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June 2014

Monday Morning Links

Ever since I worked with Lou & Grey I kind of can’t get enough. I added a few new pieces to my wardrobe the other weekend. They are just so easy and chic. Here is what I got…

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Linen Romper | Striped Maxi | Striped Chambray Dress | Chambray Zip-Pocket Pants

The week back from vacation is always a little tough. Back in routine. Lots of laundry. Kev back at work. Ugh. Hoping this week is a little better than last. Happy Monday everyone! Here are a few of my favorite things around the internet lately…

1. Naomi was sweet enough to order a necklace from my instagram flash sale the other week. Doesn’t she look fabulous wearing it in her most recent post? You can purchase all necklaces from my etsy shop now if you are interested.

2. A few people asked about my black strappy back bathing suit top from the Costa Rica post. I got it at Pac Sun but it’s not on their website anymore. I found this one which is very similar. It looks reversible so you could wear it on the black side for a similar look. I love that top! Speaking of suits… How cute is this Pina Colada suit? Also, READ THIS ARTICLE!

3. These Raspberry Lemon Yogurt popsicles look amazing. We will definitely be making these this summer!

4. Julie look so beautiful in this dress. Perfect outfit for summer. And goodness Andrea is a babe! Love the white tank and leather skirt.

5. These yellow wedges are about the cutest thing ever! How sweet would they look with a pretty summer dress? This dress would be perfect.

6. We had plans to meet up with Drea and Marlowe when we were in FL, but unfortunately some plane issues made me have to cancel (major sad face!) but I wish we could have hula hooped with those two. They are just too cute!!

7. Have you ever tried homemade granola bars? In an effort to be less processed in our house I have been trying a bunch of recipes. This one looks delicious!

8. I’ve been looking for the perfect chambray skirt for summer and I am pretty sure this is it!

9. Congrats to Melissa on the new blog/blog name. Dearbaby was one of the very first motherhood blogs I followed. I have so much love for her and her family.

10. And lastly the sweetest little ice cream sundae shirt for Rowan.

Celebrating 8 Years in Costa Rica

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Last week Kev and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary and what better way to celebrate than hopping a plane to Costa Rica for a long weekend together. It was a quick flight from FL to the Liberia airport in Costa Rica. We stayed at the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort. Let’s just say it was by far the nicest, most beautiful hotel we’ve ever stayed in. There was a huge shower that had sliding glass doors that opened up to the balcony, making it an awesome outdoor shower overlooking the jungle and the bay. Poured cement floors, lots of natural wood and light. It was like they knew the way to my heart. There were monkey’s right outside our balcony! We just fell in love with the country. With only 2 full days there, we didn’t get to explore a whole lot (which we would have loved to do) but instead decided to just relax and enjoy the beauty of the Papagayo Peninsula with hopes of returning on a longer trip one day.

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We didn’t need a long time away from the kids (we’d miss them waaay too much) but having 2 days of one on one time together was so important for our relationship. After 8 years we are more bonded, more in love, better friends than ever. It is work, don’t get me wrong. We have to be conscious to feed our relationship- and that can be very hard with small children. I am so very thankful we got this time away. I’ve been reading a book called Home Making (thanks Lesley) by J.R. Miller. It was written in 1882 and I had my doubts about it before I started. I wasn’t sure I would like what he had to say about being a wife and motherhood from a perspecitve so long ago. I honestly have never underlined and dog-eared more pages of a book ever! I just loved it. There is a whole chapter about married life which really struck a chord with me. There was so much simple truth to what he wrote. I loved that he listed out these things as most important 1. loving patience 2. courtesy 3. unity of interests 4. guarding against misunderstandings (there is no room for pride) and 5. presence of Christ. I couldn’t agree more. They are all simple things but I feel like they are usually the first to be forgotten as the years on go. I love these sections of the book about marriage…

“The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions, the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and countless infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling. These may seem trifles, and the omission of them may be deemed unworthy of thought, but they are the daily bread of love, and hearts go hungry when they are omitted. It may only be carelessness at first in a busy husband or a weary wife- which fails in these small, sweet courtesies, and it may seem a little matter- but in the end the result may be a growing far apart of two lives which might have been forever very happy in each other- had their early love but been cherished and nourished.”

“Love is always ready to deny itself, to give, sacrifice, just in the measure of its sincerity and intensity. Perfect love is perfect self-forgetfulness. Hence where there is love in a home, unselfishness is the law. Each forgets self and lives for others.But where there is selfishness it mars joy. One selfish soul will destroy the sweetness of life in any home. It is like an ugly bush in the midst of a garden of flowers. It was selfishness that destroyed the first home and blighted all the loveliness of Paradise; and it has been blighting lovely things in earth’s home ever since. We need to guard against this spirit.”

