If you follow me on instagram you probably saw all my pictures of the craft class I taught last weekend. My sweet friend Amy opened up one of the coolest shops I have ever seen about a year ago. It’s full of antique vendors, vintage clothes and handmade goods. I seriously could spend hours in there wondering around. Anyway, they have this really cool space to have classes. I taught a felt flower holiday wreath class. It was packed with around 30 ladies. I also had a little pop up shop that day to showcase some of my necklaces. I won’t lie. It was a pretty awesome day!! It was a whole lot of what I love rolled up into one day! Art, teaching, friends, shopping- what’s not to love!
The shop is in a super cool old building and since we were all there together, we decided last minute to try to take a family photo. We are at an age at the moment that if Rowan isn’t in the mood for pictures there is no way you are getting a picture. There was a lot of squirming and wiggling around so they aren’t the best family photos, but it’s a photo of all of us nonetheless. Something that doesn’t happen all that often. I’ll take whatever we can get. Thanks Adam!
It’s getting to the point where coats are a necessary part of any outfit. Brrrr! That’s why I feel like it’s ok to have lots of coats (right?). For those American folks- Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? We had a wonderful time with Kev’s family. We also got to bring Rowan to her very first movie! We went to see Frozen. It was awesome. Anyone else see it? Wasn’t it so good? Rowan was so cute. Of course I teared up when we walked into the theatre and she held her hand over her mouth and said “whoa!”. I don’t think she had any idea what a movie theatre was. Her sweet little commentary during the movie was the best part. It was cracking me up.
What was with that weird Mickey short in the beginning? We weren’t fans. Rowan thought it was scary. Anyway, I love me some buffalo plaid!
SHOP OTHER BUFFALO PLAID ITEMS:
UPDATE: carrying sale over 1 more day! Use coupon code HOLIDAY
It’s Cyber Monday! That’s means there is a great sale happening over at my etsy shop. All necklaces are 20% off. Use code HOLIDAY. There is limited quantity and the deal is only for today. My shop will close down till after the holidays on Wednesday. We leave for Hawaii on Friday, so I want all orders finished and shipped by Thursday. Don’t wait! Get a necklace today! The perfect gift for family or friends.
Are you guys ready for a brain dump? I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the endless hours on the road alone with my thoughts (marathon training does that to you), but I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately. I think it’s good timing with Thanksgiving being tomorrow though. I feel like I want to change a few things about myself and this blog. Maybe it won’t seem like much of a change on the outside but I’ve been working through a lot of stuff. We went to a Hillsong United concert a few weeks ago. I will be honest and say I had my reservations about going. I like their music a lot but it’s been a while since I’ve gone to an all out christian concert. Maybe it was the countless youth rallies and soulfests that I’ve been to, but over the years I had decided those just weren’t for me. I let the idea of being cool, guarded and “it’s too cheesy” harden my heart. However, we went and let me tell you it changed me. If you haven’t listened to Hillsong United before I challenge you to listen to a few of their live cds (or their new acoustic cd). There are a lot, I mean A LOT of cheesy christian bands out there. I feel like you can tell when they are on stage and they are just saying what they think they should say and sining what they think they should sing. “Amen” here, “praise jesus” there. It is a lot of fluff. I don’t like it. It makes me uncomfortable. Hillsong is NOT one of those bands. They are the real deal. I feel like everything they had to say was honest and from the heart. I went to the concert and I couldn’t help but feel the spirit in that arena. My heart was soft. I let myself feel vulnerable. I forgot the power of being surrounded by so many people singing with hands high to a God who loves unconditionally.
