Filed In: Simplicity

My Favorite Small Shops for Holiday Gifts

I am a huge fan of Etsy and love supporting women and moms who are running small businesses. So, if you’re looking for creative gift ideas, here are some of my favorite shops and products:

Dear Knot

She has the cutest macramé wall hangings. How cute would this snowflake wreath be for a little girl’s room? I ordered some of these keychains as gifts and love them. They’d make great stocking stuffers or secret Santa gifts, too. 15% off with code CYBER15

These macramé keychains are about $6 each with the discount code.

Rose Henges

Probably my favorite Etsy shop to date. I adore her style. I took advantage of her sale on Friday and got this C.S. Lewis quote + lion painting that has been on my wish list for a long time. I also love these gorgeous letter prints that are less than $3 if you print yourself! P.S. The entire shop is on sale today.

Rose Harrington

This is a lovely Catholic art shop. I like this print for the kitchen. I love this quote too: “The world doesn’t need what women have, it needs what women are.” 25% off with code SHOPSMALL2017

Vintage Cloud Shop

A mix of vintage clothes + homegoods as well as art with a nature, fauna, and desert vibe. Nathan bought me an amazing vintage skirt from here a couple years ago (he’s the best). Nichol has such great taste and I love her nature-filled art. These cool temporary tattoos would make great stocking stuffers.

Seams Like

This shop is my new obsession. Isn’t it amazing? Stuff sells out almost immediately, but if you have a vintage lover on your list, maybe you could snag her a cozy sweater or something. Follow Jolie on Instagram to find out when she’s adding more to the shop (usually every two weeks). I bought Henry some cute vintage sweaters for Christmas. 15% off with code THANKS

The Fox & She on Minted

I have a large print of this painting in our dining room and love it! Minted is a great place to find high-quality, affordable prints by artists.

Lily Jade

If you’re pregnant, I highly recommend putting one of these diaper bags on your baby list. This diaper bag doesn’t even look like a diaper bag, which is one reason I love it so much. I also like that it converts into a backpack so I can have both of my hands free.

I heart this diaper bag. I can even carry my laptop in it.

Pacific Loom

I have a weave from this shop and like how it adds texture to my gallery wall. It looks like she has added macramés now, too.

The rust + cream colored weave is from this shop!

Middle West Knitting Co

A family friend had Anna make us one of these pixie hats for Henry when he was born and it was my favorite baby hat. He looked like a little gnome. I also like Anna’s pom-pom charms. 20% off everything today

See what I mean? Little gnome? #love (more…)

& The Rest of the Apartment: Photo Tour

Yesterday, I shared how we arranged our bedroom after having Henry, and now here’s the rest of the 660 square foot apartment we lived in.

First, the outside. It was my favorite during the fall.

I need to drive back over in a week or two for a dose of nostalgia and beautiful colors.

Buried in vines, just the way I like it.

Living Room

One of my favorite things about the apartment was the old character, especially the arched entryways (cut off on the side of this cellular photo ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). Our house now has similar arched entryways, too.

I have a mild obsession with arranging gallery walls. This one is more spread out and I’d probably do it differently now, but it felt like home. I got the abstract green circle print from this shop on Minted, the succulent was painted by my friend, and the print in the upper left corner is from Rose Henges.

You know how they say don’t cram all your furniture up against the wall? Well, I should have followed that advice with this poor chair, crammed into the corner. Sorry, chair.

See that picture on top of the bookshelf with that dancer’s blue dress? My friend, Amy, painted it in high school. Amazing, right?

This short shelf fit well in this space but not-so-much at our new house (it’s currently relaxing in our spare room).


These cabinets were so tall I could stand on top of them and still had about six inches before my head it the ceiling!

A tiny oven for a tiny kitchen.

My favorite dishes, hue green from Crate & Barrel. (Unlike other stuff at Crate & Barrel, they’re not that expensive.)

Dining Area

Many sweet memories of dinners shared around this table. (more…)

Having a Baby in a One-Bedroom Apartment: How We Did It

We lived in our apartment for just over two years and some of our dearest memories are in this space. I highly recommend Fair Oaks if you’re looking for an apartment in Minneapolis. Henry was about seven months old when we moved out.

I thought I’d document how we managed to have a baby in a one-bedroom apartment without getting overwhelmed by stuff. I am not a strict minimalism by any means, but I do like to be thoughtful about what I buy and keep in our home because clutter makes me feel stressed. I’m convinced that when I feel the urge to “organize” something, I really just need to get rid of stuff that we don’t use or find beautiful. (Yes, I adhere to the philosophy that you should only keep things that “you know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.“)

Before you get too surprised that we opted to stay in our one-bedroom apartment with our baby, let me tell you that having your baby in your room will probably happen no matter what for at least the first three months. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months, ideally the first year. But that said, your sleep matters, too. I don’t believe parents should ever feel bad for moving their baby into another room (or the living room or a hallway) if they can’t sleep with the baby in the room. Sleep deprivation makes you feel crazy.

