You guys already know about Nicole’s year of art projects, here’s our collective favorite so far and it took 5 minutes. Truly. Here’s how you can do it at home… Your only investment is going to be the oversized canvas. You can buy this size at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon and it’s totally reasonable! Or if you need it in a pinch a 35×47 size here for $57. Here’s when it gets really simple … Just grab a bucket of your favorite color paint and the small paint rollers like this. Fill up your roller as haphazardly as you wish and then take your vertical stripes: full lines, half lines, straight or at an angle. Let it dry and hang it up! It makes such a statement and no one has to know it was the fastest DIY of your life.
Oh, Mexico! Are you singing James Taylor yet? Last week (if you follow us on Instagram – @smallfryblog – you know I was the lucky Fry that got to attend the Grand Opening for Hyatt’s newest family-friendly all-inclusive resort in Cancún, Mexico! It opened just in November and the Hyatt Ziva Cancún stole our hearts in a major way. It was in the perfect mid-eighties, partly cloudy (not too hot!) and gorgeous. Here’s some of the highlights of our stay! Lots of pics, so catch them all, the wardrobe links and more, after the jump!
If you’re looking for one amazing family get-away at one of the most beautiful places in the world, Hyatt Ziva Cancun is it. We will definitely be back and we’ll be bringing family and friends next time, too. Such a perfect spot for a reunion. They’re offering 50% off +5th night free deal when you book before January 31st! Check it out here! Read more
Okay so I am *technically* retired from throwing birthday parties but this year with Quinn & Lolly’s 7th and 1st Birthday falling within days of each other I could not resist throwing them a joint party. It ended up being more of a shindig for Quinn any how since all you need for a 1 year old birthday is cake right?? So I worked on making Quinn’s request of a Star Wars party something that wasn’t obnoxious.(Sorry about the quality I only took iPhone pics that day #toomanykids)
Quinn woke up to this set up and it thrilled him! I think we think we have to do all.the.star.wars.things. But simple really is more beautiful in my opinion! I did a Star Wars quote on our Letterfolk Board, gold elements (Happy Birthday banner is Meri Meri, while I bought it at a boutique, you can buy letters individually and make your own online here!) and of course a Darth Vader balloon for drama. He was thrilled. Also most of this stuff I already owned. I love finding new ways to incorporate decor I already have — placing pictures of him on a mantle and the initials from his room made him feel extra special. Not rocket science – just rearranging of items.
Probably my favorite thing about his special day was his cake. I had a friend make him a Chocolate Mousse cake with Black/Grey Ombre frosting and then another good friend make his cake topper! She has a 3D print store that does cake toppers and they’re incredible. Look at Lolly’s cake, too! I died.
A couple other things I LOVE to use when throwing a party that make my life so much easier is Caravan Shoppe and Seedling. Caravan offers printables for so cheap that you can print out at a local print shop. This color your own place mat along with these darling Pirate Peg Dolls had nothing to do with Star Wars but are festive all the same! Also they kept kids busy while I was setting up food and other activities.
One of my favorite parts of the night (and I didn’t get many pics, ugh) was when we hit a Darth Vader Piñata with a Light Saber! The one we got was super sturdy and withstood the piñata smacking and is still working to this day! The kids LOVED this and obviously made a gigantic mess 😉The point is you can throw a themed party and not have it be super tacky. I mean I know I wrote down some where at some point in my life that I would NEVER throw a themed party or let my kids wear themed clothes, but here I am!!
What’s fun is there are a lot of stores doing super great Star Wars stuff I don’t mind my kids using or wearing. I’ve rounded up some of our favorites below!!! And of course, may the Force be with you 😉
Star Wars Glow in the Dark Shirt // Darth Vader Backpack // Boys Vader Stance Socks // Patterned Twill Pants // Printed Hood Sweatshirt // Star Wars Cap // Storm Trooper Shirt // Darth Vader Water Bottle // Star Wars Cookies
For my face: Okay the secret’s out and here is what changed my skin this year. It’s two fold 1. Rodan and Fields and 2. Hydrofacials from Spa Trouve. Okay wait third thing, Microdermabrasion. Contact my girl Kylie email@example.com and tell her I sent you – she can help hook you up with the same schedule I use. Also, call Spa Trouve if you’re a Utah local and get a hydro facial…IT’S LIFE CHANGING!