Now this post may make some of you uncomfortable and for that I am sorry. I know not everyone shares the same beliefs as me. I respect that. I hope you will respect me as well. But I’ve felt convicted over something lately. This blog that I’ve written on for over 7 years has a big whole in it when it comes to talking about my faith. I feel like I need to be more open. More honest. I am who I am because of my faith. It won’t be an over abundance but I’d like it to be a little more present in my posts. I’ve been really struggling lately with feeling whole in Christ. I let the everyday stand in the way. A LOT. I look for my self worth in feeling successful, accomplished and well, in just all the wrong things. Especially when it comes to this blog. There will always be someone better than you- better pictures, better content, better opportunities. It’s a hard world to live in when you constantly compare yourself to that. You will be left feeling like crap. Comparison really is the thief of joy. Joy is something I want my life to be full of. I want to live a life full of joy and thanksgiving. I truly feel like you can find true joy- the kind of happiness that has nothing to do with circumstances with being thankful. I have so much to be thankful for. How silly is it to go to bed feeling overwhelmed over not being able to find time to post some super awesome blog post, because you were busy giving your time and attention to your kids. I will be honest and say I do that a lot. I will always choose my kids but that doesn’t mean I am not left with a mind full of comparisons to blogs who seem to have it together better than I do. I want this place to be a place of joy not comparisions. I want to share what I feel lead to share and I want to share when I have time to share. When it doesn’t take away from my family or friends. The internet can be a big time suck… yes. i just said time suck. I get way to addicted to all outlets of social media. I don’t need to be tweeting every 2 seconds of the day. I want to be fully present with my kids. They are really only little for a short amount of time. I don’t want the kids to go to bed and then pull out my computer and work all night either. I want to be with Kev. A marriage doesn’t continue to work with out putting the time in. Besides I LOVE hanging out with him. Don’t get me wrong I love this blog too. I do. So very, very much. I love you readers as well. You have meant more to me than anything. I am just really trying to find the balance in this stage of life. 2 kids really changed things. I don’t need this blog to become a business. I am so happy that option is available for a lot of women out there to help provide income for their families. At this stage of life I have to accept that that is not the path I am suppose to go down right now. I do make some money from this blog and I will continue to work with companies that I see fit. But I need to be ok with saying no, with pulling back and finding my true self worth in something bigger than the blog world.
I am not quite sure how to end this post. I don’t have some life changing ending statement. I just wanted to share what I have been thinking about lately. In the end it doesn’t change much around here at jenloveskev. Some weeks I may blog a lot and some not so much. I hope that is ok. And I hope we can all really focus on being thankful. Well past thinking about being thankful just tomorrow. Let’s say we are thankful but really, really, really feel thankful on the inside. Let’s be happy for one and other. Let’s build each other up and share in each others triumphs instead of feeling jealous. Let’s be supportive and kind. Let’s not judge others circumstances and think we have them figured out. And in the true spirit of a Thanksgiving Day post here are 5 things I am thankful for this evening…
1. For a Savior full of grace and who’s mercies are new each day.
2. For Kev. I wish you guys could know him. He really is one in a million. I feel so blessed daily by him. The way he loves our girls- ooooh it just kills me.
3. For all of you. For all the love and support you guys have showed to us over the years. It never goes unnoticed.
4. For the friends in my life. God has brought some ladies into my life over the last few years that have been such an answer to prayer. I can’t stress enough how important they are to me.
5. and for the strawberry rhubarb pie (I couldn’t keep this post all serious) that I will eat all of tomorrow with no shame. Kev and I have to run 20 miles in the morning and I can’t wait to get back and eat everything. I.MEAN.EVERYTHING on the Thanksgiving table. Mmmmmmm
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.
Oh man! This is a really exciting post to write. A while back Brandy, Melissa and I started talking with Nicole from Theit to design their new camera bag. We each sketched out what our ideal bag would look like. I went with a brightly colored, satchel type bag. Then we put it to a vote for all you guys to vote for your favorite. Do you remember? Everyone’s designs were AWESOME but in the end my bag ended up winning the most votes. I was shocked! I have anxiously awaited the day it would show up on my doorstep as a finished product. I have never done anything like this before. It was so fun to open that box and see my sketches come to life in a beautiful, beautiful camera bag. I have been toting it around with my camera all week. There is so much space in there! Totally lets me carry around even a few of my necessary diaper bag items as well. Without further ado… Let me introduce you to The Lula (umm how cool is it to have a bag named after you!).
Head on over to Theit if you would like to pre order the limited edition (once they’re gone, they’re gone!) Lula bag. Bags will be ready around mid January.
Use Code: BLACKFRIDAYLOVE25 to get 25% off all THEIT bags starting this Friday till Monday December 2nd
To see how the lovely Melissa styled up the chestnut color please stop by Dear Baby. Also, Brandy and Melissa are holding giveaways on their blogs for you to win your very own!!
Hey! Welcome to the new Jenloveskev. Yay!!! It’s been 6 years in the making (well, sort of). You would think with a husband who owns his own web design company that it wouldn’t have taken so long. I will be the first to admit that it was mostly all me. I kept changing my mind and then would put it off so I wouldn’t have to make any actual design decision. I’ve had the same EXACT design since the day I started this blog. ha! So embarrassing. Guess what? You can search stuff now! And there are categories to find things!! I just need to go back through and tag and categorize about 1,900 blog posts. I hope to have that done before another 6 years pass. Just Kidding. Or am I? I also need to find my most favorite posts to add to that link over there on the left. How about this one?
