no elves at our house

Holiday season is upon us. Shopping, movies, decorations, food, gifts, Santa, giving, countdowns, elves, cards... I always get this weird feeling at this time of year that I'm a super incompetent parent. (and person in general) Now don't get me wrong, I'm super into the holidays. I love putting up a few decorations, I have a few designated favorite Christmas movies to watch during the month and we designate a special night each year to drink hot cocoa and drive around to look at all the lights while listening to holiday music. And yet, I feel like I'm behind the curve. 

I don't know when this whole season of a million ways to entertain our kids began but I just don't have the energy for it. Maybe it was during the blogging and Pinterest spike a couple of years ago. Suddenly we all could see these perfect images of parents planning out count down calendars with gifts for every single day until Christmas, there were endless ideas of how to precariously pose your Elf on the Shelf, quirky Santa photos and holiday card ideas galore. Now I'm not knocking anyone who does all of these things and more, I get it...we all want to make this time of year extra special for our children. But isn't it just exhausting and stressful? I can barely manage to do one extra thing for my kids during an average month, I have no business creating a production for 25 days. 

What I'm saying is that it's ok if you don't go crazy.  There will be no elf on the shelf doing naughty things around my house every night. No elaborate count downs or any gifts before the big day. Santa doesn't get too much attention here, he brings something small and that's that. We might watch Elf too many times and I may never turn of the radio station that plays constant holiday music on my way to work in the morning. But that's about it. We slow down, we read an extra Christmas book before bed. We make cookies probably once a week, burn yummy smelling candles, find ways to do nice things for those around us.

This year instead of hitting the gas and going full throttle during the holiday season, what if we all decided to just slow down? What if we take more time for just sitting and reflecting on the year we've had? Instead of all of this build up for one day, what if we just linger a bit, appreciate the shorter days and listen to life buzzing around us. Sometimes it's hard to recognize the magic that's already there if we're too busy trying to create more of it on our own. Life is magic, we don't have to create it, we just have to stop and listen for it. 


Go to college, learn what you're passionate about, get a job and love it. I feel like this is the sequence of events that we're lead to believe is what life is made of. If we just follow that path we'll find our purpose. It seems like I should be on that path right now. I've studied one of the things I love, I've gotten a job in a related field. I'm happy doing that job. Something is just...missing.

Being a stay at home mom really changed me. I had 4 years where I not only got to write and be a mom, but I got to rediscover the things I loved to do. I remember a class in college that focused on "what would we do if we didn't HAVE to do anything" and how to find a way to do that as a career. For years and years I've tried to find that thing, that one thing that I know I could do forever and for years and years I've been lost. I enjoy a wide variety of things equally and just because I love all of these things doesn't mean they're related in any way or I could make a viable career out of them.

I've been doing a lot of soul searching in the past few months since becoming a personal trainer. Going back into the working world has been a bit of a challenge and I'm learning a lot about myself in the process. I'm also thankful that I have the luxury to decide on what I want to do, and how to make a career out of what I enjoy. But how to find that? 

I miss writing. I miss sewing. I miss creating and living in this creative bubble I'd formed for myself. I've been working so much and trying to balance family life that I've been completely separated from my creative home and I'm learning that's the piece that's missing. What does that mean for personal training? I still want to pursue that path. I'm trying to figure out how it all fits together.

So where to go from here...I don't know. That's the funny thing about turning 30 (oh my god was that a year ago already?) is that you feel this need to reevaluate where you are and where you've been. I'm not willing to settle for OK. I don't want an OK life where I just go through the motions and miss out on all of the things I enjoy the most in the chaos of just trying to get by, or just trying to get through a job.

I guess it's time for some reevaluations, some soul searching, some brainstorming and planning. I get this way in the fall, I feel the creative pull singing that same old siren song, calling me back home. I suppose it's time to listen.


I did it. I stepped away from the blogging world. (And I lived to tell the tale?) And look how beautiful I got! To tell the truth, I just lost the motivation, the inspiration, the everything-ation. Did I ever tell you that in high school algebra or something stupid, some friends and I started making a list of all of the words we could possibly thing of that ended in "ation". It was pages long. We were geniuses. Obviously not at math, but we all know we never really use math in real life, at least not without calculators. 

So why am I coming back? Or am I actually coming back? I don't know. I miss being creative. I miss writing down things that are happening in my life. As much of a pain it can be to write all of these little details, it helps me to live in the moment because I know I'll write about it later and more can be captured in a few paragraphs than in a photo. I don't want to be that person (well, now it's basically all people) who live through their phone screen. So I'm here. And I'm going to force myself to write a lot more. 

