Fine, call me a hippie…

Only one person I know has ever called me a hippie, but frankly, I don’t see it as a bad thing. He called me that because I liked to recycle in my classroom <insert eye roll here- in the mot loving way possible. I love my co-worker! :)>.


I’m the same way around my home. I figure that if we all do a bunch of little things, we will all collectively be more gentle with this place we live. I don’t understand the mentality of wastefulness anyway- even if you don’t care about the environmental aspect, at least be frugal.



I’m going to share a few easy ways I lighten my impact on this planet- maybe you’ve heard of these, maybe not, and this list isn’t exhaustive, but if you could incorporate them into your own home, you’ll find they’re pretty painless to do.

  1. Unplug your phone chargers when they’re not in use. They’re still using power
  2. Only run full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher
  3. Speaking of laundry- seriously, clean out your dryer vent regularly. I get it, it sucks. But we pulled out nearly FOUR POUNDS of lint out of our dryer vent- imagine how much energy that dryer was wasting while the previous owners used it!
  4. Avoid using paper towels. I have a massive stack of cloth towels that I’ve accumulated over the years. I also have a bin to store them in after they’re used, so they’re all in the same place ready to be washed.
  5. On the same note- cloth napkins! We use ours for a day or two, then throw them in the wash.
  6. Vinegar and baking soda are fantastic cleaners- seriously. Use diluted white vinegar to clean floors and deodorize and soften laundry. Baking soda is a great yet gentle abrasive cleanser for bath tubs and sinks. I promise the smell dissipates quickly- including any bad odors that might have been lingering. … Just don’t use them together at the same time.
  7. Bring your own bags to the grocery. This is a law in California- and it really made a difference. Before the law was passed, plastic bags were the third most commonly collected item in beach clean ups. Afterwards? It wasn’t even in the top ten.
  8. LED or CFL lightbulbs. Easy, efficient, and they last forever. I hate replacing light bulbs. PS- you can’t throw your CFL’s away in the trash, dispose of them at a place like Home Depot. They have a collection bin right inside the front entrance, usually.


So, no, I’m not like, living in a yurt off the grid. But all these little baby steps add up to a whole lot of something. I’m embracing and- living a modern life AND being thoughtful with how I use our resources.

What little things do you do to make your impact a little softer on the planet?



“Can you ever just be whelmed?”

“I think you can in Europe.”
If you haven’t watched 10 Things I Hate About You, this quote won’t be very funny. However, if you have, it’s one of the dozens of one liners that stick with you long after the movie is over.
It kind of sums up the last few weeks of my life. I’m not overwhelmed- the house is mostly unpacked (!!!) and both of my kids are starting to settle into a rhythm. We go to the aquarium once a week, and library story time every week. We go to the park on occasion, play outside, and go to Target, too. (David loves going to Target!)
I’m not underwhelmed, either- I love living here. I love the weather- there’s a 30 degree temperature range, and it hasn’t gotten over 85F. I’m close to the beach and there’s otters in the estuary… and I love otters. Like, l.o.v.e.
I’m just whelmed. We can’t afford for me to stay home forever, and the future I had planned- being a teacher- just isn’t panning out the way I had wanted. I had anticipated more job openings in my credential area, based on my research and inquiries, and those aren’t happening. That leaves me looking for jobs in industry, but being a teacher hasn’t given me those specialized, technical skills employers are looking for. Lacking a second language is definitely stymying my confidence in applying for many jobs, as well. Our list of home improvements is long, and Jensen has been working so much, it feels like we’ll never make progress- I’ve been trying to hang art on the walls for the last two and a half weeks, and something always pops up that makes it not happen!
Remember my post a few weeks back about what is happening behind the scenes of those pretty Instagram pictures? This is behind the scenes- this is my real life. It’s not easy to share our fears, but there’s value in being transparent… we’re all struggling with something.
Part of my process of getting out of this funk is that I need to acknowledge these feelings, and then work on a solution. So, today, I created a LinkedIn profile. Tomorrow, I’m going to get out a hammer and start hanging some damn pictures. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the only way to eat an entire elephant is to take one bite at a time.
Hugs, friends. Create that to-do list, outline how you’re going to get to your goals, and it’ll happen, if you keep on trying.

