Breathing Easier at Home

For all the functions of home, at the very least it should be a place of refuge, a place we go to escape the stresses from the day. After a busy day of work, commuting or whatever other activities keep you away, walking into your home should be like ta…

Enjoying the Summer Outdoors

I am participating in an influencer program on behalf of Claritin®.This program is paid for by the makers of Claritin® and I have received compensation for my participation. All opinions expressed are my own.We could not be happier that the frigid mont…

Sustainable magnetic toys for the little builder

Minimalism is a common theme across my blog, sharing lifestyle ideas that lean towards a more minimal perspective has been one of my focal points over the years. The way minimalism can benefit your style, your home, your recipes and even with children …

String grid as a bathroom organizer

If you’re familiar with String then I’m sure one of the first products that comes to mind is probably their Pocket shelf. We’ve owned a few at home, some in white and oak. They’re perfect for spring small objects in the kitchen, bedroom or wherever. I …

Ready for Fall with these leather boots and jacket for kids

Raising kids can mean buying new clothes for each season, since last year’s wardrobe has likely been outgrown. My son who just turned 8, can wear a few things form last year but most of them have been outgrown and are too small for him. This year I wan…

What I gained from the loss of my father

This post is sponsored by Prudential Financial and Bloglovin’

Just when you think you’ve got life figured out, when you can set your actions to autopilot and live like a pro, when you can map out short term plans and are finally old enough to make them happen. Just when you’ve outgrown the rebellious stage of purposely resisting your parent’s advice to show them you can do things your own way. Then having become a parent yourself, find that you see your own mother and father for more than the dictators of your life you thought they were as a teen. Just when you can now see that they did their very best to love and protect you, as you are now attempting to do with your own small child. Just then, it takes a most unexpected turn.
That’s how I felt four years ago when my father passed away without warning. He was young, healthy, and strong with a good 40 years of life ahead of him. I don’t know, maybe even more. He was just beginning to settle into the role of a grandfather with my then three year old son, and I had never known he could blossom into such a nurturing and affectionate being, someone wanting to right all of the wrongs from his role as a father with the love and patience only a grandparent can possess. My father was the last person I worried about who always seemed to be invincible, and anyways, he was usually the one worrying about me. Then, one early Saturday morning in May, while I slept in peaceful ignorance next to my toddler son, the life of my dad ended abruptly.

That Saturday back in 2013 spurred me to later write a blog post about my feelings surrounding my loss which were still as fresh and raw as any open wound. I attempted to type in black and white the powerfully swirling cacophony of memories mixed with future fears. My mind bounced relentlessly back and forth from the past, where it tried desperately to retain any fragment of memory and experience I had with my father, then all the way to the distant future where I would have lived my life and raised my children without my father alive to witness it.
Looking back I experienced every classical stage of grief. It wasn’t possible to absorb the volume of my loss all at once or even during those first subsequent months. Even now after four years and 4 months and however many days until this is published, the loss continues to unfold in new ways as I experience personal milestones or watch the achievements of my children, as the world keeps spinning and humankind keeps moving forward one step at a time, knowing he should be here with us all the while. He is not though, he is not here to participate in any of them.
Not only do I miss the role he played as supportive father in my life but I miss his personality, his unique view of the world, his brash sarcasm, his ripening as a person over the course of time. Often I wonder what he would be doing now if he had never left us, what hobbies he would be into, what movies would he’d be excited to see, his opinion about the current political climate, and his even his graying hair.
I’ve had four years to process and try to understand my loss. There was a time when I would overthink the normally automatic behaviors of life. My brain was so exhausted from running laps around the thoughts of grief, that deciding what to eat or leaving the house put me into an emotional tailspin. During this time of barely functioning it felt that there was no end in sight. “Is this my new reality”, I would ask myself. “Will I ever be normal again?” and “What is normal now anyways?” I can’t tell you exactly how I got from that place to where I am now able to talk about my father in the past tense without crying every time. Able to tell my kids funny stories about him without feeling full of sorrow and overcome with emotion. Even to look at a photo of him and just smile, remembering only the good he left behind. There’s no way I would have thought something positive could come from something so painful, only bad and void and sadness could possibly result from losing someone that so greatly comprised my inner circle. Fortunately I was wrong.

