Threads/Shine Project Bracelets

Loving: the Threads bracelets that Ashley from The Shine Project sent over for me (pictured above). They're so pretty and I've been wearing them almost non-stop for the past couple of days. They make me really happy, and they're even cooler because they're for a truly great cause. A little more about them via The Shine Project: Threads is a cause driven business that changes the future of at risk youth by employing them and instilling values of self reliance and hard work. They are paid fair wages for the bracelets they make, and in turn are able to pay their way through school. Many of Threads employees are first generation college students. Even beyond financial support, your belief in them is symbol of hope and trust that they can achieve what for so long seemed impossible. By purchasing Threads you are wearing more than just a bracelet, you are wearing change. You can buy your own bracelets here- my personal favorite is the neon yellow- so cute!

Reading: I'd like to say that this past week has been full of reading but every time I have a free moment to pick up a book I end up falling asleep and accidentally napping. It's terrible! It's my goal to get my sleeping back on track and go to bed earlier than 11. I wake up in the morning to work out even if I'm tired which is totally counterproductive to being healthy, so I need to just wind down with reading a lot earlier. This holiday weekend will be a little crazy but next week I'm hoping to stick to my goal of a no-later-then-11pm rule. Amber's in town though, so we'll see how that goes...and let's also note that the current time is 11:09pm. Oops.

Watching: The Bachelorette. If you are a regular reader of this blog you know I love this show, and this season has been great. I am so all about Jef- his personality reminds me a lot of Hank's and I think he is the cutest thing ever. Some of my Bachelorette-watching friends disagree that he'd be a great match for Emily but I totally think he would be! This Monday are the hometown dates and it's always my favorite episode of every season. Do you watch? Who is your pick for Ms. Maynard?

Anticipating: A couple of things. One, this weekend. It's our town's Frontier Days which is always such a great time. Henry walked in the Kiddie Parade this morning, and we have the big parade tomorrow morning. Later that night is the rodeo dance, and Sarah and Natalie are coming up to go out with my girlfriends up here. THEN Amber Joy gets into town, and is here for two weeks. So much fun!

Listening to: Right now I've been listening to a couple bands and songs NON-STOP, and they're all really different that it's almost weird. First of all, it's important to note that Hank detests country music. Detests it! I, on the other hand, happen to love it. I'm a pretty strange bird when it comes to music- I go from rap to country to classical all in the same playlist. I tell you this though because the other day Henry and I were playing in the living room listening to music and my current favorite country song came on (Springsteen by Eric Church) as Hank walked in the door from work. The look of disgust that came across his face was priceless. I of course had to turn it up and do a little two step around our kitchen island, and then turn on some Shania. Take that, country music hater! I don't know why I find it so funny that he dislikes it so much, but I do! I think his least favorite country song ever though would have to be that Country Girl Shake it for Me song by Luke Bryan. I get made fun of a lot for that one. But on a different musical note, I also have been listening to the band Such Gold all day, every day. They're a melodic hardcore band, and although I don't listen to much hardcore these days I absolutely love them. They're touring with Strung Out and The Swellers pretty soon and I can't wait to see them live for the first time.

Planning: My trip to NYC! I'm headed out that way in exactly 3 weeks to stay with Emily in Brooklyn, and I can't wait. She already has a million things planned for us to do both in BK and Manhattan, but we are both always open to suggestions. So if you have any must-dos, must-sees, etc. please let me know. I'd love it, actually!

Working on: being less irritable. Ugh, it pains me that I even have to work on that but it's true. Sometimes I can be so snippy with Hank for no reason and I hate it. Or I often find myself getting annoyed at people throughout the day. For instance today there was a woman in front of me at the grocery store who was taking so long to decide what book of stamps she wanted. I literally wanted to scream. And then I caught myself, thinking what the hell is wrong with ME?! When did I become so impatient and easily annoyed? So, I'm trying to just be a bit more light-hearted and stop focusing on weird things that I have no control over.

that all of you could join my girlfriends and me at the Rodeo Dance tomorrow night. It's seriously such a slice of Small Town, USA, and it's totally worth experiencing. If I remember I'll try to take some video with my iphone to share on Sunday!

How about you? What are you up to today? Feel free to do your own "currently" post on your blog and link back in the comments for everyone to check out. And thanks again to my dear friend Megan for providing the original inspiration for these posts.

