i digress, and a diy

last week I had a nasty cold and just felt rather dull all around. i kind of felt like the universe was telling me to hit the pause button and look inward. weird, i know, but that’s what I did. i was more thoughtful about my day, spent more one on one time with the kids – lunch at school with b, 2 hrs straight of play-doh with c, and up and down the stairs more times than i can count with h (just following that boy around is an exercise program). writing here felt trivial so I didn’t force it, and honestly, it felt good to let go of some of that pressure (that I put on myself) and just be. now, all that said, i still don’t have it all together this week, but it was a nice little refresher and reminded me that it’s ok to slow down sometimes.  and this still applies:
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yep, i mostly feel like i’m running around like a crazy person all day.  it doesn’t help that i can’t seem to focus on any one thing and bring it to completion.  i start something in the kitchen, go get something in the pantry to finish it, discover that stack of magazines i’ve been hoarding and flip thru one, think of an outfit idea and run upstairs to pull it before i forget about it, and find an old sweater that needs to go to goodwill.  that spurs a closet clean out, and before i know it, hudson is awake, and i can’t remember where i started  (please tell me i’m not the only one who does this).  and that’s basically what was happening when i did this little diy.  i started it, and in between coats of paint, i was trying to cram as much into nap time as i could.  i finally came back and finished it at 4pm after having started it at 10am.  one day, i will learn the art of focus.  i think.  i hope.
so, let’s get to the point here.  i wanted to make a few frames a little more festive for the holidays by adding some sparkle.  all i did was use painters’ tape to mark where i wanted the gold to go, and i hopped to it.  i’m not one to do a lot of measuring (sorry dad), so i totally eyeballed this, and decided to go asymmetrical so that anything would look ok.  i’m super happy with the way it turned out, and i might just add gold accents to every frame in the house. or, little fluorescent accents would be cute in a kid’s room.  or black and white stripes would be fun too.  or a rainbow.  really, the options are infinite!  and, who doesn’t love a project where perfection isn’t necessary?!?
tape it, paint it (a few coats), pull the tape.
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voila!
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these are a few of my favorite things

we put up our christmas tree over the weekend – is there anything better than that golden glow of white lights at night!?! – and our elf ‘eddie’ has returned!  the poor guy isn’t very creative – he must be tired.  i really hate to steam roll through thanksgiving, but i’ve really had christmas on the brain and i’ve made a good dent in my shopping.  the plan is to keep the momentum going so i can just do the fun christmasy stuff thru the month of december.  today, i thought i’d let you in on a few of my favorite things that you might want need to add to your own christmas list!  these are things i own and love and can give a hefty stamp of approval to.  everything is linked up below.

bralette – ok, i have given up on legit bras because i am done being uncomfortable.  these are pretty, feel like you aren’t even wearing a bra, and are pretty inexpensive as far as bras go.  sold.

leather jacket –  well, it’s faux leather, but looks and feels like real leather.  i had been searching for about a year for the perfect moto jacket (that wouldn’t break the bank), and this. is. it.

patagonia – this pullover is so warm, it feels sorta like wearing a blanket, which is basically my idea of heaven.  i have it in white, which i was worried about, but i’ve managed to keep it white for about a year, and that’s sayin’ something.

dutch oven – i have had this one for about 8 years, and it’s great.  it’s a less expensive version of this, and it has performed so well.  i use it at least a few times a week, especially in the winter when soups are on the menu more frequently.

hydroflask – ok, this is silly, but it’s practically my fourth child with as much as it gets carried around.  i am trying to be better about drinking more water, and this thing is great, keeping it cold for hours.  make sure you get the straw top, because water just tastes better out of a straw.  ;)

copper mugs – the moscow mule has quickly become a favorite at our house, so copper mugs to serve them seemed just right.

tote – this thing has taken a beating, and the more it gets used the better it looks.  one downfall is that it just has one small pocket inside, but it hasn’t been a deal-breaker for me.  they have it in a cross body version that would be great too.
wallet – ok, this is pretty big for a wallet, but it holds everything and then some and can double as a clutch.  it’s on major sale with kate spade’s early black friday sale.
zella leggings – i had heard from a few people that these are THE leggings.  i finally bought mine at the nordstrom anniversary sale, and they were so worth it.  they are mid-rise,  reversible (one side is matte and one side is more shiny (but not too much)), and so comfortable.
now, quick!  start that wish list!
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our gratitude tree

