To Make / Invigorating Body Oil

 

      Hi there! It's summer, which means it's smooth skin/bare skin season, and I've got the simplest DIY to ensure your skin is moisturized and gorgeous. A body oil is a great alternative to lotions and creams because it soaks in quickly and doesn't leave behind a residue (ew). It's also a lot easier to go all natural, due to lotions typically having way more ingredients and chemicals in general. Get the how-to below!

Ingredients:

- 1 cup of carrier oil (I used a combo of Vitamin E, Sesame, and Safflower oils)

- a peppermint essential oil

- any other kind of scented essential oil (I used tea tree to compliment the peppermint)

- a large amber glass dropper bottle (find online or at your local health foods store!)

Directions:

1. Pour your carrier oil into your bottle. 

2. Add your peppermint oil.

3. Add your choice of essential oil.

4. Shake lightly to combine. Enjoy!

To Style / Favorite Summer Shoes

 

     Good morning! Just wanted to share my essential summer shoes with you today! I can always find a pair I love at probably any store, but I try and keep the hoarding to a minimum. Check out my four picks below!

Favorite Summer Shoes:

- Mules (top left) / These are my go-to shoe for when I want to be a little dressy, but keep the rest of the outfit casual.

- Flat Slide Sandals (top right) / My every day shoe in the summer. It doesn't get much better than a classic and quality leather sandal!

- White Sneakers (bottom left) / Perfect for pairing with a cute mini dress or with denim shorts and a blouse for the park with Bailey. 

- Blush Pumps (bottom right) / These are my favorite dressy heels for any season, but the blush color pairs perfectly with those summer sunsets!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday!

 

To Love / Summer with Bailey

 

     Sunshine. Pure sunshine. For some reason, that's one of the first words that pops into my head when thinking of Bailey. It could be her hair, but I think it has more to do with how her face lights up at the prospect of something new and exciting. This happens often, but it's a constant in these crazy, lazy, hazy days of summer. 

      Summer with Bailey is many things, both good and not as good. Excessive heat and relentless sunshine don't bring out the best in most people, myself included, but especially not a toddler who just wants to play outside, and doesn't really grasp why she can't. It's hard not understanding, so I let her go and see why playing outside isn't really an option. Less than 5 minutes outside in 90 degree heat shows her my reasoning.

       All this is to say that even in the depressing aspects of a season, there's an opportunity for learning. That yes, life isn't always easy, but those hard things mean just as much as the simple things we enjoy. One of our favorite "simple things" to do is pick dandelions, and you would be correct in guessing that we choose the ones in their puff ball state. Why would you pick a little flower over something you can blow into mama's face? It's her happiness in this little activity, and all of the other small ones, that made me fall in love with this summer. 

      Bailey in the summer is wild, free, raucous at times, sweet as the strawberries she picks, and observant of all of the life that's sprung up around her from spring. It's quite the event watching her have her own experiences. From registering the first unforgiving summer storm that she's ever seen roll in, to staring with curiosity at the tiny glimpses of light that are magically emitted from seemingly ordinary bugs, there is much to ogle at in the summer. 

       I'm not sure what fall will bring (although I could give it a few guesses), but I know it will include new experiences for my little one. It's well known that they don't stay little for long, which is the purpose of this documentation. However, the one constant and comfort is that the newness will never fade. 

      Thanks for reading my little ode to the summer of Bailey. Have a fun Thursday + weekend, and I'll see you back here on Monday with one of my favorite subjects: shoes!

All photos by auntie Kristen Williams.

To Assemble / Strawberry Pico Chicken Salad

 

      Hi there! As you may know, I'm in the thick of my Whole 30 health reset. It's going swimmingly so far, and I'm feeling much more confident in being able to make healthier choices once those 30 days are up! What I've enjoyed the most so far about this process is letting my guard down when it comes to new flavors and not just sticking to what's comfortable. I'll try most things once, and if it contributes something new to my palette, then all the better!