This post is in partnership with Uber. Sign up here to become their newest driver, where you can earn extra money driving, on your schedule.
I talked with Chicago-based Oryana on the phone and within minutes the purpose of this post changed. I was inspired, I got the chills, and I even teared up at one point, not at all what I expected when we were planning this post. So much of Oryana’s story resonated with us, whether it be Nicole making it work as a single mom, or Jenna being far away from her family, or myself. If I listed how many different jobs I’ve tried or number of times I switched my major, you’d see we all (and maybe you as well!) have a little Oryana in us.Originally, we wanted to share with you readers how working for Uber has become an amazing flexible income for so many mothers just like us, just like Oryana. We get asked all the time how to work for yourself and make a good living. But that purpose instantly became secondary once we started talking to Oryana. Here’s some backstory…Oryana is an analytical thinker. On top of that when she makes up her mind to do something, then that is that. At 17 years old she had decided after seeing others experience it, that getting pregnant was no reason to marry someone. If she herself were to find herself in that situation, other alternatives just didn’t work for her. She would be a single mother. So when this simple session of daydreaming became a reality 12 years later, she didn’t have much thinking to do. She knew and that was that.
In between the ages 17 and 29 Oryana went to college in Chicago and studied theater. She acted on stage and onscreen and worked hard as a waitress to make ends meet. She went to hair school and worked as a stylist. She moved to New York, she always worked hard. Then, Amelia.
When Amelia was born of course everything changed. With her family spread out around the country, her friends were everything. But as so many of us know when you have a child, interacting with people who don’t “get it” becomes tricky. As Oryana said, from the very start until the day I spoke to her, that it’s just been the two of them.Then, Oryana decided to finish her degree in theater. With only three semesters left she didn’t see why not, and thought that having a degree as a single parent would help her get better employment. 10+ years older than every other graduate she was also the only one who sobbed as she crossed the stage to receive her diploma. She never knew how much it meant to her until she had it in her hands.With a degree in hand, and small child in her care, employment didn’t come any easier for her. She struggled to make ends meet. Her next venture would be into the world of realty. She got her license and started working with a brokerage firm. She was getting around from showing to showing solely on public transportation. That was when she knew she needed a car. Enter Uber. At that time they were financing their employees car lease and purchases and it was truly the only way she could make it happen. She began driving for Uber and still does. She logs in when she has a couple hours to spare. If she needs to take her daughter to guitar lessons (which is where they were headed when our call began) she logs off. She makes her own hours, doesn’t have to ask anyone for time off or vacation. She doesn’t have to make excuses or feel guilty when Amelia is sick and needs her or if she has a busy day showing apartments. She loves driving for Uber Eat because it’s a condensed and busy couple hours during lunch or dinner.Oryana said during our call that she decided from the beginning that she would never miss out on an opportunity sent her way because her mom was a single parent. Oryana has the drive and motivation, Uber gave her the freedom and mobility to pursue whatever dream she might have.So you see now why this experience caught me off guard! Oryana could’ve focused on the struggle, because the struggle is certainly real and her life has never been easy, but she never did. This hard-working, single parent, funny, strong, ambitious, woman is Oryana, and she’s definitely a mom you should meet.
If driving for Uber sounds up your alley you can check out more here!
Note: We certainly wish we could’ve met with Oryana over lunch in Chicago and gotten some pictures of her there, but hopefully some of our latest family photos will due as eye candy for this essay. Thanks again, Oryana, we’re huge fans!! Nicole’s photos by Natalie Norton // Emily’s by Hayley Kaze // Jenna’s by Amelia Lyon