one of the greatest gifts my parents gave was teaching me to be grateful.  i think it’s led to my ‘glass half full’ outlook on life, and it’s a gift i want to give my kids as well.  they will probably grow up wanting for nothing – we have a roof over our head, plenty of food and car to get us where we need to go, among many other things.  i don’t want to guilt them, but it’s important that they understand that there are so many who are struggling just to get their next meal or to find shelter each day.  we’re starting with a simple, age-appropriate, and visible idea this holiday season with our gratitude tree.  we’ve been at it for several days, and each of us has the chance to write something that we’re thankful for each day – and we’ve seen everything from family members to food to barbies and hot wheels.  hey, it all counts!  and they’re really into it.  i had originally thought it would be a thanksgiving activity, but the kids have gotten so excited about it that i think we’ll keep it up through christmas and keep adding as we go through the season.

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it’s the last thing we see before we go upstairs at night, and a nice reminder for all of us to count our blessings.

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diy choker & 3 ways to wear it

you guys, this is literally the easiest diy.  it takes about 5 minutes and it will save you so much money…that is, if you’re in the market for a choker.  i was shopping for one of these and finding them for anywhere from $35 – 45 when it finally dawned on me to just try it myself.  the supplies are readily available at a craft store, and it cost less than $15.  so, here’s the diy:  cut your cording to your desired length (mine is about 5 feet, but i might shorten it a bit).  thread a few beads on each of the ends and tie a knot at both ends to keep them on.  the end.

here’s what i used:  leather cording; i couldn’t find the exact beads i used online (they came from the jewelry section at michael’s), but these are similar, and these would be cool.  really, anything goes.

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look 1:  simply wrap the cord around your neck 2 or 3 times and leave the ends looseimg_0157

look 2:  wrap around your neck twice and tie the ends once.  you could double knot it too.img_0160

look 3:  wrap around your neck twice and tie a bow.  img_0169

i think i might try it in velvet next!  if you’re not into diy, here’s an option.

thanks to my cute assistant for his photo skillz…img_0162

 

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non-toy gift guide

i just heard that we only have 5 weekends left until christmas – say what!!!???!!!  it still feels warm and fallish here in KC, and i haven’t really had christmas on the brain…until now.  i’m trying hard to get my ducks in a row early this year so i can really enjoy the season and not get stressed out by the gift-buying and wrapping that i usually leave to the last minute.  i’m sure each of your kids, like ours, knows exactly what they want from the toy department, but here are a few non-toy ideas that are going to be appearing beneath our christmas tree.

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  1. tee-pee – what kid doesn’t love a cozy little spot to peruse a book or play?
  2. lego book – what do you do with all those loose legos!?!  this book gives tons of ideas to build something new
  3. special skirt – chloe will lose her head when she opens this, and she will probably wear it basically every day, so the cost per wear will be pennies.
  4. yeti in my spaghetti – every time chloe sees an ad for this, she talks about how bad she wants it.  done.
  5. boogie board – i think my kids are a little young for this right now, but keeping this idea in my back pocket for the next time we take a long road trip.  would be great for practicing letters, numbers, math problems or just doodling.
  6. slippers – um, they’re fuzzy mice for little feet.  i can’t.
  7. watercolors – kids.  paint.  wonder.  enough said.
  8. bean bags – these are happening this year, and i got them personalized with each of the kids’ names.  i think they’ll like that special touch, and they’ll know who each one belongs to.  maybe no fighting since they will each get one!?!  we can only hope!
  9. indoor snowballs – i feel like this could use up a lot of pent-up energy in the basement this winter.  i’m lookin’ at you, beckett – our own personal energizer bunny.
  10. apron and utensils – for the little chef!
  11. kinetic sand – my kids play with this for hours, and i just added some to their wish list to add to what we already have
  12. purse – you can probably tell that chloe is into all things sparkly at the moment.  she is three after all!

now, i’d love to hear what non-toy items are going to be under your tree this christmas!

