On My Mind Lately

August 18, 2017

Happy Friday!  I'm officially 38 weeks pregnant today and it's hard to believe that we will meet our baby girl in (hopefully) the next 14 days.  My dad arrives on Sunday and he will be with us for the next month.  It'll be tight quarters for a while but I am excited for him to get here!  He and my mom were originally going to fly to Hawaii in mid-September but we realized that the logistics of getting someone to watch your child when you go into labor is pretty daunting when you live on the other side of the world, so we needed some help.  Thankfully he's up for the challenge so he changed his arrival flight to get here before the baby is born.  Mom will get here in the middle of September once she gets a break from teaching and then they will head home together.  Living so far from family is tough and I'm glad that they will be able to meet their granddaughter so soon after she is born.

Here are a few random things that have been on my mind or caught my attention lately:

New Coffee Mug:  I just bought this mug at Anthropologie (pictured above with my plants that are actually still alive!) and it's my new favorite (it was on clearance at my store, not sure why it isn't online).  I love the pink to white ombré and the gold rim at the top.  I've been washing it in the dishwasher too and the rim hasn't faded at all.

Beautycounter:  Who here has used Beautycounter products?  I am not into direct sales and normally immediately shut down whenever anyone approaches me about them.  A friend of mine who is a new momma is a Beautycounter rep though, and she sent me some products recently that I started trying this week.  I'd love to hear thoughts from any of you who use the brand.  Do the products actually work?  Is it worth the price?  Which products would you recommend?  Is there anything I can use while nursing that will make my melasma spots fade?  My tendency is to be skeptical when anyone tries to sell me something, but if they're safe and actually work then I may be willing to give them a shot.  Verdict is still out though, so let me know your thoughts!

Call the Midwife:  Have any of you gotten into this show on Netflix?  Call the Midwife is a BBC show set in London in the late 1950s and it follows midwives as they help deliver babies in a really poor neighborhood.  It's an amazing show based off of a woman's memoirs (I end up happy and sad crying almost every episode) and even though it kind of makes me have sympathetic Braxton-Hicks contractions I can't stop watching it.  I don't know if it's making me more anxious about giving birth or not, but it captures the raw beauty of motherhood and childbirth and is totally worth watching if you're looking for a new show to binge watch!

Banana Almond Butter Muffins:  Jack is such a picky eater and the only way I can get him to eat most fruits or vegetables is if I sneak them into muffins.  I recently tried a recipe for banana almond butter muffins that I got from the blog For the Love of Gourmet.  Jack devoured them and I couldn't stop eating them either!  Claire Dieterich writes the blog and she's a momma, an ultra marathon runner, she's a fellow West Point grad and I'm excited that she has agreed to write two guest blog posts for me while I'm on maternity leave!  The two recipes she will be sharing on Life with a Dash of Whimsy look absolutely delicious and I can't wait to try them out and share them with you too.

Costco:  This week we decided to join Costco because the commissary (military grocery store) is far away and is always crowded, and the local grocery stores are really expensive.  I had my first trip a few days ago and we went a little bit crazy.  I now have 5 sticks of deodorant that will last me the next year, but by golly I got them for a great price.  In all seriousness though, shopping at Costco is going to require me to do some serious meal planning so that we don't waste food, and I'm actually kind of excited about it.  I'm sure once baby girl is born I'll be thrown for a loop, but for now I'm thinking of it as a way to be creative, save money, and create evenings that are a little less hectic.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  
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Beach House DIY: Painting Kitchen Cabinets

August 14, 2017

This summer I was fortunate enough to spend a few weeks at the family beach house on Fripp Island, SC.  We bought the house fully furnished almost 3 years ago and have slowly tackled some of the smaller projects.  You can see all of the before pictures here, a post on outdoor curtains here, a mirror painting project here, a bedroom transformation here, and a painting failure of the other bedroom here.  I've wanted to paint the kitchen cabinets since the very beginning but we put it off because it sounded like a lot of work.  Turns out, it IS a lot of work!  It made a huge difference though and I'm so glad we finally did it.  Here are a few photos of what the kitchen looked like when we bought it:

One thing we did a few years ago was knock down the tiny kitchen peninsula/bar thing that was so narrow that it was not functional at all (you can see it behind the couch at the right of the kitchen).  You could hardly fit a full sized plate on it, and if you had more than one person in the kitchen the person at the stove would get blocked in.  My uncle is a contractor so when he installed the bamboo floors he also took down the bar.  We replaced it with a kitchen island from IKEA.  We are obsessed with this piece because it provides so much work space, a place for two bar stools, storage down below, and the flow of the kitchen is much more functional now.  Plus it's only $399 which is a great price for such a sturdy, functional piece.  Here is what the kitchen looked like right before we painted the cabinets (after doing a few projects over the past 3 years):

Replacing the green formica counter tops is next on the list, but they will have to wait for another day once we save up money and decide what we'd like to replace them with.  (Contemplating quartz, butcher block or cement.)  I saw this DIY on Young House Love where they cemented over laminate countertops and it looks like a cheap and relatively painless option, so we may go that route.  

Painting the cabinets took 2 days for my mom and me to work on, and here is the step by step process that we used:

1.  Remove all knobs/hardware.  

2.  Clean everything really well.  We used 409 Multi-Surface Cleanser and a whole lot of elbow grease.  You want to make sure all the kitchen grime and dust is gone.    

3.  Remove all of the cabinet doors and drawers.  We kept the hinges on the doors because they were on the inside and we only painted the sides and front of the doors.

4.  Sand everything with course grit sand paper (we used 60 grit).  This removes the top layer on your cabinets and roughs it up.  My mom sanded all of the doors and drawers outside and I sanded all of the cabinets in the kitchen.

5.  Next, sand everything with fine grit sand paper (220 grit works well).  You want it to be nice and smooth because you'll be painting soon!

6.  Wipe everything down with tack cloth.  These will make your hands sticky but they remove all the little particles and work like a charm!  This was my first time using them and they're awesome and I'll use them on all my sanding/painting projects in the future.

7.  Time to paint!  I didn't want to prime and always have a difficult time choosing what kind of paint to use because there are way too many options.  I am more comfortable with spray paint but obviously couldn't use that in a kitchen.  I settled on Sherwin Williams Infinity Interior Satin paint in Pure White.  We used small rollers and trays for pretty much everything but used an angled brush on hard to reach corners and the edges.  I had hoped that a quart would be enough for our small kitchen but it was not.  We had to go back out and buy another quart to finish up the last few doors.

Here is the technique that we used, which may sound weird but it made sense for our situation (no place to let 37 doors and drawers fully dry plus a curious toddler on the loose).  While I painted the cabinets on the wall in the kitchen my mom painted the exterior sides of the doors that had the hinges on them (the side that would be impossible to paint well if the doors were hanging).  Once we let the paint dry for about 4 hours we applied another coat to these same surfaces.  Once they were dry we attached the doors to the cabinets and put the drawers back in.  Next, we painted the top, bottom and remaining side that had yet to be painted, as well as the front of all of the doors and drawers.  We kept everything open so that things wouldn't stick together.  After the first coat dried for about 4 hours we applied a second coat.  

8.  After the paint dried we attached all of the new knobs.  The previous knobs were shiny brass (the kind popular in the mid 1990s when the house was built) but the top layer had worn off and they looked really bad.  Our new refrigerator is stainless steel (we had to replace the old one because the water line to the ice maker leaked and damaged our wall and floor...which is why the floors are now hardwood rather than carpet/tile) so we decided to continue with that color scheme.  We chose the second cheapest knobs they sold at Lowe's (the cost adds up when you have nearly 40 knobs to replace) and even though they are simple they look a million times better.