Side Table and a Chair

I finally bit the bullet and tried Annie Sloan Paint.
I couldn't decide whether I wanted Old White or Paris Gray so I bought them both.
Although I haven't found anything to paint in Paris Gray I experimented with Old White...
My first project was one of two french bergere chairs I bought off craigslist for my daughters room...
(I'm in the process of reupholstering them).
I want to be honest with you, I did NOT like annie sloan for this chair.
This paint leaves some serious brush strokes that are hard to get use to...
I hated the way it made the cane look chunky.
I'm not a professional painter, but I stopped while I was ahead and called it a day.
I'll have to spend some quality time sanding this beautiful chair another day.
My next victim was, a small red table I bought at kirklands a few years ago.
I'm trying to "weed" out the red so I went ahead with it...
Here it is now...
I seriously LOVE it!
I distressed it a tad...
And gave it some clear wax...
Would I buy Annie Sloan again? Probably not...
Have you tried Annie Sloan on cane?
Thank you so much for stopping by!


4th of July Kiddie Parade

Every year our town has a 4th of July Kiddie Parade, and all of the kids and their parents get decked out to walk around the square. This was the 71st year of the parade, and Henry's Grandpa actually walked in it himself as a child, many years ago! Neat, right? This morning was Henry's very first time participating. He wasn't too into it- he was hot and cranky (as you can tell in the photos), but overall I think he had a good time looking at all of the neat sights and listening to the band. We walked with our friends, and pulled our little decorated wagon up and around the square. There were so many great floats and we are absolutely inspired to go a little over the top next year and WIN something! After the parade all of the participants met in front of the courthouse for awards and ice cream, and then we headed on home so little Henry could finally take his nap.

Tomorrow morning is the actual 4th of July parade, which is one of my very favorite days ever. I've said it before and I'll say it again- small town living isn't for everyone, but it sure is for me! Today was awesome.

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Want to be a part of Literate & Stylish?

Everything is more fun when EVERYONE can join in, so I wanted to extend an invite to all of you to submit for my Literate & Stylish series. You'll be submitting the actual post I'll put up, and here's what I'd need from you:

1. Email your post to Please put L&S in the subject area.

2. There are three parts to your submission:
  •  Be sure to include your name and blog name in the beginning of the email. If you don't have a blog you can include anything you'd like - your website, twitter name, instagram name, etc.
  • a well-written paragraph or two talking about your favorite book, and why it means so much to you. You can give a very short synopsis so readers can get the main idea (no spoilers please), but the bulk of your writing should include why you love it so much/what it's brought to your life. 
  • 4-5 photos I can choose from. These need to be high-quality, high-res photos (no iPhone pics, please) that show you with your favorite book. You can check out previous L&S posts for inspiration, but you should have your book in the photos with you. I'd love for these pictures to show off your favorite outfit so we can get a good idea of your personal style. Wear something you enjoy, and feel free to get creative with it as far as location, etc. Think library, park, a favorite nook in your home, wherever you want!
Please send your text in the body of the email, and attach the photos. There's no rush or deadline. Just keep in mind that the point of this feature is to share beautiful photos, showing off you, your favorite book, and your personal style. I'm just so excited to see what you all come up with, and so excited to feature some new friends in this space.

So, are you going to submit?

photo courtesy of Diana from Our City Lights, who was my very first Literate & Stylish feature.

Literate & Stylish: Liz from SRSLYLIZ

The premise of Literate & Stylish is simple, and the post is short but sweet- every Thursday I'll be showcasing a lovely lady and her favorite book. She'll share a few pretty photos showing off her personal style, along with her book of choice, and tell us why she loves it. 

from Liz of SRSLYLIZ

Are You There God? It's Me, Judy Blume

Growing up as the oldest of all my sisters has been a rewarding experience over the years. It's been both heartbreaking and awesome seeing them grow up and come of age and witness all of their failures and achievements alike. I often wonder what it would have been like for me to have an older sister to look to for advice and guidance. Luckily for me, I have an amazing mother and I've always had books to turn to and identify with, growing up. Some favorites included The Babysitters Little Sister series and the Beezus and Ramona books. However, the story that resonated with me the most was Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I swear I must have read it a dozen times when I was 13. It talked about all the stuff I was curious of, but too embarrassed to ask anyone about--boys and starting your period. It wasn't a "how-to" guide by any means, but it was relatable and most importantly, reassured me that what I was going through & feeling at that age was normal--something every pre-teen desperately craves. I'll always be fond of this book & hopefully if I have a daughter someday, will encourage her to read it, too.


see previous Literate & Stylish posts here.

