Ziraffe Childrens Store – Feature

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I’ve been wanting to start sharing some features more in this space and thought it would be fun to start off with a great little online shop – Ziraffe. One of the best things I’ve gained from blogging and Instagram is finding small shops who I would have never most likely happened upon.

Ziraffe is a children’s shop carefully curated by two Moms living in California, Yunyi and Katie. Friends for years whose goal is to bring together a collection of brands and artisans that embody their love for minimalism, fun, and chic design. Their view on minimalism is pretty much my favorite. “Minimalism doesn’t just mean simple; it’s not a reduction of style. It means the details and aesthetics are refined, and very well thought out. It’s the fundamental concept of “Less is More.”” How cool is that?

Another thing I love about Ziraffe is that they promote practices that are fair and try to avoid carrying any products that have harmful chemicals or dyes because fair trade and sustainability are vital to their company. They also promote sustainability and a sense of connection through the Ziraffe LovedBy_Community™. It’s a platform where you can buy and sell previously loved children’s clothes within a trusted community. This allows people to pass along their favorite children’s clothes and follow the journey that great clothes take from one family to another. You can read more and find out how to join it here.

ziraffe doen featureziraffe feature sunset

Liliana’s dresses are from a premium children’s fashion label from Taiwan called Once. Yunyi shared with me all about the Designer of Once, Vicky, who graduated from Central Saint Martin in London and had been a fashion designer for quite some time before starting Once.

“For this current season, she drew inspiration from La Belle Et La Bête – The 1946 French film of Beauty and The Beast. The entire collection is romantic, magical and fun. I’ve seen a lot of gorgeous girls dresses before, but the dresses from this collection really blew me away. When I first saw them last summer in Paris, I was in LOVE! And secretly wished I had a little girl.” ~From Yunyi about Once

The detail and quality of the dresses was obvious from the minute I pulled them out of the package. And what makes them even more special is that I know Yunyi has a personal relationship with the vendor behind the dresses because she strives to get to know each and every vendor before they carry their products in their shop. Truly, a love and passion for quality and getting to know all about the products they sell. And there’s nothing more I love than supporting small businesses who are genuine and driven by passion. Check out Ziraffe and fall in love like I have.

 

 

Beautiful photos by Samantha Broderick

 

Back to School Tips – KEEN Kids Giveaway

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back to school tips

I don’t know about you, but Back to School really snuck up on me this year. I felt like I needed another month or so of summer.. or at least a few more weeks. I think I was feeling a little sentimental and refusing to accept the fact that our youngest was heading to first grade. Which means she’s now gone all day, and I’m no longer a Mom at home with young kids. Ahh.. big changes and shifts that I like and don’t like all at once. Anyhow, now that school has been back in session for a couple of weeks I thought I would share a few tips and tricks that help make being back in school a little easier around here.

back to school - routine

1. Establish a Routine

To make the transition easy on both you and your kids school schedule start establishing a bedtime routine at least a week before heading back to school. That means bedtime earlier so you can get up earlier as well. Lay out clothes + shoes for the next day, as well as gather any items (soccer cleats, ballet leotard etc.) that they may need for any after school activities or extra curricular’s they have the next day. That way they are prepared not only for their upcoming school day but after school as well!

back to school - homework station

2. Set up a Homework station

Help your kids stay organized and on top of their homework by creating an area in your home where they have all they need to stay focused and on task. We use a basket for homework packets that are sent home at the beginning of the week and not turned in until the end. As well as any papers that may need signatures or notes to be read by a parent. We have a small caddy full of everything they need to complete their homework assignments; pencils, erasers, scissors, glue sticks, colored pencils, markers, crayons etc. on the same shelf as well so it’s all easily accessible. Another caddy with extra supplies and a basket to hold library books (so they’re not lost or forgotten each week) finish off our simple homework station.

back to school tip - snack drawer

3. Create a Self-Serve Snack / Easy Breakfast Drawer

We have always tried to adopt the idea that children feel empowered when they can serve and help themselves. By creating a snack drawer you not only do just that but also help your kids develop a healthy relationship with food. We keep different types of bars, from protein to granola, and instant oatmeal in ours. That way they can help themselves to their own healthy breakfast, a quick after school snack or add one to their lunches.

