If You Love Them, Leave Them

Getting away from the kids and house can do wonders for any mom’s soul.
If you need a recharge, chances are good maybe you need an escape!


If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that I recently spent a few days in sunny, colorful Palm Springs for Altitude Summit (also known as Alt), a conference for creative entrepreneurs and bloggers.  I’d been looking forward to mixing, mingling and learning from other amazing creatives at this conference for almost a year…but it was only a couple months ago that I realized I’d be 38+ weeks pregnant at the time!

I decided to take the risk and make the four hour drive with some friends (including another very pregnant blogger) and I’m so glad I did!  You all know how passionate I am about taking time for yourself as a mom and homemaker and even though this was technically a “business” trip, it was just what I needed to recharge.

Moms spend their days pouring their hearts and souls into their children’s lives and their homes, it’s only right that we take time for ourselves sometimes.  Whether that comes in the form of a weekly art class, a lunch date with friends or a weekend away with the hubs, the important thing is that we never forget to take care of ourselves first and foremost.

I’ve found that I love being productive during my alone time by working on my blog or creating something of beauty.  At Alt, I met and saw women (and a couple brave men!) who were sheer powerhouses in their businesses and creative ventures.  Stylish fashion bloggers, savvy PR and marketing managers, creative Instagram moguls, you name it!  They were all in the business of kicking butt and taking names.

Every one of these women had taken something they were passionate about and turned it into a a fulfilling career that they were pursuing regardless of all the other obligations hanging over their heads.

While I’ll always consider the time invested in my children and husband the best use of my time, I remind myself regularly that by developing my own talents, hobbies and interests, I’m becoming a better mother and wife to those I love.  And I’m confident that our eventual transition into the “empty nester” phase of life will be a lot less jarring if we’re already pursuing some of our own passions.

What do you do to make yourself feel recharged and ready to take on the tasks of motherhood?

Nursery & Toddler Room Reveal!

Get all the details on this fun gender neutral kids’ room redo…plus my unsponsored review of an online decorating service!

Bunk Beds – Wayfair (awesome quality and a GREAT deal!)|| Crib – Babyletto || Dresser – Craigslist || Rolling Cart – Ikea ||
Black Shelves – Target || Rocking Chair – Amazon ||Black & White pillows – handmade from this curtain || Curtain Rod – Wayfair ||
Pink Fleece Blanket – Wayfair (SO cozy!!) || Gold Task Lamp – Target || Hanging Pendant – Home Goods (similar) || Curtains – Wayfair || Crib Sheet – Target || White comforters – Walmart || Rug – Urban Outfitters || White Faceted Vase – Lulu & Georgia ||
White Frames – Target || Artificial Plant & stand – Target || Ribbon Mobile – Etsy || Art prints – All from this Rifle Paper Co. calendar ||
Quilt – Handmade (details here) || Clock – Target

I’ll be honest: home decor is not my strongest suit.  I know what I like, and I’m fairly picky at that, but I just can’t seem to recreate what I see on Pinterest in real life!  I’ve wanted our home to look put together for years, but since we’re on the track to moving in the next year or so, I’ve sadly stopped putting forth too much effort.

That is, until I got pregnant with this baby and we realized that we needed to do some rearranging in order to make this 4 bedroom house fit 10 bodies!  The big boys are settled and happy in our basement bedroom, while the 3 big girls share a full-twin bunk bed in their room and Mimi has her own room (perks of being a baby).

Poor Finn, however had simply been relegated to a crib mattress on the floor of the girls’ room…but let’s be honest, he ended up in our bed more often than not!  I knew that he needed to move in with Mimi, but that it needed to be a special place where he could feel grown up and important.

I also began reading reviews of Decorist late last year and thought an online decorating service sounded fantastic, especially if I could snag it on sale.  I stalked their site for Black Friday deals and grabbed a room re-do for just $150!  That was all the motivation I needed to get started.

The pre-design process was very simple and pretty fun!  I submitted measurements and pictures of the room, as well as a pinterest board full of ideas.  I also included a list of what furnishings I wanted to keep for the room (Mimi’s crib, a light fixture, basket and dresser), and submitted my (very low) budget of $1-2K.

