2.29.2012

Mom Clothes

Although it's still fun for me to open my closet in the morning and see pretty little pieces of clothing hanging in the sunlight, I find myself less excited to write about clothes these days.  Rather than fill my spare time flipping pages of fashion magazines and scouring my favorite fashion blogs in search of inspiration, I'd much prefer evenings spent on the floor playing blocks with the sweetest little boy I know. My 20 year-old self is probably rolling her eyes at this revelation, but it's true. My interests are changing, evolving. I now read mom blogs (my current favorites include: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), pin creative things to do with a toddler, and dream of living a simpler life in our future home.

I mention this because I've been getting a few emails lately, asking  if I'm going to write "Look of the Day" posts anymore and to that my answer is No! But, don't go writing hate emails, because I have a solution. Rather than devote entire posts to one outfit, I'm going to have a new series called "Mom Clothes".   I can't guarantee how frequent they will be featured, remember I'm on a mission to simplify here, but I can promise they will be a more consise post about what I've worn lately. If I happen to have a second for Chris to snap a picture of what I'm wearing I'll post it, but I'm going to wait until I've amassed a couple of outfits to share. It saves both you "the reader" and me "the busy mama" some time.

I'll also be staring a new series to go along with "Mom Clothes" called "Cohen Clothes", with the same premise in mind.  Each post will be a compliation of what Cohen has worn recently, these I'm assuming will be posted on a more frequent basis since Chris and I refer to ourselves as Cohen's paparazzi and have amassed a large array of "Cohen Clothes" posts already.  Is this making sense?  My attempt at making life a bit simpler?  Maybe I'm making it more difficult? I guess I'll have to wait and see.
That being said, here's my first "Mom Clothes" post featuring what I wore last weekend. 

floral pants: forever 21, heels: payless, tee: hanes, yellow sweater: salvation army, necklace: forever 21 (here)

Introducing my first attempt at floral denim.  I always feel a bit odd buying anything from a store called Forever 21 considering I no longer have a two as the first number in my age (yes, I'm thirty).  Really, I don't frequent the store as often as I used too, but let's face it, it's hard to pass up their low prices. Again on the subject of low prices, I bought this cardigan at a thrift store last month and have pretty much lived in it ever since. No really! I wear it to bed, around the house on weekends, and now to the mall as pictured here. I'm convinced it's cashmere, but can't guarantee that since there isn't a garmet tag.


shoes: dollhouse via goodwill, pants: really old j.crew, belt: vintage, flannel shirt: husband's (thrifted)

I realize this isn't the most exciting outfit in the world, nor are the proportions the greatest, but to play around in the wet back yard with a crazy boy, this is as chic as it gets at our house. In fact, I changed my shoes shortly after this picture was taken because my feet were getting far too wet.  

There you have it.  I already think compliling a bunch of different outfits into one post will be much easier. Plus, in doing this, I'll have more time to write little tid-bits about our day to day life, recipes, our impending house remodel, and crafting endevours.  For those of you who read this long winded post, I promise fashion posts will be more consise from here on out. promise.  {Monica}

2.28.2012

bad news. good news.

Bad News. Last week I stopped by my favorite thrift store only to find their lease wasn't renewed and they would be closing doors Saturday.
Good News. The only positive thing about my beloved thift store having to close their doors, was the 50% off sale they had all last week.  I was able to swoop in and get a bunch of bargains before the rest of the town found out about their impending closure.  I filled an entire shopping cart, we're talking mounded  and walked away spending only $17.45.  Talk about thrift store jackpot! 

Here were my favorite finds for Cohen's closet.

The vintage treasures (two button ups, three tees, two polo tees, and cashmere...yes, you read that right, cashmere pants)


A trio of amazing slightly used sweaters (the one on the left is Hanna Andersson, the other two are Gap)

Pretty great right?  There are a few other items that were still in the wash I didn't wait to photograph, but I'm sure you will see Cohen donning all of the finds shortly. I plan on doing another post or two to show the other gems we scored for our home in the very near future, so stay tuned for those as well.  Have a great Tuesday! {Monica}

2.27.2012

snippets 2.27.12

We had a simply lovely weekend.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous all weekend long. The sun was shining, birds were singing songs of Spring, and the temperature made it into the 50s, a real rarity for Iowa in February. To celebrate the sunshine we played outside in the yard, walked to the store to pick up a movie, and kept the windows wide open to soak up some much needed Vitamin D. 

