September 20, 2014

Saturday Shopping | Anthro Day

Today is Anthro Day you get to take 15% everything with code: FALLPERK.  I've rounded up a few of my fall favorites below.  Dang I wish it all would hop in my closet.  Of course, it's always a good time to stock up on one of my favorite scented candles as well.

One of my favorite fall outfits is skinny jeans with boots and a simple but pretty top.  I've already got my favorite jeans and a new pair of boots ready to roll for fall.  Those are staples I'm willing to spend a bit more on for fit and quality.  I've been saving for those boots for a while to replace a less expensive pair that wore out.  I'm really excited about them!  I know I will wear them a bajillion times.  I've been focusing on more polished casual clothes the past few years and am wanting to pick up a new top or two for Saturdays.  Football games and fall festivals and going to the winery at the cabin are the perfect time to step it up just a bit from my normal plaid button downs.  I seriously want every single one of these tops. 

I'm starting to notice that I'm lacking in dressier clothes.  Between work and a few weddings on the horizon I'm starting to taking a deeper look at what's out there.  In addition to the pretties below, I'm also really in love with this striped dress.  I have absolutely no where to wear it.  I just can't justify it, but boy is it pretty!

*Affiliate links used.  Please see the sidebar for more information.

September 19, 2014

Grateful Heart

In this online world of show and tell it's easy to get caught up in a climate of consumerism.  Buy this, wear that, wishes, wants, etc.  But I don't think that really tells the story that so many of us are living.  It's more fun to talk about pretty pillows and new shoes.  As I learned the hard way, old clothes gives people the sads just as quickly as seeing someone else in new.  You really can't win.  But there are so many behind the scenes parts of all of us that are comprised of so much good that have nothing to do with stuff.  So many blessings counted.  But to be honest, sometimes it's really annoying to read someone's list of #blessed.  Let's face it we all have first world problems around here and our list of what we're thankful for can sometimes read just as bad.  Like making a list and adding the first two items just to have some thing to check off.  Look at me, look how good I was this week.  It's judged just as quickly as a list of what you bought or where you went.  We are all so quick to judge how we spend our time as quickly as our money.  And more often than not, we are the ones judging ourselves the most.  Was I enough this week?  Why didn't I accomplish more.  Wasted time.

I'm sure many would find my days to be pretty boring.  Some days I'm bored.  Some days I pray for some easy boringness.  And you know what, I am so thankful for that.  I am really embracing the ordinary of my life.  This season of loving on babies, and fixing meals, and slipping in work between quiet moments.  This is my life and I'm proud of it.

So I'm not going to give you my list of wants this week or my run down on what makes my life truly full.  I'm just me today.  Drinking my coffee, hopping on the computer for a few minutes to write and look around before I start getting some work done.  The babes are on the couch eating pizza (homemade vegan pizza so that's not as bad right?) and watching a movie because I'd rather pay netflix than a babysitter this morning.  Some work men are out front cutting down a few pine trees in front of our house.  Man I wish that money could have gone into the Mommy Needs A Quiet Vacation Fund.

Speaking of adding to funds, both fun and necessary, work is about to really start gearing up.  My photography business really takes off in the fall and it's already been busy this past month.  October and November are the busiest.  My marketing job is also about to really start gearing up.  As I mentioned before I had the luxury of starting off really slow.  Well now is the time where it's about to switch gears.  I'm feeling more prepared now that I have two designated mornings child free to be in the office.  But I know I'll need more time than that in order to get my work done without staying up all night.  I feel like a weird hybrid of stay-at-home-working-mom.  There are so many of you who fall into this category, any advice?  I feel like it's hard to give either my full attention sometimes. 

I'm sorry for the random and not very well thought-out post today.  My brain is scattered in a lot of directions today.  I was up super late last night, almost mid-night, hanging out on a neighbor's deck with some other ladies in my neighborhood.  Such a restoring night.  I guess I am happy to publicly say I'm #blessed and #thankful after all. 

