weekend deals

You guys would you believe me if I told you I actually bought some new things? I know, crazyyy. It really has been forever and I am a pretty piss poor fashion blogger. Since I am still on a budget all of these things are on sale or really good deals, so I’m counting it as  weekend deals. Ready for a shopping haul?     

BEAUTY

My friend Kim turned me onto Le Labo and some of the best smelling perfumes/colognes I’ve smelled in years are from there. For Valentine’s Day I got Russ this Discovery Set (it’s $30 and unisex so I suppose it could be for both of us) to try them out and pick his favorite to cash in for a bigger bottle later. Can I just say everyone should be buying gifts at Net-A-Porter. It came wrapped in the most beautiful black box + ribbon and it was free. So far The Noir is his and my favorite. These scents take 2 years to make and are unbelievable!

CLOTHES

This sweatshirt is $10 and my fave language! #cliche. It means stars for those who might not parlez vous. I don’t either. // A maxi dress for Spring and Summer that is so happy it hurts. $30! // Two basic black tees – a muscle tee with a rounded split hem at the back. // Perfect cool girl black tee. 

Tee

I have been so uninspired by the tops I’m seeing in stores right now. But, stripes never fail. Navy Stripe with Red Amour // This one has a longer elastic sleeve. Fits amazing! // Long sleeve, red contrast pocket, so cute. // Girly take on a stripe tee with this flutter detail. // Viscose striped shirt that holds its shape so well. 

Tee

I got these tux trousers that I posted about last week, I love them! They’re such great quality and I love when they have a flat front with elastic waist in the back.

Trousers // Mules

SHOES

I’ve been on the hunt for black mules like this forever, there’s other options on line but for a faux leather I didn’t want to pay too much. These are $23! Also grabbed these platform mules for Summer with dresses and ankle jeans.

Ankle boots are such a staple for me. Year round. These boots haven’t arrived yet but if they’re as a tomato red as they look in the pic we’re going to be inseparable.

Tee

Snakeskin loafers. If I’m not wearing ankle boots I am wearing a loafer or mule. Such a great price on these!

Tee

KIDS

Caught the Spring bug with a few items for the kids like these amazing rubber Birk look alikes. A couple cool graphic shirts since Hayes is growing like a weed. Oh Yeah // Whatever No Way.

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10 things you can do today

I’ve been texting with my friends all morning about safety in schools and guns and reform and mental illness and I am so so tired of doing nothing but be afraid and sad. I think we all know that this epidemic is not any one problem, but many problems. I feel slightly hopeless about congress and politics, but I know I have the power within my own home and at my boys’ school and in my community. So that’s where I am starting. No idea too small!

You guys are always amazing for crowdsourcing ideas so please share. My hope is we can all DO SOMETHING today. Remember Mothers Against Drunk Drivers?  They started back in 1980 and changed history and the laws that keep us safe from drunk driving today. If there’s one thing I know, a bunch of protective moms are more productive and effective than just about anything.

10 Things For Gun Safety at School

Image via Moms Demand Change

THINGS I CAN DO AS A PARENT:

Since this issue is not any one thing but many things, these ideas are covering a large span, bear with me.

  1. Talk to your kids. Not from a place fear, but education. See what they know and think. (Scroll to the bottom for ways to talk all broken down by age!)
  2. Evaluate the games they play and talk to them about what is appropriate in play and real life. I went through and got rid of video games and apps that are violent and use weapons in a real way because I felt like it was right for my boys. Mario Kart for life! 😉
  3. Have a playdate? Tell the parents if you have a gun and let them know it’s in a safe. That makes it really easy for them to return the favor. But if they don’t, ask!
  4. See strange behavior in your kids or your kids’ friends? If I were that mom I would want to know. And if it’s your kid:
  5. Don’t be afraid to get help. We’ve used child therapy and it’s been a great asset for me when I don’t have answers. It’s time to release the taboos about mental illness and to start looking for signs because I know these men in their teens and early twenties became ill long before they hurt someone else.
  6. Know your school’s protocol and drills. Be on the same page with them and your kids. I bet your school has a canned email with info, all you have to do is ask! @jennaskitchen wrote a letter to her principal to get this info and I am sure would send you it if you need the words.
  7. If you have time or resources, offer to help schools in your community. Talk to your principal and see how you can help close gaps on safety. Set up a fundraiser to get others involved (that’s where I am right now, I’ll let you know what happens with it!)
  8. Join groups with other likeminded parents. A text thread, a Facebook group, go to lunch. Start the conversation right now! I know of:
  9. Moms Demand Action (aka EveryTown) sends texts with information to call your congressmen and other events in your area.  I get texts a few times a month, so don’t be afraid of getting overloaded. You can also follow on Facebook and Instagram too! (This is the only one I know of but would love to hear of others!!) They also have calling system in place where you dedicate one hour a week to calling constituents if you want something more active and ongoing.
  10. Find an event in your area, if there’s one thing I know a group of motivated women can change the world. There is NOTHING in 100 mile radius in Utah, locals let’s talk if you are wanting to get something started here. We are contacting Moms Demand Action and are working on this for Utah County!

