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January 2012

Picture Book Art | Oliver Jeffers…

As a huge art nerd, I am obsessed with kid’s picture books. I have always loved the kid section of bookstores better than any nonfiction or fiction section. I love looking at the artwork in them. I know it’s cliche to say you want to illustrate a kids book, but I totally do! Anyway, I thought every once in a while I would share some books that have some really great artwork in them.

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Today, I wanted to share my love for Oliver Jeffers. He is one of my absolute favorites!! I asked for The Incredible Book Eating Boy book for christmas like 4 years ago, way before little Rowan was even around. I used that book to create one of my most favorite art projects I would teach my students back in the day. We would take a field trip to the elementary school library, and each student would get to find a kids book they felt especially drawn too. We checked them out, and then the kids had to think about storying telling in a nontraditional way, recreate the story and make a 3D double sided box. The example I made was of course from The Incredible Book Eating Boy. I love the illustrations in that book! The kids projects always came out so cute. I loved teaching High School Art.

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We are always on the look out for new books in our household. What are you favorite Kids books?

Last Night’s Dinner | 01.31.12

For a long time I was not a pizza person. I still am not a huge traditional pizza person (unless there is pineapple on it) but I am a HUGE nontraditional pizza fan. Mmmmm the combinations are endless. I shared the Balsamic Necterine pizza last week and today I wanted to share my new favorite…

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Ingredients:
1 large sweet potato
Olive oil
1 Onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped kale
Milk or soymilk
1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
1 prepared whole wheat pizza crust (you could make your own but I LOVE the whole wheat bobeli crust)
1 cup shredded Fontina cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stab sweet potato several times with fork and roast in oven for about 45 minutes, or until soft. Cool until potato is warm. Leave oven on.

2. While potato is baking, heat oil in pan over low heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally for 30-40 minutes. Add kale to pan and cook until tender and wilted. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Scoop insides of potato into medium bowl and mash; add milk, sage, and salt and mix until smooth. Spread mixture onto pizza crust.

4. Top with kale and onion mixture, and then add cheese on top. Bake pizza in oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until kale begins to crisp and cheese melts.

Enjoy!
Original recipe found here.

Style File | 01.30.12

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After wearing this outfit for most of the day today, I have decided it is like wearing glorified pjs. haha. This dress/tunic is loose, flowy and comfortable and who’d have thought leather pants could ever be in the same sentence as pajamas. I like it. I like comfortable outfits. Kev always jokes that my motto is “fancy but not.” I look like I might be fancy, but in reality I am not. Ha!

I got asked the other day how I would describe my style. It took me a while to think of what to say. I feel like I border back and forth between 2 styles. On one hand, I love feminine, vintage inspired looks with a little bit of a trendy twist, and then on the other I am stuck as a 18 year old scenester that will always love denim, leather, anything black, and studs.

How would you describe your style?

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Outfit Details:
The Zest Around Dress: c/o Modcloth
Black Cardigan: J.Crew
Leather Skinnies: Karmaloop
Bow Flats: Blowfish
Necklace: Forever 21

p.s. are we friends on twitter yet? Let’s chat!

Friday’s Favorite Finds…

Well, it’s not friday but I am hoping to get these posts up on time starting next week. Here are my favorite striped items from out there on the internet…
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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

and here are some of my favorite links from the past few weeks…
1. First, ASOS is having a spring sale- save 20% when you type in Trend20 at check out on spring items!
2. How cute was Veronika’s snowball fight?
3. A little DIY post on block printing. Such cute notecards.
4. Bean and Corn salsa! This looks so yummy.
5. Yay!! Congrats to Erin on their big announcement!!
6. I love this post on raising boys– I think Rowan is going to be just as rambunctious.
7. I am in LOVE with Lulie Wallace’s pretty floral paintings!
8. So freaking cute! The perfect sandal for warm weather. I want them in the natural color.
9. I am completely obsessed with this outfit!
10. This is still one of my most favorite bags that I own.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Our Week in Snapshots | 01.28.12

This was a pretty low key week. It was grey and raining and we didn’t really do a whole lot. We sewed, we painted, we read books and Rowan climbed on things she’s not allowed to.