Questions for a VLOG (and a little video too)

Did my first little "oooooh" freak you out? I just showed it to Henry and it made him jump! But isn't he the sweetest little thing? I just want to hug and kiss him all day. 

Hi guys! Okay sooo, I think I am going to try my hand at video blogging/vlogging (even though I kind of hate that word) in the next month or two. I feel totally weird about it, but whenever I watch my friend Amber's videos I really enjoy them, and she's slowly given me the courage to try it again too! I still feel a little too awkward to just talk to the camera, so I thought questions might be a good way to start. Years ago, before I had many followers on this blog I used to post weird little videos now and again (like this one and this one) but there's something about so many people watching something that makes me nervous! Whatever though, I'm going to get over it and just have fun.

So, do you have anything you'd like me to answer in my first real vlog? Ask away! Feel free to ask anything- life stuff, blog stuff, whatever- and if you want to leave it as an anonymous comment that's okay too. I'll answer them all.

On Being the Mama of a Boy

downtown June 26th

It's an interesting thing, to think you know what you want, to assume you know exactly what you need, and to then be surprised with something totally different.

Before Henry was even a sparkle in my eye I always thought I wanted a little girl. I'm a girl's girl for sure, and the idea of having a son never crossed my mind, even as a child playing house. But life does as it pleases, and here I am, the proud mama of a little boy, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

While pregnant I just knew I was having a girl. I felt it. And most of my friends thought the same. I was so sure about this that I even had a box full of girl's clothing I started collecting once I became pregnant. Inside the box were vintage dresses, little mary jane shoes, and the prettiest bloomers and hats and sweaters.

So I'm sure you can guess that on our big gender ultrasound day I went into the appointment feeling fairly certain there was indeed a girl in there. I remember arriving at the doctor's office, holding Hank's hand, my 20-week stomach full of butterflies. I remember walking back into the room, so nervous, so hopeful that everything would be okay as they went through the anatomy check. And I remember when the ultrasound technician asked, "Okay guys, do you want to know?" Time stood still for that little moment as we replied, "yes, definitely," all the while both Hank and I silently freaking out.  The technician clicked her mouse a few times, adjusted the probe, and exclaimed "You're having a...BOY!"

I laid there for a second in shock (did she just say boy?!), then started happy-crying as the waves of emotion I'd been holding back hit me all I once. I was happy. Scared. And so, so excited. Our family came into the room and everyone was cheering and shouting and high-fiving each other. I was lost in a sea of eight people's excitement, still stunned and still silently freaking out.

For days I thought about how strange it was to have a boy on the way. How would this even work? A boy? I hadn't planned on this, I had no idea what I'd even do with a boy. But yet there he was, and he was on his way, ready or not.

It's funny to me to look back at the panic I felt thinking about Henry being Henry. It lasted for a few days, and then all of sudden, it became my reality. Of course I was having a boy, of course. I couldn't have imagined anything different.

And now when I hear that sweet "Mamamamamaaaaa!" from across the house, and see my big-little boy come running towards me, full speed ahead, enveloping me into one of his famous bear hugs, I know that this is what my life was meant to be. Trucks and footballs and lots of noise, Star Wars and cut off shorts and Vans sneakers. All boy, all the time.

So for now my box of girls clothing is tucked away, up high on a closet shelf. I'm not sure if I'll ever get a chance to take it down- and really, I'd be totally content if that time never came, much to the surprise of my formerly pregnant self, who couldn't have ever imagined all of these positively "boy" moments that make up my day. In the middle of my tea partying, dressing up dreams, I never thought I'd be playing motorcycles on the ground with a little boy named Henry. And maybe one day he'll want to tea party and dress up too, but for now, motorcycling on the ground is the only place I want to be.

The Great (Intimidating) Outdoors

Thumb Butte Hike, 4/20/12

I grew up in the middle of the woods, surrounded by acres and acres of trees. Most of my memories are of being outside; playing in the dirt, running through the sprinklers on a hot summer day, or exploring the trails that ran through the forest. As I got older though, I started to prefer more indoor activities. I always played sports and still enjoy hiking and trail running, but really spending time outside by way of camping has not always been high on my list of things to do.