September 18, 2014

Blue and Pink Living Room Design

I've been feeling really creative in my house again lately.  As Matthew has been working really hard on updating the landscaping outside, his territory, it's had me wanting to work on things inside, my territory, as well.

I'm starting to crave a little bit of color.  Nothing too crazy, just little bits here and there.  I tend to get overwhelmed really fast when color sneaks into my rooms and usually end up banishing all of it.  I'm a huge fan of neutrals, y'all know that.  I get my crazy from my life with two small children.  Their life in our home brings plenty of color.  In rooms like our family room, there is so much texture and pattern existing in the bones of the room that my all white/natural scheme works so well.  It's probably my favorite room in the house for that reason.  But I've noticed in other spaces that when the room is void of any special architectural features, the all white begins to fall flat. 

That's where the fun accessories come in.  Simple base with a few bits of pretty.  I can't exactly go out and finish the rooms in our house like I wish I could.  I mostly just shop my own stuff when I'm feeling the need to refresh a room.  But I've got the bug so you might be seeing lots of these mood boards around here lately as I play around with things I love!

Judith Gigliotti Glassy Beach Print || Jamieson Sofa || Gobi Wool Rug || Pink Suzani Pillow || Lulie Wallace Print || fresh candle || Ikat Tile Throw || Dragon Lamp || Pink Bone Inlay Tray

*affiliate links were used in the above links to bring you fun at ideas at absolutely no additional cost to you.

September 17, 2014

Fabric Painting In My Dining Room

 I'm thinking about trying my hand at stenciling the curtain panels in our dining room.  Currently, they are white linen.  I don't dislike the white but it was never my intention to leave them completely alone.  I had planned to add a thick border edge or trim to them.  I'm still open to that but I think it could be fun to stencil them allover in one of my favorite patterns also. 

My girl Shelley stenciled some fabric recently and made the most adorable otomi print bean bags for her children.  If it could look this good I'm all for it!  I even love the pattern she chose. 

Would love to hear your stenciling or fabric painting stories.  So many examples floating around pinterest but none I've seen in real life.  I'm worried the finish will look too unprofessional.  Maybe cute for a shower curtain but not my formal dining room.  I've painted fabric before and loved the results so I know it can work.  Have you stenciled fabric before?  If this works well this could be amazing!

September 16, 2014

Asian Wraps & Rice Bowl | Dinner + Leftovers Lunch

I try to always make a little more food than we need for dinner each night so I can get at least one more meal out of my prep work.  This time I made Asian Rice Bowls and Asian Wraps.  Either choice is hearty enough for a real meal so it can be dinner on night two or your lunch the next day. 

Asian Sauce
1 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1 cup of honey
1 tsp of ground ginger
1tsp of sesame seeds
1 tsp of pineapple or orange juice
whisk together.  Add more soy sauce or honey to achieve desired quantity.  I like mine to be a little more thick so I keep the parts equal. 
Asian Wraps & Rice Bowl
4-5 boneless chicken breasts
1 large package of broccoli slaw, or two if your family will eat their veggies!
Jasmine Rice
Flour Tortillas
Spring Mix

Marinate one package of boneless skinless chicken breasts in the above sauce for as long as possible. This can be anywhere from the night before to just coating to the chicken before it bakes.  Bake the chicken on 350 for about 40 minutes.  While the chicken is baking, steam a package of Broccoli Slaw, and cook the Jasmine Rice according to the directions.  Assemble as pictured above!

September 15, 2014

Wall Update Ideas | Little Boy Room

I have been wanting to add some decals to Tagg's back wall for a while now.  I've always loved the look and affordability of using them to create the look of wallpaper.  This is our view when we come up the stairs.  I used to have art hung on that wall but that's no longer a safe option.  Boy likes to jump around. I also think it's the perfect way to keep his room from looking too stuffy.  It was beginning to take itself too seriously.

Of course, I also am also open to re-painting the green.  Perhaps with a blue like below.

Here is how it currently looks.  What is your vote?  I'm so torn.  I honestly love them all.  I think I might have a top contender.  Or two.  Definitely torn between two.  Or three.  Ahh!  I need your input!