Here’s Henry’s side of the room. I made a little gallery wall for him. The basket contains all of his toys (babies don’t need that many toys). And underneath the shelf-turned-dresser is everything we needed for diaper changes. I still change his diaper on the floor.

As you can visually observe, my main advice about raising a baby in a small space is to have only what you need–and you really don’t need that much. I do want Henry to have a fun childhood and I’m not against toys, but the things Henry gets the most excited about are boxes and paper and plastic cups. We bought a mini crib to save on space and I did buy a slightly more expensive Ubbi trash can and it was worth it.

“But…where are you going to put the baby?”

It was an honest question, even though the underlying question felt like, “Why aren’t you giving your baby a real nursery?”, and I got used to hearing it when I told people we were pregnant and we were not moving yet.

And having a baby in a small apartment was perfectly fine. I loved it actually. There were less rooms to clean and babies don’t need that much space. (more…)

7 QT: Podcasts, Sleep, and Sugar

It’s strangely humid here in Minneapolis but the trees are also beginning to change, so I’m caught between something I love (fall trees) and something I don’t love (humidity). C’est la vie. To be honest, there are so many posts I’ve been working on but I feel stuck at a weird place with all of them, so for the sake of posting something, here I am. Many of the bloggers I follow do seven quick takes on Fridays. It’s mostly a Catholic blogger thing, but today I’m going to follow suit.

So, seven things right now:


I discovered a new podcast that I love: Typology. If you’re into the Enneagram, check it out. I read the book The Road Back to You this summer and had a book club discussion with some friends about it. Fascinating stuff.


I’ve been getting more sleep. Now that Henry usually sleeps through the night (as long as I dream feed him before I go to bed), I can actually get full night’s rest. I’ve been going to bed between 9:15-10:15pm and I finally feel rested when I get up with Henry around 6:00am. It’s made me such a happier person. Good sleep habits are as good as kale.


Bye, bye sugar. At least for a little while. I’m taking a break from most refined grains and processed sugar this month. This is nothing compared to the likes of Whole30, but I wanted to reset my habits and cutting out sugar has been helping. I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I feel after breakfast, too. I used to start my day with cereal or granola, but since I’m taking a break from processed sugar, I’ve been having either:

a green smoothie (something like spinach, peaches, banana, chia seeds, sunflower seed butter, and almond milk)

a couple slices of whole grain toast with avocado and eggs on top

oatmeal with walnuts, chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, almond milk, cinnamon, and maybe sliced banana

If I’m in a hurry, I usually have a piece of toast with natural peanut butter and some berries.


Morning walks. This hasn’t happened every day, but I’m trying to get in the rhythm of going for a short walk with Henry after breakfast. Even though we live in the city, I find it most natural to connect with God in nature. I like letting my thoughts lead to prayer while I walk. (more…)


Copied this template from The Fisk Files (I love Britt’s blog).

making: decisions about paint colors (we bought a house on Friday!). I’m usually fairly decisive but paint colors have me going to Home Depot again and again for more samples.

cooking: do roasted veggies count as cooking? Potatoes and carrots drizzled with olive oil, salt, fresh pepper, and dried herbs. Yum.

drinking: Decaf coffee on repeat. #nursing

reading: I was reading The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity but I’ve already renewed it three times from the library and had to return it today. I’ll finish it at some point, fingers crossed. It’s pretty woo woo but I love her premise that everyone is creative.

wanting: to be done moving! Boxes and a general sense of disorganization are my life right now.

looking: like I’ve lost a lot of hair. Postpartum hormones did me in and my hair is T to the hin. (more…)

Some Favorites

IMG_0478Now that summer school is done and we’ve caught up on the bigger summer to-do items, I’ve happily settled in to a summer routine of working on a creative project.

I hope to tell you more about it soon! I also ordered a couple new books to read — cannot wait for them to arrive. I originally requested this book through the library but there was a wait list of over 500 people and they have 300 copies of the book, so I feel a little late to huge tidying up party.

While I wait for the new books to arrive I thought I’d share some of my favorite articles, podcasts, and blogs from around the web recently.


Oh, The Lively Show. Possibly my favorite podcast ever. She interviews lots of creative people and their stories are thought-provoking, and often inspiring. Jess Lively is a talented interviewer and host, so she asks the right questions to bring out inspiring parts of their stories. I do not necessarily agree with everything people say, but I always learn something valuable.

