A Simple Cotton Dress that Can Do No Wrong

February 13, 2017

When we were in Charleston at Christmastime I stopped by one of my favorite little shops, Madison Mathews.  I already owned one of their embroidered dresses in an effortless and comfy seersucker print, and on this trip I scooped up another dress that I ended up wearing on our balmy Christmas Eve in the Lowcountry.  They make lots of different color variations of this dress, with subtle differences to the embroidery, and I seriously want to buy all of them.  This post isn't sponsored at all, I just love how simple and comfy these dresses are.  They're the perfect mom dress.  Quick and easy to throw on, and long enough so that you can scoop up a wild toddler without flashing anyone :)  Also, these shoes I'm wearing have become a quick favorite of mine.  Nude colored shoes with bows on the toes have a way of pulling any outfit together!


post signature

Dash of Whimsy Auction

February 10, 2017

Happy Friday everyone!  I made the announcement on my Instagram page already, but in case some of you follow here and not on Instagram I figured I'd make the announcement here too.  We will be downsizing substantially when we move this summer, so I'm hosting an Instagram auction and selling lots of amazing vintage items (many of which you've seen on mantels and bookcases in my home over the years) as well as some non-vintage things and cute/hardly worn shoes (Tory Burch and J.Crew).  The auction goes until 2/12/17 (this Sunday) at 5PM EST, and all you need is a PayPal account.  Just head on over to @dashofwhimsyauction on Instagram, leave your bid in the comments on the item(s) you're interested in, and then I'll invoice the winners via PayPal.  Feel free to ask questions if you have them!

post signature

A Fresh Spin on Classic Clothing with Abbey Glass

February 6, 2017

Is there anything better than a pretty dress?  Not gonna lie, winter is my least favorite season and I'm already looking forward to warmer weather so that I can wear dresses again, play outside with Jack, and get back to distance running.  For this #MommyMonday post I've teamed up with Abbey Glass, an Atlanta-based clothing designer, to share a few of their looks with you.  I'm especially smitten with the Clair Dress in seersucker and it has me dreaming of strolling down a charming street in Savannah on a warm spring day (and I'll be heading there in April for my brother's wedding!  So excited!).  

The quality of all of the Abbey Glass clothing, as well as their one-of-a-kind designs, has quickly made the brand one of my new favorites, especially for dressy events.  The motto on their website is "a fresh spin on classic, tailored clothing for women," and that completely sums up how I like to look.  If you have an upcoming wedding that calls for a pretty new dress or even if you just want feminine look for a future vacation, use the code DASHOFWHIMSY to receive 10% off of your purchase.  The second two dresses I'm wearing here (the Mischa Dress in cappuccino tweed and the Sara Dress in flurry) are both on major sale right now too :)  

Don't forget to check out my other #MommyMonday ladies to see how they style their Abbey Glass clothing!

Mireille at City Peach
Nina at the HHS Feed
Ali at Inspired By 
Tiffany at Tiffany Style Blog

 Clair Dress in seersucker | Mischa Dress in cappuccino tweed (white) | Sara Dress in flurry (black) |  nude heels (old J.Crew Factory) | pearl necklace | tassel earrings (c/o Lisi Lerch) | black flats with bows

I was compensated by Abbey Glass for this blog post.  I only collaborate with brands I love and think you'll love too.  If you're interested in collaborating with me please send an email to katie@lifewithadashofwhimsy.com.

post signature

Around our Home Lately

February 3, 2017

I haven't shared random home photos on the blog in a while, so I snapped a few to share with y'all.  I often end up in a bit of a decorating funk during the dreary time between Christmas and spring.  This year, in order to avoid that, I decided a nice dose of pink was what our living room mantel needed, and I'm loving the cheerfulness it brings to the room.  As you can see, we use an inflatable pool as a ball pit for Jack and he really loves playing in there.  I end up cleaning balls out from under the sofa and every other imaginable place every night after Jack goes to bed, but he's having fun so I don't mind.  We keep all of his living room toys in the vintage bassinet in front of the bookshelf, books are in the basket in front of the fire place, and diapers and wipes are in the second basket from the right on the bottom.  I've found that having a place for everything has really helped us keep the room tidier than we used to.  The coffee table is one of my favorite IKEA purchases ever.  We bought it when Jack started pulling up because I figured a round table would be a little safer.  It adds a laid back vibe to the room and it also provides extra storage because the tray on top comes off.  