Here is our week in snapshots…
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Oooh I love my new Art of Instruction Illustration book from Ruche. It is so pretty!!

Last Nights Dinner | Lunch Edition

I have been trying to get in the habit of making a nice lunch for myself. It makes everyday a little better when you sit down in the middle of the day to eat something delicious. Since Rowan was born I’ve found myself so busy that it will be like 5pm and I’ll realize I haven’t eaten anything. So bad for you!

I started looking back thru some old Last Night Dinner post and I came across a few that I think will make great lunches…

Satueed Kale with Brown Rice (I actually had this today for lunch!) | Blog Posthttp://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/5683231597/

Apple Grill Cheese | Blog Posthttp://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/4702196474/

Sweet Potato Stew | Blog Posthttp://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/5576358569/

Nectarine Pizza with Fresh Basil and Reduced Balsamic | Blog Posthttp://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/5977319693/

What are your favorite lunch foods?

Rowan’s Nursery Tour

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Well, this post was 16 months in the making. Rowan has moved around a lot in our apartment. She slept in our bedroom for the first 6 months, then she had half of the room that she is in now and then finally we surrendered and gave her the whole room. She is a lucky little girl to have such a huge room. She could throw many a dance parties in there if she wanted too.

I love her room. I love it so much! It is bright and colorful and fun and it makes me so happy for her. Growing up, my mom always made sure we had a beautiful room. She painted, sewed and wallpapered to make each of us a special room we could call our own. I wanted to create that for Rowan. I love being in there with her. I will be the first to say that the room only looks this clean right before bed and in the morning when she wakes up, but that is ok. What kind of room would it be if she wasn’t allowed to play with everything in it, right?

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What makes the room so special to me and hopefully for her are all the handmade or hand-me-down pieces from loved ones. There is the blanket I was brought home from the hospital in, there is a crocheted manatee from my sister, a heart pillow and artwork from Don, Rachel and Addy, her first birthday dress, artwork from our favorite Hawaii artist, a rocking chair my Grandma gave me when I was a little girl, a crocheted Foofa and print from Laura (my bff), all her bedding was sewn by my mom, there are kitties from Julie, a special blanket from Punky, and a handmade pop up book from my sister Carrie. I could go on and on. Every item in her room is more than just a toy, a piece of art or a place to sleep. It is a room full of love.

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I am going to try my best to list out where everything is from, but again a lot of it is handmade and passed down.
Crib: Walmart
Chair: Ikea
Table and Chairs: Ikea
Change Table: Jenny Lind
Teepee: Handmade
Bunting Flags: Handmade
Crib bedding: Handmade
Lady w/ Cat Tattoo Print: Amanda Atkins
Cat w/ Moustaches: Paper Sparrow
Waves Print: Heather Brown
Live in the Sunshine Print: The Wheatfield
I am a Child of God Print: Persimmon & Pink
I lovely Love Print: Tuesday Morning
You are a Cool Cat Print: Orange Studio
I Freaking Love You Print: Hilary Bird
You are my Sunshine Print: The Wheatfield
Rowan’s Stuffed Name: Handmade
Birds & Branches: Handmade (Bird Pattern Here)
Rocking Chair: From when I was little

Things I Love: Washi Tape

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I am sure you all have heard of Washi Tape before. It has been all over pinterest for quite sometime. I got my first rolls back in the fall and well, I have been hooked ever since. I wrapped all our christmas presents with them and have been finding all kinds of cute ways to use them around the house. I got all my Washi tape from Modcloth. They have tons of different sets to buy. See? Here, Here, Here or Here.

Here are some presents I have wrapped lately…
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I am in love.

p.s. if you search washi tape on pinterest you will find lots of great ideas. These are my three favorites… 1 | 2 | 3

Style File | 01.23.12

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We are home!!! Finally! It took us 2 days, but we are here. Rowan and I had sort of a rough trip on the way home. Our actual flights were fine, but I left my phone in the car when my cousin dropped us off, then I couldn’t get a hold of anyone to let them know, then our flight was delayed 4 hours, then I missed my connecting flight in Atlanta leaving us to spend the night there. Luckily, my best friend lives about an hour from the airport and since I couldn’t get on a flight until 3pm the next day, I called her up. She swooped in and rescued us and we got to have a little impromptu hang out. It was so fun seeing our kiddos getting to play together for a little bit. You gotta make lemonade, right?