I love the new simple design. I love how the archive works. I like that you can look through archive posts in either list mode or full post mode. I’ve even found myself searching back through very, very, very old posts. Like Livejournal old. April 2007 was a particularly good month to go view. I dare you to go. Don’t we look like babies? But you know what is really, really cool? It’s totally responsive. I love how it looks on my phone.
I also need to update that little blurb under my picture there to the left. Isn’t it the most generic written intro ever? Thanks Kev (loooove you). I just haven’t come up with anything better, I mean wittier yet. As you can see there are still some kinks and work to be done but we’ve come a long way.
Hope you guys enjoy!
p.s you can all now see that I was searching for vacation rentals when I took this screen shot and that I am pretty obsessed with pumpkin cheesecake ice cream.
p.p.s if you click the little heart at the very bottom it brings you up top. It’s cute.
A few things about this outfit…
1. I like wearing scarfs bandana style. It makes me feel like I’m still 17 going to a hardcore show.
2. Growing your bangs out sucks. And will always be the worst.
3. I love the color of this skirt. Also, I swapped it with Julie and when I wear it I think of her and that makes me happy.
4. This skirt is still a little tight in the waist (baby weight. grrr). Not the right choice when I had to sit most of the day yesterday in the car or at moms group. #suckingitin
5. This shirt is amazing. Go buy it now. It’s on sale and I promise it will go with EVERYTHING
6. That is all. We are off to ikea today. Let’s hope this 3 hour drive is worth it.
Green Military Button Up: J.Crew (On Sale!)
Wool Skirt: Swapped (similar)
Scarf: Thrifted (Similar)
Dylan Glasses: c/o Bonlook
Ankle Boots: Madewell (Similar cheaper version)
SHOP THE LOOK:
Last week I had the honor of sharing a recipe with Modcloth for a series of Friendsgiving Day recipes they posted on their blog. I decided to share a side dish that I have been eating a ton of lately. Although, I eat it as a meal over some quinoa most of the time. So tasty! I bet even if you don’t like brussels sprouts you will like this recipes. Brown sugar makes every thing better!
Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potato Hash
1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
10-15 Brussels sprouts, sliced
1/2 of a red onion, diced
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup almond slivers
3-5 tbsp brown sugar, depending on sweetness preference
2 tbsp soy sauce
freshly ground pepper
1. Peel and cube the sweet potato, set aside.
2. Soak and rinse the Brussels sprouts in water, trim the stems off and cut into quarters, set aside.
3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion, cooking until onions are translucent.
4. Add the sweet potatoes. Stir regularly, cooking until they just begin to soften, about 6-8 minutes.
5. Add the Brussels sprouts, cranberries, and almonds, stirring to combine. Add the brown sugar and continue to cook â€” stirring regularly â€” until everything is soft and caramelized, about 6-8 minutes.
6. At the very end, splash in a bit of soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.
I am not an expert by any means, but 3 years have passed since I first became a Mom and we have tested, used, returned, and fallen in love with a lot of baby products. When you are pregnant with or adopting your first it’s so over whelming with all the things you “think” you need. See the key word there? Think. Babies really don’t need a lot. Don’t let the hype of buying stuff take over. You will spend way too much money on items that will sit in your closet and clutter your home. A tip I learned is to ask for gift cards for your shower other than some of the basics items. Then once the baby arrives and a need presents itself, you can go buy the item. That way you know you will really use it. I thought I could share the items that we can’t live with out in our household. Over the past 3 years a few of these items have be gifted to us, but I want to make sure you all know this is NOT a sponsored post. I did not have to write about any of these products. They are what we truly use day in and day out. We really do own and love everything pictured in this post.
TOYS: I am a simple toy kind of Mom. I don’t like all the hoopla out there. I am a big, big fan of all Haba toys. About 90% of all our baby toys are Haba. They are bright, mostly wooden, cute and well made. We have some great silicone teethers that Finley has loved. Especially the one up there that looks like an empty diamond ring. As soon as she could hold things it was nicknamed “her favorite toy”.