September 13, 2014


Tagg cried until he got to come sleep in our room last night.  He told me nuffin' was wrong.  He was just sad.  He said it the night before too.  He's sad that Daddy gets to sleep in my bed but he doesn't.  Om, I can't even.  Way too many high school English references there.  So I let him sleep in our room.  Not my favorite choice, but it bought me a crazy good night of sleep for the first time in ages.  We no longer let the kids sleep in our bed, but rather set them on a luxurious sleepover on the floor next to us.  We store Tagg's old crib mattress on the floor under our bed and pull it out when we need it.  We place pillows all around it to keep them from rolling onto the floor.  They bring their lovies and pillows and blanket from their bed.  It's really not ideal but it gave us all a much needed full night of sleep.  And it's giving him closeness without getting him used to a warm body snuggle.  I'm hoping this makes breaking the habit easier.

Anyway, with this full night of sleep comes productivity.  My mind literally feels so much more ready to expand.  I can't wait to put that to good use this coming week!  I have a few new projects I want to start tackling around the house.  I'm ready to pull the trigger on some pattern in Tagg's room, more on that on Monday.  I'm ready to get my house back in order as well.  The past three weeks seem to have created a big pile of mess everywhere.  Time to get on that.

My parents graciously agreed to watch the kids today.  Matthew and I are going to watch the USC game with some friends and then maybe sneak out for a burger.  Anyone in Richmond have any recommendations for a good burger?   Our usual spot is downtown and we don't feel like venturing that far away this time.  I would love your recommendations! 

shoes || dress


I've rounded up a few of the weekend sales for you in case these notices go straight to your promotions page unchecked for days like mine do. The sales listed below contain affiliate links, but as always, there is absolutely no additional cost to you.

J.Crew - 30% off final sale, 50% off select final sale with code EASYSALE.  Y'all know I love these tops and and these shorts. No reason to wait and pay full price.
GAP - 30% off entire purchase with code HAPPY.  Perfect for stocking up on my favorite kids' skinny jeans.  I'm also loving this dress for girls.
Old Navy - 25% off entire purchase when you spend $75, 40% off many styles
LOFT - 40% off all merchandise with code FALLSTYLE
Ann Taylor - 50% off full price tops including new arrivals
Banana Republic - 40% off entire purchase with code BRYAY40

September 12, 2014

New House: Landscaping Plans

I'm going to deviate a little bit today from interiors or all things going on inside our home to talk a little bit about some changes we've made outside.  And by we, I mean 100% solely my husband.  We have a rule that I make the inside decisions and he decides what happens outside.  We have ultimate veto power but have found this creates more harmony if one person takes the lead.  We spent the six months pulling things out and now we're starting to create a long-term landscaping plan and will be adding more back in.

The plants around our house were completely overgrown and encroaching onto the exterior itself.  They were planted too close to the house with no breathing room creating a really bad moisture problem.  Dark, cool, damp brush is home to lots of things you don't want near your front door.

At first glance the before pictures actually look much better than the afters.  I realize that.  It's going to take some time and a few planting seasons to fix the mistakes we inherited.  Buying full grown plants is crazy expensive.  As you can see, we've removed several pine trees and planted grass to cover the brush island in the center of the yard. 

Matthew added in several compact holly to line the front which will hopefully grown big and full before we know it.  That's what you can see in the images below.  We'll also be adding in liriope to fill the entire front section between the house and the sidewalk.  Next we'll put in a few crape myrtle trees on either side of the house to add some visual height.

 Of course we still want to paint the whole house white, including the brick siding.  Shutters will be black and that dang door will be painted a fun color eventually!  So many to-do's so little time and money!  I can't wait for it to look like some of these beautiful homes below!

 So tell me, are you into landscaping at all?  Do you

September 11, 2014

Pretzel Encrusted Honey Mustard Chicken

I first mentioned this recipe back almost two years ago when I started meal planning and I've been making it on the regular ever since.  I may not be as good at actual meal planning as I was at first, but I've got a good little arsenal of dinners under my belt now that I can pull out on rotation.  One of those meals is Pretzel Encrusted Honey Mustard Chicken.

