Mar 29, 2015

Hair Care Products and a Hairspray Revelation

One thing you should know about me?

I have hair issues.

My hair is terrible, with a capital T.  Flat, thin, doesn't hold curl.  I don't think I can express to you how really awfully bad my hair is.  I've tried soooo many different hair care products to try to give my hair more volume, to give it texture, to hold curl.  Hardly anything works.  I have had success for a short amount of time with two different volumizing products:

Aquage Uplifting Foam, $16+

This foam is meant to be applied while hair is still damp.  You then dry your hair, upside down for best effect, and it gives it volume.  The first couple of times I used this product, IT. WAS. AWESOME.  When I flipped right-side up after drying, my hair honest to goodness looked like a lion's mane.  It was crazy.  I've never in my life had volume like that.  My only complaint about it at first was that it made my hair crunchy wherever I had applied it.  But after awhile, it was almost like my hair became resistant to the product.  It no longer gave me crazy awesome volume, it just made my hair sticky.  It was a terribly sad day around the Gaddie household.  And so I began my hunt for a volumizing product that would work......again.

L'Oreal Boost It High Lift Creation Spray, ~$4, Target, Walmart

After searching for a good while for another volumizing product, I was out at a bachelorette party when my cousin fixed my hair and used this glorious stuff.  It's amazing.  Spray it on your roots, tease it up, hello volume!  Best part?  It's FOUR DOLLARS.  I'm a firm believer that you should not have to pay out the wazoo to get good stuff.  

While I've found a volumizing product that works, for now, I've basically been on the hunt for a hairspray that will hold my hair for-ev-ver.  Seriously, it's like the hunt that absolutely never ends.  I've gone through so many brands and types and price points it's ridiculous.  I've tried Garnier, White Rain, Suave, Big Sexy Spray and Play, Herbal Essences, John Frieda...the list goes on and on.  

Most recently, I had the thought that since the L'Oreal volumizing spray was working so well, I would try their brand of hairspray too. 

L'Oreal Lock It Weather Control Hairspray, ~$4, Target

This stuff is.....used ..okay.  It's better than any other ones I've used.  It holds my hair for a small amount of time, which is impressive considering most of the other hairsprays I've used don't even hold my hair until I get to work.  But.....this stuff smells horrrrrrrrrrrrible.  I can't even convey into words the smell this spray puts off.  It's bad enough in the bathroom when I'm fixing my hair, but I can smell it in my hair the rest of the day.  But I paid $4 and it does an okay job, so I thought I would use the rest of the can before I bought something else to try.

Yesterday, I was cleaning and reorganizing my bathroom closet and I found a trial sized bottle of a hairspray I'd honestly never seen before.  I have no idea when it was purchased, I have no idea where it came from, I've never even heard of this brand before.

Salon Grafix Freezing Hair Spray

This morning, while I was getting ready for church, I thought I would attempt an experiment.  Spiral curl my hair like I occasionally do and then spray my hair....half of it with the L'Oreal hairspray I had been using and the other half on this newly discovered brand-I'd-never-heard-of spray.  

Holy cow, guys. 

I curled my hair at 10:15ish this morning.  I took this picture at 7:15 tonight.
This is a picture of the side of hair that I sprayed with the L'Oreal spray. 

It's okay.  Like I said before, it's worked better than anything else I've ever used before.  I still see curl in my hair, which for 9 hours after I curled it, is extremely impressive.  That's seriously never happened before.  But you can see the areas that have fallen out, which is super typical of my hair.  

Now, this is the side that I sprayed with the Salon Grafix freezing spray.

I seriously can't even believe it.  NINE HOURS have passed, y'all...and my hair is still curled.  Do you even know what a huge, monumental feat this is??  This has never happened.  Ever.  I feel like I need to shout it from the rooftops:  "I'VE ACTUALLY FOUND A HAIRSPRAY THAT WORKS!!  AND DOESN'T SMELL GARBAGE!!  IT'S LIKE THE APOCALYPSE!"

Now, I just have to find this stuff for a reasonable price.  Baby steps, guys.  

Mar 12, 2015

May Designs Discount!!

Guys.  One of my most favorite sites EVER is having a massive sale today!  May Designs was featured on Good Morning America this morning and they're offering 50% off all day!!

Here's why I'm excited:

1.  I have my own May Designs book right now for taking notes in my Bible.  The book is small enough that I can keep it wedged in between the Bible pages that I'm studying and it doesn't make it too bulky.

In the past, I've used their agenda and their budget planner and I've been happy with every single one of my purchases.

2.  THEY HAVE A NOONDAY INSPIRED COLLECTION!!!   Noonday and May Designs collaborated and picked 4 of their favorite designs.  Since I love you, I've posted the patterns here, along with their coordinating Noonday piece AND where you can buy one of your own.  I'm a giver.

Naturally, I want them all.  Especially the zebra print.  What is my fascination with safari animals??

3.  Avery LOVES these books.  And let me tell you, they have been a lifesaver on more than one occasion.  We've purchased two of these books for Avery and she fills them up so quickly.  I've bought her the kid's coloring book and a blank book that she lovingly calls her "sketchbook."  MOM TIP:  I throw this book and a pencil pouch full of colored pencils and crayons into my purse when I know that we're going somewhere that will require Avery to sit and be quiet for a long period of time.  It's come in handy in doctor's offices, restaurants and church.  HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend these for kids.  I think I'm going to order Avery the kid's handwriting book (we've been working on our letters A LOT around here) and another blank "sketchbook" since hers is almost filled.

4.  These suckers make awesome gifts.  Two years ago, for Christmas, I bought one of these for every single one of the girls in Avery's playgroup.  A personalized book, a clear pencil box (like this one) that was vinyl monogrammed (by my super talented friend over at Sincerely, Sunshine) and filled the box with art supplies and I think the girls were happy as larks.  And when these books are $7.50 (without personalization) or $10 (with personalization), you cannot get a cheaper gift.  My friend brought up a good point this morning....Easter basket gifts!! 

