a life with style blog


An Exercise in Self Care


Self care is a word that is being thrown a lot lately. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it means for me. Here’s what I’ve discovered. Self care is less about pampering and more about doing things that nurture my creativity. As of late that has included lots more reading, listening to music and journaling. I’ve never been huge into journaling for the same reasons I sometimes find therapy difficult, confronting what I’m feeling is really freaking hard! Emotionally, the last few years have been brutal and my survival has been partially due to my ability shut off a lot of what I’m feeling.

I recognize that it’s not healthy. Perhaps more importantly, it’s also not how I want move through the world. So I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and writing. I’ve also started to do little bit of creative journaling. I’m not an artist in any way, shape, or form so collaging and scrapbooking makes me feel artistic. It’s also been a great coping mechanism in the last few months.

I took this photo on a hike a few weeks ago. Like many survivors of sexual assault and trauma, watching the Kavaungh hearing and the testimony of Dr Blasey-Ford was deeply triggering. My husband suggested a hike as a way to unplug for a bit. I snapped this photo as we were crossing the creek. I knew that I wanted to include it in my notebook as a reminder not only of how far I’ve come but also to give myself permission to bend or even break if I need to. It’s ok to have your shit together and rock at life. But, it’s ok if you’re not. It’s ok if you are getting through the day out of habit. It’s ok to not be ok.

And just in case you need to hear it today, I see you. I hear you. I believe you.

Spring Table


I know among bloggers and avid Instagram users there seems to be a consensus that Fall is the best season of the year. Boots, and sweaters, and pumpkin spice, oh my!  What's not to love?! But for me, Spring is where it's at! Warmer temps are finally making their debut. Things are starting to turn green and all of my favorite flowers are starting to bloom! Allergies aside, I adore spring! 

While I'm sure it's connected to the "rebirth" messages that are intrinsically linked to the season, I always start to think a great deal about memories, occasions and celebrations and the way we seem to want to box them off. Reserve them for something we deem deserving of the festivities. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that our everyday lives are worthy of celebrating too! So even if you're just grabbing a pizza on your way home from work, why not break out your fancy dishes and treat yourself?! 


Oh Baby!


If you follow me on Instagram or know me in real life, then you know that last October my daughter and son-in-law announced that they were expecting their first baby! I'm going to be a grandma, a Gigi, a Mimi, a Gran...I'm campaigning hard for Gray(which is a combination of my first and middle name!)but my family remains unconvinced.    

A few weeks ago, we had a house full of friends and family to celebrate with Rian and welcome baby Olivia to the family. Her one request was nothing too over the top girly because it was a co-ed shower. Instead of a theme, I opted to for a color palette of pale pink, peach, gold and light wood accents. I found some clip art on Etsy that I thought would be perfect for the invitations and signs at the shower. 

We decided to have a brunch mostly because I wanted to have a biscuit bar! Neither of us is a fan of shower games. In lieu of sniffing diapers or melting ice cubes with tiny babies in them, I set up a headband station. Everyone including the guys had fun being creative and making darling headpieces for our girl. 

It was a laidback afternoon with family and friends. It gave me such joy to host this day. I'm already so in love with you Olivia! Get here soon, your grandpa and I can't wait to meet you! 

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One Little Word


Last year, I chose cultivate as my one little word. In some ways, I succeeded. I made and nurtured new friendships. The seeds of several new creative endeavors were planted. And, I worked on strengthening some relationships that are very important to me. But, I fell short of how I wanted to use my One Little Word to help me navigate throughout the year. So, this year I'm choosing to COMMIT. I've made a list of goals that I want to either fully accomplish this year or take definite steps towards accomplishing them within the next two years. Long-term planning has never been my strong suit but this year, I'm committed to mapping out the pieces of my life that I've left to chance or neglected in the past.

COMMIT will be my touchstone for decision making this year.  Is this an idea, challenge, goal, relationship that I can fully COMMIT to? If not, why? Am I simply afraid to step up because I fear failure or is there a tangible reason why this can't be a "yes" for me? I think I say #hardpass on lots of things. Not because I can't do them. But, because my fear of success is almost as paralyzing as my fear of failure! What if I stop letting those two assholes make my decisions for me?!   

The less said about 2 0 1 7, the better! So, buckle up 2 0 1 8 because, I'm coming for you! 




Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

Everyday Magic


Here's the thing about memories, often the best ones, the ones that stick with us throughout our lifetime, are the little moments that inject a tiny bit of magic in our everyday lives.

The combination of potty training and the first blast of arctic air has had us stuck in the house for a few days too many.  And, I think we both had a touch of cabin fever. After more episodes of Paw Patrol than I care to admit, I remembered we had some cookie dough mix and decided it would be a fun way to kill an hour! 

It wasn't a Pinterest perfect craft. It wasn't even made from scratch. We're both still in our pj's and rocking epic bedhead. But, a week later he still lights up talking about how we made cookies! 


We never know what little kernels of childhood our kids will hold onto as memories. But, I hope he remembers that sunny December morning, singing Christmas songs, dancing in the kitchen,  and making cookies! 

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Scrapbooking


Back in the day, I was a huge fan of scrapbooking. I had baskets and bins filled with papers and embellishments. I would print out my photos and sift through trying to come up with the perfect layout. And therein lies my problem.  I spent so much time wanting to make it perfect that I fell further and further behind. And I ended up with 14 months worth of photos I needed to scrapbook! Yikes! Then one day I stumbled on Project Life. It was a much easier and more modern way of memory keeping.  So once again, I bought a core kit and an album and got to work. And, once again I quickly fell behind due to my own expectations.   