Losing my father has changed me, that’s one thing I know for certain. I’ve never returned to the normal I once knew when I had a father, but I also no longer attempt to mimic the life I had when my father was alive. A new normal has had to be created over time. Like a graft in a tree, the old branch is not replaced but rather a new, different one diverges from the wound.
Now that grief has become more manageable I’ve been able to see the good which has come from losing my father. Spending time on those things that add value to my life is one of the biggest changes that has come in the last few years. This sounds like a no brainer but many things throughout the day are competing for our attention and it truly takes effort to edit out the nonessentials that add meaningless static to our lives. The things that keep us busy but not necessarily productive. I try often to focus on what matters most like spending time with my growing kids, working on tasks and jobs I’m passionate about, not overcommitting myself, and setting aside time for activities that simply give me joy. Doing more of what I love helps me to feel that the time I have is being spent in a way I won’t regret later. This often means saying “no” to people or offers that could deter me from the goal of creating a life with meaning and purpose.
Learning to say “no” to people, to overindulgence or to extra commitments that take up too much of my time is a practice. But each time I flex this muscle and turn something down that I know is not adding value to my life, the next time this needs to happen becomes a little easier. How effortlessly we get sucked into hours and hours on social media, or into another show we didn’t really need to watch, or even eating that extra cookie when you know eating just one was sufficient. These are the things I try to avoid now because they add up quickly and I don’t want to spend what time I have tied to things that aren’t truly important to me.

Something else I’ve learned in the wake of losing my dad is how important self care is. I hate to admit it but before I used to avoid visiting the doctor whenever possible. Scheduling an appointment or finding time to spend the afternoon in the doctor’s office were obligatory things I avoided if I could. Now I don’t hesitate as much, I ask a lot of questions, and I do a little of my own research to prevent a visit. I also try to eat as many whole foods as possible and work out a few times a week. Sometimes it’s as simple as buying a new candle or picking up a book I had intended to read weeks ago that makes me feel that I’m not totally neglected. Not fitness guru here, but before I might have procrastinated with these little self care basics. Now I make time for them knowing that being physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy for my children and family are one of the most paramount of priorities.
Loss has also propelled me to set higher goals for myself and for the future. Before my dad passed away I was in my late 20’s and still felt that I had all the time in the world. Considering the future was not a regular habit and my choices were mostly influenced by the present circumstances, what resources I had at the moment, and what I wanted in that moment. I’m not so much older now, but I feel I’ve become much better at long term planning and sticking to my goals.
Part of having that long term mindset is planning for the future. With a family of my own I have to think about staying physically and emotionally healthy for my kids but also about practical things like finances. I think much more about the long term effects of my financial choices and spend more time planning for future expenses than before. Not only do I keep these goals at the forefront of my mind but I aim a little higher, take a little more risk, and try new things. As someone who works freelance and who has irregular payment terms with each client, I’ve learned how imperative it is to be putting a portion of that away to save. Saving is probably my biggest financial goal each month, and we have several accounts so we can save separately for individual goals. One account can be for trips and travel while another may be for the kids’ activities. With a daughter in ballet and a son learning the piano there will be many costs associated with their lessons to be prepared for. Being a mom has also taught me to be prepared for the unexpected, which can also include unexpected expenses so really saving is also a necessity. Thinking big picture is about continuing to grow and set new goals for yourself as an individual, as a family, and not allowing a defeated mentality even in pain.

Losing my father is the saddest event I’ve ever experienced and happiness can seem like an emotion out of reach. However fleeting happiness may seem I truly believe we have a choice to be happy to a great degree. If someone is suffering or has recently experienced a loss I would not dare to tell them they have simply not chosen to be happy. For those of us who have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, healthy friends and family, a safe place to call home, we have a choice. I work on this every day and sometimes each minute takes some effort. Before loss I felt a little more of a victim to my emotions. Now I know reframing my thinking, taking a deep breath, and looking for a new perspective on a tense situation can go a long way to helping me have more moments of happiness. It’s a conscientious choice I have to make. When I choose to make happiness a priority, when I choose a positive attitude in place of a negative one, everyone around me benefits.
I will forever be grateful to my father for the things he taught me in his life and also in his death. If he were still alive I don’t know if I would have spent as much effort as I have in remembering times with him, understanding who he was, and recalling what he taught me. Don’t misunderstand me though, I would bring him back in an instant if that was a real possibility, however I understand that he is gone. The pain is still there but simultaneously the joy of our memories and the life lessons I have learned from his absence since then have added to my life in ways he would have smiled proudly to hear about.

Transitioning into Fall clothing

The spaces in between seasons can sometimes be the most awkward to dress for. For myself I’ve been working on creating a sort of capsule wardrobe for the Fall that will help me be better prepared and not be tempted to make impulse buys.For the kids I’m…

A paper roller that’s ideal for the tiny artist

Having kids is a messy endeavor, even for those who are incredibly organized and neat freaks, often kids are naturally more untidy. It’s in their nature to explore, to experiment, to become easily distracted, thus leaving a trail of upturned and half examined objects in their wake. My kids love to draw and color but sheets of paper and strewn crayons aren’t half as simple as this wall versatile mounted roller from George & Willy. Named the Studio Roller because it can be used in commercial or private spaces for list making, sketches and notes, the smallest size also lends itself well as a vertical drawing pad for children.

