a study in CONTRASTS »

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Hello, Fall

It’s here! It’s here! The most wonderful time of the year! Well, at least it will be in 3 days. I love fall SO much. It’s undoubtably the most beautiful season & the weather is usually perfection. You just have to put out of your mind the fact that winter, the most evil of all the seasons, is right around the corner. I didn’t used to hate winter, but after last year, I get heart palpitations whenever I think of it happening again. It legitimately feels like winter just ended a couple of months ago. Obviously I was traumatized by the harsh conditions and the fact that I live so far away from civilization. I’m lucky I did’t turn into Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Sorry, where were we? Right. Talking about fall… The weather this past week has just been gorgeous. Add that to the fact that the fields are the perfect shade of gold & you have one happy lady here. The icing on top of all that awesomeness? I found the (near) perfect floppy wool hat. I’d say it was totally perfect, but it tends to shift around and look a little like a cowboy hat. Which, I mean, is really not the look I’m going for. Still though, it’s about a million times better than any of the others that I tried on. I have a small head, so they all seemed to swallow me alive. This one is a little big, but I’ll deal. What about you guys? Any fun fall fashion that you’re excited to break out?


In the process of taking the above and below pictures, I was bit by a bug on my hand, almost put my hand right on a big fat spider, & was painfully poked by a stick in the back of my leg. Don’t I look calm, though?


So the Master Kajal eyeliner that I was wearing in last week’s post? No good. I mean, it goes on great. Then? It slides off your eyes and all over your face. If there’s anything that an almost 40, sleep-deprived, mother of three doesn’t need, it’s more help with undereye circles. So, I moved on. I’m trying out the L’Oreal Silkissime eyeliner. It seems ok so far. I don’t know why I’m even messing with new eyeliner. I’ve been using Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes in 3L (navy) for a couple of years now & have always loved it. I was just hoping to find it’s equal in a drugstore brand, I guess. My lipstick here is the ubiquitous Nars Heat Wave. Although it’s toned down a little because I put it on top of a pinky lip pencil.


I was having some major camera issues & luckily Dustin came out at just the right time. I was legit ready to throw the camera into the field behind me. He took the rest of these & I must say, it was ten times more fun having his help. Although it was also ten times more embarrassing. Also, as you can see, I had an assist by Max too. He’s really trying to become internet famous.


This Target necklace has been my favorite all summer. If you know anything about Target jewelry, you’ll know that it’s cute & affordable, but not made to last. Let’s just say that it’s lost a lot of it’s sparkle. I’m still wearing it though. Obviously. The bracelet was one that I’d originally bought as an option for our vow renewal. I ultimately went with something else, but couldn’t help but keep this one too, even though I abhor snakes.


Hat – H&M

Shirt – Target

Jeans – Old Navy

Shoes – Kork-Ease via TJMaxx (similar)

Necklace – Target (similar. I’ll probably be getting this to replace this one.)

Bracelet – Anthropologie (similar, but no snake motif. Sorry!)

Eyeliner – L’Oreal Silkissime

Eyeshadow 1 – Stila in Kitten

Eyeshadow 2 – Nars Barbuda (I just found out they don’t make this color anymore. I’m heartbroken. Here are a couple of close options, although it’s hard to tell online. Lhasa & Coconut Grove)

Mascara – DiorShow

Bedroom – The Final After

Two years ago I posted before pictures of our bedroom. A year and a half ago, I posted the mood board. A year ago, I posted a sneak peek. This year, I’m going to finally show you the finished product! I mean, seriously. Who takes two years to complete a project? To be fair, I have had a baby since then, so life’s been a little crazy. Next week, I’ll do a full before and after, showing pictures from what the house looked like when we first moved in, but for today, I’ll just show you this one before shot, just to give you an idea of what we walked into when we bought this house.


Now listen. I know that this isn’t a fair “before” picture, but it’s all that I have. We were getting ready to remove the wallpaper (note the steamer on the floor) when I realized that I should probably get a couple of pictures of the room before we took it down. We hadn’t decorated it one bit, it’s night, and I’m using flash. Still though, you get the idea, right?

Ok and nowwwwwww the after…. TA DA!


Simplify, simplify, simplify.

I made these canvases for Dustin for Valentine’s Day last year. They’re the lyrics to our wedding song, “Thank You” by Led Zeppelin.


