3 rooms get the perfect make-over for 2016

When I graduated college I thought I’d be making great pay in no time and my dreams of traveling the world would be coming true.

However, I graduated in 2007 and entered the workforce during the Great Recession and waffled on what career path I wanted to take. So let’s just say the big bucks aren’t rolling in at this point. But, I am doing something I love and all my career searching gave me some amazing experiences I wouldn’t trade for any pile of money.

I have been fortunate that I’ve kept traveling; even if not as frequently as I dreamed of. So that means after years of attempting to escape home I’m now working on building a little cocoon for myself and my family. A place that we can call home, but also feels like a world away. A place that recharges and relaxes us.

So, we have been chipping away at projects over the two years in our home and I have big plans for this year.

Organized chaos

This year’s goal is to get our closets organized. We’ve been inspired by all those empty hotel closets and drawers and the well-curated collections you see in magazines. You know, the ones that look more like an art collection than a wardrobe.

The Container Store and Target have been our go-to places for cute organization systems that fit with our décor or the décor we hope to start establishing in said room. It has to be functional, make it easy to find anything we are looking for and take good care of our clothes. We’ve made progress in the master bedroom, but now we have to tackle the little munchkin’s chaos.

A few of our favorites so far for organizing our chaos . . .

Organized chaos

  1. Lynk Vela Over-the-Door Shoe Shelves – Target.com $24.99
  2. Wide Underbed Drawer – Containerstore.com $24.99
  3. InterDesign 16 Loop Over-the-Door Scarf Holder – Target.com $7.99
  4. Platinum elfa Mesh Start-A-Stack – Containerstore.com $119.00

Family room

When we bought our current home we were really excited to finally have a space for lounging that is tucked away, out of sight when visitors stop by. When we moved in things sort of got cobbled together and I haven’t had much time to think about what I want the space to look like. My Pinterest board is a place to start, but this year I hope to really focus in on it and make it a really special place for our family.

That means a few construction projects for the hubby 🙂

Family room

  1. Hemnes Sofa Table – ikea.com $219.00
  2. Carson 5-Shelf Bookcase with doors – Target,com $129.99
  3. Threshold Turquoise Chunky Knit Throw – Target.com $24.99
  4. Stocksund Armchair, Nolhaga dark gray – ikea.com $349.00


During my MBA, the office became tiny catch-all room. This year, the plan is to design an escape where we can go to be creative, get inspired, and get things done.



  1. Bookcase Grey 5 Shelf – Target.com $149.99
  2. Happy Wood Panel – Target.com $19.99
  3. Threshold Parsons Desk with drawers – Target.com $169.99
  4. Gray Portland Twilight – Valspar
  5. Purple Lavender Bliss – Clark + Kensington
  6. Hudson Swoop Chair – Target.com $199.99

Any big projects planned for the year?


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Getting intentional about Being Me (Food Life Project Day 7)

When I first found out I was pregnant in my late 20s I feared that I would no longer be able to focus on myself and continue to figure out who I am. Like most people, I had spent my college years and early twenties just doing whatever came along, experimenting with clothes and life choices, and trying to figure out what my “life plan” was. I don’t know that I ever figured it out, but having a baby may have actually helped me figure out who I was.

If you think this is going the way of “I love being a mom and I realized that being a mother is the one thing in life I am meant to do”, you will be disappointed. I love being a mom, but it is definitely not everything that I am.

Becoming a mother forced me to get intentional. I lack time, extra money, often energy, and did I mention time!


When it comes to using my clothes to express myself I can’t just buy both the preppy and the sporty look and hope that I’ll wear them both. I can’t get all of the season’s hottest trends every few months and simply donate what I don’t use. Instead, I get focused and figure out what type of clothing makes me feel good and spend my money on great quality base pieces.

I recommend having a few special touches on hand and pick up little accessories if you feel you need to match that season’s color or style trend. Don’t buy it just because it is on sale (as I’ve been known to do).

Check out this recent post from Lindsey at Pinch of Yum for ideas on tracking your wardrobe to know what you have and build a closet full of great base pieces.


The time of lazy weekends and free evenings are gone, but my hobbies are not. Have a free hour? Instead of spending it on Facebook, be intentional about doing what you love.

For me, that is writing and trying to get my blog on track (you know, follow the professional advice I give all of my clients) or reading. So I always have a pen and small notebook with me. I also use my Evernote app to keep track of ideas, but we all know getting on the phone can lead to a black hole of laziness. So, I avoid the temptation and go old school most of the time.


Working out has been a part of my life for years, but motherhood meant I had to be flexible both physically and mentally. I had to be willing to adjust my workout schedule and intensity based on what the other demands on my time and body are.

However, it is still at the top of my list every day. If that means getting up earlier to fit in a good run before the little one is up than that is what is planned for. I’ve also found that our little one is at the age where she has started doing what we do so I work out in front of her sometimes in the evenings. She has started doing “yoga” with me and loves to jump around.

The days of two-hour unscheduled runs might be gone, but I’m still fitting it all in and have a new cheerleader on my team.

Motherhood can leave you feeling exhausted, distant from the person you use to be, and definitely frazzled, but with a little focus it could be the thing that makes you realize what is important to your being and let go of the rest.


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What will be on your table in 2016? (Food Life Project Day 6)

Every year new trends are forecasted – hair, fashion, make-up, entertainment, slang – and the one I look forward to each year is FOOD. What food will we see on every menu and grocery shelf this year?

According to Specialty Food News, this year will see a bigger focus on healthy, local, authentic, and fresh foods. 2016 might be my new favorite year!

on your table


So vegetables are (hopefully) nothing new on your table, but this year you will start seeing vegetables in even more places. Think ice cream, yogurt, and teas.