HOW DO I TALK TO MY KIDS ABOUT THIS?

Create a longstanding ritual of talk-time and turn all the screens off. Family dinner, bedtime, the drive to school, a daily walk, a set night out. Create this practice now and hold tight to it. So when you have something hard to talk to them about it won’t feel out of the blue and create defensiveness. It’s just part of your family culture.

ABOUT VIOLENCE or BULLYING AT SCHOOL:

Sometimes a shooting is way off a child’s radar, but bullying is not. Speak from that perspective if it feels too intense! Tips are taken from this article:

  • Encourage children to talk about their concerns and to express their feelings. Some children may be hesitant to initiate such conversation, so you may want to prompt them by asking if they feel safe at school. When talking with younger children remember to talk on their level. For example, they may not understand the term “violence” but can talk to you about being afraid or a classmate who is mean to them.
  • Talk honestly about your own feelings regarding school violence. It is important for children to recognize they are not dealing with their fears alone.
  • Validate the child’s feelings. Do not minimize a child’s concerns. Let him/her know that serious school violence is not common, which is why these incidents attract so much media attention. Stress that schools are safe places. In fact, recent studies have shown that schools are more secure now than ever before.
  • Empower children to take action regarding school safety. Encourage them to report specific incidents (such as bullying, threats or talk of suicide) and to develop problem solving and conflict resolution skills. Encourage older children to actively participate in student-run anti-violence programs.
  • Discuss the safety procedures that are in place at your child’s school. Explain why visitors sign in at the principal’s office or certain doors remain locked during the school day. Help your child understand that such precautions are in place to ensure his or her safety and stress the importance of adhering to school rules and policies.
  • Create safety plans with your child. Help identify which adults (a friendly secretary, trusted teacher or approachable administrator) your child can talk to if they feel threatened at school. Also ensure that your child knows how to reach you (or another family member or friend) in case of crisis during the school day. Remind your child that they can talk to you anytime they feel threatened.
  • Recognize behavior that may indicate your child is concerned about returning to school. Younger children may react to school violence by not wanting to attend school or participate in school-based activities. Teens and adolescents may minimize their concerns outwardly, but may become argumentative, withdrawn, or allow their school performance to decline.
  • Keep the dialogue going and make school safety a common topic in family discussions rather than just a response to an immediate crisis. Open dialogue will encourage children to share their concerns.
  • Seek help when necessary. If you are worried about a child’s reaction or have ongoing concerns about his/her behavior or emotions, contact a mental health professional at school or at your community mental health center.

ABOUT SCHOOL SHOOTINGS:

Have YOUR reaction away from your child. What you do effects than more than what you say. Talk to them after you’ve collected yourself.

TODAY.COM has an age-by-age guide of what today and video clips! To summarize:

Under 6: Try to focus on the positives, such as the heroes of the story.

Elementary School Age: Decide what you want their take away to be and then work from there. They will see and hear many things out of your control. Feed them with the positive images, stories of heroes and brave acts along the way. Shield them as much as you can from the negative aspects, but encourage a positive narrative of events.

Tweens: See how THEY feel about it first. Focus on the person you are raising rather than the events. Hear how they see and feel and respond and coach them from there.

Teens: “Teenagers are looking for hypocrisy and solutions and this generation believes in collaboration and social justice. And they are going to ask ‘What are you doing,’” she says. “You can answer and then ask ‘what are you doing? What would you like to do? What can we do together?”

ABOUT GUNS:

How to talk to your kids about guns, broken down by age.

This article is really good and specific about how to handle aggression and violent play with boys.

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wallsburg IV

Since our last update, Russ has started and nearly completed sheetrock for the house! It’s been a solid month of full days of hanging, but he’s really close to finishing. Frame BuildWe spent a lot of time up there on this particular day and it was the most peaceful, spiritual experience for me. It is so quiet up there the only thing I could hear was Russ’ music, the boys playing, the occasional screw driver and Raleigh playing with his truck down a ramp. I can’t describe how lucky I feel to be able to create this life with my family. Let’s move already, right?! (His shirt is from this cute shop Worthy Threads!)Frame BuildThere have been some pretty dark days and I know he is so grateful to be nearly done with this part of the build. I am too because my anxiety over his set-up and some of the sketchy stories he brings home have got to stop!Frame Build

The most common question is why the heck he’s doing this alone, so I thought I’d share a bit more about it. He’s had different teams there helping him for the insulation, framing and the structural beam work, which has been great and kept us on schedule. Otherwise he’s done the rest either alone or with 1-2 guys with him. And that is for a few reasons!Frame Build

  1. Finding skilled laborers is SO hard right now! It seems since the Fall things have gotten just insane. You used to be able to go to the parking lot of Home Depot and grab several laborers in the morning out of 100 guys and take them to a job, the last few times Russ went there have been only a handful total.
  2. The demand is so high for new builds that prices have either gone up 50% or doubled. Cost of materials has gone up, too! So for people in the middle of a build where our budget was already determined with the bank it’s been so tricky to try and make it all work. If the bids come in too high Russ basically refuses and does it himself. He had a guy working with him on the earlier stages of the house, but he said he was slowing him way down for the sheetrock part so he hasn’t had him come all month! Ha.
  3. On top of the demand being so high, Wallsburg is off the beaten path and if a sub contractor has the option to do our house or a house 2 minutes from the highway and an In-n-out what do you think they’ll choose? Our location isn’t anyone’s first choice and we totally get that. So that’s why Russ is alone most days!

