Garden Ideas

Southern Living Idea House 2012

It has felt like spring in Georgia even though I know we aren't finished with chilly days. Here are a few of my inspiration photos for the outside of our house (sources here). We have spent so much time inside that our outside is a little sad. We did get our fence put in so here is where we are on the project list:

  • Paint fence
  • Landscaping - front + back + side
  • Paint side of house
  • Paint decks/replace with something more durable
  • Nicer gutters/guards
  • Refresh containers (love this hydrangea/fern combo above - so southern!)
  • Update lighting fixtures. Would love to install some gas lanterns like these.
  • Install a brick mailbox

We started here and have since hired someone to clear the back yard and we removed the chainlink fence. Major progress!! We also updated the back deck here. Sam and my Dad were amazing!!

Still loving this blend of pea gravel with the more formal gardens. We get such little sun that we really struggle with getting grass to grow in the back and front and honestly I would much rather have plants than grass. :)

A tree hedge is something that I adore but the side of our fence is pretty long so it would be quite the investment. I especially love European Hornbeam that makes the loveliest hedge.

I look forward to sharing progress pics soon!! I miss gardening so much. See all pins + sources here.

February Favorites

Watching: The People vs OJ - Sam and I sometimes struggle to find something we both want to watch and this has been an equal addiction. Seriously well done and shocking.

Reading: Sunday Night Habits - love a good post on setting yourself up for success. Also loving this book and this book is next on my list.

Listening to: Red Sea Road for music and How I Built This for inspiration.

Ordering: these sunglasses. Tres chic! These bowls are also at the top of my birthday wish list.

Wearing: Every time I wear this lipstick people ask me what it is. It's delightfully punchy and all natural. Love!

Smelling: Frankincense + Stress Away in my diffuser.

Eating: Our favorite chili (we sub zucchini for the carrots) in our Instant Pot. How did we survive without this thing?

Loving: the new Spring Anthro home catalog (pictured above). Love these plates.

Wanting: a cute one-piece. Can't decide between this one and this one. They fit THE BEST.

Working on: a family shoot with our dearest Katie Oblinger + a full slew of gorgeousness with Morgan Blake for our Golden Drop Society members. So excited! Follow along here for behind-the-scenes on Instagram stories next week.

What are you loving right now? Always wanting to soak up the best! Happy weekend. XO

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the compound effect

Happy Wednesday!!! The sun is starting to peek out from behind the clouds and wanted to share some thoughts about the last 24 hours. Oh Valentine's Day, I truly do love it so much. What is better than loving on others (romantically is optional!!) and all things pink and red?! It's truly one of the winter highlights in my opinion. We had one of my very favorite love days yesterday (minus the DMV and my tragic lazy eye photo that I'm stuck with for the next eight years). We walked to get pizza (for the first time this year! drool!) and celebrated each other with sweet cards + chocolate + flowers but this morning was like the most ridiculous scenario possible...

dress here/ shoes here

Have you ever read The Compound Effect? It is one of my favorite business/life books. Basically the idea is that good and bad little things can add up in big ways and this morning was the most perfect example of that. 

We have been eating only whole foods all year and I bought a pretty bottle of wine and was only going to drink it on Wednesdays (insert eye roll emoji) and I bought a bar of dark chocolate (that I was only going to eat once a week - eye roll!) and I over scheduled myself and the girls are out early all week and literally everything was getting away from me. Ever have those weeks where someone else is driving the bus? Ha!!!
Even though we had the SWEETEST night, instead of having a lovey night with Sam we turned on Netflix to watch the OJ movie which is completely shocking and disturbing and in my carbo load state I fell asleep on the couch, barely brushed my teeth and went to bed.

Woke up in the middle of the night to get some water because I was feeling so yuck and realized we were out of coffee. Grumpy. It was raining so I stayed in bed and then the girls beat me up which honestly I've realized is just the worst way for me to start the day. I normally get up really early to have quiet time and coffee and to catch up on email but I decided not to all because we were out of coffee.
Cue the tears from all the girls this morning. It was just a mess. Everyone was tired, unorganized and yelling was involved. Yup. Guilty.