It's amazing what a little paint can do, isn't it?  

The robe I'm wearing in these photos is a delivery/nursing robe from Pinkblush Maternity and I've worn it all pregnancy and plan on bringing it to the hospital with me when I go into labor.  It's really comfy and I love all the different patterns they offer.  If you're looking for a cute lightweight robe or any stylish (yet affordable) maternity clothing then be sure to check out Pinkblush Maternity!


robe: c/o Pinkblush Maternity | bar stools (similar cheaper ones here) | island (similar one with hidden storage here) | silver vase (similar) | glass turquoise bowl (similar here and here) | colorful string lights | driftwood garland (similar) | pineapple jars (mine were a DIY you can see here but these are similar) | sea fans (similar

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Mommy Monday: Floral vfish Dress

August 7, 2017

outfit details:
dress: c/o vfish | sandals (only $19.50!)

It's Mommy Monday here again and I'm so excited to share another woman-owned small business with you!  This dress I'm wearing is from vfish, which is a Chicago-based design company that makes the prettiest dresses.  I'm wearing one of their best sellers (the Sharon) and it's non-maternity and so soft and comfy!  I wore it this past weekend to a Jack Johnson concert in Waikiki and it was the perfect dress for a warm Hawaiian evening.  A sweet new friend watched Jack for us and it was nice to have one last date night before baby girl is born in a few short weeks.  Before the concert we had appetizers at The Laylow, which is a new boutique hotel in Waikiki that is full of amazing mid-century styled goodness.  There was a rooftop restaurant with fire pits and sandy floors, hanging chairs, lush plants and a beautiful bar that I will certainly enjoy the next time I go :)  I've included a few photos I took while wandering around, as well as a photo taken at the concert.  It was amazing listening to Jack Johnson play while looking at a nearly full moon rise over Diamond Head.  It was certainly the perfect date night!

Be sure to check out the blogs of my fellow Mommy Monday girls to see how they style their vfish clothing!

Mireille at City Peach
Nina at The HSS Feed
Tiffany at Tiffany Style Blog
Ali at Inspired By...

Also, I'm excited to announce that we've teamed up with vfish to give one reader a dress of their choice!  All you have to do is click the link below and enter via Rafflecopter and we will pick the winner on Friday.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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On My Mind Lately

July 21, 2017

Aloha and happy Friday!  Today is the day I've been waiting for...our household goods are being delivered!  I'm excited to: sleep in a real bed, decorate baby girl's nursery, sit on a sofa in the living room rather than a beach chair, enjoy our lanai while sitting on something other than the concrete slab, cook a meal with more than one pot, and much much more.  I'll share updates on Instagram and will try to do a progress blog post or 2 here on the blog too.  I have a few design/functionality challenges that I'm not quite sure what to do with, so I may need your help!  

Here are a few other things that have been on my mind or caught my eye lately:

Extraordinary Moms Podcast Episode 108: Making Mom Friends:  It's easy to make friends as a kid but a bit more difficult once you're an adult.  I'm not overly outgoing but have learned that you need to be willing to put yourself out there as an adult if you don't want to remain friendless in a new place.  I listened to this episode of the Extraordinary Moms Podcast a few days ago and it shared some great ways to make friends as a mom (Jessica, the host, is a military wife so that's pretty neat too).  We are living in a new place and I'm on the hunt for friends, so this one really hit home.

The recent Oh Joy! Nursery and Baby Clothing release:  I love following blogger/designer Oh Joy! on Instagram and she recently released a new line of nursery items and baby clothing at Target.  I tried to order this adorable Oh Joy! x Milk Snob nursing cover/carseat cover but for some reason they won't deliver it to Hawaii.  Luckily, my friend Kady must have read my mind because she just told me she ordered it for me!  I also love this pink floral crib sheet and this pair of baby bath towels.

