy pumpkins and my victory in finding them.  This is a sweet, sweet victory!  I found them on ebay and even though they are a little costly I know they are going to be worth it!!


Haribo fizzy cola gummies


In my book, these rank right up there with my other favorite candy, the Haribo Fizzy Cola gummies.  Both gummies but both totally different.  Do you have a favorite candy that you adore?  Perhaps a favorite seasonal one?


(Please note that the links in this post are my affiliate links but my recommendation is 100% honest and completely my own.  Hey, I’ve got to find some way to feed my gummy addiction, right?) 

Shopping for a Better Mattress for a Better Night’s Sleep!

My family was excited with the opportunity to review a M9 bed from Sleep Number.  Like all beds from Sleep Number, the M9 is built around the Sleep Number DualAir technology that allows you to quietly adjust firmness on each side of the mattress with a wireless remote (the M9 comes with 2 wireless remotes), so you both enjoy ideal comfort.  Added to that the M9 features 5-inches of LuxFit™ foam that softly cushions pressure points and features a breathable air-flow design.  One complaint many people have with memory foam is that it “sleeps hot” but the M9 LuxFit™ foam is topped with a temperature balancing sleep surface designed to absorb excess heat that can disrupt sleep.


Sleep Number Store


Now with the technical information out of the way we’ll get on to our experience.  Any Sleep Number experience begins at the Sleep Number store.  Ours is located at our local mall so we loaded up the baby and headed out.  We were met there by the friendly manager C.J. who suggested we start off by determining our individual sleep numbers.  Sleep numbers range from 0 (deflated) to 100 (completely full of air).


Sleep Number Ashley

Finding my Sleep Number


Sleep Number Fit

The top pictures is the regular pressure of my husband’s body.
The bottom picture shows the alleviated pressure with his perfect Sleep Number.


The store has a special bed set up with IndividualFitSM 3-D Imaging that creates a pressure map of your body that is then displayed on a big screen at the foot of the bed. C.J. began by taking the air out of the chamber and showing us what the pressure map looked like.  At the low pressure setting we could see there was quite a bit of pressure on our hips.  C.J. then began adding air until we felt the pressure relieved from our hips and then we compared the pressure images so we could see the pressure on the hips eliminated when the chamber was inflated to our Sleep Number.


As a quick aside, My husband’s sleep number was 55 and mine was 30.  You can really tell a big difference between the two numbers as well!  This is probably the number one reason (for us) to choose a Sleep Number bed over another.  Two people will not typically have the same level of comfort on one firmness setting on any bed and, as C.J. pointed out, over the lifespan of a bed even an individual’s body can change substantially enough to warrant a different level of firmness to be comfortable over the years.  After finding our sleep numbers C.J. took us to the M9 and helped us pick the right pillow for the bed and for the way we sleep.


Sleep Number Slumber


I sleep on my stomach primarily so I got matched up with a thin feather pillow and my husband is a side sleeper so he was matched with a memory foam pillow.  The staff were friendly, helpful, and very knowledgeable about their products.


Sleep Number Baby on Pillow

She sleeps on her tummy too!



Sleep Number Family

We were comfortable and felt right at home.



Sleep Number Check Out


C.J., the salesman, was amazing, he really deserves a raise!  We went in not looking to buy anything {because we were provided the bed from Sleep Number} and to be honest we were kind of in a hurry because I had a cake to finish and deliver in a few hours.  He made us feel so relaxed!  We took our time, I completely forgot about the cake, he talked my husband into buying me some amazing sheets (bless him!), and we walked out of there spending almost $400 we had no intention of spending.  A good salesman makes you want to buy things and salesmen like that are rare these days.  Don’t get me wrong, I felt no pressure to buy anything at all!  He simply found products that fit my life and showed them to me.

Sleep Number Sheets

My little girl loved the sheets as much as I did!

I enjoyed my experience in the Sleep Number store and I can’t wait to review the bed in my own home!  Update: You can now read my full Sleep Number review.

5 Things My House Says About Me

I’ve always thought that you could learn a lot about a person by looking through their Bible, their home, or their car.  Today, I’m going to be sharing with you a little from my home!  Trisha from Mom Dot created a blog carnival, challenging bloggers to share 5 things that someone would learn about you from walking through your house.  Here are my five!


Glenna Jean Mobile

1. I love the color pink and frilly girly things.  These are the ballerina bears from my little girl’s mobile.  I hate to admit it but she’s getting so big that we should probably take these down soon.



Loaf of Bread

2. I have an amazing husband who cooks and bakes.  This is a loaf of bread from my husband’s latest hobby, growing sour dough yeast cultures.  It sounds gross but it really is fascinating and it’s nice to always have a fresh and yummy loaf of bread handy.



Kindle Fire

3. Reading is important to me.  You don’t have to look far in this house to find a children’s book or a piece of art work.  We have a little library of kids books in each bedroom, the living room, our office, and a few randomly scattered books in between.




4.  I like animals.  This is the view from my front door.  Whenever you look out you can usually spot a bunny or two running around.  I don’t want anyone to touch or play with them but I think they’re fun to watch.  I feel like Beatrix Potter who, as I’ve heard it told, would keep bunnies around her home for when kids would come to visit.



Chicken Pot Pie

5.  I’m kind of corny.  My family loves Chicken Pot Pie and whenever I make the crust I always like to add a little message or picture to it just for fun.


Now that you know a little more about me, tell me, what would I find out about you by walking through your house?

Shaklee #Cinchspiration Kick-Off

Today is the day that I put all of my excuses behind me.  No whining.  No feeling bad about my extra bulge.  Today is the day that I am going to take my first step to reaching my weight loss goals!  Today I will begin the Shaklee Cinch Inch Loss Plan to help me lose weight, lose inches and finally gain my confidence back!




And so my story begins….


I will be updating this once a month with my weight loss tracked and with pictures.  As you can see, right now my target areas are my thighs and my stomach.  I’ve always had a completely flat stomach and it really grosses me out the way that clothes fit me now.  I’ve never had a problem with this and I don’t know how to tackle it.  My thighs however, have been with me for a while and I know what needs to be done to bring them back to a healthy size.  I just need to do it!  The Cinch Wellness site has workshops {or classes} that will teach me about my body and what I need to do to lose inches and keep them off.  I feel that understanding why I’m overweight is important in knowing how to maintain a healthy body weight.


Current weight: Oh, this is hard. Okay, 160.  There I said it.  I weight one hundred and sixty pounds!


My goals: Cinch is encouraging the Cinchspiration team to have SMART goals.  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic,Time-driven goals.


My goal is to lose 30 pounds.  20 would still be awesome but 30 is my lofty, dream goal right now.  I figure this is a 12 week program and if I lose just a little over 2 lbs safely per week I’ll reach my goal.  I don’t know what size clothes I’ll be in but I’m pretty sure I would be able to fit into my pre-baby clothes…but if not, I think a shopping trip is in order!  Before I get carried away with myself, I’m going to get off here and go read more about this Cinch plan.