Goodwill finds.

I am not ashamed to admit it: I LOVE GOODWILL. Linnea and I went there yesterday just for kicks, and I totally scored! All it takes is a little time, a discerning eye, and a little bit of fashion inspiration (mine was the July issue of InStyle). I found a book I've been wanting to read for a while, a like-new pair of strappy nude heels (for $5!!!), a denim shirtdress, a floral belt, four tops, two pairs of shorts, a denim mini with a pleated ruffle bottom, and two adorable summery outfits for the small one. Here are a couple of outfit ideas that have been floating around. These are very similar to my new finds:

Denim Dress

I love the idea of pairing a bright belt with nude shoes. And my Amma gave me a gorgeous silver tassel necklace for my birthday… love it.

Plaid top

I found some killer wedges very similar to these at anthropologie over the weekend- not only were they on clearance, I had my birthday discount as well! I love that place. My fashionista friend Alex gave me a similar ring to the one above for my birthday… chunky rings are a favorite of mine!


chiffon shirt

I love all things vintage and girly… so when I found a cute, ruffly, floral chiffon top to pair with the jeans I planned to turn into cutoffs, I decided I must head out to find the perfect sun hat to wear with them as well.

Anyway… just some ideas. I have to work on accessorizing better, but it's a lot of fun finding random things and putting together a cute outfit!

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My rainbow 30th birthday bash!

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In case this picture doesn't say it all…

I had a totally fabulous 30th birthday party! It was so wonderful having my family and many of my friends there to celebrate with me. It meant so much to have everyone there, and I missed everyone who couldn't make it.

It was a lot of fun putting together all the details! Because I have always loved rainbows, and my favorite collection at the TomKat Studio is the Rainbow Party theme, I researched colorful inspiration and decor, and here's what I came up with. I only had my point-and-shoot, so please pardon the less-than-worthy quality of these photos! 

The dessert table:

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Rainbow Twizzlers and the Cake Pops I made a la Bakerella. I switched up the red velvet for a rich devil's food instead.
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This is my Amma's wine cake: AMAZINGNESS ON A PLATE and my special request for my birthday. It's my favorite cake by far and it was a huge hit at the party! I dressed it up with a rainbow of handmade tissue paper flowers, a craft I found in the Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts:
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Inspired by Amy Atlas's InStyle feature– which was a super exciting time for us at TKS as it included some labels designed by Kim– as well as the 107-degree weather, I included a sundae bar on the dessert table. My favorite combo? Chocolate ice cream with caramel sauce and sea salt.
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I fell in love with this rainbow of glass bottles my mom and I found at HomeGoods:
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Made a whole rainbow of poms- these will come in handy for future parties as well! Have a color theme? There's a pom for that.
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Made a rainbow tutu for Linnea. Somehow it ended up on Hanalei halfway through the evening:
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I couldn't resist these silly moustaches… and neither could Ryan and Alex. How much do you love her skirt? We went on a little thrift shopping excursion a few weeks ago and she found it at Goodwill. It was originally a dress and she turned it into a skirt- fabulous!
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My goofy husband: who needs a moustache when you can have ridiculous eyebrows instead?
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My dad made it to my party. That made my whole night.
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We asked people to bring either their favorite beer or their favorite pot luck item, so we provided our family's all-time favorite sandwiches: Mum Mum's ham buns. It's a secret family recipe, so no, you can't have it! 😉
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The vuvuzelas… ha!
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And, of course, who can forget my favorite part of the entire party? Linnea dressed up in her rainbow tutu and bow! She couldn't possibly be any cuter, just FYI.
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Thanks to my hubby, my mom and my Amma for helping put everything together. And thanks to everyone who came from near and far. It was such a blessing getting to celebrate with you!

Now that the house is back to normal, I'll begin planning Cody and Linnea's birthday party… 99% sure I have the theme for that one picked out! But I have nearly six months to plan this one, so I think I'll relax for a little while 🙂

Dear Linnea: Your First Father’s Day.