I am just reminded of what is so easy to miss when we get caught up in satisfying our flesh. So grateful for Jesus, my beautiful family and that we can start over whenever we choose because I want to be my very best for these faces. If you haven't read The Compound Effect then this is a perfect example of how our choices that seem small can add up and give us love handles and heart aches. With a house full of girl feels, Sam does an amazing job of handling us with love and care and we truly had the most magical day yesterday with a family walk, adorable conversations and sweet surprises from people we think hung the moon.

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spring must-haves

I'm getting ready for two big trips. We are heading to Costa Rica with my family (for my brother's wedding!!!) and then to Belize and Honduras for a cruise without the girls. I've had my eyes on these sandals since spotting them on a friend and just ordered them in the powdery blue but she had the beige/gold and I loved them! Love the fringe. I want clothes that will work for date nights + family adventures. I typically always go to Anthro and that water color top has me allll heart eyes but if you are loving the cold shoulder trend like me but are watching your pennies then this top in this dreamy blush is a total winner.

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surf's up

images found here

I love the painted highlight trend (bayalage). Have you tried it? Supposedly it is best for wavy or curly hair because the highlights are so sporadic. I love that it looks like you've just been on the beach all summer with sun-kissed locks. Red heads can't always pull of this look as well but I've been thinking about trying it. I'll keep you posted if I do! xo

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Copper in the Kitchen

I am on a total copper kick in

our kitchen

right now. I love metals of all kinds but mostly the warmer golds (hanging baskets


), rose golds (obsessed with

our trash can

) and currently copper. I just picked up these

stemless glasses

for my weekly rose nights. Summer I'm comin' for ya. Also, if you haven't tried Cote des Rose, it is the best wine and prettiest bottle. Would be perfect for your val or galentine! ;)

Click below to see more copper favorites in our kitchen and some cook books I'm crushing on! Also

prettiest appliance I ever did see

. On my wish list. Happy Friday!

Currently reading and crushing on

Malibu Farm


French Country Cooking


It's All Easy


My sister got Sam that gorgeous mortar and pestle (similar


) for Christmas and we've been using it to grind peppercorns and simply elevate the every day. The measuring cups were a gift from Sam and just make every day moments in the kitchen feel extra special. Are you crushing on copper, too?

last minute valentine ideas

see the full post here. food by meghan splawn | florals by victory blooms

We don't typically go all out for Valentine's Day although what's not to like about celebrating love and pink + red?! The girls are all over it and we made scented valentines this year which is super simple and cute, those cards were a Target Dollar Bin find. Maybe you can still snag some?

A few last minute ideas...

Make some Paleo Chocolate Pots de Creme.

Love these cute cards that I snagged for Til's class.

I can't even with these adorable wine bottles.

Sparkly mini sneakers? Need! More kiddo ideas here.

and for me... :)

You know I love my Rose Gold trash can. Treat yourself!

Coco Rose body polish. Love their branding.

Interested in using oils? I'm offering $25 off today on Premium Starter kits to be reimbursed via Paypal. XO

Happy Valentine's Day!

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tech free afternoons

gorgeous bed here

Yesterday I had this sick feeling after dropping Phoebe off at preschool. She has decided to drop her afternoon nap and is also waking up extremely early #help and I haven't been giving her the attention she is craving. It has left me frantic, distracted and attached to my phone to get things done. Anyone else's phone distract them 4000 times a day? Overwhelmed and confused as to what to do I decided to do something yesterday that was totally different. Instead of relying on an afternoon cartoon or letting Til have some computer time, we completely unplugged and you won't believe what happened...

I felt the most calm that I have felt this year.

I filled up our diffuser with Joy + Orange (find out more here)

I turned on Ellie Holcomb's new album (after hearing that nature sounds were "scary" LOL).

I had the fire going.

We turned off the lights.

We got sleeping bags, books (this valentine book is a current fave) and their softest toys and I heard collective sighs all around about how relaxing it was. They needed to unplug too.

We journaled, read, the girls built an epic pillow fort and we've never had a happier afternoon. There was no fighting, complaining or wild behavior.

Pretty sure this will be the new normal.

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Nothing To Prove

pillows | sugarboo designs + west elm

The other day I had a paper bag moment, like full on panic attack where my sweet friend walked me through breathing in and out. Filling up my lungs with truth, breathing out the pent up torturous thoughts of someone trying to be everything to everyone. Something stupid triggered it but what was underlying were big, soul crushing things. A million pounds of pressure. Some self induced, okay a lot. She prayed for me and offered to bring me grilled chicken nuggets (the best kind of friend!) and I cried a lot and felt truly grateful for friendship and I came home from the gym to this book.