A lot of things have happened this year. I got a job as a personal trainer, we spent months searching for and then buying our first home, we renovated pretty much the entire house (it's still in progress). The boys started kindergarten and it didn't really phase any of us. We moved into the house. And now here we are. New house, new beginnings? 

If you don't follow me on Instagram, that's probably your best bet to get caught up. I think I want to delve into life as a home owner, maybe some landscaping stuff, remodeling projects, and a lot more fitness stuff.  

I look forward to seeing a lot more of all of you! I've missed it here.


Happy Monday! It's Stitchfix time!

If you haven't heard of Stitchfix here are the deets: 
1) Go the link, sign up and fill out all the info they ask for about your personal tastes, they'll hook you up with a stylist who'll send you a box with 5 items that they think will look great on you, based on what you tell them.
2) Pay a $20 styling fee which includes the box shipped to you and goes toward your purchase should you choose to keep anything in the box. 
3) Get your box (which you can set up on auto for once a month or schedule them as you wish) and try on your items! You have 3 days to decide and there's a free shipping bag included to send back what you don't want.

Here's a look at what I got this round:

Bay to Baubles: Constance Stone Tassel Pendant Necklace $34

Thin chain, just the right length. I'm really picky about my jewelry, especially necklaces (I hate stuff around my neck) but really felt comfortable with this. A simple statement piece. Keeping it!

Pixley: Samy Woven Dress $74

I loved how flowy this dress was and it's rather lightweight and comfy. The length was great. I just decided not to keep it because I really have nowhere to wear a nice dress and this one seemed a bit nicer than something I could wear casually. 

Pixley: Messi Lattice Neckline Knit Top $68

I chose to dress this top up two different ways. The first one is a bit dressier, I paired it with a midi skirt and nude heels. The second look is probably how I would wear it more often. I love the detail at the top and how loose and flowy it was. Definite keeper. 

Papermoon: Georgie Knit Tank $38

 Love this top so much! Perfect summer layering top. I put a long blazer/vest with it (Forever21). This will be a new staple.

There was also a pair of denim boyfriend shorts in this box but they just really weren't my color so I didn't even try. I've been very picky with my "keep" items lately as I'm working on building a solid spring/summer wardrobe with less, but everything can be mixed and matched in different ways. Simplicity is key.

Want to give it a try? There's nothing to lose, even if you only do it once, it's a super fun experience. GO HERE to read more and sign up!

a haircut and lessons in self confidence

A few weeks ago I finally admitted to myself that I wasn't ready to grow my hair out (which was ironic because I was already at a bob). I felt for some reason I needed to grow my hair out, that it was just time to have long hair. I really was fooling myself, because I've come to be more comfortable with experimenting with my short hair. 

This was the first cut:
I kept the undercut on the side but the whole thing just still felt too much like a bob for me. I was constantly pulling it back and just avoiding actually styling it. I've gotten busier over the past few weeks and taking care of myself was put on the back burner. SO, I made an appointment this weekend for a trim but ended up just going for it. 
This is about the shortest it's been in a very long time and I'm still getting used to styling it, but I'm loving it. 

I'll be honest, within minutes of having it cut, all of the old familiar feelings of oh my gosh what did I just do? When you cut your hair this short you can't rely on your hair to make you feel more feminine, to hide a zit, make me feel more beautiful when I'm having a fat day. When your hair is short, all of your insecurities about how you look are wide in the open, and it's quite the adjustment if it's something you're not prepared for.

Even in 2015, long hair is still the standard for feminine beauty. The majority of women we see in movies and media have long hair, if they have short hair, they're usually cute little petite women. The number one thing I hear from people is that they could never cut their hair short, "I just don't have the face". So let me put this out there: IF YOU HAVE A FACE, YOU CAN HAVE SHORT HAIR. 

I can tell you, and I know many women who can attest to this, they never regret cutting their hair. They learned so much about themselves and how they view themselves, and it resulted in a more positive body image. Now, I'm not advocating for you to just go out and chop all of your hair off (unless you've been wanting to, then by all means get to chopping!) but what I'm trying to get across here is that beauty is what we make it. Whether your hair is long or short, whether you're curvy or stick straight, you're beautiful. You're beautiful if you have freckles, or if you're on the pale side. You're beautiful if your skin is always red, if you have birthmarks. 

So, the moral of the story here: just be yourself, be what's most you, do what you feel comfortable with and don't worry about what society and what everyone else is telling you to be. You're beautiful and the length of your hair or shape of your body has nothing to do with that beauty. 

everyday style vol 1.