Here is the last warm weather outfit post. Something about Florida brings out the bright colors in me!

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Outfit Details:
Dress: H&M
Button Up: American Apparel
Sunglasses: Target
Statement of the Art Necklace: c/o Modcloth
Bow Flats: Blowfish

Modcloth has some seriously awesome statement necklaces right now!

Our Week in Snapshots…

I thought we would start having a weekly feature called “Our Week in Snapshots.” Not every week will be as exciting at palm trees, the Grand Canal, and giraffes but I think it will be fun.

Here we go…
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We had such a wonderful time in FL with my Mom. We are very lucky to have such a beautiful place to come visit. Nothing like watching dolphins and manatee play in your back yard. Can’t wait to come back!

Happy Weekend Everyone!
Wish me luck on our flights home tonight!

DIY Cat Knee Pads (on tights!)…

Do you Remember Rachel Antonoff’s Fall 2011 Lookbook? Well, it was the most darling thing ever. The clothes were of course beautiful, but I couldnt get enough of those cat tights! I have googled “cat knee pads,” “cat tights,” and “cat knee pad tights” like a hundred times. I never found what I was looking for! So, I just decided to make my own…

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1. Find a pair of tights you want to use. I picked a nude color. I recently bought some knee pad tights from asos and loved the nude color they came in with the knee pad. I also decided to paint a pair of white tights as well. Put on your tights and find where your knees hits. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/6731654329/

2. Make a cat stencil out of cardstock. Stick some left over cardstock inside each tight leg. Stretch out and tape down each tight. Roughly stretch the tight to be the same length as when you are wearing them. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/6731653867/

3. Trace your stencil. Make sure you center it around your knee marks. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/6731653229/

4. Start painting. You will notice how much paint the tights suck up. It kind of take a bit to paint each one. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/6731652675/
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5. Let them dry and you are ready to go!http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/6731650883/

I also made a pair for Rowan. I cant wait to wear them together. It will be so nerdy yet so awesome at the same time. Twinsies!
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Parenting…

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I don’t know why as mothers we feel the need to create this fantasy image that everything is so sunshine and rainbows all the time. I think it is a load of crap. There I said it. haha. I got an amazingly sweet email today from a friend that really made my whole week. In that email she shared with me this article from the Huffington Post titled Don’t Carpe Diem. This article had me laughing, than crying, than laughing again. All I could think about was how I heard that exact line “cherish every moment, they grow up fast” like 3 times today. I also carried a screaming, head butting, smacking me in the face Rowan out of 2 stores and a restaurant this evening. I don’t know how well I seized those moments.

Parenting is not easy. Staying at home is not easying. It erks me to no end when people who don’t have kids make some kind of mean comment about how easy it must be. Boy, do they have it coming to them when they have kids. When I write my monthly posts about Rowan, I choose to focus on the good because it is all true stuff, she is the joy of our world. I love Rowan with every fiber of my being, but that doesn’t mean that I dont count down the hours, minutes, seconds until it is bedtime sometimes.

So, what is the point of this post? I am not really sure. I guess I just wanted to tell all you moms out there that you are doing a great job! That no matter how you choose to raise your kids, you are doing a great job. It is ok to think it is hard. It is ok to think everyday is not laying in a bed full of kittens (wouldn’t that be nice?)

The thing we should remember, are those precious moments though. They are what help me move on from the bad ones. The love that I feel for her is real and even on the worst of days, a flash of her smile can change everything. On days when I find myself counting down the minutes till bed- it never fails that as soon as she is down I want to go back in to cuddle her a little more. She is my little baby and I am her mother. Motherhood can be tough but honestly I wouldn’t want it any other way. The worst of days are what really change you. You grow. You stretch. You become a better parent for your child.

