Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Stubborn Perfectionist's Struggle with Breastfeeding: My Exclusive Pumping Story

My family still teases me about something I said in the hospital when I found out that I was going to have to have a c-section with my first-born, Jona. After the initial panic and disappointment faded, I said to Aaron and the nurses in the room, "But I didn't read that chapter [in the pregnancy books]!" Clearly, I like to be prepared.

I thought I had prepared myself for breastfeeding. I did read the chapters, as well as attend a class at the hospital. Just as many fellow moms warned me, however, the reality was something I couldn't prepare for. My milk took several days to come in, Jona couldn't and wouldn't latch, and on top of everything else my supply was inadequate. After weeks of agony, I gave up breastfeeding and pumped and supplemented with formula. After three months I quit pumping entirely, because the amount I was making wasn't enough to justify the time and effort I was putting in to feeling like a dairy cow.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Favorite Floral for Spring (and more from #LYBLforLess Week 4)

As I was assessing my closet needs yesterday (prompted by my LYBL Calendar), I was thinking about how my style has changed over the last few years. Before I started my current job, I was a teacher (for a short time) and my wardrobe was mostly business casual. For the first couple of years with the company I work for, I pretty much wore the same type of thing I wore to teach. However, since becoming a mom, I've noticed my wardrobe shift much closer to the casual end of business casual. The office where I work has a very laid-back dress code, and now that I work from home two days a week there just aren't that many days when I need to dress up. Mom life just doesn't jive with the colorful pencil skirts I used to love so much.

I find myself creating simple outfits with jeans, paired with basics like tee shirts, more than anything else. I love it when I find tops that work equally well for both mom-days and work-days, and I feel like this floral tee from loft does just that. It's definitely my "favorite floral" right now.

Has your style changed recently? 

This week's #LYBLforLess prompts:

{favorite floral}



Floral tee: Loft (similar) | distressed jeans: Mossimo, Target | earrings: Nickel and Suede | striped espadrilles: Loft (similar)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Live Your Best Life (for Less) Week 4

Welcome to Week 4 of my Live Your Best Life for Less challenge. And what a week it's been! Jona's preschool had to close on Monday because so many teachers were out with a stomach bug, so I was home with him. Then Tuesday Violet's babysitter was off so I was home with her all day. Thursday and Friday are my usual days to work from home, and those happened to be days that Aaron had evening commitments so they felt extra long, and extra challenging because work was extremely busy as well. To top things off, both kids caught some sort of virus and Jona's been running a fever since Friday night. And I've been running on coffee, wine, and ice cream. (Sorry, Violet.)

Anyway, here are the prompts for week 4. I'd love for you to join me in any or all of these ideas, aimed at fostering more creativity, style, and contentment in your life.



Friday, May 19, 2017

Violet Lennon at 7 Months

Babies grow and change all the time, but it seems like the past month has brought so many changes for our sweet Violet. She's no longer content to just observe her surroundings; she has to be part of everything now. Also, more and more I see that despite the fact that their baby photos look nearly identical (other than eye color), Violet is so much different than Jona was at this age.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Olive and Blush (and More from #LYBLforLess Week 3)

As part of my Live Your Best Life for Less challenge this month, I'm trying to shop my closet and come up with more creative outfits using weekly outfit idea prompts. My goal is to get more wear out of what I have, as well as discover a few things I would like to add to my wardrobe. This week's prompts are olive and blush, graphic tee at work, and leopard with spring brights.

While I tend to be pretty classic as far as style goes, I also like to experiment with unique color combinations. I paired this olive peplum tee with blush accessories the other day, and I really liked how it turned out. I've been drawn to both of those colors lately, and I think they go surprisingly well together.


Olive peplum tee: Mossimo, Target (similar) | jeans: Loft (similar) | earrings: Nickel and Suede | teething necklace: Mama and Little | jeweled sandals: Target (similar)

Monday, May 15, 2017

$10 at Target: Cocktail Time

On my long list of things I love about spring, one that's at the top is eating outside. We have a covered patio in our back yard, so we've been taking advantage of outdoor dining pretty much every day the weather has allowed. Also, since Violet is just getting started with solids, outdoor dining means we don't have to worry about what she drops on the ground. (As you can imagine, Ellie, our dog, is ecstatic about this whole solid foods adventure.)