Frame BuildOnce he finishes the hanging he does have a subcontractor team on tap to tape and mud the sheetrock so that will be amazing. Then Russ can go back in and paint with his sprayer and things will start to cruise again! To then come to a screeching halt when it’s time to lay the floor. Tile takes forever, no getting around that.

Side note: this is the most terrifying spot of the whole house. Russ somehow got out of doing temporary stair cases so there’s just a 30 foot drop. Have mercy!! You can also ee the structural beams in this shot, we debated leaving them out in the open, but eventually chose to cover them. The seams were not pretty and the metal was already so rusted, it made the whole space look too industrial. It was bittersweet for sure.For the exterior we have an amazing small team out there, so luckily we didn’t have to choose between one or the other, we can have both progressing!

Here’s the rendering so you can see the placement for the exterior elements.Frame Build We have the stone and stucco underway, but we haven’t been able to find the wood exterior we want yet, so fingers crossed on that! There’s cedar galore (too warm / knotty for the look we’re going for) but I hope to find something with that English Timber Cladding look. The difference being the cladding is typically a skinnier slat and lighter wood.

We saw this cladding everywhere taking the train from London to Southhampton, I fell in love with it!Frame Build Our stone is Sunset Glacier Limestone which is a whitewashed grey so the cladding of course needs to look good side by side, too!Frame Build

My next most pressing decision was for the front entry overhang. It’s not in the rendering but structurally it has a covered porch with two posts coming down:Directly to the left will be stucco the actual door is looking like it’s going be dark black wood or iron, (unless we can match it perfectly to the cladding since the door will be surrounded by it.) Then right next to the black office window is the master fireplace which will be stone. This area is has the most exterior transitions of the whole house so I am mindful of trying not to over do it. I know for certain the cladding will go up and extend to the ceiling underneath the overhang (like this Ezra Lee shot below) but we have to decide what is going on the posts and that that small triangular faceplate-thing. So here are my thoughts and I’d love to hear yours!

  1. Stone on the faceplate and on the posts. Of course we would fatten the posts up and make them more substantial. We could also take the left post out and just keep the right one so we could make it extra fat. Since the left post doesn’t have as much space with the stucco wall right up on it.
  2. Metal on the faceplate and wrapped on the posts. I know this will look amazing at first but I am worried about how it will weather. Russ loves the look of rusted and patina’d metal but I really don’t. I want things to look as clean as possible. Not sure how long they would keep in the drastic Utah weather.
  3. Cement posts and faceplate. Lots of treatments we could do for this but I like it because the office window to the right of the door will be a formed concrete bench and the landing and stairs are concrete, too.
  4. Totally new idea I haven’t thought of. I am open! Any suggestions?

Exterior Shot Sources: One Two Three

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Keep the Spark Alive

So excited to share with you guys something that has been a year in the making! Last year my schedule just wasn’t lining up so I couldn’t participate but I am so glad Kristel didn’t give up on me. And honestly, I feel like I have so much more to say on the topic this year than I ever would have in the past. And that’s saying a lot considering we’ve been together since high school!Kristel runs the site Wife Complex and then this yearly conference called Keep the Spark Alive. All for women and men who are striving to be their best selves in all their roles, specifically with their partners.

Kristel interviewed 20+ different women in business — truly juggling it all about how they Keep the Spark Alive. It’s a free conference and you can opt-in right here!

I won’t share all that we talked about there but I will tell you that this year has tested my relationship with my husband each and every day. He works 7 days a week. He comes home exhausted. His body is absolutely shot every single day. He goes to bed at 8 pm. He has never been so invested in his work: building our dream house. Building our life and wanting to make sure everything is perfect but also that it doesn’t take too long. The highs and lows of having subs bail on him, show up late, over charge, under deliver. And that’s just what’s on HIS plate.I’ve been solo parenting the better part of 7 months all while trying to run my own businesses and trying to maintain that sense of family and fun even if Russ can’t be there. The point of all this is that times of high stress, no free time, life decisions and changes, physical exhaustion, parenting, there has been one thing that has kept our relationship strong through it all. And it’s perhaps the least sexy thing I can think of. But it created a system that allows us to prioritize our relationship no matter how the odds stack against it. With that cliffhanger I’ll send you to my page to sign up! I hope it uplifts and helps you all, a great marriage is hard and challenging but so worth it. You deserve it, we all do!

Photos by Hayley Kaze.

KEEP THE SPARK ALIVE SIGN UP

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