Funny how God works isn't it? I had pre-ordered this before Christmas I think and here it was, just a humble box from Amazon greeting me on my door step when I got home. The constant theme for me over the past few months has been a dying to self. The message: you aren't enough, stop trying to be. Jennie talks about the weight of leadership, motherhood, humanity and how we search so hard for comfort in a million ways over being with God. Over dry/Whole30 January I realized how uncomfortable I am with not being able to comfort myself, to self medicate. My prescriptions are typically food... and wine. Both good things but not a replacement for dealing with soul + heart issues and for prayer and laying it all down. Maybe it's shopping or piling up a project list for an unending desire to make things perfect. All of these things have left me feeling dried up, void of joy, dead.

Reading that someone else has had similar struggles brings me deep comfort. It's a balm to the soul and Jennie does an incredible job of just laying it all out there like a friend, inviting you to spend time walking through the feels with her. The message resounding and freeing that you aren't enough but God is. A simple truth to be able to say, "not perfect, total screw up" but God is bigger, nothing is better than Jesus and truly living a life like you believe that will free you from the bondage of living enslaved to perfection, people pleasing, comfort that only adds love handles and all of the other things that we think will make us better, more likable, happier. Join me in breaking free together. I've also been meditating on this verse because so many things that tie me up are in expectations and disappointments in myself and others, thought it may help you too:

from she reads truth

Another book that I cannot recommend enough is Present Over Perfect, a beautiful freeing message of letting go of striving and trying to prove ourselves as being important. So, soooo good.

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Kitchen Before/After

photo by 

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

 for HGTV/ styling by

Annette Joseph

I love a good before and after and kitchens are my favorite! I'm going to be working backwards to share with you our design process on our modern farmhouse. Our house was originally supposed to be a flip but we caught the investors in time to make it our own and buy it from them. It was a foreclosure with numerous bad renovations, track lighting in every room (fans too!) and just a lot of bad choices like... tile countertops. Woof.



photo by 

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

 for HGTV/ styling by 

Annette Joseph

We were on such a tight budget that we toyed with painting the cabinets but ultimately we decided EVERYTHING MUST GO. We also replaced this random window seat with an exterior door to allow easy access from the driveway to the kitchen. Was a great decision for us! Can't imagine not having that door there.

What we loved? The light, the big window looking into the back yard and the beams (minus the track lighting ;) ).



photo by 

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

 for HGTV/ styling by 

Annette Joseph

You can see the original big kitchen windows we fell in love with from the exterior. Unfortunately they were rotting so we replaced them with a larger paned window and painted them black. On the opposite side of the kitchen was another set of double doors and a corner kitchen cabinet. Sadly, you'll have to take my word for it.

photo by 

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

 for HGTV/ styling by 

Annette Joseph

Two of my wish lists for this space were a sink that had a window in front of it (our old house didn't have one and it just felt so closed off) and I also really wanted a bar that connected the outside to the kitchen for entertaining. These windows we had custom made and I love them.

We ended up doing classic shaker IKEA cabinets and butcher block and three years later are just as happy. Prepare your heart for a bajillion boxes and pieces. We worked with a designer to create the layout keeping a working triangle in mind and are thrilled with the way the kitchen moves. We also hired someone to install the cabinets which I HIGHLY recommend.



photo by 

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

 for HGTV/ styling by 

Annette Joseph

photo by

Katie Oblinger Photography

for Home Depot


Mark Lewis

 of Lonestar Builders Inc


Dan Olah

 of Olah Design Group

cabinets: ikea adel in white (

this post

 was extremely helpful)

countertops: ikea butcher block

hardware: martha stewart for home depot 



these knobs


urban outfitters


west elm


west elm

sink: ikea



hood: ikea

range: hh gregg

dishwasher: hh gregg

fridge: hh gregg

mug rack: 



Darien Mill Works

pendants over sink: 


 on Etsy

windows + doors: Mike Williams for 

Robert Bowden Inc

folding picnic table: 



specialty tile

hanging brass bowls: 

urban outfitters

paint colors: white - pearly white by sherwin williams / black - tricorn black by sherwin williams