Lessons Learned From Co-Parenting

When my mentor in college had me write out future plans there was never another woman in that plan.  Life is not always what you plan for yourself.  Sometimes life turns out way better than the plan you wrote down for yourself years before.

Let me take you back 11 years ago.  The first time I saw Delilah’s step mom, Elisa, I immediately felt challenged.  She never spoke to me so there was not a war of words or even a side eye glance. Elisa was dressed to the nines, put together and looked like she could fill my shoes as Delilah’s mom with such ease and pose.  Then there was me; pregnant with Lucy, very hormonal and I just wanted to cry all the time for no apparent reason. That day set off an 8 year struggle of co-parenting.  During those 8 years, it felt like a competition, to me, of who was the best mom.  Now I like a good competition especially when it makes me a better person, but this competition never felt good.  I always felt worse.  Sadly, I felt worse for Delilah.  I knew there would be uphill challenges at every event, birthday party or anything that would involve Delilah and her Dad.  I had written Elisa off.  I had told her in not so many words she was air to me, and I would not be communicating with her when it came to Delilah.  I made it a Sheree, Atlanta Housewives, moment.


As a side note, kids are very intuitive and smart.  Let me just add Delilah is both.  She did use the tension and discourse to her advantage.  She played us.


3 years ago, the path changed courses.  See, Delilah had gotten into a dispute with a few friends, and the moms got involved.  Elisa went to bat for Delilah. I realized for the first time she had no intention of replacing me.  She had every intention of being Delilah’s biggest cheerleader, motivator, support guide and giving her a loving home to go to when Delilah was not with me.  Elisa and I both knew at this point if we were going to change our relationship we needed to treat each other like friends.  From that point on, we sat together at all of Delilah’s sporting events; we began to do things together outside of the interest of Delilah.

View More: http://heatherlynnephoto.pass.us/elisanelsonfamily2015

We have nourished our co-parenting relationship.  When I asked Elisa what she enjoys best about co-parenting she says, “If we have a problem we address it right then. We can discuss ideas, concerns and issues in an adult manner with a mutual respect.  My relationship with Delilah has changed and improved since we’ve all come together, and Delilah knows we are actively talking with each other.  Are there hiccups along with way? Of course but that is to be expected.  No one is perfect but we just deal with those as they come along.”


For me, I can honestly say God gave me a friend that I can trust and lean on.  We both wished we would have been able to get along with day 1.  That would have made life so much easier.  Putting your differences aside for the sake of the child should be your number one goal.

If you are in the same position that we were once in we would encourage you to humble yourself and put away any side pettiness.  Your child is the one losing in the end.  Your relationship with your child’s Dad, Mom, Step-Mom or Step-Dad (whatever the case may be) does affect you, but more importantly it affects your child.

Let us know how your family dynamics work.  We would love to hear how you or a family member have gotten through difficult parenting situations.


As Always,

Melissa Gayle & Elisa

5 Lessons I’ve Learned From The Battlefield: Mom Life Lessons

In honor of Mother’s Day I thought it is only appropriate to give you lessons I have learned since taking on the role of a Mom. {I use the term Battlefield, humorously, in title because let’s face it being a Mom can be a blood sport. }

Life is not all about ME-  Honestly, before having kids, I was under the impression the world revolved around me.  I am not sure why that is, because my parents did not raise me that way.  In fact, that was a battle that was constantly fought in our house. Needless to say, as soon as I became a mom my focus changed, and life is about my littles who I lovingly call Delilah & Lucy. Being a mom is sometimes a thankless position, but honestly that is OK.  Knowing the girls are growing up as bright, kind and sweet young women makes all those bad mom days well worth it.

Make time for yourself -I know you are thinking I am talking out of both sides of my mouth.  Seriously, making time for myself has been a life saver. for Lucy anyways Whether that is 10 minutes to myself to read my daily devotion, making time to work out or just a little pampering these quiet moments in life are good for my soul.  Everyone deserves a little down time.


Photo Cred: Christina Barnum

It is OK not being your daughter’s BFF- When Delilah was 4 she said to me, “Mom you are my bestest friend.” I looked at her smiled and said, “while I would love to be your bestest friend, I cannot.”   I explained best friends get all the perks of doing fun stuff together, but they will never discipline. There will be times in life when I will have to discipline. Of course the conversation was more than those two sentences, but what Delilah did not know was it broke my heart to tell her this.  I wanted so badly to just say that sounds great, and treat her like my best friend.  I would hope that although I can not be their best friend; I can still be a Mom who will listen to them no matter what they are about to tell me.