While Cohen napped Saturday morning we quickly cleaned the house for two house showings.  It's amazing how fast the house gets cleaned when Chris and I are both home!  When I'm home alone during the week, it seems to take 4x the amount of effort to get the house into a "show worthy" state. I don't know how Chris is able to clean as quickly as he does, but let me tell you, he is such a giant help when he's home. Besides two house showings, we watched the Oscars, ran a few errands, ate too much good food, talked about projects for the new house and watched a terrible movie. Here are some pictures from the past 48 hours.
a new necklace
bed head
giving floral denim a try

                                                a bowl full of toys we found under the couch when cleaning


Don't you just love productive yet relaxing weekends.  If only every weekend was so rejuvinating.  Happy Monday! {Monica}

2.24.2012

home inspections

can i please just say...home inspections really stress me out!
let me rephrase that, home inspections on century old homes really stress me out!

this will be the second 100 year old home we've purchased in the last three years, so i realize the need to have each and every crevasse inspected, but when it comes to the inspection findings i tend to get really overwhelmed. try as i might, i really don't understand the ins and outs of construction, plumbing, and electrical wiring. my husband, the architect, on the other hand can speak the inspection lingo with the best of them. words like watts, amps, and joists flow off his tongue like it's normal. this is not normal people! when it comes to conversations i don't understand (like home inspections), my first instinct is to shut down.  rather than feel like an idiot trying to act as if i know what in the heck chris and the inspector are talking about, i just nod my head quietly as if i know what boiler sludge is?  it's really, r.e.a.l.l.y frustrating.a home is a big investment and i really wish i understood more, so i wouldn't feel so overwhelmed.  does anyone else feel this way?

that being said, we had our home inspection yesterday. overall it went really well. the inspector even made a comment about the home, saying he hadn't seen an old home in this good of shape for a long time (phew, that was a huge sigh of relief).  there were a couple of bigger issues about topics i'm unfamiliar with, so i won't even attempt to try to explain them, but let's just say we are going to need some professionals to come take a look at the potential problem areas. neither issue would be a deal breaker, but we will definitely ask for concessions where there are immediate problems. 

hopefully, we'll be able to get all the inspection issues resolved quickly and get on with our move.  i just can't wait to get over there and live with my husband again.  this single mama stuff is great sometimes, but i'd rather have chris around any day.   have a good weekend everyone! happy friday! {monica} 

2.22.2012

big news.

As mentioned in Monday's post, I've got some big news to share, so I'll get right to it.

Big news #1, I got a job! Thank you everyone for your prayers, sweet words and encouragement before my interview Thursday, the interview went far better than expected. When got the call Friday that I had been selected for the position, I was over the moon. In fact, I preceded to do a completely uncoordinated happy dance in the parking lot of Starbucks to which I got some "is that person okay?" stares in return. It's a great job, for a great company, and I couldn't be happier about the position if I tried.

Big news #2, we bought a house. Well, kinda. Our offer was accepted, but we still have to get past the inspection hurdle before the deal is done. The house is amazing you guys! We will have a ton more space than we do now, which means we won't have to move again anytime soon. It's a beautiful old 1906 home with a wrap around porch, huge moldings, and lots of big beautiful windows. It's a serious project house, but we're excited to take on projects and make it our own. I can't wait to share pictures of the place, but considering its not ours quite yet, the pictures will have to wait. I'll share them as soon as I can though.