And on that note, I am going to show you some cute pictures of Rowan, lay in bed and drink my beer (Kona Brewery Koko Brown with Toasted Coconut!!!) and watch Arrested Development because today was one of those hard days for me.

Go read this article!

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p.s tomorrow I have a diy project that will have you meowing!

Style File | 01.19.12

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Did you ever have one of those heart friendship necklaces that were broken into 2 pieces and you each wore one around your neck? I did. I have always loved friendship necklaces and bracelets. They always seemed so special no matter what they were. I got a package in the mail the other week full of christmas goodies for Rowan and inside was also a little gift for me. They were what I know refer to as my grown up friendship bracelets. They are just so beautiful. Punky sent them to Julie and I. I love them!! When I packed this dress for the trip, I knew my bracelets would match perfectly.

I would also like to add this dress into my ever growing “favorite dress” collection. I love this dress. I feed a giraffe in this dress today and this dress has amazingly deep pockets. So, yeah. This dress is kind of kick ass.

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Outfit Details:
Dress: c/o Ruche (last Summer)
White Button Up: American Apparel
Belt: Charolette Russe
Boots: American Eagle
Beaded Bracelets: Gift from Punky
Other Bracelets: Stella & Dot and forever 21

A whopping 16 months!

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On January 12th, Rowan turned 16 months old. 16 MONTHS OLD! umm, what? How did this happen. Every day she is more and more a little girl. She makes it very clear she is not a baby anymore, nor does she want to be treated like one. She is Miss Independent. I followed her around Target for like 30 mins yesterday before she even turned around once to see if I was there. She drags her ride on toy around the house to stand on top of when she wants something she can’t reach. She is a smarty pants for sure!

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She talks all the time. She just wanders around all day chit chatting about everything. I have no idea what the heck she is saying, but it cracks me up listening to her. Sometimes she comes right up to you and with such intention states something and then walks away. haha. Oh to know what she was telling you! Her newest word is shoes. She likes to pull out all my shoes in the closet and show me each pair of “shoes.”

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She still signs “all done,” but now she signs “more” which she uses anytime she wants to eat. It is really cute and she also signs “please.” We have taught her where her nose, tongue, belly and feet are. We are working on eyes and ears. She can twirl, jump, and dance on command. Also, I don’t even know how this came about, but when you say “awwww yeeeah” she folds her arms and tilts side ways like an 80’s rapper. It is especially funny when you put a baseball hat on her backwards and she does it. Haha. We very much enjoy teaching her tricks.

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She still goes to sleep like a champ. We are down to one nap and have been for quite sometime. Her naps last anywhere from 45mins to 2 hours. She goes to bed anywhere from 7:30-10 depending on what we have going on that night and wakes up on average at 7:30am. This little one is just like me, she seems to not need a lot of sleep. We stopped giving her snacks throughout the day in an effort to get her to be a better eater at meal time. It has helped a lot. Instead of crackers for a snack if she wants something I will give her fruit. She is getting better about eating veggies, as long as she is doing it herself of course. She is getting really good at using a spoon. Breakfast is our best meal.

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She is just the sweetest little girl, but boy does she have a temper. She is stubborn just like her momma. We are getting to that stage I have been dreading… discipline. Ugh, I hate that word. I have no idea where to start or what will even work. My fingers are crossed we figure it out. She still waves at everyone and if she is walking and passes any little boy or girl, she runs up to them gives them a hug whether they want one or not. It makes me laugh. I love that anytime you get down to her level and open your arms she comes running (even from rooms away) to give you a hug. She is still head over heels in love with her Dada. He is her world. She is seriously the most social baby I have ever met.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/6720354723/

There was an airplane in the sky

haha. Ok. I wont go on and on anymore. Can you tell I am a proud mom? Sorry if these post get too long. I write them for myself to remember too. When the next one comes around I am going to love looking back and reading them.

Oh how we love our little cheetah!

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Style File 01.17.12

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Not going to lie. I am totally enjoying every minute of this high 70 degree day. I wish winter was like this in NY. Taking a little break from layers with a pretty skirt and sandals today.

Hope you’re not blinded from my pale, no sun in months legs.
Have a lovely day friends!