 

 

capsule dressing – for kids

i saw a quote the other day – ‘motherhood has a very humanizing effect.  everything gets reduced to the essentials.’  meryl streep said it, and it hit so close to home for me, particularly right now.

having a third child has been amazing and has also turned our life upside-down.  now, all moments are accounted for.  there is hardly ever a time that someone isn’t needing something – snacks, shoes tied, where’s this toy, diaper change, snacks, play with me, another diaper change and more snacks.  so, as i reflect on this past year of being a family of 5, i have felt overwhelmed for the majority of it.    like, drowning.    super drowning.    so much of what happens on a daily basis is out of my control, and i am trying to react as the day unfolds – moods of kids, how well they sleep at night or nap time, etc. so i think i was craving an outlet where i could have some control.

that brings me back to the point.  reducing to the essentials – streamlining.  i have been doing my best to pare down in every way.  house tchotchkes, clothing, books, toys (some i rotate in and out), kitchen items, you name it.  i am FAR from done, but i have made a lot of progress.  now this doesn’t mean i don’t buy things.  i do, but i try to be A LOT more thoughtful about what comes into this house.  because stuff for 5 people, well, there’s a lot.

one way i’ve tried to be more conscientious is with clothing.  i started reading the blog unfancy a while back and it really resonated with me.  have you heard of a capsule wardrobe??  it’s narrowing your wardrobe down to things that flatter and fit and all work together each season.  i think it’s fascinating.  she has written a lot about it, and if you’re interested, i suggest you check her out.  weirdly, she was the photographer at the wedding of a friend of mine – before she started her blog, i think – and is so sweet in person.  it comes through in her writing, and ya just feel like you’re her bud.  …i digress….  so i’ve tried to employ some of these capsule ideas with chloe’s closet. here are a few tips that have helped me.

  • pick a color palette, and stick to it.  i chose raspberry, navy, black and white as her staples.  pretty much everything in her closet is one of these colors right now.
  • think hard about what your child wears happily.  this is all in an effort to make getting dressed EASIER.  chloe wants to wear a dress pretty much 100% of the time, so that’s really all i purchased for her this fall.  she can wear them with bare legs in early-fall and throw on some leggings or tights as the weather cools down.  she does have two pairs of jeans, but wears them probably once a month.
  • think about pieces that will play well together.  i bought chloe a few tops that we can layer under short-sleeve or sleeveless dresses, and she has a few tops and sweaters that we can layer over.  since everything is in the same color palette, it all can swap in and out, and even when she picks her clothes, it looks acceptable…for the most part. ;)
  • when you’re shopping, remember what you have already.  i used to buy things just because they were cute.  then i’d come home and feel like she had nothing to wear since none of it worked together (i used to do this for myself too!).  sound familiar?  now, i know chloe has plenty of dresses, so the only things she would need at this point would be layering pieces – a shirt with a cute collar , a vest, or possibly a skirt to go with some tops.

the has helped both of us.  i know exactly what she needs and doesn’t, and she has gotten more freedom to dress herself.  win!  so, tell me – have you experimented with a capsule wardrobe??

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a few words on style

i am an observer by nature. if you know me, you know i’m also a questioner – where are you from, how many siblings do you have, what do you do for work, do you have kids?  some people might think i’m interrogating them, but really, it comes from a genuine place of curiosity.  i’m curious about people, and what we wear is part of that picture.  i look for inspiration everywhere – from magazines to blogs to IG to…wait for it….REAL LIFE. i love to see how people have developed a style, how they turn a trend on its head or re-interpret some thing that’s been around for ages.  so, all that to say, if you are curious, i’m going to put myself out there and show you some things that are in my daily rotation.  now, let me be frank.  i am a normal person doing normal things and wearing normal clothing.  i hope that’s relevant to you – it is to me.  i will not be wearing prada or galavanting in mykonos while doing so.  on the daily, i am taking my kids to school and changing diapers and going to target and bringing kids to sports practices.  and i guess i like to feel somewhat put-together while i do all that.  you’ll see A LOT of jeans, some dresses and probably even some athleisure wear.
it took me a long time of being a stay-at-home-mom to stop buying things that don’t fit my lifestyle. i think i was living in a bit of fantasy-land, where i was still trying to reason that I would wear dressier items, but then would consistently reach around them in my closet.  i’ve finally come to terms with what my lifestyle is – casual – and i’m trying hard to work with it by giving things my own spin.
i’m doing all this with the hope that it might give you an idea or spark a bit of excitement about getting dressed in the morning (or afternoon, i’m not judging).  bear with me as I develop this piece of the blog – it’ll be a work in progress.
and, let me ask you – what would you like to see??
(this is me being pretty awkward.  things will get better, i hope.  ;) )
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jacket: found this one at tj maxx, similar from the same brand
t-shirt: old from j. crew factory, similar
jeans: old from the gap, similar
sunglasses: similar
shoes: sold out in most places, similar, similar, similar
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