So that's our big news. Exciting right? Life seems almost too good to be true at the moment, so I'm trying to take lots of time to count each and every one of our blessings. We now have two huge hurdles crossed off of our list, which means we're one step closer to living together as a family again! Thanks again everyone for your prayers! I appreciate every single one of them! Happy Wednesday! {Monica}

2.20.2012

snippets 2.20.12

whew, what a weekend.  i have a bunch of big updates to share, but they will have to wait until later in the week when i have a bit more time to write. until then, here are a few snippets from our weekend.
cohen gave his overalls a try saturday.  he looks so quintessential iowa in them don't you think? all that's missing is a tractor and boots, he's such a good sport when i play dress up with him.  i love this photo of our sweet boy with all the sunlight streaming in through our giant wall of windows.  i'm really going to miss these windows and all the beautiful sunlight when we move.

as usual, we took long afternoon naps both saturday and sunday.  cohen is a rare snuggler, so these naps are a real treat for chris and i, we usually fight over who gets to nap with him because we're dorks like that.
 
the weather was absolutely perfect this weekend, warm enough even to take cohen to the park, a real rarity for iowa winters. cohen absolutely loved the swings! he smiled the entire time and let out the cutest giggles each time we pushed him.  here's a short clip of  his swinging joy.

besides napping and swinging, we got a bunch of stuff done around the house too.  chris vacuumed the cars out, i got two trash bags of clothes organized and ready to take to the consignment shops today, we filled two more trash bags (one) with unused/expired bathroom and kitchen supplies and (two) with bathroom and kitchen donation items, and we cleaned the entire house from top to bottom. can you say productive weekend?  doesn't it feel great to declutter? i think so. i'll be back later in the week with a couple big updates!  things are really starting to come together in our house and i can't wait to share. happy monday! {monica}


2.17.2012

weekly links.

one. i could really use a new pair of pajamas to spend lazy saturdays in and this beautiful pair would be at the the top of my pajama wish list.  ahem..chris? are you listening?
two. this simple heart tote diy.  fun fun.

three. radiators.  okay, i realize this is the most random thing ever, but the house we are looking at has radiators in every room and they kind of baffle me.  i've been scouring pinterest for radiator ideas and these were some of my favorites.  

have a great weekend everyone.  our weekend plans?  clean and organize the basement (aka throw out/donate a bunch of stuff we haven't used in years), i just hope chris is on board with this plan too. happy friday! {monica}

2.16.2012

china.

i can't believe it's been nearly 9 months since chris returned from china and i have yet to share a single one of his beautiful images with you all. geezz. sometimes i fail as a doting wife. he took thousands of images during his visit, but here are a couple of my favorites.








pretty fantastic right?  he found china incredibly beautiful, but difficult to photograph because of the air quality.  china's has some of the poorest air quality in the world. in fact his tour guide mentioned that one day in shanghai is equivalent to smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. isn't that terrible. despite the terrible smog, he captured some exceptionally beautiful images. good job babe!

on a completely unrelated side note: happy birthday kia!  you are the kindest, prettiest, and most genuine person i know.  thanks for being my one and only sister.  love you forever.  happy thursday! {monica}

2.15.2012

chilpotle sweet potato salad

ready for another easy salad recipe?  chilpotle sweet potato salad is one of my favorites.  i tried golden sweet potatoes this time around, the taste is similar to a standard sweet potato, the only difference really is the color.  feel free to use any color you like.
what you need:
1 medium diced sweet potato, roasted (350 degrees, salt/pepper/ 1/2 c olive oil, roast until soft)
1 avocado diced
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 c diced red bell pepper
1/4 c finely chopped red onion
juice of one lime
1/4 c parmesan cheese
2tbsp chilpotle salsa (i use herdez brand)
salt/pepper
directions: once the sweet potatoes are cooled, mix all of the ingredients together except for the salsa. do a taste test...you may need a bit more salt/pepper/olive oil as needed. once everything is seasoned properly, add chilpotle salsa and stir.  chilpotle peppers are spicy, so be prepared for a bit of a kick. enjoy. 

