Functional Little Spaces pt2

Last week I shared an organizational center in my kitchen on dead wall space. Today, I’m showing a little part of our entry way.

Our entry way is a little tough because it’s narrow, but I really wanted to spruce it up with some decor and functional design. In our apartment we didn’t have a coat closet, so we used this awesome shoe bin from Ikea to organize the shoes we wear on a daily basis. What’s great about it is how narrow it is, and yet each bin holds several pairs of shoes! (In our apartment it fit behind our front door and didn’t impinge on its opening).

I also love the chalkboard there so I can practice my chalk writing and change up what it says!

I’m still looking for some fun fall pieces for the top of the shoe organizer, but here’s what I have so far!

Happy Monday! xo


Functional Little Spaces

One of the things I was most excited about with the new house was having a larger kitchen. In our apartment, we had a small galley kitchen with hardly any counter space. Well, we quickly got into a bad habit of dumping mail, papers, random crap on my long-awaited countertops– and it drove me bonkers.

Our kitchen also had this sort of dead wall space on the side of the pantry/hall leading to the kitchen, so I decided to try to use that unused space to solve our crap-collecting problem on the counters (see below).

I kind of hate the term “kitchen command center” but I guess that’s technically what I created in this space. As usual, Tarjay had exactly what I was envisioning– decorative, but ultimately functional “storage” for mail and papers in a space that was otherwise serving no purpose.

I’ve been having fun creating little spaces like this one through the house– can’t wait to share more of them!

Happy Friday! xo


Lessons I’ve Learned From My Toddler vol. 2

When Emmy was really little I used to imagine what her little voice would sound like. I would imagine her saying things like “I love you mommy” and “thank you mommy” (đŸ˜‚đŸ™„) Well, as you can imagine, what I get most these days is “No mommy” and usually at a pitch only the dog can hear. Emmy has become extremely particular in what she’s willing to wear. I basically have an entire summer wardrobe that she’s refused to wear because 9 times out of 10 the ONLY thing I can get her to leave the house wearing is a Disney princess costume.

It has gotten SO frustrating being short on time, trying to get out the door, begging her, pleading with her to just let me put clothes on her to go run errands, make it to an appointment, a playdate, whatever it may be. She puts one of the gowns on and immediately says “Oh mommy so beautiful” and talks about how fancy the dress is.

I’ve spent a good deal of time fighting this, arguing with her, etc. But then I got to thinking… why? Why should I tell her she can’t feel so beautiful on a casual Tuesday going to the eye doctor? (Actual scenario below)

There are a few lessons here for me. First, basically everywhere we go when she’s dressed like this people look at us. Some give knowing little grins, some just stare, some judge… who cares? Why should I care what some strangers at the mall think that she’s in a Tinker Bell costume and a Princess Poppy winter hat in the middle of August? And really, why should I care, in general, about what people think of me? Honestly, that was the biggest reason I didn’t start a blog 3 years ago. Like WHAT?! I’m 30 years old! Why should my concern about what others think about what I have to say stop me from doing something I think will be fun? The short answer is: I shouldn’t.

Along those same lines, Emmy is so confident when she wears these things that I think are ridiculous. She literally has no concept of people looking at her funny. None. She feels amazing. End of story. Why as adults do we complicate that idea so much? When along the line does this change for us? I admire this confidence in her; I should be trying to emulate it. And as trying as these times can be, I also hope so deeply for her that this part of her never changes.

And so, friends, you do you and feel fabulous doing it. xo

Home decor

Fall Touches

Happy September! Friends, I am SO excited to decorate for fall, and now that it’s after Labor Day I feel like I can officially jump in with both feet. We had some family over for a bbq yesterday, so I used that as an excuse to start adding some fall touches (even though it’s still a gajillion degrees outside).

Today I’m on the hunt for more fall pieces because I have so much more room to decorate! Here’s a taste of my fall decor so far!

When we were picking paint colors and furniture, I intentionally picked a lot of warm neutrals so that I always had a canvas for seasonal decorating. I LOVE a good garland– either regular greens (my favorite being a eucalyptus garland from Hobby Lobby as seen on my mantel), a fully seasonal garland, or sprucing a simple one up with some seasonal bunches.