Pretzel Encrusted Honey Mustard Baked Chicken

1/2 cup of dijon mustard
1/2 cup of honey
1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
combine these three ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.  Alter the amounts to get the desired taste and glaze consistencyThis is a pretty spicy combo so use traditional yellow mustard to lessen that kick.

Crush 1 cup of pretzels in a food processor until fairly well ground.  Set aside.

Pound three boneless chicken breasts until flat and let bathe in the honey mustard mixture above for as long as possible.  I have done this as early as the night before letting it soak overnight and as late as for a 30 second dip as I'm cooking dinner.

Dip the chicken in the honey mustard.  Be sure to get both sides nice and coated before dipping into the pretzel crumb bowl.  Again, get both sides good and covered.

Place in a baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes on 350.

September 10, 2014

Twenty Things

I was tagged by my girl Shelley to play along in a little get to you know game called Twenty Things.  I feel like it's always hard for me to come up with new things to tell y'all about myself because through the years I've shared so much.  But it's always fun to stretch my brain and share some random facts.  I'm calling out Dominique of Comfy Cozy Couture to keep this little gem going.

1.  My husband and I met on a blind date.  The rest is history.

2.  I hate formal exercise.  I much prefer to go on walks or run around with my kids.  The gym freaks me out.  I feel like I'm just not coordinated enough for classes and I think I look like such a try-hard wandering around by myself staring at all the equipment.

3.  I need at least two more hours in my day.  I'm going to start carving them out of the morning because I'm just not a night person.  I go to bed immediately following my kids.  I've tried afternoon or evening caffeine drinking which leaves me more awake but also restless all night.  I need some time to be alone.  Do you know how much actual alone time I get each day?  None.  I think some quiet alone time would be good for me.

4.  I'm so much more comfortable in simple clothes.  I feel so silly and much older in really trendy outfits.  Read Real Housewives over the top.  I also don't want to get stuck in a fashion rut.

5.  I don't hate my skin and I love natural looks on other women but I still wear tinted moisturizer, highlighter, bronzer, blush, mascara, and pink lip gloss daily. I'm also a big fan of hairspray and dry shampoo.

6.  I go through phases with my purchases.  For a while it's all house stuff, then it's clothes.  I honestly don't feel like I over do it in either area but it's funny how it's all or nothing for me.

7.  I want another baby but I know I can't handle it.  Things feel so manageable right now during the day and I know adding another to the mix will alter that forever.  And we still haven't gotten the honeymoon period of nighttime sleep after having Tagg.  I don't do well when I feel like I'm sinking and I know a baby would make me feel that way.  Not another child, but another baby.  I want Wells to have a sister and Tagg to have a brother.  So really that's two more babies that I want.  Not in the cards for us.

8.  Along those lines, I don't like the baby stage.  I'm thankful every day for the way in which my two are growing up and communicating more.  Wells was a really hard and fussy baby, Tagg was not.  But either way, they may get harder in some respects as they get more independent but the crying and sleeplessness isn't for me.  Just tell me what you need!

9.  My hair is turning white.  Yup.  It's skipping over the grey stage and going straight for white.  Everywhere.  I can't even.  I'm using it as my excuse to go blonde.  I was blonde when Matthew and I met and got married and then up and went back to brunette one day one a whim.  I always said when I was pregnant with Wells that I would be what my kids are one day, so blonde it is for all of us now!

10.  My kids have too much screen time.  I'm not going to pretend it's only for a few minutes so I can cook dinner or just during breakfast.  We play outside a lot and we play with toys so much but I always feel guilty about the shows.  So much.  But somehow I still say yes any time they ask to use the iPad or watch tv because it's so easy.  I say yes too much. 

11. Up until about a year ago I really truly disliked Mexican food.  Now, it's my most favorite.

12.  I knew from the first month that Matthew and I dated that if we had a son his name would be Tagg.  Wells' name was originally Milly, which changed to Anne-Massey, and eventually Anne Caswell.  We didn't start calling her Wells until right before I was due. 