     This mindset is what brought me to today's recipe. I'm always looking for ways to get the trifecta of fruit, veggies, and protein all in one dish, because I'm not big on just eating fruit on its own. Unless it's an apple or banana, it's going into a recipe! So, when I was searching for a way to incorporate the massive amount of strawberries I needed to use up (because a certain little toddlers' tastes change on the daily), the thought of strawberry pico de gallo came to me. I'm a huge fan of pico (it's so fresh!), and strawberries add just enough sweetness to whatever they touch. Perfecto! With the addition of a balsamic vinaigrette, the flavors of this salad balance just right, breathing life into something that could easily be bland. Taste for yourself through the recipe below! 

Ingredients:

- a large handful of spinach

- grilled chicken

- 5-6 ripe strawberries

- 1/2 cup of pico de gallo (our local grocery stores all stock fresh pico made there on the daily!)

- 1 avocado

- chives

- 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar

- 1 tsp. of lime juice

- 1 tsp. of olive oil

Directions:

1. Dice your strawberries and mince your chives. Stir these into your pico!

2. Assembly time! Chop up your avocado, and toss together your pico, spinach, and chicken. 

3. Whisk together your vinegar, lime juice, and olive oil. Drizzle on top of your salad. 

4. Serve with the leftover vinaigrette (if there is any!), and enjoy!

For #MomStyle / Matcha at the Lake

 

     Good morning! I'm a big fan of peaceful moments and intentional relaxation. One of my favorite ways to do this pre-Whole 30 was to chill with a glass of wine and a good book, and while I still fully support this method, I've had to modify it for my summer of wellness. I plan to indulge in that glass of wine once my Whole 30 is finished, but for now, I'm finding new ways to unwind! My go-to at the moment is with a matcha latte, preferably lakeside, and yes, a book glued to my side. This combination is so ideal, that the last time it happened, I had Kristen snap some photos to document my happiness! Check out more photos below!

      What pairs better with the lake than overalls? Especially in summery white.

     Overalls are kind of idyllic on their own when it come to mom life. My toddler can't pull down my pants/pull up my shirt, and they have tons of pockets, getting me that much closer to hands-free!

      Just a girl and her matcha. I'm still downing coffee on the regular, but I love any kind of latte, and also anything that makes a beverage more special!

        A lot of people are weirded out by matcha because it's bright green (less so in these photos), but it's so nutritious that I wouldn't expect it to be any other color. 

     It does have a strong green tea taste, but a little cinnamon and almond milk make it a sweet treat. 

       Side note: I'm a big lover of themes, and anytime we go anywhere outdoorsy, the image in my head always has to include enamelware. I can't help myself, I just love turning any situation into it's best self, and this time, that included a "camping" mug nowhere near a campsite!

      Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday! I'll be back tomorrow with a flavor packed bowl recipe!

Wearing: Forever 21 Overalls (past season, similar here) / Asos blouse (past season, simliar here) / Charlotte Russe sandals (past season, similar here)

All photos by Kristen Williams

To Make / Salt Spray for Beachy Waves

 

     Good morning! Today, I wanted to share a fun summer DIY with you! I'm always in the mood for beachy hair in the summer, even though I don't live anywhere near a beach. My natural texture is wavy-curly anyways, so this salt spray just adds a little more definition to it. For the fine hair folks out there, it will breath life into limp hair! Get the how-to below!

Materials:

- distilled water

- macadamia oil

- 1 tsp. of Himalayan Pink Salt

- grapefruit + tea tree essential oils

- an amber glass spray bottle

Directions:

1. Grind up your salt and pour it into the bottle. Then, add water until the bottle is 3/4 of the way full. 

2. Drizzle in a tiny amount of macadamia oil, then add 10 drops each of your essential oils. 

3. Give the bottle a good shake, and spritz onto your hair for mermaid waves! Enjoy!

To Style / Summer Fabrics

 

     As the heat index reaches over the 100's today in sunny Missouri, I thought it appropriate to share my ideal fabrics for summer clothing! When the humidity level reaches above 90%, you don't want to be caught outside in polyester (it retains heat in direct sunlight).  