I've never shared any kitchen photos here before because, well, it's not very cute (thanks Army housing!).  I did recently add our CB2 acrylic console table to the center of the kitchen to use as an island though, and I'm really happy having a little extra surface space.  Jack likes to grab the fruit that's in the bread bowl on the "island" and he also gets little fingerprints all over the acrylic, so the idea is certainly not without flaws, but it was an easy way to use a piece we already had.

living room sources:

 sofa (vintage) | polka dot pillow | coffee table | bookshelf  (from Nadeau) | pink chair (vintage) | rug | bassinet holding toys (vintage) | felt ball garland on mantel (old Hobby Lobby) | brass candlestick holders (vintage) | glass candlestick holders | hot pink taper candlespink artwork | gold hurricanes (old Crate & Barrel)

dining room sources:

marble dining table (similar) | dining chairs (vintage) | rug (bought when I was deployed to Afghanistan) | bread bowl holding candles (vintage) | faux bamboo mirror (vintage) | console table (vintage) | blue and white plates (vintage) | acrylic chair (similar) | boxwood wreath | monogrammed pillow

kitchen sources:

acrylic console table | bread bowl (vintage) | trivets (old CB2, similar) | cake stand (old C.Wonder)

post signature

My First Flea Market Booth!!!

February 1, 2017

Hi everyone!  This one is for all you ladies who are local to the Leavenworth/Kansas City area...I signed up to host a booth at my first ever flea market and would love for you to come!  I have lots of vintage pieces as well newer goodies that I need to unload since we will have to downsize when we move this summer.  I'm talking brass pineapples, a faux bamboo coffee table, cool brass chairs, 2 bar carts, a rattan wine rack, darling brass candlestick sets, foo dogs, lots of blue willow china, some ginger jars, a few pairs of Tory Burch shoes I've worn maybe twice, nice clothes I don't need anymore, fun jewelry...there seriously is something for everyone.  The flea market will be held on Saturday, February 4th at the Leavenworth Riverfront Community Center from 8AM-2PM.  Please please please come see me!  I'd love to meet you and it would make me so happy if my stuff ended up in the homes of those who actually know my style and would put it to good use.  Send me an email if you want more details.  I'll sell stuff via paypal after the flea market is over for those of you who aren't local, so stay tuned.  Hope to see you there!

post signature

Build a Better Teepee

January 30, 2017

Teepees for little ones are all the rage now, and I jumped on the bandwagon because sometimes the bandwagon is lots of fun :)  We have it set up in the corner of Jack's bedroom and it's a cozy little spot that he likes to play in, read in, and one time I even took a nap in it.  I see a lot of people just put down a sheepskin rug, but that wasn't enough cushion on since we don't have carpet.  I've also seen the thick teepee pillows that Land of Nod sells, but they're rather pricy and aren't good if your infant/toddler sits on the edge of it because it's easy to fall over.

I found the perfect, affordable solution a few months ago and I wanted to share my trick here because I've gotten a few questions about it on Instagram.  So, here is how we "built a better teepee" for Jack.

1.  Go buy a large but thin dog bed at Homegoods or TJ Maxx.  They're nice and comfy, not too high, cover most of the floor, have little grippers on the bottom so they won't slide, and they're cheap!  We bought a rectangular one for about $15 and it's perfect.  I'm going to call the dog bed "the cushion" for the rest of the post because it sounds better than "dog bed"  :)

2.  Add large pillows to the back of the teepee.  We put these on the floor because the cushion isn't quite deep enough.  This allows for a plush backrest and prevents them from ending up on the hard floor behind the cushion.

3.  Layer a sheepskin rug over it.  We have the large one from Ikea that is really about 3 or 4 of them sewn together.  It's so soft and we've gotten a lot of use out of it since Jack was born.  When he was teeny tiny we would plopped him on it in our living room and put the baby gym over him.  Best part about it is you can just rinse it off if it gets dirty.  (I took a picture of this step but now I can't find it on my computer!  It's pretty straight forward though...just lay it over the cushion.)

4.  Add an assortment of smaller pillows and soft animals.  Our favorites are from BlaBla Kids, Cuddle & Kind, Hobby Lobby, Ikea and Target's Pillowfort line.

