• Uncategorized

    September 5 Favorites

    September was a blur.  I think I had so much on my plate that I went from one week to the next just trying to hit all the deadlines.  Luckily, I made them all and now here we are in October.  This is sure to be another jam packed month.  I’m booked every weekend with wedding chalkboards and then orders in between all that.  (Yay orders!)  Be on the lookout for ornaments to pop up in THE SHOP very soon and there may even be a new design or two in the works.

    Instead of the usual favorite list, I thought I would do a more fall festival addition and tell you about 5 of my favorite things from the Duluth Fall Festival last weekend.  Duluth (the city in Georgia, not Minnesota) is what I consider my home town.  I’ve been going to this festival for years, been in the parade numerous times, and it’s just one of the highlights of my year.  So here’s what I found at this years festivities that rocked my socks off.

    1. Seasoned Fries – If you happened to watch my stories or ran into me at all this weekend, I probably told you about these fries.  I so wish I knew what the place was called that sold them but all I know is that they better be back next year!  They were $7 a basket and worth every penny.
    2. The Humble Hutch – This booth had the cutest gourd art.  Very farmhouse meets folk art type of style.  Some of the pieces were just incredible, like these amazing llamas.  I went for one of the penguin ornaments and plan to hand letter on the back to commemorate the year.
    3. Offerings / Diffuser Jewelry – Loved this booth!  The simple jewelry is perfect to compliment any outfit and all of the beads can diffuse the oils.  I walked away with a necklace AND a pair of earrings that are so cool.
    4. Simply Fragrant Home – I was praying that this booth would be back this year and I was so relieved when I saw they were.  I’ve been wearing their magnolia perfume oil for the last year and it is so good.  I ran out though the day before the festival.  I was using it very sparingly so that it would last.  I had lost their business card months ago and was just hoping they’d be back so I could buy it in bulk!  They have great scents and blends for diffusing and personal use.
    5. Pure Taqueria – This is actually a restaurant that sits on the main corner of the historic downtown area where the festival is held.  Why am I mentioning them?  THE BEST margarita I’ve ever had!  They were outside the restaurant and serving tacos and margaritas as a booth if you didn’t want to take the time to go in and sit down.  It was glorious!  If you’re local, Pure Taqueria is where the margaritas are at.

    Have you been to any festivals yet this season?  I wish I could go to every single one but my bank account screams otherwise.  It’s one of my favorite parts of the season and it’s a great way to support local businesses and artists.

  • DIY

    How to Turn a Store Bought Cake into a Themed Cake


    how to customize a store bought cake

    For the past few birthday parties, I’ve been the one that made the cake.  I enjoy it and it’s fun to me!  I love being able to completely customize the cake and be as extra as possible.  However, this year I ran into a small, well, a big problem.  I guest list was seeming to be a little large and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to make a large enough to accommodate.  I was going to have to go with a store bought sheet cake but how would it look?  Time to use my imagination and get to work doctoring the giant chocolate confection from Costco.

  • DIY,  Mommyhood

    Roman + The Chocolate Factory

    Roman + The Chocolate Factory

    This party was so much fun to plan for a few reasons.  One, this year I went with something Ro is really interested in.  I didn’t ask him what he wanted for is birthday, but I knew this would be a hit since he was asking to watch the movie at least once a day.  Two, it’s my husband’s favorite movie and he was actually really excited whenever I would show him things for the party.  And three, I’m now the proud owner of a Cricut!  So with my fancy new machine, the movie constantly playing in the background, and a little “pure imagination”, I got to work planning a Wonka-tastic birthday party.

  • Health

    Treating My Skin with Food

    Over the Summer I did my second round of Whole 30 and, if you’ve been around since then, you know that I’m a huge fan of it.  It’s funny that I thought I’d never try it about a year ago and now, I’ve done two rounds and don’t find it so crazy after all.  It does wonders for resetting your body in so many ways but the one I noticed the most was my skin.  It is so clear when I’m doing Whole 30.  I’m not talking breakouts though, but that is something I was clear of too.  I’m talking about my skin condition, tinea versicolor*.  It was GONE.  So I’ve decided that, for the most part, I’m going to start treating my skin better with the food I eat.

