There's No Place Like Home

I felt like Dorothy in this outfit today with my gingham, blue, and ruby slippers TOMS. All I needed was Toto and a yellow brick road and I'd be set. 

Now I actually love The Wizard of Oz, but growing up in Kansas it sometimes got to be a bit much. The Wizard of Oz was pretty much the only claim to fame we had, so we milked it for all it was worth. You tell people you're from Kansas, and automatically it's either Dorothy or wheat fields. (Or our government wanting to do things like not teach kids science, but that's a conversation for another day.)

Regardless of its faults, I do love my state. 

What is your state (or city) known for?    

Gingham shirt: J.Crew Factory; navy dress: Loft; red shoes: TOMS

I couldn't resist a few coordinating baby shots: 

Mix & Match Fashion

Linking up with Mix & Match Fashion. 
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Mid Week Pick-Me-Ups

Here are a few things I've been smiling about lately: 

1. Fresh paint: 4 years ago, we bought our house. 4 years ago we wanted to paint our living room and kitchen. Last weekend we finally did it, and I'm elated with the results! Now I have the fever; I want to reupholster our (dirty, dingy) dining room chairs and add some artwork to our walls. I'm lost when it comes to decorating, but I think painting was just the push I needed. 

2. Little boy: I recently had to buy new pajamas for Jona; his toes were about to bust through the bottom of his old pairs. I bought size 12 months, and for some reason in those little footie pajamas with the rubber padding on the feet, he looks like such a little boy. What happened to my little tiny baby??! 

3. Best Dress: This dress is still one of my favorites. It's still what I reach for when I'm having one of those "I can't find anything to wear" days or when what I planned to wear didn't quite pan out. (That was the case today.) Thanks, stripey dress, for always being there. 

4. Game Night: Aaron and I spent last Friday night painting, so on Saturday we didn't have the energy to do much of anything. We decided to stay in and play Trivial Pursuit (my favorite game ever), and I'm happy to say I was the champion of the evening. 

5. A good read: I just started The Book Thief and I'm having a hard time putting it down and going to sleep each night. I love a book that sucks me in like that!

What are you smiling about this week? 

Thoroughly Mondayed

That moment when you think you have another bite of ice cream left but you look down and your bowl is empty... Yeah, that was pretty much my day. I'm utterly exhausted. At work, the printer wouldn't print, and the email wouldn't quit. My workday was a cakewalk though compared to bath-time with Mr. Lets-try-to-get-into-as-much-trouble-as-possible. Gone are the days of sitting, splishing and splashing with the bath toys. All the things I don't want him doing in the tub (draining the drain, throwing the toys out of the tub, trying to climb out of the tub) are just the things Jona wants to do most. 

So if I look a little haggard in these photos, forgive me. To put it simply, I've been thoroughly Mondayed. 

Orange anchor print cardigan: J.Crew Factory; navy stripe tank: Gap Outlet; navy cropped pants: Gap Outlet; orange sandals: Target

Here's to Tuesday! Let's make it a good one, shall we? 

Black Pencil Skirt 2 Ways

I'm pretty sure a black pencil skirt is on every list of work-wear "must-haves". However, it's not something I find myself reaching for often; it often gets forgotten in the back of my closet. So I challenged myself to wear it twice last week, in two contrasting ways. 

Look 1: Basics. Inspired by the Inspiration Monday picture at Two Birds, I paired my black pencil skirt with some of my real closet staples: my jean jacket, a white tee, and black sandals.

Jean jacket: Gap; white t-shirt: J.Crew Factory; black pencil skirt: Loft; black sandals: Ross

Look 2. Soft Color Contrast. I wear a lot more navy (and denim) than I do black, so sometimes I have a hard time pairing black with light, soft colors. Surprisingly, I like the contrast of the dark and light. 

Blouse (as jacket): thrifted; turquoise t-shirt: Target; black pencil skirt: Loft; black sandals: Target

Weekly Eats: Comfort Food

It wasn't my intention to make this a comfort food-heavy week, but that's how it turned out. (And yes, Mexican food is TOTALLY comfort food in my opinion.) 

1. Fried Pork Chops from Six Sisters' Stuff with corn on the cob and mashed potatoes. Sometimes you just have to have a good old fashioned meat and potatoes meal. Or at least we do. (Tip: Butter the heel or a stale piece of bread to easily spread butter on corn.)

1. Chicken Noodle Casserole. This is a Rachael Ray recipe that is usually made with ground turkey. It's a favorite around my house; Aaron requests it fairly often. I had some shredded chicken in the freezer left over from another recipe, so I used in in place of the turkey. Aaron still prefers the turkey, but I think I like the chicken just as well. Jona was a fan of this one too. 