I can’t wait to share what else I find! Have a great day! xo


Expecting the Meltdown

We are fresh off our family summer vacation, still trying to bask in our relaxation (maybe that’s why we haven’t unpacked? I KNOW… we’re *those* people who don’t unpack suitcases for like 2 weeks). Anywho, we really, truly had a fantastic week. I was a little anxious leading up to the trip because… 2 year old. Last year was a tough trip.. 17 months old, love/hate relationship with the beach, fearless, -5% listening skills. But what a difference a year made. Still fearless (thank you Jesus she willingly kept her puddle jumper on) and approximately 12% listening skills, but this girl LOVED the pool and loved the beach. She was mildly obnoxious on the plane, singing Let It Go at the actual top of her lungs, but all in all, that could have been worse.

I think a huge part of this trip was managing my own expectations, being realistic that it’s not *if* things don’t always go as planned, it’s *when* things don’t go as planned. It would have been really easy for me to be super annoyed that the ONE night we took E out to dinner with the whole family, she refused to sit and eat and we had to take turns walking the block with her, alternating eating cold dinners and drinking warm beers. Because that is annoying. BUT I also know that’s par for the course with her. No amount of bribery with coloring, stickers, toys, or the iPad has ever made this kid sit in a high chair (or regular chair for that matter) at a restaurant. I would be delusional to expect that this one time she would actually do that, especially with all the excitement of vacation added in. Instead, we rolled with it; Stephen being an all-star/pushover and walking her to get ice cream while we all finished eating (because he inhales food… it’s actually extraordinary how fast he eats).

And really I think that’s the name of the game when it comes to kids– knowing your kids and setting your expectations accordingly. It’s not always something I do well (ie going to Target and expecting to make it out of there without buying 2 pink cake pops, running to the mall “real quick” and being less than thrilled to have to ride the escalator back and forth 47 times in a row). But it is something I’m trying really hard to live by… because otherwise you’ll find clumps of my hair strewn through Target.

(P.s– WHY IS IT ALWAYS TARGET?.. a post for another time)

Thanks for reading! xo

Home decor, Uncategorized

Just Call Me Tim Taylor

Since moving into our home in June, I’ve been having so much fun with home decor. One of my most favorite parts of my home is the gallery wall in my family room. I was really nervous to actually take up the hammer and nails (it feels like such a commitment!), but I found a cool little trick that made the whole process a cinch!

  1. Once you’ve selected your frame size(s), create mock ups of the frames. A mock up will help you visualize the layout and how your design works within your space. To do this, flip the frame over so it’s backside up. I used a yellow legal pad, and starting in each corner, laid 4 sheets together and taped them so they created a sheet the size of the actual frame.
  2. Try to use paper light enough that you can see where the nail holes or other hanging mechanisms are, and using a marker, place a dot on the sheet so you’ll know where to eventually place the nail.
  3. Repeat this process for however many frames you have. (I have 10)
  4. Using painters tape, start with the middle-most point, and tape your sheet. From there work your way out, taping sheets to the wall. Once you find the spacing and layout you like, measure the distance between sheets and/or the distance from the top/sides of the wall. Use a level to make sure everything is even.
  5. Measure, measure again, and measure again. Aaaaand probably measure one more time.
  6. Leaving the sheets on the wall, place the nails over the dots on your mock up and hammer them in. Tear down the mock up and place the frame!

All told, this process took me about 2 hours by myself. Unleash your inner Tim Taylor and have at it!


motherhood, Uncategorized

End of August Vibes

It’s pretty hard to believe summer is almost over… well, that it’s almost Labor Day. All over social media, I see posts about families preparing to send kids back to school, teachers preparing to start a new year. This marks my third school year not going back to school (since the birth of E). In fact, today is the first day of school where I used to teach. I always feel so nostalgic around now– I look back in my drive at my school documents, lessons I’ve loved to teach.. super cool teacher stuff.

The decision for me to stay at home for the time being wasn’t one that we made lightly. For a variety of reasons, it really made the most sense for our family at this point in time, but it was one that I was a little sad to make, too. I LOVED my school, I loved my colleagues, I loved my content (high school history and psychology) and of course the students I taught. When I got pregnant I was at a place professionally where I was really happy and really fulfilled.

That said, I’ve never once regretted the choice to be at home with my daughter, but it definitely came with more of a transition period than I had anticipated. There were less significant things to adjust to– like days all basically running together, a Saturday being not much different than a Monday (other than my husband being home, making tons of noise, and ruining naptime), like it not reeeeallly mattering if you wear real pants or a real bra for an entire week (which sounds great in theory).