My designer, Becky, was super nice, friendly and down to earth and assured me she could totally work with my budget.  We discussed how the room needed to be gender neutral and include a set of bunk beds so that Mimi would have a big bed to grow into.  She also created a private Pinterest board for us to collaborate on and toss ideas back and forth.  That was my favorite part!

After a few weeks, she came back with 2 initial digital designs that I then weighed in on and told her what I did and didn’t love…this was my favorite of the two! (I really wanted to go with that pink on the walls, but alas, my 3 year old boy would’ve had something to say about that.)


About 1 week later she came back with the final design, which I again tweaked just a bit.  The cool thing is that she sourced and linked to all the products she used in the design, and you can even order the products through Decorist instead of shopping all over the internet, which I did for a few things.

As you can see, I ended up doing a few things differently from the final design, due to budget & practicality’s sake, but I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.  Finn also loves his new top bunk (complete with Star Wars sheets conveniently hidden under a pretty white comforter) and he and Mimi have been getting along swimmingly in the same room!  It makes me SO happy to have at least one room that’s totally done and fun to look at.

All in all, I would definitely use Decorist and Becky again, especially at that sale price! Although I probably wouldn’t order directly through Decorist again…I found out the hard way that most items ordered through them are final sale and even if you can return something, you only have 14 days.  I didn’t love the colors of the Lulu & Georgia rug in the final design once I got it, but after we got through Christmas and I decided to return, it was too late.  Kind of a bummer to get stuck with an expensive rug I didn’t want!

*Update: Decorist did end up working with me on returning the rug –  but I still think a 2 week return window is crazy short!

So, what do you guys think of the final product?  Have you ever considered using an online designer?

Check out this collection of amazing boy-friendly rooms (including my design) to see more darling ideas!

DIY Girl’s Leotard

Make your little girl her own unique leotard, and save a ton of money while you’re at it, with this free pattern & tutorial!


I’m so excited about today’s DIY because it’s so cute, fun and functional!  My girls LOVE leotards, whether they’re jumping on the trampoline, doing gymnastics & dance classes or just dressing up.  The only problem is, if you want anything other than plain black, they’re ridiculously expensive!

After making swimsuits for the girls last year, I decided it couldn’t be all that hard to make my own leotards.  And turns out, it isn’t!  Really!  The best part is that you can give your little girl as much coverage as you’d like.
Read on for the full tutorial and free pattern!

NOTE: the pattern fits about a size 6, but scaling it up or down is not too difficult.  It’s designed for a little girl with a crotch-shoulder measurement of about 36″ (loop a measuring tape from one shoulder, down your model’s front, between her legs and up the back to the same shoulder).  You’ll just need to add or subtract inches from the center of the leotard in order to go up or down a few sizes.

If going up or down more than 2 sizes, you’ll also need to add/subtract a bit of length in the shoulder straps.  Performance fabric is super stretchy though, so it’s very forgiving!  You might try laying a swimsuit that fits your little girl on top of the pattern and seeing where you need to make adjustments.

You’ll need:

*Printed copy of the free pattern (download here – make sure your printer’s set to “do not scale” or “print at 100%” before printing! Overlap short edge of each page with the next without trimming & tape together)
*1/2 – 1 yard of performance lycra or spandex blend (i.e. swimsuit fabric) My favorite source for cute prints is The Fabric Fairy!
*1.5 – 2 yards clear elastic (like this kind)
*coordinating thread

STEP 1: Cut out the paper pattern and decide whether you want to do any color blocking or stripes.  For Kira’s leotard here, I  decided I wanted two diagonal stripes (black and pink) running across the front.  I drew the stripes where I wanted them on the pattern, then cut out a center panel of the pattern piece.