Blue Hill

Photo: www.bluehillyogurt.com

Numi Savory Tea

Photo: www.numitea.com

Locally sourced foods

If you wanted locally sourced foods before you often had to go out of your way to seek it out. And it consisted of mostly produce. Over the past year locally sourced foods have been making an appearance at larger grocery chains and restaurants and 2016 could be the year for local foods. Go beyond produce for locally sourced meat and seafood.


As people seek to get closer to their food foraging has made a comeback. There are clubs and meet-ups across the country focused on the skill where you can learn from experts, share tips and spots, and just meet up with others who share an interest in natural fungi hunting. The fungi trend feeds right into the vegetable and locally sourced trends and has the added bonus of umami, or “fifth taste”.

Healthy eats

Playing directly off the other trends for the year, we will see an increased focus on healthy eats especially in the snack aisle and on the kids menu. There is also a bigger push to standardize the definitions and labels used on “healthy foods” including the recent move by the FDA to define the use of the word Natural on labels. 

Latin flavors

Now that travel restrictions to Cuba are beginning to loosen and visits to South America have increased, especially with the summer Olympics being hosted by Rio, Latin flavors are showing up on plates. And I for one am very excited about it, especially because there is a trend towards authentic ethnic cuisines instead of the Americanized version of fantastic foods. I have a feeling Miami is going to have the spotlight in this trend.

Happy eating in 2016!





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Food Life Project Day 5: I Knew You Could

“I knew you could. And you knew it, too – “

Those are the words that start one of my favorite children’s books, but they are also the words we all need to hear sometimes. Finding someone who continuously believes in you – even when you doubt yourself – is one of the greatest gifts.

There have been so many times in my life that I’ve needed a shot of encouragement and reminder to have faith in myself.

  • When I performed in front of an audience and for the first the time, my part didn’t allow me to simply blend into the group.
  • When trying out for anything. We all want to belong and being told you aren’t good enough hurts.
  • When applying to colleges as the first in the family to go past high school.
  • When graduating college after five LONG years and a few degree changes.
  • When deciding to overcome my mental crunch – anorexia – and making a promise to myself to live a fulfilling life.
  • When leaving the safety of a traditional job for the challenge and excitement of running my own business.
  • When giving birth a month early to my daughter in a whirlwind experience of infant special care and being a new mom.
  • When deciding to go for my MBA and I’m sure when I finally graduate in February.

Through it all, I’ve learned that the greatest gift is using these words to encourage others, especially my loved ones. To let them know that someone is there and believes in them when they are too fearful to believe in themselves. To give them courage to get them through and remind them that deep down they always knew they could do it.

Books I highly recommend if you need a little reminder about how great you are or need a little courage of your own:

I Knew You Could! A Book for All the Stops in Your Life by Craig Dorfman

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown



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Food Life Project Day 4: A Lazy Day

When I set the goal of writing daily for 365 days I thought I might have issues thinking of a topic each day. Nothing like a 24-hour deadline to cause writer’s block!

So I decided to seek out a few writing prompt sources in case I needed inspiration. I had to laugh to myself when I saw the first prompt – What is your favorite way to spend a lazy day?

A better question might be “what is a lazy day?”. Between being a mom, an MBA student, a full-time professional, and actually having hobbies I can’t even remember the last lazy day I had. Oh, and my lazy days probably don’t look like many other people’s.

So if I did find myself with a lazy day how would I spend the time?

Waking up to the sun streaming through the bedroom windows and the smiling face of my daughter ready to face the morning.

A leisurely breakfast of eggs and toast with a large coffee and some online news on the side.



Photo: Alice Hampson


Lacing up my running shoes for a mid-morning outdoor run. The sun kissing my skin and the tunes keeping my pace.

Cleaning up for a special lunch out on the town with my two favorite people. Possibly a slice of pizza at Cossetta’s or a burger on the deck at Jersey’s.

An afternoon spent reading a new book and sipping iced tea.

After a little lounging, I’m ready to get moving in the kitchen. Turn on a little music, pull out the cutting board and chef’s knife, and raid the produce drawer for a killer salad.

What better way to end the day than a relaxing meal with a glass of wine and some lively conversation. Unless, of course, the day actually ends with some snuggles in bed and kisses from the loves of my life.

Maybe I need to start carving out some time in my calendar for my lazy day!

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2016 kick-off and Food Life Project launch

2015 flew by, but it was one helluva year!

joy jar A few years ago I started keeping a JOY JAR so I could always remember the wonderful things that happen, even when life gets hectic. 2015 was a banner year:

  • Several career opportunities that kept everyone excited about what they are doing.
  • The first momma & daughter day consisting of Olivia’s first live play, pizza, a bookstore stop and lots of shopping. Many more days like this to come 🙂
  • Our little girl upgraded to a big girl bed . . . where did the time go!
  • Olivia’s 3rd birthday party was amazing with a bouncy house, delicious cake, and lots of family and friends.
  • The inaugural Sister’s Weekend took place in Chicago and our minds started dreaming of all the possibilities for years to come.
  • We explored the US a little with a trip to South Dakota – saw the “rock men”, LOTS of buffalo, and enjoyed our first family camping trip. Of course, having a potty training toddler only made it that much more interesting.
  • Went Skydiving!!!! Another thing knocked off the bucket list and possibly added to the hobby list.

Of course, the biggest event of 2015 took place in the last week. Our new niece, Naomi, joined the family!

2015 is going to be a tough year to top, but I think we can do it. To kick it off I’ve set a 365 project for myself — The Food Life Project — write daily and take at least one photo. The MBA journey will be coming to an end and new doors will be opening so it is time to get focused and live with intention. Make every second count. Tackle the projects I’ve been putting off these last two years. Explore the world and live inspired.


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