3. Crock Pot Sesame Honey Chicken from Skinnytaste. Coming home to a meal that's already pretty much done is the best. This one had great flavor too! (Tip: My sister-in-law Gennie taught me a trick for shredding meat quickly and easily. Take fairly good-sized chunks of whatever meat you're shredding, and put them in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment, turn it on, and in just seconds you have shredded meat! Pretty cool, right?)

4. Eating out: Mexican food extravaganza. Over the weekend we visited Los Tules and Ponak's, two of our favorite Mexican joints. Juevos rancheros at Los Tules, fried beef tacos at Ponak's. Both were equally delicious, but the showstopper was (and always is) the Ponak's margarita. 

What have you been eating this week? 

Stripes and Floral, Floral and Stripes

I think it's safe to say that I'm getting my [mom's] money's worth out of this blazer. It's striped (my favorite!), lightweight, and it goes with everything. Inspired by Anne's "Stripes Plus" post, I thought I'd pair it with another print for a little "stripes plus" myself. In this case, the "plus" is floral, and since I have more floral than stripes here, does that mean it's "floral plus"? Hmm. 

What are your favorite prints to mix? 

Striped blazer: Gap Outlet; navy floral dress: Loft; sandals: Target

Mix & Match Fashion

Linking up to Summer Style at Mix and Match Fashion.

Jona's Adventures in Kansas City: Nelson Museum & City Market

This summer we've been trying to take advantage of all that Kansas City has to offer. There are so many free, kid-friendly places to visit; Jona has been on quite a few Kansas City adventures, and he's not even one yet. 

Last weekend, Jona and I met up with my friend Becky and her precious little girl Madeline. We decided these babies needed a little culture in their lives so we took them to the Nelson Atkins Art Museum. We explored the gardens outside the museum, posed them for photos in front of the giant shuttlecocks, ate at the museum's cafe, and oh yeah, looked at some art too. 

left and bottom right photo courtesy of Becky

On Saturday morning, Aaron and I took Jona to the Kansas City farmer's market. The weather was surprisingly perfect, and the city market was unsurprisingly jam-packed. We lucked out on a close parking spot, strolled around for a while and picked up some fruits and vegetables to go with our meals for the week. 

What adventures have you been on this summer? 

Dress, Vest, Done

Last week was a short work week for me; I stayed home with Jona on Monday and Friday. I absolutely loved my time spent at home, but the extra time away from work last week made for a busy day of catching up yesterday. 

For days I know will be crazy, I try to dress simply. I chose this printed maxi dress layered with a vest (#coldofficeproblems) and called it good. I didn't have to do any advance planning, I knew these layers would work together. And that was one less thing to worry about. Any simpler, and I could be on one of those new reality shows about naked people. (What is it with all these naked shows? Naked Dating, Buying Naked, Naked and Afraid... Really America? Is it that bad? Will we really watch anything on TV? Don't answer that.)

How does your schedule affect your choice of outfits? 

Cargo vest: Old Navy (emphasis on old); maxi dress: Target; orange sandals: Old Navy

Orange Print Shorts 2 Ways

Usually by this point in the summer, I'm dying to buy new shorts because I keep wearing the same pairs over and over. This summer hasn't been consistently hot enough yet to wear out my shorts. This weekend's rising temperatures did make me reach for this printed pair a couple of times. Here's how I styled these orange printed shorts 2 ways this weekend.

Look 1: Bold Print Mix.  Inspired by the Inspiration Monday photo at Two Birds, I paired these shorts with a paisley print button up. I wasn't sure if the patterns would work together, but I actually loved how it turned out. Print mixing can sometimes be tricky, but there are a couple of reasons why I think this particular mix worked. One, the patterns are two different sizes, so they aren't competing with each other. Two, the color palettes are similar: the orange color is found in both the shirt and shorts. 

Paisley shirt: thrifted J.Crew; orange print shorts: Loft; belt: Loft; flats: Target

Look 2: Simple Classic. The second time I wore these shorts, I let their print and color stand out by pairing them with a basic white button up. I love the combination of orange and turquoise, so I added simple turquoise sandals and earrings to complete the look. 

White button-up: Gap Outlet; orange print shorts: Loft; earrings: Old Navy; sandals: Old Navy

Weekly Eats: Home Run Recipes

This has been a pretty successful dinner week I'd say. I took a risk and tried out three new recipes this week, and amazingly we loved all of them. 