Choose you’re Battles– Some parents live by this rule while others spin their wheels arguing over nothing.  When I was in middle school my mom and I would argue almost daily over my clothes.  I will never forgot my Dad saying, we have a new rule: let her wear what she wants and if kids make fun of her then let them and she will learn a lesson.  I think it probably got a rise out of my mom that I was smirking in the corner behind my Dad. Honestly, it was not about the clothes it was more about letting me be a independent thinker.  The lesson learned from that battle is you have to let your kids have some say so in their lives. I want to raise independent and self-sufficient thinkers.  By letting go not to sound like the movie Tangled of some of those battles you find your relationships improving and insuring a calm household.

Do not compare yourself to other moms- what works for your household may not work for my household.  It is easy to get sucked into comparing your mom skills to other moms. In the end all of us moms are in the same boat.  We are all trying to figure out how to make it through each day without letting our kids know we don’t really know what we are doing.  We are all on a wing and a prayer.

To my own mom (K.C.)- While I did not make parenting easy I sure made it fun and exciting. I will never be able to thank you enough for how amazing you were and are.  I love you more than I can write.

If you have Mom battlefield lessons please share. Maybe you have a favorite Mom/Daughter photo, I would love for you to share it.  I hope you all have an amazing Mother’s Day.

As Always,

Melissa Gayle


Inspirational Reads: My Go To Blogs

I get asked, often, why do I blog.  My first response is I started, because there is something therapeutic about sharing your life with others. Frankly, I would have never had the courage to take that leap had it not been for other great bloggers sharing their daily life with me.  I have gained knowledge, inspiration and wisdom by connecting with other bloggers.  Maybe by me sharing my life I will do the same for someone else.

I wanted to take today to say Thank You to my fellow bloggers.  Without their daily inspirations, posts and funnies my day would be drab.

These are my daily go to’s.  You should check them out. If you have a blog that you subscribe to I would love to check them out so send me the link.

Living In Yellow

Mom, Miles and Mishaps

Life in Pearls and Sports Bra’s 

Petite Girls Need Clothes Too!

Olivia Rink

Holoholo Girls

The Sweetest Thing

Susan Body Renovations

Trunk Club Review #2- Corporate Clothing

Per my earlier post from Tuesday, I received my second trunk. My stylist Kelsey did a great job of picking out clothes.  Before Kelsey sent me the trunk I specifically asked her to send me summer work clothes.

I did not think I would do Trunk Club or Kelsey justice by jamming my review of 15 pieces into one post. This post is a review the corporate clothes she sent.

Before I start in on my review: here is a bit about Trunk Club:

You need to sign up via app or desktop. Immediately you will be asked a list of style questions that involve your size and favorite brands.  Once you have answered the style questions, presto’ your profile is created, and your stylist is contacting you.  Kelsey, my stylist, asked me about my likes/dislikes on certain brands and my price range. I also sent her my Pinterest board, Fashionista, and from there I let her work her magic.

Within five business days, my trunk arrived.   My most favorite part is Trunk Club does not charge a styling or shipping fees.  You have ten days to try on your clothes, and decide what you want to keep.  You honestly lose nothing by trying it out.

 Theory//Jatinn K Short Sleeve Sheath Dress

Before we get into the specifics about the dress, clearly this picture is not me.  No, I did not lose 500 lbs, nor did I Photoshop myself.  Unfortunately, this was my favorite dress out of the entire box, but it had a large gaping hole in the seam. I did not want to try it on in fear I would rip it more.  This dress just screams Jackie O, and I am a sucker for a first lady type of dress.


Ivanka Trump//Hera Sandal

This shoe is as beautiful in person as in the picture.  I am not one to pay a lot of money for heels.  Now tennis shoes I will pay big bucks for, but heels are a different story. The heels retail for $148.00.  Therefore I did not even try them on.  I did not want to try them on, fall in love and then hate myself for buying them.  I would also hate to tell Lucy and Delilah, “I am sorry we can not eat this week, but look at your mom’s beautiful heels”.