Joyeux anniversaire

On Saturday, Jensen and I will celebrate six years of marriage. It’s hard to believe that the man I met at college bar nearly twelve years ago, when all we did was drink drink drink….


Is now the same man I have two beautiful children with.


Twelve years is a long time when you’re 33- that’s nearly a third of my life. We dated long distance for six years before we got married and finally lived in the same town. We’ve lost beloved family members, moved multiple times, changed jobs, lived in a place we didn’t like at all, had babies, endured a very stressful pregnancy during which we thought Caroline had some potentially serious health problems, he supported me as I struggled with postpartum anxiety, Jensen completed a strenuous fellowship program our first year of marriage and I finished graduate school during David’s first year. It’s never been easy, not once.


And I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’ve heard people say that opposites attract, and in some ways, I guess that is true about us. I’m much more of an emoter and Jensen takes longer to share how he feels, for instance. But I believe our core values are very similar, and that’s why we’ve been able to make it through so many challenges. We’re honest with each other, sometimes painfully so. We laugh together, at the same kind of things. We love to explore the world and see new things (we have a shared travel list on our family organizer app!). We value personal growth. He tolerates my desire to watch Anchorman over and over and also my resistance to watching anything but comedies.

Marriage isn’t easy, but it’s good. Some days are harder than others. Some days are really, really fun. Some days you have to clean up puke from your toddler that you caught in your hands… <those aren’t the best kind of days>… and some days you walk 10 miles in London with your partner and find the world’s best paella from a street vendor on Portobello Road or get tickets to seats only twelve rows up from home plate at Yankee Stadium or are lounging on a beach in Cabo San Lucas eating plate after plate of nachos. (I love nachos.) There are going to be highs, and there are going to be lows… are you going to hold each other through each of those?

If I had to share one rule I’ve practiced the past six years, it’s this- treat your partner, and yourself, with respect. We always, always try to be respectful of one another. If you are respectful, you are kind, thoughtful of one another’s wishes and to one another, and admit your mistakes- these things will make your marriage a happy one. I believe it has for us.



I’m about to eat some nachos. Just kidding. Maybe. 


I’m so glad I yelled at Jensen across the Z Club during graduation weekend in 2006. There’s no one in the world I would rather do life with than him.






Better than before

I love second hand furniture.

I’m frugal, I like old stuff, I hate furniture shopping- coincidentally, this is the only kind of shopping I hate- but I either inherit furniture from family members or find it on Craigslist or vintage shops.

I think my best find yet came from Farm Girls Vintage Finds in Bakersfield, California. The owners go on buying trips across the country, because, let’s be honest here, most of the good antiques and vintage come from the east coast, at least in my experience. When I found these chairs, something about me told me to take another look:


They had an interesting shape over the top that I haven’t seen very often, and I love deep armchairs… I like to be able to pull my legs up and cuddle in. When I saw the price tag- $150 for two chairs- I just decided to bite the bullet and get them. We were getting ready to buy our new home and knew we needed more furniture to fill it.

Before I even purchased and picked them up, I knew I’d have to reupholster them, so I went to a local lady and asked her for a quote. When she gave me the price range- between $400-600, depending on the fabric- I knew it would be worth it.  A well made piece of furniture will cost at least this much, if not more, so I felt this was definitely the right decision.

I really, REALLY struggled with picking out the fabric… I wanted something bold, but wasn’t sure if I could live with it. I even put it to a vote on my Instagram stories, and I’m grateful you all helped me pick this fabric.


I cannot tell you how overwhelming selecting fabric can be- when there are literally 23,000 options! I narrowed it down by color and pattern type, and ordered swatches. Admittedly, this added about $30 to the cost AND slowed the process of getting the chairs finished sooner rather than later, but I really needed to see the fabric in person.

