To Celebrate / The First Day of Winter

 
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     Good moring! Today is the first day of the winter solstice, and hopefully it will bring some actual winter weather that lasts, because I've about had it with this back and forth weather. One week, temps are in the 60's, and the next, they're in the 30's! I don't mind if it's cold, I just want it to pick a side! Anywho, to ring in this beautifully barren season, I've rounded up a few tips for making the most of shorter days (tonight's the longest night of the year!). See below for more!

Winter Survival 101:

- Get outside during daylight hours as much as you can! Sunlight is extremely helpful to avoid being saddened by the lack of day and the abundance of night. 

- Adopt the hygge (pronounced hue-guh) way of life. It's the Danish concept of coziness and togetherness, technology free. Apparently, hygge is one of the reasons Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest places in the world! And ya, they have wayyyy worse winters than we do, so I think we could all learn a thing or two. 

- Look for silver-linings. This applies to all seasons, as they all come with their pitfalls, but winter seems to be the hardest for most. Yes, it's cold, but #1: it's temporary! Winter won't last forever - this isn't Narnia or Game of Thrones. #2: The freezing weather gives you opportunities to do things that you don't get to do when it's warm, like wear the thickest and softest sweater you own, or drink hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire place! We can't change the weather, so it's best to try and make the most of it. 

- Turn it into a party! I'm hosting a hygge party this winter, because I just can't stop myself from cozy themes that include glogg. After New Years, and until Valentine's Day, there's not a celebratory holiday, so hosting this party in January will hopefully give everyone something to look forward to!

- If all else fails, retreat. This is a last resort, because money and time, but if you have the means and just can't stand temperatures below 40, take a week off and go to the desert or a beach! No shame in that game. 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Christmas! We'll be back next week with a lighter brunch recipe for when you're done feasting the weekend away!

To Recap / The Weekend

 

     Good morning! This weekend was fairly uneventful, as we are saving all of the fun things for the next couple of weekends. This Saturday, Brett will graduate from Mizzou, and we will head to the lake for a week of relaxing and vacationing. But before we go, we got our plants and garden in order over the weekend. Above is the little herb garden Brett brought home for me from one of his greenhouse classes. I can't wait to dry the thyme, infuse the basil, and chop the cilantro up for pico!

     Then, I got some reading done. I'm almost finished with The Enchantress of Florence, just in time for a long list of summer books. I'm sharing my summer reading list in June, so be on the lookout!

      And also for June, I'm sharing how to make this after-sun balm. It's filled with lavender and aloe vera gel straight from my plant I have at home! Literally, each green "leaf" of the plant contains a column of clear gel that you just scrape out. Mind=blown. If you spend any time out in the sun this summer, save your skin with this balm!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday! 

For Inspiration / April 30th - May 5th

 

     Good morning! This week was a bit more eventful than usual, as Bailey finally decided she deemed the potty useful to her. I'm way more excited about this than I should be. Also, Brett graduates from Mizzou a week from tomorrow, and secured a "grownup" job this week! Everything is starting to line up as we are about to go through some big changes as a family, and we are all ready for it. 

       A not so big thing, but somehow just as exciting to me as Bailey being potty-trained, is that I bought my dream shoes of the moment from Target! Eeeek!! I've already worn them a ton since they were delivered on Tuesday, and I plan to wear them 24/7 for the next few seasons, until that dreaded winter shows up again. 

      Another favorite from this week are these Maple Bacon waffles I made on Sunday! I know, I'm going a bit waffle crazy, but there are just so many recipes out there. I topped these with yogurt, honey, and more bacon, and as I said on Instagram, you know you're doing something right when your toddler is stealing your bacon. :)

      Speaking of said toddler, we took her to Shelter Gardens twice this week. Once was for some puddle jumping in between rain showers on Sunday, and the other was on Tuesday afternoon because the sun finally came out! I prefer the gardens to a play ground every now and then, because Bailey gets to run her little heart out on the winding pathways, and we get to leisurely follow behind. Win-win!