5.  FIFTY PERCENT OFF.  These books are normally $15 plain or $20 with your monogram or customized phrase.  Take half off that.  You can stock up on gifts for the whole year.  Or buy as many as you want for yourself.  At that price, you don't even have to feel guilty. 

Now, run over to  Right now.   You'll thank me.  

Feb 18, 2015

Noonday Obsession

So, two weekends ago, my sister Dayna and I went to this incredible women's Christian conference called IF: Gathering that I recommend everyone attend next year.  It rocked my faith, it made me cry, it's made me dive deeper into my Bible and into the stories hidden there.  If you want to learn more about them, check out their website.  I also highly recommend the IF: Equip Bible study app for your phone.

While we were there, the Gathering spotlighted a company called Noonday.  A Noonday Ambassador came on stage and talked about this wonderful company and these gor-geous pieces of jewelry.  Okay, another excuse to spend money, I was thinking.  But Noonday is a little different than that.  These jewelry pieces are actually made by 28 different artisan groups all over the country.  We're talking women in villages, hand making these pieces and bags and scarves and what have you.  So?  This is allowing these women to earn a fair wage in their country.  Which, in turn, brings money to their families.  It breaks the cycle of poverty, which I just think is amazing (read more about Noonday, their mission and their impact here).  Now listen, I know people get up in arms because there's so much we need to do here in our country to help our poor people.  And I agree.  But didn't Jesus say "Whenever you did one of these things to someone was overlooked or ignored, that was me--you did it to me." (Matt 25:40 MSG)?  He didn't say "Whatever you do to the people in your own country..."  And it's jewelry people.  And darn cute jewelry too.  It's handbags and clutches and scarves and just really stupid cute stuff.  Stuff that we'd be buying anyway, right?   So why not buy that cute pair of earrings and help people while you're doing it?  Yes, it's a little more expensive than what you would buy at a chain store like Target, but it's handmade and it's going to a worthwhile cause.  No, I'm not a Noonday Ambassador.  I don't work for the company and I'm not getting paid for an endorsement.  I'm just a girl who heard about their mission, checked out their website and thinks what they're doing is pretty darn awesome.  And since I believe in sharing, I'm telling you about the website too.  You're welcome.

Now I just have to decide on the pieces I want.  Because decisions are hard, guys.

Top Left, clockwise:  Jewel Drop Earrings, $28; Sea Stone Earrings, $40; Diamond Drop Earrings, $32; Cow Horn Hoops, $28; Metallic Pearls Earrings, $34

Top Left, clockwise:  Clustered Bracelet, Berry, $12; Meridian Clutch, $98; Entwined Bracelet, $28; Underground Cuff, $28; Linked Horn Bracelet, $58

It is not an exaggeration when I say: I WANT IT ALL.

Jan 28, 2015

Hudson's Kentucky Themed Nursery Plans

Besides naming and meeting your newborn child, is there anything more fun than planning a nursery?  It's like a blank slate where you get to create whatever you want in the room.  I get it, some of you aren't in to interior decorating.  But this is so far up my alley, I'm completely geeking out over the possibilities.

When Avery was born, I didn't have much of a plan for her nursery, other than the strict no-pink rule I'd laid down.  I was into black and white at the time, so I thought it only natural to just go with the black and white theme that was laid throughout the rest of our house, adding in purple for some femininity.   Look back on pictures, I wish I had done a little more planning on her room to decorate and plan for a future room.  Right now, Avery's poor room is devoid of any and all decorations.  I just can't get a feel for what I'm wanting to do.  I think if I had decorated her room early on, I wouldn't  be having this issue.  Moving on....

I wanted to have a different approach when it came to Mr. Hudson's room.  Before we found out we were having a boy, I was heavily leaning towards a woodland creatures theme.  I know you've seen some of these ideas on Pinterest.

I still love it.  The foxes, the natural woods, still all adorable.  But then I started talking to my sister about nursery themes........

.....and she suggested a Kentucky theme........

......and I died. 

Not really, but I got wayyyyy too excited and immediately started Pinterest-ing ideas.  (We're talking the STATE of Kentucky, not the University.  My husband would have a coronary if I tried decorating his little boy's room in UK stuff).  The more stuff I started finding on Pinterest and Etsy and the more excited I became.  

Reason #1: 

1.  Kentucky is home to bluegrass, basketball, horses, rolling hills, tobacco barns.  Doesn't this just SCREAM a sophisticated nursery??

2.  I love my state.  Kentuckians are notoriously proud of the Bluegrass State and we don't care to tell you.  In my days at UK, there were an abundance of Ohio residents in attendance.  One Ohioian (is that what someone from Ohio is called?  I don't even know.) girl told a class that she had never met people who were prouder of their state than people from Kentucky.  Hell yes.  Also, this survey is important to note.  Kentucky people love Kentucky.  Now imagine a Kentucky person who loves Kentucky decorating a Kentucky themed room.  It gives you the warm fuzzies, doesn't it?


3.  When Hudson gets older and decides he's over the theme of his room, all of the decor in there can be incorporated in other areas of my house.  Winner.  

I got so excited pinning and looking on Etsy that I couldn't figure out what direction I was going in with this room, so I decided to make a mood board, which is basically a blank "page" where you put all your ideas together to make sure you're having a cohesive thought. 

Presenting......Hudson's Kentucky Themed Nursery Board!


Crib, Westwood Park, Target ($499).  I am OBSESSED with this crib.  It's very barn looking to me and just screams Kentucky farm.  If I have to sell all my personal belongings, I must have it.