I dropped off the fabric- all sixteen yards of it!- to Lori, and waited patiently. We moved across the state in the meanwhile, but thankfully my parents were willing to pick them up for me and bring them to me when they came up to visit.

Sometimes you just need to follow your gut when you make a bold choice, and I’m glad I did. These chairs are amazing. They were worth the wait and every single penny!


My dad said when the upholsterer described the fabric to him, he couldn’t believe I’d picked yellow- but when he saw them in person, he admitted he was wrong. They’re gorgeous, and yes, I’m biased and I love mustard colored anything and I’m a sucker for a bird and floral print, but holy cow. HOLY COW.

I can’t wait to finish the living room and do them justice, but in the meanwhile, I smile everytime I see them. They’re bright and sunshiney and really bold, and I am positively delighted!

I do need to offer a few pointers if you are going to reupholster furniture. This was my first experience, and I had a learning curve!

  • Pick quality furniture. These chairs are solid wood- probably from the 1940’s or 1950’s. They had upholstery tacks on them, which definitely dated them from before the 1960’s. These chairs will outlive me. It’s worth it to invest money in something that will last so long. You’re not going to want to spend this much money on an Ikea couch- I do love me some Ikea finds, but this wasn’t the time or place for it.
  • Pick the right fabric. <Do as I say, not as I do>The fabric I selected is NOT heavy duty fabric, and this will probably be something I regret- kind of. It’s not designed for every day use on furniture- I’ve seen it on drapes and it’s most likely better suited for that. However, these are occasional chairs, so I’m not going to sweat it. I knew this fabric would be an issue, but nothing else spoke to me, so…
  • Don’t be afraid to go bold, especially if the fabric really speaks to you. If you think I’m crazy for saying this, this rule doesn’t apply to you- but if you get me, you know this is right.
  • Find an upholsterer you trust, check their work, and communicate with them. I found Lori through Yelp, she was honest, I loved her work, and her enthusiasm for these chairs was all I needed. She answered my questions honestly, as well. She was great!
  • Get quotes before you start. Obviously.

Have you ever loved a piece of furniture so much you got it recovered? What was your experience? Comment below!

Happy Tuesday!




What to expect if you get a Frenchie

If you know me, you would know that I’m passionate about French bulldogs. Something about those squish faces, bat ears, and little corkscrew tails just makes my heart pitter-patter. I loved Frenchies long before I owned one, so I had lots of time to research and decide if this breed was right for me. <PS- it is. I don’t think I’ll ever not own a Frenchie in my lifetime.>


If you know me, you would also know that I didn’t find out the gender of either of my children while I was pregnant, because there are so few pleasant surprises in life. The third biggest good surprise of my life was when Jensen had a Frenchie waiting for me when I got into town to visit him. I literally collapsed into tears, and some days, I still look at this dog- nearly seven years later- and can’t believe I get to have a Frenchie, this Frenchie, in my life.

Kermit has been one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given, but he has been labor intensive… a lot like a child. I’ve noticed that my Instagram posts about Kermit tend to get a lot of attention, and that doesn’t surprise me, because he’s pretty cute. Because of this, I thought I would share my Frenchie experience so that anyone considering the breed has a little more information available from an owner.

Please bear in mind, I’m not a breeder, just an avid enthusiast, and I’ve been lucky that Kermit has been relatively healthy, though we have had a few hiccups.

SO… what to expect when you have a French bulldog:

1. They’re loud breathers

Kermit snores like a man. Worse than a man. He also sleeps with us. (Jensen fought this battle, and he didn’t win. See post #7). This is due to the fact that they are brachycephalic- their nose is too short. This causes a whole host of other potential issues (see #7,again)  but be prepared to deal with a dog who will saw logs whenever they sleep. He also makes weird noises just because. It’s a Frenchie thing.