happy wednesday! {monica}

2.14.2012

update

Since we aren't really into celebrating the whole Valentine's Day thing, I think it’s time for a little update on what’s going on in our crazy lives. In my last long winded update Chris had just moved to Iowa City, we had an offer in on a house, we were putting our house on the market, and trying to figure out this long distance marriage thing. Here's what's new.
House Update. The house we made an offer on fell through. It was a dream house for us, but needed it a lot of work. We spent hours with contractors getting estimates on all work that needed to be done, and in the end we couldn’t agree with the seller on a sale price. We weren’t willing to offer high enough for her, and she wasn’t willing to go low enough for us. Chris was heart-broken for a week or so after, he wavered back and forth wondering if we did the right thing, but in the end I’m convinced we did. If we offered what the seller wanted we would have far exceeded the neighborhood’s value, and it wouldn’t have been a good investment for us. Did I want the house? Yes! Was it meant to be? No.
House Update II. We found another house we are interested in. It’s funny how the house hunting process works. One day you think you will never find another house, then the next day you are ready to put in an offer. The way we found the house is a long story, too long to get into now, but we find ourselves once again excited about another house. I won’t go into too many details, since it’s not all worked out at the moment, but we are excited about what could be in store. I’ll keep you posted as things progress.
Chris' Job. I’m happy to report he loves his job. His co-workers are friendly, he carpools with his boss, he’s on the company basketball team, and they have him working on a bunch of projects he seems really interested in. I’m really happy he loves what he’s doing, because he hates living apart from Cohen and I, his job is a welcome escape for him. I think he hates our set up worse than I do.
My Job Hunt: I have an interview Thursday morning, so say a little (or big) prayer for me please.  This is the first job I've interviewed for that I'm excited about, but there were 120+ applicants which is kind of intimidating.

After my interview Thursday, we'll be interviewing a potential daycare for Cohen and going through the house we are interested in one more time.  It will be nice if some things start falling into place, all of this unknown is hard for me.  Hope everyone is having a good week. happy tuesday! {monica}

2.13.2012

eleven.

our sweet baby boy is eleven months old today. i really can't believe it.  i know i said a couple months ago that 9 months was my favorite age, but i've changed my mind eleven months is my new favorite.  i've seen such a huge change in cohen over the last month personality wise.  he's funny, charming, joyful, and a total ham. he loves social situations, interaction, and all the attention he gets from strangers when he's out and about. it's as if he is starting to understand the life he is living and how he should interact with the world around him.

hand's down, this last month has been the funniest month of his existence.  i've lost count of how many times i''ve been brought to tears, laughing hysterically at his antics. last week alone he laughed so hard he fell over, went to the bathroom in the middle of the kitchen floor (a long story), drank his baby-sitters chocolate milk when she wasn't looking, took a lint roller to bed with him, and learned how to take all of his clothes off at nap time.  this little boy we have is quite the character.
eleven months will soon be long gone sweet boy, but i hope we always remember each one of your sweet moments and milestones. you mean the world to your father and i, and we continue to be amazed by each and everything you do.  we love you to pieces. happy monday! {monica}

2.10.2012

weekly links.

one. these wedding photos are to die for.  so lovely, they kinda makes me want to get married all over again (to the same guy of course). what a beautiful wedding, maybe the prettiest i've seen?

two. these scandinavian rooms.  i've been scouring pinterest as of late, for light, bright spaces. i truly think i'm going to paint the interior space of our future home entirely white. i love how bright, airy and big all white spaces feel.  plus, i really enjoy color and like the idea of adding color to rooms with furniture and accessories instead of wall paint, it seems to allow for more creativity and change as trends come and go.


all images found via

three. since valentine's day is right around the corner, i thought i'd share this super cute free download from eat drink chic for all you coffee lovers.

have a great weekend everyone. we plan on celebrating valentine's day this weekend in a one way or another.  we aren't really valentine's day people, but i'm sure we'll figure out something cheesy to do to celebrate. anyone else celebrating valentine's day this weekend?  happy friday!{monica}

2.09.2012

5 things i love and don't love about the iPhone


i mentioned this a few weekends ago, but in case you missed it...my super rad husband bought me an iphone.  and not just any iphone but the 4s (i'm still not sure what that means by the way, but it makes chris happy so i'll pretend it makes me just as excited). as a first time iphone owner i've come to realize there are some serious benefits of owning this pocket sized gadget, but i've also come to realize there are things i miss about my old phone (which was a HTC EVOO 4G by the way).