Serena & Lily Outdoor Items:  I've known about Serena & Lily for a few years now but have never bought anything before because it's a bit pricy for me.  They're known for classic/preppy decor (think lots of stripes, bistro chairs, tassels, etc.) and their outdoor items have me drooling.  I'm eyeing this striped outdoor ottoman (or this striped floor pillow) and this outdoor throw pillow, and I'm hoping they will go on sale at the end of the summer so I can scoop them up.

DIY Headboards:  Has anyone ever made their own headboard?  We don't have a headboard and I really want one...yet I'm not about to spend the money it costs to buy one (plus we'd also have to rent a truck to get it home).  I'd love a tufted fabric headboard and there are so many DIYs on Pinterest that it's a bit overwhelming.  Anyone have a good tutorial they can share with me?

Paradise Cove Luau:  Last Saturday we decided to go to the Paradise Cove Luau as a touristy way to welcome ourselves to the island.  (The photo above was taken right before we walked over from our house.)  We had a fun time, the food was tasty, the dancers were great, and Jack had fun running around (although he was a bit too young/energetic to sit and truly enjoy the show).  If you visit Oahu and want to go to a luau, I recommend going to this one.  

I hope you all have a great weekend!  

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July Wish List

July 19, 2017
It's well into July already and I'm finally publishing a post I started back in June.  I blame the move but it's probably just a lack of focus.  Anyway, today I've rounded up some of my recent purchases, as well as a few things I have my eye on.  Are any of these things on your wish list too?

Salt Water Sandals:  I bought baby girl a few pairs of these at Moorefield's in Kansas City for a steal of a price, and now I'm realizing that they look great on women too.  (They are made to get wet which is perfect for life in Hawaii.)  I hear the sizing is the same as the Native shoes situation I discuss below so I'm going to try to buy a kids' size (to save money) and see if they work.  I'll keep you posted.  

Palm Print Water Bottle:  I'm probably late to the game on this one, but I bought a S'well bottle a while ago and I'm officially obsessed.  I held out for a long time mostly because they are rather expensive and aren't dishwasher safe, but now I don't think I'll ever use another water bottle that isn't double insulated.  It doesn't "sweat" at all (meaning if you put it in your bag it won't get everything wet as condensation builds up...I HATE that) and it really does keep your drink cold for 24 hours.  I even used it as a coffee thermos when I had Reserve duty before we left Kansas and it can keep hot drinks hot for 12 hours.  (Although cleaning it afterwards is kind of annoying.  Anthropologie also has some double insulated bottles that aren't the S'well brand.  I bought this one because it was on sale for $19.95...it works just as well and is really pretty too. 

Pajama Set:  I just bought these PJs because I love a nice, soft pajama set.  These are super soft and are only $19.99.  I prefer button down tops because they are good for nursing and I know I'll be doing a lot of that pretty soon.

Pink Baseball Cap:  I wear baseball hats almost every time I go outside to protect my face from the sun.  I have a tendency to get melasma when I'm pregnant so baseball caps and sunscreen help keep me from getting crazy spotty.  I bought this hat in this rose color as well as the blush color and they go with pretty much everything since they're simple and have no logos.  They fit really well too.

Stripes and Clementine Swimsuit
:  I have another friend who has this swimsuit from Albion Fit and it's just so cute that I decided to order it too.  I've developed more stretch marks on my lower belly this pregnancy so I'm all about cute one-pieces now (although yes, I will still wear a bikini even with the stretch marks).  I can't wait to get this in the mail!

Platform Espadrilles
:  I've seen these on a few people on Instagram and they look super cute.  Espadrilles never go out of style and the darker color will be great for transitioning to fall.