13.  I'm slow to make new friends.  I have a few good friends here in Richmond and a few really good friends spread out over the country.  With the exception to one, these are people I have known for years.  I envy women who go to a playground or preschool drop-off and leave with a new pal.  How do they do it?  How do they make those connections so effortlessly?  I envy that.

14.  Barbecue Chicken Pizza is my all time favorite.  I could eat it every day.

15.  I eat salad every day for lunch.  Like a giant mixing bowl family sized salad.  I think it's really easy to make good food choices most of the time when you don't limit yourself.  Every time you put something in your body it's a choice.  I would rather eat a giant salad the size of my head than a small sliver of something else.  But I also don't deprive myself.  So when I want something high in calories, I go for it.  Like a whole barbecue chicken pizza.

16.  The only liquids I drink are coffee, tea, wine (or beer), and water.  That's it.  I never ever drink juice (aside from the occasional mimosa) or soft drinks.  Period.  I used to love them.  I gave them up for a while after Tagg was born because I was having a bag sugar crash and I accidentally lost ten pounds.  I had more energy and I lost weight.  Never looking back.

17.  I know I'm that mom and I'm okay with it.  I'm going to cry when they go to kindergarten.  I'm going to loose my shit if either of them tries to apply to an out of state college.  I feel like Matthew and I have built the sweetest little family and I never want that to change.  I worry about them growing up and leaving.  I worry about the time when I won't get to know the most about them.

18.  I'm super sarcastic and find witty humor the best kind of humor.  Watching almost all comedies give me major eye roll because they're just so not funny to me.  I think real life humor is the best.  It's so rare to find that in shows or movies and I wish Hollywood would do a better job of portraying that.

19.  I watch The Real Housewives, Nashville, Parenthood, Scandal, and Love it or List it.  Throw in some Netflix and that's it.  I feel like in 20 years I'm going to really suck at Trivial Pursuit.

20.  I used to wear dressy clothes and high heels when I was a full-time nanny after college to prove that I would make a hot mom one day.  Now I wear yoga pants with uggs or skinny jeans and flats.


Okay now I don't expect you to come up with such a lengthy list with no warning but I would love for you to share one or two things about yourself in the comments section.  Just a bit about who you are or what makes you tick.

I'm also opening it up for you to ask me anything else you're curious about.  We haven't played this game since Tagg was a baby.  Go.

No, this post wasn't sponsored, I'm just starting to add a few things into my fall work wardrobe and I thought you might like to take a look as well.  Shop the look here:

*affiliate links were used in this post.  please see the sidebar for more information.

September 9, 2014

A Fresh Duvet Cover with Crane & Canopy

Did you know that this week is make the bed week?  Very fitting considering I've been making a personal goal to make the bed each morning now that school is back in session.  I feel so much more organized and relaxed when my bed is properly made.  Not to mention, it looks pretty throughout the day and so much more inviting to hop into after a tiring day.

Crane & Canopy invited me to try out some of their bedding along with a few of my favorite bloggers in honor of make the bed week.  I knew right away that I would select a duvet and standard shams and choosing which style proved really fun.  I'm trying to make it really easy on myself with less fluff to put back on the bed each morning.  I am still super into white bedding and didn't want to go too crazy with color.  Not that those more bold choices aren't pretty, they're just not for me.  But I also didn't want to take the predictable route and get all white like I have in the past.  When I saw the Montgomery Beige I knew it was perfect.

When it arrived it was even better than I was predicting.  First of all, it's soft and smooth.  If the quality isn't there it doesn't matter how pretty it looks.  That's a deal breaker for me.  It feels slightly cool to the touch, if that makes sense.  The color is a the perfect beige to mix in with my whites.  I am smitten with it!  I wanted to immediately get it on my bed to check it out.  And then I couldn't wait to get it in the wash and back on so I could use it.