    *What is tinea versicolor? It’s a common fungal infection that occurs when the body has an over production of the yeast/fungus that our bodies naturally produce.  Flare ups can be small discolorations on the skin, to larger patches that appear scaly.  Mine have even been mistaken for an allergic reaction.  It’s not contagious and you can be perfectly healthy and have this condition.

    Treating my skin with food

    I had no idea before Whole 30 that my skin condition was being effected by food.  It makes sense now of course, but it just never dawned on me.  I pride myself on knowing a good bit about nutrition and health for someone who doesn’t have any formal education so the fact that I’m just now figuring this out is crazy.  Anyway, after this revelation, I decided that I wanted to make a permanent change to my diet but I wasn’t quite sure what was causing the flare ups to come back.  There’s a period of time after Whole 30 called the reintroduction phase but I didn’t notice flare ups until after that time.  So what was it?  Gluten? Dairy? Sugar? Time to do a little research*.

    Turns out that it’s most of those things, not just one.  Yay for me right?  It’s also a number of other factors too, such as humidity, excessive sweating, oral contraceptives (something I’m NOT willing to change at this time of my life), and hormonal changes.  The hormonal changes definitely explains why it’s worse in my postpartum life than when I was younger.  As for what I can control and am willing to change, I had to decide what was worth it for me to keep and what I felt effected my skin the most.

    Treating my skin with food

    Let’s cut to the chase…

    What can’t you eat?  The answer here is best given as a list of what I CAN eat with little to no risk of flare ups.

    • Whole Grains (foods with no yeast)
    • Vegetables
    • Vegetable Oils
    • Eggs
    • Poultry, Beef, Pork, and Seafood

    Yeah…that’s it.  But why?  Because with this condition, my body over produces this natural fungus and it reacts with many common ingredients in food, even naturally occurring ingredients.  That includes fruit!

    So, is that all you eat?

    No.  I ate a ton of fruit on Whole 30, aka natural sugar, and my skin was still clear so that’s one food I can keep.  Vinegar is also a food to avoid but, again, I had balsamic vinegar dressing while resetting.  But the most problematic foods I have definitely cut out (with a few exceptions).

    Treating my skin with food

    Sugar, added and otherwise, alcohol, baked goods, and dairy are the main things I try to stay away from.  It’s also advised that I stay away from coffee and opt for teas instead.  Not happening.  It’s all about finding a balance and figuring out what’s worth it for me.  (Food Freedom Forever is a great book to read on that topic!) If I’m going out to dinner, or having dinner with family, I’ll have a glass of wine but I’ve decided to not have it in my house.  Too tempting.  I eat gluten-free items and stay away from cheese/milk products but I’ll eat a little ice cream or fro-yo with the boys on the weekend if we happen to be doing that.

    I totally have my weak moments, I get stressed and completely fall of the bandwagon.  What happens then? I get flare ups.  It is what it is.  My condition does not have a permanent solution so I have to do my best to keep it from flaring and keep my anti-fungal cream handy.

    If you have a health/skin issue (non life threatening), I highly recommend trying Whole 30 as a way to discover what you’re body is reacting to.

    *Articles: whole30.com / livestrong.com  / healthygoods.com / tineaversicure.com / mayoclinic.org
  • Uncategorized

    August 5 Favorites

    Another month has gone by and we’re now in one of my absolute favorite months of the year.  I love September for many reason like fall, Ro’s birthday, and the start of festival season!  But before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a look back at August.

    I’m so sad to report that I don’t have a book to recommend this month!  Time got away from me and I didn’t finish a book this month.  UGH….oh well, I’m close to finishing my recent one and plan to use my free time (aka Ro is starting preschool!) for more reading.