I cut out the top and bottom of the leotard front out of the floral fabric, and then used the center strips I cut out from the pattern to cut black and pink strips.  NOTE: you’ll always need to add a seam allowance (I used 1 cm) where you’ll be sewing these pieces together.  For example, I added an extra 1 cm to the top and bottom of both the pink and black stripes before cutting and sewing them to each other and then to the top and bottom floral pieces.

Also cut 1 leotard back and 1 gusset out of matching or coordinating fabric.

STEP 2: Sew front and back pieces, right sides together, along the shoulders and side seams, leaving the crotch unsewn for now.

STEP 3:  Sew gusset to inside front of leotard (wrong sides together), matching up one short end of gusset with raw edge of leotard front.  Sew along this short edge and both sides of gusset (leaving the other short end loose).  Then match up the leotard back and front crotch and sew, right sides together.

STEP 4: Here comes the only tricky part! Measure your model around her shoulders and upper thigh, where you want the edge of the leotard to sit.  Keep the measuring tape taut, but not too tight.  Then cut a piece of elastic about 2 cm SHORTER than this measurement, for all 4 openings (2 arms and 2 legs).  Do the same for the neckline, for a total of 5 pieces of elastic. Be sure to not mix them up!

STEP 5: Stitch the elastic to the edge of each opening using a zig zag stitch, stretching slightly as you go so that the elastic fits the opening.  I overlap it a teensy bit where the elastic edges meet.  (This is a good time to try leotard on your model and adjust opening if necessary!)
Then fold the raw edge under to hide the elastic and topstitch close to the fold, again using a zig zag stitch.  Repeat for all openings.

**If you have trouble getting any of the openings to fit correctly, you can also try basting the elastic in place and then trying it on your little one.  After you do it a couple times you’ll get the hang of it!

Voila!  Aren’t you so proud of your mad skills??  Now go whip up 3 more and make all the little girls in your life squeal with joy! (and save yourselve oodles of dough.)

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The Magic of Black



Dress (worn as top): Socialite on sale! (similar) || Faux-Leather Jacket: Topshop || Leggings: Zella ( and these are my maternity favorites) || Booties: BP Faren (I wear these every day!!) || Necklace: Anthropologie || Sunglasses: Duduma (in pink)

This last month of pregnancy is hitting me hard lately and it’s a rare day that I don’t plop on the couch for an hour or so to just chill.  I don’t know if  it’s the chaos of all the other kids, Mimi getting into a naughty stage (that kid is into everything!) or just my “advanced maternal age” 🙂 but I’m pooped!

I did manage to get off the couch to share this look with you because it’s made up of my maternity faves!  Now that I’m as big as a house, only a handful of items are comfy enough to qualify for space in my closet and leggings and tunics continue to make the cut. Notice the abundance of black in this otherwise color-loving mama’s wardrobe.  There just ain’t another color that minimizes a belly (and hips, and thighs, etc) like black!

But my latest faves are this jacket and these booties.  The jacket caught my eye a while ago and I couldn’t get it out of my head.  I bought it right after Christmas and wear it multiple times a week – it’s so cute and warm!  I’m usually a medium (without the huge belly) and bought a size 8, for reference.

The booties are the result of literally months and months of looking for and trying on shoes.  I’ve been looking for a great pair of low heeled, black booties since last winter and can’t tell you how many pairs I tried on.  These fit all the criteria: low enough to wear with long pants, interesting cut-out and mesh detail, low heel and super comfy!  Bonus: they can be slipped on and off without bending over.  Score!

My other top three bootie contenders were the Caslon Tara, the BP Tripp and the Sam Edelman Petty Chelsea.  I seriously could’ve been happy with any of these, but the BP Faren were/are perfection!

Healthy Make-Ahead Breakfast Ideas

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SameSilkySmoothTaste #CollectiveBias

Busy moms rejoice!  Check out these 4 make-ahead healthy breakfast ideas that your kids will love.

Hey all!  Life just keeps getting crazier and crazier up in here as we’re heading into the last month of this pregnancy.  Lots to do and get ready and not enough time or energy to do it all! (Seriously, someone please just come get me off the couch.)

