A Week in Photos | Florida Edition

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I’ve had these pictures on the computer for like month now, thinking it’s about time to get them up here on the blog. It’s been super grey and chilly here the last few days- trying to live vicariously through the sunshine in these pictures. Oh Florida! You sure are sounding pretty good today.

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

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Sisters, Motherhood And All The Things In Between.

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I took these photos on a little outing with the girls when we were in Florida. They’re random and silly but for some reason I just love them. The two of them couldn’t stop dancing their way down the streets that day. Rowan would make a move and then Finley would copy. That’s how it usually goes. Finley loves her Roro and is always just a few steps away, copying her every move. She always has to do what Rowan does. Finley’s most used sentence is probably “i coming too!!” She never wants to left out. It’s been one of my greatest joys seeing their relationship blossom. They love each other fiercely, of course not without sister squawks but that’s to be expected. Rowan builds, Finley knocks down. Needless to say there are always some tears but their love always shines through. Last night as I was putting Rowan to bed, Finley was in the other room having a time out with Kev for normal Finley shenanigans. Finley was of course upset and next thing I know Rowan is balling because she feels so bad for Finley because she can hear her crying. Rowan is a nurturer through and through. She is the number one look out for Finley. Always patting her face and saying “it’s ok baby” or “good job honey, you did it”. Oh man… the two of them are just the sweetest thing to witness.

Life with a 4.5 and 2 year old is chaotic but worlds of fun. We have a good time together! Motherhood is a weird journey sometimes, huh? One that’s always evolving and changing. Who I am as a mother now is so completely different than who I was when Rowan was born. It’s a good thing though (I hope). We should always be growing right? The Lord has really worked in my heart the last year on my thoughts toward it all. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the mind set that being “just” a mother isn’t enough. I felt this pressure to be striving for something greater all the time, as if I wasn’t being successful or doing something worthy. I didn’t even know what it was that I was striving for? All I know is that it left me feeling quite inadequate in my role of Mom. Have you read Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson? or even Make It Happen by Lara Casey? I really, really enjoyed those books. I talked a great deal about all of this at Hope Spoken actually. My talk was titled “The Story of Rising Up”. It was all about rising up in Christ right where you are. It doesn’t matter if you are changing diapers or creating a nonprofit it’s all worthy and great for the kingdom of heaven. For me, that’s motherhood. I am knee deep in it and it’s something I feel so fulfilled by when I remove all the outside worldly pressures. Don’t get me wrong, we all need our “me” time and I totally still have dreams and goals but I have learned where to let go and where to make the time for what matters. I hope I can write out my talk into a blog post one of these days because I would love to expand on all of this. I feel like as mothers we struggle with always feeling less than for some reason. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? (cough, cough social media-just kidding)

Well I’m not really sure why I titled this post “Sisters, Motherhood and Everything In Between” because we’ve definitely covered sisters and motherhood, but I am kinda done with the post and I’m not quite sure what the in between should be. The title flows though so maybe I’m just going to leave it. Should we talk about spicy chocolate ice cream again? No? Ok. Ok. How about 5 things I am totally loving right now? 1. Grapefruits. I can’t get enough. I used to hate them now I love them. 2. Starburst. Don’t ask. 3. Freshly dyed and cut hair. Holla. 4. Hot Yoga (post to come) 5. The fact that the forecast is at 60 or above for the next week!!

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Rowan: Dress from Old Navy, Moccasins from Freshly Picked | Finley: Jumper from Old Navy, Sandals from Target

My Everyday Style | 04.07.15

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Spring! Spring! Spring! I kind of want to shout it from the roof tops. We actually went outside the other day without coats. NO COATS!!! I had almost convinced myself that was never going to happen again. Anyway, with some mild temperatures on the horizon I’ve been eyeing some new spring items for my closet. I am trying to stay minimal and simple. I feel like that’s the easiest and I’m always the happiest with my money spent. I love looking for quality pieces at good prices. Are you into any particular spring trends? I’m kind of all about this “modern safari” trend this year. I picked up these awesome snakeskin pattern heels and white boxy button up from T.J.Maxx the other day and I know they’re going to be a closet staples in the coming months. The heels are just the right height- comfy yet not ridiculous for mom life (it’s a hard balance to strike).