5.  Top the teepee with some garland made of felt balls or pompoms.  I made this garland with felt balls from Hello Maypole.  They have a great selection of colors.

For info on sources and more pics of Jack's nursery check out this old post here!

post signature

Running Q&A

January 23, 2017

Running is my favorite form of exercise for a number of reasons. It's affordable because all you really need is a pair of running shoes, it a quick way to burns lots of calories, you can do it almost anywhere in the world, and it's a great activity to do with your spouse, kids, parents, siblings, friends, etc. I recently received a note from a childhood friend who was an amazing soccer player growing up but she just signed up for her first half marathon and has never really tried distance running before. She's a single mom with a young son and she had a few questions about running and it meant a lot to me that she turned to me for advice. We both decided that these questions are probably questions that other new runners have, so I turned it into a Q&A blog post. If you have any other questions, or if my answers just confused you more, feel free to shoot me an email at katie@lifewithadashofwhimsy.com. And if you want to see past running posts just search "running" in the search block to the right.

Q1. When you train are you always outside or always inside, and does it matter? I have mostly been going to the YMCA since I can put my son in a playroom and run on the treadmill, but I find that my runs are VERY different on a treadmill. While they are the same distance, I tend to go up and down with my speeds a lot, and also I tend to be faster and more tired from these workouts. When I run outside (without my son, which is rare) I have a steady pace and just kinda go… What’s your experience? Do you find that it’s harder to run outside if you mostly train on a treadmill? Or is it good to mix it up?

A1.  I'm the exact same way!  I almost always run faster on the treadmill than I do outside (except for when I'm racing).  I often adjust the speed every .1 miles to get my heart rate up and then to recover after each sprint.  It makes the run go by faster when you do "speed play," so I think that's why I do it.  I don't think it makes running outside harder, I just think it's different.  I think it's good to mix it up if you can, but either way you'll be surprised with yourself when it comes to race day!

Q2. On that same note, with my treadmill runs, I’ve really been enjoying interval workouts (the kind where it’s like "set the machine on 6 for two minutes, then go to 8 for 30 seconds, recover with 1 min at 5, etc"). Is this a good tactic for training or should I be trying to focus on getting a steady pace for a long time? Does it matter? I just mix it up to get my heart rate up and also to not get bored.

A2.  I am a BIG believer in interval workouts on the treadmill.  I think it's a wonderful way to ensure you don't get bored and it's a wonderful way to rev that metabolism and get your heart rate up.  When I started running again 6 weeks after having Jack I did all of my running on the treadmill because it was winter and because I couldn't run with Jack yet.  I did intervals on almost every run.  My favorite thing to do is warm up for about 5 minutes at a moderate pace and then run .1 miles at 6mph, .1 miles at 8mph, .1 at 6.1mph, .1 at 7.9mph, etc. working back and forth until you meet in the middle.  Then I'll jog slowly until I feel like I'm recovered and will do it again.  If you're more of a beginner then just do the same thing but at a lower speed.  Even little "pick ups" of a tenth of a mile can really help build your endurance and your speed.

Q3. Speaking of boring, do you have any tips or tricks for this? Obviously music is key, but I even sometimes find myself over that. I think runs outside definitely help… maybe I should try a podcast or something.

A3.  I have always listened to music when I run but for this past marathon I started listening to podcasts and I loved it!  I listened to Young House Love Has a Podcast, which is a husband and wife blogging team and they're funny and quirky and talk about design and DIY.  I highly recommend it.  I quit listening to music while running with Jack just so that I can be more aware, and then listened to podcasts on my long runs when I ran by myself.  On the day of the race I listened to music and it was a really nice treat because I hadn't heard all my usual songs in a few weeks!

Q4. This is a doozy: I love running outside but when I do I usually have to push my son. He is so heavy… 45lbs to be exact…I have been finding that pushing him combined with the Atlanta hills has doubled the exertion for the same distance for outside runs… Do you have the same experience, and what do you do? Sometimes I feel like perhaps I could cut a scheduled run down a bit if I’m pushing him, but that feels like cheating in my over analyzing ex-athlete mind. Thoughts? Would you ever feel like runs are like TWICE as difficult when you’re pushing Jack?