If you have really small kids this might not be a great idea yet as they could very easily write on the walls however mine are just old enough that they can contain their creations to the paper. I’ve found that it also promotes less paper waste as a single sheet of paper can be discarded more easily and with this broad roll they tend to go more for a large scene that is added to over time. They recommend a piece of plexi or thin plywood fixed to the wall behind the drawn paper if you have a textured surface, but I haven’t gotten to that just yet.

My hope is that this serves as an alternate idea for parents who want to streamline some of the mess from your kids’ favorite activity without sucking any of the fun out of it.



*this post was sponsored by George & Willy, are words and opinions (and photos) are my own

3 back to school outfits

*This post is sponsored by Kohl’s.

When I was a child the month of August was such a cocktail of emotions, most of which were some sort of excitement and anticipation. One of the task that took the edge off of my nerves was buying all my needed school supplies. I’d choose coordinating binder and folder colors. pencil boxes and cherished that brand new box of unused crayons. Even more though I looked forward to new clothes! My mom would often buy me a few complete outfits rather than interchangeable pieces. Picking out what I’d wear back for the first week at school made me feel so special and gave became one things I could expect during a week of firsts in a new grade level.

Now that I’m a mom with a school aged child, which is still hard such a funny thing to hear myself say, I look forward to giving my son a similar experience. It might not seem significant to us as the parents but for our child, coming home with those new supplies and clothes gives them a boost of confidence to start this new journey.

Kohl’s asked me to partner with them to show a few back to school outfits which fits in perfectly with August preparation plans. While my son typically could not care less about what he wears, getting something new and comfortable still makes him feel special. With his help we chose a more sporty outfit with Nike shorts , Converse shoes, a moisture wicking tee and base layer pants.
He also help me choose a comfy, casual outfit composed of striped rolled cuff shorts, a raglan tee and Adidas shoes. The last outfit was more autumn appropriate with a striped tee, stretch cotton pants and the same Converse shoes we used previously.


Beyond comfort we also like to keep his outfits pretty neutral and monochrome as well as spanning multiple seasons. This just simplifies the process of mixing articles of clothing, unlike the pre-made outfits of my youth. Hopefully this also saves bit of time in the morning when it’s always a little chaotic to get out of the door on time.

And! Join in on the Friends and Family sale online for 20% off STOREWIDE with code FAMANDFRIENDS VALID 7/27- 7/30

TRAVEL / Visiting L.A. with Kids

For those who follow me on Instagram, you saw the family and I spent all of last week in LA. I just now realized I never made a formal mention of this on the blog, only weeks earlier mentioning it in passing. I had fully intended to do a post before we…

A bedding favorite, for kids

At home sometimes it can be challenging to find the right balance. I’m not talking school schedules or work or things like that, I’m talking about in your personal home design. Achieving that right combination of things, colors, textures, and placement…

My tiny ballerina / Tutu du Monde

Elin is wearing another beautiful garment form the wonderful Tutu du Monde, who makes some of the most extraordinary garments, capes and accessories for little girls. For her birthday last month we had a ballerina themed party and she began ballet clas…

At home in Minimalisma

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my ‘Story’ about the snow. We’ve had lots and lots of it in December and now into January. For our region we haven’t had this much snow since 1984-85! Right around the time I was born.Ill prepared and not…

French clothing line for children, mixes earth tones with comfort

Le Petit Germain, created by Camille Chandèze Longuépée has mastered the union of wonderful colors with comfort. With an emphasis on offering children clothing for everyday use that gives a comforting tactile experience, Le Petit Germain is full of designs that compliment the essence of being a child.

Today we received a lovely gift from Camille at LPG and Elin wears a thick knit, high stretch pant with pockets and quilted cardigan in warm, earthy tones. As her mom I find her irresistible in this outfit but even when she’s not being cuddled I appreciate that she is free to move and play in such beautiful clothing.

The collection includes sizes from birth to 8 years.