Fabric, Charley Harper Organic, The Quilted Castle ($11.55/yard).  I am a Kentucky fan.  My husband is a Louisville fan, home of the Cardinals.  I wanted to figure out a classy way to bring in both UK and UofL into this nursery without posting something actual UK or UofL.  I think this fabric is perfect for doing just that.  Plus, the cardinal is Kentucky's state bird, so I can always claim that was my motivation behind it.

Pendant, Allen + Roth, Lowes ($179).  Absolutely no purpose for this light, other than I think it is such an awesome country look to it.  Hudson's room has a ceiling fan in it, which has never been used, but I can't justify spending that much on a light that isn't a necessity.  But I like the feel of it and it goes along with the look I'm trying to create.

Glider, Dorel Living, Wayfair ($306.99).  Neutral, cheap.  I'm in love.

Kentucky Pennant Flag Pillow, Thistlewood Farms Blog.  This is going to happen.  My sister says she has extra pennants in her office from UK themed events.  Now to find someone that can sew......*cough MOM cough*

Kentucky ABCs Print, Kentucky for Kentucky ($30).  Just fun, right?

Horse Watercolor Print, Etsy ($25).  I love this.  It's more than likely happening.

Louisville Map, Etsy ($19 for 8"x10").  There are so many cool map and city skyline options on Etsy.  Whatever style I decide, I'm going with the city of Frankfort, Kentucky's Capitol.

Jute Wrapped Knob, Hobby Lobby ($2.49/ea).  Not my favorite yet.  I've seen some on Anthropologie's website that I am obsessed with, but they're $15 apiece.  That can't happen.  This is a good compromise.

TARVA dresser, IKEA ($149).  Before baby gets here, I'm planning a massive IKEA trip.  This is the TARVA dresser painted navy.  It's absolutely happening.

And there you have it!  My ideas for sweet little Hudson's Kentucky themed room.  Does this mean this is exactly what it's going to look like?  Absolutely not.  I want the gallery wall to contain more non-photo items hanging up, like license plates and horseshoes and whatever else catches my eye.  Plus, I have a crap ton of bookshelf space to decorate, so knicknacks will be important.  I'd like to find other specific Kentucky items, but I think this is an excellent jumping off point....don't you think???

Jan 26, 2015

Pondering Birthdays. Yes, Already.

Is it too early to start thinking about Avery's 4th birthday party?  Yes, it's not until July, but here's how I'm justifying it:

1.  If I start talking about it now, Avery will go with whatever theme we pick now instead of changing her mind a month before the party day.

2.  I'm having a baby (God willing) 4-ish weeks before Avery's party.  When I had Avery, at 4 weeks after her birth, I was just barely up and walking around.  I figure if I plan it now, I can slowly pick up the pieces to make her party happen and then hopefully, I can bribe beg my sister Dayna and my mom to help me pull it all together for Avery's birthday.

Whatever the reasons, I have started to glance at ideas for Avery's 4th birthday.  Darn you, Pinterest on my phone when I'm laying in bed at night wide awake from heartburn.

I'm kind of loving these ideas:

Sleeping Beauty Party

Right now, Avery is realllllly into Sleeping Beauty.  Which I kind of dig, because she's a fairly under appreciated and under requested Princess option in my opinion.  It makes it hard to find Sleeping Beauty stuff when my kid asks for it (read: try to find JUST Sleeping Beauty panties (as in, no other Princesses in the mix) when your three year old wants them for Christmas.  Good luck), but it makes it unique when we're talking a Sleeping Beauty birthday party.  These are just a few of my favorite ideas for an Aurora Party:

Sleeping Beauty Photo Booth Props (link here)
Personalized Sleep Masks (link here)
SB Replica Cake (link here)
Meriweather Favors (link here)
Tiara Shaped Pizzas (link here)
THAT CAKE, YOU GUYS.  I want it for my 30th birthday.  Is that acceptable??  Say yes.

Frozen Birthday Party

*sigh*  My child, just like every other red-blooded child on this planet right now, is so ridiculously in to Frozen.  I don't get it.  What made this one movie so special?  Why didn't people go insane over Tangled the way they're doing Frozen?  I digress.  Point is, my kid loves this movie and these characters.  Reluctantly, I looked at ideas....even more reluctantly, I'm admitting that some of them are cute.
DIY Frozen Tshirts (link here)
Melted Olaf (link here)
Kristoff Kisses Favors (link here)
Snowflake Decor (link here)
Anna Themed party (link here)

Considering Avery's birthday is in July, a lot of the winter themed activities I found are obviously out. You know, since we're going to be "IN SUMMER" and all.  See what I did there?  If not, you haven't watched Frozen on repeat yet.  I'll let you borrow Avery sometime so you can have an excuse.

Painting Party

This has been a personal favorite of mine since I saw it on Pinterest a bazillion years ago.  A painting party!  Avery loves to paint like her momma and, even though she'd probably pick the Sleeping Beauty party, I may try to lobby hard for this one.

Canvases & Aprons (link here)
Paint Swatch Silverware Holders (link here)
Cookie Canvases (link here)
Rice Krispie Paintbrushes (link here)
Marshmallow Paint Sticks (link here)
I. Am. Dying.  Is this not the cutest party idea you've ever seen??!  Thankfully, this isn't an age-specific idea, so if Avery turns it down at 4, I can try again at 5.  And 6.  And 7. And 16.  Whatever it takes.

What about you?  Any fabulous party planning on the horizon?  Any party theme you want to brag about?  Share!!

Jan 17, 2015

Awkward TV Wall

This blog used to be a place where I talked about my house.  And things I had done to my house.

I haven't done anything to my house in for-ev-ver.  It doesn't feel right.  I love decorating.  And I can't stand for anything to stay the same for too terribly long.  It's a flaw and it drives Marty crazy, but I can't help myself.