Aside from spring, what’s new with you? Got any new exciting news to share? I’d love to hear it! Life in our house is going well. We’re settling back into the swing of things at home now that our crazy travel season is over for a bit. It was a little insane there at the end. So happy to be back home and all together. Rowan is begging for ice cream today so maybe that’s what our night has in store. We’re really living on the edge over here in upstate NY, huh? Can’t wait for all the tiny local ice cream shops to open for the season. MMMMMmmmmmmmmm. So good. Now I’m thinking of ice cream. Have you ever had spicy chocolate ice cream? Goodness, it’s awesome. Maybe we should change the subject. We just signed Rowan up for hip hop dance next year. She’s pumped! I was very proud of her because she chose to take hip hop over taking ballet with her friends. I thought it showed a lot independent thinking for a little 4 yrs. She saw these hip hop/modern dance troops at Downtown Disney perform and I think she thought it was about the coolest thing she has ever seen. So cute! And as far as Finley goes, let’s just say we are ankle deep in potty training. Dang that girl is stubborn… and that about wraps up a tiny little recap of us as of right now.

Hope your Tuesday evening includes spicy chocolate ice cream!

OUTFIT DETAILS:

White button front shirt: c/o T.J.Maxx (similar)
Black jeans: Nordstorm
Tahari Heels: c/o T.J.Maxx (similar)

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p.s. our calendar is a Stendig- I tried to find somewhere that had them but I think they’re sold out everywhere.

TXSC CAMP 2015

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This past weekend I headed down to Austin to attend and speak at the last Texas Style Council Conference. This conference has been a staple in my blogging scene for quite sometime. It’s always felt like a big high school reunion of sorts. Not the kind you dread and drag your feet going, but the kind where you can’t wait to see all your dearest friends that you grew up with yet haven’t seen in a while. Most of the girls that come speak/attend are the girls I’ve grown up with. They’re (most of them) my Delightful Dozen, my friends that were there in the beginning of my blogging days (way, way, way back in the day). We were by no means the first to blog at all, but in some ways it feels like we were right on the cusp of this giant bubble. We have all shared together a lot of the good and unfortunely the bad that has come along with this blogging world. They’re girls I have emailed hundreds of times with questions, to bounce ideas off, to collaborate and to congratulate. These women are fiercely talented and it’s been my honor to blog along side them all these years.

It was so fitting for the last TXSC to be held at a Girl Scout camp. The weekend was meant to celebrate community and the stories we have to share. And celebrate we did! Indiana is one of the funniest, most genuine and lovely people I have met through blogging. She’s my spirit animal (I have the picture to prove it- it involves a gorilla and a lobster). I love her in so many ways. I would’ve dropped everything for her to make sure I was here. I am so, so thankful for her making this conference happen every year. Her heart has always been in the right place- always looking for the best way to support women in this community. It was sad to say goodbye to something that has been such a big part of my life each year. The blogging world has changed in soooo many ways over the past few years though. There are resources online that can pretty much teach you anything you want to know about it. There isn’t much new information that can be shared. I think she knew it was time to pass the torch. There is a new group of emerging bloggers out there. Ready to make something like this their own.

Blogging has changed for me personally in so many ways. It’s kinda been striped back to what it started as. No set schedules, no editorial calendars, no striving for more followers, no loop giveaways (ugh), only choosing partnerships that work and feel real, etc… With age has come a shift in priorities. I am far from a instagram star or a blogger making the big bucks. I am just a busy stay at home Mom who wants to create a meaningful and loving life for her family. When I started blogging, I didn’t even know making money was a thing. Over the years I’ve been so thankful for the opportunities this blog has brought but it comes with a price. There’s A LOT of hard work and late nights involved with keeping up, creating beautiful and unique content, being engaged, responding to emails and running the business it becomes. I just can’t do it all and honestly, I’m not willing to give it the time it needs. I’d rather spend the time with my kids and Kev. So my blog is what it is now a days. A place to share words and pictures when there is time and an acceptance of all that it’s not at this season of life. I still LOVE blogging and I LOVE all of you. I am so, so humbled and grateful for all of you. Life is good!

My highlights from TXSC include:
1. Siting down next to my dear sweet Erin and talking heart to heart. She’s my favorite.
2. Meeting new faces- what an honor to meet so many new women! You guys are killing it! Keep working hard.
3. Roommate hang out sessions. Lasting well into the wee hours of the morning.
4. Taco truck!
5. Getting to know Bethany from TOMS. Goodness I love that company!

Thank you Chelsea for these photos!

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We talked a lot about your “tribe” this past weekend. Couldn’t be luckier to have these ladies in my tribe.