Two years ago I fell down the rabbit hole of pretty or decorative planning. Planners and stickers make me a very happy girl! I've been happily exploring the world of decorative planning. I've grown from using scrapbook paper and stamping to buying stickers on Etsy to trying my hand at designing my own. My husband is a reluctant enabler of my hobby that he doesn't quite "get" but for Christmas, he surprised me with the newest planner gadget, an HP Sprocket. I can easily print out photos from my phone onto sticker paper! What is life?! I've been using it here and there to put photos in my planner. But, with the release of the big Happy Planner, I decide to fully commit to memory keeping again. 

The planner itself is dated(although there are undated versions) and beautifully illustrated. You could print out your pictures, slap them down and be finished. Easy like Sunday morning. I've chosen to add a little layering with scrapbook paper, a few stickers and some notes about the week that I'd like to remember.

It is so easy but at the same time allows me to get as creative as I want. It's also forcing me to print out photos which is something that I rarely do! I jot down little notes or cute things I want to remember throughout the week so that I can add them to my weekly layout.

This spread took me less than 30 minutes to put together!  

Rowan turns 3!

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Saturday our little hero turned 3! I'm not sure how three years have gone by in the blink of an eye but my little preemie is this amazing little boy! 

I decided on a comic book super-hero theme with black white with pops of color. We kept things pretty simple and easy. We opted to order some oversized signs from Amazon. I contacted the Etsy seller who designed the invitations to see if she could make a coordinating sign. I had it printed at Staples. I made the signs for the buffet in Picmonkey and attached them to cardstock to bring in more color. The husband did a great job on the "hero" sandwiches and I made up a batch of "dare"deviled eggs and some pretty super jello cups.

The weather cooperated and we had a beautiful afternoon celebrating with family. I love the way everything turned out.


The residents of the city sleep a little easier knowing that their hero is keeping a watchful eye on them.

Party Sources:

Personalized cape and mask- Little Shepsters- Etsy
Invitations and Banner design- Bernelo- Etsy
Comic Book signs- Amazon
Cake- Jensen's Sweet Sinsations

fall centerpiece DIY {heart and home}


Fall is my favorite season for lots of reasons- boots, pie, all pumpkin spice everything- but it is the most glorious season for flowers!! There are so many gorgeous blooms at your fingertips in September, October and even into November. 

I made a simple and pretty centerpiece out of a few leftovers. I'm still working out the kinks of filming these tutorials but I love the way this little arrangement turned out! 

Happy Monday!

all hallows eve{diy wreath}


I'm slowly trying to add a little Halloween to the house. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a big fan of Halloween, especially the scary and gory aspects! But, there's got to be a way to add a spooky twist with the things I like!

We all know that it all starts with the front door! Why should wreaths be saved for the holiday season?  With that in mind, I headed to Michael's to trick(pun intended!) out my front door.

It goes without saying that fake flowers are my least favorite thing to use in design and decor. But, it's Ohio in October so using anything living is not possible or cost effective. I was really surprised at the options available! My favorite thing to use in any arrangement I design is texture. It's difficult to find things that aren't real that have the texture of the real deal! Not only was able to get my beloved textural elements, I also found some pretty close to the real deal greenery and flowers.

This is the first time I've attempted to make a wreath with faux flowers and I'm thrilled with the results! 

I found moss, thistle and dusty miller to give the wreath texture.

I was surprised to find pretty real looking kale and hydrangea! 

Start by removing everything form the stems.  I used floral clippers but you can use wire cutters or scissors. I wired the larger blooms to wreath with a thin gauge wire. After wiring I went back in with the hot glue gun to make sure all of the blooms and greens were firmly attached.

And now, the fun stuff! I attached the thistle with wire and glue as well. The skull is styrofoam so I was able to stick on top of a wooden skewer(otherwise known as leftover chopstick!) and secure it with glue. Then I simply slip it into place.  At the last minute I decided the bow I was going to use seem to polished so I opted to use some yarn. I LOVE the result!

Et Voila!!

It's pretty but  dark and a little spooky! It's the perfect mate for our new "welcome" mat!! 


Do greet visitors at the front door with a little bit creepy holiday spirit? 

an ugly duckling transformation{oh my heart and home}


i've been wanting to give our first floor a little makeover for a long time. but, anyone with a young child will tell you that household projects tend fall lower and lower on the list of priorities as you devote your time, attention, energy and money to your little one. it wasn't as if the house was falling down around us! it just looked a little tired. 

my husband and i talked about it. well, i mostly talked and he sort of nodded in tepid agreement. i headed to pinterest to get inspiration. i came up with an idea of what i wanted and promptly shelved it. a few weeks ago, i decided enough was enough! 

i tackled the most complicated project first. i've had this vintage loveseat for probably ten years. i was okay with color but my husband hated it! and, if i'm being totally honest the upholstery had seen better days.

the peachy orange color and the dark wood were very old fashioned, and not in a good way. 

i knew i wanted to add color and personality to the living room. the best way to that is with pattern. and floral patterns are my jam. however, in order to sell my husband on the idea it couldn't be too over the top.. 

this fabric served as my inspiration!

after reading two dozen or so blog posts i felt confident enough to start. because the fabric was a little pricey, i decided to paint most of the upholstery and simply recover the seat. i wanted the color to be a a rich blue somewhere between navy and federal blue.

i used regular latex wall paint, water, and fabric medium(1:1:1). and then i got very nervous!

but, i kept going because i had no choice. i was also 99% sure i'd made a huge mistake!

there was also lots of swearing! i continued. and, because i'm a terrible blogger and i was sure this was going to be a pinterest fail, i didn't take more pictures. womp. womp. somehow, with lots of worry, elbow grease, several coats of paint and a battle with a heavy duty staple gun, it went from that ugly duckling.

to this...


and, i'm in love! i want to stare at her all day and tell her how beautiful i think she is! 

slowly things are coming together! i can't wait to show you the entire room:)