slow(er) pace in paradise

Have you ever run a half or a full marathon? I feel like that’s the closest thing that I can compare the last year to from start to finish. Preparation began far before the race did, there were plenty of times when it felt too hard and it was scary to finish. But the equivalent to crossing the finish line was the second we landed in Dubai. We’ve spent the last few weeks enjoying every second we can together and what a better place to do it then here in the UAE.

I had every intention of blogging/vlogging every second of this trip, outfits and I have PR packages to promote but to be quite honest – I am in no hurry and not bound to my phone. I decided to be completely selfish with my time here because what other time will I have a summer with VERY little work to do. We’re in a 2br/2ba flat apartment here in Abu Dhabi with a kitchen and living room which is perfect. Plenty of space its just gorgeous… the boys and I sleep in when Chris has to work, we wake up to breakfast every morning and enjoy a hot dinner 5 nights a week before bed. I cook a little here and there and of course there’s laundry… but that’s the extent of the chores. We are in the phase of slowing down and only have the desire to reconnect and see all that we can!

After what has felt like complete and total chaos of months of moving and everything that went along with it… life and the complexity of it, we deserve this time to relax. Honestly at first it felt incredibly overwhelming to have so much time to go sightseeing and chill. Like when you first stop running after a long race and your body still wants to keep going, your heart is about to beat out of your chest and you crash. But after a little time, the anxiousness left and I’ve begun to enjoy the calm.


It’s felt like a second honeymoon… Chris has been absolutely amazing and it feels so good to be together again. He’s so sweet and the boys are really enjoying their daddy too. Hearing them say things like ‘hey daddy’ or ‘hey dad, let’s…’ it just melts my heart, they missed him so much. With his thoughtful surprises and enormous heart he sweeps me of my feet everyday, just being with him feels like home… we could be anywhere.


When we can, we fit in everything from our bucket list of things we want to do and to see here. I forget that the boys are professional travelers themselves and I love their willingness to learn everything they can while we’re here. On a normal day that we’re not out and about, we have a variety of pools and nearby beaches to choose from. It has averaged well over 100° everyday but it feels no different than the muggy Georgia heat that we left. The ocean is super warm and the pools are perfectly cool…

UAE works hard to make everything beautiful, luxurious and enjoyable. Here you can find just about anything you could ever want… it’s the supreme oasis in the middle of the Arabian desert. As we have about 3/4 weeks left here we’ll continue to travel and explore and I’ll try to get a little better about sharing our experiences, at least on IG (@mrskatewest). At the very least I’ll begin blogging about our travel and some tips after we get back home. I’ve received a lot of questions and messages about recommendations and such that I’d like to combine into specific posts. Comment or DM me if you have specifics!



Update // Where From Here?!

I can’t hide the whirlwind that I’ve been working with lately…. Between managing/growing my business, the news of moving this summer, the boys schedules, beginning the design phase of our forever home and starting a journey into becoming landlords…. the past two weeks have been BUSY. I don’t think I would have even made it through if the boys hadn’t been such a big help… thank goodness. But over the last two weeks we’ve made some big progress…

pexels-photo-219249.jpegBiggest news is we’re celebrating the opportunity to keep our first home… Chris & I will venture into making this a long term investment and becoming landlords. Of course this was NOT an easy decision and we met with numerous professionals to make sure we knew what we were doing. And since we’re currently occupying the property it was a task to keep it show ready at a moments notice. We make plenty of memories here full time. Not everyone appreciates the ‘lived in’ look of laundry, dishes from all the cooking I do and the clutter the boys leave strewn all over the house – top to bottom. Finding a photographer, legal consult… finishing all those unfinished projects, just everything at once. Of course doing all this with Chris here and there! But we made it… we had a good amount of interest and think that we’ve made a good decision with the tenants we chose.

Firming up what’s going to happen with the house has allowed for us to make plans though our transition and I couldn’t be more excited about how things will pan out. We’ll turn over our current home in April and move into temporary accommodations until the summer so that the boys can finish out the school year here. It gives me time to sort through what we’ll be taking, selling, organize things… the usual moving prep we all do when it’s ‘that time’. Which I have to say I’ve learned some tricks along the way for sure… some I’ll share because everyone moves and we do what we can to make it as efficient as possible!!

Finally… When the boys are out of school… we’re heading to UAE to spend the summer!!!! Homecoming in REVERSE!!

All the chaos and crazy from the past few weeks… We had one MAIN goal that of course included a lot of moving parts but the goal was to gift the boys a summer abroad. A summer they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives. Reconnecting as a family with Chris and just making memories and celebrating making it through the last year in ONE piece! I can’t wait to share with you our plans as we make them and bring you along as we experience and learn all we can this summer! Look for the Planning a Summer Abroad series as we start to prepare all the moving parts!

Where do we go from here?! 