The decor in our house, however, has stayed the same for a long, long time.  I haven't done anything new since we finished the kitchen remodel.  Too long, friends.

So I'm going to focus on this one tiny little area:  the TV wall.

You're snoozing, right?  It's SO boring.  But it's such an awkward layout that I have absolutely no idea what to do with it.

Things that won't stay:  the chairs are temporary, moved only so the drywallers that are working on our basement could get in and out of the basement door while carrying heavy items easier.  They won't stay there.   The clock could stay or go to another wall, I'm not married to the idea of it being there.

Things that will stay:  the TV, obviously.  The cabinet below.  It's one of my favorite things.  You know, besides my husband and child.

It's just such an awkward space.  Three walls, two small walls and you can see part of the hallway when you're in the living room.

So, it's not like I could do a gallery wall around the TV, because I'm planning on doing a gallery wall down the hallway. I just don't know how to even go about attacking this.  Do I ONLY put things on the wall where the TV is and ignore the others?  Do I leave the clock and put things on the TV wall and leave the wall in the middle blank?  This is an area where I'm completely lost and Pinterest isn't helping (what do I type in? "Awkward zig zag wall decor?")

Now taking donations for an interior designer.  Or applications, whichever you feel led to do.

Jan 6, 2015


I am afraid to get excited about this baby.

Given our past history and our miscarriage, I am terrified to plan anything long-term related to this pregnancy.

We've picked out names and that's as far as baby planning has gone.

I'm dying to look at nurseries and get some ideas and start making a mood board for the vision I have for Baby Gaddie's room, boy or girl.  Every time I start to look, there's a little voice in the back of my head that says "Should you be thinking this far in advance?"

At this point in my pregnancy with Avery, I had already bought a few things.  Cute blankets, some bibs, gender neutral things.  I've found several things that could pass for either a baby boy or a girl this time, but something always holds me back from actually buying it.

We've been talking to Avery about this baby.  Her potential baby brother or sister.  And every time we do, I think "Should we be talking this much about the baby with her? What if something happens?"

And there it is.  I'm living in a constant state of anxiety and what if.  What if the same thing happens?  What if we lose this baby?  What if, since it's been over a month since our last appointment and I haven't been able to see the baby or hear the heartbeat, something has happened?  What if I get attached, only to be heartbroken?

I even find myself feeling guilty when I say or write things like "we'll be having a baby this summer." Or "I'm due in June."  I almost always feel like I need to follow that statement up with something like "we'll be having a baby this summer, God willing."  I can't say this time without a doubt that we WILL be having a baby this summer.  What if, what if, what if.  

I know this isn't a healthy way of thinking.  I know that no matter what happens, I will be forever tied to this baby and will love it just like I love Avery and I loved my last pregnancy, however brief it was.  I know that if the worst happens, I will be heartbroken--whether I convinced myself that I was attached to the baby or not.

I don't know if this is normal.  I would like to think that it is.  Given how terrible I've been feeling with all the pregnancy symptoms, I want to still be in that euphoria-induced haze I was in when I first found out we were expecting.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm still beyond thrilled about this baby.  He or she is very much loved and was prayed for unwaveringly, unceasingly during many a tear-filled nighttime conversation between God and I.  I'm so thankful that He has given us this chance to give Avery a sibling.  But with the excitement is the ever-present fear.  I would love to replace it with hope.  I just don't know that my brain is letting me get to that point yet.  Right now, it's a daily struggle not to give in to the fear.  I'm sad that I don't feel more celebratory and excited.

I've actually joined an online forum full of moms either trying for or expecting their rainbow babies.  Although I haven't interacted with any of them yet, I hope they get it too. I hope they understand how I feel.  Articles like this one are helpful too.  It makes me feel a little more normal in my fear.

Until baby gets here, I'm doing my best to stay excited.  Talking to Avery is the best remedy for that.  She's such a good big sister already.  I can only hope that she'll get to put those good sibling tendencies to use.  Until then, I'm going to continue to look at things like these and these and just pray we get to bring our rainbow baby home in them soon.

Dec 31, 2014

New Year, New Tradition

Note:  inspired by my good friend Sarah, I'm making some changes on the blog.  If every time you visit my blog and you see a new background or fonts or designs, just "let it go."  I'm playing around with some different ideas until I find something I'm completely happy with.  Read on. :)

Happy last day of 2014, friends!  This was a heck of a year for the Gaddie Family.  Disney trip, a three year old, kitchen remodeling, basement remodeling, news of a fourth member being added to the Gaddie household.  What a great year!  Leaps and bounds above how I felt about 2012 and 2013.  I was thankful for a year full of (mostly) good news, finally.

So, here I sit.  I can hear the bells of a New Year ringing in the very near future.  My mind, naturally, is on resolutions.  Just for fun, I decided to go back to my post this time last year to see if I actually accomplished anything I set out to do in 2014.  I resolved to be a better Christian, save money, organize my 28th and Hudson business, organize the basement, feel better about myself, to single-handledly bring back snail mail, finish my furniture redos, keep my house picked up, and to keep up with my blogging.  Whew.  I'm exhausted just reading that list.  In an ideal world, this would be the part where I tell you that I did all of these things and more to fulfill my resolutions.  But this is real life and I accomplished some of these things.  I wish I could tell you that I was a better Christian this year.  But a tragedy happened in our community, to a family I barely know, and my faith hasn't really been the same since.  Hopefully I'll get brave in 2015 and talk more about my struggles, but I definitely failed this year.  Marty and I did do better with budgeting our money and saving.  I didn't organize my 28th and Hudson business, because I ended up shutting the business down....for right now.  Talk to me again when I have my own super organized craft room and am able to go to my very own space to craft again.  Our basement is getting organized because we're finishing it, and I'm getting my own craft room, Avery is getting a playroom and Marty is getting a space for all his junk.  Almost as good as the craft room?  We're getting an area for storage.  I'm envisioning walls of shelves for all our stuff.  It's going to be glorious.  I don't feel any better about myself.  Same story, different day.  I did send more snail mail in 2014.  I didn't finish any of the furniture pieces I wanted to.  Keep my house more picked up?  I just laugh at that one.  My house is always a wreck.  Right now, I'm blaming it on being pregnant and miserably sick.  After that?  I don't know what my excuse will be.  Keeping up with blogging.  I started out really great, and ended up taking a two month break from blogging.  That's the way it goes I guess!  Accomplish some things, fail at others, don't beat yourself up for the ones you don't do.