Now, let me preface this post with a warning: I'm not a fashion blogger. I'm barely a blogger. So I'm not delving into a new horizon where I believe I can expel fashion advice to the masses. I've just been on quite a style journey over the past couple of years, really finding in enjoyment in trying to look somewhat put together and still practical and comfortable. If I can do it, you can, too! 

Ok, I'm glad we got that out of the way. 

I decided to start a series on the blog dedicated to totally doable, everyday style for just about anyone. Many fashion bloggers I see online are very much not my body type. I'm sure I'm not many people's body type either. I see things that look super cute on other women and would make me look like a beached whale on drugs. I'm hoping to provide a little bit of variety? I don't know.

I'm not going to have a million photos of an outfit and the details over and over. I just don't have the time or patience. Also, almost all the photos will be selfies done with a remote or timer and once again, I just don't have time for a million detail photos. I think if you see the photo you get the picture. I don't need need to take photos of myself at multiple angles to show what I threw together that day, around here we keeps it reals. 

So yeah. I can't promise everything I wear will look awesome together but I can promise I'll be wearing an outfit. Like, I'll have clothes on. Keepin' the expectations low, great strategy!

Shoes: DSW / Pants: Lou & Grey / Tank: Tailgate Clothing / Jacket: Lucy

Shoes: DSW / Jeans: Madewell (similar) / Tee: Madewell / Purse: Fossil (similar)

Shoes: Target / Leggings: Lorna Jane / Tank: Amuse / Sunnies: Urban Outfitters

Boots: Madewell (similar) / Jeans: Gap / Top: Lou & Grey / Bag: Fossil (similar) / headband: me :)

Sandals : Target / Jumper: Urban Outfitters / Bag: Stitchfix

Shoes: Target / Pants: Stitchfix / Top: Old Navy (similar) / Bag: Fossil (similar) / Hat: similar

cleaning house

Housework. It's probably the most time intensive thing about being a parent, or the stay at home parent who does the brunt of the cleaning. My husband does his share when he's home but as the stay at home one, I kind of see the house as part of my job responsibilities. I'm home for more hours in a day, when raising the boys essentially the entire house is my office. 

I feel like when we moved to the house (from an apartment) my need for a clean home got out of hand for awhile. I wasn't used to having so much physical space to keep clean. Not to mention a house with so many windows (floor to ceiling) and all wood floors. At night I'd find it impossible to sit down and just do nothing with Chikezie because I'd be thinking of all the things around me that I needed to do. It was exhausting. 
I tried a cleaning schedule for awhile, and have somewhat kept it in the back of my head over the past year or so. I'm not super Type A, and realistically it was difficult for me to keep with the schedule. I'd basically do one room a day and then end up getting behind and have like, the whole house to clean on the weekend. Then one day I finally forced myself to rest, to put my need for a clean home on the back burner and just allow myself to accept that some things will never be finished. It was difficult, but it's been one thing I'm proud to have worked on. 

Really, I just like having a clean home because it's relaxing. I feel happiest when everything is in it's place. This might be a good goal to have if you're single because there's nobody else to mess up your house, but when you have a family or live with anyone else, everything is hardly ever in it's place. It was a long, stressful road but I finally learned that important lesson.

Now, I'm not completely stress-free when it comes to our home. I always have a mental list running of the things I need to do. One of the most helpful tools I've discovered (I don't know where- Pinterest, a blog, something) is to do little timed bursts of cleaning. 
I like to turn my cleaning into a challenge. I'll put on my work out clothes, turn on some music and set the oven timer to 60 or 90 minutes and just see how quickly/how much I can get done in that period of time. 

Today in 90 minutes, I picked up, dusted and swept the living room. Swept the kitchen/dining room areas and vacuumed the kitchen and computer area rugs. Cleaned off the table (legs and all) and scrubbed down all 4 chairs. I prepared for mail 2 bills, cleaned off the old papers from the fridge, updated the weekly calendar. Swept the hallway and entry way. Picked up, dusted, swept and mopped the boys' room. Cleaned the entire bathroom including scrubbing the tub, the floors, dusting off the frames/clock. And did 1 load of laundry. All in 90 minutes. 

I'm not tooting my own here, ok I am a little bit. There is so much that goes into daily life as a mom and I feel like some of the most laborious tasks we complete are really what keeps everything running smoothly. The most time intensive thing we do is often the least noticed and hardly ever given vocal appreciation. But our family needs clean dishes to eat off of, soft and clean blankets to sleep with at night and clean clothes to wear each day. These are the most basic and essential needs in life. 

Ok, so folding clothes and emptying the dishwasher will always be the bane of my existence. But at least it's nice to know that even though no one is thanking me for completing such a gut wrenching task, I can comfort myself by knowing I'm keeping the ship running smoothly by doing it. Or have a little dance party for myself after I just cleaned like a beast for 90 minutes straight.

