Our budget friendly gender reveal

I am beginning to sincerely dislike days where I update my husband and I’s calendars. That was this mornings coffee-time task. You know what I realized? We have three weekends between now and May that we have absolutely nothing planned. Only. Three. It’s only the beginning of February! Frightening. I’ve already told Charles that we are reserving those weekends for alone time unless something drastic comes up. We have so much to do around the house / for Grayson’s arrival and we are going to have to start saying no to people, something neither of us are very good at, ha! Thankfully, I think we can make everything work, and it may even pass the time before baby arrives, but still, there’s a limit! Our world is about to change in a big way, so spending time together, just the two of us, is something high on my list of priorities!

Today I want to share with you a few pictures of our gender reveal party! Now, we didn’t know what we were having until the day of the party. Our party was on a Saturday,, but we had our gender ultrasound the Tuesday before. We wanted to be surprised at the party, so we had the tech place the gender in an envelope, which we promptly gave to my sister. Spoiler Alert: It was the most brutal few days. It almost makes me wish we just found out at the ultrasound!

We didn’t want anything fancy, nothing over the top, just very relaxed, limited amount of “fuss,” so we could just enjoy the day. We ordered “exploding golf balls” from Amazon, {called stork balls, HA!} because Charles loves golf so much. Aside from that, we had chicken salad croissants, tortellini pasta salad, the cutest cookies, chips and dip, and fruit. We had a few decorations, and that was that! All in all, we were extremely pleased with how it turned out. We actually were so nervous about finding out the gender that we forgot to take pictures of our guests! Or ourselves, for that matter, but we still had a wonderful time. Obviously you all know the outcome of our gender reveal, IT’S A BOY! Grayson Lowrey Alley will be making his debut in June. Enjoy a few pictures from his sweet, simple, and budget friendly gender reveal!



I hope you all enjoyed the not so slightly delayed photos of Grayson’s gender reveal! Mommy and Daddy are thrilled to meet this sweet baby boy. I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday night. Me? I have a brand new comforter sitting that just came out of the dryer, a clean room, two puppies cuddling at my feet, and a kicking baby boy. It’s also 7pm on a Saturday night, I’m in pjs, it’s raining outside, and there’s a marathon coming essentially through our neighborhood tomorrow which means I’m not leaving this house until Monday morning, happy pajama Sunday to ME. I hope your Sunday is just as pleasant!


We get to love you

I had every intention of posting several months ago about my skin care routine {I’ve found some fantastic products lately that don’t break your budget..} but right about the time I was going to be writing our my content for that post, something else happened.

We found out we are expecting a Baby Alley!

Needless to say, there were too many thoughts + emotions going through my head to remember “Oh hey, about that blog post on skin care routines…”  My free time quickly became overcome with worry {is the baby ok in there?}, with excitement {let’s look at baby names! And baby items!}, and with the feeling of being a bit overwhelmed. It was a time I got to spend with my husband keeping this little secret about this sweet little miracle we have created.

Now, because I like talking so much about my experiences with life so much, I thought I would share some of my “first trimester tips” with you {because hallelujah i’ve made it to trimester 2!} So here we go:

