Kelly Barbrey

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Kelly Barbrey is an early riser, old soul and retail therapy expert. She is a wife to Jonathan and a mom to two strong-willed daughters, born in 2007 and 2010. Kelly grew up in Atlanta, GA and earned a degree in magazine journalism from The University of Georgia. She has worked full time in tourism marketing for Experience Columbia SC since 2004, where she loves to share all the exciting things happening in Columbia, SC with potential travelers. When she’s not working or wrangling kids, she enjoys date nights with her husband at local restaurants, exercise, reading and sharing real and humorous accounts of life, motherhood and nostalgia on her blog, Up Early + Often.

I’ll Be in the Tub

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The only thing separating me from the chaos of the day was a thin, wrinkled piece of white cotton hanging dutifully from the shower bar.Spilled (purple) grape juice. Math problems no one in the...

Feeling Oddly Rebellious? The Pandemic Could Be To Blame

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Most of the time I’m a rule follower. I like things like speed limits, recipes, handbooks and clear expectations. But lately I’ve been feeling cantankerous - rebellious even - and I’m pretty sure it’s...

One Mom, One Hundred Dresses and Clothing Rental 101

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I’ve always loved playing dress up. As a young girl I would go through multiple outfits each day, pairing this with that and pushing the limits of what might “go together.” And when it...

The Great Backpack Debate :: Why I Support In-Person Learning as Option This Fall

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I didn’t want to write about this. I said I wouldn’t write about this. Too controversial. Too polarizing. Not my scene. I like bringing people together - feel-good writing, if you will. But as...

Are We Raising the “Next Greatest Generation” With Our Quarantine Kids?

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  We’ve all heard stories about generations - past relatives walking uphill both ways in the snow, burying silver in the backyard for safekeeping and amusing themselves for hours by skipping rocks or skipping rope.  Well,...

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly as a Work-From-Home Mom During COVID-19

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As a work-from-office mom for 12 years, I have often fantasized about working from home. I’d trade itchy dresses for cozy leggings, high heels for running shoes, and water cooler small talk for dining...

I Can’t Even :: A Guide to Decoding Teen Slang in 2020

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It’s a tale as old as time. For years tweens, teens and young adults have used slang terms to create their own languages. The hip 60s, groovy 70s, rad 80s, awesome 90s and sic...

Are You Addicted to Multitasking?

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As a mom, I have become exceptionally good at multitasking. I have taken conference calls while taking temperatures. I have written blog posts on my iPhone from the waiting room of the orthodontist’s office....

Wings of Love :: Confessions of an Almost Helicopter Mom

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“Ugh, you’re such an airplane mom,” my daughter said to me one afternoon. I can’t remember what we were discussing, or what I was reminding her to do or take with her out the door,...

Middle Ground :: The Unexpected Joys of Parenting Tweens

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I have always been jealous of baby whisperers. I was not one. I will never be one. I truly love a newborn, but I was never good with them. It’s probably because I’m a...

Side Hustles and Second Shifts :: When You Want to be More Than a...

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“I want to do something splendid before I go to my castle, — something heroic or wonderful, that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for...

When Mom’s the Messy One

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Sometimes dads get a bad rap. They are teased for their inability to remember which brand of yogurt to purchase at the grocery store. They are chided for not spending enough quality time with...

Is There a VSCO Girl in Your House?

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The other morning as we waited on carpool, my 8-year-old daughter was sporting a homemade beaded necklace, per usual since her preschool days. But this time instead of displaying her name, the name of...

Supply List for the Middle School Mom

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I remember the middle school years like they were yesterday. The cool, caustic burn of a Clearasil wipe straight from the little plastic tub. The thrill of an encouraging word from a favorite teacher...