Sometimes I think it’s so easy to focus on the negative things about our spouse. What they are doing wrong, what they aren’t doing to help, etc… but you will be surprised the change of attitude that can happen and the change in your spouse actually when you really start examining yourself instead. That last quote about being less selfish is one I am really trying to pray over more these days. Kev is a wonderful man and husband. He loves the Lord, he works hard and he loves unconditionally. He is the boy I fell in love with over 10 years ago. The one I want to travel and explore the world with, to be neck deep in this parenting adventure with and the person who knows my every hurt, joy, dream and sorrow. He is my everything. It’s such an honor to live this life alongside him. He’s my best friend and hands down favorite person on earth. These past 8 years have shaped us into who we are today. I am excited to see how another 8, than another 8 will change us as well.

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Summer Style With Cupcake Mag

The newest issue of Cupcake Mag is out and I had the honor of sharing a summer style guide for all the fun occasions that pop over the warmer months. Kourtney Kasdashian is on the cover and I am just going to to assume and tell everyone from now on that Kourt (we are close now) knows who I am and reads my blog. That seems like a fair assumption, right? hahaaha. Anyway, the summer issue is a lot of fun and I am so happy to share the pages with some of my favorite ladies. Make sure you check it out!

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Here are a few of the outfits I shared…

THE DATE NIGHT:

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OUTFIT DETAILS:
Fluted Skirt: J.Crew
Peach Button Up: J.Crew
Denim Jacket: J.Crew
Kelsi Dagger Sandals: c/o Lulu*s
Glasses: c/o Bonlook

THE WEDDING:

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OUTFIT DETAILS:
Maxi Dress: c/o Lulu*s
Chelsea Crew Heels: c/o Lulu*s

THE WEEKENDER:

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OUTFIT DETAILS:
Billabong Kimono: c/o Lulu*s (ahhh this was my most favorite piece for summer and I just lost it in Costa Rica!!! I’m so sad).
Obey White Tanks: c/o Lulu*s
Dittos Ankle Jeans: c/o Lulu*s
Sunglasses: c/o Warby Parker
Kelsi Dagger Sandals: c/o Lulu*s
Prettiest Gold Chain: Stitch Fix box

Clean Eats | Summer Treat

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Somedays just feel waaay too hot to eat meals. And being the never quite on top of things kind of Mom I find myself being most days, I don’t always have homemade smoothie popsicles waiting for the girls on these super hot days. Rowan loves frozen treats though. Every time we are at the grocery store she begs for the same Hello Kitty popsicles with all the fake coloring and 1000 ingredients. I just can’t bring myself to buy them. So the other day when it was like a billion degrees and Rowan was again asking for a cold treat, we decided to make our own frozen lemonade. It’s by no means a fancy or new concept, but it worked in a pinch! Plus! You know all the ingredients, you can control the amount of natural sweetener, it takes like 5 mins, you don’t have to plan ahead (other than having lemons on hand but we usually have them in the fridge) and Rowan loved it. It was a win in our household for parents and kids alike.

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Ingredients:
Lemons
Ice
Water
Raw Honey

Directions:
Zest and juice lemons. I used 4. Add a bunch of ice (around 2 cups) and a tad bit of water. Start off with 2 tbs of raw honey and blend. You can adjust more ice, water, honey or even lemons as you see fit. There is no exact science or recipe for this. Just go for it and add things as far as your tastes go. I also muddled a bit of mint and added it to mine. Mmmm Mmmmm Mmmmm

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House Tour | The Girl’s Shared Room

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We have 3 bedrooms in our house. Most days I wish we had just 1 extra bedroom, but I love our house and it’s not really too big of a deal until guests need to stay over (or you start thinking of growing your family). So far no one’s minded an air mattress in the living room. Again, it’s a very first world problem. I know. Anyway, as we started our foster care certification we realized we would need to make room for another baby. By law each child needs their own space and bed (no pack and plays, co sleepers, etc… even if they may be infants). We decided then to create a shared bedroom for Rowan and Finley and to give the foster child their own room. Rowan has been asking for bunk beds for well over a year now. She was pretty excited when we told her the news. The lovely folks over at The Land of Nod generously helped us out to makeover Rowan’s current room into a shared space for the both of them.

