look of the day. winter staples.

{top/skinnies-target, boots-gift, belt-gap}

meet my go-to winter wardrobe: skinny jeans, a flannel shirt, riding boots, and a fun belt.  i think i could wear this combination of clothing every day of my life, and pretty much do as of late. what is it about fall/winter clothing that i can't seem to get enough of?  what are your go-to winter staples? happy thursday! {monica}


look of the day. my only christmas request.

{sweater/shoes-christmas gift, jeans-gap, belt-f21, button up-target}
i only asked chris for one thing this christmas. a pair of minnetonka classic fringe boots. brown leather, size nine, with hard soles minnetonka classic fringe boots to be more specific; i even emailed him the link just in case he got confused:)  i kinda felt like that poor kid ralphie on a christmas story, who begged for his red rider bb gun. all i wanted for christmas were these lovely shoes.  thankfully i have a husband who spoils me and obliged my gift request. he also bought cohen this matching pair in red. they are so sweet. i can't wait for his little feet to grow into them.  happy wednesday! {monica}


christmas and big updates.

we had a lovely time celebrating cohen's first christmas.  we took advantage of cohen's complete lack of the christmas concept and slept in, ate a big helping of freshly baked monkey bread, slowly sipped a few cups of coffee, and then finally got around to opening gifts at a snails pace.  we attempted to let cohen open gifts, but he could have cared less about all of the little bags and boxes lovingly wrapped just for him.  chris and i laughed each time we opened a gift, and he would play with the box/paper instead of the actual gift.  oh, and the thing he loved most was hiding out under the tree.  he would drag a book under the tree and sit there for what seemed like half the day.  just a boy, a book, and a twinkle lit tree fort.   it doesn't get better than that when you are 9 months old.

 this christmas was a lot different than ones in the past.  with all of the decisions chris and i had to make in the couple weeks leading up to christmas, we barely had time to set up a tree, send christmas cards, or decorate. no really. i stunk at sending out christmas cards (sorry to all of you who didn't get one this year, i promise next years will be in your mailbox) and instead of decorating the tree in my usually obsessive way, i just made this simple fabric and burlap garland to wrap around it.  when the garland was up and i was sad because of our overall lack of christmas cheer around the house, chris sweetly told me he thought this tree was the best one yet.  i really needed to hear those sweet words.

now onto these decisions i keep referring to.

as most of you know, chris recently finished grad school which meant we had to start figuring out what was next for our family.  we had to put on our big kid pants and start making decisions.  the main decision we had to make was where we would want to live. more importantly, where did we want to start raising our family. when we moved to iowa two and a half years ago, i always assumed the move would be temporary.  chris applied to jobs all over the world, so i assumed we would move somewhere new and exotic, but when offers started coming in nothing seemed right.  so we sat down, and listed out everything we wanted for our future city. our main criteria included:
-college town
-good schools
-safe neighborhoods
-close to family
(can you tell we are parents now?)
the first three were easy, but the proximity to family was the difficult one.  chris and i were born and raised in the northwest, our parents and siblings still live in the area but the place where our largest amount of family members live is iowa. so we really started praying about staying in iowa or moving back to oregon. a couple weeks later, chris got a job offer from a company in iowa city. iowa city, home to the university of iowa (college town check), safe neighborhoods and lots of great schools (check and check), the same city where all of my family lives (check). oh, and it's same city my parents fell in love in (not on the list but amazing).  we were shocked! the interview he had there was three and a half hours long and consisted of three separate panel interviews.  talk about intense.  by the end of the interview chris was so brain dead he couldn't remember half the things he said.  he didn't know if he had nailed it or completely blew it. apparently he nailed it because the offer was also his best yet.  after a few back and forth negotiations, the contract was signed last week making it official. chris got an awesome job and we are moving to iowa city
two huge decisions complete.

we still have a bunch of other hurdles to cross in the next couple months, including listing our house for sale, finishing my job, packing our house, finding a short term rental and house hunting in iowa city, but the two biggest decisions are behind us. yay!  lots to celebrate. happy tuesday! {monica}


merry christmas.

we're off for a lovely four days of christmas vacation. yay.  be back next week with lots of updates (hopefully). merry christmas everyone. happy thursday! {monica}


diy: anthropologie inspired clutch.

when i saw this clutch a couple months ago at anthropologie i knew i wanted to try to recreate a similar clutch on my own. i kinda cheated on this one because i bought a store made clutch, but hey, a girl can cheat every once in a while right?  it was just $3.99, had this super cute leopard lining, and i knew i wouldn't sew it on my own for that price, so i had to buy it. 

