What I’m Taking With Me: Nicole

Last stop on our 2015 recap and what we’re bringing with us into 2016 is Nicole!

For My Face: You can read up all about my nightly routine in this post, and taking that time for myself will be something I continue to do. I look forward to it so much! A few reminders, Riiviva’s Microdermabrasion Kit does absolute wonders and I love to cap it off and sleep in this Korres Rose Night Mask, smells amazing and is so great for dry Winters.Taking It With Me

For My Body: It might sound silly but an at-home Spray Tan Machine has been one of my favorite purchases this year! I just like to be a little sun-kissed but I hate wrinkles, so this gives me one without the damage sun exposure can bring. I swap sprays with a friend and love it! Also my newest scent from Jo Malone, it smells incredible!

For My Health: The last few months I have really focused on drinking more water and less soda. It actually is the only reason I’ve shed about 10 pounds as well. I can’t explain it but I’ll take those benefits any day! I know most will roll their eyes, but in my case it has been very true. The trick for me is super cold and refreshing and easy to carry around. This White Hydroflask fits all those requirements.

For My Closet: This Winter me and the boys all got Patagonia Nano Puff jackets and its been awesome. They’re so lightweight, but absolutely warm. Easy to stuff in  a backpack, grab and go and lasts even into the Spring months but isn’t too much bulk. My size, and the boys size. Kids are $30 off right now here! nic

For My Kids: Even if I don’t talk about or show typical signs of being stressed, my kids can definitely sense that energy in me. In 2016 I want to make my home as peaceful as it can possibly be. I’ve noticed such a difference in how they react when I’m peaceful.

Lesson Learned: I read Co-Dependent No More this past year and it taught me so much. It is such a great read for anyone who’s dealt with addiction or the addictions of loved ones. It’s more than just for addiction, really any relationship where the other person’s problems are becoming your problems in an unhealthy way. Check it out!

Taking With Me: I am really just ready to take my people with me – the people who are fun and don’t weigh me down. Who are happy regardless of trials and can maintain a positive outlook when things get rough.

oversized abstract art DIY

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…Oversized Abstract Art DIY 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.Oversized Abstract Art DIY 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.Oversized Abstract Art DIY

Lamp // Book // Desk Ikea In Store

hyatt ziva cancún!

By Emily.

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! Hyatt Ziva CancúnIt 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. IMG_4187Here’s some of the highlights of our stay! Lots of pics, so catch them all, the wardrobe links and more, after the jump! Hyatt Ziva Cancún


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

Star Wars Partay!

By Jenna:

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.Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 10.45.54 AM(Sorry about the quality I only took iPhone pics that day #toomanykids)717q6REV2LL._SL1500_

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.cake

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.

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 10.54.03 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 5.56.29 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 11.01.00 AMOne 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! 71CrkU39GVL._SL1500_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 😉Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 11.01.13 AMThe 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 😉starwars

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

Taking it With Me: Jenna

Next up on our mini 2015 recap Fryday series is Jenna! Things acquired and learned in 2015 that she’ll be taking into this new year.jfry

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 inspiredbyky@gmail.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!

For my health: This year was a year of changes for me as we welcomed our third baby in to the family. Until you’ve had three kids I don’t know that you quite understand the adjustment it can be – at least I didn’t. So while I haven’t had the time I’d like to work out, eating well is still a huge priority for me. Additionally the he best thing I’ve ever done for my health is of course essential oils. I’ve taken these from year to year and there isn’t any stopping me now – they are truly life changing for our family.
For my body: Dry Brushing! I know it sounds wack a doodle but I’ve LOVED it. Here is the one I use. When you dry brush it drains the lymphatic system and is so good for skin health and kidneys!
For my  home:  I’ve loved finding new ways to make our rental home cozy. It may be “temporary” but doesn’t feel that way at all. We’ve been here over a year and I love that it feels like home. My new rug, bedpicnic table and Letter Folk board are some of my favorite purchases this year.
For my well-being: This has been a year of discovering how I can have mental well-being, silence and joy all in the amidst of a chaotic life. It may sound silly but an evening bath has been so much a part of the serenity I’ve found. I’m obsessed with the Zoe Organics Bath Soak and this waterproof speaker. I hook up podcasts from Brene Brown, my church leaders and Ted Talks and soak. I meditate, I pray and I have a minute to myself. It really has been an enriching thing to do for myself every day if I can.
For my kids: My kids have been SO in to this weather we have here in Southern California. It’s been so fun to be able to scoot and bike ride any time of the year.
Lesson Learned: 2015 was a year of independence and growth for me. I learned how TRULY capable and strong I am. With no family close by we did it all on our own and met friends a long the way who loved us and supported us. I learned that my critics don’t count and that I am brave enough to do anything. In 2016 I hope to better hone the craft of saying no. To set boundaries for myself and keep them, without feeling guilty.
Letting go of: Saying Sorry. I’m sorry about everything. I’m sorry I didn’t shower, I’m sorry I was late, I’m sorry I’m sorry. ALWAYS SORRY. Saving my sorries for the stuff that matters and giving myself grace to stop apologizing all the time.