Dear Linnea,

Today is a very special day. It's a day where we get to tell Daddy how much we love him and how special he is to us! But not just Daddy- Pap Pap too! Not that we don't tell them this every day- but today is their day, set aside special just for them. I have so much to share with you about why I love Daddy and Pap Pap as much as I do- but these are all things you will learn on your own, of that I am sure. But for now, I just want to share with you the things that make them so special to your Mama in particular- so here are a couple of notes that I wrote to each of them that I want to share with you. We'll start with Pap Pap and end with Daddy. Sound good?

"Dad… I don't know how to begin to tell you how thankful I am that you are my dad, and I am your baby girl. I am thankful that your heart attack occurred in God's perfect timing so that the doctors could work their magic and give you more time with us, and especially your new granddaughter, because you are the center of our family, and we all love you so much. I cherish anew the time we have together, and I hope you know that you are always on my heart even if we don't talk every day. You are smart, brave, loving, kind, and strong, and if it weren't for you, I wouldn't be where I am today- and while I have a long way to go, with your guidance and example, I know it can be done! You have never failed any of us- not ONCE- and that is quite a feat. You have always been there for all of us kids and we can only hope we will be as good to our little ones as you have been to us. Now that I'm a mom I understand things about you that I didn't get when I was younger. Thank you for being everything we need and so much more. I love you so, so much."

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"Cody- My dear, dear husband. Watching you grow as a man as a result of our sweet Linnea's arrival in our life has been a blessing. Seeing how much she adores her Daddy is more than my heart can take sometimes. She has felt that way about you since the day she was born- always calm and comforted in your arms. She will be the little girl who runs to greet you every day when you get home from work- for now, you are met with the biggest, most beautiful smile in the world. There's no question that we have a Daddy's Girl in our house. This whole process of bringing a new life into the world has made me fall more in love with you than ever; made me appreciate you more than ever. You do so much to take care of us, and I trust that you will make the right decisions and the best decisions as the leader of our family. Thank you for being so good to us, but more than that I know you will never, ever do anything less than what is best and out of loving kindness for LJ. If God blesses us with more kids, I know they will be in the best, most capable hands with you as their dad. But for now, our little LJ couldn't be more fortunate to have you for her Daddy. We both love you with all our hearts."

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So, my sweet Linnea, like I said, today is a very special day. We're going to go with your Daddy to go see Pap Pap this afternoon, and you're going to sit there and be cute and smile and giggle at them because you make their day by just being you, much like your Daddy makes your day just by being him. While it comes naturally to you now, someday you will fully comprehend just how special and irreplaceable your Daddy is in your heart. Your Pap Pap holds that special place in your Mama's heart, and he always will. And that is one of the most precious gifts that God will ever give you. I will do my best to always remind you of what an amazing man your Daddy is, and how deeply he loves his little Linnea Joelle.

I love you always, sweetheart.

~Mama

The One With the House.

I am loving my friend Katie's new blog, The One With the House. This dear woman moved back to Portland a couple of years ago after a four-year stint in sunny Arizona. She recently bought her first home and her blog is documenting the progress. I have to say… I'm a little jealous. Scratch that- totally jealous! What a fun project! 

Katie's house

Not only is she gutting and completely remodeling an old home in one of my favorite cities, she knows how to GARDEN. And she'll have her own CHICKENS. Yep. I adore that about her- she's always been so crafty and DIY and I wish she lived here still so I can learn awesome things from her! However, I think if we tried to keep chickens in this heat, they would roast alive in our backyard. Save us a step, I suppose.

Anyway, I just wanted to share her link because it's so much fun and I'm totally missing her these days. She's been there for some of my favorite times of my 20s, and I can't wait to go visit her so I can catch a glimpse into this amazing life she's building for herself!

Dang it… all of my closest friends have moved away from us. Doesn't change that they are my closest friends, but… perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if we up and moved to Nashville after all. I'd just have to convince my family to come along too.

Rainbow party inspiration.

So… my twenties are almost over. (Single tear.) Kind of crazy to think that such an eventful decade is finally coming to a close. Looking back, it was quite a whirlwind. I know that my 30s will bring even more change and blessings, and with life flying by faster than ever before, I'll be raising a glass to making the most of it with my family and friends… in ten days!

