August 29, 2014

Mini-{Sister}-Style: 10 = 16

Today I've got a special treat! My sister volunteered to let me create a mini-style capsule from her wardrobe. She generously allowed me to photograph her and post it here on the blog. That's a sister for ya! Most of you know, but if not, she's my twin sister. :)

We created these looks from ten pieces: a checkered blouse, tank top, floral blouse, bohemian blouse, polka-dot blouse, red jeans, shorts, maxi skirt, dress, and cardigan. Here are some closer shots of the outfits:

I love her various patterns, they were so fun to play with! Patterns are fantastic, especially if you enjoy a more monochromatic wardrobe. They're easy to mix because the consistent colors tie outfits together but the pattern creates interest. It's a fun way to spice your wardrobe capsule and help it stretch further.

Hope you enjoyed this month's mini-sister-style! Wishing you a great weekend.

August 27, 2014

No Sugar? Wha--?

Year of No Sugar caught my attention because it's something I would never do -- give up sugar for a year? No! I love my pancakes and brownies too much. So naturally, I was highly intrigued.

The author, Eve O Schaub, tells how her family abstained from added sugar for an entire year. Impressed that she talked herself into it, I was completely enthralled that she convinced her family to do it with her! I couldn't resist knowing how they survived, so I snagged a copy. 

I finished it in two days. Yeah. It was that good.

Reading their story pricked my sugar loving soul. Her writing was so fun and engaging, dang it! I was in the middle before I realized she was changing my mind.

I won't spoil her story for you but she has powers; I've gone three days without added sugar. And I'm a girl who can put a block of fudge away by herself! No sugar?? Oddly, it's not been as difficult as I imagined, but then again . . . it's only been three days.

All I know is my happy little sugar world has been shaken; now it seems more bitter than sweet.

This book is a delightful, humorous read full of foibles and honesty. She doesn't preach, but her story is persuasive and compelling. As for your relationship with sugar, well . . . consider yourself warned!

August 25, 2014

Favorite Summer Posts

Now that summer is winding down, I thought it'd be fun to do a roundup of favorite summer posts here on the blog, in case you missed them.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

August 22, 2014


I've been painting...these girls.

I've been eating...pineapple fried rice.

I've been watching...Emma Approved on YouTube

What've you been up to lately?

August 20, 2014

Nobody's Perfect ~ Do You Believe That?

Nobody's perfect. I've heard those words many times, but the truth is, I struggle with believing other people can achieve perfection and do.

I look at others and assume their success, their thriving gardens, their beautiful homes, their intimate relationships just...happened. That they, in their perfect worlds, didn't have to fight or work for it.

I imagine they come home from work each day to a beautiful home that never gets messed up and that their garden thrives with the rain of a thousand thunderstorms...

You get the point. Now of course I don't consciously think this, but I find myself believing it when I'm struggling. When I start to compare myself and think things like, "I'll never, I can't, I don't..." All those negative thoughts that don't get me anywhere but sitting on the side of my dreams doing nothing, going nowhere.

And even though I will tell you all day that nobody's perfect, I still have to punch those feelings away that there are people who are. I've learned to recognize the signs and stop myself mid-thought. My best attack method is being grateful. It's impossible to focus on what's not perfect when you're bubbling with gratefulness for your life.

So even though those thoughts still pop up, I'm learning to counter them by soaking in the beauty of life right now; while imperfect, it's full of gorgeous moments I need to notice.

If this is a struggle for you too, how do you fight against believing in perfection?

August 18, 2014

5 Non-Fiction Books I'm Reading

I've become a bit of a non-fiction junkie. I think it's because I can put down those type books without feeling mortal peril about what's happening to a character.

Don't worry, I'm still a big fan of fiction, but I have to schedule it in because when I'm immersed in a story, it's a struggle to re-enter the real world until I know all has been resolved (aka: completing the book).

Here are 5 non-fiction books I'm reading:

1. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. I expected to be laughing hysterically the entire way through, but some of the parts were slow for me. However, the parts that were funny were REALLY funny.

2. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. I'll be honest, I didn't love this one. Maybe I just didn't get it but it felt like a half-written memoir trying to be a how-to book. I kept waiting for the steps and it never got there.

3. Choose Yourself by James Altucher. Okay, I know that title sounds a little narcissistic but the jest of the book is more about helping you strive to be a better version of you. It's a vulnerable and inspiring book.

4. Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. I loved his last book and I love this one! I always finish his books feeling motivated and ready to do work.

5. Budget Bytes by Beth Moncel. She has an amazing way of making cooking seem easy. Her recipes are made with simple ingredients and she makes it affordable. Easy and affordable? Sign. me. up!

What are you reading lately? Any books you'd highly recommend?

August 15, 2014

Paint + Words

I have a passion for both art and words. But I've hesitated about putting words on my paintings because I felt it was too childish or that maybe people might not get it or think it was silly or maybe just not artsy enough.

