DIY PLAYHOUSE

DIY PLAYHOUSE
DIY PLAYHOUSE

LEAVE HER WILD

LEAVE HER WILD
LEAVE HER WILD

PHOTOGRAPHY 101

PHOTOGRAPHY 101
PHOTOGRAPHY 101

Can't Live Without It: The Ocean

This morning I was trying to think of something that I very literally could not live without. While of course things like family, friends and health came to mind. I was trying to think of something else. That's when it struck me - the ocean. Growing up and living in California has me accustomed to coastal access. The thought that some people will go their entire life without ever seeing the beach is mind boggling to me!

It's where I feel my true self. My happiest. My calmest. My most complete.
Whenever David gets that gleam in his eye and says "Let's go to the coast!" I am always up for the ride. Maybe I was a mermaid in my former life?!

Where is your place you feel most like home? Have you never seen the ocean?

Your turn! Remember it's simple! Tell us one thing you can't live without and link back to Stephanie, Caitlin and me. Make sure to grab our button below!




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Growth Spurt

And just like that she outgrew her size 2 moccasins.

Someone come hold me.

In other news I am part of a group of bloggers hosting a loop giveaway for $250 to my FAVORITE, Rifle Paper Co. make sure to enter on Instagram!

Come back at 6pm (PST) to link up with Stephanie, Caitlin and me for Can't Live Without It!

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A day just like this

For my first upcoming Mother's Day I keep thinking to myself what would I like to do? I could think of nothing sweeter than this:

Before I put my baby to bed I want to find that spot where P and I so perfectly puzzle together. Her head on my shoulder, my nose in her neck. I want to curl into my warm bed as my husband, by rote, lifts his arm for me to snuggle under. Trading her scent for his.

I want to wake up to her smiling so happy to see me peering over the rail of her crib. Her feet kicking down in anticipation of a new day. "Good Morning Sweet P" I will tell her as I tuck her warm body onto mine. As she makes her little noises in my ear and grabs at my face with her hands.

I will be able to feed her homemade organic purees - the only thing I can really master in the kitchen. Grateful to have access to healthier food choices for her. All while my husband whips me up a delicious breakfast - which is never just reserved for Mother's Day.

I hope to spend the day napping in a hammock, feeling fresh air on our faces and perhaps enjoy listening to the sound of waves as they kiss the shore. Dip our toes into the cold Pacific Ocean, set up a tent on the beach.

I want a day where we are all together enjoying this life. Instead of focusing on tomorrow or next week or next year. Focus on the now. How little she is now. How young David and I are right this very second. How lucky we are to have health, to have family, to have friends, for this life.

What I really want is for every mama that desires this to feel this.

For mama's who are struggling with infertility for that baby they are wishing so badly for.
For mama's who have dealt with the grief of a miscarriage.
For the mama's who stays at home and wants some adult conversation.
For the mama's praying for a sick baby to feel better.
For the mama's who work but wish so bad to be home.
For the mama's that want to be pampered.
For the mama's that need a nap.
For the mama's waiting for their Gotcha Day.
For the mama's who's only babies have four legs and fur.
For the mama's who do it all by themselves.

For every single mama out there (which clearly is more than I have listed) - I hope you have a day just like this.

A day that makes you happiest no matter what kind of mama you are.

You deserve it.


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Can't Live Without It: Bronzer

I'll be the first one to admit that back in my teenage years (yikes college too!) I was a fan of tanning beds. I found them relaxing to lay down in, affix my heart sticker (to see how tan I was getting) and chill out listening to music. Luckily I came to my senses that doing this to my skin was not only awful but it was harmful to my health.

So now to get that faux glow I've become a fan of spray tanning for special occasions and wearing bronzer daily. Seriously, I don't leave home without it on.

The First Resort
I purchased this last year and it's been my go to. I liked how it had a small amount of sparkle in it. It's marked down to $24.50 now but looks to be out of stock (possibly discontinued?). Which of course is when I am starting to run out of it.

I have always been a big fan of NARS (especially this blush!) So I think for 2015 this will be my go to. Anyone use it? Love it? Hate it? It has a rating of 5 stars with almost 3,000 reviews!

NARS Bronzing Powder
So this is my current can't live without...because if you can't tone it, tan it! Plus I can make my face look skinnier with this I am all about the HAC. (Highlighting and Contouring)

Do you have a favorite bronzer? Do tell!