     Lastly, I made this adorable little succulent planter to add to my collection, because honestly, I've already bought too many succulents this year, and I'm running out of planters! I like to make my own sometimes, because it's more customizable and less boring that way. This pretty little DIY will be on the blog next week, so keep an eye out!

    Thanks for reading, and have a fun Friyay!

For Inspiration / April

 

     Hi there! April was awesome, and today I'm sharing what made my month! First, we went home to Arkansas to visit my family, and it was beautiful. Spring always is there, and this time was even more special because my parents azalea bush was in full bloom! That color! The fullness! I was obligated to get Baileys photo in front of it. 

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      On the way down to Arkansas, we stopped in Springfield to have lunch with my little sister, and I got to check off Cherry Pickers from my restaurant bucket list! We had triple cheese grilled cheeses with bacon and ya, that's going to be hard to top. 

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      Then, it was magically Easter all ready, so we headed to the lake house! We dyed and hid eggs for Bailey, and it took a minute, but she actually got into searching for them. That girl never stops moving whenever we go to the lake!

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      Next, I did one of my favorite DIYs to date: blush pink dye using avocado pits! It turned out so well, and now I'm tempted to dye everything possible pink. Not the worst problem to have! 

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     Lastly, it finally got warm enough to plant some seeds! I'm starting with dill, chives, and jalapeños! Now I just have to be patient enough to wait for the seeds to sprout.  

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun weekend! See you in May! 

For Reading / February

 

      Good morning! Have you all ever heard of the Slavic performance artist Marina Abramovic? She's considered the "grandmother" (she's currently 70) of performance art, gaining notoriety in the 60's + 70's for her avant garde approach to the art form. Her fame subsided a bit in the 90's and early 2000's, until 2010, the year she introduced the wildly popular MoMA exhibit in New York titled "The Artist is Present". The exhibit consisted of Marina sitting in a chair at a table, with an empty chair placed directly across from her. She sat for 750 hours total, over the course of just under two full months in the museum. The performance was interactive, Abramovic having instructed patrons to form a line and one by one come sit across from her at the table, wherein she would then look up at each person and stare into their eyes. Some cried, some got angry, and some were overjoyed, but the exercise was employed in complete silence.

       Thousands upon thousands of fans and museum-goers visited the exhibit, which also included a retrospective of her most famous pieces from 40 years before, including celebrities and personal friends of Abramovic. Then, the making and duration of this show was made into a documentary aptly titled "The Artist is Present". This is when I discovered her work, as Columbia hosts an annual film festival, and one of my assignments for an art class was to go see my choice of a film at the festival and then write a report on it. I loved the documentary, and the insight into one of the most daring artists in recent history was fascinating, because artists are typically so aloof, as they prefer for their art to speak for them. I re-watched the documentary again when it came out on Netflix (I think it's still on there), and still found it just as interesting. 

     Finally, a few months back, I found out that Marina was publishing an auto-biography. I had to have it. It immediately went on my Christmas list (thanks mom and dad!), and this month, it's our book of choice! Fair warning: Abramovic's pieces almost always included nudity and some form of violence, and even reading about some of the performances is hard. They were extreme, and intentionally so, as she liked to push the audiences out of their comfort zones. The only other performance artist I can compare her to is Yoko Ono when she presented her "Cut Piece" in the same era.

     That being said, I'm already one hundred pages in, and I'm hooked. If you can get past the telling of uncomfortable situations, then the book is humorous and enjoyable, letting Marina's personality shine through. Let's have an awesome, book-filled February!

To Get Cozy

 

     Good morning! I thought it'd be nice to share a few tips on getting cozy today, in the name of hygge. Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is the Danish concept of coziness. It has no literal English translation, it's just the word they have for getting comfortable + cozy indoors during the winter. When it's dark and cold most of the winter, they find a way to enjoy it through hygge. Most ways of infusing hygge into your winter experience include a lot of blankets and sweaters, some glogg (Scandinavian mulled wine, recipe coming soon!), and enjoying time with friends and family around a fire. Idyllic, no? For me, my hygge includes all of those things, but also a couple more!