But the truth is, I adore children's art; people don't always "get" me; I am silly and I can be the one to determine artsy-enough. Why shouldn't my art reflect these parts of me? So I'm letting it. And you know what? I love it. I love putting little thoughts on my paintings. I love handwriting them. Even as a little girl, I enjoyed hours of handwriting. (Doesn't everyone?)

So now my art and words are colliding into something that feels very vulnerably me, although it looks very playful. I think it feels vulnerable because I'm opening my heart in a new way.

It feels good ~ it feels right; so I'm sticking with it. I'm also working hard to have a pre-opening of my shop by the end of this month for blog readers and Facebook fans. I know it's taken awhile, but I've had a big learning curve. I'll let you in on my struggles later. For now, I'm just painting as often as I can so I'll have my shop full by launch!

Hope you enjoyed these peeks!

August 13, 2014

Fears of Pursuing Dreams

I've been open about pursuing a few of my dreams here on the blog, so I thought it might be interesting to share some fears I've had about doing them.

Pursuing a dream can be:

1. Vulnerable.

It feels incredibly exposed to even admit you have a dream. It's like opening your soul to let the world see that you want something. It feels a little like setting a feather on the end of your open fingers and hoping it'll stay there in high wind.

But the other option is even less desirable ~ never even attempting to follow your dream. Holding onto that hope and hiding it away like a hoarder. 

2. Terrifying.

What if this doesn't work? Will I look like a fool? What if it goes nowhere? These are just a few of the thoughts making any pursuit terrifying. I often remind myself: anything worth doing is worth the risk!

3. A lot of work.

This is a no-brainer, but sometimes the amount of work can be totally underestimated. I definitely underestimated a good portion of opening an online shop. I've struggled with lots of bumps in the road of what looked like an effortless plan. But I know in the end, all that hard work will be worth it!

4. Not how you expected.

This is most certainly a definite. Sometimes our dreams take different shapes at different times. Or maybe what started as one thing will morph into something completely different. Mine have morphed several times now.

5. Exactly what you want.

As silly as it sounds, this can be the most frightening thought of all. I read somewhere that the fear of success keeps many people from taking a first step. Funny how our minds work, isn't it? But I totally get it. 

I've had moments of sheer panic when I thought, "What if this actually works?" Sounds funny because, of course I want it to work! But I think it's the responsibility following it that makes that thought scary.

Do you have fears about pursuing a dream?

August 11, 2014

If I Made a 100 Things List

I'm not quite to this point of minimalism yet, but I love imagining what 100 Things I would keep if I whittled things to that number. I don't usually include things like furniture or dishes, just a list of my personal items ~ as if I were a world traveler with only a bag full of stuff. I especially love creating this list when I feel the need to de-clutter. It reminds me of what I really use and helps me let go of the rest.

My Imaginary 100 Things List:


  • Laptop & charger
  • Laptop case/purse
  • Phone & charger
  • Camera & batteries
  • Tripod
  • Kindle fire
  • Sunglasses
  • Glasses
  • Contacts
  • Hair dryer
  • Comb
  • Curling/flat iron
  • Hairspray
  • Travel makeup bag
  • Toiletries bag
  • Journal
  • Bible
  • Favorite pen
  • Art supplies {one bag}
  • Lip balm
  • Lotion
  • Water bottle
  • Travel mug
  • Good coffee
  • Carry-on suitcase


{Yes, I have a Kindle but I'd store some of my books because I can't quite give them up. This is my list today.}

  • Juicy Pens and Thirsty Paper
  • Bird by Bird
  • Steal Like an Artist
  • Daring Adventures in Paint
  • Flying Lessons
  • Painted Pages
  • Creative Call
  • Hidden Art
  • A Beautiful Mess Photo Book Idea
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Harry Potter (all 7)
  • Crooked River
  • Fairies of Dreamdark
  • Julie and Julia
  • Eat, Pray, Love
  • This I Know
  • For Women Only
  • Seven
  • A Million Miles in a Thousand Years


Clothes ~ all seasons:
{In my imagination, I'd probably store one season in a box at my friend's house, while traveling with the other}:

  • T-Shirt
  • T-Shirt
  • T-Shirt
  • T-Shirt long-sleeve
  • T-Shirt long-sleeve
  • Blouse summer
  • Blouse summer
  • Blouse summer
  • Blouse winter
  • Blouse winter
  • Blouse winter
  • Swimsuit
  • Shorts
  • Shorts
  • Skirt
  • Skirt
  • Little black dress
  • Casual dress
  • Jeans
  • Jeans
  • Pants wool
  • Yoga pants
  • Sweater
  • Sweater
  • Cardigan
  • Cardigan
  • Sweatshirt
  • Jacket military
  • Jacket professional
  • Trench coat
  • Wool Coat
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear/socks{one zipper pouch}
  • Ballet flats
  • Decorative flats
  • Wedge sandals high
  • Wedge sandals medium
  • Gladiator sandals flat
  • Flip-flops
  • Toms
  • Boots
  • Loafers
  • Moccasins
  • Hiking boots
  • Tennis shoes
  • Scarves {one small bag}
  • Jewelry {one bag}
  • Wedding ring


I'm curious, what would be some of the things on your list if you pared down to 100?