So, in 2015, I resolve to not make any resolutions. 

Of course, I have goals I would like to accomplish in 2015.  But this new year is bringing us a new baby.  There's absolutely no telling what I'm going to have time or energy to get done in the new year.  I can't say that I'm going to start crafting more or be a better housekeeper or read more.  In 2015, with a 3 year old and a newborn, I may be lucky to just keep my head above water. 

Instead of resolutions, the Gaddie family is going to do a "Blessings Jar."

When we make resolutions, they have a way of making us feel bad about ourselves when we look back at our past year and think about all the things that we didn't accomplish.  I'll be honest.  When I looked back at my January 1, 2014 post, I was disappointed at myself for the things I didn't get done.  Ergo, no resolutions.  Instead, we're going to make a "Blessings Jar."  Idea from this awesome post my sister shared on Facebook.  Every time a good thing happens to one of the Gaddie Three (soon to be four, God willing), we will write it on a piece of paper (reality: Mommy will end up writing it on a piece of paper) and stick it in our blessings year. 

When December 31, 2015 rolls around, we'll open up the jar, revist our blessings and marvel at what a wonderful year 2015 was, filled with blessings. 

I smell a new tradition in the making.  Happy New Year, y'all!

Dec 17, 2014

Princesses and First Post in Forever

I know I haven't been posting.  I could give you a hundred reasons why: I'm pregnant, sick, we're redoing our basement, my house is a disaster....but I'll just say this.

I'm sorry.

Sorry I haven't given you any updates, crafts, Avery stories, home tours.  I've just been so overwhelmed and exhausted to even think about blogging.  But I am still here, I do still love blogging very much, and I promise to update you more (plus, for Christmas, I'm getting my very own laptop!! No more having to borrow Marty's work laptop to hurriedly hash out a blog post!).

I thought as an apology, I'd dive back into the blogging world with a craft post!

It's no secret that Avery and I are Disney fanatics.  Marty, I think, is starting to come around.  He mentioned to me about a month ago about when we'd visit Disney World again. Convert?  I hope so!

So, with Christmas coming, I thought that it was a no-brainer for us to have some Disney-inspired Christmas decor in our house!  I had to reach wayyyyy back in my memory and dig up these amazing Disney Princess Dolls from Taija's Drawing Board--a Tumblr account where one woman posts her AH-MAZE-ZING works of Disney art.  I'm obsessed.  I currently have one of her drawings of Ariel as my phone background.  That's beside the point.

These are the beauties I'm talking about today:

I know they're not overly Christmas-y, but if you look close (and my apologies for the terrible picture and all the ones to's going to be a goal for 2015 to learn how to take better iPhone pictures) Tiana is holding a gift, Pocahontas is holding a snowball.  In our house, however, these aren't going to be used for Christmas decor.  We're hanging these from Avery's bedroom ceiling.  She's close to exploding with excitement.  Want to learn how to make your own?  Well, then I'm so glad you're here!

Materials Needed:

  • string
  • scissors
  • glue or tape
  • cardstock
  • crayons/colored pencils/markers
  • tissue paper
  • string
How to assemble:

1.  Go to Taija's Drawing Board Tumbler page and print off the Princesses.  For me, it was little complicated to do.  When I just right clicked the picture to print it, it was attempting to print the entire Tumblr page.  So, I had to save the JPG image to my computer and then print the picture off.  
You should have 5 pages when you're done, 10 Princesses total. 

2.  Once you have your Princesses printed out, color 'em! 

I printed off 3 copies of each page, two for me to color and one for Avery.  Yes, I'm OCD when it comes to crafts and wanted some of them to look good.  So sue me. 

3.  Once they're colored, cut each Princess out.  You also need to cut a thin rectangle shape out in the middle of the body for the tissue paper to go.  Taija's already made that easy for you and has the lines where you need to cut.

4.  Choose whatever color tissue paper you want for each specific Princess and fold a long piece of tissue paper into an accordion-style.  Make sure you don't have the folds too wide to fit into the rectangle that you cut out of the middle of the Princess. 

5.  Insert the folded tissue paper into the cutout you made in the Princess.

6.  Open each side of the folded paper and tape or glue the ends together.  Add string to the top and you're done! 

The beauty of these little beauties is how versatile they can be.  Hang them from a present for a unique addition to your wrapped box: 

Or make a loop at the top with your string and turn them into ornaments.  Or, do as the Gaddies are doing, and use them as decor in your Princess obsessed child's room.  So many options! 

You can do two colors of tissue paper, cut one in a design and create a layered dress.  Make the dress longer.  Or shorter.....

Add texture to mimic the Princesses real dresses from their actual Disney movie,,,

The possibilities are endless! And the cool thing about the artist that made these is that she has included little tips to the side of each Princess for you to personalize them any way you'd like.  She even teaches you how to make a real paper flower or how to jazz a Princess up with some glitter.  

So, these Princesses are pretty cute, right?  Am I forgiven for not blogging in forever??

Oct 2, 2014

Where I've Been.


Life is......


I'm exhausted. 

I haven't been blogging because life is ca-razy right now.  I plan on blogging about most of these things individually, but I'd like to give you a quick glimpse of where I've been and why I haven't been blogging. 