Although my family and I did always spend a week or so every summer "camping" down in Cape May and loving it, the campground there (minutes from the beach and equipped with showers, bathrooms, a clubhouse and pool) was the closest I ever got to really roughing it. Later on in college my sorority decided we should take big camping trip into the Flagstaff wilderness, which turned out to be quite the interesting experience. To sum it up, the night consisted of crazy elk rubbing up against our tent while making the strangest noises, Autumn trying to hammer a tent stake in with a piece of wood, only to discover it was a huge piece of hardened animal poop when it crumbled in her hand, and waking up to insane, pouring rain at 5am. Yup. So needless to say it didn't help with my growing distaste for all things outdoors.

But recently something's been happening. I've been having this need to spend time outdoors, to go hiking and climbing, and to sit on top of the hills by our house looking out at our town. I'm not really sure what it is, but there's something about being in the middle of nature that makes me feel more alive than it ever has. And now Hank and I have somehow found ourselves talking about taking our first camping trip as a family.

I have no idea how to camp though. And maybe that phrase is completely ridiculous- maybe you don't need to know how to do something like that, but being a planner, I feel like in order for me to feel prepared and comfortable I need to know how.

So Hank and I made a little goal. Sometime, before it gets cold, we are going to go camping. Nothing crazy. We luckily live smack dab in the middle of prime camping country so it will really just be one night away, basically down the street. We'll start small. We don't own anything camping related so we'll have to do some shopping and borrowing. We have lake gear, beach gear, and one measly backpack for hiking, but no camping stuff whatsoever.

It's bizarre to me that I'm so excited about borrowing a tent and spending the night sleeping on the ground. My old self would have been shocked I would find this so attractive, but it's something I've been drawn to, and something I'd love Henry to grow up enjoying. One of my goals for this year was to try new things, and camping has been on my mind for the longest time.

So I ask any of you seasoned outdoors-men and women, any tips for first timers camping with a toddler?  Or maybe you just want to tell me "Don't over think it and just GO!" just like so many of our more outdoorsy friends have been saying (after they finish making fun of us and talking about how "us camping" is a reality show they'd absolutely subscribe to). Either way, help!

Favorite Things: Tattoo-Inspired Artwork

Happy Sunday! I thought I would share a handful of my favorite tattoo-inspired art from around the web today. I'm a bit brain dead from going to sleep at 3am last night while Shirley was in town, so this will  be a nice non-thinking post before I return tomorrow with something a little more substantial.

Enjoy, and be sure to let me know which one is your favorite!


I discovered Crankbunny and her beautiful creations last year as I was searching Etsy for cute Valentines. I stumbled upon her shop and fell in love. I ended up sending the Tattooed Lady Heart greeting cards to some of my favorite girls and even have one of the cards framed on my desk.  This shop is just too great - and be sure to check out all of the other non-tattoo items also. She makes some beautiful pop up cards too.

Liz Clements

Liz is a talented illustrator who creates some of the most beautiful tattooed women. She sells her works as prints, and also does commissioned pieces and commercial work. I love her style, and I can't wait to add one of her lovely prints to our collection. Check out her Etsy shop, but be sure to stop by her website to see more.

The Black Apple

I've loved the The Black Apple for sometime, but recently I've fallen a bit more in love with her tattooed folks, with the bearded man being my favorite. Emily Martin is so talented and all of her work is so beautifully whimsical that I can't help but adore all of the little characters she creates.

Evan B. Harris

Have you seen this guy's stuff before? I love it. There are various themes running through his pieces- love, death, nautical scenes and even some carnival inspired artwork. It's all so beautiful, and I'd love to have any of his prints or paintings in our home. Check out his site and Etsy shop, too.
Ray Caesar

All of Ray Caesar's paintings have this magical quality to them that really draws you in. This one is my most favorite, but be sure to check out his website for years and years of his archived creations.

Writing on the Wall

My sewing machines "thumb screw" (I had no idea what this was until this week) broke so I had to find other DIY's to do...
Kids are home for summer break and I really didn't want to haul them to any stores for materials...
so my mind started going... and stopped here.

This small wall shares a closet door and my PB knockoff ruler.