I'm so glad my package arrived so quickly so I could get a few washes in before talking to you about it.  Don't you just hate when something is perfect brand new and then craps out on you after a wash or two.  I would never want to give a positive review on something I didn't have a chance to really use first.  I'm pleased to say, this held up in the washer and dryer with no shrinking and no ironing needed.  My sister and my bestie would still want it ironed for that super crisp look, but I think it's just fine straight from the dryer.

A feature I really love is the zip closure rather than the traditional button up.  We have two duvets on our bed so it's nice eliminate a few minutes off that step.  Yes, two duvets.  I've mentioned before that my husband and I sleep with separate sheets.  That includes duvet covers.  You can eye-roll all you want but for two restless light sleeper cover-hogs this is a genius strategy.  As far as making the bed with two duvets, one gets laid out underneath the top blanket and the other folded at the end of the

I know you already know how to put on a duvet cover, but I've included two videos that I found on the Crane & Canopy website demonstrating two different techniques just in case you learn something new that makes it easier for you next laundry day.  I'm pretty intrigued by the California roll myself.

Be sure to check out Jennifer at The Pink Pagoda's room makeover reveal yesterday and be on the lookout on Thursday for Courtney's at A Thoughtful Place.

Thank you to Crane & Canopy for providing me with the lovely duvet cover and shams in this post and making my morning just a little bit prettier.

September 8, 2014

Smathers & Branson Giveaway

Okay friends, I got off to a bit of a slow start today.  You know how you think that minus one kid for three hours equals all the time in the world?  Well guess what, it doesn't.  I'm just now sitting down to share with you the great news that Smather's & Branson has agreed to share another needlepoint belt with one of you!

Home of the classic and preppy needlepoint belts, they also have an array of other needlepoint items including key fobs, flasks, polo shirts, flip-flops, wallets, and hats to help you get your prep on.  You can shop by category here which makes it a really easy one-stop shop for men's shopping. 

I'm going to assume we're all pretty excited that they have generously agreed to give away another one of their amazing needlepoint belts to one of you!  Pretty awesome.  That means you can chose any in-stock, non-monogrammed or custom belt if you win! 


Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Giveaway ends this Thursday and winner will be announced on Friday.

1. Leave a comment letting us know which belt you'd chose.
2. Like Julia Ryan (Pawleys Island Posh) on Facebook
3. Follow Julia Ryan on Pinterest and like Smathers & Branson on Pinterest.  Pin an item from Smathers & Branson website.  You must tag me in the post.
4. Follow Julia Ryan on Instagram (@juliaryancreates)
5. Like Smathers & Branson on Facebook
6. Follow Smathers & Branson on Instagram

First Day of Pre-K | And a Chalkboard Sign

Things are finally starting to get back to normal around here with Tagg. Thanks again for all of you who left kind messages and emails and dropped off wine!  It's nice to have friends both near and far.

Wells started pre-k today.  She's nervous but ready.  I couldn't be more thrilled about her teacher and her classroom.  We met the teacher this past Friday and stayed for about two hours in her room.  It's so neat to see her explore and learn what things she finds interesting.  I can't wait to pick her up today.  I've gotten so used to all of our togetherness this summer and grown quite fond of it.  I'm missing my little bug already!

I thought it would be fun to do the chalkboard sign like everyone else.  I think it will be really fun to add into her little scrap book.  I had her stand in front of a blank chalkboard and then added the text on my computer.  There is no way I could write that neat or straight or fancy!

Tagg starts tomorrow so it was nice to go with just me and my girl today for drop-off and learn the routine.  It's pouring raining so I'm not really sure this afternoon will be anything special.  Do you have any traditions for the first day of school?  A special breakfast or dinner?  Balloons or Treats?  Traditions like the chalkboard sign?  Please share!

September 4, 2014

Kate Mullin Pop-Up Shop | Furbish

This past Spring I introduced y'all to one of my favorite new artists, Kate Mullen.  Well today, I'm excited to share that she is having a pop-up shop at Furbish today at 11am.  What a perfect time to collect one of her colorful and happy pieces!