In my effort to eat better this new year, I’ve put together a list of my 4 favorite quick and healthy breakfast ideas; they also happen to be approved by kids!  These are easy to make ahead of time and inhale in a flash or while running out the door.

NOTE: These are all dairy-free which means they’re perfect for any of you who struggle with an allergy or intolerance or who are trying to eat a more plant-based diet.  Liam’s still avoiding lactose due to his chronic stomach pain so these work perfectly for us!

Silk Almondmilk is one of my favorite substitutes for dairy milk since it has no cholesterol or saturated fat and the kids love it.  I was also excited to see Silk’s non-dairy creamers – the perfect plant-based alternative for your coffee or my personal fave: hot cocoa!  You can find all of Silk’s non-dairy products at Walmart in the refrigerated dairy cases.  Look for the new packaging coming out this month!

  1.  Homemade granola
    This is one of my all-time favorite breakfasts!  I make this granola (or a similar version) every other week and store it in an airtight container.  My favorite way to eat it is like cereal with Silk Almondmilk and sliced bananas or strawberries on top.
  2. Overnight Oats
    This is one of my healthy eating secret weapons!  I love oatmeal but don’t always have the time or inclination to make a whole pot of it. Instead, I mix the following in a glass or bowl the night before and then store it in the fridge:
    1/3 c rolled oats
    1/3-1/2 Silk non-dairy yogurt
    1 Tbs chia seeds
    1/2 banana (mashed or sliced)
    sprinkling of cinnamon
    pinch of saltIn the morning I give it another stir and then add any other toppings like nuts, nut butters, fruit and a bit of pure maple syrup or honey.  (This recipe feeds one hungry mom but can easily be multiplied to feed the whole family.)
  3. Sweet Potato & Chorizo Hash
    While this breakfast takes a little longer to make, I love making a huge pan of it for dinner or on a Saturday morning and then storing the leftovers for whenever I need something a little heartier during the week.  It’s been a breakfast obsession of mine this pregnancy!4-5 large sweet potatoes
    1 lb good quality chorizo (or other sausage)
    4-6 eggs (depending on how many people you’re serving)

    Chop sweet potatoes into 1-inch pieces (you can peel them ahead of time but it’s not necessary) and spread them over a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and a couple tablespoons of liquid coconut oil and roast at 400 degrees until soft (about 20-25 min).  Meanwhile, fry chorizo on the stove, stirring and scraping the pan until cooked through and caramelized.  Add sweet potatoes to chorizo and stir to combine.  Crack eggs over the hash and cook until whites are firm.  You can also season with rosemary and other spices.


  4. Protein Smoothie
    Green smoothies are THE best on-the-go breakfast or snack.  We often make them ahead of time or store leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days; I store them in quart-sized mason jars and screw on these plastic lids.  Shake well before drinking and it’s just as good as the first day!  Below is the recipe for one of my favorites…

    Blend the following in a blender for 1 minute:
    3-4 c Coconut water, Silk non-dairy milk or plain filtered water
    2-3 c spinach, kale or other leafy green
    1 c raw almonds (even better if they’ve been soaked overnight)Then add:
    1 c strawberries
    1 ripe banana
    1/2 c mango
    1/2 c pineapple

    Blend again for about 90 seconds, until smooth.  This makes a TON of smoothie and completely fills my big blender, so you might have to scale down if you have a smaller one 🙂  We often add flaxseed, chia seeds or hemp seeds on top for added nutrition.  YUM!  Let me know if you try any of these or if you have go-to healthy breakfast faves at your house that I need to know about!

Family Pictures and Milestones

Check out our most recent family pictures!

 

Hurray for family pictures!  I’m thrilled to finally post all these…my sweet photographer Breanne had a baby right after shooting these and then Christmas and New Year’s so bless her heart for all the editing she’s been catching up on!

I love them all more than words can express and I hope you enjoy them at least a little 🙂

Liam is 11 this year and just the most delightful preteen around.  I seriously had no idea the older kid years would be so stinking much fun.  He has a hilarious sense of humor, is super intelligent and the BEST helper I could ask for.  He thinks nothing of jumping up every time I ask for something and is a fantastic big brother.  I can’t wait to see him as a teen!