1. Crockpot Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin from Food 52. This was my first time making pork tenderloin in the slow cooker, and shut the front door! It was amazing. Seriously, you've got to make this. The pork was lean, tender, and FULL of flavor thanks to the delicious glaze it's basted with during the last hour that it slow cooks. (Don't be turned off by the idea of making a glaze. It was so easy.) Yum.

2. Pork Quesadillas. We made extra pork in the slow cooker so that we could use the leftovers for the easiest weeknight meal: quesadillas. We kept them simple with just meat and cheese, but you could throw in anything you want. It's a great way to use up leftover meat. Jona was in heaven over these, he gobbled his bites right up! 

3. Chicken Parmesan Minis from Six Sisters' Stuff. Essentially, these were meatballs, and I love a good meatball. I used ground turkey instead of chicken since I had some hanging around my freezer. The best part of these: a little cube of mozzarella cheese hidden in the middle that melts and gets all oozy and gooey. These were also a hit with the kiddo. I served them up with pasta with marinara sauce and green beans. (Tip: to save time, throw the green beans into the water with the pasta when it's about 5 or so minutes from being done. No need to boil water twice!) 

4. Grilled Szechuan Chicken Skewers from It's a Keeper. I can't take credit for this one; Aaron grilled the chicken and basted it with the spicy sauce. He even alternated the red and yellow peppers on the skewers so they looked pretty! Sometimes grilled chicken can be boring, but this one was just the opposite. Another winner.

What have you been eating this week? 

Outfit Formula: Print Skirt, Simple Tee, Cardigan

Although I love being creative with my wardrobe and coming up with new outfits to blog about, sometimes I find myself repeating an outfit "formula". Without even thinking about it, I repeated once such formula twice this week: printed pull-on skirt + simple tee + lightweight cardigan. Today I kept the color palette neutral, and added color with my accessories. 

Do you find yourself repeating outfit formulas too? What's a favorite of yours?

White cardigan: Loft; navy t-shirt: J.Crew Factory; dotted chambray skirt: Merona, Target; earrings: Etsy; yellow sandals: Steve Madden via DSW

Linking up to Summer Style at Mix & Match Fashion

Jona Style: Yellow with Blue Checks

I can't believe that in less than one month Jona will be a year old. He celebrated his 11 month "birthday" yesterday. I remember how long those first few days as a new mom felt; I feel like time sped up exponentially since then. 

Because of lighting, I've been doing most of my outfit photos after Jona goes to bed, so I haven't shown off my favorite accessory. That doesn't mean I'm cured of my compulsion to coordinate our outfits. However, with all the adventures in solid foods we're having, often what he starts out wearing is different from what he ends up in. (Or it's the same outfit, but "personalized" with peas, sweet potatoes, etc.)

Anyway, I thought it was about time Jona had his own outfit post. And mostly I just wanted to share pictures of that face. This is the "I'm about to cry, why are you doing this to me mommy?" face. He seems to be getting all of his top teeth in at once, so that doesn't help his patience. 

 Blue checked shirt: Carter's; white onesie: Gerber; shorts: Carter's

Dressed for Mom Duty: Dots and Shorts

Yesterday I got to stay home with Jona while his babysitter is out of town. Work can be tiring, but after doing the mom thing all day I was exhausted! At one point our living room floor was covered in toys. Yet the things he had the most fun playing with were a half of a plastic Easter egg and Aaron's tennis shoe. Seriously, he was getting cranky, but then he discovered those shoelaces and he was the happiest kid on the planet for a good 20 minutes. 

I'd like a few more Mondays like that! How did you spend your Monday? 

Dotted chambray: J.Crew Factory; purple shorts: Old Navy; yellow belt: Loft; sandals: Loft

White Jeans 2 Ways

This weekend really felt like summer. It was hot. In spite of that, it was a lot of fun. We visited Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead with some friends, enjoyed date night at the ballpark, and had a birthday dinner for Aaron at my dad and step-mom's. 

Today I'm remixing a summer staple: white jeans.

Look 1: White jeans at work. I dressed them up a little with a lace top, but since it was Friday I kept the casual vibe with my much-loved denim jacket and flat sandals. 

Denim jacket: Gap; gray lace top: Loft; white jeans: Loft; earrings: Old Navy; sandals: Loft

Look 2: White jeans on a hot weekend. I used today's Inspiration Monday photo from Two Birds as my jumping off point, but it ended up quite a bit different from the inspiration. Honestly, this is one of those looks that I liked more in person than in photos. Oh well. 


Sleeveless striped blouse: J.Crew Factory; tank top: Old Navy; white jeans: Loft; headband: Old Navy; sandals: Old Navy

Linking up to Mix it Mondays and Inspiration Monday

How are you styling up your white denim this summer?