COZY THINGS: I LOVE Aden and Anais. Best products ever. I mentioned before in my nursing post my obsession with their swaddle blankets. They are the #1 item I would recommend for a new mom. You can’t have enough. I seriously use them for everything- burp cloths, nursing cover, swaddle, blanket, etc… They are soft, light weight and perfect. Aden and Anais also has other great products. We love like their Dream blanket and crib sheets. I don’t think there will ever be a cuter doll for kids than blabla dolls. We have quite a few and every time they make new ones I want those ones too. Rowan was obsessed with “hootsie” when she was younger. She lost it and we had to quickly replace it with a copy before she noticed. I know everyone and their mother has the Pia Wallen cross blanket but truth be told it really is a great blanket. The perfect weight for cold weather and don’t get me started on the adorable patterns over at Little Hip Squeaks.
Carriers: We love baby carriers. We have a good assortment because some are better than others for different situations. We love our Deuter Kid Comfort hiking backpack. This thing is legit for hiking. We have 2 Ergos. They are the best all round carrier. You can hike with them (the performance one) or travel easily with the travel series. For slings you can’t get anything better than a Sakura Bloom sling. So awesome! When Finley was little she lived in our Solly Baby wrap. So comfy for both you and baby.
BATH TIME, SOAPS & LOTIONS: There are a lot of baby products out there. Not all are created equal though. Our hands down favorites are The Honest Company, California Baby, Burt’s Bees and Mum+Bub (made by Aden and Anais). All of them smell great, work great and have ingredients you can feel good about putting on your little one. I am particularly fond of the tooth paste and sunscreen from Honest, the bubble bath and hair conditioner from California Baby, and the soothing ointment from Mum+Bub. 4 Moms has this awesome faucet cover that tells you the water temperature as it comes out. At first I thought it would be totally novelty, but it actually is really awesome and we use it every time. I have found numerous occasion where it was quite helpful in keeping the girls safe. Such a great safety item to have in the bathroom.
STROLLERS: I’ve become mildly obsessed with strollers. In my mind you can never have enough but obviously you don’t need your garage looking like a stroller parking lot. The first stroller we bought when I was pregnant with Rowan was an Uppa Baby Vista. I still to this day LOVE this stroller. My favorite part is hands down the basket. It is HUGE! Like you could go grocery shopping with it. The child seat can go forward or backwards. There is a basinet and you can add a double seat or scooter board. It’s a tad wide in the back wheels but it turns and moves so well- it’s totally worth it. We now also have the 4Moms origami. Man, Oh Man this stroller is great. The convenience of pressing that button and having it open and close on it’s own it pretty darn awesome. It also charges your phone and has lights on it. For running we have a Bob Reveloution Duallie and it’s pushes like a dream. We have logged countless miles running with that thing. We have survived pushing 13 miles runs with the kids sitting comfortable in there. That says a lot. I am still on the look out for the perfect lightweight, compact double stroller. I am thinking either a Phil & Ted Dot, Maclaren Twin Techno or Twin Triumph. We need something that travels really easy.
OTHER ITEMS: Here are a few other things that have gotten a lot of love in our house. Our 4Moms Breeze Playard is so easy to set up and travel with. Great for trips to Grandparents house. We also LOVE our Angelcare video monitor. It comes with a movement sensor helping relieve those “oh my gosh are they still breathing?” panics you have with newborns. Finley slept in our 4Moms Mamaroo for weeks when she was first born. Whatever works right? We also love our glass Life Factory bottles.
CLOTHES: We aren’t all that fancy with clothes. Babies grow fast and are kind hard on clothes, especially when they start crawling. I do like what I like though. I think both our parents would call me picky about what I like to put the girls in. I don’t like overly girly, covered with cheesy animals, carter’s matching playsets kind of things. No offense to anyone else, it just isn’t for me. I love mixing and matching from all different stores, from both the girl and boys sections. My favorites are H&M, Target, Old Navy and my hands down most favorite is the Gap. Oh, Baby Gap can do no wrong in my book. I kind of hoard their velour one piece jammies. Seriously, these are the best. They are thick, warm and oh so cozy. BEST PJS EVER! I am a really good Gap sale shopper. Their regular price items are still hard to swallow sometimes for a baby. Other than basics from those stores, I like to support our friends who have online shops. Our favorites are Of One Sea, Hello Apparel, el Sage Designs, Mamacase Prints and of course Little Hip Squeaks. I am one of those people that think baby shoes are silly on babies. They are adorable and all, but they never seem to stay on and end up being more annoying than anything. Have you tried a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins though? AMAZING! They stay on, keep socks on, don’t have hard soles so they don’t look weird on a baby and the color choices!! Oh, the color choices!! Other than socks, they are the only thing I will put on Finley’s feet.
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