A4.  Running with a stroller is such a great workout!  I feel like it really revs my metabolism and I did the majority of my week day training runs with Jack.  My runs were much slower than they would have been if I had run by myself, but in the end I think the strength training aspect of stroller jogging helped compensate for my lack of speed work.  I also tried to run the distance that was on my training schedule but I often cut it short due to time requirements or because running with a stroller really is a strenuous workout.  I was only 3 minutes off of my best ever marathon time and this race was crazy hilly, so I think all in all it's ok to occasionally skimp a little on the distance when you're running with a stroller.

Q5. How often are you strength training? Does it make a difference?

A5.  To be honest, I didn't do much strength training for this race.  We moved across the country, I had to "play Army" for a few weeks, and Jack learned to crawl and then walk all while I was training for my marathon, so I was really distracted and focused primarily on running.  I think 2 or 3 30 minute workouts a week is plenty, and I didn't even do that.  I did go to hour long physical therapy sessions twice a week for the last 2 months of training so there was some strength and core training involved in that, but I really didn't do a great job of fitting it in.  A strong core and upper body does help with running, especially towards the end of the race when fatigue sets in and you start to lose your form, so if you can fit it in a couple times a week that would be great!  I almost always use the Nike Training Club app when I do strength training and it really helped get me back into shape after having Jack.   

Q6. How big of a difference do shoes make? I have crappy ones now and am thinking of investing but a lot of “good” running shoes are pricey so I just wonder if it really is worth it or not to splurge.

A6.  I don't think you need to splurge on expensive shoes.  The pair I trained in and race it was from the New Balance outlet store and cost about $60, if that.  I know that I like light shoes with minimal bulk so I've been able to find pairs that fit those specifications.  For a while I did wear a $100 pair of shoes but they stopped making that kind and I gave the outlet store pair a shot and was pleasantly surprised.  Quality shoes are important, but I don't think they necessarily have to be crazy expensive.  Just make sure they're real running shoes, and not just "trainers."

Q7. Diet- I know eating balanced helps to make runs easier and just help me to feel better overall, but does your diet change on “long run” days? I know I’m going to be more starving than normal.

A7. On long run days I'll eat a piece of toast with some peanut butter on it before my run, and then I'll have a big breakfast with waffles, bacon and eggs after the run. Running does make me hungrier than normal but I tend to try to eat healthful foods that fill me up. I eat chickpeas very often and those are a great source of protein and fiber. I eat lots of Greek yogurt for protein and I top it with walnuts and fruit. I also eat a lot of cereal. For some reason that's my "go to" when I'm starving at the end of the day and want one more thing to eat before bed. Lean meats, lots of veggies, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes...these are some of my favorite things to eat and they really do help fill you up. I definitely splurge often (ice cream and chips with guacamole are two of my weakness) but as my mom always says, "everything in moderation."

Q8. Do you ever walk? I feel (back to that ex-athlete thing) that when I walk I’m a quitter… and I know it’s so mental and perhaps not even necessary. I’m just curious to whether you ever do take a moment to walk through any of your training runs?

A8.  Yep.  Sometimes I just am not feeling a run so I'll take a walk break.  Sometimes I'll randomly get a breathing cramp that won't go away, so I'll talk a walk break.  It's important to listen to your body if you're too uncomfortable.  I'd say that I only stop to walk on 5% of my runs though, and unless you're a true beginner you shouldn't be walking too much.  On race day I never walk, except at water points so that I can actually get water or gatorade into my mouth.

Q9. Do you ever break up the runs? I think I’m asking this because in my mind at the moment I feel very intimidated by a long run over 6 currently. BUT I do feel like I could, for instance, totally do two runs of 4 miles in a day (morning/evening) and feel just fine about it- is that defeating the purpose? Have you ever broken them up to get your miles in?

A9. I sure do! If you break it up you'll likely feel fresher for your second "leg" so you can probably run a little faster than you would have if you had run it all at the same time. It's important to complete your long runs all at one time so that mentally you know you can do it on race day, but if you need to break up the shorter runs occasionally don't feel bad about it. You're still getting your mileage in! I did this on a few of my 6 or 8 milers because I didn't have enough time to do it all in one shot.

Well I hope you all enjoyed this little Q&A on running.  If you like fitness posts please let me know in the comments and I'll try to do them more often.  All of your comments and feedback are appreciated more than you know!

post signature