     I find that a pallet of pillows to go along with the massive amounts of blankets is extra comforting. Also, you can take it further and make a blanket fort! This isn't a super rare occurrence in our toddler-occupied household. It's a fun way to bring children into the hygge concept.

       Another addition you can make is good scents. I like essential oils and candles, but incense is always welcome as well! There's nothing like a comforting scent to bring you into the hygge mood.

      Lastly, BOOKS. There's not a time where getting cozy isn't improved by a good book. They go together like bread and butter! Give me all of the books!

     Thanks for reading, and have a cozy Wednesday!

For Reading / January

 

     Good morning! January's book of the month is Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole. It is a collection of essays ranging on various topics such as art, people, and historical moments. I've been a fan of short stories and essays for awhile now, and have already dove in to this tome. So far, so good!

      It's hard to call this collection "short stories", because they are mainly non-fictional observations made by Cole. I much prefer the term essays. I also love that this is a new book, having been written in 2016. Cole got his start as a blogger, and published his first chapters in a serial on said blog. It's interesting to see how he weaves in modern day influences, such as Twitter and how he still doesn't grasp what Snapchat is, into his observations.

    Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday! Now, go crack open a book!

For a Weekend Recap

 

     Hi there! This weekend was a fun one, comprised of projects and friends. First though, there was, as always, lots of reading. Look out for January's book of the month this week!

     Then, there was baking. I made bread, and it was one of my better decisions this weekend. After the bread, there was New Years. I don't particularly put a lot of stock in resolutions, but I never can resist a goal list opportunity! I just don't rely on a new year to make those goals. Anyways, New Years was fun and we ate way too much Mexican food, and stayed up way too late!

     Lastly, we had a peaceful Sunday of rest. I did try something new on the first day of the year though, and that was making Beeswax candles, which you guessed it, are coming to the blog soon! I can't wait to share all of the fun projects I've been working on for this season Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday!

Over the Weekend

 

     Hi there! Just wanted to share a few snaps from our holiday weekend, today. We ventured south to Arkansas on Friday to see my parents, and it was just the nicest treat to get to go home, even if only for an evening.

      This is one of the gifts my parents got me! It's basically my dream bag, from Forever 21. Thanks mom and dad!!

      Bailey always loves going to my parents house, as my parents are pretty fun to be with, and the splendors of my childhood play room don't hurt either!

      After getting back to Columbia just in time for Christmas Eve, we visited the "Magic Tree". A local Columbia resident decorates this tree every year with thousands of lights, and it's one of the biggest holiday attractions in town. Bailey was mesmerized and didn't want to leave!

       For the main event of Christmas Morning, we decided to stay at home, just us three. Bailey started to understand, just a little bit, that this weekend was special and that some guy named Santa exists. We figured now is as good a time as any to take on that role, and set up a tower with her new blocks, placed a Spongebob nonchalantly under the tree (he looked very relaxed there), and brought out the easel my parents gifted her so that Santa could leave her a Merry Christmas message.

     All in all, it was a busy, but significant weekend, and it couldn't have been more special. Thanks for reading, and have a great Monday!

To Welcome Winter!

 
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     Good morning! It's the first day of the winter solstice! I know it's not as exciting as the start of the summer solstice, but sometimes in life you have to make things fun just to get through them, and winter falls under that category. Today, I wanted to share a few ideas to ring in winter and get people (+ toddlers!) excited for the months to come.

Tips for Welcoming Winter:

- make a ton of hot cocoa and curl up with a classic winter-ish book (i.e. anything Dickens, Little Women, Wuthering Heights)

- have a craft session, focusing on a seasonal craft, with your little one. Bailey and I made something last weekend, coming to the blog soon!