My Cousin Got Married

I am crazy blessed to have very large families on both my mom and dad's sides of the family.  My cousins are like siblings to me.  So you better believe that when my cousin Amanda asked me to be a part of her wedding, I wasn't missing it.  It was a gorgeous wedding of purple, simplicity and a whooooole lot of Journey music.  My favorite picture from the wedding: 

My sister, two cousins and myself.  It makes me a tiny bit teary. 

Avery Turned Three.  And Had a Birthday Party.

I really struggled when Avery turned one and two.  But three seemed like such a natural progression.  Maybe because we'd been knee-deep in three year old attitude for months before her actual birthday?  This is a topic that's going to get lots more blog post time, so I'll leave you with this video of our local morning radio show giving my sweet girl a shout out.  Be still my heart. 

Family Vacation to Seaside, FL.

My aunt and uncle live near Seaside, Florida, and Marty and I hadn't had a family vacation for just our little family in a very long time.  So we loaded Avery up and traveled to the beach for an incredible, MUCH NEEDED family vacation.  We stayed at my aunt and uncle's house, which is also inhabited by three Jack Russell terriers.  Jude, Sal and Lucky.  Jude and Sal LOVED Avery.  If Avery sat down, they sat down right beside her.  If Avery walked into the bedroom, Jude and Sal followed close behind.  

Meet Jude.  He's obsessed with oyster shells and pine cones.  Pine cones aren't allowed in the house, but shells are...and if you throw one for him to catch, he'll be your best friend forever.  Disclaimer:  you have to throw the shells ALL. DAY. LONG.  He never gets tired of it.  I would hear Avery in the other room saying "Otay Jude.  I'm dunna frow it, but dis is da last time, otay??"

Case in point. 

Meet Sal.  Hyper, uncontrollable, but super snuggly.  He just wants to be exactly like Jude and gets a little.....exuberant in his attempts (don't let this picture fool you).  He loooooooooooved Avery.

Despite that, Avery's favorite was Lucky--the oldest dog that basically does her own thing and doesn't give you the time of day unless you're bothering her.  Avery apparently likes to work for attention?

The disinterest.  The disdain.  Avery ADORED her.  Go figure.

I can't decide though, what was Avery's favorite part of the trip:  the beach, or getting to borrow Aunt Elaine's lipstick and purses for dinner.  

Disney World.  Twice.

Marty and I had our Florida trip planned for a little while.  One day, he came home and surprised Avery and I with MagicBands and told us we'd be spending a few days at Disney after our beach trip was over.  Much more on this trip to come.....

Two weeks after I got back from our short Disney trip, I left again for a girl's weekend at Disney World.  There were 10 of us.  We wore matching pink shirts and the "Mean Girls" jokes were rampant.  It was SO. MUCH. FUN.

Harry Potter World

While in Orlando for the weekend, my cousin Emily, sister Dayna and I visited the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter."  Holy crap, guys.  Are you a HP fan?  Do you practice saying "Wingardium Leviosa?"  Have you been dreaming of the owl that will show up at your house with your acceptance letter to Hogwarts?  Then you HAVE to visit HP World at Universal Studios (actually, first, we HAVE to be best friends.  Then go visit HP World).  More on this trip later too.

I Learned How to Arm Knit

It is exactly what it sounds like....knitting, using your arms.  I used this video by Simply Maggie.  Don't let people lie to you.  Crap's not easy.  That video says you can make one in 15 minutes.  Not your first time you won't (unless you're amazingly talented at knitting to begin with.....which I am not.).  It took me an hour.  But, when you do get the hang of it, it's addictive.  I've already bought 4 more skeins of yarn to make more.  

Avery Started Gymnastics

Tuesday is now Avery's favorite day of the week, because it means gymnastics class.  This kid LOVES gymnastics.  She talks about it all week.  She wears her leotard around the house all week. She asks if it's Tuesday all week.   

I'm About to Launch a New "Business"

Some of you may already know, but I have my 28th and Hudson painting "business."  With my crazy life and the amount of time it takes to paint, I haven't been doing much work on that end.  But I still need a creative outlet.  So, I've decided to launch a new business--"28th and Hudson: Hand Lettering."  Do you have wedding, birthday, baby shower, baby announcement, etc invitations to address?  Want something a little more unique than just a name and address on an envelope?  Then I'm your girl!  I'm hoping to launch this weekend, but I have a few paintings to finish up first.  

Finally, I Planned a Wedding.

Not mine, obviously.  About a year ago, a girl I went to college with approached me about the idea of helping plan her wedding.  I've always said that I wanted to be a wedding planner, so this was the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet in the wedding planning world.  Let me tell you.  Helping plan a wedding isn't easy.  I didn't sleep the entire week before and I ended up getting sick that weekend.  But the wedding went off without a hitch and I couldn't have been more pleased with the results.  Do I still want to be a wedding planner?  Ask me in six months.

So.  That's where I've been and why I've been woefully neglectful of my sweet blog.  Maybe soon, I'll get a chance to stop and take a breather and blog regularly again! 

Sep 19, 2014

Miscarriage: a year later.

I've been absent from the blogging world.  I apologize.  Life is moving at blazing speed and I'm over here just trying to keep up.  It's not that I've had a lack of things to talk about, because Lord knows I could go on and on about our trips to Disney World, Avery's sassy attitude that's rearing its ugly head, sleep issues, my home decor journey, or even random junk that pops in my brain.  It's just that have had no time to even think about blogging.

I thought it might be appropriate to come back to blogging on a very important date in my life.  The date that changed me.