All images taken by me.

all wrapped up

We’re ready for Christmas tomorrow, gifts are wrapped and the last of the food shopping is complete. Today we the whole family is home and we finish some cleaning, baking and playing in the snow. So much snow has fallen this week, about a 13″ or more s…

DIY advent calendar

Since my oldest was a baby I started making Christmasadvent calendars for him with small toys and gifts. Sure I could have taken the easy way out and bought one of those remade chocolate ones (why didnt I?!)but first it was fun. Now it feels a little o…

childhood dreams

As a child I love very feminine things. Give me ruffles, tiny details, glitter or pink and I was happy. Funny enough the older I’ve grown the more masculine my tastes have become, yet my childhood love of intricate details and soft color, ruffles and f…

currently play with magnetic tiles

The kids have been playing with these magna-tiles all week. As someone who tries hard to adhere to a minimalist philosophy in all parts of life, even if at times I fail, my kids do not have an insane amount of toys like I see some friends or relatives …

currently playing with shape mags

The kids have been playing with these magnetic tiles all week. As someone who tries hard to adhere to a minimalist philosophy in all parts of life, even if at times I fail, my kids do not have an insane amount of toys like I see some friends or relativ…

clothing selection with DLK

This week with Design Life Kids I’m sharing a few pieces from their clothing section. A jacket that is the perfect lightweight “Sprintertime” solution and some dresses that are my go to when I want a quick outfit for Elin. I like dresses for her becau…

spring bloomers


Both of the kids are quite ready for Spring weather to arrive. They’ve been restless inside so we’ve been spending most of our free time in the yard, chasing balls and drawing with chalk even though there’s still a little chill in the air. The changes in season also signals mom browsing online for sandals and tee shirts in lighter colors because soon their Winter clothes just will not do.

For Elin however we are so fortunate to have received some Spring knits from one of our most favorite brands Misha & Puff. There are few things sweeter or nicer looking that finely knitted kids clothes and M&P has released with these irresistible knits in cream and sand colors, you can see just a peek of the creamy colored bloomers in the bottom photo. Elin’s dress though is something she will get loads of wear from under jackets, over pants or all alone.

Bring on Spring.

S u n d a y

Today has been so quiet and the sky is dark, it has me feeling like I’m in a bit of a fog . These days can be a drag but they can also be a much needed mental break from the fast paced week. Catching up on some reading or flipping through that magazine…

fondly

I am so glad to have been introduced to Fondly, owned by a team of designers with daughters of their own and based in Los Angeles with backgrounds in fine arts, fashion, and design. Their designs are made by hand with a vision for creating classic piec…

Peter’s table



These from were the Summer, I’m going to guess July. I would love to be more prompt with these things, especially when it’s for a company as wonderful as Carl Hansen & Søn but sometimes this mom gets a bit overwhelmed with work & the kids, even those really special projects can slip through the cracks for a month…or two.
I’m not going to bore you with the details of working from home with two small kids but most days it takes everything out of me and I go to bed thinking of all that I did not get done. I have to remind myself to focus on what I did accomplish that day and tomorrow’s hope at redemption.

Tardy as I may be, I am even more grateful to have cooperated with Carl Hansen & Søn for their ‘At Home Anywhere in the World’ or #globalhomes campaign featuring some of their amazing furnishings in my own home. Elin & Israel are lucky enough to also have a Peter’s table & chair set which is shipped completely flat and is assembled in just a few short minutes without any tools or hardware! The piece fit together tightly and don’t slip out, very elegant and ingeniously simple.

“Peter’s Chair was designed by Wegner as a present for the baby son of Wegner’s friend and colleague Børge Mogensen. In the war years quality furniture was hard to find – so he made his own.”

Elin likes to push her chair around the house to use as a step stool but she also likes to host tea parties or book club meetings around her table!

I appreciate the quality wood composition and soft rounded edges that give a very subtle childish look. In my opinion this is the nicest child’s table & chair I’ve ever found and I hope to keep even after my kids outgrow it. Maybe someday their children will use it as well. I can’t imagine a more beautiful thing!

right now

Right now Elin is asleep, Israel is building with toys and our kitten George sleeps next to him. I’m trying to tick off my list, answer some emails, plan for this weekend as I have a styling job for a furniture company due next week. It always feels a …

daybed


A few weeks ago I welcomed a new piece of furniture into our home, the Safari daybed designed by Ole Gjerløv-Knudsen from La Maison d’Anna G. who was so kind to ship this from France (and fast!). Ideally I had wanted our original sofa under the windows and the daybed directly facing this, however that would put the daybed directly in front of the tv. This means when the kids watch cartoons they climb and jump all over it. At first I covered it with a long sheepskin but their sticky hands were all over it and finally I decided if I wanted this to last any length of time, I’d switch them. They’re just as happy on the “big” sofa and I can hopefully keep the daybed for years to come.

this morning’s living room

The title just about sums it up, need I say more? Ok.I was taking advantage of Israel’s playdate at a friend’s house to clean the floors and noticed the light flooding in from the windows. Also, the living room wasn’t littered with stuffed animals and …

E

Post nap, Elin just wanted to play with toys in her crib. She was so sweet and busy playing only pausing to flash me a little toothy grin before continuing her work of playing music and banging her toys against the plastic bin.