Native Shoes:  Earlier this spring I bought Jack a pair of knock-off Native Shoes from Target and a pair from Old Navy.  While cute, they got soooo stinky.  He outgrew the Target pair quickly, but still wears the Old Navy pair often.  I bought a real pair of Natives for him a few weeks ago though because I got them for an amazing price at the discount store I recently discovered in Kansas City.  (It's called Moorefield's and the one in Independence, MO is AMAZING...and if you follow me on Instagram you know what I'm talking about because I couldn't help but share the haul I ended up with.)  Jack has a pair of these chartreuse glow in the dark ones (that I've gotten asked a lot about since he started wearing them) and he wears them pretty much every day.  They are a great alternative to Crocs (and about a million times cuter), and are perfect for summer days and splashing in the water.  His look so cute that I just bought a pair for myself.  And guess what, I just found out that kids' sizes are actually on the same scale as men's sizes, so if you're a women's 8 you can wear a size 6 in most kids' shoes (if they're on the same scale).  I bought a pair of the navy blue Jeffersons at Nordstrom in a size "J6" and they fit my size 8 feet perfectly, although I think my right foot is a little wider because I'm pregnant right now and have been walking a lot.  Hopefully it goes back to normal eventually.

Palm Print Swimsuit:  This one-piece from Albion Fit is so gorgeous.  A friend of mine has it and I saw a photo of her in it and had to find out where she bought it.  She says the fit and quality is amazing.  I just ordered it and can't wait to try it out.  The back is lace-up so it says you can adjust it to wear it while you're pregnant.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Bluffworks and A Man About Town

July 17, 2017

Today I'm excited to shake things up a little bit and share a blog post where Tom is the "model."  He says he has never felt so self conscious in his life but I think he did a great job :)  

As you all know, Tom is an Army officer so he wears a uniform most of the time, but he is a bit of a clothes horse when he gets to dress up and wear civilian clothes.  He did a lot of non-uniformed work when we lived DC and he always enjoyed getting to wear "normal grown man clothes" and I always liked seeing him in a blazer and a button down shirt.  One thing that got kind of annoying though was dry cleaning, and I can only imagine how much of a pain it is when you have to get things dry cleaned weekly.

I recently learned about a NYC-based company called Bluffworks and when I told Tom about them he was really interested because the concept behind their clothing is genius.  They create versatile travel clothes designed to go anywhere and still look great.  Tom is wearing their Gramercy travel blazer which is: comfortable, breathable, wrinkle-free, MACHINE WASHABLE, looks like wool, and has 10 pockets!  How amazing is that?  I'm not sure how much traveling Tom will do now the we live in Hawaii, but I know that this will certainly be his go-to blazer because it makes so much sense and looks really nice.  If your husband travels for business a lot or simply wears blazers from time to time, you have got to get him one of these Bluffworks Gramercy blazers.  I checked out all of the pockets and it's pretty cool how they are hidden all over the blazer yet they don't add any bulk.  

For sizing reference, Tom has a slim runner's build and typically wears "slim fit" in most blazers and shirts.  This Bluffworks Gramercy blazer tends to run even more slim than he's used to though so he is wearing his normal size but in the "Classic" fit.  Oh and be sure to use the code below to get 10% off of your Bluffworks purchase!  They sell wrinkle-free pants, shorts and shirts too that all look pretty perfect for traveling or a man on the go.

Thanks to Bluffworks for sending Tom this blazer.  I only work with companies I love that I think you and your family will enjoy too.

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Aloha from Hawaii and A Life Update

July 5, 2017

photos in front of the Royal Hawaiian (the most beautiful hotel ever)

swimsuit (it's non-maternity and it comes in a lemon pattern too) | sunglasses (old but these are the same style and the tortoise shell is really pretty) | Jack's swimsuit (sold out but here and here are some cute options too) | rash guard (similar)

Aloha everyone!  I'm writing this from our hotel room in Waikiki while Jack naps in the stroller and Tom returns a rental car.  Jack fell asleep on the way back to the hotel after playing at the beach for an hour and a half and I'm afraid to try to move him.  Bending over a pack and play is tough when you're 31 weeks pregnant and I know I'd wake him up if I tried!