I've got my eyes on one for my kitchen.  Or perhaps our powder room like I showed y'all below.  Wouldn't you know it, we haven't made even a bit of progress in this bathroom since I last showed you these two plans.  Life happens I guess.

September 3, 2014

Family Room Progress | Reading Corner

A quick update on Tagg.  Overall, he's doing so much better!  He is totally off fluid therapy and I removed his line yesterday.  Add that to my list of skills.  He has a really tough time after he wakes up in the morning and again in the afternoon after his nap.  He's fussy and needs about 45 minutes of direct snuggling before bouncing back to his normal playful self.  He's moving slower and tires easily but seems to be on the mend.  Night time is still a struggle but we'll get there.  It's not like lack of sleep is anything new.

While playing trains with Tagg yesterday in the playroom I decided that my pink desk needed to go.  That room is meant for playing and it was eating up valuable floor space so I moved it to the guestroom.  There was really no room for it in there either, so to make the desk work I had to shuffle a club chair back downstairs and into the family room.  I think I like it.  It creates a cozy little reading corner in the unused second half of our family room. 

The chair needs to be properly slip covered, that's a just a piece of fabric tucked over it, but it already matches perfectly with the other pillows in the room.  And I like that am upholstered piece balances this side of the room a bit better.  It gives Matthew a soft spot to read or play on his phone while I stay up late working on the computer so I don't feel so left out.

You may remember the chair's brief appearance here.  And you can see the current state of the other half of the family room here.  You'll also notice that the kids wicker table and chairs have migrated to the family room as well (check them out in the playroom here and here).

I get so much satisfaction out of moving things around and making them work better.  The awkward placement of the doors to this long room have made separating it into zones so easy.  And I'm starting to not mind that the fireplace isn't a centered feature.  I'm sure my husband wishes that I did this a little less.  It's like I can't seem to dust under a piece of furniture without relocating it entirely.  Do y'all do that too?

September 2, 2014

DIY Tension Rod Puppet Theater

September already?  Blows my mind.  Just saying.

Okay, we're on Day 6 and things are still on a slow path to improvement.  It kind of blows my mind just how long this recovery is taking.  Wells had major reconstructive surgery on her skull at 7 weeks old and again at 6 months and we pretty much came home from the hospital with some tylenol and a happy baby.  This is not the case with Tagg.  He's still on big time pain killers and having a tough time.  I think we're on the home stretch though!

Needless to say when you're stuck at home and inside with two small children you start to go stir crazy.  But sometimes that crazy can be channeled into productivity.  Such was the case on day five of Tagg's recovery when Wells requested a puppet theater.  I guess all that extra coffee I've been needing is good for something.

I found a brand new set of finger puppets at a consignment sale last Spring and it's been a big hit with Wells.  We usually do puppet shows slumped under the ottoman but I figured a quick curtain theater would make it really fun for her!  And she's been so amazing these past few days that I wanted to do something special.

I draped a yard of scrap fabric over a tension rod and folded the sides in to see where I needed to sew (which would actually be no-sew stitch witchery in my case)  I did the same at the top but allowed room for a rod pocket.  Next I hung my panel and marked where I wanted the opening to be located.  I used a rectangular newspaper ad as my template and cut the hole.  Next I ironed on some grosgrain ribbon to create a finished edge.  So easy!  The ironing (rather than sewing) with hem tape was really the only time consuming part.

I think it could be really fun to make another one in red and green for Christmas.  I'm not sure why I think they'll do holiday themed puppet shows, but somehow that seems really likely.  I also love that the fabric is fun, one I wouldn't normally use for pillows or drapes but it still matches the room.  You better believe it's still hanging there right now.  The kids think it's cool to use it as a secret passage way or spy corner.

Have you done any simple sewing (or no-sew) projects lately?  I have got to get a new sewing machine.