     When dressing for warmer weather, always reach for your cottons and linens first! They are the most breathable fabrics, and your body will thank you later. Then, for when the temps dip below 70 at night, it's always good to have a light knit piece on hand. My favorite is my slightly open weave maxi cardigan from Urban Outfitters! It has just enough weight to give me the warmth I need for evening summer strolls downtown or sitting on the back porch at the lake house, checking out the stars with Bailey. 

     That's my round-up! Is anyone else as obsessed with cotton in the summer, or is it just me? Have a fun Monday, and thanks for reading!

For Hobbies / Summer

 

      Hi there! The other day, I was thinking about how much more I try to get done during the summer. I guess it's the extra day light, but one of the things I've noticed this season is that I try to pack so much into summer days! It just seems like there is more room that I can choose to fill or not fill (sometimes you have to lounge). This leads me to all of the hobbies I'm constantly rotating. It's become quite a bit, so I've decided to narrow it down to what I've enjoyed most! Check out the list below. 

Summer Hobbies:

- Reading (I'm tearing through The Glass Castle at the moment!)

- Growing and Drying Fresh Herbs (I'm never taking the abundance of herbs that summer weather brings for granted again.)

- Pilates (I've always enjoyed yoga, but transitioned to higher intensity pilates this summer. It's the only exercise routine I've stayed consistent with in awhile! #momlife)

- Flea Market Hunting (Something about the warmer weather drives me to scrounging the flea markets for the ultimate score.)

- Craft Time with Bailey (My mother heavily encouraged creativity in all its forms, and for me and my two sisters, that meant craft central (our craft/kitchen pantry) all summer long. It's been one of the only things I can do to occupy Bailey when it's too hot to go to the park this summer!)

      That's all! What do you do to fill your time in the summer?? Leave a comment below! Have a fun Thursday!

To Make / Iced Matcha Lattes

 

     Hi there! I'm doing the Whole 30 this month, and am on the biggest health kick of my life. I'm not sure why, but it just clicked one day that I want to nourish my body, and not just keep it running but enrich it with all of the good things, and not as much of the bad. Don't get me wrong, I'm a cheese + chocolate lover (one of my nicknames growing up was Mouse), but it's just time for a reset. After the Whole 30, I know that I'll love and appreciate those small indulgences even more, keeping them special and not just for everyday consumption.

    On that note, I've been trying out new things that have major health benefits, which brings us to matcha! Matcha is a powdered green tea that is essential for keeping a healthy metabolism, is full of antioxidants and vitamins, and enhances your mind and concentration. I've been a believer in green tea for awhile, but the powdered version has more flavor and pairs better with almond milk to make a yummy (unsweetened) latte! Get the recipe below!

Ingredients:

- 1 tsp. of matcha

- 1 cup of water

- 1 cup of almond milk

- glass of ice (because it's summmmmer!)

*Note: if you aren't on the Whole 30 and want your latte to be a little sweeter, I highly recommend adding a little honey!

Directions:

1. Boil your water, and add your tsp. of matcha to a shallow bowl. Pour your hot water over the tea and whisk until the tea dissolves. 

2. Chill the tea in the fridge for 15 minutes. (This is only for iced versions, if you want to make a hot version, just add your milk, stir, and enjoy!)

3. Assemble your latte by first pouring your milk over your ice. 

4. Add in your tea. 

5. Stir and enjoy!

For #MomStyle / Independence Day

 

      Good morning! Tomorrow is Independence Day, and half the fun of the holiday for me is picking out a slightly themed outfit including at least one of the good ol' red, white, and blue. My first choice this year is this adorable dress from Charlotte Russe! 