Moms You Should Meet: Oryana

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.

By Emily.

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.c21WebOriginally, 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…Hayley Anderson PhotographyOryana 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.Amelia Lyon

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.Natalie NortonThen, 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.Hayley Anderson Phtoography // Sand DunesWith 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.Amelia LyonOryana 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.Natalie NortonSo 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

candy free valentine’s cards

Since we always find ourselves scrambling for a Valentine’s day card for our kids, we’re getting ahead of the game this year! We’ll be sharing our own DIYs throughout the rest of the month, but we had to share these amazing printables from around the web! Our kids love getting trinkets and toys as much if not more than the candy so here’s a head start with ideas we love! Even better, nearly all include a free printable to make your life extra simple!

Candy Free Valentine's

  1. We love this DIY idea for cards and decor! Tape on a festive trinket of your choice and call it good. Clean, simple and modern never hurt anyone! Via Style Me PrettyValentine's Ideas
  2. Another graphic option, just add a dollar store plastic animal! Via Sara M Style
  3. Dandee Designs kills it in this genre. Who hasn’t seen her darling love bug printable all over Pinterest? We also love this Magnifying glass printable.Valentine's Ideas
  4. You know how we love our Mer Mag. Another awesome just-add-a-toy option, if you can find candy cute enough to deserve such a card. Valentine's Ideas
  5. What kid doesn’t love glow sticks? Via Delia Creates
  6. Oh Happy Day has a whole series of this genre, each is darling!Valetine's Day Ideas
  7. Another Dandee homerun! Awesome option for a boy. Astronaut printable here.
  8. We love this idea and could easily be swapped out for regular sunglasses for a boy. Dollar store here we come! (Hey hey Studio DIY!)
  9. You know your kid’s teacher will be cursing you for this one, but you also know your kid’s Valentine will be the hit of the school! Via Paging Supermom

A few more we can’t get enough of from Merrythought: First this Tic Tac Toe XO game. Send your kid into the yard to collect some rocks or grab a bag at a craft store.Valentine's Day Ideaand this Mini Bow and ArrowMini Bow and Arrow

Catch all our Valentine’s Archives here!

Playroom Update

By Nicole:

I live in a townhouse, its lovely, and I only wish I had more space sometimes (wink) but I’ve got to love what I’ve got, right? So in the mean time, I’ve been updating each room, one by one. Because, however small the space, it can be utilized and beautiful. Here are some items I’ve bought to beautify the play room. First, if you haven’t already, paint the room white. You don’t have to do the entire house, but the room a blank canvas. Everything looks prettier against a fresh coat of white paint. And start with these few items. Ill be back in a few weeks with more for you. Including the perfect rug! To begin, see below. Happy updating!


Midcentury Console for under the TV or book or toy storage. Natural wood child chair. This can be purchased separately or in a set of 4 with a table! All white canvas Teepee. Also check out Tnees for some other pretty teepee options. Pantone Hero posters, these come in many sizes the the HUGE ones are killer and make such a great statement, especially if you have boys like me! It took me a long time to find this simple toy chest. I also love the white one! They are perfect. OKAY, the Red Pup Chair is my favorite, ads such a darling pop of color, and my kids adore it! This Pantone Colors book is one of my favorite books of all time. Ill do a post soon with all my favorite mid century style kids books. Lastly, this white and natural console is small and just the right height for an art table or desk for the kids. Also works with the TV or book shelf like the console mentioned before.




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Pippa & Julie

By Jenna:

We recently went to a family wedding and Lolly finally got to wear the most darling dress from Pippa & Julie. We have a few others to show you but I am saving them for some Valentine’s post we’re doing! pippa

This girl just had a first birthday. OMG. I’ll share more on that later. But it’s been so fun to get out of snuggly clothes and more in to big girl clothes (I”m crying still) and this dress was no exception! It’s her first real fancy dress and I LOVED IT. And the best part is it’s not a “fancy” price and affordable.pippa1

It’s actually on sale here in little girl and baby here.pippa2 The print is gorgeous and the skirt so full…..I seriously DIED over her in it! And so did everyone else at the wedding.pippa2 pippa3 I forgot her shoes in California…..third child problems.pippa4Check out our Instagram @smallfryblog to enter to win a credit to Pippa & Julie! If you can’t wait to get your hands on some dresses use SMALLFRY20 for 20% off your order!