Sorry for the poor quality and lighting...

I grabbed my large level, a pencil, paint pen and painters tape...
I measured as I went along, using the painters tape as my guide.

And after going over it twice, here's what I got!

I love it!. I'm planning on putting a wall treatment on the bottom.

Here's a closer shot...

Psalm 23

I didn't stop there... I also made a chalkboard sign for the foyer.

I'm partying over at Domestically Speaking, come check it out! Thanks for stopping by!

Weekend Links

One of the best parts of summer: enjoying delicious, fresh fruit!

Hello! It's Friday, it's a beautiful sunny day, and I have some links to share with you all. I hope your week has been a good one. Mine has been busy, but great. Feeling a little sick today, actually. I'm blaming it on the super spicy Thai food we ate last night. I'm not keeling over, but my stomach just isn't feeling quite right. Ugh. But the show must go on, so when Henry wakes up from his nap we are heading out to do some food shopping and run a few errands. Tomorrow my sweet Shirley comes in for a visit and we have a fun night planned with a few of my girlfriends up here. I'm looking forward to it!

Edit: now it's Friday night and I just got around to finishing this up! It's been a good day. Feeling better and I had a great, productive night. For the past few evenings I've had zero motivation to get anything done around the house but luckily tonight I got back in the groove. Thank you 90s country music for helping me out with that. Garth, Shania and The Dixie Chicks to be specific.

Sending you happy weekend wishes!


Did you win the Pavé Life Giveaway? Head on over and find out.

You all know about my deep love for Vermont all thanks to my Aunt Ellen and Uncle Paul, who we visit in the summer. My Uncle is a very talented photographer and published author, and has recently started a new photography blog. If you have a moment, definitely check it out. It's incredibly inspiring!

Loving Liz's new series, Sites and Bites. I'm excited to read more!

Sarah's post, "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" is really great.

Lime Glazed Mini Bundt Cakes. YUM.

This photo round up has me wanting to go on a road trip!

Pretty necklace. Cute new blog to follow. Fun crochet collared dress.

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Turns 10. A good read.

Sometimes simple treats are the most delicious. I must make these!

Rosemary peach lemonade anyone?

Wow- have you ever seen a pink milkshake-looking lake?

How cute is Vanessa's baby bump!

Love this striped dress.

And speaking of stripes- check out these amazing powder rooms! That yellow!

I really enjoy reading the Parenting Ups and Downs series on Jen's blog.

Neat summer reading flow chart found via Alycia.

This is such a lovely video...ever heard of a S'meach?

"She's just jealous." Interesting little article over on Jezebel.

Beautiful photos of a beautiful place. 

This recipe for a Cherry Coconut Cream tart looks amazing.

Sponsor love: say hello to Rachel, Dani, and a wonderful shop for sunglasses!

And finally, a few blogs I'm loving: one, two and three.

Our 1st Day of Summer

I'm an Autumn girl through and through, but there is something about summer that really gets me excited. Here in Arizona, even up here in Northern Arizona, June 20th doesn't feel like the first day of summer at all- it kind of hits somewhere in early May. But it's still a day to celebrate because really, why not? It's funny because when I was a student and later a teacher, summer always had such a feeling of freedom and always held such promise of adventure. I can still remember that excited feeling of signing yearbooks, teachers letting us act a little crazier than normal, and then that glorious, final bell at the end of the last school day. And even when I was a teacher myself, I can recall finishing my grades, closing up my room, and getting in my car, driving away with the windows down, looking ahead to a wide open summer. Well, that's kind of a romanticized version. In reality no matter how much I had loved the past year, I'd rush to turn my grades in as quickly as possible, literally run out of the school, throw off my confining, tattoo-covering cardigan, breathe out a huge sigh of relief I didn't have to deal with the occasional annoying student anymore, and get the hell out of there. And my windows were actually probably rolled up so no one would want to talk and slow me down. Truth.

But really, besides thinking back to that sweet post-school freedom, to me summer is about family and friends. We always seem to slow down a little more, want to take the long way home, make time for downtown walks and try to eat outside as much as possible. I love it. And since Wednesday was the first day of summer Henry and I decided to enjoy it with a little picnic with friends and ended the night downtown with Hank, eating Mexican food on a park bench and people watching for awhile. Perfect.

Happy summer!

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