Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Life has been so good, and sweet, and busy around here lately. Chris has been on a break from school and we are working hard to get a lot of house projects checked off the list. Last week, we laid sod down in the front and side yards, where previously big black tarps had covered the dirt. We've got bricks outlining future flower beds and it's all starting to feel much more inviting. 

And hopefully by the end of the week, we'll have a beautiful patio in the backyard. We've never laid a patio before, but Chris has been doing a lot of research, so hopefully we don't goof it up too badly. (I say we, but let's be honest, Chris is doing the back-breaking work, while I just make sure Silas doesn't eat gravel.) I think we'll spend the rest of the summer out there-- under the twinkle lights, in front of the firepit, munching on burgers and Reeses s'mores. 

Chris' parents stopped by this weekend for a quick visit and they left us with a big box of wooden blocks that Silas immediately fell in love with. The sound of towers crashing down has been almost constant this week. I've been making really elaborate towers, only to have that little boy take a gleeful swipe at them before I place the last block. Rule #1 when playing with blocks-- don't get too attached to your towers. 

On Sunday, we bit the bullet and bought tickets to Hawaii for the holidays. I'm starting to get giddy thinking about visiting our favorite spots and smelling that sweet, familiar air again. Where we spent in airfare, I saved on these gorgeous high-waisted bikini bottoms. $4.50 instead of $50? Sure, I'll take that. I told you I was starting to get attached to the high-waisted trend. Good luck finding me in overalls though-- one trend that you'll never see me wearing on this blog. 

Well, the coffee pot is gurgling and I think it's calling my name. That's what's going on around here this week. What about you?

Linking up with Blair's Life Lately linkup! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

shop update:: new art prints!

Good morning! I'm slowly rubbing the sleep out of my eyes as sunlight filters through the studio window behind me. I love early mornings where I get to sneak up here before Silas wakes up. But I think it's going to be a rough one considering we're out of coffee. (Yes, that's how I measure how a day will be-- by the quantity and quality of coffee I get to sip on. Somehow over the past six months, I've evolved ((devolved?)) a coffee fiend.) Not sure how we let that 'little' detail slip through the grocery list, but I think I hear Chris downstairs using our mortar and pestle to grind up some whole coffee beans we found in the back of the cabinet. Desperate times, ya know. 

Anyway, I wanted to share three new prints that are hitting the shop today. A new series, actually! I'm calling it my 'Happy Place' series-- betcha didn't see that title coming. The first three that are hitting the shop today are 'the kitchen', 'the garden' and 'the art studio'. More will be debuting over the next few months and I'd love to hear what your happy place is! 

I love how they turned out and I hope they make you smile too. The garden print was particularly fun to create, as it was inspired by my mama. You should see her garden-- big bright blooms and lush greens. I carried one of her peonies in my bouquet at my wedding and whenever I walk through our neighborhood with gardens spilling onto the sidewalks, I think of her. The color palette of the print (blues and purples) as well as the gardenia on the right hand side are for her --her favorites. Love you Mom! 

You should also know that I'm in the process of phasing out my prints on canvas. While I love the texture of the canvas, I prefer the stiffness of the paper I'm using now. The paper allows you to display your print without a frame-- on a bulldog clip, taped to the wall with washi tape, etc. and it's less likely to curl up on you. So, if you are a fan of the canvas prints, I'd suggest clicking over and quickly scooping one or two up before they are long gone! 

And one more thing-- prints are now available in 5x7 sizes as well as 8x10! I love this new size- it's (dare I say) so cute! You can choose between the 8x10 and 5x7 sizes in the drop-down menu on each print listing. 

Happy weekend! 

PS. Just as I finished typing this, Chris walked up the stairs with a steaming cup of coffee in hand. Hand-ground beans and the perfect amount of toffee almond creamer-- if that's not love, I don't know what is. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

daisy faye designs review and giveaway!

After spending a good five minutes rifling through my purse/diaper bag yesterday for my keys, I took an inventory and here are the contents-- two diapers, one wipes case, a chain of about 30 multi-colored links, one mini rubber ducky, three lipsticks, 42 stale cheerios, one pacifier, two baby spoons and my wallet.

This, my friends, is why I love the idea of a date night clutch. No shaking your purse out over the trashcan to get the Cheerio dust out. Just toss in some lipstick, your ID (for that yummy date-night martini), and you're ready to go. I love this colorful foldover clutch from Daisy Faye Designs. How perfect is this fabric??  It's roomy enough so I can toss in my wallet and phone, but small enough to just tuck it under my arm.

lace headband:: {forever21}
tee:: {jcrew factory}
skinnies:: {american eagle}
flats:: {c/o lulus}
foldover clutch:: {c/o daisy faye designs}

Kim is the designer and creator behind Daisy Faye Designs and she's a girl after my own heart. Just look at all the color in her shop! Kim makes really sweet accessories for mamas and babies, including clutches, zippered pouches, appliqued onesies and burp cloths. I recently bought a black and cream tribal print infinity scarf from her shop and I can't wait to wear it this fall! 