Toby is 9 and the class clown of our homeschool – haha.  He is always happy and joking and LOVES little babies…he’s always hanging around Mimi and helping her.  Even at age 4 he loved holding the newborn twins so seeing him all grown up with a newborn (next month!) will be a lot of fun.  It took a while to convince him that reading can be as much fun as jumping on the trampoline but I love seeing him enjoy it now.

Juliet is bubbly, outgoing and can talk your ear off about anything…in other words, a pretty typical 7 year old girl.  She gets so excited about EVERYTHING so it’s kinda hard to keep a straight face when she’s talking to you.  Her latest obsessions are reading (Boxcar Children and Ramona Quimby books), her giant stuffed bear, riding her bike and gymnastics.

Vivan (aka the curly-haired twin) is a boisterous, opinionated and darling 5 year old.  She and Kira are THRILLED to be attending school one day a week and she doesn’t seem the least bit bothered by the fact that she can’t really write anything yet 🙂  Her personality is maddening on bad days and spunky on the good – I couldn’t love it more.

Kira is the most delightful little 5 year old lately!  She’s easy to please, quick to laugh and always obedient.  Kira worships her big sister Juliet and wants to copy everything about her, including her love of fashion, makeup and high heels.  We’re excited to see her get really close to reading independently too!

Finn is your typical, mischevious 3 year old, with a side of sweetness.  I’m really looking forward to seeing him with a new baby…he’s finally learning how to be tender and careful with little ones!  He and Mimi are developing a super cute little friendship as well, now that they share a bedroom (and when Finn’s not teaching her how to lose at sword fighting).  I’m thrilled that potty training has finally taken hold and his obsession with Star Wars knows no bounds!

Mimi (short for Marilyn) has been THE best baby on the planet!  Which just means that I hardly know what to do with the recent toddler curiosity that keeps her emptying 13 cabinets a day.  She is chubby and happy and a super great sleeper…in other words, a gateway baby to the next one! She’s also a girly girl to the extreme, in love with purses and shoes and trying on every lipgloss I own.

The love and adoration I have for this man is neverending.  Luke is the funniest, calmest, most loving man I know and I have never once seen him actually get angry in the 13 years we’ve known each other.  It takes a special guy to be willing to have a whole bunch of kids AND work hard enough to feed and keep them all in clothes, and I’m grateful for him every day.

Check out this post to see how I choose coordinating outfits for all these hooligans!

And these tips will help you succeed at family pictures every time.

Top 5 Maternity Essentials

Overwhelmed by all the pregnancy changes your body’s going through?  
Get a headstart on a great maternity wardrobe with these 5 fashion essentials!

I’m a HUGE fan of changes, goals and fresh starts so the new year is one of my favorite times!

I also love making lists for everything and fashion is no exception.  I find that I shop much more intentionally and purposefully when I know exactly what my closet needs and what I should look for.

Today I’ve got a list of my 5 favorite maternity fashion essentials to keep you covered and comfortable for the entire 9 months.  Pregnancy is a great time to experiment with a capsule wardrobe because it can be more difficult to find things that fit, and because you only have to dress your cute bump for less than a year!


  1.  Leggings: Find yourself 2-3 pairs of comfy, stretchy leggings and they’ll be wardrobe staples until (and after!) your sweet baby is born.  My favorite non-maternity versions  are the BP leggings pictured here (available in 3 colors) as well as this pair of black Zella leggings.  I’m absolutely in love with these Ingrid & Isabel maternity ones…I want to live in them!  The great thing about leggings is that you can often wear non-maternity versions and they’re great for pairing with your non-maternity tunics and dresses as well.

