DIY Pom Pom Lamp Shade

October 17, 2017

Here is a sneak peek at one little corner of Caroline's nursery.  I bought this pineapple lamp about 6 months ago and knew immediately that it would go well in her room.  While it was super cute on it's own I thought it would be even cuter with some pom poms on the lamp shade.  

I bought a bunch of pom pom trim at Hobby Lobby before we moved to Hawaii and I decided it was finally time to use it.  I was able to find my stash of hot glue sticks but never found my hot glue gun so I resorted to using permanent glue dots, which worked well but hot glue would have been better.  Basically all I did was put glue dots all around the lower outside edge of the lampshade and then attached the trim and cut it down to size at the end.  Such a simple DIY but it's a great way to jazz up a plain ole lampshade.  Stay tuned for a full nursery reveal in the coming weeks!

lamp | gold pig bookends (old from CB2) | bookcase (vintage, this is similar though) | custom drapes (c/o Carousel Designs.  Fabric is Pink Primrose with Orchid trim) | pink shoes | Pantone color cards | white picture frames

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Caroline's Birth Story

October 12, 2017

Caroline Henley Vail entered the world on September 4, 2017, which just so happened to be Labor Day.  She was 3 days late, which threw me for a loop because Jack was born right on his due date.  I never shared Jack's birth story on the blog, so I'll share a few details on that experience now.  

With Jack, my water broke around 9:30PM the day before he was due, so we headed into the hospital where I expected to have a normal birthing experience.  My plan had been to have a natural, unmedicated birth, but after being up all day and most of the night, and because of the strong, relentless contractions I finally broke down and got an epidural in the early morning hours.  The epidural enabled me to get a little bit of rest, but shortly after receiving it Jack's heart rate started to drop at the end of each contraction.  They attached a fetal heart rate monitor to his scalp and they kept making me switch from side to side in the bed.  They finally gave me something to make my contractions slow down, but it still didn't help Jack's heart rate.  Walter Reed-Bethesda is a military teaching hospital that is co-located with the military's medical school, so there were lots of doctors, medical students and residents in and out of the room the entire time.  It was scary because they were all talking amongst themselves, yet Tom and I were kind of left in the dark.  It seemed like over the course of a few hours I had 10 different people shove their hands inside me, and it was all really overwhelming.  Eventually a doctor told me that I could keep laboring but Jack would probably be too weak to go through a vaginal birth, or I could go ahead an have a C-section.  Having a C-section never crossed my mind, so being presented with this choice (or lack there of) was very difficult.  Through my tears I finally decided to go ahead and have the C-section.  I don't think I even made it past 6 cm dilated.  At 7:25AM on November 2, 2015 Jackson Robert Vail was born.  He weighed 8 pounds 14 ounces and was much larger than I had expected!  The birthing experience really shook me up and I didn't want to hold him at first.  I was shaking uncontrollably and the thought of having to take care of a little baby was terrifying.  I finally got to hold him though, and once I did I completely fell in love with my sweet baby boy.   

After the traumatic experience with Jack and the painful C-section recovery I decided to try for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) with Caroline.  The fear of the unknown was present, but I knew it must be better than a C-section, although I often wondered if I was making the right decision.  I was given an 80% chance of having a successful VBAC (they come up with the percentage based on a number of variables), and a 20% chance of it turning into a repeat C-section.  I figured with those odds it was worth a shot.  

On September 3rd, two days past her due date, I decided it was finally time to try some of the labor inducing tricks that I hadn't tried yet so I took an evening primrose oil pill, drank raspberry leaf tea, and got acupuncture.  That evening we walked 2 miles and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the ocean.  I finally went to bed around 9:45, only to be awoken by the feeling of my water breaking around 10:40 PM.  My water broke with Jack so I was pretty confident that I knew what had just happened and I knew that things would start happening pretty quickly.  I got up and went to the bathroom, changed my underwear and put on a pad and then decided to get back in bed and try to sleep a little before waking Tom up to go to the hospital.  I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for months and wasn't feeling any real contractions yet, so I figured it was best to try to rest.  Well, that lasted about 30 minutes before I could tell that mild contractions were starting.  I woke Tom up, we packed up a few things we hadn't packed yet, told my Dad that we were heading to the hospital (he was staying with us so that he could watch Jack once I went into labor), and we were on the road just after midnight on September 4th.