I get to host a fun giveaway for you today where three winners will each receive a zippered pouch in this gorgeous coral and turquoise ikat fabric! This pouch is perfect to use in your diaper bag as catch-all for your lipsticks, phone and keys. Use the Rafflecopter widgit below to visit Kim's sites and enter the giveaway. Each entry is optional and will enter you once into the giveaway. If you want four entries, just complete each option! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PS. Kim is having a 40% flash sale today ONLY! Enter the code FLASH40 to get 40% off everything in the shop! Perfect to snag an infinity scarf for this fall, or a foldover clutch just like mine!

Link love 

 Visit Kim and get to her better through these links below! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I painted our IKEA bed frame and lived to blog about it.

Before Chris and I got married and moved to Hawaii, we bought all of our furniture (I mean ALL of our furniture) at IKEA. I loved it for a little while, and then grew tired of living in an IKEA showroom. Don't get me wrong- I'm a huge IKEA fan and still go ga-ga when I get a chance to stroll through. But I was dying to mix in some furniture with more character.

We're in a position now where we can start replacing some of our 'newlywed' furniture with 'grown-up' furniture, but for some pieces, it doesn't make sense to replace them. Our bed frame is in perfect condition and while I might not choose the style now, it still works really well for us. (Actually, it's not even functional, since we had to buy a separate stand alone split-boxspring when our original one wouldn't fit up our stairs. So, the IKEA bed frame is just fer looks.)

You may think I'm crazy for having the notion to give a fresh coat of color to our black HEMNES bed frame, but thankfully, Chris was all for it. Surprisingly, he gives the thumbs up on most of my silly ideas. He's pretty awesome like that.

Our bed frame is now a gorgeous shade of yellow-- Twenty Carat by Behr, if you're wondering-- and it took me a few weeks before I quit squealing every time I walked into our bedroom. The cheery color gives life to the room-- especially when we haven't had a chance to hang any art or buy fresh throw pillows yet. 

If you are looking for a detailed step-by-step on painting furniture, John and Sherry over at Young House Love are great experts at that. Get a full tutorial on general furniture painting here. I'll just share some tips below on specific things that helped me get a beautiful glossy and even finish on the bedframe. 

1. Gripper is heaven- sent. This is a big one, friends.  Glidden's Gripper is a heavy-duty latex primer that will make your paint stick to anything-- even slippery IKEA surfaces. This stuff is awesome. I did two coats, but wish I had done more-- just for the color coverage. It took me about six coats of yellow and if I had done one more of primer, I bet it would have covered the black better.  I didn't even sand before priming-- just brushed it on and let it dry. 

2. Thin, even coats are your friend. It's really easy to get overzealous and glob it on. Towards the end, (after 6 coats!) I was getting really anxious to finish up and there are a few drips here and there where I used way too much paint on my brush. It's tempting to think that more paint = less coats, but your paint job will just end up looking sloppy and may not dry properly if the paint is too thick. 

3. Go cheap-- foam brushes all the way! I have done a few projects in the past with fancy $12 brushes-- humungo mistake. You can spend $5 and get a whole bag of foam brushes in all different sizes. They work beautifully for getting a smooth coat and they rinse out so easily. I used a small 1" brush for the small edges and the rails on the headboard. For the rest of the bed, I used 3-4" brushes. 

4. Finish with a little gloss. After using an Interior Satin Enamel paint for my main coats, I put on two coats of Rust-oleum's Polyurethane in gloss finish to seal it and add a little shine. I'm so impressed with how it has held up to Silas banging his toys on the headboard and climbing all over it. I haven't seen a scratch yet. It also didn't dry sticky or tacky at all and the poly didn't affect the color. The finish is exactly what I hoped for!

5. Don't rush it. It's tempting to rush through it, but take your time between coats and before using your furniture. If the paint hasn't had time to cure and you set a glass down on it or it gets bumped, you may have a permanent dent. I spent about a week on the frame, spacing out the coats over a few days.

I'm thrilled with how the bed frame turned out and so happy I took the chance when it could have been a disaster. Beware dressers and chairs-- I'm coming for you next. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

three reasons to try the knotted tee trend.

maxi dress:: {forever 21}
watch:: {c/o feral watches}
flats:: {c/o blowfish shoes}
earrings:: {lisa leonard}

I dunno what's up with the knotted tee trend resurfacing, but does anyone else feel like they need some scrunchies on their wrists and a side ponytail? Regardless of my childhood flashbacks, I love that this trend has made a comeback because my tees are seeing a lot more action lately. A few of you have asked for a post on the knotted tee. I promise you, it's not rocket science and you can pull it off too. Below are three reasons you should try the knotted tee trend.