Stitchfix #14

My favorite time of month has come and gone once again. And this month it was pretty difficult not to keep the entire box. (I really am focusing on only keeping things I love and that can be worn in multiple ways.)

If you haven't heard of Stitchfix here are the deets: 
1) Go the link, sign up and fill out all the info they ask for about your personal tastes, they'll hook you up with a stylist who'll send you a box with 5 items that they think will look great on you, based on what you tell them.
2) Pay a $20 styling fee which includes the box shipped to you and goes toward your purchase should you choose to keep anything in the box. 
3) Get your box (which you can set up on auto for once a month or schedule them as you wish) and try on your items! You have 3 days to decide and there's a free shipping bag included to send back what you don't want.

Now, I sent back my box and don't have the info on two of the items that I didn't keep, but I'll post the photos anyway :)

Presley Colorblock Button-Back Sweater
This sweater is so fun. I'm super into yellow lately and added it to my Stitchfix inspiration board because I'd seen someone else get it in their fix. That's an awesome thing about this service, if you REALLY pay attention and do your research through their Pinterest boards, you can see what other women are getting and request specific items if you really want to try them. Although, I wouldn't recommend doing this ALL the time because part of the reason of getting this service is to have someone else pick out things for you. 

I paired this with some black skinny jeans and leopard print flats for a fun kick.

Oliver Faux Leather Trim Striped Top
At first I wasn't sure about this top. It was cute sure, but seemed just like another striped top. The leather detail at the neckline (where the v is) is a nice detail. But when I put this thing on I was sold. So comfortable. I'm all about the comfort/cute combo. 

I paired this top with some black leggings, which I rolled up on the bottom and paired with some brown booties.

Fierro Elbow Patch Crew Neck Sweater
Now when I first pulled this out of the box I thought, "oh, just a plain black sweater" and wasn't too stoked about it. Then I flipped it over and elbow patches! It's such a simple detail but just makes the sweater. It's lightweight and can be dressed up or down. (I thought about putting it on with a black tulle skirt and some boots but I never dress up so went more casual.)

I threw on some gold tear drop earrings, my favorite Old Navy ripped rockstar jeans and some burgundy heels. Love this outfit.

Plaid Circle scarf and Boyfriend Jeans 
These two items I didn't keep but it wasn't for style reasons. The circle scarf is super cute. Both sides are a different pattern of plaid and it was so comfy and warm. Problem is, I JUST got one almost identical to this a month or so and couldn't justify buying another. 

The boyfriend jeans were great quality, only problem I had was that they were a bit big around the waist. Hey, not a bad problem to have! 

Want to give it a try? There's nothing to lose, even if you only do it once, it's a super fun experience. GO HERE to read more and sign up!

2015 is going to be good.

A lot. A lot. That's what has been happening in the past month. 2015 is going to be a very busy year I think. Here's a bit of a run down on what I've been up to (you know, in case you've wondered where I've been.)

Christmas happened and it was pretty dang good. We stayed home and did mostly nothing. The boys' aunts came over and we just spent good ole fashioned quality time together. It feels so good not to travel for the holidays. Don't get me wrong, I really miss being around family but I'm about making life as stress free as possible. Traveling during the holidays is not that.

I started a new piece on my upper/inner arm. (Flopping the fat part of my arm out on a table sure makes it look SO good in photos, right?) I'll be back in February to get color filled in. This piece is the essence of my nostalgic heart. The bittersweet passage of time, always looking back with love, even on the thorny parts. I can't wait to see how much this is transformed with color. 

Extensions happened! I REALLY miss my pink/purple hair, however my hair was just so fried from all of the processing that it was growing out in true mullet fashion. The top/front was refusing to grow because of the damage and the back was free and wild. These are the same tape-in extensions I got earlier in 2014, they stay in for 6 weeks and after that I go in and have new tape put on and they can be put back in my hair. I'm hoping this will give everything a chance to mend itself and I won't be king of mullet city anymore. 

I went to stay at a house by the ocean with 15 other moms I met on the internet. People said we were crazy, that some kind of drama was bound to happen. They were wrong. It was such an amazing weekend. We drank, we ate, we laughed, we ate, we laughed some more. These women are good stuff. We can all be completely honest and open with each other, we share our stories and life experiences without fear of judgement, we're all different and appreciative of those differences. I've never really had a big group of girl friends. I've always had one or two close friends but never that network of women I really trusted and admired. I've always wanted that, and I'm so glad they're all in my life.

2015, you're off to a great start.