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Outfit details:
Striped top: h&m
Skirt: Thrifted
Belt: Thrifted
Sandals: Blowfish
Bracelets: Stella & Dot, Forever 21

Florida & a few tips on flying…

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend! On friday, Rowan and I decided we should head down to FL to visit my Mom and Dad. They have been down here enjoying their vacation home since New years (lucky them) but last week on a bike ride my mom fractured her foot. Then yesterday, my dad tore his meniscus. The luck, right? Anyway, we hopped a plane yesterday and came down to help them out for the week.

The weather is just beautiful! A nice change from the frigid cold in the Northeast. Today we got to watch the dolphins play in the canal, go for a walk in bare feet, catch some geckos, and lay around reading books in the sun. It will be a good week! Although, we do miss Kev terribly. We do get to facetime with him every night which makes it a little easier. Rowan just loves it!

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We made it through the plane ride which was my biggest fear in getting here. Rowan doesn’t sit still, like ever. So, I was pretty scared about making it here in one piece by myself. Here are some tips that I learned along the way…
1. Get the extra seat! Using the lap infant ticket when that lap infant is the squirmiest baby around is not a good idea. We were lucky and on both of our flights just happen to have an extra seat on the plane. It gave her some personal space and a little area to stand. I think from now on if I can afford to pay for the extra seat I will. So worth it.
2. Get an ipad. We loaded up the ipad with a bunch of Yo Gabba Gabba, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and Phineas & Ferb.
3. Buy stickers and a plastic folder or sticker book they can peal stickers on and off from.
4. If you are traveling alone, get your husband a security pass to come to the gate with you. We just asked at the counter and Kev was allowed to come with us all the way to the plane. So freakin’ helpful!
5. Have lots of small, new toys in your carry on. Rowan’s attention span is short. In the time we got on the plane, to the time we took off we had made our way through almost every toy. Have lots of options.
6. Get this little Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center. Rowan loved it. She colored and I drew her about a million kitties.
7. Stay calm, stay calm, stay calm. Kiddos feed our your stress level.
8. Special snacks. Things you might not normally feed them on a day to day basis.
9. Favorite books
10. Bring a blanket. Hopefully your kiddo will eventually fall asleep on the plane. Most likely it will happen with the calm vibrations and loud white noise. It is nice to have a blanket to cuddle them up in. It is cold on airplanes! and you can wrap it up around their ears to block out all the seatbelt announcements that will most likely wake them up. Grrrr!

Moonrise Kingdom…

Nothing makes me happier than watching this!

I swoon big time for Wes Anderson movies (and Jason Schwartzman + Edward Norton)!!! I also wish Bill Murray was somehow related to me. Just saying.

So excited!!

Style File | Naptime…

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Do you have a “Mom” outfit? I guess this doesn’t have to be called mom outfit, more so your go to outfit when you are just spending the day at home? This would be my outfit. I wear it a lot when I am home for the day. It is easy, comfortable and I kinda just like it a lot. Rowan is taking a nap right now and I figured I would share a little peak into what I am doing & wearing at this exact moment. haha

Nap time means some down time for me. I usually make some tea, sit and relax. I usually blog, read blogs, paint or spend way too much time on pinterest. Lately though, I have been making stuff. If you follow me on twitter you may have seen a little family portrait I was painting for Rowan’s room. I finished it this morning and it came out pretty cute.

What is your favorite thing to do at home?

Hope you all have some down time in your day today to do what you really enjoy!

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Outfit Details:
Jeans: Urban Outfitters
Minnetonka Slippers: Christmas Gift- One of my favorites! (find here)
Chambray Button Up: Forever 21-old (similar and nicer here)

p.s. dont mind my cord in one of the pictures. Cords don’t make a nice picture.

A long road…

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The new year always makes me look back and reflect on a lot of things. This past weekend, Kev and I were able to spend some much needed time alone together. It was the first time in…I don’t know how long. We dropped Rowan off for a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Friday night and picked her back up around dinner time on Saturday. It is always hard to part ways with her but I wont lie, I very much enjoyed my alone time with Kev. When there is a little one around (and no family close by) date nights very quickly vanish away. You don’t think much about it until you realize that the lack of one-on-one time, plus the stress and chores of daily life can create a distance between the two of you.