5 things i love about the iphone
-instagram:  in my opinion instagram kicks twitter's butt. why? because it's all pictures. yeah there are comments about the pictures, but if you post an update, a picture must be included.  it's pretty darn awesome
-the camera: the simple editing features are such a huge time saver. you can reduce red-eye, crop, rotate, and enhance with a simple click.  it's perfect for quick blog posts and all the cohen emails we send to our family and friends.
 -facetime: let me just say facetime rocks! with our family in oregon and chris working 2-hours away from cohen and i, facetime really is amazing. it's so much easier to use than skype. i just pick up my phone, dial my chris' number, and there is cute little face is. it's so easy even i can figure it out. we still use skype often, since not everyone has an iphone/ipad to facetime with, but even my parents are considering buying iphones now solely because of facetime.
-no fingerprints: i realize this isn't a big deal to most people, but with a 10 month old who is constantly covering my phone with his sticky fingers it's amazing.  the screen is covered with some kind of oil repels finger prints. crazy huh?
-overall ease of use: i find the iphone easier to use. simple.as.that.

5 thing i don't love about the iphone
-the battery life: the battery life hasn't been great thus far.  i use my phone tons, so i've been having to charge my phone at least once a day if not more. maybe i'm doing something wrong or have too many features turned on at the same time?  who knows? i'm still trying to figure it out.
-no bubble breaker: are you kidding me iphone? no bubble breaker?  you have a bunch of free apps claiming to be bubble breaker, but all of them are lame impersonations of the real deal.  looks like i have to find a new addicting game for road trips.
-no 4G:  let me start this one by saying, i had absolutely no idea what 4G meant before owning the iphone.  chris always raved about 4G and i would nod my head in a desperate attempt to act like i knew what he was talking about.  well, i now know what 4G is and let me tell you...i miss it. i really notice the difference with internet download times, the iphone is slower.
-the price: iphone you are expensive.
-the wireless network pop-ups: this may just be because i haven't set up my phone correctly, but why is there a pop-up every time i enter a new wireless area?  i sincerely hope there is a way of blocking them.

if i had to choose between the two, i'd probably choose the iphone. mostly because we use facetime daily, it's really been a perfect phone for our long distance marriage.  chris can see cohen and and i every night, cohen can see his daddy, once again facetime rocks. have i said enough about facetime yet?.  happy thursday! {monica}

2.08.2012

snippets

chris got home early friday night so we meet at noodles & company for dinner. i wish i had a video of cohen's expression when chris drove up, it was the cutest thing!  he had the biggest smile on his face, like he was smiling with his entire body.  this sweet boy loves his daddy.
saturday, was colton's first birthday party.  tim and jessica were the first friends we made when we moved to iowa, and honestly probably the sweetest people we know. i remember waddling into the hospital 9 months pregnant to visit jessica and meet colton the day after he was born, seems like yesterday. jessica was the most beautiful mom post labor, she looked like she just went to the spa...not like a woman who just delivered a 9+lb baby.  it was great catching up with them and celebrating colton's special day.
we stopped and got frozen yogurt from a new place in town.  normally, i am strictly a chocolate yogurt topped with almonds girl, but i just couldn't pass up the giant heart shaped marshmallows.  it's almost valentine's day, so i have an excuse right?
sunday we got up early, went to church since chris and i were on nursery duty, came home had lunch, and watched the super bowl.  cohen decided this weekend that he only needed one nap a day, which was really odd for a habitual two nap a day guy.  he laid on chris' chest for a long 3 hour nap, i snapped this picture when we woke up. he still looks like he could sleep longer, but we made him get up fearing he would never go to bed on time. once cohen went down for the night we went to bed early, then things took a turn for the worse. at around 10 i woke up with the horrible "i need to throw up" feeling.  it was a long night.  a really long night.  thankfully chris was home to get cohen ready in the morning and take him to the babysitter, i really don't know what i would have done without him there.  i couldn't eat, drink, or go an hour without throwing up. talk about awful! i'm still not sure if it was food poisoning (because chris/cohen ate the same things i did) or if i had the flu?  whatever it was, i'm praying cohen and chris don't get it.  operation sanitize the entire house is on tonight! happy wednesday! {monica}