When we got to the hospital the nurse wanted to test my pad to check for amniotic fluid.  The pad was so absorbent that it tested negative, so they told me that my water hadn't actually broken, and that it must have just been cervical mucus.  (Had I known they were going to do a test then I would have brought the underwear I was wearing when it happened because they were soaked...).  Next they did a pelvic exam with a speculum, an ultrasound checking for fluid levels, and they monitored the baby for 20 minutes.  After all of that they decided that I should go home and come back once contractions were regular (we live 30 minutes from the hospital when there isn't any traffic and I thought that was a bad idea).  The doctor told me to get dressed, so I did, but something in my gut told me that we shouldn't leave.  He even left and scheduled me for an induction for 4 days later...something I thought was insane because I knew I was having the baby that day!  Right before we walked out the door I asked if he could just check to see if my body was making any progress.  I got undressed again and the doctor checked my cervix, and I was dilated to 4 cm.  Unfortunately, I had never been checked before so he didn't know if I had been that way for weeks, or if it had happened recently.  They said that I could walk around for 2 hours and come back and get checked again, or I could go home and come back later.  We decided to walk, so we walked laps around the outside of Tripler Army Medical Center (a giant hospital on a hill) from 2:30 AM to almost 4:30 AM.  As we walked my contractions got stronger and stronger, and I decided I couldn't quite make it the full 2 hours so we went back in to get checked.  I was at 5 cm now and my contractions were very strong and close together so they decided to admit me.  I waited in triage for what seemed like hours because all the doctors (including the anesthesiologist) had just gone in for an emergency C-section.  I finally was admitted to Labor & Delivery around 6 AM and had to wait to get an epidural because the anesthesiologist was still in the operating room.  They gave me some medicine through the IV to take the edge off a little bit, and then I got the epidural around 6:30 AM (I applaud all of you who can deliver without one, because those things are a miracle!).  A doctor came and checked my progress again and said that even though my first delivery was a C-section my cervix was acting like it had delivered a baby before, so I had progressed from 5 to 7 cm while he was checking me.  

Shift change happened right after I received the epidural, and I was able to rest for about 45 minutes and then Caroline's heart rate started dropping.  I told them that I could feel her coming and had so much pressure down below that I had to lie with my legs apart.  They could tell that there must be pressure on the umbilical cord and time was of the essence so I had to start pushing immediately.  I never even got to the pushing stage with Jack, so all of this was new territory for me and I was surprised everything was happening so quickly.  I pushed 4 times and suddenly I had a baby girl in my arms!  It wasn't even 8 AM yet.  She was bright blue and wasn't making much noise though, so she got taken from me pretty quickly so that they could clear out her lungs.  The delivery happened so quickly that all the fluids hadn't been squeezed out of her lungs like they normally are during the birthing process.  A bunch of doctors worked on her for 15 minutes and it was so scary because I didn't know what was going on or if she would be ok.  Finally they got her cleared out enough and they gave her the vitamin K shot which caused her to cry and fully cleared out her lungs.  Pretty soon she was in my arms and she latched immediately when I tried to nurse her.  She weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces and was 20.5 inches long when she was born, and we couldn't get over how much she looked like her big brother!   

The birth was such a whirlwind, and from the time I was admitted to the time Caroline was born only about 2 hours had passed.  The nurses and doctors were amazing from start to finish, and the whole experience was very healing, especially after Jack's traumatic birth.  I never knew that birthing a baby would be empowering, but it truly was with our Caroline.  We left the hospital just 26 hours after she was born, and now we have the sweetest baby girl in the world.