That is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far as being a mom; not to neglect your marriage. Marriage takes work and when it goes unchecked, it can fall apart. It takes time and effort on both sides. Rowan is our everything but before she was around we were our everything. I don’t want to forget that. It’s important to make your husband feel like he is still your number one. That he isn’t second to your child. I honestly think the greatest gift that we can give Rowan is a strong, loving marriage/home. I want to model the kind of relationship I would want her to look for when she gets older.

In just one evening I feel like I totally fell head over heels, crazy,madly in love with Kev again. haha. Not that I wasn’t already, but just having that special time to go out to dinner together, ride bikes, go to the movies and actually spent time together without being distracted was something we both desperately needed. It is my goal this year to make more time for that. I don’t need to be away from Rowan a lot. I LOVE our little family and I LOVE doing things with Rowan, but a grown up date night every once in a while has got to be in the cards this year! I am making it a priority.

When we were out last weekend we saw the movie The Descendants (excellent movie!) and it brought back so many memories of living in Hawaii. It has been a long time since then, but it will always be a special time to me. It stretched us, it changed us, it defined us. We are not a couple that likes to be comfortable, well… Kev might argue against that. haha. I like to think of all the things we have gone through and how they have changed us for the better. They have molded us for a stronger marriage and family. The road has been long and fast for us and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon, but that is ok. The joys that come out of growth and change far succeed any plateau of life. As long as I have Kev by my side things, will always be ok.

DIY Teepee!!!

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Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to make a teepee for Rowan. When I saw Brandy make one for Kingston a few months ago, it kinda kicked my butt into gear. I found a bunch of pictures on pinterest but ended up pretty much just making it as I went. I did use Rachel’s tutorial over on Smile and Wave as a good starting point. I would head over there if you are looking for a good tutorial. I followed it pretty closely except I made my fabric pieces smaller at the bottom by a few inches. I also added a few details to the front to make it special for Rowan’s room. I sewed some polka dot curtains and made a bunting flag to tie around the center of it. All in all, I think it came out pretty fantastic. Of course, I can see all the imperfections in the sewing and measuring, but Rowan doesn’t seem to mind:) It has become our special reading teepee. We spend lots of time in there through out the day and now, each night before bed, Kev, Rowan and I all lay down and read a bedtime story in the teepee. I strung some christmas tree lights up on the inside to make it a little more magical at night.

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Rowan’s room tour coming really soon!!
Are we friends on Twitter and facebook yet?

Style File | 01.09.12

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I wanted to start off this week by saying a big HUGE thank you to everyone that left a comment, wrote an email or sent a tweet last week about my simplify post. The encouragement was truly overwhelming (in a good way!) and made me love you guys even more than I already did. I wish I could personally write back to everyone, but I just wanted you to know I read each and every comment. Thank you!

I also just wanted to write a little something to clarify some things. After getting an unhappy comment about my outfit post last week with a c/o item, I want to make sure we are all on the same page. In the simplify post, I wrote that over the next few months I would phase out sponsored ads. I still have a few more commitments to companies that I teamed up with before I made that decision. I didn’t say, however, I would have no more c/o items. I said I would no longer seek out sponsors for Jenloveskev and wouldn’t have anymore ads on my site. I wrote that from time to time I would thoughtfully continue to work with some companies that I support 100%. Will there be c/o items in every post still? No. One might pop up every once in a while, it will not be like it has been in the past. Things will be carefully and selectively chosen if they show up.

Ok. On to todays outfit. I am turning into a hoarder of ankle boots with small and comfortable heels. Don’t tell, but I may have these boots in brown and grey. In the winter I refuse to wear shoes that won’t keep my feet warm. There are so many fashionable boots out there. Let’s all make a pact to stay away from uggs, ok?