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I like to keep the bedrooms pretty simple in our house. Not too many toys and things. I prefer bedrooms full of books and areas to read. The room isn’t huge and the bunk beds are quite big so there wasn’t much room for anything else anyways. I love all The Land of Nod’s storage pieces. I especially love the wire wall cubbies for books or toys. We went with a full mattress on the bottom of the bunk bed. Rowan was already sleeping in a full and we’ve really enjoyed that extra space on nights when we end of sleeping in there with her for whatever reason. Plus, with Finley still being pretty young to be out of a crib, the full gives her more space to move around. She is pretty use to sleeping in a bed though already. The bunk beds are seriously like the nicest piece of furniture we own.

I wanted to keep a sort of neutral platte but add bright pops of color for some added fun to the room. I love the mix of the black and white walls with the black and white furniture and bedding. I painted 2 walls black and left the rest of the walls white. I made a few of the decorations for the walls to tie it all together with the same bright colors. All in all we are all pretty happy with how it came out! Rowan walked into the finished room and yelled “This is sooo awesome”. I am glad she likes it!

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ROOM DETAILS:

White bunk beds: Land of Nod
Yellow dot sheets: Land of Nod
Black and White striped sheets: Land of Nod
Mustard Quilt: Target
Mint Quilt: Target
Coral Pillow: Target
Anchor Girl Pillow: Land of Nod
Rocking Chair: My Grandma gave it to me when I was a baby
Book Caddy: Land of Nod
Cat Tattoo Print: Amanda Atkins
Emerson Print: Katie Daisy
Black Toy Chest: Land of Nod
Gold Geometric Lamp: Land of Nod
Doll House Frame: Target
Shag Carpet: Land of Nod
Teal Wooden Chest: Flea Market
Wall Weaving: Handmade
Dream Catcher: Handmade
White Wire Wall Bins: Land of Nod
Gold Clip Lamp: Land of Nod
Floor Pouf: Target
Coat Rack: Land of Nod
Curtains: Ikea
Cross Blanket: Pia Wallen

My Everyday Style | 06.12.14

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When T.J. Maxx asked if I wanted to be part a of blogger challenge about how you “dress your best self”, I couldn’t wait to participate! 1. I love T.J.Maxx and 2. my style has evolved so much since the beginning of this blog. I wrote about it in a recent post actually. Anyway, thinking more about it, I decided that “my best self” as far as style goes is laid back, chic, comfy, and something I can be adventurous with my kids in. Like this designer jumpsuit! I have worn this thing more than I would like to admit since I got it. It was the perfect travel day outfit for rushing around 2 airports with 2 kids and lots of luggage. I was comfortable yet felt put together at the same time. I feel my best self though no matter what I am wearing when I am with Kev, the girls and we are out doing something all together as a family. Creating new memories and experiencing new things (wearing something awesome is a bonus though). I just love them so much!

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

Striped jumpsuit: T.J.Maxx
Denim Jacket: J.Crew
Sandals: T.J.Maxx
Clear Glasses: c/o Costal Contact

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Watch the T.J.Maxx Dress Your Best Video! to find out more about this campaign.
T.J.Maxx provided a gift card for items purchased in this post. All opinions are my own.

The Start Of Vacation.

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Well, we hopped a plane (twice actually) and headed to Florida for 2 weeks. We had a bumpy start getting here. It took us 2 tries and 2 days to make the short little 3 hours flight. Plane mechanics were not on our side, but we are here and we couldn’t be happier. My parents house in Florida feels like our much warmer, way more cool home away from home. In the 24 hours that we’ve been here we’ve already gone to the beach, gone to the zoo, taken naps, gotten smoothies, seen 4 manatees (2 of which were mommy and baby nursing!!) and had way too much fun with the GoPro at my Aunt and Uncle’s pool. Kev asked for one for Christmas last year and he’s been pretty excited to use it for the very first time in the water. Why are underwater pictures so awesome? Everyone always looks sort of crazy but I just keep wanting to take more. I know this goes without saying but vacation is the best. Not because you may end up somewhere cool to explore or warmer, or whatever but because you are all together. There really is nothing better than extended time all together as a family.

and yes. I think this is the best picture ever…

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My Everyday Style | 06.02.14

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Let’s talk about Lou & Grey again shall we? I shared thoughts on my evolving fashion and self in the last post. Who knew a romper could make me feel so reflective? Today let’s just talk about being comfy. I think my new goal in life is to wear clothes that feel like pajamas but are not. Does this make me lazy? hahahah. These pants! Ohmy! The are about the softest, most comfortable thing I own (and they are 50% off right now!!). The lace design on the outside keeps them feeling less lounge pant, more everyday. I wore this outfit on Saturday. We went to the farmers market, Buy Buy Baby, Trader Joes, and to a friends bbq. I feel like it was fitting for all of it. As the night cooled off, I just switched out the denim vest for my actual denim jacket.