2. They have bad gas

This can be alleviated by diet- we do a grain free food and saw a big improvement- but when I say they have bad gas, I mean clear the room bad.

3. They have allergies

This is the biggest issue we’ve had with Kermit, and he’s on a daily medication to minimize the problem (Apoquel, if you were wondering- about $35/month for his prescription). I’m pretty confident he has a grass allergy, although this hasn’t been confirmed by a blood panel. Before we put him on medications, he used to lick his paws incessantly. Allergies are a really common problem for this breed, so you’ll probably be locked into doing some kind of method to deal with it. Medications work for us, some people can get away with wiping down paws. I’ve seen Frenchies with severe skin allergies all over their bodies, so there’s definitely a range of severity.

4. They’re stubborn

This will make your life harder with any kind of training- house breaking, leash training. We actually have a harness for Kermit because he pulls so strongly at times, and I don’t want to damage his wind pipe. I know people do agility with Frenchies (and it’s really cute!) but sometimes the dogs won’t cooperate. It’s just something to expect.

5. They’re amazing friends

Kermit is sitting with me as I write this… and it makes me kind of emotional to think about how much this dog loves me and how much joy he brings to my life. Yea, he smells, and he’s loud, and obnoxious- and he has some bizarre neuroses- but if I’m having a bad day, he’s always down to cuddle, especially as he’s gotten older. Kermit has comforted me through some really hard stuff, and I dread the day when I have to watch him leave this life. He’ll leave a big, big hole in my heart.



He’s a little bit of a stalker…


6. People will think you own a pug or a Boston terrier

It’s annoying, but it happens.

7. They sink in water

It’s true. While there are a few Frenchies who can swim (check YouTube!), mine cannot. Thankfully, they make hilarious dog life jackets, and he loves wearing it.



This is a picture from a day we spent at the lake. Kermit loved his lifejacket!


8. They overheat and chill easily

Because of that shortened nose, and also because of their compact body size which doesn’t allow for adequate cooling, Frenchies overheat easily. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have one if you live in a hot (or cold) climate, you just have to take some preventative measures to keep your dog comfortable. I’m an expert at dealing with the heat problem, so I’ll share some things I learned:

  • Fans are your dog’s best friend. We had a box fan that sat on the ground so Kermit could lay in front of it.
  • If they seem really hot, DO NOT put them in cold water. You’ll shock them. Lukewarm waters and towels will help them get comfortable.
  • Always have fresh, cool water available- duh statement, but I need to say it as a responsible owner
  • Don’t play outside during the hot part of the day
  • Watch your dog for signs of distress- they’ll tell you if they’re in trouble.

9. Be wary of trend colors

I’m probably going to offend someone, but I don’t care- I studied animal science and biology in college, and I have to say this. The trend colors some Frenchie breeders are pursuing worry me. It’s not breed standard, and I’m not sure what kind of breeding practices they’re doing to get those colors. I read the AKC standard before I got my dog, so I knew what to look for and what not to. If you want one of the off-standard colors, be aware you might get more than what you bargained for.

10. They will run your life

And I don’t regret it, one bit.





11. Adoption is an option!

Maybe you’re not in the market for a puppy- I completely understand! Kermit was a terror when he was a puppy. I’m dead serious, he was awful. I cannot recommend the French Bulldog Rescue Network enough! They are a very responsible rescue with dogs located throughout the country, and they always have middle aged and senior dogs who need a good home. They’re also always looking for financial support. Sometimes they get rescue dogs with some dire health issues, and they get these dogs healthy before the adopt them out- sometimes to the tune of thousands and thousands of dollars. They do it because they love the breed, and I think they are a great organization.

12. Spay and neuter

People gave me flak for neutering my dog because he was pretty expensive- they thought I should stud him out to make money! No. Way. I’m not going to breed a dog just because of the cost. There are so many dogs- even Frenchies- who need loving homes, and I didn’t want contribute to overpopulation. In addition, it also helps your dog lead a healthier, much less stressful life.