Give a baggy tee new life. Some of my favorite graphic tees are ones that I picked up in Hawaii. They mean a lot to me and hold some sweet memories but I honestly feel like a bit of a slob when I just toss a t-shirt on over denim shorts. Great for spending the day chasing Silas around, but not so cute for a day in town or headed to church. A baggy tee (even your hubby's!) can be made to look chic and fitted with a simple knot. Try wearing it with high waisted jeans or shorts! Suddenly your old tee is ready for church, a day out sight-seeing, or even a date night.

Re-imagine dresses (and rompers and jumpsuits too!). You know I'm all about re-imagining your wardrobe. And I know that you have a dress that's sitting in your closet long forgotten. Toss a knotted tee over it and suddenly you have brand new outfit options. The dress I'm wearing above has a neckline that is a bit X-rated, so the knotted tee is its saving grace. Dresses work great for the knotted trend because you don't have to constantly tug at your shirt or worry that it's suddenly become a cropped top with your bare belly saying hello to the world. I think this would also be a great way to re-imagine jumpers and rompers, but I haven't been brave enough to jump on that bandwagon yet.

Disguise that pooch. I've still got some leftover baby belly going on and a tee flat against my tummy just doesn't do it for me these days. But add in a knot and some strategic placement and all the sudden, the ruching and knotting distract from the pudge. (Until I pig out at the church potluck, like I did this weekend. Mmmm, brownies.) You can make your shirt as fitted or loose as you feel comfortable.

Just a few more points--

Be careful with the tees you choose to knot-- this will most likely stretch them out at least a little bit. That's why I like to stick with older tees!

Button down shirts are also great for this! Leave the bottom buttons undone and knot the hanging ends together.

Check out how my buddy, Mo, used the knotted tee to accentuate her adorable baby bump! 

Here's a great video tutorial on how to actually tie a tee knot-- I love the hair tie tip!

So there ya go. Just a few reasons that the knotted tee gets a big thumbs up from me!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

celebrating a year.

I promise this will be the last post about Silas' birthday. It's been an overwhelming theme in my head this past week -- my baby is turning one, my baby is turning one! It was a perfectly relaxed day-- waffles for breakfast, beach in the afternoon, and of course, a smash cake and a few presents. Chris and I even got to sneak off for a 'survival celebration' date night (thanks Mom and Dad!) , and I may have eaten several pounds of butter at the French restaurant we found.

I hope I look back at this post in the future when I'm debating whether or not to throw a party. Of all my siblings, my mom calls me her 'party girl.' Any excuse to celebrate. But I think that the blogging world has made me highly sensitive to things like the amount of stripey straws on the table, the Instagram-ability of the favors and so forth. Not everything needs to be a production. Instead of worrying about getting the right pictures for the blog, I was really able to celebrate the past year with Silas and gosh, that was refreshing.

Oh, and the little man took his first TWO steps yesterday! In the middle of a raging temper tantrum, he got enough fire in his belly to walk towards me. Lots of whooping and hollering and cracking up at his poor little angry self. We love you, Silas Kai!

Monday, August 12, 2013

cannoli belly.

earrings:: {lisa leonard}
top:: {nordstrom rack}
skirt:: {american eagle}
booties:: {c/o blowfish shoes}

Last Friday, we walked every square inch of the city of Boston. Ok, maybe not quite, but that's what my legs were convinced of this weekend. We actually did most of the Freedom Trail with my parents. I think the best part of walking the city is studying the details of all the impressive architecture.  It's seriously one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen. We are loving Boston and all the richness of living here.  Speaking of richness, cannolis aren't an official stop on the trail, but we made a detour anyway. Anything for a cannoli (and you thought my flowy top was just an afterthought!) 

I know I've worn this skirt more than a couple times lately, but it's become a staple. The perfect piece when I don't want to wear shorts but a dressy skirt is a little too much. I've styled it here and here recently. 

PS. I've got a few new sponsors over there on the left! They have some really beautiful products to offer -- check them out! 

PPS. Thank you for all the sweet birthday wishes for Silas. We had an almost perfect day on Saturday and I'll definitely be sharing a few pictures later this week. Can't believe I'm a mom to a one-year old. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

happy birthday, baby boy!