First trimester experiences {from an extremely unexperienced pregnant lady}

  • You don’t always have to get morning sickness. And thank you sweet lord for that. That was actually one of the first fears I had upon finding out I was pregnant. People make it out to seem like every woman will be drastically ill throughout the first trimester {and don’t get me wrong, some of you will!} Luckily, I did not have this problem. I didn’t get sick a single time {I had a few small waves of nausea here and there albeit nothing unmanageable} A tip I learned from my sister was if you start to feel sick, even if you’re not hungry at all, eat a snack! It will help you stop feeling nauseous. Luckily, if you do have morning sickness, it should start to subside around good ole trimester 2.
  • You’ll be tired, OH SO VERY TIRED. I never realized how exhausted I would be. I work 6-3, so it’s rare you’ll find me up past 8:30 or 9pm anyway, but now it’s hard to find me awake past 7pm! I won’t be feeling overly exhausted and them WHAM, I’ve fallen asleep with my phone on my face and I don’t even realize it until an hour later. This is something I don’t think others fully understand if they haven’t experienced pregnancy before, because lately I’ve gotten the feeling some of our friends have thought I’m being lazy or something. .Let me tell you, mommas, I understand. This symptom has hit me and hit me with a vengeance. Our bodies are working in overdrive to provide support not only to us, but to our sweet littles. Now supposedly we’re in luck, this is supposed to start subsiding and we’re supposed to get a “burst of energy” in trimester two, but I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m only a week in to trimester two, and I’m still just as tired as I was before.
  • Stay OFF of the mommy forums and mommy boards on the internet. This is something I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to do until I started and ended up getting TERRIFIED of everything. But once I had started googling all of my questions, I couldn’t stop, so my advice? Don’t even start. If you go looking for a board on advice if there’s a problem, you will inevitably find someone who had a problem. Usually people who do are hooked to those boards, so stay off of them or you will worry yourself sick. I know I did. I wouldn’t even allow myself to think of names or nursery ideas or anything until after my 12 week appointment with my doctor because those boards freaked me out so much. If there are no signs that there is a problem, I’m sure your baby is completely fine in there. Let your body do what it was created by God to do. If you can’t help it and do end up getting worried, I saw a recommendation from a doctor that said if you’re really worried in trimester 1 and you can’t get in to see the doctor until 12 weeks {which is normal}, then take one pregnancy test per week. If something were going wrong, likely your HcG levels would drop and it would be reflected on a pregnancy test. I did this a couple of times to calm my nerves, and by george, it helped.
  • Don’t let people “preggo shame” you. If I am asked one more time why I’m drinking a cup of coffee when I’m pregnant, I may actually throw hot coffee at someone {okay, an exaggeration, but you get what I’m saying.} I know how much coffee / caffeine I’m allotted in a day {and trust me I use it wisely}. You’re going to get asked about epidurals, about chromosomal disorder testing, about breastfeeding, about staying at home, about co-sleeping, about your exercise routine…everything. It’s like being pregnant is an open invitation for everyone to voice their opinions. At first, this severely bothered me, but now I realize that people are just trying to help. Their opinions are most likely what they were taught is the best for their babies, and they are wanting to share that advice with you, so let them, and then choose to use what you wish. It’s also a time where you and your spouse will start forming a new bond, and you’ll have to become a team. Charles and I have recently had a discussion about not discussing important decisions in front of family or friends, because these are decisions we need to make in private as a new parental unit. All you have to do when someone asks you something you haven’t discussed yet and may have different opinions about is say “we haven’t discussed that yet, and we will discuss it later in private.” There are big decisions that come with being a parent. My husband and I were raised similarly yet completely different, so it will take time for us to blend our backgrounds to parent the best way possible, but those discussions are personal, and you don’t need family or friends in the background trying to sway your decisions one way or the other.
  • Keep dating your spouse. One of the reasons Charles and I didn’t start talking about children immediately after we were married is because we wanted to get to know each other in our knew roles as husband and wife. One of my greatest fears is that we will start making everything about our child and stop putting our marriage first, which, I know may be an unpopular opinion, but your marriage should always come first. Charles and I have “mini date nights” where we fill out the baby book together, talk about baby names, do projects around the house, order in food and binge watch our favorite shows, etc. They say husbands can often feel left out of the pregnancy process if you don’t make them feel involved, so I’ve been trying to keep that in mind and letting Charles contribute whenever he can. He was the husband that was there to help make every decision with our wedding, and he wanted to be there, and he’s been there wanting to be a part of every decision with Baby A as well. I cannot wait to see him in his new role as “father.”

Here’s a few pictures from the talented N.M. Franklin Photography of our baby announcement!

“We get to love you” 

Love where you Live

When Charles and I got married, we were living in a house that he purchased when he was 21 years old. It was a cozy, wonderful little house where we had fantastic memories, but everything other than a few decorations that I had brought from my old apartment belonged to Charles. We knew we wouldn’t live in that little house off Grand for more than a few more years, so one random day, just for fun, we started looking at some houses for sale in Fort Smith {just to get an idea of what we might want} – and we found the perfect house. Charles said it had “potential” which typically scares me {he loves a good project; he is his father’s son}. Was it everything we wanted in a house? No. Was it a great location and an even better price? Yes!