- if you've gotten some snow, get out and enjoy it! Make a snowman and go tobogganing! Trust me it's fun. 

- drive around and look at Christmas Lights. We do this on Christmas Eve, but it's a great way to add some sparkle to winter.

- make some soup! There's nothing like a warm batch of soup when it's frigid out. Look out for a yummy Cauliflower edition soon!

- take a moment and reflect on what the start of winter means for you. For me, it means the start of a new year, and I'm a sucker for new and fresh opportunities. You could say I'm excited for this season!

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Have Traditions

 

     Good morning! I just wanted to share a few of our Christmas traditions today, from both my family and Bretts. We are kind of combining them this year, to do Christams morning at our house for the first time, just us 3. Bailey actually recognizes Santa now, so we figured this year is a good year to start the whole Santa shindig. Check out how we celebrate Christmas below! 

Traditions: 

1. As you all know, we go Christmas tree shopping every year, at a tree farm. Bretts family has done this forever, and so have I with my dad growing up. It was the most comforting thing to continue ot of all the traditions!

2. Columbia has a Magic Tree that's covered in lights, which all Columbians flock to this time of year. We go on Christmas Eve every year, and it's the most gorgeous thing. Expect some photos of it after Christmas! 

3. My family and I always made cookies for Santa, and set them out along with carrots for the reindeer. I want to start that up this year with Bailey, with one caveat: chocolate sugar cookies instead of regular. Sugar cookies are not Santas cup of tea around here, but Santa sure does love anything chocolate! 

4. Lastly, my dad always read us 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, animatedly so, every Christmas Eve before we went to bed. I plan to hunt down a copy ASAP, and attempt a reading like my dads. Our book won't be antique from the 60's (am I close on that mom?) with all of it's pretty illustrations, but it's the ambiance that counts!  

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Friday! 

To Find Something Natural / Herbal Facial Steam

 

     Hi there! This months natural product is this organic facial steam from No Tox Life. It consists of dried herbs and flowers that you immerse in hot water to create a floral steam. 

      All you do is hold your face over it with a towel creating a tent for the steam. It cleanses and opens your pores to nourish your skin with the herbs and flowers! 

     When I first did it, it was a little hard for someone so impatient to hold my face there for a full five minutes, but it was worth it! Afterwords, my skin felt fresh and clean. The amazing smell from the florals didn't hurt either! Thanks for reading, and have a fun Sunday! 

Made My Month / November

 

     Good morning! Since it's the last day of November, I'm sharing the little things that made this month awesome. First, I visited a new coffee shop in Columbia (Shortwave Coffee), and it's the definition of wall goals. The patterns that the varying wood creates is just too cool.

      Then, we had one last visit to the lake before winter sets in, and it was exactly what we needed. Being there, at this time of year, really made me appreciate fall in all of its beauty.

     Next, I hosted my first ever dinner party in the form of Friendsgiving. I've really gotten into trying to make life more special through participating, and planning things to do to achieve that, like Friendsgiving, has been very fulfilling. You can bet there will be more events like this in our future!

     After that, we took a chance on a chilly day last weekend to head to the park. We don't know how many more times we'll get to go until spring, so we are trying to go as much as possible while the weather's still bearable. The park is one of Bailey's most favorite places, so it will be interesting to see what she thinks of winter making it a no-go.

     Then, we went to Thanksgiving at Brett's aunt + uncles house in Hermann, MO. The town is a winery town, with 18 in the surrounding area, and is an old German town, so you know its picturesque. Their house looks out onto the Missouri river, and is basically our dream house. From the styling to the remodeling they did, it is what we will probably base our future home on in the future.