I also rounded up some of my favorite Valentine Pippa & Julie picks!! You can never have too much pink 😉PIPPAVALENTINE

Embossed Shantung Dress

Flip Sequin Dress

Grey Floral Shantung Dress

Colorblock Shift Dress

Blush Sequin Dress

Bella Swing Dress

Sweatshirt Dress

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FRYday: Taking It With Me 2016

Good morning! To sort of recap the last year for all of us, we are focusing the next few Frydays solely on things we discovered in 2015 that are so wonderful we’ll keep on using them in 2016. Whether it’s material or a more figurative gem, this is the best of our two thousand fifteens. Emily is up first!

In 2016 I’m taking these things with me from last year …

For my face: Proper exfoliating, something I hadn’t been doing often enough but have seen awesome results last year! Love this all-natural one, and if you don’t like it you have 60 days money back guarantee. Thatcher’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel, I love the smell and the old time pharmacy branding. // 2015 the year of the brow, right? I don’t see myself stopping the fill-in, and just ran out of AB’s Dip Brow Pomade, I use blonde. // My husband brought this home for my dry Winter Desert lips and it’s amazing! Say Yes to Coconut Cooling Oil. Sounds crazy but it works so good.em2016

For my body: This pregnancy I have not been able to eat as healthy as I normally do, so I sort of have to make up for it in other ways. 😉 I’ve found my way back to yoga and that focused stretching and strengthening has been so great for my growing bod. Even more than physically, struggling with even more rampant anxiety while pregnant – it’s become mandatory.

For my home: Got rid of my microwave, and became and OCD recycler. Ha! Switched out my cleaning supplies for more eco-friendly family safe brands. Really just attempted to make more environmentally-friendly decisions and found it to be easy to do. I might not use the most/best/greenest products available, but they’re effective and convenient for me and all better than what we were using before. A win! These specifically work amazing, or even better than what I had before!  Honest Window Cleaner // Mrs Meyers Toilet Bowl //  Tubby Todd Hair & Body Wash //


For my well-being: I heard this poem by Tyler Knott Gregson, “Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.”

Promise Me

This hit me hard on so many levels. So many things I love to do I let become heavy. Even amazing things, even things I wanted to do my whole life, like be a mom. Sure, things ARE heavy some times, but this is such a great reminder to keep things in perspective.

For my kids: In my rush to get “it” all done, I noticed I was also rushing past certain aspects of my conversations with my boys. Skipping to the moral of the story, skipping to the discipline, skipping past patience. I focused last year on “Validating First” meaning before I do anything else, I validate their feelings and then move to the next step. Sometimes when I’m puzzled about parenting, the only thing I can think to do is to treat them how I want to be treated, and nothing feels better than being validated, right? I noticed such a huge difference in how they accept things they don’t want to hear if they are validated first. I want to keep this as a focus always!
For my closet: Forgetting about that badge of honor from past pregnancies — “I wore my regular pants until ___ weeks!” or “I never bought a single maternity top” Whatever! My stomach was popping out at the gate, I guess that’s what happens when you’ve done this a few times before. I’m investing in maternity clothes that I love and that are comfortable and not feeling bad about it for one second. Jcrew Toothpick Maternity jeans are new for me, and are my favorite. I am not tall, but I get the tall size when I want them to hit past my ankle, but I love them cropped too for Spring! We’ve got a few big events this month so I’ll be sharing lots more and how they look on. Stay tuned!jeans
Lesson learned: I know most people don’t have any problem with this, but this last year I had to really learned and be coached (there’s me talking about therapy again) on how to set boundaries. I have a handful of relationships in my life that just don’t respond to them (or respond poorly), so while I know exactly what boundaries I want for myself, I had to be taught how to enforce them and not feel guilty about it. Yeah, almost 30 over here. It’s never too late to learn something new, right?

Letting go of: My twenties! I turn 30 in a few weeks and as I reflect on my twenties, it makes me tired. It was such an emotional decade, with family craziness from start to finish. Besides that, I hustled so, so hard. I worked full-time through school, always had styling jobs, photoshoots, gigs on the side, side projects and markets. I put myself out there in every way, nearly everyday. My every thought was written into a blog post or tweet or Instagram. I feel proud of all I was able to do! I just feel differently now. Of course I want to work hard and be successful, but I just have to reign it in. I can’t do and be everything, and for the first time in my adulthood, I don’t want to! Hoping this new mellowed out Emily lasts, because I am enjoying this slower pace and this more private, edited life.

Happy weekend, everyone! We hope you all have a chance to reflect on your 2015 gems, and share them here!