Ever since I was a kid, I have LOVED rainbows. I used to have rainbow necklace charms, rainbow sheets, rainbow unicorns (yes, life was all rainbows and unicorns when I was a kid). As an adult, I still love rainbows… and now I love beer. So why not combine the two? And throw in some awesome cake while we're at it? The first time I saw the Rainbow Party Collection at TKS I knew that I HAD to have those at my party! Here are some other fun inspiration photos:

Rainbow cake By the Whisk Kid via Martha Stewart

Rainbow cake 2Via Omnomicon.com

Rainbow cake 3 And THAT would be the cake of my dreams… via I Am Mommy.

Rainbow oreos Photo from one of our sweet customers at TKS!

Rainbow dessert table A lovely display via TKS.

Rainbow plates Ikea plates found on HowDoesShe.com!

Rainbow tutu Rainbow tutu via Joy and Me. I already made Linnea's!

So needless to say, I am super stoked to plan this party! Is it sad that I'm planning my own? Haha! Normally I would say yes, but instead I say two things: While my hubby is hosting, I don't expect him to know anything about decorating for a rainbow-themed party- or ANY party, for that matter. BUT. The man can bake amazing cupcakes. Secondly, I work for one of the best party planners in the country- it's not like I don't have a wealth of inspiration right at my fingertips!

So, tomorrow I will be sewing, searching, brainstorming, and planning the dessert table. I've never done this before, but I have so many fun ideas and have fallen in LOVE with the whole party planning process, so I can't wait to see how everything comes together! Wish me luck…

Thoughts on Food, Inc. and a carrot massacre.

Yesterday we made carrots for Linnea- and boy, was it ever a mess! Our pediatrician warned us about this… but of course, the messier the feeding process, the CUTER the baby! It was simply amazing. Here's a video:

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We used a nifty little baby food steamer and processor that my father-in-law and stepmother dearest gave to us- it's fantastic! It's called the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker and although we steamed the carrots seperately (I jumped the gun- we'll try it with the next round of food!) it worked wonders as a processor. I got the recipe from Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Baby and it was so simple. Next on the menu: sweet potatoes!

We watched Food, Inc. last night, and it was fascinating. I read The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals a couple of years ago, and this movie sums up a lot of the ideas in the book. It definitely made me re-think the way our family eats and especially what we eat and where our food comes from.

One of the things we plan to do in our backyard is start a garden, but
we need to learn what we are doing first. There is a community garden
at Agritopia that I may look into to get a handle on what I'm doing-
and what a great way to learn! My dear friend Vanessa gave us some
zucchini, a red onion and parsley from her garden plot there and they were simply
delicious. I must say- any time we make anything from scratch with
home-grown or organic, locally-grown produce,it tastes amazing in comparison to the regular produce at the store! For now, we're starting small- we have some potted basil, yellow bell pepper and cherry tomatoes sitting on our front porch:

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We've already managed to kill a strawberry plant. The pot didn't have a hole for drainage… oops. It's a learning process!

I would love to hear from you about your family's eating habits. It seems as if healthy, whole food is not interchangable with a tight budget. Saving money is top on our list of priorities, but not at the cost of our family's long-term health. It's sad that a healthy lifestyle seems to come at a steep price in our society. So if you are feeding your family organic fruits and veggies, whole grains, and grass-fed meats, how do you make it work? Do you have any tips on how to save money while doing so? Do you grow your own fruits and veggies?

First Solids.

So Cody and I sat Linnea down in her Bumbo chair this morning and attempted to feed her some rice cereal from a spoon for the first time. As you can see, she was off to an eager start- but that quickly changed to disgust after a bite or two. Of course, we let her have a little taste of a Skinny Cow ice cream bar the other day- I don’t really know how you can follow that up with a successful feeding of tasteless, outrageously boring rice cereal. Looks like Mom and Dad are gonna have to get a little creative.

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Time to bust out the baby food maker and cookbook that Grandpa and Nona got us!