We decided to just go “look” at the house to see if we would like it. Even though it was years before we had planned to buy our first home together, we ended up deciding “we’ll just throw a really low offer out there that we doubt they’ll accept and see what happens.” We never in our wildest dreams thought that they would actually accept it. So there we were, buying a house, not having a set budget, just on a whim, years before we planned.

Looking back, that was a really rash decision, and probably not the most mature thing to do. But in the end, it all worked out. The only thing was, we didn’t have any leftover money to purchase new furniture or decor for the new house, it was all of the items leftover from the old house, so we ended up having a lot of “empty space” in the new house. We slowly started trying to fill up some of the empty space by buying some cheaper items that we could afford at the time to fill some of the void, but it was never anything we actually liked. There was no consistency, no theme, and it drove me insane!

We have lived in our first co-purchased home together now for almost 4 years. We have put in all new appliances, knocked out walls to open up our space, added a dining room, replaced fans and light fixtures, added a shop in the back, planted flower beds, etc. but we have just now started to give the house a much needed interior design makeover, primarily focusing on the living room area to start. Let me tell you a bit about what we have done:

Ø  Charles redid the hideous orange tiles around the fire place with rock, and added a granite hearth and a mantle {this was done a few years ago, but still, it was an update}


Ø  We removed the two larger “conversation chairs” from the corner of the room by the window and moved them into guest bedrooms. They took up a lot of space, and we didn’t even realize it until we moved them!

Ø  We added the blanket ladder {can you insert squeals of joy into a blog post?}

Ø  We replaced the LARGE area rug {pause, we bought this area rug from a coworker right before we moved for $50 and it was a HUGE rug. Fit perfectly in the room, but it was never the color scheme or anything we wanted}. We replaced this rug with a real cowhide rug {insert praise hands here} from ecowhides.com and for an amazing price. It is a Brazilian cowhide and we looked and MANY rugs before deciding on this one.


Ø  We replaced our $300 sectional that we bought right before moving. I got to choose the couch I wanted from Hank’s {the most beautiful saddleback leather couch with power recliners on the ends and a USB port…swoon} and Charles got to choose the chairs he wanted. He ended up choosing two red recliners from La-z-Boy. Growing up, Charles parents {as well as his Aunt Donna and Uncle Richard} had a set of recliners. One was his dad’s, one was his mom’s, and they always sat in “their” recliners. Charles decided he wanted “his” recliner. He sits in it every day {I spend most of my time on the couch, because it’s wonderful in every way..} And can we TALK about those STUDS? The studded detail on the edge of the couch just sealed the deal for me, and it’s what I’ve been getting most of the compliments on!

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Ø  We had Charles’ brother make us our dream farmhouse coffee table. Y’all, I have wanted this coffee table for longer than I can remember. When I envision what a coffee table should look like, this is EXACTLY what I picture in my head, to a t. I fought tooth and nail to get this coffee table built for me, I was very patient during the process impatient while waiting for my dream coffee table to be sitting in my living room. The thing was, without the coffee table, the giant cowhide rug looked incredibly out of place in our living room. It looked like we were trying to mix western with vintage industrial, and it was. not. working. I knew that once the rustic coffee table with a few industrial looking metal baskets was complete, that it would tie the room together, I just needed to see it. The coffee table is {almost} completely finished, and BOY OH BOY, it’s better than I could have envisioned. Even Charles, who was a bit of a skeptic about what I had in mind at first, cannot get over how amazing it looks. Now, all I need to complete the room is for a smaller scale and slightly taller version on this coffee table to be made for a “tv stand” to hide some cords around the TV. I added in a few baskets from Target to make the farmhouse table look a bit more “industrial modern” and I’m quite thrilled with how it tied it all together.

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We aren’t completely finished with our living room, but it’s coming along swimmingly, and I’m extremely happy with the progress we’ve made thus far. I’m anxious to get my hands on a few other rooms in the house at some point in the future, and I can’t wait to decorate our new living room for the holidays!


Ignore those pesky cords, I just need to get the console table built and then we will be FINISHED with this room

Now if anyone has any tips on how to get your husband to keep his dirty socks off the living room floor, please comment below. I may just have to let this one slide and learn that the second I wake up, I should walk over to his recliner and pick the socks and shoes off the floor and put them where they belong..I don’t think this is a battle women will EVER win.