      Not only is it the perfect shade of brick red with dainty white flowers, it's in one of the most flattering cuts out there: a wrap dress. You just can't go wrong! 

     A wrap dress cinches at the waist, accentuating the smallest part of the body. I don't think anyone would say they don't want that! 

       For this outfit, I paired it with my favorite purse and trusty tan sandals. Perfectly dressy but casual enough for daytime! 

     I've been wearing this dress non-stop since I got it. It's definitely a staple! What are you all wearing for this festive holiday? Leave a comment below!      

    Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday! 

To Make / All Natural Bubble Bath

 

     Hi there! I've got a super easy DIY today, and bonus: it's for mamas and kid's alike! All natural bubble bath only has 3 ingredients (try and find that on children's bubble bath!), and it really only requires a couple of pours and a good shake. Get the how-to below!

Ingredients:

- 4 cups of lavender castille soap

- 1/2 - 1 cup of vegetable glycerin (this just depends on how much bubbles you want!)

- 20 drops of tea tree essential oil

Directions:

1. Pour your castille soap into your bottle. Then, add the vegetable glycerin. 

2. Add your essential oil drops.

3. Give the bottle a good shake, and you're done! Enjoy!

For #MomStyle / Downtown

 

     Good morning! Today, I'm sharing another way to style a white t-shirt! White t-shirts + denim are almost as classic/casual you can get. It's a very "Americana" look that is very hard to screw up! Here, I paired my Everlane tee with a 70's style denim mini skirt, mules, and my favorite black bag. See more below!

       Getting to bare my legs in the summer is one of the many things I look forward to each year. Nothing beats the feeling of stepping into the sun without reams of cloth covering your limbs!

      I also really love the vintage details on this skirt. The button front adds a more polished look than that of the denim mini skirts of my youth (think micro lengths with wayyyy too much distressing, and always from Hollister or Abercrombie). 

IMG_2243.jpg

     For accessories, I kept it simple (as always) and in line with the simplicity of the tee. People are getting so creative with bandanas this season, so I decided to try my blush one out on my wrist! Shocking to probably no one, I loved it!

      Another vintage-style aspect is my beloved low-heel mules. I remember my mom having mules in the 90's, and honestly, I'm so happy I get to wear them too! They're surprisingly a great "mom shoe", mostly because they are super stylish yet low-heeled enough that I can wear them everyday, to any activity except jogging (lol, like that would happen anyways). 

      All in all, this is look is somehow on trend yet classic, and cute but in a unique way (thank  you accessories!). It's just what I look for in day-to-day outfits, and I hope you can find some inspiration to wear your white tees in a new way! Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday!

Wearing: Everlane T / Target denim skirt (past season, similar here) / bandana / Forever 21 bag (past season, similar here) / Target mules / Sunglasses (which I've since left in a grocery store LOL, similar here)

All photos by Kristen Williams

To Garden / June

 

      Good morning! I just wanted to share what we are gardening this summer! We have a lot of herbs growing, including lavender, thyme, basil, dill, and chives. 

     Brett also potted a few other plants for me! A couple of them look like succulents, but grow in bushes, so we'll just have to see how they turn out. 

      Bailey always jumps at the chance to water the plants. Girl loves her puddle jumping! It doesn't hurt that she has an adorable toddler sized watering can to help her parents. 

     These are our tomato plants. Last year, we had some that produced fruit, but just as they turned red, some sneaky animal stole them away in the middle of the night! This time around, there is one tomato growing, and you can bet I'm protecting that thing. 

     We also have a pepper plant that is budding nicely! Since this photo, the peppers have started to turn red, so I'll do an updated post next month with how everything is growing. We're getting weather that is hotter than usual, but as long as consistent rain and watering keeps up, the plants should do fine! 

    Thanks for reading, and have a fun Thursday!

To Make / Summer Smoothies

 

     Hi there! I wanted to share my current favorite smoothie combo with you all today! It's not the most photogenic (thank you raspberries + spinach), but it sure is delicious and nutritious, and that's what matters most! See the recipe below. 

