As a blogger, I’m part of a beautiful community of creatives. We may share our ideas through a virtual network, but often times we have the opportunity to connect in person, sit down and chat, and really get the creative juices flowing! Grab your coffee and meet my friends, appearing as guest bloggers in this near-to-my-heart section.

Restoring Your Energy Bank

We’re on day 5 of rain here in the Carolinas, and I can feel my energy bank depleting with each passing cloud. It is important to maintain energy, and as a new mom I have struggled to find opportunities to fill up that energy bank after care taking, grocery runs, house repairs, and work. Today, I am sharing a few personal tips, inspired by an article from 60 and Me (click here or the image above).

What are some of your tips on refilling that energy bank? Share your go-to practices in the comment section below.

Stay energized,


  1. Take deep breaths. Each hour, take a couple seconds to pause your breathing and take in some extra air. This will still your mind and energize your body.
  2. Switch for water. While coffee seems like a source for energy, water is an opportunity to cleanse your body and refuel it with what it needs!
  3. Take a walk break. When you feel your energy waning, get some endorphins running through with a 20 minute walk break.


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Preparing for a Neighborhood Picnic

Last week, Thomas and I discussed our afternoon plans on our drive home from church. He remembered we’d purchased a large rack of ribs and was eager to grill in the blissful summer sun. Given the amount of food we had in our fridge, it was clear we needed more mouths to feed! I sent a message to four families, and three hours later – neighborhood party!

We asked each neighbor to bring an easy side, and before our eyes a feast appeared. Our menu included:

  1. Smoked barbecue ribs
  2. Barbecue chicken
  3. Sliced fresh watermelon
  4. Potato salad
  5. Macaroni and cheese casserole
  6. Coleslaw
  7. Arugula salad with berries and goat cheese
  8. Toasted baguettes
  9. Chocolate chip cookies + peanut butter cookies

In a short amount of time, we managed to gather 15 folks and lots of kiddos to enjoy an afternoon of great food and conversation. Thomas and I try to keep some delicious meats frozen for spontaneous get togethers, and a stock of potatoes and salad fixings for easy sides. Of course, when in doubt – just grab a watermelon and watch the party start!

How do you prepare for an afternoon with friends? Share your tips with me in the comment section below!

Happy gathering,


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Getting Bold with Color

If you’ve ever visited my home, you will quickly find that I am a fan of a muted color palette. It can get a little drab, at times, but overall – I’m a sucker for black, white, gray and all neutral colors in between! As the mama to a spunky baby girl, I wanted to incorporate more color in our home (proven fact – color is key to development for babies!) My dear friend, Whitney Walker, is quite talented in both teaching me how to mama and building rooms with color.

The plus side of a home filled with neutrals – adding color is a cinch! Here are a few lessons learned from Whitney. How do you incorporate color in your home? Share your tips and tricks with me in the comment section below!

  1. Use what you have. Since I have a background of neutral, I chose to accent my master bedroom and living room with color. Bright lumbar pillows in green, purple and blue coordinate easily with my large linen throw pillows and white duvet.
  2. Start small. Add color simply with either a pillow or throw blanket. Especially in a very muted home, decor pieces are easy to swap out (especially if your apt to change your mind often!)
  3. Consider the walls. When trying to break out of my neutral rut, I looked to paint! I opted for a pale ice blue in our master bedroom and a mint green in our daughter’s room. The rest of the furniture is muted – so the walls pop perfectly…just enough color for me!
  4. Do the unexpected. If you’re really up for a change, repaint a piece of furniture, like a dresser or end tables. Alternatively, take a muted lamp and add a contrasting shade – something unexpected and dimensional!

Stay bright,



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The One Trend You Must Have This Spring

When it comes to fashion, the 1970s has long been one of the most vilified decades. Think shudder-worthy butterfly collars, bell bottoms, and platform shoes. However, there is one revived fashion trend from the ‘70s that I absolutely love—embroidered denim. From denim jackets and shirts, to blue jeans, to denim skirts, embroidered embellishments have been everywhere for the past few seasons and are still going strong this spring.

