2016 Year in Review


I'm doing things in a backwards order here, I know. I jumped right into my 2017 goals and one little word without doing any sort of wrap-up post for 2016. Whoops! Whatever...it's my blog so I get to make up the rules, right? I wanted to share this "year in review" photo book I put together to celebrate our 2016 highlights. I used Mixbook and it was so easy! Reminded me of my scrapbooking days...but without all the mess and the hassle. And looking through all our photos made me realize what a great year we had. Maybe I wasn't the best blogger, but it sure was a fun, eventful, and significant year for me personally. That's how the teeter totter goes!

Year in Review book

Our 2016 by the numbers:

- 6 vacations
- 8 states
- 2 countries
- 4 national parks
- 33 weeks of pregnancy
- 38 days in the hospital
- 1 perfect baby


It's really nice to have some actual printed pages to flip through instead of everything being on a screen. And Ian LOVED "reading" our book and examining all the pictures. I'm definitely going to make photo books a yearly thing.

Year in review book

Customized photo book from Mixbook

If you're thinking of doing something similar, I would totally recommend Mixbook. They have lots of beautifully designed templates you can start with (I used the Minimalist theme), then you have the freedom to edit and customize as much as you'd like. You can add new photos and text, rearrange and resize them to your heart's content, choose different fonts, and add finishing touches with their free "stickers," backgrounds, and design elements. Seriously, it's like digital scrapbooking! Fun and really easy to play around with.

Yearly photo book

What were some of your highlights from 2016? Do you create photo books, or do you have other ways to celebrate your memories from year to year?

Thanks to Mixbook for partnering with me on this post.


One Little Word: Action


Halfway through January, and I think I've got my "one little word" for the year. I did this in 2015 (my word was present) but I skipped it last year (although looking back I'd say my word for 2016 was BABY!). For 2017, I'm thinking my word will be "action." I realized when putting together my goals for this year that many of them have been on my list year after year. Clearly, I know the things I want to do...so why don't I go do them?? I think it's because my comfort zone is to talk-talk-talk and dream-dream-dream. Taking action is scary and hard. But without it, those dreams aren't ever going to become reality. "A year from now I'll wish I had started today!" and all that. So here's to a year of going and doing things. :) "Better an oops than a what if," right? I'm full of inspirational Pinterest quotes, people.

Go do them


Source: Lara Casey

Obviously picking a word for the year doesn't actually guarantee anything, but I'm hoping this mindset will remind me to be more action-oriented throughout the year. If there's something I can do right away, I want to immediately take care of it instead of putting it on a to-do list for later. I want to recognize when the pro/con lists are becoming a crutch, instead of getting stuck in perpetual research and planning. I want to stop waiting until things feel perfect (aka never), and start taking steps. And in a more literal sense, I also want to get myself in action more than I did last year. Like, physically off the couch and moving.

So that's my word for 2017! Time to go and do.


Back to Basics: Wardrobe Staples


I've always had a philosophy that you should get your basics really cheap, then occasionally spend more on a really special outfit--like a dress for a wedding or a fabulous pair of shoes. But I've noticed that lately, I'm only wearing my cheap basics (something to do with becoming a new mom?) and I never actually look forward to getting dressed. So I'm thinking it's time that I upgraded my basics to ones that are still comfortable, casual, and easy to throw in the wash...but also make me feel good about myself. Because this Forever21 t-shirt + old jeans thing that I have going on right now? Is starting to make me feel like a real schlub. So I've been thinking about wardrobe staples that I want to invest in...the classic, essential pieces that I'll wear over and over again, year after year. Here are some items that are on my wish list.

Back to basics: wardrobe staples

Flattering LBD / Chunky knit hatOversized sweater / Canvas sneakers / Classic button-down / Dark skinny jeans / Polarized sunglasses / Strappy nude heelsStretchy black pants

It's definitely a shift in my mindset to realize it's okay to spend some money on the basics. And actually, they're probably the items I should be willing to spend more on. After all, basics are classic, won't go out of style, and are the ones I wear the most. Those special-occasion dresses, statement jewelry, and trendy shoes? They'll probably be out of style before I ever get my money's worth out of them.

I know building up a wardrobe is never actually done--obviously, I won't be wearing the same pair of sneakers for the rest of my life. But I'm hoping to collect a few more quality pieces this year that'll last me for awhile. After all, I'm creeping up on 30, so I should probably start shopping like an adult instead of a teenager!

What about you? What are your favorite wardrobe staples that you reach for time and again? And do you have a favorite place to shop for them?

Thanks to NIC + ZOE for partnering with me on this post.


She Sheds: A Room of Your Own


I love the trend of "she sheds."  They're basically the feminine version of a man cave...a personal space to call your own and retreat to. What they're used for can vary quite a bit: a creative studio, a hen hut, a grown-up playhouse, a gardening shed, a tiny cottage, or simply a sanctuary to hang out and enjoy a quiet moment. I got a chance to review the newly-released book She Sheds: A Room of Your Own by Erika Kotite and was totally enchanted by these sweet backyard hideaways. They may be small in size, but they're big on style and charm!

She Sheds - the grown up version of a playhouse

The book takes us inside some beautiful she sheds all over the world and tells the story of why their owners created them and how they are used. It also shares some of those details you're probably curious to know, such as the location, size of shed, and cost to build it.

She Sheds: A Room of Your Own

She Sheds: the feminine version of a man cave

My favorite shed in the book is "La Casita"--a lovely Scandinavian style cottage in Dallas, Texas. The owner is Paige Morse, an interior designer & stylist. She originally wanted to renovate the shed in her backyard to use as a styling and photography studio. Along the way, she had the idea to turn it into a full blown tiny house complete with a small kitchen and bathroom. Now. it serves a dual purpose as a quiet space for her to work and an additional revenue stream--she put her own house on Airbnb, and simply moves into "La Casita" when it's rented out!

Beautifully designed tiny house

The inside is light, bright, and absolutely beautiful, with lots of stark white paint contrasted by deep black floors and appliances (a counter level fridge is just the right size for the corner kitchen).

La Casita

Scandinavian/boho style "she shed"

The sofa serves as a bed when Paige stays there, removing the need for a separate bedroom.

La Casita

Oh, and that gorgeous shell chandelier above? It's a DIY!

I'm super inspired by all the she sheds in this book, but especially "La Casita." I'd definitely love to do something like this in my own future backyard!

What would you use a she shed for?

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