What I'm Reading: April & May.

I went just a little bit crazy buying books these last two months.



The Magic of Motherhood. You can bet that I pre-ordered this as soon as I heard it was on Amazon. I'm such a huge fan of Coffee & CrumbsOnly Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love is another mom-fave for me. My mom actually took it off my nightstand and has been reading it herself. It's only $2.99 on Kindle right now, so scoop this one up.

Not Naughty: 10 Ways Kids Appear to Be Acting Bad But Aren't. This was a really eye-opening one for me, especially numbers 2-4 and 9-10. I'm learning to offer Noah (and myself) grace when it comes to being overtired and overstimulated. Most of the time, we know what's best for our own kids, but I'm a big believer in learning how to be a better parent. Dave and I went to a parenting workshop at our church before Noah was even walking, and the speaker said something to the effect of, "If we want better kids, we have to be better parents." That stuck with me.

The Happy Sleeper. Sleep training, it's real. 

The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place. I want Dave to read this one. So hard to disconnect these days, and I want to make sure we are setting the best possible example for the little ones before they grow up to be iPhone addicts.


How to Draw Modern Florals. So, so excited to carve out time to work my way through this book. I can't make it to an in-person art class these days, so this is perfect for at-home art times with my little ones.

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life. I'm just now learning about this, and wondering why I hadn't read it sooner. It's therapy in a book. One of my biggest life challenges is learning how to adequately communicate my needs and my boundaries and helping my kiddos do the same, and this book has been so helpful in guiding me. Breathing Room: Letting Go So You Can Fully Live is another therapy-esque book I'm reading slowly.

The Silent Child. This was $1.99 on Amazon, and had a ton of great reviews. I haven't started reading it yet, but it's next on my list, as soon as I remember to charge my Kindle.

Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms. I'm a personal finance junkie. I'll read almost anything related to women and money.


Surf Shack: Laid-Back Living By the Water. I bought this as a coffee table book for friends who just moved into their new home, and then bought another copy to keep for myself because captures the California aesthetic so well.

Living with Pattern: Color, Texture, and Print at Home. This book is beautiful, and so inspiring for me. Home decorating is a slow, slow road when you're on a budget, but I'm looking forward to layering textures and print.


Next to You: A Book of Adorableness. I bought this book to read to Judah, but Noah loves it, too. His first words to Judah in the morning: "Hi sweetheart! You are cute, cute, cute and cute." It's the best.

I've added so. many. books. to my summer reading list, so stay tuned. Happy almost June!

Hire the Painter.

Young House Love and Chris Loves Julia make home DIY look so glam.



It was fun at first. We incorporated some solid toddler lessons in hard work, with Noah trying his hand at painting with a mini touch-up roller. Then three months in – there are still paintbrushes soaking in water and vinegar solution on the kitchen counter, my Lulus are now my paint clothes, and I’m still tripping over boxes that I can’t unpack because I can’t anchor any furniture on the walls that still need a second coat, and (deep breath) – it’s not so fun.

How do people do it with kids? We were dealing with a meltdown, every twenty minutes, from a toddler who needed attention (rightfully so), and I was nursing my other sweet boy, also every twenty minutes. And did I mention that we both have full-time jobs and our own company?

Maybe one day we won’t be scrounging up spare time like loose change, and when that day comes, it will be bittersweet.

It’s difficult let go of hard-earned money, but at this season in our lives, the opportunity cost of doing the job ourselves is too high.

I asked my friend, Is it even worth it to get a quote for a painter? Like how much does it cost to finish painting like ⅗ of our ceiling, half of our baseboards, two random doors?

Her response? It’s priceless. It’s your sanity. As the author of this spot-on article points out, “Happiness in the present, earning power in the future and familial bliss need not be in conflict.”

I've learned a whole lot of lessons in my twenties, but now that I'm 30, I'm learning another big lesson: outsource. Hire the painter. And the housekeeper. And while you’re at it, get the Plated subscription.

The painters are coming tomorrow, and I’m like (insert all the dancing lady, celebration confetti, big grin, and happy family emojis here).

Mid-Century Meets Tropical & Traditional.

Having a house has been the best thing ever for my creative energy. I've been having the most fun decorating so many new spaces.


I've been on Pinterest, gathering inspiration for the different spaces in our home. Pinterest keeps me from being impulsive and buying things that are cute but that don't fit into my vision, but it also keeps me from being indecisive. I've found that a carefully curated vision board really helps me nail down my color palette, which makes it easier to purchase items that fit what I want for the space.

The front bedroom in our house is where my parents stay when they visit. They are pretty easy to please, but I wanted to make sure the space reflected them, as well as me. I have two different looks that I've envisioned for this space, one for spring/summer, the other for fall/winter (which I'll share later). 

no 17 front bedroom

I bought the rattan headboard for $15 off Craigslist back when we were living in a one-bedroom. I've hoarded it for years. It has interesting lines, and my dad really likes it, so I'm glad that it is being put to good use now. The Drexel campaign dresser was a garage sale find  – we paid $200 for it. I wouldn't describe myself as a huge mid-century person, but campaign style furniture is hard for me to pass up.

The banana leaf pillows are like sunshine for this bed. I love them. It pays homage to the Philippines, and is the perfect splash of fun and eclectic for the spring/summer version of this room. As soon as I saw them at Target, I knew they would be great for this room and a way to incorporate some green. I already had a mud cloth lumbar pillow that I bought from Mae Woven – the one pictured is similar.