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Outfit Details:
Wrap Sweater: Gap
Blythe Silk Blouse: J.Crew
Jean Leggings: Target
Clog Boots: American Eagle
Wilma Necklace: Motherland (via DD)
Bracelets: Forever 21

Weekend Favorites…

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and here are my favorite blog posts from this past week…
1. I love this little photo project. I might just have to borrow the idea…
2. Steffy is seriously the cutest and so is this Nicaragua post.
3. Sweet Potato, Kale and Chickpea Soup- MMMMmmmm! Yes please.
4. Love this cloud pillow.
5. I could look at Caitlin’s illustrations all day!

Style File | 01.05.12

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This year I plan on buying less. I plan on buying less fast fashion and I plan on saving up and spending money on items I truly love and that are of better quality. That is how I plan on simplifying my closet. I will continue to thrift as much as possible (although the thrift stores in Albany are TERRIBLE!!!). I am sure I will still cave to the cheap price tag at Forever 21 from time to time but here’s to buying more quality items.

With that said. I am a sucker for J.Crew. Their sweaters are dreamy and their catalogs drool worthy. I can’t always afford the stuff but I do LOVE the sale section (& the factory). I love this outfit so much! Back in November I joined forces with Kork-Ease to be their holiday guest blogger. Today, I am wearing the Marlo Boots. They are seriously super comfy, like wear them all over town, doing errands with Rowan kind of comfy. Now, that’s my kind of boot. Next week I’ll have my last guest blogger Kork-Ease post to share.

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Outfit Details:
Sweater: J.Crew (on sale)
White button up: AA
Skirt: J.Crew (on sale)
Tights: Target
Marlo Boots: c/o Kork Ease
Vintage Dooney and Bourke Purse: Thrifted

Simplify | New way of eating

I have been a vegetarian for quite some time now and it has only recently dawned on me that maybe being a vegetarian isn’t quite so food conscience as I think it is. I love being a vegetarian and I think it is a super healthy way of living, but what I started realizing is that substituting processed fake meat really isn’t all that much better than eating meat. OK. That might be an exaggeration and yes, there is a major difference between the two, but because I am choosing not to eat meat I am then giving my money to some large corporation to eat processed food. Now, I don’t eat a lot of fake meat. It really grosses me out most times, but on occasion I do eat a veggie burger, Boca Chik’n patty, Morning Star sausages, etc… I do prefer fresh veggies, beans and leafy greens over fake meat but I am considering switching out those processed foods in favor of supporting local farms who are actually, in my opinion, raising animals in a way that is healthy for us and our environment.

I don’t think I will ever be a full force meat eater again, but I do think I am going to start eating less processed fake meat and supporting local farmers more.

*This is not a debate on vegetarianism vs. meat eaters. I am just sharing my thoughts for my own personal eating habits.

Now onto a Last Night’s Dinner Post…
STUFFED SWEET POTATOES:
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I got the most awesome cookbook for Christmas. I love it! This recipe is from inside. It’s the perfect winter soul food…

Ingredients:
4 Large round sweet potatoes
Olive Oil
1 Small onion, chopped
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
salt
1/4 crushed red pepper flakes
4 oz. kale. Chopped.
3.5 oz. Firm Tofu, cut into cubes
1/4 cup water

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Bake sweet potatoes on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 55-70 mins. Remove from oven. When cool, slice top off and remove flesh from inside and create a little cubby hole. Reserve remaining flesh to add in to kale mixture.

2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, rosemary, salt, and crushed pepper. Cook until onion is soft. Add kale. Cook until kale has wilted a little. Stir in tofu, left over sweet potato and the water. Cook, stirring, until heated thru.

3. Spoon filling into sweet potatoes, cover with foil and bake until heated through, about 30 mins. Remove from oven and serve.

4. I had left over filling that I just piled high on the side of my plate because I am obsessed with kale. MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

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2012 | Simplify!

newyear

I am not really making any New Year’s Resolutions this year. I created my 30 by 30 list a few weeks ago and I’m going to stick to those as far as goals go, but I have come up with a theme for 2012 rather than making “resolutions” per se. These past few months have been non-stop busy. I can’t complain because it’s all been great stuff and I am really not one that likes to sit around and do nothing. However, I’ve recently realized that I’m filling my time with things that cause a lot of stress.