All photos are by Cait Schlabach Photography.  If you live in Hawaii and need photos taken look Cait up because she's extremely talented and wonderful to work with!  Oh and stay tuned for more photos from our newborn/family shoot :)

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Tassel Hem Top and Statement Earrings

October 9, 2017

top: c/o Sail to Sable | shorts (maternity) | earrings: c/o Brynn Hudson | sandals

If I had to choose a color combo to live in for the rest of my life I'd absolutely choose navy and white.  It's such a classic combo that works all year round!  Since we live out here in Hawaii I'm still wearing white shorts, but this adorable swiss dot tassel hem top from Sail to Sable would look so cute for fall with some white jeans, a pair of tan booties and a blazer.  I finished off the look with a pair of statement earrings from Brynn Hudson Jewelry, which is a small business owned by Brynn Hudson, who is a female entrepreneur (and mom) who designed her first necklace with versatility in mind.  All of her jewelry can be dressed up or down, which is great because you can wear it with anything!  (I love this gorgeous gold gumball necklace but I know that my days of chunky necklaces are over for a while since I have a newborn at home).

I'm still wearing maternity shorts and am nursing so I'm limited in what tops I can wear most of the time, but gosh it is so nice to be able to wear normal clothes again!  I have a ways to go before I'm back to normal, but I kind of enjoy the whole getting-back-in-shape-after-a-baby-thing and I can't wait to start working out again next week.  Pregnancy is such a miraculous thing and I'm still in awe of what the female body can do.

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DIY Faux Marble Nightstand Top

October 4, 2017

nightstand (similar) | brass pineapple (similar) | lamp (similar) | wood plant pot (similar)

Here is a super easy DIY for you that came to life out of necessity.  When we moved from Maryland to Kansas in July of 2016 the movers packed up my beloved mirrored nightstand without removing the mirrored top.  I don't think they realized that it wasn't attached and I forgot to let them somewhere between being packed up in Maryland and unpacked in Kansas the mirror broke and no one ever told us.  When the nightstand was placed in our bedroom the mirrored top was completely missing and I never did a claim for it because I forgot, and I never got new mirror cut because the shape is a little funky and I wasn't even sure where to begin since the nightstand wouldn't fit in my little sedan.  Fast forward a year and we are living in Hawaii and the nightstand is still missing it's top.  Then it finally dawned on me: I could create one myself!  

Here is what the nightstand has looked like this past year:

I pretty much just plopped a lamp on the top and decided to ignore the problem.

The first thing I did was go to an office supply store and buy a single piece of foam board.  They're in the poster board section and are only a few dollars.

Next, I bought this white marbled Con-Tact paper.

Then I went home, placed the foam board on top of the nightstand and used a pencil and an x-acto knife to cut the foam board down to size.  Here is a photo of the foam board after I cut it:

Finally, I wrapped the top and sides of the foam board in one piece of the Con-Tact paper, making sure to smooth it out well so that no air bubbles got trapped.  Then I placed the "marble" table top into it's spot on the nightstand.

Here is what it looks like now!

We are using it on Tom's side of the bed, which is why I placed a wedding photo of me on it :)  It's hard to even tell that it's not real marble!  And the whole project cost me about $10.  Sure, it's not as durable as a real piece of marble but it certainly does the job and looks so much better than it did before.

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Mommy Monday: Fashionable Fleece

October 2, 2017

Can you believe it's October already?  I can't, probably because this is our first fall back in Hawaii and it feels like summer year round here.  While summer is my favorite season and I am so happy to be living in paradise, I am a tad envious of all the fall fashion, PSLs and colorful leaves that I've been seeing on Instagram lately.  For today's Mommy Monday post (my first fashion post after having a baby 4 weeks ago...definitely still rocking the maternity shorts and wearing this amazing postpartum corset) I'm sharing a sister-owned company whose goal was to use fleece in a fashionable way.  Dudley Stephens creates stylish silhouettes using comfy and warm fleece...and y'all, this line has me wishing we had fall here.

I'm wearing their only short-sleeved item, which is now sold out unfortunately (I figured anything long-sleeved would look out of place in Hawaii), but if I were back on the mainland right now I'd definitely be wearing their cobble hill turtleneck, the Smith Jacket, or the Remsen Blazer.  It's like the best of both worlds: super comfy, soft and durable yet also really stylish!  

Be sure to check out my Mommy Monday gals who are also sharing their favorite Dudley Stephens pieces!  They all live in places that actually have fall so you'll get a better idea of how adorable this company is :)

Mireille at City Peach

Tiffany at Tiffany Style Blog

Ali at Inspired By...