August 8, 2014

5 Movies I Want to See

1. Begin Again
Same director as Once? Oh yeah, I'll be watching this one.

2. Chef
This looks like a feel-good-triumphant (and hilarious) story. Plus, food.

3. Magic in the Moonlight
Colin Firth + Emma Stone. Enough said.

4. Third Person
A thoughtful twist on living your life in third person.

5. Wish I was Here
This looks like inspiring story about parenting better ~ living your life better. Just the kind of story I like to see.

August 6, 2014

Engaging in Life this Summer

While I don't usually love summer weather, I do love the break from busier months. I love the slower pace, the quiet mornings (while my kids sleep in), the no-rush-to-get-anywhere kind of days. It's deliciously simple.

I often plan on getting oogles done around the house and in the yard during the summer, but I never achieve half of it. I'm learning to be okay with that. I'll probably have time after my kids leave the nest to work on that stuff.

For now, I'm soaking up the savory days of summer and trying to make sure I'm totally engaged. We've had a whole lot more time to hang out as a family and talk and ponder deep thoughts, as well as laugh deep belly laughs.

I want to remember this well. I'm trying to take at least one picture a day to remind myself of what this season was like, but I don't want my goal to be the pictures. I want to engage in each moment, each very precious, tender moment.

Have you see this video about the five year old girl crying for how cute her little baby brother is and not wanting him to grow up? It's precious. I'll admit, I cried with her. I know that feeling of thinking it'll all be over too soon and you don't want the beauty of this season to be gone. But I've found that all the other seasons are just as beautiful. There's heartbreak and brilliance to be found in them all.

So I'm attempting to stay completely engaged and relish each little moment of adventure and quietness.

How's your summer going? What are you engaged in?

August 4, 2014

Chalk Art: Porch

I wanted to try a chalk art design and thought a welcome sign would be perfect for our porch.

I started by creating a small space for the message in the middle with dark gray. The design was inspired by a mirror I saw hanging at one of our favorite restaurants. But instead of a mirror, I made a box to put the word "welcome" in and instead of neutral shades, I added brighter colors to the surrounding area.

It definitely cheered up our entryway. I think I'm going to enjoy this little sign for as long as it lasts.

What do you think I should chalk art next? Maybe a porch "rug"?

August 1, 2014

Five August Goals

Let's review last month's goals and see how I tally up:

1. Make healthy popsicles. Yes! I managed to do this a little; but I'd like to make some more before summer is officially over. Here's my combination of peach yogurt strawberry popsicles.

2. Make another capsule wardrobe post for July. Done! Although I didn't get to show you all twenty-five outfits, I at least got to show you these twelve. Next month I'll be sharing a surprise guest's capsule with you! So excited. (You may've already guessed who!)

3. Wear nail decals. Finished this one just in the nick of time! We're celebrating a special birthday for my Mom this Saturday, so I wanted to have nails pretty for that.

4. Do something nice for the people who helped us during our house crisis. I started this but didn't get it finished. Guess I can't really count what I didn't complete...but maybe a half point?

5. Chalk art. Yes! I'll be showing my chalk-art porch project next week; it was SO fun to do. I'm thinking of "chalking" a rug on the back patio to see if I like it enough to paint one.

Four out of five again! Hey that's 80%; I give myself a B+. :D

Now onto my five August goals:

1. Read Show Your Work and get super inspired! Austin Kleon's last book Steal Like an Artist, stole my heart. It was just what I needed to propel my art projects forward; so I'm beyond excited about his next book. It's exactly what I'm needing at this point in my journey!

2. Paint three new paintings (at least!). I'm having so much fun painting lately. I've been trying out a slightly different style and really loving it. I set a low goal of three paintings this month because I don't want to overwhelm myself with all the school stuff beginning. {But secretly I'm hoping I'll slam that number into the ground with all I get done.}

3. Add one new movement to my day. Since I'm trying to move more; I want to add another active movement to my day. Maybe yoga...maybe more consistent walking of my dog. I'm not sure yet, but I'm on a good path with this and want to continue it!

4. Go on an adventure to see the blue whale. My youngest daughter has been dying to see this quirky statue of a blue whale. We want to take her before school starts and things get crazy.

5. Open a business bank account. This sounds overly simple but I've been ridiculously procrastinating it and it's super important. It's holding me up because I want all my business pieces into place before I open my shop. This probably should've been done long ago, steps.

What are your thoughts for August?

{See July's goals here and September's goals here}