     Lastly, we picked out our very first real Christmas tree for our home! We go every year to chop one down for Brett's parents house, and I went with my Dad for as long as I can remember when I was living at home, so it's a really strong and special tradition for me. It's one of the few things I enjoy about winter, perusing the rows upon rows of pretty trees. I can't get enough of it, and am so glad I get to continue doing it each year, even though it's not with my very favorite person to go with (looking at you Dad!). A post on our Christmas Tree Shopping Adventure will be up soon, so keep an eye out for that! Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

For Friendsgiving

 

     Good morning! I hosted Friendsgiving on Saturday, and wanted to share a few pics of the table we set up before the sun went down. Kristen came over and took more photos, so I will share those once they are ready, but until then, these provide a pretty good idea of the vibe I was going for!

      Setting up the table and decor was one of my favorite parts of throwing the party. I used greens from the supermarket, gourds, and candles to make the centerpiece.

     For the place settings, the only thing I added was napkin rings that I made, which will be on the blog this Thursday, so be sure to check those out!

     For placecards, I painted little fake pumpkins white and wrote my friends names on them. They all loved that personal touch, because lets face it, most people my age don't go to many dinners with assigned seating. That, and the string lights we hung everywhere were the special things that made the night fun. It really was gorgeous once the sun went down, and all of the candles were lit. I can't wait to share more! Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday!

To Find Something Natural, and To Find the Light

 

      Hi friends. It may be a dark day for a lot of people, myself included, but if there's one thing I've learned, not just from the last year or so, but from life in general, it's that life goes on. I've said this before, but a sentiment that's gotten me this far in life is that sometimes you have to let things go. I'm not saying I'm letting go of the hope of having a female president one day, or the hope that our country is better than what we all witnessed this morning, because I will always try to believe in those things. I'll always be optimistic and find the light, that's just my way; but regardless of how I feel about everything that has happened or will happen, I look at my daughter and I can't help but remember that I have other things to do, to worry about. I, like many parents, am worried about what this means for her future, but I'm honestly still more concerned about keeping her happy and safe right now, in the moment, and just being with her. I still have to be strong for her, and show her by my own example that people are good and kind, that as individuals we lead our own lives and that leads to differences. There's no other way around it, and those differences will always exist. So today, I'm still going to share my favorite natural product of the month, because it is still relevant to me. What has happened to our country hasn't changed how I feel about my toothbrush, or sharing how I feel about my toothbrush with you all, and most definitely how I feel about continuing to share anything I want in this space. If you don't want to read about my awesome wooden and eco-friendly toothbrush today, that's ok and I will always understand. I'm doing this, and have/always will do this, for myself, but also for Bailey, and for anyone who cares. We all have to find a way to get through this, and by the laws of nature, we will. My life has not and will not ever stop for one man, and in the spirit of that, let's get to today's subject matter: an all natural, eco-friendly, and charitable toothbrush.

     This toothbrush has a lot of great attributes, but my favorite one is it's creators mission. For every toothbrush sold, Smile Squared donates one to a child in need. You would think having access to a toothbrush is a basic human right, but sadly, in some places, it's not.

     My next favorite thing about these brushes, is that they are eco-friendly. The brushes are made of compostable and recyclable bamboo, which is always a plus in my book.

     I plan to get one of these for Bailey, and continue using these. I figure, if it's an everyday essential, like a toothbrush, why not make it as good for the environment and the world as possible? That, and the wooden style is much prettier than a crazy colored plastic one.

     That's all for today, folks. Thanks for reading, and try to have a fun day, or as much fun as one could have on a day like today. See you tomorrow!

For a Weekend

 

     Good morning! This weekend was a fun one, and a strangely relieving one. Day light savings time ending on Sunday actually made my day better, rather than worse. We were well rested, and it seemed like I had an endless day to get things ready for the week ahead. Before that though, we had a great Friday and a rough Saturday. On Friday, Kristen and I ventured down town for some photo shoots and to get some exploring done! We tried a newish coffee shop in Columbia called Shortwave Coffee, and their wood wall (pictured above) was one of the coolest installations I've ever seen. The textures and different shades of wood gave off the best vibe. It doesn't hurt that their Cortado is one of the best I've ever had. I'm definitely going to have to go back.