I’d searched for what felt like forever to find the right lighting. The tables (similar here) that I ended up with our really small (too small, if I’m being honest here) & there really wasn’t room for a lamp. Plus, there was still wall space that really needed filled. Every time I searched for pendant lamps though, they were either the wrong style or wayyyyy to expensive. Then, voila! Enter these babies from Urban Outfitters. Unfortunately, I just checked & they don’t carry them any more. Bummer.  I actually painted the flowerpot on the right, believe it or not. It’s just a cheapie terra cotta pot that I painted pink then added a gold triangle using painters tape and some Martha Stewart gold paint. I painted the one on the left too, I’ve just never got around to adding a design. Also, after looking at these pictures, I realize now that I need a new light switch cover. Ignore it, ok?:)


The awesome pillows are from Goods by Grinn, which I’ve just discovered is now called Stay & Co, & I think they’re just the most fun. On a side note, if you know where that phrase is from, congratulations, we’re now BFF’s. The bed is from Pottery Barn & it’s one of the fanciest things we own. I love that when I want more color in there someday I can just paint it. How fun will that be?


This chair. Oh man. Ok, so I originally bought this massive, darker wicker, peacock chair that was also much more ornate. It’s gorgeous & it was a good price. Plus, I hadn’t seen any around here, so I grabbed it up instantly. Two weeks later, I find this one for less than half the price. It’s small size and lighter color work so much better for this space. So, if you know someone looking for a peacock chair, well, let’s just say I know someone who might have one to sell. On a side note, if that poor little fiddle leaf fig there is still alive come spring, it’ll be a miracle. I killed two last year when winter came along, so we’ll see if I can save this one. Fingers crossed! The basket that the plant is in is from Target (similar here & here, although they did have the same one in stock at my Target).


The felt balls strung up on the windows are from Hello Maypole. I made that garland myself too. Maybe I’m crafty after all!


Alright, here’s the reason why this room hadn’t been posted yet. These dressers. I bought them with the intention of painting them. They’re the perfect size & I just can’t justify buying new ones. Although I just saw this on West Elm’s Instagram today & about died. Anyway, back to reality. If I’m being completely honest with myself, there’s no way I’m ever going to have time to paint these. At least not until Matilda’s in school. So, I finally decided to just suck it up and show it to you with them as is. I want to get a big canvas printed to hang above the dresser. There’s a picture from our vow renewal that I just love and I think it’ll be perfect there.


This Land of Nod lamp was supposed to go on the bedside table, but the design was too similar to the shape of the table, plus they were just too big for the table too. So, one went on the dresser and one ended up in my office. I’m definitely not complaining. The LOVE print is from Made by Girl & it’s just so great, you guys. That’s our wedding invitation in the gold frame & the flower crown from The Scalloped Window is what I wore for our vow renewal. Isn’t it pretty? I should wear it all the time.


Alright, that’s it for now. I’ll show you the full transformation from before to in between to now here soon. I promise.

Gail - This is INSANE. As in, insanely awesome. Incredible!

Behind the Scenes

With fall heading our way, the sun’s going down earlier and earlier each night. Ergo, I’m having to start taking pictures earlier in the evening. No biggie, right? WRONG. I happen to have three kids who think it’s super cool to “help” or something along those lines. Sometimes it’s fun, like when I had Finn hang out with me on the sunrise post & also help with the coffee bar post. But, when it’s 45 minutes before bedtime? Well, things get a little tricky. Here are a few outtakes from last weeks post

It all started out great. I was able to use Finn to test the light & he thought it was fun to pose with the (oft-repaired) Minecraft pickaxe. He’d already changed into half of his pajamas, in case you’re wondering about his attire.


So, I thought to myself, “Sure. This could be cute. Let’s do it, Finn!” Then he decided to have a seat & just stare at the camera.


Finally he decided to move his cute little booty & we were in business. Untillllll he almost took out my camera. Game over. He was sent inside to brush his teeth.


If you look closely in the window there, you’ll see the blur of a screaming 18 month old. She’s a total Daddy’s Girl, but for some reason, she really wanted to hang with me that night. Maybe she was jealous that she didn’t get to show off her outfit.


Soooo… lesson apparently not learned, I thought I’d let her come out and make her blog debut. So far so good, right?


WRONG. Again. Not only did she decide to make the craziest of faces, but our dog, Max, decided to get in on the action too. SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS?!?!??? Obviously, the picture on the right shows she’s over it. About 30 seconds after I brought her outside. No exaggeration.


I don’t have any pictures of it, but Jack called me over “Hurry!” to see a grasshopper family. “Look! The mommy is giving the baby a ride on it’s back!” Pretty sure that was a daddy, not a baby, but I kept that knowledge to myself. So, yeah. Basically photo shoots are about to get more interesting around here. Maybe I can bribe them with candy……

Mix it Up

I love pattern mixing. Like, really, really, love it. I think it can take something a little boring & make it more interesting. Not only that, but it can help give an outfit depth. Could I have worn a solid color shirt with this skirt? Absolutely. I have, as a matter of fact. But it always felt “meh” whenever I did. After I bought this shirt, I realized that it could work great with this skirt. I tried them on together and Boom! a new outfit was born. Day totally made. If you’ve never mixed prints before, this outfit is a great example of a baby-step. Both pieces are the same colors, not only that, but the colors are really subdued as well. Except for my screaming yellow purse & earrings, the accessories are simple and neutral. Let your prints do all the work for you:)

For years, I’ve loved the celebrity fashion site Go Fug Yourself. One of my favorite statements of The Fug Girls is, “Everyone looks better in sunglasses”. Agreed, ladies.