2.07.2012

diy neon striped sunglass case

i'm all about cheater crafting these days.  let's face it...i'm a single mom 5 days a week, my 10 1/2 month old son doesn't stop moving unless he's eating or sleeping, and i work full time which leaves me with little time to do anything creative. long gone are the days where i could sit down at my sewing machine for hours each night. long gone are the weekends filled with large scale projects and you know what? i'm just fine with that, because i've been able to find "cheater" ways around large scale projects.  like this diy neon striped sunglass case.
the way i made this diy quick and easy was to use a store bought case. instead of sewing a sunglass case on my own, i purchased a premade wool sunglass case from hobby lobby (our local craft store).  to measure, cut, and sew a case on my own would have taken at least an hour, which is time i just don't have anymore. if you can't find a sunglass case at your craft store, feel free to make one on your own or even paint the existing case you have.
what you need: neon paint (i used this), store bought sunglass case (i used this then cut the star off), and a small paint brush.
once you have the supplies all you have to do is paint the neon stripe.  i painted the stripe free hand, but you can easily measure the stripe if you don't feel comfortable free handing it. once the first layer of paint has dried, go over the stripe one more time with a second layer of paint (because my case is a coarse haired fabric, i needed two layers of paint to cover well).  when the second layer of paint has dried completely it's done. easy as that! the total work time for this was less than 10 minutes.
 

can i just say, i'm slightly obsessed with neon at the moment.  i find myself wanting to put a little on everything. my poor husband keeps rolling his eyes at me. i have a couple more neon projects i'll share shortly, but until then i hope you find a little time to try this diy for yourself!  it's one of those instant gratification projects that i love, and hope you will too.

  happy tuesday! {monica}

2.03.2012

weekly links

here are a few things i'm loving this week.
one. scandinavian rabbit softies from jane foster.  can you say easter basket?

two. this blog. the images are beautiful.  the people are beautiful. the animals are ridiculously adorable. it almost makes me want to quit my job and live on a farm. almost.
three. single serving ciao bella sorbet. have you seen these tiny jewels in your supermarket yet?  if so, you must try one.  not only are the flavors absolutely delicious but the packaging is adorable.  i'm a total sucker for packaging and these don't disappoint.  inside each of these tiny bowls is a tiny sorbet spoon, a sweet note, and a vibrantly colored sweet treat.  yum.

any weekend plans?  besides watching the super bowl and attending a first birthday party, we plan on staying hunkered down in the house soaking up as much time together as possible before chris goes back to work monday.  should be a fun weekend and i hope yours is too.  happy friday! {monica}

2.02.2012

orzo pasta salad

meet my favorite pasta salad.  it's quick, it's easy, and most importantly it's really darn yummy.  i like to double the recipe (since this salad keeps well) and eat on for breakfast, lunch and dinner all week long.  it's great as a side dish or a light main course. 
what you need. 
1 lb orzo pasta, 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley, 7 oz olive tapenade, 1/2 c finely chopped sundried tomatoes, 1 clove minced garlic, the juice of one lemon, salt/pepper.

directions.
cook pasta according to package directions. once pasta is al dente, drain and rinse with cold water to immediately stop the cooking process. in a large bowl, mix the pasta, parsley, tapenade, sundried tomatoes, garlic, and lemon juice.  once mixed thoroughly, add salt/pepper to taste.

what's great about this salad is that you can add/subtract/substitute ingredients as you like.  some of my favorite additions: parmesan, green onions, basil, pine nuts and/or dried currents.  hope you enjoy.  happy thursday! {monica}

2.01.2012

look of the day. clearance euphoria.

top: tj maxx (clearance), skinnies/belt: f21, shoes: seychelles (purchased 10 years ago), cardigan/bag:thrifted, bangles: target/h&m(gift)/diy


 ever buy something because you think it's such a great deal, but bring it home and realize what you bought wasn't as great as you thought? i call it clearance euphoria.  defined as: a momentary lapse in fashion judgement caused by the surprisingly low price on a clearance tag.  this shirt was one of those clearance euphoria moments. i bought it and now i hate it. it makes me feel like a hawaiian tourist, minus the spf 70 and camera around my neck. and what made this purchase even worse was the fact that it was a final sale, which means no returns. so rather than let this top sit in my closet and haunt me, i was determined to make it work. here you have it...my clearance euphoria shirt.  made to look much better by the clothespin holding an extra seven inches of fabric behind my back.

that's my clearance euphoria story, now what's yours?  i'd love to hear it.  happy wednesday! {monica)