to make this clutch you will need.
a store bought clutch (mine found here), vivid orange paint (here), a paint brush, painters tape

once you have the supplies, it's super easy.  all you have to do is wrap the painters tape around the clutch on both sides of the stripe.  the stripe i made was 4" wide, but feel free to make it as wide as you like.  once the tape is set, apply a thin layer of paint to the clutch in between the taped lines. you will have to do this step in stages, letting the paint dry on each side before painting the next.  once the paint is applied and dry, remove the tape and enjoy.  it's easy as that.

i love pops of bright color in the dreary winter months, and this clutch is perfect for that.  you know what it's also perfect for?  a last minute christmas gift.  happy wednesday! {monica}


pictures from the road.

{from the top-a normal taylor family car ride: mama drives while the boys sleep, the cutest knuckle dimples on earth, digg the champion road trip lap dog, bug at the base of the st. louis arch, bundled up family shots with the arch, beautiful midwest cities, carousel ride}

well hello there. we are back from a lovely nine days on the road.  we were spoiled rotten by family, visited beautiful cities, chris and i snuck off on as many dates as we could, and ate enough southern food to make my pants feel a bit snug.  this trip was just what we needed to gear up for all the changes we have ahead of us.  i will update you all on life and changes to come when i am able to sit down and type more than ten sentences.  until then i have lots of look of the day posts and a couple diys scheduled, so stay tuned for those.  happy monday! {monica}



it's hard to believe we have a nine month old.  it's even harder to believe we have a three-quarters of the way to one year old.  this little guy has been a complete joy for each and every day of his entire life.  although nine months had some really scary moments, it also had some pretty darn amazing moments we will never forget.  at the top of that list would be the fact that cohen has started to take steps.  without showing even a single stitch of fear, he is has taken on walking with reckless abandonment.  it's been hard for me to find the balance between letting him test his limits and wanting to wrap him from head to toe in bubble wrap, but we are figuring this walking thing out.

{video i took of his first steps last week.  i'm so glad i was able to capture this moment so chris could see this milestone for himself when he got home from school. he was one happy daddy}

besides walking he is really becoming aware of his body: he's learning to wave, clap, and climb. he loves books.  in fact, i swear he can say the word book (okay, it sounds more like "ouk"), but he says it every time he grabs a book.  he still loves food, following us around the house, and new places. 

happy nine months baby bug.  love you to pieces.
happy tuesday! {monica}


a letter to my husband.

chris, it's officially official. as of tomorrow you will be a graduate.  project presented, finals passed, officially d.o.n.e.  what you have been able to accomplish in the years since we met continues to baffle my mind. you've now earned two masters degrees, graduated with honors each time, taught college courses, worked countless hours at work, created a baby boy who couldn't look more like you, coached me through nearly two whole days of labor, travelled to china, moved our entire house cross country all by yourself, travelled all over the place on my random adventures, bought a fixer upper in a town you knew nothing about because you trusted my instincts, and so much more. i'm sure i'm forgetting a million other things, but you managed to do all these things while not forgetting to have some fun along the way.
i don't know how you did it, but you did. you really did it, and i couldn't be more proud to be your wife. if cohen could talk i'm sure he would say the same thing (only he'd say son instead of wife, and he'd probably add thanks dad for the shoulder rides, sweet new toys, and sneaking me cookies while mom isn't looking).  congratulations babe, i can't wait to see what you think up next. now it's time to celebrate.  my love forever and ever-monica

happy friday! {monica}


road tripping with a baby, our advice.

we are headed out for another road trip this weekend.  i'm incredibly thankful to be blessed with a husband who loves to hit the road as much as i do, and for a baby boy who travels really well in a car. we are headed off to southern indiana for a whopping nine days, and plan on making a bunch of stops along the way.