    1. My Cricut Machine – Legit in full on obsession mode with this thing.  I can’t wait to show you all of the fun things I’ve made for Ro’s party.  You can see some of them in THIS Insta post but I’ve gone off the deep end and I’m not comin’ back!
    2. Bento Boxes – I’ve always wanted one for Gav and when I got the opportunity to review Stuck On You’s bentos I was so excited.  Both boys have one now and it’s made making lunches so easy!  You can find the full review HERE.
    3. Distressed Wood Panels – Last month we completely overhauled our master bedroom (have no fear, bedroom post is in the works!).  I wanted to do a shiplap wall because we love the farmhouse style.  #basic  But anyway…my husband found THESE and we new they would be perfect.  Just enough distress to still look great and to satisfy hubby’s preference for a more rustic look.  Bonus points because we didn’t have to do any painting!
    4. Paperless Post – I may never go back to regular stationary.  This is the perfect solution for our digital society.  My full review can be found HERE.  I can’t wait to use them again for my bestie’s baby shower.
    5. Plant Therapy Kids’ Roll Ons – We are loving these roll ons!  I’m a big fan of oils and aroma therapy so I was definitely game to try these pre-diluted Kid Safe ones.  I think that my favorite right now is The Calming Child that I use on Ro.  I’m not saying that he has zero tantrums now and is the perfect angel child, but there is a noticeable difference in his everyday demeanor.

    What fun finds did you discover last month?

  • Mommyhood

    Putting Together the Perfect Gender Neutral Baby Basket

    *Some items in this gift basket were given to me for review/feature.*

    What do you get your best friend that is pregnant her third baby, is not finding out the gender, and already has a boy and a girl? I don’t know how people do it, waiting until birth to find out if they’re having a boy or a girl. I’m a planner to the core and while I love how far we’ve come with gender neutral baby gear (i.e. everything isn’t just yellow and green anymore), I am still a person who wants to know. I applaud anyone who can do it and has done it, my best friend, Katy, now included. But what can I get her?! I can’t personalize anything and she already has two children, one of each gender, so she has so much saved up. My solution, ESSENTIALS!

  • Mommyhood

    Invites Made Easy with Paperless Post

    *Compensation was given in exchange for an honest review of my experience.*

    Hard to believe that in just over two weeks it will be Ro’s third birthday! HE’LL BE THREE! What?! Anyway, we’ll also get to have his party on his actually birthDAY this year which is always fun. So, staying true to my party planning-loving self, I’m going all out. If you’ve been around here for a little bit, you know I love themed parties (check some of them out HERE) and this year is no different. The ONE part about party planning that I dislike the most, however, is sending the actual invitation. I know, I know….makes no sense but invites are a HUGE hassle for me. Printing, postage, addresses…all of it.  But this year I was able to keep all of the fun of the themed invites, plus some extras, by using Paperless Post!

  • Uncategorized

    July 5 Favorites

    *This post contains affiliate links.*

    So we may be a week and a half into the month of August, but I still have time to share my July faves!  With school starting back, I feel like the summer snowballed to an end and all of a sudden we’re here.  One of the biggest (both literally and figuratively) things from last month was that giant wall quote I had the opportunity to draw at my mom’s school.  The shop has been doing pretty well lately and I’m excited to see where this might take it. Well, whether you’re still enjoying another week or two of break or your kiddos are back to school grind, here are some of my favorite things from July that you can totally enjoy too.