  2. Knit Dresses:
    If you find yourself pregnant during the warmer months of the year or live in a temperate climate, knit dresses will be your best friend!  They’re stretchy, flattering and you just can’t beat one step dressing.  This lace up Topshop dress is on regular rotation over here and here’s a link to lots more maternity options.  If you’re concerned about camouflaging lumps and bumps, read on for my last maternity essential. 
  3. High Quality Maternity Denim:
    It can be hard to justify spending a chunk of change on pants that you’ll only wear for 9 months but hear me out!  If there’s one time in your life you want clothes to fit well and be comfortable, pregnancy is the time.  Premium denim (like these amazing Madewell jeans) will give you a better fit and do a much better job of stretching with you during your 9 month adventure.And if you’re planning on having any more children, you’ll wear a great pair of jeans into the ground.

    Finally, a good stretchy waistband will be worth its weight in gold in the 4th trimester when your waistline is nowhere in sight but you still want to look and feel good.  

  4. Lightweight outerwear:
    Long cardigans and vests are my secret weapon this pregnancy!  They help stretch a capsule wardrobe by adding a cute layering option to just about any outfit and they cover any squishy bits around your hips or bottom.  The black cardigan pictured above is a ridiculously comfortable fleece version – I wear it almost every day (plus it’s on sale!).
  5. Knit Pencil Skirts:
    Again, knit anything is key during pregnancy.  I love any excuse to look a little bit nicer when hauling around a big baby bump and elastic waistbands are the only way to go.  I’ve never worn maternity versions, I usually just size up skirts like these for pregnancy.If I had to add one more important essential it would be over-the-belly underwear!  (You can thank me later for not taking a picture of this one for you).  I know they look and even feel kinda silly, but they are THE best way to keep any lumps and bumps all smoothed out.  I never wear a fitted dress in pregnancy without these!
    Good luck shopping for this exciting time in your life; embrace your changing shape and enjoy growing your little munchkin!

How to Hem your own pants – new video!

Never miss out on the perfect pair of pants again – just because they’re too long!

Hey all!

I’m SO happy to post my first DIY video for you today…  It’s the perfect tutorial for the beginning sewer: how to hem pants!

If you’re under about 6 feet tall, then chances are good you’ve found at least one pair of pants you love that are too long for you.  Well, no more, my friends!  Save your alteration money and put that dusty machine to good use by hemming your own.

The video also includes instructions for hemming stretchy pants like leggings, as well as creating an invisible hem on nicer slacks like suit pants.  Enjoy!


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Mom Goals for the New Year

Becoming a better mom is always one of my goals…give your kids this free survey to see how they think you’re doing!

Happy New Year!

I just love new beginnings and fresh starts…plus buying pretty new planners doesn’t hurt things either!

Since lots of my new goals this year have to do with being a better mom, I started thinking about what exactly that means.  Although I have my own ideas of how to measure my “success” as a mom, this year I want to focus on being the mom my kids need and want me to be.

Now if I gave them the option, I’m sure they’d tell me that a GOOD mom would feed them candy for breakfast and let them watch TV all day long.  So instead, I’ve created a simple little 10 question survey to get some specific ideas of what my kids think I can improve upon this year.

I’m hoping that this ends up being a fun little activity you can do with your kids to get a little insight into how their cute minds work.  I DON’T want it to end up being just a guilt-inducing exercise!  We all know we’re not perfect, but most of the time our kids think we’re pretty great.

You can download the survey HERE.

Feel free to print off copies or just have a little one on one chat with each kid and jot down their answers.

Have a great start to 2017 and I’d love to hear what cute, funny things your kids come up with!

DIY Sequined Party Dress

Make the perfect party dress with this simple tutorial.  You can make it maternity-friendly or not!


Sequined fabric from Joann Fabrics (in store) || Heels: Sam Edelman (on sale!)

I don’t get to go to a lot of fancy parties…but when I do, I’m always scrambling last minute to find something dressy, flattering and not too skanky to wear!

If you’re panicking about New Year’s Eve (tomorrow!), it’s not too late to whip up the perfect party dress.  This sequined number is super easy and can be made to cover as much or as little as you want!

As you can see, I don’t mind covering a 7 month pregnant belly in sequins thereby resembling a giant disco ball, …but obviously this dress can also be made more fitted for a non-maternity version.

Read on for the full tutorial!

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