 we travel to evansville every year for a big christmas soiree with my dad's side of the family. it's a long drive, and with an ever increasingly mobile nine month old, ten hours is an extremely long time to be in a car, so you have to be prepared for everything, including lots of stops along the way.  because we hit the road often (cohen will have visited 15 states by the end of this trip), we have learned first hand about what to do and what not to do when travelling with a baby.  here are a few things we have learned along the way.
one. plan ahead.  i cannot stress this enough.  you must plan ahead with a baby. at least a week before your departure, write a list of everything you need to pack. make plans ahead of time for keeping your baby on a some what consistent sleep schedule, snack times, meal times, emergency plans (hotels, roadside assistance, weather, etc), activities, sightseeing, and so on. everything must be planned.  even planning for the unexpected should be planned. i know this sounds stressful, but believe me, being organized makes for a much smoother trip. here are a few of my favorite websites to help plan ahead. roadside america- this is one of my favorite road trip websites.  it has thousands of easily accessible road side attractions. all you have to do is type in your route, and thousands of roadside attractions are listed in a map fashion, so you can easily see what is closest to your route. if you have to make a pit stop, you might as well see a famous site while you stop, right? bathroom diaries-i know. who knew there was even a website out there for such a thing, but there is, and i take full advantage of it.  i will never forget the first road trip chris and i took with cohen, he was only six weeks old and we were driving to oregon from iowa (that's a long haul). we stopped at numerous places for diaper changes and many of them were not equipped with changing tables or clean areas to lay him down on, it got really frustrating.  this website helps with all of that.  you just type in your location, and the highest recommended bathroom pops up.  sounds stupid, but it's really helpful. mom's minivan- especially helpful when your kids are a bit older, this site offers tons of free printables and activity ideas to make the road trip fun. chris and i even print out cheesy games like travel bingo, just in case we need a little something to do on long stretches of the drive.

two.  pack smart.  early on, we would take road trips and pretty much pack our entire nursery.  the activity mat, bumbo, swing, vibrating chair, and everything else just in case. our poor little car was packed to the brim, occasionally we'd even bring our car top carrier, because we were packed so full.  this got old really fast, and we learned quickly what we really needed and didn't need at all. i know it's hard, but try to only pack the necessities. also, make sure you have the things you need most right at hand so you don't have to make extra stops to dig in the trunk to find what you are looking for. keep snacks, toys, and other baby distractions right at hand.
three. make time for fun.  road trips are all about seeing the country, so take time to eat at a great restaurant, explore a new city, take a swim in a near by lake, and try something you've always wanted to try.  listen to an audio book, download songs or buy a new cd, buy your kiddo a couple new toys and give them out along the way, visit friends and family, try to be creative, the sky is the limit. if you make trips fun, your kiddos will likely want to take more of them.  here are some fun stops we've made on recent road trips.
left-catching up with my life long friend ericka in chicago, right-tigers game in detroit with family
even the dogs need a break from the car. our dogs loved running on the oregon coast.
left-stopping for dutch letters in pella, ia. center-waterfront walk in milwaukee, wi. right-cohen on first base at the field of dreams in dyersville, iowa.

happy thursday! {monica}


winter diys.

i've been on the prowl for some cozy winter diys. the kind of things that will make me want to curl up on the couch and snuggle with my guys with a warm cup o'somethin (preferably a latte) in hand.  here are a few projects which fit just those criteria.

for those cold nights when you need an extra layer of warmth, leg warmers made from old sweaters (via)

for your fingers, cashmere mittens (pattern here)

for that warm cup o'somethin, a hand painted mug (tutorial here)

for the tights i can't seem to stop wearing (via)

now, all i have to do is find the time to try some of these out.  i can guarantee that it won't be this week or the next. chris is in his final week of grad school guys.  can you believe it?  i'm over the moon excited to have my husband back again.  this week will be ridiculously crazy for him, leaving me and little man to fend for ourselves.  then next week we have a whole 9 days (yes, i said nine) of family vacation.  i could cry with joy i'm so happy.  if my posts are few and far between the next couple weeks this is the reason. 

oh, and i finally caved and joined pinterest, which is where i found all of these lovely ideas.  follow me here if you'd like.

happy tuesday! {monica}


look of the day. hair questions

help!  i need your advice. my hair is in desperate need of some tlc.  i'm kind of embarrassed to admit this...but i haven't had my hair cut or colored since february (right before cohen was born) and as you can tell by my horrid roots, it's time to get my hair did. okay, it was time to get my hair did about 7 months ago, but that's beside the point.

{pants/necklace-target, shoes-payless, neon yellow tee-gap, sweater-gift (gap), jacket-thrifted}

so my questions are these.
color?  what should i do? blonde, auburn or brunette? and cut? i really like my hair best above the shoulder, but not sure what to do with it?  i need your help! any advice would be much appreciated.

happy monday{monica}


look of the day. heart-y har har.

{skirt (it's actually a dress)/tights/necklace-target, boots-gift, belt-f21, cardigan/top-gap}

i've never been much of a girly girl. i like dirt, sports, beer, cheeseburgers, and power tools and i'm proud of it. yeah, i like clothes and fashion, but i'm usually not one frilly, sparkly, pink-y kinds of clothes. these heart tights are a very unusual choice for me, but i actually really like them. call it my attempt to embrace my inner girlie girl.
happy thursday! {monica}