I think this is the longest post I have written to date- obviously this is a passionate subject for me. ❤ If you have any questions, drop a comment below or comment on my Instagram , and I’ll be happy to have a dialogue with you. Frenchie owners, think I missed anything? Let me know!



Instagram Squares & Pinterest Saves



My personal scapegoat. 

Social media can be a beautiful, positive tool. It’s hard to imagine doing anything creative without a little Pinterest scrolling to get our minds flowing, or tapping through Instagram to find some fabulous home before and after’s. A well phrased Google search can find a solution to just about any question you might have. I can spend hours and hours looking for inspiration. My social media home design inspiration board, on both Pinterest and Instagram Collections, is big.


It can, however, hinder us. I see square after square of beautifully designed spaces, and homes that always look clean, and it makes me feel like I’ll just never get there. I’ll never have the money, I’ll never have the talent, I’ll never have the time, I’ll never… you get the drift.

I was starting to feel really discontented last week. And when I say discontented, I was REALLY upset. I started to hate our new house. I started to get really angry at all the little “surprises” that keep on popping up (especially the retaining wall on the side of our house, which, all of a sudden, decided to fail within the first week of us moving in. Repairing this retaining wall is going to prevent a bathroom remodel for at least another year!!!! And we need to remodel THREE bathrooms!!!!!!!!)

I was getting more and more upset, and then I made myself pause. I reminded myself of two truths I know and so easily forget:

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Don’t judge your beginning to someone else’s middle. 

Here’s the thing… I can choose to be angry or I can choose to be content. It really is a choice. Jensen and I worked really hard to get this house- we jumped through a lot of hoops and sacrificed a lot to get to a place we love. It’s not going to be perfect. It’s never going to be perfect! No one has the perfect house, and I do mean, no one. Every home has it’s quirks.

Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere had a thought provoking Instagram post a few weeks back of a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Her caption was talking about how everything in her home is a huge mess because she’s been busy living her life and working so hard and being a mom, but this one corner of the house, with this vase of fresh flowers- it was “killing it.” It was a poignant reminder that we use social media to show the best of us, and, while that’s ok- who doesn’t want to see more beauty?!- we need to ground ourselves and realize that it IS just the highlight reel.

It’s okay to feel the mean reds once in a while. It’s okay to wonder if you’ll ever get to where you want to go, in whatever way that means to you. But please, for your sanity, don’t stay in that space. Use that to fuel your fire, to push yourself to where you want to be. You are capable of so much more than you realize. You’ve made it through every trial you’ve been through before- don’t let social media be the thing that stops you from growing and building and living your best life. That’s right- YOUR best life. It’s your life, and your definition of best is yours alone. You can’t compare pizza to ice cream- they’re both so good, and doing so would be ignoring the great things that each of these foods have. Your life is the same way- don’t deny the beauty and meaning of what you’re creating by comparing it to someone else who is living their journey.

Last Friday, I took a big deep breath, and I made a weekend to do list. It was tangible things I knew Jensen and I could accomplish on Saturday that would help me feel better. We worked really, really hard, and let me tell you- working on that back patio and getting my closet shelving fixed helped change my outlook. I felt like I made progress on what is, unquestionable, a big project. And I felt a whole lot happier.

We’re all just doing our best, friends. Just keep on trying, and keep on making your life beautiful. Enjoy the journey.




Makin’ Mini Frittatas

Some people like to call these mini egg cups or egg muffins… but I can’t do it. It just sounds weird to me, so I like to call them mini frittatas. Plus, the way my three year old says frittata is super cute.


I thought that once I didn’t have to hustle two kids out the door every morning before work that somehow, it would be less hectic. I thought wrong. David usually manages to wake up his sister by yelling “Mama! MAMA! MAMA THE SUN IS UP!” and once I let him out of bed, he thunders down the hallway to play with toys. Once Caroline is woken by all the thumping and hollering, she starts to whine to remind me that she, too would like to get up, and then it’s a big rush to get everyone breakfast and changed into fresh diapers and underwear and brush our teeth and comb our hair. I don’t put getting dressed on this list, because pajama life is the way to go until it’s about 10.30AM and it’s time for play time outside.