A year ago today, I was sitting in my gynecologist's office, staring at an ultrasound screen, praying that the tech would find something.  I looked through the grey, black and white fuzziness, willing a heartbeat to show up.  Instead, I looked at an empty sac.  The same empty sac that sat beside another empty sac a week before, that Marty and I were told could be our twins.  The same empty sacs that we were told could be a myriad of things.  We were told those two yoke sacs could be twins.  One yoke sac was perfectly round, and the other being irregular and misshapen.  I was told to prepare myself for a variety of options.  Twins, one being healthy, the other one could miscarry.  Twins, one being healthy, one having possible birth defects when it was born.  One baby and one mass of tissue.  Or, the final option that I didn't even want to consider, no babies.  Since I was very early in my pregnancy, we still weren't able to see any heartbeats.  I left that appointment, head spinning.  Twins.  One baby.  No babies.  Birth defects.  Miscarrying.  I didn't even know where to begin my prayers.  Over the course of a week, from one appointment to the next, I found myself just repeating the words "Please let me see heartbeats."

But the next week, a year ago today, we came back.  Only to be greeted with one, little white circle on the ultrasound screen, not two, and still no heartbeat.  I sat in confusion, not knowing what I was looking at.  Did this mean that the second, abnormal circle was a fluke?  Was it just the mass of tissue they talked about and we were looking at one baby?  But at this point, surely by this point, we should be seeing something in the ways of a heartbeat.  The ultrasound tech didn't say much, just told us that she was going to get my gynecologist to get his opinion.  He looked quickly at the screen and told us that he was going to take it to the other doctors in the practice and see what they thought and we could wait for him in a regular room.  By this point, my mind is racing.  I knew, deep down, something was wrong.  In fact, before any of this had happened--before the doctor visits, before the ultrasounds, before we knew anything, other than the fact that I had taken a test and the words "Pregnant" had shown up--I had the feeling that something was wrong.  I had absolutely no evidence to support that, it was just a gut feeling I had that something wasn't right with this pregnancy.  So, here I was, sitting in a sterile room, waiting for confirmation of that gut feeling.  And it came.

A blighted ovum.  The technical definition: "when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop."  In layman's terms, I got pregnant, but nothing ever developed.  No baby.  I eventually miscarried almost a month later, which was a messy story involving the E.R. and tons of blood loss.

So, here I am.  A year later.  It's been a difficult year.  Every day, I struggle with my place in grieving and feeling a sense of loss.  Yes, I was pregnant and yes, I miscarried.  Yes, I am pro-life and believe that life begins at conception.  In my case though, I never had a baby.  It's not like I had a fetus develop and the baby's heart stopped beating.  It's not like I even had a fetus develop who never had a heart.  I had no fetus.  No baby.  Most days, I feel guilty for grieving a baby.  Heartbreakingly, I had so many of you reach out to me when I told you all about my situation.  So many of you that told me your stories of miscarriage and loss.  As someone who technically didn't have a baby to lose, I feel guilty.  These ladies have a true sense of losing their child.  I can't say that.  I feel like a fraud in my grief.  Should I be grieving a fertilized egg?  The pregnancy itself?  The potential for what my life could have been if things had gone the "right way?" Who am I to say that I can count myself one of them in my grief, when I truly feel like I can't?

It's a daily struggle.  Some days are great.  I think about what may have been, with a sense of peace and knowing that I am on the path I'm supposed to be on.  Some days, I cry for no reason.  Pregnancy announcements still get to me.  I can't help but feel jealous.  I've stopped talking about a second child as if it's a guaranteed thing.  I used to say "when we have another child."  Now, I catch myself saying "if we have another."  Don't get me wrong, I desperately want another child.  Avery is incredible.  She is my number one priority in life and loving her is unlike any feeling I've ever experienced.  I am fulfilled being Avery's mom.  But it was never the plan to make her an only child.  The past year has just hardened my optimism a little.  I have stopped planning what a year may look like because I did that in the past and look where I am now.  I never dreamt a miscarriage would be part of my story, but there it is.

A year later, I'm scarred, more sad and empty and a little less hopeful, but I'm here.  I survived that chapter and I've turned a page.  I still have an amazing husband.  Our miscarriage wasn't easy on our marriage.  Extreme amounts of stress on both our ends and my depression and emotional state didn't make for many sunny days, but we're better.  The miscarriage is part of our marital story too.  We're still together and stronger because of it.  It would have been easy in those days for Marty to leave me.  To tell me that he'd had enough and to not be able to understand why I didn't want to get out of bed some days or why our house was a disaster because I couldn't summon the energy to even wipe a counter down.  But he didn't.  He may have been frustrated and unable to understand what I was going through, but at the end of the day, he was still there.  If we can make it through losing his mom and a miscarriage in the span of less than a year, I truly believe Marty and I can make it through anything we face together.

I still have Avery.  I'm still blessed every day to wake up as Avery's mom.  To be able to go to her room, smooth down her sweat-soaked, sleep-tossed hair and know that I have a child that needs me. Avery brings joy and laughter to any situation.  She's constantly asking me for a brother or a sister (primarily, I think, because she reasons that she can ride in one of the double seat carts at Target because there will be two kids in the family).  How do you explain to a toddler that you don't know if you'll ever be able to do that for her?  You don't.  You accept that she's still little and innocent, so you kiss her head and tell her "Someday, I hope!"

I don't tell you all this so you can feel sorry for me.  I've had enough of that.  I tell you this in case one of you is going through the same thing.  Everything you're feeling is normal...but not, all at the same time.  Fighting with your husband, wanting to hide under your blanket and never come out, feeling guilty for grieving?  I've been there.  I'm no expert, but if you need to talk to someone, I'm here.  I know how helpful it was to reach out to other women who knew how I was feeling.  I don't know why, but miscarriage in our society is still such a taboo subject.  Why?  When it's estimated that 10-25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage?  I'm not saying that to scare you either.  That's still a very low percentage when you consider all the pregnancies worldwide.  But why do we act like a woman that has miscarried is an anomaly?  That we should be avoided because you can "catch" what happened to us?  That it's okay to talk about it when it happens to you, but then you need to just "get over it?"  That you shouldn't really be grieving because it wasn't a "real" baby yet.  All rubbish.