4. Make Packing Lunches Easy

We love having easy to pack lunch items on hand for our kids to help in or fully pack their own lunches. Things like pre hard boiled eggs, yogurt tubes and individually packed portions of turkey breast are perfect easy proteins. Squeeze pouches of fruits + vegetables or petite sized fresh fruits are also great for smaller appetites and ensure less waste. Tip: We love to freeze our yogurt tubes and pack them frozen in lunches. By the time lunch rolls around they’re perfectly cold and have kept the rest of the lunch chilled as well.

back to school - keen hikeport

5. Wear Good Shoes! Seriously!

One of my most favorite and fond memories growing up was my annual trip to the department store with my Dad for new school shoes. He was, and still is a firm believer that wearing good shoes as a growing child makes all the difference! And I’ve adopted the same feelings. There is nothing better than finding a good solid shoe that is comfortable, supportive, easy for my kids to take on and off, plus super fun and stylish on top of it!

KEEN Kids is known for it’s great summer sandals and is the “go-to” summer camp and adventure footwear brand for the whole family. As seasons change and families transition to fall and back to school, KEEN Kids offers a great functional and quality product for that transition time. We love KEEN Kids shoes because they check off all of our requirements from above, work perfectly for both school + play and can be styled with a variety of outfits. See below for some outfit inspiration featuring KEEN Kids Moxie in both the Moxie Flat and Moxie Mary Jane styles for girls. And the Hikeport +  Jasper styles for boys. All styles my kids have, wear everyday, and LOVE! 

Best back to school shoes - keen


We’re so happy to team up with a great group of bloggers to share lots of KEEN styles for kids AND an awesome giveaway. TEN lucky winners will receive a pair of KEEN shoes for school (select from New Arrivals). Please enter using the Rafflecopter below.

Don’t forget to visit all of the participating blogs too! They all have KEEN shoe styles to share as well as great tips and ideas for school:

The Chirping Moms // Wanderlust Crew // Suburban Wife, City Life // Girl in the Red Shoes //Marino Bambinos // The Love Designed Life // Momfessionals // Munchkins and Moms // Being Brickner // Thrifty Nifty Mommy

Giveaway: Enter using the form below

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Indoor Pool House Renovation – Before and After

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indoor pool house door

Our indoor pool house renovation is finally complete and I couldn’t wait any longer to share it! From the very first moment I walked into our pool house I knew immediately that I wanted to paint it. In fact one of the very first things we did when we moved in just over 2 years ago was purchase paint for the walls and floors…

Well fast forward 2 years later.. and it still looked the same as the day we moved in. For some reason I started second guessing my original vision for this space and couldn’t quite pull the trigger on painting it. I was worried that we would be erasing some sort of history and possibly miss the quirky and somewhat Wes Anderson feel of the bright avocado green and aqua walls. Until one day we received a knock on our door and standing in front of us was the original owners son. He was 9 when his Dad finished building our home and now much older was in town with his kids + grandkids and really wanted to show them all where he grew up.

We happily invited him in and proceeded to learn some amazing history about our home and property. When it came time to view and talk about the pool house my very first question was if the paint was original. He answer was NO! I was so happy to hear that and it gave me the confirmation I needed to feel really good about my original vision for this space. We also learned that the pool house was completed around 1957 and that all of the amazing wood planks and beams that cover the ceiling are original. He told us that every. single. one. was hand sanded and then stained before they put them up. Just hearing him talk about all of it I knew it was a huge labor of love. I was so touched by that and also so happy because I had never wanted to paint or touch the ceiling. I had a feeling it was original (as are the 1950’s schoolhouse lights hanging from the ceiling) and wanted it’s beauty to shine more by toning down the walls and floors. Here are the before photos:

1950's indoor pool house before

When it came time to paint we realized that the paint we had originally purchased a couple years ago to paint the walls with was no longer good, nor the right type of paint for the space. Since our pool is indoors it can get quite humid and we wanted a paint that would withstand moisture as well as cover the dark current colors on the walls as well. After some research we decided that the best option for paint would be Sherwin Williams Emerald Interior paint. Here’s why:

  • Emerald Interior Paint is a paint and primer in one with advanced stain-blocking technology.
  • Emerald Interior Paint hides stains and covers dark colors for a beautiful, smooth finish and stunning color for years to come.
  • Emerald Interior Paint provides exceptional coverage and advanced washability in all finishes, with outstanding resistance to water streaking and spotting.
  • Emerald Interior Paint also contains anti-microbial agents that inhibit the growth of mold and mildew on the paint surface.
  • Emerald Interior Paint meets the most stringent VOC regulations.

Basically Emerald paint by Sherwin Williams had every single thing covered that we were concerned about!