I was trying to come up with a quick easy breakfast idea that both kids could eat easily, because waffles and pancakes are just too much sugar to eat on a regular basis, and cereal is a non-starter right now. I scrolled Pinterest for quick breakfast ideas, and mini frittatas caught my eye- high protein, veggie loaded. It is a no brainer!

These are really easy to make, and you can use whatever you have on hand. I had the following ingredients, and I really didn’t want to make another trip to the store, so I winged it, and think they turned out great.

Bacon and Bell Pepper Mini Frittatas

  • 10-12 eggs
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4-5 strips of bacon, diced or crumbled (we did ours on the barbeque, so it was extra crispy <3)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*you could add red pepper flakes if you want a little kick, but I had to keep my kids in mind, so I passed

1. Heat oven to 350F. Chop ingredients in the meanwhile


2. Grease muffin pan generously. I used Pam with Olive Oil. Don’t be shy with the spray!

3. Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly.


4. Pour mixture into muffin cups. I tried to keep mine about 1/2 to 3/4 full.

5. Put into oven. Mine seemed to need to bake for about 15 minutes, but check them around 11 minutes.


David liked these, except for the bell pepper. Caroline loved them!

Happy Thursday, and may you make it through one more hectic morning until it’s Saturday!




P.S.- I realized the last three posts have been about food. Sorry not sorry. I think about food a lot 🙂

Sweet tooth snack

Do you ever look into your pantry and get hit by a thunder bolt? I mean, not literally, but you see something and you think “I should make that!!!” I imagine this is how Alex Guarnaschelli feels on a regular basis. Me? Not so much.

The stars must have aligned last week, however, because I saw a bag of walnut pieces and I knew I had to make candied walnuts, right then and there.


It’s so dang easy, so fast, and so delicious!

Candied Walnuts

2 tbsp butter or margarine (I’m using Smart Balance right now because dairy makes me break out!)

2 cups walnuts

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg (OMG, yes, trust me!)

Melt butter or margaine over medium low heat. Add all ingredients into the frying pan until the walnuts are toasty and the sugar is melted.

Remove from heat onto a sheet of parchment paper to cool. You can store in airtight container for two weeks… but mine only lasted a day, so… No pretty picture, sorry, folks.


Happy toasting! 🙂






“Fun to Bake With Your Toddler” Funfetti Cookies

You know those blog or Instagram posts that show the kids and the mom all smiling while they’re baking in their clean kitchen and having just the greatest time?

This isn’t one of those posts.

I mean, yes, we had fun, but there was so much going on that I didn’t get many pictures and my kitchen got messy and David got messy and then David got bored and finally the cookies were finished baking. But really, it was great!


If I look a little stressed, it’s cause I am. “Please don’t break something, pleaasseee…”

I was invited to an online Pampered Chef party, and the coordinator shared this recipe. I happened to have two extra boxes of Funfetti cake mix in the pantry (I mean, don’t you? 😉 and knew I had to try it.

Parchment paper makes my life way easier. It will make yours easier, too. Also, note that David struggled with forming dough balls. It’s ok, though! 

“Fun to Bake With Your Toddler” Funfetti Cookies

  • 1 box Funfetti cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil

*the recipe also called for 3/4 of a cup of white chocolate chips, but those aren’t my favorite, so I passed. You can also garnish with sprinkles after they’re finished baking if you’re brave. I’m not. 

Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Mix thoroughly. Form into golf ball sized balls, bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.

And that’s it. Seriously.

David loved mixing the ingredients and eating the cookies. If you try the recipe, comment below or on my Instagram post ❤


#nailedit- I think he’s going to be the next baking super star. HAHAHAHAHA. What these lack in beauty they make up for in simplicity and flavor, FYI

Much love,