Your turn to link up with Stephanie, Caitlin & myself to tell us what you can't live without! Grab the button and link below!



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Loving Lately: Etsy



I have so much love for Etsy and all the unique treasures you can find and buy. We all know that I love me some Baby Gap but I also love putting P in outfits that not everyone else is purchasing. Also it always feels great supporting someone's small business and passion. Secretly I would start an Etsy shop just selling rompers if I could. Which I suppose I could but then I would need to learn how to sew...

Anyways, none of these are affiliate links just shops that support the "makers". I already snagged that middle romper. How could I not, poms + floral = love.

What are some of your favorite Etsy shops?
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Pulitzer & Privacy

I feel like once I say this next thing I am going to get some mean comments...but you guys I don't get it.

I don't get the Lilly Pulitzer obsession.

Is it because I am on the west coast? Because I understand the obsessions with monograms, but Lilly? I'm just kinda clueless. I mean it's cute, it's bright - holy heck it's patterned.

I went to Target to browse it. (By it I mean all of maybe 12 items left in the store) and sure I bought two little things for P. This dress and these shorts (the shorts are freaking cute) but I still was questioning why I needed them. Then I was turned off of it when I saw it all over Instagram and eBay being up sold. Why are people so damn greedy?

Here is the kicker (something I actually learned in college). Target very PURPOSELY does not carry enough product during a limited release of anything. (Think black Friday, think new Xbox, think Frozen) This is because all they want is for you to get to the store. Once you're at the store, even if everything of what you wanted is sold out, you will still purchase items. Think around the holidays, you promise your daughter a Frozen Elsa costume. Odd...none in stock. So you purchase something else to make up for not having the Elsa costume. Then when it eventually comes back in stock (because it usually does) you will return to the store yet again to purchase it. See how they win there? Supply purposely does not meet demand in hopes that you will buy MORE.

Anyways that's just a mini rant there is a far more important blog you should read today and that is Stephanie's talking about protecting our littles on the internet.

I share by nature. It's who I am. But being public and being public on the internet is scary. While I always will share photos of my life. I think it's important to reassess every once in a while how much is too much. My photos from here on out will be watermarked in hopes that they will never be stolen or used without my permission.

I love having a sneak peek of other people's lives. How they dress their children. The birthday soirees and adventures they plan. I find so much inspiration from other mama's. And because I try and always see the good in the world I will continue to share my family in the same way - just with a little added protection.

Just a little food for thought on this Monday morning.

Lilly lovers don't hate me...

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Can't Live Without It: Nifty Fifty

I hope you will join Stephanie, Caitlin and me! It's super easy, tell us one thing you simply cannot live without, grab the button and link your blog below. Link up's are always a great way to find other blogs and have people discover yours. If you're new to blogging or a seasoned pro we hope you join us!

This week I didn't have to think long about what my can't live without item is and if you're a rookie DSLR girl like myself this needs to be in your camera bag.

*Edit: Apparently Cait and I were sharing brainwaves when we posted about the exact same thing!!

Canon EF 55mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens
A couple of birthday's ago David had bought me a Canon Rebel T4i and while I was so excited to use it, I had no clue how to operate it. Sure it took pretty great photos in auto mode but I had a strong desire to really learn how to use it. I read some books, watched some youtube tutorials and then decided I needed what everyone was calling the "nifty fifty" (Nikon version here).
This is the lens I use almost 100% of the time. It's affordable and once you begin to figure out aperture, shutter speed and ISO it becomes all the better. My photos have gotten so much better since I have been only using manual mode. Forcing myself to learn!

This lens is a prime lens meaning you cannot zoom in or out. If you want to get farther or closer you physically have to move your feet (my husband hates that part). But because it is a prime lens that is how I am able to get those gorgeous blurry backgrounds. The smaller f number you use (aperture), the more light it allows in. The more in focus your subject (or wherever you place your focus) and the blurrier the background.

I have started to look into a macro lens (for those super small up close details) would love to hear any suggestions if you have one. Don't want anything that will break the bank either!

Your turn!



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Tooth Woes

I have to say thank goodness we cannot remember what getting teeth feels like. I can only imagine it's painful (those suckers are sharp!) and sometimes they make my usually sweet baby pretty fussy. Worst part is this is only one - goodness how many teeth do baby even get? Any good tips for soothing sore gums throw them at me. Because that baby that slept through the night (you know all of the TWO times she has done it) yeah she is way over that.