Ingredients:

- 1 cup of raspberries

- 1 banana

- 1 cup of frozen peaches

- 1 cup of spinach

- 1 cup of almond milk

- 1 tsp. of flax + chia

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in your blender, and blend until smooth. 

2. Serve chilled and enjoy! 

To Style / Summer Capsule Wardrobe

 

     Hi there! Today, I'm sharing my summer capsule wardrobe with you all! Summer can be tricky as far as capsule wardrobes are concerned, because I tend to be in a more versatile mood. My closet is filled with more colors and prints during this season, so it can make narrowing down the essentials a little bit tougher! See my list below!

Summer Capsule Wardrobe:

Tops

- white t-shirt

- blush crop top

- white cotton blouse

- chambray blouse

- white knit tank

- striped t-shirt

Dresses

- floral wrap dress

- denim shirt dress

- white cotton midi dress

- rust shift dress

- black floral maxi dress

- olive mini dress

Bottoms

- denim shorts

- white overalls

- crop-flare jeans

- denim mini skirt

- red vintage maxi skirt

Shoes

- cream mules

- tan flat sandals

- black slide sandals

- blush low-heel pumps

- black point-toe slides

Accessories

- straw hat

- blush bandana

- black mini handbag

- straw tote

- vintage gold earrings

        That's pretty much it! There are about ten outliers that I don't consider part of my constant rotation, but for the most part, this makes up my day-to-day options. Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday!

To Make / After-Sun Balm

 

     Good morning! Today, I'm sharing a DIY that's essential for summer: after-sun balm! Regardless of skin tone, and susceptibility to sun burns, any sun exposure to the skin damages it. If you're lucky, it's not visible (like with burns or sun spots), but thanks to UV cameras, we know it's there! That being said, there are ways to treat your skin after being out in the sun, and my favorite (and most natural way) is with pure aloe vera. I have a aloe plant, and haven't utilized its gel until now! It's bizarre, but each stalk is only covered with green skin and is actually filled with a clear gel column. All you do is remove the skin and then mash the gel and it's ready to use! Get the rest of the how-to below! 

Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup of aloe vera 

- 1 tbs. of beeswax

- 1 tbs. of jojoba oil

- 1/2 cup of shea butter

- 1/2 cup of coconut oil

- 20 drops of lavender essential oil

Directions:

1. Melt down the beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil together in a double boiler. 

2. Transfer to your container, and add your aloe and essential oil. 

3. Let set for a few hours, until fully hardened and cooled. Enjoy!

To Do / Summer 2017

 

     Hi there! It's time for the summer bucket list! I had one made at the beginning of May, but I actually got to check a couple of the to-do's off before June hit, so I edited it and am sharing that version with you all today! I wrote the list down at the start of a new sketchbook I bought, and plan on documenting each thing with a sketch and description. It just sounds like the nicest thing to be able to look back on this summer and see what I've done! Check out the list below:

Bucket List / Summer 2017

- Go Camping! I want to take a family trip and see if Bailey will enjoy this kind of thing (I'm thinking she will).

- Read (at least 5 books!)

- Kayak (this is as adventurous as I get at the lake)

- Put together a swing for Bailey! We have a large tree in our front yard that is calling for a swing. 

- Picnic (we actually picnic'd last weekend, so check!)

- Explore Columbia (summer is the best time to do this, as most of the Mizzou students are gone and Columbia's slightly peaceful again)

- Make bruschetta, panzanella, and sangria! Apparently, my culinary tastes for summer are exclusively Italian (I've got major Tuscan vibes going on this season). 

      That's all! I'll update at the end of August on how my summer went, and share snippets of the sketchbook. Thanks for reading, and have a fun Tuesday!