My daily victories used to include students connecting with material, dare I say, liking history, finding a fun new way to teach something, an interesting new primary source. Being a stay at home mom, my daily victories have included things like getting both a vomit and poop stain out of a onesie I really liked, figuring out how to resolve a nasty diaper rash, getting out of the house without a fight over what shoes E is wearing, going to the bathroom alone… You get the picture.

It’s pretty easy to look at those lists of victories and assign more weight to one group than the other… I did for a while. At school, I had plenty of evaluations, feedback from coworkers, administrators, parents, and students. I had affirmation all the time about the job I was doing. Becoming a stay at home mom, in my experience, you lose a lot of that affirmation. It’s absolutely not like my husband didn’t tell me I was doing a good job or that I’m a good mom, but he’s one person, and also not my boss. It’s definitely an adjustment shifting to the only real feedback on your day to day work is that your kid seems to be happy, thriving, safe (albeit a sociopathic tyrant).

It was harder early on when I felt like I had absolutely no business having a child, couldn’t believe the hospital let us leave with her, like everything I did was a massive failure. But in the 2.5 years since then, I’ve gained some confidence (not too much because my toddler would promptly humble me by getting naked in Target and refusing to wear anything but a Princess Anna nightgown I was planning to buy her… not a true story from this morning obviously). I’ve settled into my role as Mom, trying to find little victories every day (sometimes teeeeeny tiny victories).

Thanks for reading, friends! xo

motherhood, Uncategorized

Lessons I’ve Learned From My Toddler vol. 1

A lot of times when I think about being a mom I think about what I am teaching my 2.5 year old. I don’t usually spend much time thinking about what SHE teaches ME. When I stop and reflect on that, it actually shifts my perspective on some of the more shall we say *trying* times of being a mom to a toddler.

Volume 1: Letting go of (some) control

When I found out we were having a girl, I immediately thought about all the precious things I would dress her in, all the headbands she’d wear, the adorable (stupid) baby shoes I’d make her wear. And honestly, I did all of the above. In spades. My kid was not blessed with a full head of hair. She actually rocked a pretty unfortunate bald ring around the back of her head that made her look like Friar Tuck for several months. BUT, this girl’s headband game was STRONG. I literally had a headband to match every single thing she wore, never left the house without multiple extras in the diaper bag. As she got a little older and grew a little more hair on top, her signature look was the Pebbles Flintstone “ponytail”. And I was absolutely elated when she FINALLY had enough hair after she turned 2 for a real top knot.

I *know* vying for independence is the hallmark of the toddler years. I *knew* there would come a time when she would start refusing any and everything just because she could. So now my rough and tumble little mess of a toddler flat out refuses to let me touch her hair. And unfortunately her hair now most closely resembles a little baby mullet. At first, I fought against her refusal. I begged, pleaded, bartered… sunk real low.

Now, I know this is a silly and super trivial anecdote. But I had a mompiphany in the midst of it. My days of having control over everything she wears, eats, does, etc. are numbered. You start with this babe completely dependent on you and the choices you make for them. And then seemingly overnight, she’s a little person with opinions, plans, agendas, which for me these days feels 180 degrees opposite of mine. The challenge is finding the balance. Some things are easy… she doesn’t NEED to wear her mullet in a ponytail. I can relinquish control over that situation. Some things are a little harder… in the midst of writing this post, I went to put her down to bed.  She refused, screaming-bloody-murder, full-on-tantrum refused, to wear pajamas or anything resembling PJs and so she’s wearing a bathing suit under her sleep sack. I’m afraid she’s going to be cold and not sleep well, but I gave in and I feel kind of crappy about that. That’s where I’m still learning… and will probably never stop learning how to find that balance.

You mamas feel me? Thanks for stopping by! xo


First. Blog. Post. WHAT?!


If you couldn’t tell, I am so thrilled to write this- my first blog post- ever. I have thought about and wanted to start a blog for a few years now. I even went as far as to write drafts of posts in my Google Drive because I had things I wanted to write, but was too nervous to actually start a blog. Well. Truth be told, I’m still a little nervous, but I’m working on being fearless and really just want to share the ins and the outs, the highs and the inevitable lows, important and not-so important parts of my life. I can’t wait to share bits of my love of fashion, makeup, home decor, amateur handlettering, and of course, mommin’.

Thanks for stopping by! xo