And what goes better with outdoor dining than a glass of wine, a beer, or a cocktail? This month I wanted to spend my $10 at Target on something I could use for outdoor eating or drinking. I saw this cute plastic stemless wine glass set for $9.99 and knew it would be perfect. They're meant for wine (and believe me, they'll get used for that plenty) but I thought it would also be fun to fill them with a fresh, light cocktail. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Live Your Best Life {for Less} Week 3

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there! I hope you're having a wonderful day and getting pampered. Or at least getting some peace and quiet, which I think may be every mom's dream. It's mine anyway! Anyway, I'm back with the third week of my Live Your Best Life for Less May Calendar. I'd love for you to join me in any or all of these ideas, aimed at fostering more creativity, style, and contentment in your life.


Friday, May 12, 2017

How I Save Money on Food: 10 Tips for a Lower Grocery Bill (without using coupons)

Here's a weird fact about me: I love menu planning and making grocery lists. It's something I do weekly, and there's something about looking through recipes, checking grocery store ads, and making a plan for the week's dinners that I find really satisfying. I use a variety of resources to come up with meals for the week. I have a "What's for Dinner?" Pinterest board and I try to make a note of the recipes I try and what we think, so I use that often. I also have some cookbooks and a recipe binder with some tried and true favorites. Additionally, there are a few blogs I enjoy reading that share weekly meal plans (Pass the Sushi, Mix and Match Mama, and Skinnytaste) so I sometimes go there first for inspiration, although I never follow their plans exactly.

As you know, budgeting has been my life lately, and we've especially been trying to cut spending on food. We're eating at home more, which means I have to work extra hard to keep our grocery bill low. Typically, I plan 4-5 dinners a week and have two nights where we eat whatever we can find at home or pick something up if we have the money. We usually have leftovers for lunch, and something quick and easy (bars/cereal) for breakfast during the week. When I have time on the weekends, I love to bake something sweet to enjoy all week, and sometimes I'll try to make a homemade breakfast on Sunday mornings before church too. It's a lot of cooking and meal prep, but it works for me because I enjoy it.

Is menu planning something you enjoy? How about cooking? Here are a few ways I keep my grocery bill low.


{10 Tips for a Lower Grocery Bill}


{image via


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trying a Neck Scarf (and more from #LYBLforLess Week 2)

How do you decide what you're going to wear every day? Are you a morning stand-in-front-of-your-closet-and-choose-what-feels-right sort of person, or are you a plan-it-out-the-night-(the week?!) before sort of gal? While I've been trying to go with the flow more these days, I will never truly be a "by the seat of my pants" type, so you can put me in the plan-it-out category. I've mentioned before that I sometimes use the Cladwell Outfits app to help me get dressed, and other times I use Pinterest or Instagram style challenges. Basically, what it comes down to is that I need a "jumping off point" to help me, otherwise I just stand in front of my closet until the clothes stop looking like clothes and I start thinking about why babies don't sleep or how much coffee it's safe for me to drink or how much wine it's safe for me to drink... and then I get nowhere fast.

So on my Live Your Best Life for Less calendar, I had to include some fun outfit idea prompts to help me shop my closet and not get bored. This week's prompts are try a neck scarf, favorite stripes, and neutral outfit with bright shoes.

{try a neck scarf}


I own a lot of scarves and I wear them regularly. However, I haven't really tried the "neck scarf" trend that I've been seeing around lately, with the very French-looking style of the knot at the neck. So I put it on my calendar as a prompt to push myself to try it. I did; I wore this look to church on Sunday. And... well, it just doesn't feel like me. I don't hate how it looks, but I can't say I'd wear this particular scarf that way again. Maybe I would like it better with a different, shorter scarf? I don't know. Either way, it's always fun to try new things, don't you think?


Navy lace tank: Merona, Target | white jeans: Loft (similar) | earrings: Nickel and Suede | scarf: gift from coworker (similar) | sandals: Target

Monday, May 8, 2017

Live Your Best Life {for Less} Week 2

I'm running a little behind this week, but I wanted to share this week's prompts for my  Live Your Best Life (for Less) May calendar. I'd love for you to join me in any or all of these ideas, aimed at fostering more creativity, style, and contentment in your life. Have a great week!




Thursday, May 4, 2017

Currently: May

I'm not sure if it's the weather (although as I write it's cold and rainy out) or just the fact that spring is my favorite, but I always feel extra inspired this time of year. As always, I'm joining Anne and her co-host this month, Nancy, to share what I'm currently up to.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Goals for May and April Goal Recap

Each month I share my goals as a way to motivate myself to get things done and stay accountable. Here's this month's recap and the next month's set of goals for my home, my blog, and my family and personal life.