If you are or have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth, I'm talking to you right now, sweet sister.  You didn't do this.  You couldn't help that your body decided to do this to you, not taking into account how you felt about the baby you were carrying.  This isn't your fault.  If I were there, I would hug you, because Lord knows, you'd need one right about now.  Don't push your husband away.  I know you're feeling like you're alone, but over there?  That's your husband--a father that just lost his baby too.  This process won't be easy on the two of you.  I think that's normal.  Hold onto each other and love each other through the stormy days.  Grieve.  However you feel necessary.  If that's talking about your baby nonstop, do it.  Yes, people will shy away from you because death is uncomfortable and messy, but please don't hold it against them.  They don't know what this feels like.  Nor do we ever want them to.  They just don't know what its like to look at an ultrasound screen and see anything less than a perfect baby.  They don't know what it's like to sit around and wait for your body to miscarry your baby.  Don't fault them.  They just haven't been in our shoes.  I know what you feel like.  It's like we're in a secret club that none of us ever wanted to join in the first place....but here we are.  We carry a badge of loss and we have that embedded deep in our hearts, but we're stronger because of it.  One day, you'll meet your baby again and be able to give him or her the kisses you couldn't here on Earth.  And the angels will rejoice.  Grieve and miss them, and take as much time as you need, but don't let it keep you from missing out on the life that's happening around you.  I know you want to hide and pretend like it isn't happening, but that doesn't stop the world from spinning around.  There's still so much joy to find.  Carry your grief, but don't forget to live too.

A year later and my miscarriage has changed the way I view things.  It's changed me.  But it hasn't changed everything about me.  I'm still here, I'm still a wife and a mother, and I'm still blessed.

Aug 13, 2014

DIY Pool Noodle Horses

I'm baaack!  Marty, Avery and I just returned from a week vacation from the beach and a very short trip at Disney World.  *sigh*  Why does real life exist and why can't I just live at Disney all the time?

Anyway.  So now it's back to work, back to my dirty house and piles of laundry and back to blogging.  Hooray!

Today's blog post is going to be all about teaching you how to make these bad boys:

For Avery's 3rd birthday, we did a Disney Jr. themed party.  The invitations were Doc McStuffins, some of the decor was Mickey Mouse, her outfit and cake was Sofia the First, so I felt like Sheriff Callie needed to be represented.  The easiest way I could think of was making Sheriff Callie favors.  Sheriff Callie, like every good cowgirl, has a faithful and trusty steed, Sparky.

I decided every little girl at the party would need her own Sparky to ride off on adventures with.  Enter, Pool Noodle Sparky.  Wanna know how to make your own?  Let's do this thing. 

Materials Needed: 
  • Pool Noodles
  • Knee socks
  • Fabric (for mane)
  • Felt (for ears)
  • Buttons
  • Grocery bags
  • Ribbon (for reins) 
  • Hot glue


1.)  Determine what size you want your horses to be.  For an older child, I would recommend leaving the pool noodles whole.  I was making horses for a bunch of toddlers, so I decided to cut my noodles in half to accommodate shorter legs. :)   (Dollar General had primary colored noodles for only $1. I wanted neon colors, so I paid a little more for mine at Walmart).

2.)  Take one knee high sock and stuff the end of the sock with grocery bags, tissue paper or some other type of filler.  You want the sock to be able to stand on its own once it's put on the noodle.

3.)  Slide the sock onto one end of the pool noodle, stopping at the heel.  This makes it seem as if the sock is separated into the horse's head and neck.

4.)  Start adding the fabric for the horse's mane.  I made mine with strips of fabric cut into pieces that were about 4 inches wide by 1 inch thick.  None of this was measured exactly, just eyeballed.  

I did a variety of colors and patterns that I knew would coordinate with the socks that I had bought.  You could also use tulle, ribbon or a variety of other materials to make the mane. 

I started by taking a piece of my fabric, twisting it in the middle and then gluing it down to the sock directly with hot glue.  Some pieces were easy to attach, others needed a bit more glue to make sure it wasn't about to fall off and leave my horse bald.

I continued on, picking two or three different patterns and varying them down the sock until I was happy with the length of the mane.  

5.)  Next, I attached the ears.  For the ears, I picked two different colors of pink felt and cut two ear shaped pieces out of both colors--one set being slightly smaller than the other (to go inside the bigger set).

To attach the ears, I pinched the bottom of the ears (at the widest part) together and then glued it to the side of the sock.  I just eyeballed this part to and placed the ears where I thought they looked best.

When you're gluing the ears on, make sure you glue each layer to each other, or the ears won't be nice and folded together like you see in the picture.  So, when you're gluing, glue:  1.  The hot pink piece to the sock.  2.  The light pink to the hot pink.  3.  The light pink to each other, where the ear will meet in the middle.  4.  The hot pink to the light pink.  

Clear as mud?  Just put glue in between every single layer of the ear. 

6.)  Glue on eyeballs.  I picked buttons in a variety of shapes and colors for my eyes.  You could use pom-pom balls, googly eyes, or just draw them on.  

7.)  Attach the reins.  I used ribbon that I had laying around the house.  First, make a circle around the end of the horse's "nose."  Glue that on.  Then, attach one side of the ribbon to the circle, pull out the ribbon and loop it around the neck and mane, and back on the other side of the circle on the nose.  Glue those two ends down and you have your reins.

You're done!  I made nine of these beauties and Avery had to test ride every single one.

She would ride it around the room, declare it to be a "good Sparky for her fwiends" and then test the next one.  Avery approved pool noodle horses, y'all.   You're welcome.

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