Jenloveskev is almost 3! (Although, I have been blogging for about 6) Can you believe it? Kev and I have been talking a lot about the blog lately; Where it started, why it started, where it’s going, etc… The truth is, I never in a million years thought I would be blessed the way I have been with this blog. It has grown in ways I never, ever thought it would. I started my blog as a way to share being creative, to stay in touch with friends and family and to be inspired by other blogs I read. The words “blog full time”, “sponsors”, “brands”, etc… were foreign to me. I never started this blog to gain readers, to become popular or to make money. I had no idea that was even possible. I think back on the last 3 years and can’t help but to smile at the friendships I have made and the people I have come in contact with. It truly has been nothing short of a blessing to me. I think blogging has made me more confident, more out going and way, way more creative.

I feel like there is starting to be a shift in fashion blogging though. I know I have never been a straight fashion blogger but I feel like we are on the cusp of something new. I don’t want to wake up one day and be 45 years old, still taking daily outfit photos. If that’s who you are, then that’s awesome, but that’s just not my goal. I want more. I want to grow this blog into a place of inspiration for young women and moms – not just for fashion but for a healthy lifestyle, a loving marriage, and a place for moms to see that I am going thru the same struggles as they are with a young one at home. Is my life perfect? Ha! Far from it, but I do like to share what is going on with us and I love hearing your stories as well. I really hope blogging leads to something else in the future for me.

The blogs I follow have shifted a lot this past year. I read way more lifestyle blogs and not so many fashion ones. That is just not where I am in my life anymore. I had to let go of a lot of things that I was holding onto that surrounded all that. There is a lot of pressure out there to “keep up.” Most of it was from myself but I am finally able to leave that behind.

After some deep thought I decided that over the next few months I am going to phase out sponsored ads. I will no longer be seeking sponsors for Jenloveskev. I have worked with some really awesome etsy shops, companies and blogs but in all honestly it takes a whole heck of a lot of time to keep up with all of that, make giveaway posts, to pick winners, to handle sponsor emails, etc… That is time I would much rather spend playing with Rowan, going for walks as a family or sewing something on my sewing machine. This may change in the future but for now it is something I am set on doing. I will continue to work with some companies in other small ways that are more integrated as I see fit from time to time, but there will no longer be ads on the side of my site. There will no longer be giveaways and there will be no more in your face, check out these sponsors posts. Sometimes, I really feel like this takes away the integrity of a blog. Definitely not for every blog out there! I think there are a lot of bloggers who are doing it right, but there are also a lot of girls who get really excited and jump at any company that wants to hold a giveaway or send them something. As a result, they lose the integrity of who they are and what their blog was all about. It’s hard not to fall into that trap. It happens. It’s happened to me for sure. I don’t want to be part of this competition that surrounds blogging; the catty, who’s working with who, fake networking to improve your readership type of blogging. That is not why I blog.

So, this is my theme for 2012… To simplify life and my blog. To remove the things that stand in the way of my time with Kev, Rowan and the other people closest to me. I will never stop blogging all together because well, I love it to death! But, I know that I need to step back just a little and not say yes to everything, even if that means saying no to really cool opportunities. For example, I decided to say goodbye to the Delightful Dozen last week. It was tough because I love those ladies but I know it was the right decision.

I am hoping this year my blog will become better than it ever has. I want it to have more heart, more love, more awesomeness and just be a reflection of who I really am.

I love life. I love Kev and I love my Daughter.

Happy 2012 Everyone!
p.s. The rest of this week I will be sharing how this “simply life” theme fits into other aspects of my life
p.p.s. This doesn’t meant there will be no more style files. I love doing them too much.

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The first outfit post of the new year! Kickin’ it off with a bright red coat! This past weekend was so mild. I couldn’t believe it. Kev and I took full advantage and went on lots of walks around the neighborhood. I forgot that our stroller had this rain shield. We hadn’t used it yet, but it worked perfect to block the chilly air from Rowan. I think she really loved being in her little bubble because she fell asleep every time we went for a walk with it. How cute is she?

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Outfit Details:
Fur Collar: LOFT, Last year (similar)
Mod for Winter Coat: c/o Modcloth
Jeans: Target
Boots: Matiko

Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!


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