We have officially been here a week and have crammed a lot in already.  We viewed 2 different homes the day after we got here and are thankful we were able to get the second one we saw.  It's on a different side of the island than I lived last time (and pretty far from the hustle and bustle I love about Honolulu and Waikiki) but I think it will be a perfect fit for our growing family.  It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and is all on one floor, which is a huge help with wild-man Jack and a baby on the way.  There is a beautiful pool in our neighborhood and we can see the ocean from our living room and lanai.  I keep pinching myself over how perfect it is for us.  There is also a community beach and sports club that offers lots of fitness classes (including a Mommy and Me one I fully intend on taking advantage of).  It's half the size of our 115 year old home in Kansas, but the layout and functionality makes a lot more sense so I know it will work well.

pretty scenes along Diamond Head Road

Jack's shoes (we are obsessed with this chartreuse pair and they glow in the dark) | shorts | v-neck tee (similar)

The flight here was a long one...just under 10 hours with no layover, and we had 3 seats in the middle of the airplane.  We have always flown "infant in arms" with Jack but because the government paid for our plane tickets he had his own assigned seat and we decided to install the carseat for him to sit in.  THIS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE!  I had read that toddlers do better when they have their carseat because they understand that when they are buckled in they have to sit and can't get down.  I have to say, this was definitely the case with Jack.  All of Jack's flights after he turned 9 months old have been really hard because he wanted to get down to crawl or walk, but having his carseat made him less restless and more agreeable.  He only slept about 90 minutes and we still had to do laps around the airplane and entertain him with toys, snacks, Moana and Daniel Tiger, but it made the flight much more bearable for all of us.  Not gonna lie though, I'm dreading flying back to the East Coast next summer.  

pics from our day at Waimea Bay on the North Shore

my swimsuit (non-maternity and old but this watermelon print one is the same style) | Jack's swim trunks

Getting Jack used to the 6 hour time difference was a bit rough at first, but I think he's done a great job of adjusting without really understanding what is going on.  We landed at 2 something in the afternoon and just kind of kept moving until it was late enough for us to attempt going to bed (around 6:30 PM).  He woke up twice the first night and decided it was time to start the day at 4 AM, but by night 2 he was sleeping through the night and slept about 15 minutes longer in the morning.  After a week he finally slept until 6:20 AM and I think we are all finally adjusted.

We are still playing the waiting game for our household goods and our cars, so we will be living in a hotel until they arrive and can be delivered.  While juggling naps and early bedtime in a hotel room is tricky with a toddler, we are really enjoying being down in Waikiki.  Lots has changed since we left the island in 2012, and the new International Market Place is pretty impressive.  We've had lots of meals at The Street: a Michael Mina Social House, which is essentially a really cool and delicious food court.  There are all sorts of different "restaurants" inside the restaurant (ramen, Mediterranean, poke bowls, salads, pizza, BBQ, shave ice, burgers, coffee and a few different bars) so the options are endless and the food is amazing.  The best part is that they have a 50% off military discount, so we have definitely been taking advantage of that.  Not sure if it's a limited time thing since they just opened a month ago, but it's really nice that they're offering it, even if it's just temporary.

Jack is such a water baby and he just wants to go straight out into the ocean every time he sees it.  We bought him this float yesterday and it's incredible.  I picked it up at Target for about $16 and he loves the mobility he now has.  He's like a little duck and kicks his feet really fast so he can propel himself around.  We plan on getting him into swim lessons once we're settled, but for now I'm working with him on using his hands and feet and getting used to putting his head under the water.

As far as baby girl goes, I'm 31 weeks pregnant now and she moves more than Jack did...and he moved A LOT.  She often keeps me up at night but all the movement is reassuring.  I've made my first OB appointment here in Hawaii and will be seen at 32 weeks.  It'll be good to see the hospital where she will be born and to meet the midwives and doctors.

Lots going on here but it's all good and we are so happy and thankful and blessed to be here, living our Hawaiian dream!

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