Once we knew what paint we would be using it was time to choose a color. I knew I wanted to paint the walls a white and the floor a gray-ish color. But if anyone knows white paint you know it is not that easy to just choose white. There are quite possibly a million different colors (shades) of white paint. And white paints read completely differently in different spaces. Thankfully since we use a lot of white paint around here I had several samples laying around so we were able to test the ones I was debating between. I knew I didn’t want a stark white, but more of a white that was ever so slightly warm. however not too warm of a white that could read cream especially in the evening when it’s dark or when we have the lights on in the pool house.

So after testing what my husband would say is ALL the whites, we decided on Westhighland White for the walls! And I’m so happy with how it turned out!

Every time I walk into our pool house now a feeling of complete peace comes over me. I am in love with this space. It turned out just as I envisioned it and in fact I told my husband that I just might consider sleeping out here some night because I just love it so much! Now my plan is to add a couple of citrus trees and spend as much time in here as we can!

 

Paint colors:

Walls – Sherwin Williams Westhighland White

Floors – Sherwin Williams Repose Gray

Girls Changing Room – Sherwin Williams Intimate White

Boys Changing Room – Sherwin Williams Sea Salt

 

If you’re local to me and are looking for the absolute best painters ever make sure to call Jose from Painter Bros of Weber & Davis County! They did a phenomenal job and we can’t recommend them enough!

 

Disclosure: I received paint from Sherwin-Williams as compensation for this post. All views and opinions expressed in this post are my own and no other compensation was provided.

A 7th Birthday + Backyard BBQ

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Last weekend we celebrated the baby of our bunch’s birthday. She turned “7”! Yes, 7!! We can’t even believe it. I know I feel like I say that every year, or every time one of my children gets older.. but it’s really how I feel. Time just moves so dang fast. But also kind of not at the same time. While I’m extremely grateful for it, I always linger with a bit of sadness every year this one gets older.

If you’ve followed along for a bit you may already know this, but we don’t do big birthday parties for our children every year. You can read more about how we celebrate birthdays here. But we do try to make the best of everyones birthdays by celebrating THEM by letting the birthday person make most of the choices for dinners, family time and everything in-between for about a week, we call them birthday weeks!

Liliana was lucky this year that her birthday fell on a very long weekend where most of us were off from work and school. We celebrated her right in the middle of it with close friends and family with a casual backyard BBQ and swim party, complete with my grandma’s homemade chocolate cake (made by her brother Aden) “just plain without any frosting on it” just as she requested. It was relaxing, really simple and nothing special. But a perfect way to celebrate our favorite little girl.

Also, could she be any more of a Daddy’s girl…and I think I know who might be his favorite as well 😉

 

Thanks for the photos Samantha Broderick

Incorporating Mindfulness – with Athleta

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Incorporating Mindfulness - Athleta

Permission to Pause - Athleta x Miko Bowen

 

Since recently turning the big 40 I have found that incorporating mindfulness into my life and giving myself Permission to Pause for even just a couple of minutes each day helps me set the tone for a better, more fulfilling life. As a Mom in our busy on the go, always connected world it’s easy to find ourselves somewhat lost mindfully. But finding that moment of calm can not only help you recharge but also inspire you to be the best version of yourself.

For me mindfulness doesn’t need to be hard or complicated. It’s as simple as taking a few moments each morning to just pause and really take in my surroundings and let my mind settle as I’m sipping my morning cup of green tea. Or writing down a few thoughts in my journal. And sometimes just taking a moment to listen to myself breathe is all I need.

Weeding out distractions is key for me to fully invest in my moments of Pause. That includes wearing something comfortable that doesn’t tug or pull at me. Athleta’s new sustainable Restore clothing line is that for me. Made from sustainable fabrics in a neutral palette that’s not only super soft but incredibly comfortable as well. And I really love that Athleta’s mission is to ignite a community of active, healthy, confident women and girls who empower each other to realize their limitless potential.

Mindfulness Athleta Restore Clothing

Meditate Athleta Restore Clothing

Moment of Mindfulness

Incorporating Mindfulness Reading

So my friends, I invite you to give yourself Permission to Pause this month and find your moment of calm and restoration in a way that works for you. xoxo

Worn: Eco Wash Restore Sweatshirt in Lilac // Studio Wrap in Marl Grey Heather // Restore Jogger in Charcoal Grey Heather // With Ease Tank in Bright White

 

Photos by: Tracy Layne Photography

 

**This post was sponsored by Athleta. All opinions are my own.

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