September 1, 2014

Labor Day

Monogrammed Coffee Mug (gifted by my friend Brooke of For Posh Sake), But First, Coffee Engraved Spoon (gifted by Brooke's talented sister-in-law and owner of Milk and Honey Luxuries), A.M. COFFEE FOR TIRED PEOPLE (found at HomeGoods)

Y'all.  I'm freaking exhausted.  It's a bit like having a newborn around here.  Our two year old just had his tonsils and adenoids removed for those of you that are just stopping by.  The last two days have been really great, considering.  Tagg is up and playing trains or hanging out on the couch and his personality is back.  Nighttime has been a different story.  He just can't get comfortable.  He refuses his pain medicine.  He is having nightmares and doesn't want to lay down.  Last night was slightly better but today has been off to a rough start.  Two steps forward and one step back.  I can see why everyone says this is a two week recovery.

I heard that day 3 was the worst and now that we are about to start day six I would agree.  Things had an all-time low during the third day/night and have slowly been getting better.  I think we are going to leave his line in until tomorrow but not give him any fluid therapy today.  I think coming home with that IV made such a difference in his recovery.  Dehydration is the number one complication of this surgery and we've been able to avoid that.  I'm so thankful for all of your thoughts and prayers and well wishes.  As promised, I will write up a big recap of what to expect and what helped/didn't for y'all after we are past our two week clearance.  It's really too early to be making any big statements just yet.

For those of y'all that are homebound inside today like me, I've rounded up all the good Labor Day Sales.  And I hope the rest of you get to take advantage of this sunny Monday!


Nordstrom is having a clearance sale.  Matthew bought these jeans on sale for $98.

J.Crew is offering 40% off final sale items.  You can see my top picks here.

J.Crew Factory 40-60% off select items

Tory Burch up to 30% off with code: LABORDAY14

BaubleBar is up to 50% off

Anthropologie is offering extra 20% sale items

Brooks Brothers is having up to 60% clearance event.  Time to get Matthew some new work shirts.

Furbish use code: ENDOFSUMMER for 15% off

Lulu & Georgia use code: LABORDAY25 for 25% off

Zulily is having a big Labor Day BLOWOUT sale!  I have recently started checking this site every day for Christmas presents for the kids.  I'm pretty sure I can knock out a lot if I slowly get things over the next two months.  Y'all, this is a good one. 

Loft is up to 60% off with code: FLASH

C.Wonder has an additional 50% sale

August 29, 2014


Well I have to say that the recovery from Tagg's tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy has thoroughly sucked.  It's every bit as hard and pitiful as I was warned.  He had to come home with an IV for fluids, which he receives twice a day via me.  A home health nurse stops by each morning to check on him.  I'm not sure if she'll be coming over the holiday weekend or not.  Bad timing I guess.  It's pretty nerve racking to be the one to hook him up each time, needles and such make me so nervous!

Once we're on the road to recovery I will do a post with all of our pre and post-op information for anyone else going through this in the future to reference.  I feel like information kept me feeling prepared and I know we'll be out of the trenches soon.

Our cars got broken into the night of Tagg's surgery and they stole a checkbook and some change.  We're in the process of switching all of our accounts so I'm not sure if I'll be able to take part in any labor day sales or not.  I'm fairly certain everything is frozen right now.  Or maybe Matthew just told me that because he knows I'm spending my days, and nights, laying in bed with Tagg and the temptation to shop away my time is oh so great.


Nordstrom is having a clearance sale.  Matthew bought these jeans on sale for $98.

J.Crew is offering 30% off orders of $125 or more.  You can see my top picks here.

J.Crew Factory 40-60% off almost everything.

Tory Burch up to 30% off with code: LABORDAY14

BaubleBar is up to 50% off

Anthropologie is offering extra 20% sale items

Brooks Brothers is having up to 60% clearance event.  Time to get Matthew some new work shirts.

Furbish use code: ENDOFSUMMER for 15% off

Lulu & Georgia use code: LABORDAY25 for 25% off

Zulily is having a big Labor Day sale!  I have recently started checking this site every day for Christmas presents for the kids.  I'm pretty sure I can knock out a lot if I slowly get things over the next two months.

C.Wonder has an additional 50% sale

Loft is up to 60% off with code: FLASH