Do I always match my earrings to my bag? Only when it’s this awesome. Speaking of this completely insane, but awesome, bag, it was a recent find from TJMaxx. Rebecca Minkoff. Clearance rack. Yes. (In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have used my yellow front door in a post with this purse. Too late now)


I look angry here. I’m not. Although getting these pictures was an exercise in patience what with three kids and a dog trying to get in on the action. Anywho, the lipstick here is from the always fantastic Nars, specifically, Schiap. Perfect name for a perfect color.


I added the belt to help define my waist. It tends to get lost sometimes. Oh, let’s be honest, I think I really lost it somewhere around 2006 after I had Jack.


This skirt was made to twirl.


Shoes off. Shoot over. Time to go put some kids to bed….



Shirt – Target (They’re sold out online in the blue, but they have an olive version and also a red plaid that I’m in love with. If you love the print, here it is in a popover style)

Skirt – JCPenney (old. Here’s one that’s at Target though. It’s black and white & a different material, but it’s the same idea. I may actually go grab it myself. Shhhh….)

Belt – So old that I have no clue. Sorry :/

Shoes – Payless (old. I couldn’t find a replacement, but if you were to go with the Target skirt, these Zara shoes could be fun.)

Earrings – Target (old, but here’s another bright button style. They’re more traditional than my spikes, but really cute)

Eyeliner -Maybelline Master Kajal in Onyx Rush

Mascara – DiorShow in Catwalk Black

Eyeshadow – Stila in Kitten

Lipstick – Nars in Schiap

Bag – Rebecca Minkoff via TJMaxx

Sunglasses – Target

Can’t Touch This

Hammer pants, Harem pants, whatever you want to call them, I bought a pair. I actually bought them right before I was pregnant with Matilda & never had a chance to wear them. I remember being doubtful when I bought them & then thought, “Oh, why not?!” I’ll be honest, I’m still doubtful. They’re pretty comfy though, so at the very least, they’re a stylish alternative to sweatpants. They’re also a verrrrry low-key version of this style, so that helps make it a little less scary. Their biggest drawback is actually the fact that they’re a silky material that’s really staticky. Staticky pants = not good. The first time I tried them, I wore them with an ivory crop top. Don’t worry, it was the loose kind that ends at the waistband, not a skin-baring one. I mean, give me some credit here. It looked great, but I was couldn’t figure out how to lift my arms without showing skin. It probably goes without saying, but if you have three kids, you need to be able to lift your arms. So, I pulled out one of my favorite shirts of the summer, my New York tee from Madewell, and it was perfect. The tee was a big splurge for me, but the minute I tried it on, I knew I couldn’t leave without it. I’ve worn it so many times, that it’s definitely paid for itself. Don’t you love when that happens?

On a totally random note, I tried something different photographically with these pictures. Normally, I like to shoot with the sun behind me or to the side, preferably in open shade. For some reason, I decided I wanted to play around with me facing the setting sun. It’s definitely a different look than I normally go for, but it really made the graphics on the pants pop, so that’s fun.



Every summer it seems like I have a new go-to hairstyle. Ponytails are always a classic, but it’s nice to feel like you put a little extra effort into you hair, even if it’s something that only took 30 seconds longer than a ponytail. Last year was the side braid that wrapped around the back of my head. This summer is the year of the milkmaid braids. Two braids on either side, pull them across you head, pin in place & voila! Instant “hairstyle”.


These sunglasses were a spur of the moment purchase from Anthropologie last winter. I’m kind of obsessed with them. The lipstick (subtle that it is) was recommended by my cousin, Aquila, who just so happens to run an amazing blog called Haute in Texas. She’s tall & gorgeous & a talented writer. What more could you ask for in a blogger? Definitely check her out when you get a minute! Anyway, the lipstick. It’s Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Wild Watermelon. It goes on smooth & is a nice, subtle color. Also? It’s only about $6. Score!





Sunglasses – Komono (I just saw that the style name is Urkel. Ugh.)

Shirt – Madewell (sold out, but here are their latest graphic tees)

Necklace – Stella & Dot

Pants – Mango for JCPenney (sold out)

Shoes – Target (sold out)

Lipstick – Revlon (I bought mine at Target, but here’s an Ulta link)


Aquila - Oh wow, thanks so much for the shout out! Glad you like the lipstick! Love this look so much, you rock so many different styles so well!

APRIL - You’re so welcome, Aquila! Thanks for the sweet words. I really do love your blog, so I hope everyone checked it out!