As I talked about this morning in my video I’m going to continue running my blog and The Chic Little Shop but I’ve been working hard behind the scenes to take my business to a whole new level… broaden the spectrum and bring more to my customers and my followers. My ultimate goal is to help empower and inspire women to live their best life as the best version of themselves confidently! This includes many of my passions… beauty, fashion, lifestyle, travel, relationships and day-to-day life as a mother and a wife.

I relaunched my business with the intention of focusing on clothing alone and still wake up in the middle of the night dreaming of so much more. If you know me, you know that I am NEVER short on words and always have something to talk about… so putting myself into a box just isn’t for me. If labels are important here, just think of my blog/shop as a place where I share various inspirations in hopes to make your life easier.

I’ll still bring various apparel and accessories into the shop, but I’ll also be promoting some of my favorite shops and companies some of which I’m affiliated with and some I’m not… I’ll make sure you know which is which!

I am so excited about the direction my business is going and how it’s overall just growing and blossoming into something I’ve dreamed about for years. I feel like I can finally see a glimpse of what it could become with more hard work, dedication and of course learning all I can along the way. There is SO much to learn and technology is always changing, social media is constantly changing and evolving. The industries are nearly impossible to keep up with and it will be a huge task to stay on top of everything that I plan to share and bring to the community. But I’m more than up for the challenge and already this journey has been so rewarding in so many ways. I’m so thankful!

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//Casual Look of the Day//

(In order of Application)
MAC Cosmetics Prime+Prep Fix+, $26 at
e.l.f Cosmetics Poreless Face Primer, $5.79 at*
Flash Focus Hydrating Foundation Stick in Light, $34 (ON SALE) at
Younique Mineral Touch Concealer in Scarlett, $29 – Indep. Retailer
Touch Translucent Setting Powder, $39 at – Indep. Retailer
Photo Filter Foundation Powder in 1 (Natural Vanilla), $42 at
Customizable Eye Shadow Palette w/ 4 Colors, $32 at
-Colors used: Woodwinked, Honey Lust and Shroom
Better Than Sex Mascara, $23 at (Enjoy 20% Off w/link)*
Contour Kit w/ 6 Shades, $18 at (Comes with Free Gift)
Professional Eyebrow Powder Pencil in Grey, $6.69 at*
e.l.f Cosmetics Brushes (Starter Kit), $20 at*

*Affiliate Brands

Top: (older), similar always available – LOVE plaid/flannel!

Mug: Petal Palette Monogram Mug, $10 at



new adventures

After anxiously awaiting our next move, we finally have orders. We’re heading home!
G E O R G I A.
Even though we’ve moved quite a bit in a relatively short period of time…. the opportunity to move somewhere new has always been exciting. I love moving and making so many new memories. Finding a new favorite restaurant, a new favorite spot for family night, new stores to shop, new friends and a new house to call home!
We’ve lived on the East coast, the West coast and Japan. We’ve had 13 different addresses, more of course if you count super temporary ones or Chris’ deployments. Each location is a piece to our puzzle and at one time or another it was home. Home to the boys first’s, our most memorable friendships and countless memories.
Of course the older the boys get it’s a little more difficult for them leaving their friends and making new ones. But thankfully they usually have no problems making new friends. They could carry on a conversation with a sign post, just like their momma! Making it even easier, we are relocating to another military town… YAY! Military kids are resilient and I’ve noticed something magical during PCS (moving) season. They get through change, they adapt because they aren’t alone.
This is going to be one our last moves as Chris will be retiring and I’m so proud of him. We have so much to look forward to and I think as a family, we’re all ready! I’m excited for the next chapter, it’s going to be a good one!!!

:Baby Steps, Before the Move:

The second you find out where you’re going… the countdown has officially begun and I turn into a machine. Or a monster. Not quite sure which one… but I’m productive, organized and overly emotional.
You instantly look up the schools and the sports for the kids, the community. You
Zillow the housing market and start trying to figure out where you’re going to land. And if you’re moving during the summer, be quick to get all this done because guess what?! Everyone else is too. It’s best to not even waste a SECOND when you’re ready to claim your Casa de Chaos either, because if it’s THE one… there is already 823748 other eyes on it too.
HA! Who know’s what I’m talking about?! Who is moving this summer?? Have you started purging yet? Figuring out what is going to make the cut way before the movers ever arrive is important! And getting organized.
No matter how much there is to do… you still manage to get excited and equally stressed out as the days go by! NORMAL! But let the excitement WIN… plan fun things along the way. Plan a vacation instead of just staying in temporary lodging… visit family, make it fun! These experiences and the challenges that come with them are temporary and when you look back I think you want to remember the fun.
So who’s with me?! Who’s moving? Can we start a support group?? LOL!
#militarylife #pcs #moving #military #usmc #momlife #militaryfamily