That’s why out of all our fabulous new spring looks, our Embroidered Jeans are my pick for the one fashion trend every woman should own right now. A good pair of jeans are an essential part of every American woman’s wardrobe, and our Embroidered Jeans are timeless, versatile, and completely age appropriate.

With its feminine floral embroidery on the leg and a touch of spandex for a better fit, our

Our Embroidered Jeans are a stylish addition to your wardrobe.

A pop of colorful floral embroidery on one leg elevates these elastic-waist jeans and makes them come to life. Crafted from 7.5 oz. denim with a touch of spandex, they stretch with you while keeping their shape wash after wash. They have front and back pockets for essentials like tissues (a must if you have spring allergies like I do). I also adore the classic straight leg, which you can wear rolled up or down, and will look great with your favorite sneakers, sandals, or flats. Available in White or Stonewash, these jeans will go with everything in your closet.

Made by National®, these pull-on jeans feature a full elastic waist for all-day comfort, front slash pockets, back patch pockets, a back yoke, and straight legs.

Our Stonewash Embroidered Jeans goes with almost any top.

Not into embroidered denim? Not to worry, here at National, it’s all about the details this spring, so whether you are looking for chain stitching, pintucking, eyelet trim, a criss-cross neckline, or bell sleeves, we have something that’s sure to fit your personal style.

What’s your favorite look this spring? Share it with us!

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Cheers to a Great Year!



What a special week it has been! This year, Lynda and Michael went from one grandchild to THREE! You read that right – our family home was filled with three littles under three years of age – and goodness was it special!

We hope your holiday season brought laughter, joy, and renewed hope in the many blessings of this life. Do you have fun filled memories to share? Write to me in the comment section below, and share your favorite parts of Christmas with me.

Make sure to tune in Monday and read up on The One Word I can’t wait to jump into 2018 with you!

Cheers to the New Year,


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Staying Present among The Hustle

Last week, someone asked if I was “ready for Christmas.” I wasn’t sure how to answer. Was I aware it was rapidly approaching? Yes. Had I finished all my shopping? Almost (one more left!) Were things wrapped and ready to go? Absolutely not. I answered as honestly as I could – gifts were purchased, but I wasn’t mentally present to the reality of Christmas.

This entire year feels like a blur. In early Spring, we moved from our beloved home in Charleston, SC to Wilmington, NC. 6 weeks after moving into our home, we welcomed our first child. In the middle of those things, we continued working/seeing family/attending weddings/everything in between. Christmas feels like it just happened, and no – I don’t feel ready to celebrate it again. I stopped to consider why that may be, and I realized I had placed unnecessary pressure and frivolous meaning on the season.

Our fireplace is not perfectly decorated. Our Christmas cards will likely arrive just after the 25th. We haven’t captured that perfect photo of our daughter with Santa. And we never got around to hosting the “Ugly Christmas Sweater Party” we say we’ll do each year. I don’t feel ready, because I haven’t made it down the “perfect parent checklist,” and as a new mom – I wanted to.

A friend came by recently to snap a couple photos of Hatton for her 6 month birthday. This one image stopped me immediately – my daughter, staring at the sky in wonder, curiosity and amazement. Her gaze captures everything I love about raising a child – innocence, possibility and hope, all wrapped up in one tiny being. She is incredibly able to be in the moment…

This season, I am choosing to stay present and celebrate the True meaning of this amazing time by holding onto that childlike wonder. May each of us pause, take a breath, and reflect on the magic of a tiny babe who came to Earth, pure in love and abounding in hope, for such a time as this.

Happy Christmas season, friends!

Photo courtesy of Meagan Forbes Photography

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Welcome to the Family | The National Christmas Party

Throughout my time at National, I’ve recounted quite a few “behind the scenes” moments with you. But today, I’m giving you a sneak peek into the most treasured tradition we share as a family: our annual National Christmas Party.

As long as I can remember, we’ve closed our doors for a few hours on a weekday afternoon to gather together as one massive family and celebrate the joys, challenges, and blessings of the year. It is a time to acknowledge the hard work of each team and remember the True Reason for the Christmas season.