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

Lace Pants: c/o Lou & Grey via LOFT
Striped Tank: c/o Lou & Grey via LOFT
Vest: Old Madewell (this year’s version)
Birkenstocks: Nordstorm
Necklace: Handmade (One of my new spring colors- coming soon!)

Clean Eating for Kids

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I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the girls and eating lately. So here goes… When Kev and I started eating clean, I wasn’t quite sure how it would play out with the girls. I don’t give them a lot of junk, but they do eat their fair share of cheddar bunnies, animal crackers, annie’s mac and cheese, etc. You know, the childhood staples. Organic or not even those items are processed and have quite a few ingredients. At first I thought I wasn’t going to worry about them as much. I was just going to feed them what was easy. Then I started feeling really convicted over it. If I didn’t want to eat processed food, why would I not care what they ate as well? All of a sudden “being easy” didn’t seem like a justifiable excuse anymore.

It’s been a slow road transitioning the girls, but I don’t think you should ever feel like it isn’t doable. Over the past 2 months I’ve slowly phased out all processed snacks from our house. It wasn’t a drastic change but as things got eaten, I just didn’t replace them. We ditched the eggos (even the vans ones), most cereal, those veggie sticks, pop chips (we make real popcorn), most crackers and carby snacks (brown rice cakes instead), etc… Actually, this change sort of started unintentionally about 6 months ago. Anyone have a kid that every 20 mins is asking for a snack? That is Rowan. I had decided that whenever she would ask for a snack, I would only give her options of fruit and veggies. If she wanted a snack that is what she could have. Sometimes she would say “yes” and sometimes it would be “no” but it was her choice.

Making that small change as far as snacks go helped set the tone for the rest of their meals. She loves almost all raw fruits and veggies and has no complaints when that’s what is offered to her. It’s what she asks for now. Honestly, my kids are picky too. I don’t have super kids by any means. So please don’t think “my kids would never eat like that”. It does take time, consistency and being a little strict at the beginning. I don’t make separate meals for them, I don’t let them choose something else to eat if they don’t like what I made for a meal. There are plenty of times during the day that I ask for their opinions over what food they eat. So at dinner I don’t feel bad about saying “this is it”. If they don’t eat it, they don’t eat it. It will be left out on the counter and later if they say they are hungry, their dinner is what they get. I don’t give in and give them snacks instead. I do take into consideration each kid though. I know Rowan doesn’t love when all her food is mixed. Say I was making a stir fry, I would just grab some of the veggies out and put them on the side next to the quinoa instead of mixing them up like I do for Kev and I.

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I am not above bribery either. If she eats all her dinner she can have dessert afterwards. Which is usually a popsicle, sorbet, or something else we have made from scratch. Popsicles are great. I blend a whole bunch of fruit, flax or chia seeds and freeze in these push pop tubes. They girls love them. I have the Oh She Glows cookbook and I love the almond butter cookies in there. We make those on special nights.

Some days the girls eat like champs and some days it’s frustrating for sure. My saving grace is smoothies. The girls LOVE them. I blend all kinds of fruits, veggies (mostly shredded carrots or beets), hemp seeds, flax, chia seeds, loads of greens and they slurp them right up. Sometimes I want to point and yell “gotcha!”. Finley especially. That girl can not get enough smoothie. A good trick to remember is citrus cuts the taste of greens. Zest or/and juice limes or oranges into your smoothies.

Breakfast favorites:
Homemade whole wheat waffles- we love this recipe! (make a ton and freeze in individual portions)
Scramble eggs with spinach and cheese
Rolled oats with grade b maple syrup, cinnamon and fruit
Yogurt with, raw honey, rhubarb chia jam

Lunch favorites:
Apple and PB sandwiches
cut up fruit
veggies and hummus (hummus is so easy to make yourself!)
beans
grilled cheese- we get loaf bread from a local bakery and cheese from the farmers market

Dinner favorites:
sweet potatoes
quesadillas (cheese and spinach)
quinoa
stir fry

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Note: When we are out at friends I am more lenient with what they eat. I would never be disrespectful and turn something away. The girls may eat what is being served. We do go out for ice cream and they get mac and cheese every wednesday night when our babysitter comes over for our foster care class. Soooo don’t worry that they aren’t getting treats. There is always a birthday, special holiday or something that involves sugary treats.

Even small changes are great! Maybe just start being more mindful about the number of ingredients (and what ingredients) are in what you’re buying. Follow along on instagram for lots of ideas! @jenloveskev #jenloveskeveats

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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