Send coffee.

Don't forget to link up with us for Can't Live Without it! Link goes live at 6pm PST tonight so make sure you join us and dish about one thing you are loving. Grab the image below and you're all set! 

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Loving Lately: Floral Edition

Surplice Romper  I always love the idea of rompers but never have the gusto to pull them off.

Pansy Top: Further fueling my Rifle Paper Co. obsession

Crinkled Split Back Top

Kate Spade iPhone 6 case
Shanice Tank

Floral Baby Gap sweatshirt: So tempted to buy this in a larger size since it's marked down to $9.99! This is one of my favorite things of P's and I will be so sad when she grows out of it!
BP Floral Watch

Happy Shopping!
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Monday, Monday

Ahh Monday, you never fail to come right as the weekend starts to get relaxing. This weekend we enjoyed some beautiful weather up in the wine country. One of my best friends is having her second baby and we all attended her sprinkle. It was a fun day but lots of time in the car. Luckily P is such mellow baby and didn't get fussy.
Other than that the weekend was pretty low key! David bought all the veggies for our garden on Sunday and I spent ALL DAY making baby food and snapping this ones mug. Also wanted to say thank you to everyone who linked up on Friday for our new Can't Live Without It series. We hope you join us this Friday in case you missed out last week!

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Can't Live Without It: Fluttered Maya Blouse

It's here! Day one of our new linkup, I hope you will join Stephanie, Caitlin and me! It's super easy, tell us one thing you simply cannot live without, grab the button and link your blog below. Link up's are always a great way to find other blogs and have people discover yours. If you're new to blogging or a seasoned pro we hope you join us!
This week's can't live without is my new favorite blouse from Anthropologie. I spotted it thanks to my sister in law who had it hanging up on her recent visit home. So natch when I got my birthday 15% coupon (If you're not an Anthro member sign up it's free!) and an Anthro giftcard from my sister for my birthday I knew just what I was getting.  Flattering to most body sizes (especially post baby!) and comes in a variety of adorable prints. 

I selected it in yellow because I wanted to match my mini!
Now tell us...what can't you live without?


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#choosebeautiful



Dove just released a new commercial asking women to #choosebeautiful and it's striking a chord.

We place so much pressure on ourselves to look a certain way, dress a certain way, appear a certain way. Even after we do all of that how many of us would still choose the door marked "average"? I was thinking to myself what door would I choose and so many different scenarios played in my head.

In college I would have chosen beautiful. I was thin (without even trying), tan and living it up no worries with all my friends in San Diego.

As a pregnant person I would have chosen beautiful, because even though most days I felt like a whale I was still in awe that my body was growing a life. I felt good and those kicks and jabs only solidified that I was indeed beautiful.

As a new mom often (but not always) I would probably choose average - or perhaps try and find another entrance! So this made me think - why would I think of myself now as only average and my past selves as beautiful. And also if my past selves were my present self...would I still choose beautiful?

Then I got to think about my daughter and how I hope she never chose any other door than beautiful.

Where I see my chubby cheeks, she sees something soft to hold. Where I curse those extra pounds around my waist, my husband tells me I am sexy. Those lines around my eyes are earned with laughter and love because I am lucky to be surrounded by it. I am quite certain that beautiful has many different interpretations and for this I am grateful.

So today and everyday I am going to teach Presley and reteach myself to always

#choosebeautiful

I challenge you to do the same.

Well played Dove.

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Four

Since today's post is a late one I am jumping on the bandwagon of Emily, Shelby, Ally & Natalie!

4 nicknames:

Blee
Nai (pronounced Nay)
Biz
Laur

4 jobs I've had:

Sales Associate at Baby Gap (Ahh foreshadowing of my favorite baby store?!)
Nanny
Sales Associate at a sunglass kiosk (wtf was I thinking?)
Commercial Property Management

4 movies I've watched more than once:

Dirty Dancing
The Notebook
Knocked Up
How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days

4 things in my purse:

A toy of P's
Loveswept perfume
a (now empty) box of jujubees
sunglasses

4 books I would recommend:

The Other Boelyn Girl (My fav!!) If you're into things like Dowtown Abbey you will love this book!
The Girl on the Train current read for book club and really liking it!
Two Kisses for Maddie you can also read Matt's blog HERE. He doesn't update it all that regularly but you will find some gems in his old posts.
A Dog's Purpose every dog lover needs to read this book!
 4 cars I have owned:

1993 Green Honda Accord (Named Turbo)
1994 Red Toyota Celica (Named Roxy)
2002 Red Honda Accord (Named Val)
2013 White Toyota 4Runner (Named Betty)

4 places I have visited:

Italy
Hawaii
New York
Spain
 The gorgeous Na Pali coast in Kauai on our honeymoon

4 places to visit on my bucket list:

Africa to go on a safari (#1!)
Bora Bora
Tahiti
Southern Italy

4 of my favorite foods:

French Toast
Watermelon
Lasagna
Cheese

4 television shows I watch:

Nashville
Parenthood (Slowly getting caught up on Netflix)
The Affair (SO GOOD!)
Reality anything (sad but true those Teen Mom's are captivating for some reason)
4 things I am looking forward to in 2015:

Summer
Swim lessons I just signed up for with P!
Our annual 4th of July trip to Trinity
Hopefully at some point being able to stay at home


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Little Bunny Foo Foo + New Linkup!

We had such a nice long weekend, the first half spent with friends, the second spent with family. We didn't do anything too crazy except you know I was whipping out my camera and shoving it aggressively in P's face. The thing is she is SO much more cooperative than my husband when it comes to photo taking. Can I get an AMEN if your hubby can be a total pill when it comes to snapping photos?!

This kid I tell ya she is the biggest blessing I have ever received.

Also I have some fun news! I teamed up with two of my favorite bloggers, Steph & Cait to bring you a new Friday link up!

Can't Live Without It
Just tell us one thing you can't live without and link back to us by grabbing the above image! Fancy or simple, expensive or practical? Paul Walker or Paul Walker...wait, what? Sorry I got sidetracked (because the universe can be cruel and we are forced to live without him!) Hope you join us!!

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My Rescue

I can never quite articulate the amount of joy that Finn has brought into our lives. He is a constant companion, an explosion of fur, a tailless wonder. I can still remember the day I drove to Stockton to pick him up after David found him on Petfinder.

I was nervous.

Would he like me? Would I know right away? What on earth was I getting myself into?
When I put my hand on that chain link fence and he put his paw to mine - it was sealed. I didn't even need to hold him, play with him or simply interact with him.

He was ours and more importantly we were his.


Happy 5 years together buddy - to many, many more.

xo
mama

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Bathroom Renovation

When we moved into our house just a little less than four years ago we started making some updates to it even though it's a rental. It was a win/win with our landlord, he would pay for the updates and we David would provide the labor. For the most part the updates have been cosmetic. Paint here, new fixture there. Nothing too crazy.

But then I had a baby and started to look at everything differently - especially the bathroom. So I thought I would ask our landlord if we could replace the bathroom flooring (VCT tile - yuck!) and the vanity with something a bit nicer. I totally thought he was going to say no, but I always ask....just in case. To my surprise he came back with a yes!

What was supposed to be a small project turned into a complete renovation. I am talking total gut  job. Turns out when David took out the tub and the shower surround he discovered we had a nasty case of dry rot. Luckily he knows how to replace it but that added on some time to our renovation schedule.
And while a lot of the updates we made we wouldn't necessarily choose in our own home one day (we did not tile the shower, instead kept with an adhesive backer. Choosing lower end finishes and such) it was a great learning experience for the both of us.

This bathroom is TINY so making it all fit and looking pretty (and staying within budget) were our main objectives! (Okay well making it look pretty was mine, everything else was David)
David again showed me how handy he is and I showed myself that doing a bathroom renovation when you only have ONE bathroom is a true test of patience and your marriage! Remember that surprise sprinkle I threw? Yes, the toilet was in my front yard about two hours prior to my guests arriving. What can I say we work well under pressure.

Like a total rookie - I have no before photos. But it was bad. Think formica counter tops, chipped tub, VCT tile and rubber baseboard.

Here is our after:

(before I changed everything on these Restoration Hardware inspired shelves)
I love the way it turned out and I am pretty sure our landlord will love the increased revenue it brings him when we move out! Plus there is something so satisfying about knowing your bare butt is the first one in a new tub! ;)

Sources:

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