I can’t wait for the holidays, so I can show you how we will decorate our new space for the season!


In the middle of September – Happy 4th wedding anniversary

It’s Monday already? All I did was blink on Friday at quitting time and yet somehow it’s already Monday. Don’t get me wrong, some weeks I’m more inclined to like Mondays. Sometimes, I’ve gotten all of my wifely duties done over the weekend – like cleaning the house, stocking up the fridge, updating Charles’ and my calendar for the week, washing the sheets, giving Cholla and Milli a bath, and even meal planning. These are the weekends that I go to bed on Sunday nights and feel ready to tackle a new work week. Clearly, this was not one of those weekends. In fact, I haven’t had one of those weekends in about six weeks, which is unheard of for me. Between friends’ weddings, moms’ accident, being out of town, and stomach bugs, it’s been a little hectic around the Alley Homefront.

I am bound and determined to make this coming weekend one of those weekends. It may seem boring to you, but when life around me is total chaos, I need to feel like everything else is in control {does this make me a control freak? Maybe..a little?} So now that I’ve told you about the weekend I didn’t have, let me tell you a little bit about the great weekend I did have.

As mentioned in my previous post, Charles and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary on Thursday. We actually spent the day at work, then went and spent time at the hospital with my mom, to be followed by wing stop and popping a bottle of champagne at our house. It was surprisingly a perfect night, especially because we knew we would be getting to spend the entire weekend together at the lake..{also, how lucky am I that I have a husband who doesn’t care to spend their anniversary in a hospital room and eating take out? I’m the real winner here.}

Friday was another work day, but after work, I made the trek, dogs in tow, to meet Charles at the lake. It was perfect from the minute I arrived. We spent the evening on the deck, watching the sunset, talking and listening to Michael Buble, drinking red wine, and making my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce, and finished by watching a movie before we fell asleep.

I had every intention of “sleeping in” on Saturday, but when you work 6-3 Monday through Friday, “sleeping in” is making it to 7am. I let Charles sleep while I made breakfast {banana pancakes and bacon, mmm} and sipped on coffee while my mister slept in until around 9. We then popped a bottle of champagne and sipped on some mimosas while watching a certain team who shall not be named that broke our hearts {but we still love anyway…} We finally got out on the water and enjoyed one final day on the always breathtaking Lake Ouachita. When we got back to the house, we started cooking dinner and Charles insisted that he handle it and that I go take a hot shower and relax {to which I quickly responded with “deal”} When I got out of the shower, I was greeted with an amazing dinner of seared scallops and shrimp, truffle risotto, and Brussel sprouts au gratin. Raise your hand if you love a man who knows his way around the kitchen!

On Sunday, we packed up shop and got the pleasure of spending the day with the world’s cutest two year old nephew, Liam! We let him nap for a few hours while we attempted to unpacked and then off to the fair we went! After some fair fun, we went to a new place in town, Vargas Fruteria, and treated ourselves to some rolled ice cream! It was FANTASTIC. If you live in Fort Smith and haven’t gone, what have you been waiting for? There will be many trips in our future…

That concludes this episode of “where in the world are the alley’s,” but don’t worry, because I’ll be back soon with more. We are in the process of re-doing our living room area, and I hope {literally crossing my fingers} that I can get my coffee table finished this week in time to post this weekend about the new look of the room.

I hope you all have a quick and painless Monday, and that your week flies by!


Day and Night

This day has done.me.in! With that being said….

The sun is shining, it’s nice and toasty outside, tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo {yay, MARGS!} and it smells like honeysuckles outside {that fact alone makes me smile}. Even with the stressful work day I’ve had, I cannot help but be in a good mood! Even my current setting is making me smile. I’m sitting on the couch on the deck {with my two backseat bloggers, Cholla and Milli..}, blogging away and sipping on a mojito – yes again – and I just feel overwhelmed with the readiness for summertime and fun outfits. My heart is feeling pretty happy right about now.