Nina at The HSS Feed

top: c/o Dudley Stephens | wedges | shorts (maternity)

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Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara: Guest Post by Claire Dieterich

September 27, 2017

 Hi everyone! It's Claire from For the Love of Gourmet and I'm back with another recipe! The first recipe I guest posted here was a tomato and peach salad that is easy and absolutely delicious. I'm so happy to be back on Life with a Dash of Whimsy with another recipe! If you head over to my blog, you can see that I'm a big fan of easy dishes that seem like might be more complicated to make. You can also see that I'm a big fan of pasta! I have quite a few pasta recipes on my blog and they're all simple and delicious, easy enough for a weeknight but fancy enough to serve guests.

This roasted cauliflower carbonara is no exception. Cauliflower is hit or miss in our house. I love it, along with our 8 month old, Easton. My husband is not a fan, and our 2 1/2 year old, Lleyton, gives it the side eye until he sees me take a bite. Then maybe he'll take 1-2 bites of it. Thankfully our toddler is a pretty good eater and this is one of the only vegetables he doesn't like. I made this recipe and everyone gobbled it up! Poor little Easton just had some plain cauliflower puree, but he seemed to enjoy himself :)

A lot of people may think that they don't like a certain vegetable: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus seem to fall into the "dislike" category. To those people, I encourage you to try them roasted! Drizzling them with olive oil, sprinkling with salt and pepper, maybe some chili powder or garlic, and roasted in the oven truly brings out the flavor in a much more tasty way. For Lleyton, I will chop up a pan of vegetables for him and roast them at the start of the week to have with lunch or dinner. As a busy mom of two, that prep work ensures that I have something healthy to give him when we're rushed for lunch or dinner, and I know it's something that he'll eat! Roast those veggies! 

My one extra tip before you dive into this easy recipe is regarding the addition of the beaten eggs. Make sure that the pot is on LOW heat and that you are stirring the pasta as you add it. Otherwise you will end up with scrambled eggs in your pasta! Enjoy! p.s. Thank you to Katie for having me guest post on your blog. It has been so fun for me to post on the blog of someone I truly admire and respect!

Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara

Cuisine: Pasta
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings


  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 6 slices bacon, cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut cauliflower into small florets. Drizzle with 3 tbsp. of the olive oil and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Toss with hands to coat and bake for 20-25 minutes until tender and golden brown.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Set aside.
  4. In the same pot, add bacon and cook until browned. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent.
  5. Return pasta to pot and mix to coat. Turn heat to low, and while tossing the pasta, add in beaten eggs. Continue to stir until eggs are fully cooked. This will only take a few minutes and you will notice the pasta becoming less slippery and more difficult to mix as the eggs cook.
  6. Remove from heat and mix in parmesan cheese.
  7. Serve topped with fresh ground black pepper, enjoy!

If you've enjoyed Claire's recipes then be sure to check out her blog, For the Love of Gourmet, and follow her on Instagram!

Vintage Vanity/Nightstand

September 25, 2017

acrylic jewelry/makeup box | candle (mokara scent) | necklace holder (similar) | lamp (similar) | mirror (similar) | perfume | vanity stool | silver tray (similar) 

I've always wanted a feminine little spot where I can apply my makeup and put on jewelry, and I finally have one!  Not that I wear a ton of makeup here in Hawaii or wear more than simple studs on most days...but it's still nice to have a usable vanity.  Our master bedroom isn't huge so I decided to place the vanity that I found back in Maryland (you can see my DIY makeover here) next to my bed where it also doubles as a nightstand.  I hung the vintage faux bamboo mirror that I found at a flea market a few years ago over the vanity (I recently painted it gold and it looks so much better than the distressed gold it was before) and I added the vanity stool that I reupholstered recently too (see post here).

I've organized my most-worn jewelry in a handy acrylic box, and I've corralled my perfume in a vintage silver tray.  I topped it off with my favorite candle, a little lamp, and a photo of my sweet hubby in front of the Eiffel Tower.  On a nearby wall I hammered in a few nails and hung up all my straw hats.  I love having a functional spot for them, and Jack likes stealing them off the wall.  Win win?

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