The episode from this past week is absolutely fascinating. While I may not agree with Alisa’s solution to some of the problems (for example, I don’t think every woman has to avoid dairy, gluten, and caffeine to optimize her health and fertility), I agree with her that women often feel misinformed about their bodies—especially when it comes to their hormones, menstrual cycles, and fertility. I appreciate her desire to help women work with their bodies in a holistic manner.

Some of my favorite episodes from The Lively Show have been:

Kate Arends: Minimalism, Design, and Mental Health. Kate is so honest about her creative career (she shares about designing for Target, too!), and I really like what she says about being authentic.

Becky Murphy: Her journey into freelancing is so interesting. Plus, I have had her coffee table book about the unique joys of being short on my Amazon wish list since last year!

Caroline Rector: This is the second Lively Show episode with Caroline and I think I enjoyed it even more than the first – it’s all about why she took a break from her blog and about her move to Seattle.

Here are four excellent articles regarding the recent Planned Parenthood news. They are well-worth your time:

I cannot stop hearing Rosaria Butterfield’s words, “The monster in Frankenstein is me—and you—and my sins are always so much worse than I confess. The wages of sin is death. It is always death—even if medical science promises the wages of sin is life.” (Her full post I Thought Planned Parenthood Protected Family Values is at The Gospel Coalition.)

Kirsten Powers’s (a democrat) article, Crush Planned Parenthood, talks about the chaos that ensues when abortionists are elevated to gods.

David Daleiden, the Catholic who is behind the undercover videos, states, “It is a paradox that we can’t have laws that recognize unborn babies as human, and yet, it is their very humanness that makes them valuable for experimentation.” Full background on the undercover project is here.

My husband has admired Ross Douthat’s voice in The New York Times for a long time. His article Looking Away From Abortion is chilling in its honest look at abortion. I am so grateful for the humility in his article when he admits his own slowness to cover issues like torture during the post 9-11 interrogations.

Millay Vintage. A couple weeks ago, we actually drove by this shop on our way to church in Philadelphia and remember thinking that I saw the shop on Instagram one time. And, sure enough, it was! I am in love with the aesthetic of the shop. Maybe I’ll order something from it for my next capsule wardrobe. (more…)

Summer Capsule Wardrobe: The Bottom Half

Here they are. Click as your heart desires or just get the gist of it from the name:

  1. Olive Green Knit Skirt (Loft)
  2. Olive Green 5” Shorts (Old Navy): I found these on clearance for a few dollars about five years ago and still like them!
  3. Stripped Ponte Pencil Skirt (Loft): This was the only new purchase (I got it on sale for less than $30) for the pants/skirts/shorts part of my capsule.
  4. Red Circle Skirt (H&M): Read Hilary’s advice if you’re skeptical of wearing red.
  5. Black Scuba Skirt (Topshop)
  6. White/Light Blue Wonder Dot Skinny Jeans (Loft)
  7. High-Waisted Skinny Jeans (Banana Republic)
  8. Mint Green Skinny Ankle Jeans (Loft): My favorite pants ever. There was nothing remotely similar online, so I linked a pair from Ebay. 🙂


Am I nuts for including three pairs of skinny jeans in my summer wardrobe? Perhaps so.

Because, let’s be honest, no one wants to see a girl suffer through the summer months with sweaty legs. We’ll see how this summer skinny jeans experiment goes.

But there is a tiny bit of logic to my madness: (more…)

Capsule Wardrobe + Moi = Destiny

I’m guessing that if you stumbled across my little corner of the internet then you know me personally, which also means you’ve probably heard me talk about how much I love the concept of a capsule wardrobe.

But just in case there’s a stranger lurking around here somehow (if that’s you, hi!), I thought I’d first share a few thoughts about this wardrobe concept before sharing what I’ll be wearing for my summer capsule wardrobe (June through August).

First, some nostalgia: ever since I was little, I’ve loved getting dressed. I remember changing clothes several times a day as a kindergartner. I remember my beloved childhood romper with lace trim and a bright pink and purple floral print. In third grade, I remember my absolute favorite outfit: a pale pink turtleneck, navy leggings with big socks pulled up over my ankles, and a stretchy headband (I was a 90’s child living in the 80’s). I wore that ensemble as often as it was clean. In fifth grade, I created a schedule for my five favorite pairs of pants. I still remember how I would wear my stretchy black flares every Tuesday. Years later, I remember thinking that my art teacher, who only saw me on Tuesdays, probably thought it was weird that I only ever wore one pair of pants—but then again, she probably never even noticed. So considering my past, it’s no wonder I fell in love with the idea of a capsule wardrobe.

A capsule wardrobe is basically a smaller wardrobe of versatile pieces that can be interchanged relatively easily to create a wide variety of outfits. I’ve been organizing my wardrobe into three month capsules since last September and I’ve never regretted it.

Here are a few of the benefits I’ve experienced from living with a capsule wardrobe: (more…)