I know that there aren't many people that really care about Silas' birthday like I do. Chris even has rolled his eyes a few times as I've exclaimed lots of mushy sentiments this week. But it's been a big year. Tomorrow's celebration will be just as much about celebrating this little boy as it is a big 'hoorah!' to surviving the first year of motherhood. This past year has brought more joy to my life and has taught me more than any other year in my life thus far. I've learned to let things go when it just doesn't matter, to trust my instincts, to care for a human being and love deeper than I thought was possible. This first year of mamahood has seen countless tears (mine and Silas'), many triumphs (he's finally sleeping through the night!) and lessons about not comparing myself and leaning on God's strength. I've struggled through in finding my identity as a mama, wife and artist, and I've discovered the sheer joy of open mouth baby kisses and watching my son (my son!) learn about the world around him. 

Right now I'm just thankful to have my feet up and a steaming mug of coffee in my hand instead of enduring 30 hours of labor like last year at this time! Tomorrow Silas turns one and we're going to spend the day at the beach, eating all the blueberries in the world, and there might even be a confetti cake in there somewhere too. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

good words from winnie the pooh.

"As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen." -Winnie the Pooh

I'm a bit in denial that Silas is turning one year old in two days. I've loved this quote since before he was born and I can still remember seeing that little gummy bear wiggling around on the screen in our doctor's office when we had our first ultrasound. Now he's clapping and giggling and crawling everywhere and has the brightest, most passionate little personality. Can't wait for the years of adventures to come with this kiddo. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

si's first hike.

Last night, we took Silas on his first hike. It's been a long time since we laced up our shoes and headed out for a hike and this one was far more relaxed than our usual adventures. But as soon as we stepped into the woods and inhaled that first breath of fresh forest air, Chris and I both know we had missed hitting the trail more than we had even thought. We tried out our consigned hiking backpack for the first time and Si loved it. You should have seen him drinking it all in, staring at the leafy trees and watching the ground move beneath his dangling toes. Watching him enjoying his first hike so much made it all the more exciting for us. Before we even walked ten feet on the trail, we spotted three deer, including one fawn. Later on, Chris found the most beautiful blue jay feather lying on the ground and when I saw those tiny yellow flowers, I couldn't believe they were actually itty bitty snapdragons-- moving parts and all! It was a really sweet time with my little family and the Hawaiian pizza we all scarfed down afterwards was just icing on the cake. Before we even walked ten feet on the trail, we spotted three deer, including one fawn. Later on, Chris found the most beautiful blue jay feather lying on the ground and when I saw those tiny yellow flowers, I couldn't believe they were actually itty bitty snapdragons-- moving parts and all! It was a really sweet time with my little family and the Hawaiian pizza we all scarfed down afterwards was just icing on the cake. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

jumping on board.

top:: {navy exchange}
shorts:: {c/o lulus}
flats:: {c/o lulus}

So, what's the verdict on high-waisted apparel? At first all I could think about was granny panties... but now I think I'm totally on board. Since I got these shorts in the mail from Lulus, I've been wearing them pretty much non-stop, so I think I may be drinking the high-waisted trend juice. And it tastes good. There is something so flattering (even on a post-baby belly!) and even elegant about them. This outfit is ridiculously simple, yet it felt much more put together than just my regular shorts and tank. 

I have my eye on a few pairs of high-waisted bikini bottoms on ASOS, but have yet to bite the bullet. It's probably my indecisiveness-- polka dot, floral or solid with ruching?? We're headed back to Hawaii over Christmas (!!!), so a bright floral might be the winner.  

What do you think-- big fat no, or are you ready to jump on board too?  

Friday, August 2, 2013


The rain is dripping off the eaves of our house and a cool breeze is coming in through the windows. I'm sitting in my favorite chair in the house and listening to Chris making breakfast before he heads off to school.

Upstairs, four kiddos, my brother and sister-in-law are just waking up. They'll be staying with us for the weekend and I'm hoping the rain clears so we can go into the city for some cannolis and sight-seeing. We've spent the week getting the house ready for guests (my parents come in a few days after my brother's family leaves). I was pretty much just excited for the excuse to buy some more sunflowers. They make me think of my time spent doing missions in Romania and the beautiful people that I grew to love there. 

My left big toe is aching and I think I may have broken it just a little yesterday. Or maybe just a bad bruise. I tend to be dramatic with these kinds of things. Chris and I were putting together our now yellow bed frame and one of the side-rails dropped on my toe. Ouch. Worth it though. I smile every time I walk into our room and see that big 'ol yellow bed. (More details on that next week!) One more project down, countless more on my list.

Chris rolls his eyes every time I say this, but I cannot believe that August is here and my baby is a week away from turning one. It just blows my mind and I might be shaking my head in disbelief for a few weeks. Wasn't he an itty-bitty baby just a few days ago?! We don't have any plans for a big party-- just a day enjoying our boy and spending some time with my parents. I'm sure we'll have some cake too, of course.

happy weekend, friends!