Summertime in the Alley household means more patios, more cookouts, more bonfires, more sunsets, and more courage in our clothing choices. For instance, I never thought I would want to rock a blazer {I’m just not a blazer kind of person…so I thought} and then I found the amazing blazer below a few nights ago, and now I’m a blazer kind of person. I also thought I wouldn’t buy into the fad that is boyfriend jeans. Until I tried on a pair and ended up loving them.

If you haven’t already learned this lesson, I’m going to teach it to you now. The things you think you won’t like end up being the things you can’t get enough of. Scared to branch out and try something new? Just try it! There’s no commitment in trying something out and seeing what you think.

For me, I tried this combo below {with a bit of hesitation..} and couldn’t get enough of it. Seriously, if I could wear this every day, I think I just might. It’s perfect for all of you working women out there trying to transition from a day in the office to a night out with the girls.


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Most often when I’m attempting to build an outfit, I start with one item and then I piece the outfit together from there. In this case, I started with this KILLER top from Indie {check their site out here!}– it goes with EVERYTHING, has the perfect fit, and I’m in love with the criss cross detailing on the top {and the bottom!} You can make a simple outfit with this top because it’s so easy —  black jeans, dark jeans, light jeans, cardigan, no cardigan, the options are endless, but I wanted to spice it up a bit.

I decided next that I wanted to pair it with some ripped boyfriend jeans – check these out from Old Navy.} I thought they would elevate the look, and I ended up loving the way they looked with the top! The mules are also from Old Navy, as shown in the last post {go check it out if you haven’t — although surely you have!}

Finally, I paired it with the blazer to end all blazers, it’s the softest, simplest, and best fitting blazer that I ever did see. This one in particular is from Wildfox and I purchased it at yep, you guessed it, Suite One! It has a criss cross half open / half closed back that made me fall in love.

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, GO ENJOY some margaritas on the patio and think of me. Don’t forget to follow me on instagram {@rightupouralley}.



You’re a Shoe In

Forgive me if whatever I’m about to write seems a bit chaotic, but I’m in a chaotic environment right now. My husband and I are getting our kitchen cabinets repainted & distressed, which means all of our kitchen cabinets are off right now and our kitchen looks like a war zone…not to mention the fact that with all of the cabinets off, Charles and I {along with anyone who comes over..yikes} can see how completely unorganized all of our kitchen items are. Actually, I’m just going to move this to another room so I don’t have to look at the mess {if I don’t see it, it’s not really there, right?!}

But for now, I’m going to sit here with my Pomegranate Punch smoothie from Tropical Smoothie {Now Open in Fort Smith – have you tried it?} and I’m going to attempt to focus amid the unorganized chaos going on in the Alley household.

As much as I love clothes {and believe me, I love clothes}, I’ve found that even the most perfect shirt I own can look completely wrong without the right pair of shoes. Shoes say a lot about your style and your mood {and most people notice your shoes right off the bat…}.

For example, some days, I’m in the mood to throw on an LBD, swipe on some red lipstick, and wear the highest heels I have. Some days, don’t even THINK about getting me out of my chacos. Some days, I want to ripped jeans and my favorite booties.

Love wearing flirty dresses, but hate heels? Maybe you just want to feel more comfortable? Throw on a pair of Keds to suit your own personal style. Want to amp up your outfit while wearing boyfriend jeans? Throw on a pair of heels and a blazer. Make it work for YOUR STYLE and YOUR SCHEDULE! Just because you’re spending a day walking around town or running a lot of errands and need to wear comfortable shoes doesn’t mean you have to wear a sweatshirt and jeans {although hey, no shame if that’s what you’re comfortable with!} You have options. Throw on a flirty sundress and some flats, or even your favorite Keds! {Or what about those adorable Adidas you’ve been eying…}

Here’s a few shoe trends that I have been continuously reaching for {and drooling over..} this season:

Lace Ups :   Maybe it’s the fact that I just miss tying my shoes, or maybe it’s because lace up shoes add a unique touch to any outfit. I’ve worn the tie up pair shown below with boyfriend jeans, skinny jeans, dresses, and maxi skirts. Versatility is what I need in clothes, and shoes are no different. The pair below was purchased at Suite One!