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 Eliza J//Embroidered Jacquard Sheath Dress

I have wanted a yellow dress, and Kelsey read my mind.  I love this dress, and it also looks like a first lady type of dress.  This dress is perfect for my day job.  The material is light and breathable. This is most definitely a dress I said, “yes” to.

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Eliza J//Crepe Sheath Dress

Eliza J’s hot pink number is a head turner for sure.  I love the V neck and zip up back. I really did not care for the length.  Sadly, for Trunk Club, when I was out shopping at TJ Maxx I found a dress almost identical.  The dress I found is a Calvin Klein retails at $39.99 vs. Eliza J at $148.00.

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Adrianna Papell//Print Cotton Faille Sheath Dress

This dress is beautiful on, but that is as far as it goes.  This dress did not even feel great to wear just out on my deck to take this picture. The cotton material is not soft but  stiff instead. I did like the V neck and it would be a great dress for the office if the material was not so stiff.

That does it for my Trunk Club #2- Corporate Review. What dress is your favorite?

I have to give props to Kelsey as she always does such an amazing job styling me.  I think she does a great job at breaking me out of my routine of just wearing black and white.

As Always,

Melissa Gayle

Trunk Club Review #2- Part 1

This is my second trunk, and Kelsey hit it out of the park.  I specifically asked for summer work clothes.  This Trunk Club review is going to be written in two parts because Kelsey sent me clothes for work and weekend. I did not think I would do Trunk Club or Kelsey justice by jamming my review of 15 pieces into one post.

Delilah and I thought a fun way to review the weekend wear would be to do a “who wore it best” segment, Trunk Club style.

Before I start in on my review:  here is a little bit about Trunk Club, in case you are not familiar:

You need to sign up via app or desktop. Immediately you will be asked a list of style questions that involve your size and favorite brands.  Once you have answered the style questions, presto’ your profile is created, and your stylist is contacting you.  Kelsey, my stylist, asked me about my likes/dislikes on certain brands and my price range. I also sent her my Pinterest board, Fashionista, and from there I let her work her magic.

Within five business days, my trunk arrived.   My most favorite part is Trunk Club does not charge a styling or shipping fees.  You have ten days to try on your clothes, and decide what you want to keep.  You honestly lose nothing by trying it out.

Now on to fun part: let’s get started on the trunk.

This trunk included 15 items along with a personalized note from Kelsey.


 Nic Zoe//Summer Fling Skirt-

Delilah styled the skirt with a Pleione split neck top.  I decided to style the skirt with a Banana Republic tank and wide brown belt for waist definition. The skirt is A-Line and super comfortable to wear. I originally though the skirt was a knit material, but I was wrong it is cotton.  Delilah and I though this skirt would be perfect for the beach or just a fun dinner outing.

 Pleione//Split Neck Top-

As soon as Delilah put on the top she thought the same thing I did. This top is so soft.  It is a lightweight top that could go with dress pants, jeans, shorts or the Nic Zoe skirt.  Delilah did not like the deep V split neck. The split neck did not bother me as much.  I love how versatile this top can be.  You can dress it up or down depending on the occasion.


Burberry Brit//Check Trim Tee & Blank NYC//Hotel Distressed Skinny Jeans-  

Delilah and I both agreed we loved the jeans.  They were so comfortable, and felt great on. However, it is getting hot and humid here in the Mid-Atlantic.  Therefore, no one wants to wear jeans unless they have to.

We also both agreed while the Burberry Brit is just a tee made out of stretch cotton it feels amazing on. This shirt does not feel like a typical cotton t-shirt. It is so soft and it has the signature Burberry cuff to add a little extra pizzazz to a ordinary t-shirt. This T does hug your body so there is no room for breathing. 🙂

NYDJ- Print Pleat Back Sleeveless Split Neck Blouse

With this shirt being sleeveless, a cute design and versatile I would say this shirt is a winner. This shirt is made out of 100 percent polyester and felt great on. I felt like this shirt was more of a jeans shirt due to the length. With that said, Delilah could get away with wearing this shirt with a cute pair of shorts. Delilah did not care for the pattern as much as I did.

Joie- Casita Cotton Lace Tunic

I  did not care for this particular top, because it was see through. You would most definitely have to wear a tank underneath it. This shirt is comfortable, and would be great for a evening boat ride. Delilah did like this shirt because “it is lose and flowy.”  I will say I was out shopping over the weekend and ran into TJ Maxx, yes I am a maxinsta  and this type of shirt is the go to for the summer.  TJ had these shirts everywhere.  I would say if you like staying on top of trends I would highly suggest getting the lace tunic.