     Saturday was a rough day for this mama and her toddler. Bailey was just being so defiant, and it felt like she was purposefully doing everything she wasn't supposed to do. She didn't get a good nights sleep the previous night, so it was just one of those days. Towards the end of the day, we gave up and took her to a park to turn the evening around, and it worked. We went home, and I made this hazelnut butter. Bailey finally went to sleep, and all was well.

      Sunday was the best day, thanks to the time change. I've been hating these dark early mornings, so when Bailey woke up at 5:30 (which definitely felt like 6:30), we were both chipper and awake instead of grumpy and groggy. The sun came up shortly after, and we spent the day enjoying the extra time.

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday!

Photo Project / October

 

     Hello! Now that October has passed, I can share my favorite photos of Bailey from the month. Above, Kristen snapped a good shot of Bailey + I at the farm we went to a couple of weekends ago. I love it when I get photos with Bailey, as I am usually the one taking photos of just her.

     Bailey in the bath with her precious bubbles. I love her hair in this one, it always sticks out in so many directions when it's wet.

      In front of a wall of flowers, but never an actual wall flower. Hah, I love puns. Mine are usually always intended.

     With her favorite toys of the moment. We've been practicing taking turns when building block towers, and so far, she really likes pointing out when it's my turn. Think she got my impatient gene?

     At the park, conquering slides. This is the tallest one, and she used to be pretty scared of it, but with her toddler-ness, most fears have gone out the window.

      The little angel sleeping. With it getting dark at 6 'o clock, it's not realistic to get a photo of her sleeping in the daylight. From now until spring, black + white it is!

     Our shoes in the (sadly) fallen leaves. This tree's leaves are bright orange, and there was a large amount that had blown off to the ground below, so I decided it was time to introduce Bailey to leaf piles. The girl loved throwing them and pushing them and hiding her feet in them so that mommy couldn't get a clear shot. She's quite contrary at this stage.

     Last, but not least, Bailey in profile. She carried that apple around all afternoon and kept munching on it. Yes, it was as disgusting by the end as you can imagine.

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

For an Adventure

 

      Hello! On this slow Sunday, I wanted to share a few snaps from our little adventure out to Devils Ice Box, which is part of a cave and trail system called Rock Bridge State Park that sits right on the outskirts of Columbia. Unexpectedly, Columbia is surrounded by a lot of trails and hiking spots, so we've been trying to take advantage of those and show Bailey around!

      This is the main cavern that goes underneath the namesake "Rock Bridge", and it has a couple of small cave openings within. It's dark and chilly though, hence the name Devils Ice Box. It has a small creek that runs through the cavern, with the bed being made up of uneven rocks that were mostly dry. Bailey loved it, and you could tell she wanted to explore more, but I could barely navigate the rocks, so she got carried most of the way. Some parts of the year you can't even go into the cavern as to not disturb the bats that call it home.  

      It's just a pretty place to take in the scenery. The trails around the caves and rock bridge are all board- walked, which makes it really kid friendly. 

      This is the view looking up from underneath the rock bridge. We didn't venture up top, because anybody who knows Bailey knows once she sees stairs, she has to go up and down a million times. There are A LOT of stairs leading to the top, so we weren't looking for that kind of work out that afternoon. 

      The rocky bed from the cavern. Lots of loose and sharp rocks. I made sure to wear the appropriate shoes this time around, which I am typically not known for. 

       Walking through the woods with papa bear on the way out of the park. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend this nature spot! It's beloved by locals and out-of-towners alike, so don't miss it. Thank you for reading! Have a fun Sunday! 

For Mornings at Home

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      Good morning! It's definitely a doughnut kind of Saturday over here. Oh, and also chocolate milk. We know how to do unhealthy breakfasts right! Other than our doughnut consumption, we don't have too many plans for the weekend. Bailey had a cold all of last week, so we are just taking it easy, enjoying our time together. I hope you all have a great weekend too, whatever you do!! Thanks for reading!