Mules  :   Mules are essentially just backless shoes, and I love the spunky aspect that the two pairs below bring to the table. One pair gives you the vibe of a fall like bootie, but is easily transitioned into spring, mostly in part by the fact that they’re backless! The other pair of mules shown below are open toe and backless, a winning combination in my book. The color with this particular pair is so unique and works almost any color you pair them with. The enclosed front pair are from DV Dolce Vita for Target {check them out here!} and the open toe paid is from Old Navy.

Fringe :   Enough said. Because who can get enough? Both below pairs are from Suite One!

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Packing for a weekend adventure

The weekend is drawing nearer and nearer. You and your fella {or you and your group of gals!} have planned an adventure that starts when the clock strikes 5pm on Friday. You want to be ready to jump in the car and GO when that clock finally makes it to closing time on Friday,  so about Wednesday, the thoughts start kicking in. What. Do. I. Pack??? 

If you’re anything like me, or well, let’s be honest, if you’re anything like anyone I’ve ever met before, packing {..okay..and unpacking} are let’s just say not the most fun part of any trip. It’s hard not to have major outfit FOMO going on when trying to choose what to pack. “What if I bring the wrong shoes?” “What if everyone is dressed fabulous and I’m wearing a sweater and chacos?” 

I actually wouldn’t mind a sweater and chacos…

Packing is inevitable and it can be grueling {especially if you have to pack for your husband as well..}. I’m here to ease your pain! With a few basic necessities, you can be packed and ready to go in 15 minutes flat. Just remember – you’re going on a trip to have FUN! To RELAX! To go on an ADVENTURE! Let your outfits reflect that. Be a little bolder, but be comfortable. All that adventuring {..adventuring? Is this a word? I guess it’ll work} can wear you out, the last thing you want to be is uncomfortable. Most of all, let what you pack reflect your personal style.

When I pack, I like to bring a few items that I can customize and tailor to fit more than one outfit. I was actually forced to start doing this, my personal bag boy Charles started getting sick of carrying my excess luggage.


First, let’s start with the jeans If you read my last post {I sure hope you DID!}, you’ll know that these ripped jeans are pretty much my saving grace. They are from Suite One Boutique {check them out here!} and they are the brand JustBlack. I can’t stress enough how these need to become a staple in your closet. They add an instant flair to everything, they’re under $70, and they are just about the softest things you’ll ever put on.


Now let’s talk maxi dresses. I bring a maxi dress with me no matter what trip I go on, and I make it a comfortable one {I’ll leave the chiffon and tighter ones at home..}. I like to stick to the comfort of a nice cotton maxi dress. I like to bring my back one because I can easily dress it up or down in a heartbeat if my plans take a turn I didn’t expect. Throw a funky pair of heels and some jewelry with it, pop o some red lipstick, and you’re ready for a night out, or throw your hair in a bun, put on some flats and you’re ready for a day outside! This is my favorite black maxi dress and it’s from Old Navy. 



I also try to bring a few funky patterns when I travel, again, things that are lightweight and comfortable. The floral shirt is probably one of my favorites. It’s from the same boutique as my cozy sweater from the last past {go check it out if you haven’t…you know who you are}. The boutique is called Indie. The floral shirt is so lightweight and has a fit that you wish ALL of your tops came in. The brand on the shirt is called Show Me Your MuMu. I just LOVE that! The second shirt is a soft plaid patterned shirt in a nice spring color. I’ve worn this on a few plane rides with boyfriend jeans, I’ve worn this as a coverup, I’ve worn this on it’s own lounging around the house…this shirt is the epitome of versatile. This top is from another local boutique {are you sensing a theme with me yet?} called Hazel’s Haven. 

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You need to have shoes for nights out as well as a pair of versatile day shoes. The above shoes – Matisse brand, purchases at Suite One. The bottom shoes are the nicest cognac color that work with anything in my closet {they’re like magic shoes..} and they are from Old Navy. 

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Let’s not forget a pair of sunnies {these double as a way to hide those tired morning eyes..or if you had a little too much fun the night before..}. Mine are from Suite One and are you ready for this? They are TWELVE. DOLLARS! Go getcha some, these are perfect for people like me who scratch / lose / break sunglasses on the regular.

Leave a comment below with your weekend plans! Mine will be spent at home for the first time in a few weekends, and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it!