Vince//Sleeveless Stripe Poplin Top

I am not sure what the difference in cotton is between Burberry and Vince, but the cotton in this shirt is stiff. This shirt does not feel good to wear. I liked the length of the shirt. I liked the split box pleat on the side.  Other than that, I was not 100 percent impressed with the shirt because of the feel. Delilah, said that it looked like a, “mom shirt” thus she would not be wearing it. She also did not care for the feel of the shirt.

This concludes the weekend wear review for Trunk Club #2.  Let us know who wore it better.

Stay tuned for my part two of this trunk.

As Always,

Melissa Gayle & Delilah

The Mermaid Factory

This year Spring break was a bit of a dud weather wise.  Typically, we are well into the 70’s and starting to hit the beach.  This year, we were still in the 40’s and 50’s, and that kept us in the house.  Instead of wasting away our entire Spring Break on the couch Lucy and I decided to hit the beach just not in the way you make think.

If you live near or plan to visit Norfolk/Virginia Beach I would highly suggest going to visit the Mermaid Factory.  I not going to take up a lot of this post with words, but instead let the pictures do the talking.


VA Beach Location


Lucy is a crafty little girl and painting is right up her alley. 


Her hair is completed and she is ready to move on to the fin. 


Lucy’s finished product


My finished product. They give you these nifty little boxes to carry your marvelous mermaid in. 


If you are not into painting but want a little mermaid decor you can purchase a pre-painted mermaid. 


More cute beach decor for sale

If you do decide to go are my helpful hints:

  • Call the day before you go to make a reservation
  • Take a look at Pinterest for inspiration
  • Allow yourself time.  It took Lucy and I from start to finish two hours.

We had so much fun we are ready to go back and paint again.   If you have visited the Mermaid Factory I would love to hear your feedback. If you have not visited the Mermaid Factory did the pictures entice you to think about visiting?

As Always,

Melissa Gayle


Lucy’s Favorite Weekend Wear

The girls have watched me blog about new clothes with Trunk Club and Stitch Fix and are now wanting to get in on the action.  Sadly, there are not a lot of kids styling companies, and so they get me. I shall be styling them from the likes of Target, TJ Maxx and the like.  In good fun I am going to let the girls post from time to time on their favorite outfits.

Lucy took Spring Break to clean out closets, and shop for newer clothes. Surprisingly, she had a great time shopping although she starts to turn on me after two hours.

Thankfully, when it comes to shopping, Delilah has and is easy-going.  She likes for me to give her advice on clothing, and she likes to go shopping. Delilah has great taste when it comes to picking out clothes for her shape.  By that I mean, I have seen some teens dress like they are about to hit the club. While that may work for some it does not work for Delilah nor does it work for Delilah’s parents.

This past Saturday ended up being kind of lazy day for the girls.  Under normal circumstances, Lucy would be the one who lays around in pajamas all day.  Not this weekend. Lucy got dressed and was ready for pictures of her favorite weekend wear.  Delilah, however, decided to lay around in her pajamas and she had to go to work. I did not think you would find her in her work uniform something to write about.  Her work uniform consists of jeans and a work T-shirt (which has BBQ stains because she works at a BBQ joint). So for those reasons we are just featuring Lucy this weekend.

Here are Lucy’s favorite outfits.  Both of Lucy’s outfits were under $40.00.




Plaid Shirt//Marshall’s (similar shirt)

Jeggings//Target  (similar)

Riding Boots//Target (similar here)










Lucy told me she was going for a “cowboy look”.  I think did a great job without looking too Mary-Ann(ish) from Gilligan’s Island.


Jumpsuit//Target (exact one here) On sale using the Cartwheel app

Wedges//Michael Kors (similar to Lucy’s)- Purchased at Marshall’s on sale

Lucy says this is her disco outfit.  She is so crazy, she actually did a John Travolta impression in our living room before heading out to church in her new jumpsuit. Lucy loves this outfit because it is comfortable and fun. She says, she is all about fun.

Show Lucy some love, and let her know what you think of her outfit choices.  She actually reads the comments.

As Always,

Melissa Gayle and Lucy (this week)