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Julie | Amy | Megan | Liz | Tieka | Chelsea | Indiana | Savannah and Jenny | Jessie

Hand Painted Photos

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I love creating gallery walls and collections of family photographs around the house. There is something so special about filling your home with beloved photos. We’ve had this blank space behind our dining room table for 2 years now just begging for some photos. I decided to hang some simple white shelves and then teamed up with Canon USA to create a photo wall. To punch it up a bit, I printed all the pictures and then got a little crazy and painted on top of all of them. It was totally easy with a super big impact! Love the way the wall has so much character now. The hand painted details really give it a personal feel compared to if you just added text or a color overlay on the computer.

Let’s get to it shall we?

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Materials:

Canon PIXMA iP8720 printer
poster board
craft paint
paint brushes
frames
washi tape

Directions:

1. Having a large format printer really comes in handy for projects like these. I was able to print some large photos on my PIXMA iP8720. Love the added dimension and height these large photos gave to the wall. Glad everything didn’t have to be 8.5″x11″. I printed all of the pictures out on poster board so they would hold up with the added paint.

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2. Once you’ve picked your pictures and printed them out (I chose to do a handful of color and b&w photos), you can start planning out what colors you want to use and what you will actually paint on the pictures. I decided to use a limited palette to create a cohesive collection for the wall.

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3. I always like to practice writing out the saying first, trying a few variations before I commit to the final design. You kinda go with the flow though too- don’t get stuck on it being perfect! I love the dry brush strokes a paintbrush can leave. Some pictures I painted a saying and on others I just painted a solid stripe of color. Have fun! Get creative! There are no rules, they’re your pictures!

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5. When you’re all done. Trim up the edges and get them ready to put in frames. I chose to do a combinations of in the frame and then also just taped up with wash tape inside an empty frame. I like the combo of the 2 styles.

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6. Add a few details (like succulents or figurines) for styling purposes and Voila! You’re done. Sit back and enjoy your new awesome picture wall!

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Cruisin’ Around

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When you travel with small children the number one thing I’ve learned is that you just gotta roll with the punches. It will always be fun and totally worth it, but there will most definitely be bumps along the way. When we were in Florida we decided last minute we would book a 3 day cruise to the Bahamas. We thought, why not right? Port Canaveral was so close to where we were staying, it seemed only right to book a small adventure. Little did we know that is was college spring break. How that slipped our minds I don’t know? but let’s just say we saw more than our fare share of drunk obnoxious dudes and pretty much naked (also extremely drunk) girls. It 1. made me feel super old and 2. made me so embarrassed for all of them. I wanted to be their mother’s and tell them they could make better choices and be more respectable than this. Seriously? When did I become so Mom like? Luckily the girls were pretty oblivious to what was going on. I think they just thought everyone was really happy. Everyone who worked on board was very nice and the cruise overall was super fun. We went on the Carnival Sensation, which had a great water park at the back of the boat and a miniature golf course the kids loved. Rowan also loved their kid’s camp. It was an adventure for sure… no naps, late nights, busy days, tight sleeping arrangements and an extreme amount of excitement for 2 little girls. It was exhausting to say the least. At the end of the day we were all glad we went (despite our unruly shipmates). Even through the difficulties of traveling with small kids I wouldn’t trade any of it.

Here are a few pictures we took and a little video we made. My favorite part of the video is when Rowan holds the GoPro down the water slide. Ooooh it’s so cute seeing her little feet going down that big slide!

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P.S. The sweet people over at Itzy Ritzy made Rowan’s life long dream of having her own suitcase (I’m serious! This girl has asked me about 1,000 times for her own suitcase) come true. She could’t wait to pack it all up and wheel it onto the cruise and through the airport on the way home. It was the perfect little travel accessory for her. Plus I loved that I didn’t have to carry all her stuff! Bonus! Make sure to check them out!

Weekly Moments

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I will admit it was waaaaaay harder than I expected being away from Kev this past month. He flew in this past Friday and we all sighed a big sigh of relief. He’s here with us now until we all fly back to NY together. It’s funny how you just feel like something is missing when you’re not all together. It’s nice to feel whole again. There is nothing I love more than just being with my family. It’s been awesome to have been snowbirds these past few weeks but I am looking forward to getting home soon. We’ve had such a blast though- I really think we did a good job at trying to make the most of each day. Here are some pictures of favorite moments from the week before Kev came to join us.

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IMG_0531 ^^making homemade personal pizzas for movie night

IMG_0516^^ driving papa’s boat

IMG_0501^^ yes, i am wearing socks with sandals. it was chilly!

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IMG_0460^^facetiming Daddy!

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Enjoy the week everyone!
xoxo

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!

Jen Loves Kev
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