At our Christmas celebration, we honor the community service of our employees and share what National has contributed to in Lexington and beyond. We also share the gifts we’ve received by creating a “mini Christmas” for the Salvation Army’s “Angel Tree.” In that special time together, we manage to eat (a lot of) really good food, enjoy photos of the celebrations we’ve had throughout the year, honor employees for their service, and of course – my grandmother’s favorite part – Bingo!

We are so grateful to you, our National customers, who serve as an extension of our family here in Lexington. Because of you, we have the honor of elevating our community and celebrating goodness together – as a family. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!

Happy Christmas,


Lynda honoring one of our fantastic employees, Karen, and her thirty years of creativity and inspiration as a part of our Advertising team

Lynda and National’s CFO, Carol, celebrating at the National Christmas Party.

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Happy Birthday Michael and Lynda!

We just love November! Our President, Lynda Swann, and her husband Michael share a birthday just four days apart. What a joy to celebrate these two. Happy Birthday to this dynamic duo – may this year be full of joy and memories….with three grandchildren by your side!

Please join us in wishing Michael and Lynda a happy birthday by commenting below! We will collect your kind thoughts and send them to the happy couple as they celebrate together this weekend.


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Halloween Traditions Continued

I grew up in a family that went all out for Halloween. My Grandfather had extraordinary costumes every year. National welcomed each and every employee in full Halloween decor and – to this day – celebrates the holiday with cupcakes and fanfare in our front lobby. But, without question, the best part of that magical day: family themed costumes.

My grandfather, Eddie Smith, as Elvis

As a child, I eagerly anticipated our family themed costumes. For a few years, my father got his lifelong wish and lead our neighborhood hay rides as Zorro – (play) sword and all. One year, he dressed as Prince Eric and carried me – the Little Mermaid – door to door. Even though I was clearly old enough to walk, he refused to let us break character. But it was my first Halloween memory that remains my favorite family themed costume: The Wizard of Oz.

This year, we started our first family themed Halloween as “A Barrel of Monkeys,” symbolizing a favorite game I played frequently as a child. As long as Hatton will let us, we plan on coordinating themes for many years to come!

What are some of your favorite Halloween traditions? Do you have themed costumes to share? Tell us more in the comment section below!

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Prepping for Cold Season

Photo Credit –

The irony of today’s blog…I decided I would cover this topic a few weeks ago upon seeing numerous reminders to “wash your hands” and “flu shots available.”  And guess what? I’m coming to you today from behind a box of kleenex, a mug of honey and lemon, and a load of garlic. Cold season found me, so I want to help you either avoid cold season altogether or shorten the span of the symptoms! Below are some of my go-tos. Click on the links for a bit more information on each!

At the first sign of sniffles, ramp up your intake of Vitamin C and D. Get into the sun and sip on some orange juice for easy sources of the good stuff.

Put a drop or two of peppermint and eucalyptus in your shower and keep the temperature warm enough to generate a bit of steam. Spend an extra 5 minutes in the shower – it’s worth it!

At night, consider sleeping with a humidifier – especially in dryer climates or when you’ve started to run heat through your home.

Rely on the Neti Pot! While a bit uncomfortable, sinus rinsing is incredibly effective and supports faster healing times (in my experience!)

Add garlic to your diet. Garlic is a natural antibiotic and supports overall immune health. Coupled with ginger, lemon and honey tea – you’re sure to feel some relief from these powerful natural tools.

What are your remedies for solving colds? Share any and all with in the comment section below – because I’m sure this will not be my last one!

Stay well,

Note that all advice comes from personal experience and has not been evaluated by a medical professional. So – take with a grain of salt (and a glass of orange juice!)

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I am Parker. My mom, Lynda, is the owner and President of National Wholesale. We are a woman’s apparel company that I’m hoping you know about but if not, you’ll be inspired to learn. We’ve been around since 1952. And the business was started by my entrepreneurial grandfather, “Georgie” with the support of my grandmother, GaGa. I’ve been surrounded by clothing and hosiery since the day I was born. I've also been surrounded by the drive to stay in business, which means connecting with our customers.

So, this is my story.

And in a way, yours too. Welcome.

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