I love that painting so much. Lulie Wallace's artwork is a go-to for me. I love the blues. I love the tropical looking greenery. I love the lemons (my parents have this amazing Meyer lemon tree in their backyard). This is out of my budget (though worth every penny), so I'm not so secretly hoping she makes this into a print.

The slipper chairs pictured are similar to the Quatrine slipper chairs I picked up at a garage sale (2 for $75!), except that mine have removable, washable slipcovers, and no tufting. The side table pictured is actually an outdoor table. I want a table like the one pictured here, but I'm not sure where to get it.

Sources: Lulie Wallace art | rattan headboard (I found that on Chairish, but it has since sold) | oversized banana leaf pillows |  mud cloth lumbar pillow | striped duvet set | round mirror | white textured vase | green vases | campaign dresser | tufted slipper chairs | metal accent table.

So far, I've only spent about $450 on the decorative items and furniture in this room, not including the mattress. I still need to purchase the mirror, art, an accent table, window coverings, and some of the smaller decorative items, but this room already feels so much closer to "finished."


Modern & Coastal Dining Room Inspiration.

I'm starting with our dining room because it's the smallest space and the one least likely to go through any significant iterations. I want this room, and our house in general, to feel modern and coastal, but also casual (read: kid-friendly), airy, with a little vintage thrown in the mix.

ridge house dining room

Chandelier | Mirror | Bowl | Tapers | Dining Table and Bench | Paint Color | Image | Tufted Chair

It's been overwhelming thinking of all the work that we still have to do on the house, even though we're all moved in. We have parts of the downstairs taped off and spackled, but have yet to paint, which means we can't really unpack or settle furniture. The dining room seems like the easiest place to start because: 1. there are no windows, so painting is easy and 2. we already have most of the essentials, including this modern farmhouse table in a mango wood, that I love, and a beautiful capiz chandelier that we just purchased.

I'm really excited to layer texture and dimension in this space by incorporating different finishes: warmth from the mango wood, a little shimmer from the capiz and contrast from the polished chrome pendant and cement tapers.

The dining area is recessed (I'll share pictures later), so I was looking for a way to incorporate mirrors without having to "ground" them with a buffet or sideboard (which we don't have room for). I have so many beautiful dark wood Pottery Barn frames that we received from our wedding that are just asking to be put to use in a gallery wall with some additional metal touches like this rose gold metal framed mirror and a few more polished nickel frames. The pink bowl in my inspiration board is totally out of my budget, but maybe I can find a lookalike at Target? Maybe it has something to do with being outnumbered by the boys in my house, but I'm all about pink these days.


What I'm Reading: February & March (and some recs for the littles).

So much of my reading list these days revolves around motherhood with a sprinkle around work and creative living. Now that I'm buying books for the boys as well as myself, I'm including a few recommendations for little ones too.

flower crown

For me:

Hands Free Mama. Sherry from Young House Love touted this book as the practical complement to Chasing Slow, which I loved. I'm feeling the squeeze on quality time with my boys, so I'm learning to be more intentional about being present and not distracted by a device, work or chores while I'm with them. I've teared up in more than a few places reading this book and reflecting on how quickly these precious moments pass. I'm learning that the quiet moments spent being completely present with my little ones can be just as soul-restoring, if not more, than alone time.

The Wellness Mama Cookbook. Healthy, budget-friendly recipes in under 30 minutes? Count me in. I really like that for the most part, the recipes in this book are super simple with no fancy ingredients that I have to make a special trip to the grocery store for. I've only had this book for a few weeks, and it's already the cookbook I turn to first for meal-planning. The slow cooker recipes are especially useful for me these days.

The New Preschool is Crushing Kids is an article that came on The Atlantic that has been influencing my thoughts about preschool (and this op-ed as well). Noah is all about stories – reading, listening, telling, and as this article states, "Conversation is gold." Education is such an investment, so I want to make sure that we're choosing the best one possible.

Brazen: The Courage to Find the You That's Been Hiding. My good friend told me about this author, who spoke at her MOPS group, so I looked up her book. This book is totally speaking to where I am in my creative life right now. I'm so skeptical of myself! This book is such an encouragement and provides the road-map for soul check-ins that I need.

A Woman's Place. I'm constantly asking myself, Am I doing what I am meant to do? This book adds another dimension to the women and work conversation.

The Magnolia Journal. Is there anyone who doesn't like Fixer Upper? This is a bonus dose of the home and life inspiration in print form. 

For the babes:

If You Give a Mouse A Cookie. I loved that this popped up on my Amazon feed, and knew immediately that Noah would get a kick out of it. We read this at least once a day, and he references it whenever I give him a cookie. In the cookie vein, I also bought Cookies Board Book: Bite-Size Life Lessons. We haven't read it yet, but after reading Amy Krouse Rosenthal's essay in the New York Times, I was hooked.

If you asked me what keeps me up at night, I would say children in vulnerable circumstances. The refugee crisis is breaking my heart. Teacup is a picture book about one boy's journey to a new homeland. It's never too early to start teaching empathy, and I'm confident that Noah will be interested in this story.

On a lighter note, Noah, like every other two year old boy it seems, is super into trucks. I bought him I Am a Garbage Truck, which we have read so. many. times. I Am a Fire Truck just dropped down to $2 (!) on Amazon, so of course I purchased it. Noah is like me and loves surprises and treats, and this book will be one for sure.


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