    1. Before Ever After – This was such an interesting read.  I feel like I can’t say too much without giving the main plot point away but let’s just say that it was a wonderful love story (not usually my favorite) dripping with world travel.
    2. White Fireplaces – In case you missed it, we painted our outdated fireplace and the transformation is so satisfying!
    3. Bullet Journaling –  I’ve been pinning ideas on Pinterest like a mad woman for awhile but never bit the bullet (pun totally intended) on getting the actual journal.  I make a ton of mistakes and a bound journal doesn’t always hold up when you rip pages out of it.  Then I came across THIS PAPER that fits perfectly in my mini binder that I haven’t used in forever.  So much fun doing different trackers and filling them in.
    4. THIS DEVOTIONAL – I finished this one up and it’s so inspirational as a handmade shop owner/creative.  If you’re a felling creative, I HIGHLY recommend this for focusing on connecting with God in your artistic/business endeavors.
    5. Chia Seed Pudding – There are pretty much 5,673,8234 recipes floating around Pinterest for this stuff.  Any flavor you can think of is out there.  My main obsession with it though is that it’s Whole 30 compliant.  If you followed my Instagram stories last month, I did a less extensive story journal of my second round.  I’ve made it with date honey but compliant sweeteners are frowned upon.  However, I found that the very basic recipe (2 Tbsp Chia Seeds, 1/2 Cup Almond Milk, and Cinnamon) was plenty tasty and filling.  If you like overnight oats, this is definitely worth a try!

    What did you find last month that you’re loving!

  • Mommyhood

    Back to School with Stuck On You

    Back to school with Stuck On You
    *The items featured in this post were given to me in exchange for a review.  The opinion expressed is 100% mine.*

    When it comes to back to school, we’re half and half at our house right now.  Gav is back in school as of Monday, big first grader, and Ro is in full on prep mode.  It’s so strange that I will have two kids in school Tuesday through Thursday come September.  Not too sure what I’m going to do with myself but I’m thinking it will involve quite a few lattes and a manicure or two.  Anyway, one of the biggest things for me is making sure the boys have a balanced lunch.  I’m trying to teach them healthy habits and we’ve got an awesome tool from Stuck On You to help out.

    Back to school with Stuck On You

    These bento boxes make lunches super easy and balanced, easy for mom and yummy for the kiddos.  I love the sectioned insert and there’s plenty of space to put enough in to keep my hungry hippos full.  I think my favorite part of the insert is the center circle because I’m always scrounging for a small container for dips and they get tossed around in the lunch box.  This space is perfect for hummus, ranch, or even the occasional treat if I’m feeling fancy.

    Back to school with Stuck On You Back to school with Stuck On You

    What’s so fun about Stuck On You bentos is the personalization.  Stuck on You is the original and best personalized labeling company so they have a great selection to choose from.  I love the designs I picked for the boys.  I mean, look at that super hero bunny!  Honestly, I want one for myself and you know it would have a unicorn on it.  I usually dread getting lunches ready because I never know what I’m going to put in there from day to day.  However, these bentos have made me excited to plan out some healthy options for the growing boys.

    What are some of your kids’ favorite healthy lunch options?

    You can see one of my other favorite products from Stuck On You, their name labels, in THIS POST.

  • DIY,  House Tour

    Our White + Bright Fireplace Makeover

    Along the same lines as the emergency binder post, I’ve accomplished another item off my own personal summer bucket list!  This one was with the help of my awesome hubby and Youtube.  I love DIY and doing different crafts but I’ve never done one on a larger scale.  And while this project is mainly just a paint job, I think it definitely qualifies as a large scale DIY.

    Hubby took to Youtube to find what we would need and how much of a process it would be.  He found THIS ONE and we got to work.  As you can see, I was super helpful from the start.

    Fireplace Makeover

    Hubby did the main rolling and I came in with the grout work.  That took, what felt like, FOREVER.  Our mortar is so far back in some places that it took more than a few strokes to cover.  Luckily, we only needed to prime the grout for it to look good.  Hubby rolled on the additional paint layer to finish it off.

    We are so thrilled with how it turned out and how bright it has made the entire room.  We don’t have a ton of light that comes into our house.  When the fireplace was traditional brick, it would stay a little dim even with all the blinds up.  Now, it bounces right off of the pretty white paint and lights up the main level.  We were also fortunate to already have the white mantel piece (removed in the before pic) so that saved us a ton of time.

    Fireplace MakeoverFireplace MakeoverFireplace MakeoverFireplace Makeover