For #MomStyle / Lake Life

 

     Good morning! Today's post is all about #momstyle. I love being a mom, and contrary to what you might have heard, it doesn't completely alter every little thing about the person you were before you had a baby. One of the things that hasn't changed for me is my love of style. Before, I thought it was a love of clothes, but I've since discovered that it's less about the things, and more about the way I see and use those things. 

     One of the most important "things" in my wardrobe is a classic white t-shirt. They are a staple in most peoples wardrobes, but as a mom, there's nothing more essential than something that can be worn an infinite amount of ways (because time, laundry, and the never ending mess that is motherhood). You can style them any way you like, and are basically the blank canvas of the clothing world. 

     This month, I'll be sharing two ways to wear your white t! Today's is a casual, relaxed pairing in the form of culottes, slides, a cap, and straw tote. I was on vacation at the lake house shooting this, and the vibes there add to the simplicity and comfort level of this outfit. 

     We are fairly isolated at the lake, and it always makes for a beautiful backdrop. We are constantly doing something, and I brought along a diverse wardrobe to complement that. Culottes are a great casual pant that are still unique but basic enough to pair with a lot of things. The pants combined with the t-shirt made me feel like I was almost wearing PJ's!

     The most fun element of this look is the hat I scored at Pacsun. I don't usually shop there, but they have good sales at the lake, and you can always find something on trend. The cap is my favorite color (blush, duh), embroidered with a rose, and with the french words for "I love you". It just screams "Sam!". 

       Not to mention, it's cool cotton, so it's perfect for summer and keeping those rays away from my face!

      I had a ton of fun shooting this with Kristen, and can't wait to share the next way to style a white t! Hint: it involves denim, as most white t-shirt outfits do (and should, in my opinion). 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday!

Wearing: Everlane t-shirt / Target culottes (past season, similar here) / Old Navy slides (past season, similar here) / L.A. Hearts cap / thrifted straw tote (similar here)

All photos by Kristen Williams

To Read / Summer

 

     Hi there! I set a summer goal to read at least five books, and so far it's going well! I've finished The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. All three were excellent, and currently, I'm reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman and The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. 

      My interests vary when it comes to books, so if these picks seem like a strange melange of choices, they aren't. I just happen to like multiple kinds of books! American Gods is actually a new TV show, and I haven't checked it out yet, but if it's anything like the book, I'm sure it's good! The Secret Life of Plants is nonfiction, but abstract enough in ideology that some may not view it that way.  

       Plants have always had a connection to humans, since we've been around at least. We couldn't survive without them, and I think that's a relationship worth delving into! 

       Thanks for reading, and let me know what your favorite summer reads are! See you back here on Monday!

To Cook / Strawberry Stuffed Croissant French Toast

 

     Good morning! It's strawberry season, and while Bailey can eat tons of them on her own, there are always quite a few left over that have to be made into something delicious before they go bad. Enter: Pinterest! Pinterest has been a godsend for recipe inspiration, since I'm not a fan of just snacking on berries. Snacking on apples or bananas, sure; but there's something about berries that calls for them to be additions in my head, not on their own. I stumbled on this recipe from Half Bake Harvest (my go-to food blog!) and had to give it a whirl, with my own twists of course! Check out the recipe below!

Ingredients: (serves 2)

- 2 croissants

- 1/2 cup of almond milk

- 1 egg

- 1 tsp. of vanilla

- a dash of cinnamon

- 1 tbs. of butter

- 1 cup of Greek yogurt whipped cream cheese

- 1 cup of fresh strawberries

- maple syrup for serving

Directions:

1. Whisk together your milk, egg, vanilla, and cinnamon. Soak both sides of your croissants in the mixture, and add them to your heated (on medium!) + greased pan. 

2. While your croissants are getting all golden in the pan, stir together your strawberries and cream cheese. Be sure to set aside any strawberries you want to top the croissants with!

3. Once your croissants are golden on both sides, remove from the heat and smother in your strawberry cream cheese + maple syrup. Enjoy!