mine + ours: books #3

Are you guys proud? I actually finished September’s books before the end of the month! With a week or so to spare even!


Hardcopy // The War of Art

THIS book!! If you are in a creative position. If you are running like hell toward a goal (to quote Susan who also suggested this book to me), a calling, a future, read this book. If you are wrestling with fear and failure and inspiration and resistance, it is for you. It is short spurt like chapters that you can pick up for 2 minutes or pour over for an hour. You can easily revisit ideas with its smart headings. It was so validating to hear how a professional versus amateur works. It kicked me in the pants and reminded me why I keep pressing forward and working hard. This quote about finally embracing our true paths particularly struck me:

“We know that if we embrace our ideals, we must prove worthy of them. And that scares the hell out of us. What will become of us? We will lose friends and family, who will no longer recognize us. We will wind up alone, in the cold void of starry space, with nothing and no one to hold onto. Of course this is exactly what happens. But here’s the trick. We wind up in space, but not alone. Instead we are tapped into an unquenchable, undepletable, inexhaustible, source of wisdom, consciousness, companionship. Yeah, we lose friends. But we find friends too, in places we never thought to look. And they’re better friends, truer friends. And we’re better and truer to them.”

Audio // A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I am so conflicted reviewing this book because the subject matter is freaking hard.  The hardest I’ve read. When you read a summary of the book you’d feel like the author was assaulting you with the material. Like, really? It’s just all too much. Somehow though this author weaves the sadness through happy and hopeful things. Instead of real time storytelling, the hard parts are recalled or retold making it a little easier to swallow. I still skipped parts and really struggled through some other parts. I would never recommend it to anyone because of this reason. Yet, it deserves all its awards and accolades and praise. This is why I read. To have insight into situations I would otherwise have no clue about. Reading provides me with an empathy and understanding you can’t get without being closely tied to an experience. If you want more info email or DM me, I don’t even really want to use the keywords that would describe the subject matter.

image via Bramble and Thorn

The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Wall Street Journal • NPR • Vanity Fair • Vogue • Minneapolis Star Tribune • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Guardian • O, The Oprah Magazine • Slate • Newsday • Buzzfeed • The Economist • Newsweek • People • Kansas City Star • Shelf Awareness • Time Out New York • Huffington Post • Book Riot • Refinery29 • Bookpage • Publishers Weekly • Kirkus


AND NOW! For the happy kiddie stuff!


I have shared these Stephen Krensky books before but I have added to our collection and Raleigh is obsessed so here we go again! Can I live in these books? These illustrations by Sara Gillingham give me life. So bright and fun and empowering for kids to see all that they can do and how far they’ve come even in a short time. I Am So Brave! // Now I Am Big! // I Can Do It Myself!

I AM Books!





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BUY + DIY: Halloween Decor

Back with the great debate Halloween edition: BUY or DIY? Halloween Decor has come a LONG way since we started Small Fry but there are still some elements that are still worth a DIY, ready to break it down?

  1. As always, if you want something personalized, DIY is gonna be your best bet. Want a sassy pumpkin saying? You might have to make it. Boo Felicia for one:

Boo Felicia Pumpkin 2. Matching your color palette or design aesthetic. I have yet to see color blocked pumpkins so taping your own off to get that look is a must this year at least.

MORE DIYs: 3D Halloween Balloons // Felt Ball Garlands // Modern Halloween Ideas // DIY Snacks // BOO Banner //

Hate to DIY? No worries, there are SO many fun decorations you can snag online!

Party Fans // Cross Bones (would be rad as a wreath!) // Standing Skull – I’d leave this up year round TBH // Ghost Neon. I live for Target’s neons each season. // Skull Wreath in a fresh set of colors // Bat Wreath //

And the whole Mad Lab series at Target is bright and fun and fresh from the usual palette!



15 Modern Built-in Beds

Before we dive in, we’ve got our house-build update #2 post coming next week! (#1 right here.) Woot woot! You’ll be able to see what I’m talking about better then, but ALL the kids will be in the basement, and Russ and I are on the main level. (Yay/Oof!) Since we’re building for long-term, we had to factor what would work when they’re teens, when they’re adults and coming home to visit and basement bedrooms just made more long-term sense! Hayes and Cal talk a big game about wanting their own rooms, but I have a hunch they might end up wanting to share so we have three small bedrooms and one larger one that we’re doing built-in beds in! Even if they do want their own rooms, we’re thinking it will be a good space for house guests and sleepovers. SO! Here’s my inspiration +15 other ideas if you’re in the market!

We have them stacked long ways across the wall with a desk space in the middle! Hopefully to provide them with privacy and protect from unwanted lamp light in their face that causes fights most nights in our current situation.Frame BuildAmber Interiors space feels closest to what I am going for, minus ship lap. Which looks amazing here, PS.15 Modern Built-In Beds For KidsI also love this vibe. So cute for a boys room and masculine enough to last them until they move out:15 Modern Built-In Beds For KidsAND now! More seriously cool spaces for your own design inspiration needs:15 Modern Built-In Beds For Kids Via

I posted this to Instagram awhile back if you remember!15 Modern Built-In Beds For Kids


This one is crazy good. You need to see it from a couple angles… …and then you turn the corner:Love this one’s use of color to give each bed ownership and personality.15 Modern Built-In Beds For KidsVia

How crazy is this? When your beds are out of the way there is so much room to play! I don’t know if I could sleep in tight quarters like these but I am sure kids would DIG it! Via15 Modern Built-In Beds For KidsBeautiful space for girls, I’ve shared this home tour before you gotta check it out. This reno will blow your mind.15 Modern Built-In Beds For Kids This is from a ski resort but I am INTO it. Any of my Small Fry readers have family cabins? Take note. So much fun to be had in this room.15 Modern Built-In Beds For Kids Black and white dreams! Via15 Modern Built-In Beds For Kids Such a luxe use of color. I also love that this door folds in and out so you can clean up the look of the room in a hurry! Awesome use of space. Via15 Modern Built-In Beds For Kids 15 Modern Built-In Beds For Kids


More after the jump! Read more

five star books

I talk a lot about books here on the blog but I realized I needed ONE post with a good overview of my very favorite books to direct people to! You can hear all about why I love a good book on @jennaskitchen Insta Stories today!I should’ve been a humanities major because that is my favorite way to learn… about politics, pop culture, art, music, war, invention, social climates shape an era or story. These stories will transport you to a different time or teach you in a really well rounded way.

These Is My Words – The Wild Wild West from a woman’s perspective (If you like this read Maude next. // A Short History of Nearly Everything – This offers exactly what the title says, it blew my mind!! // What Alice Forgot – If you’ve been married awhile, find yourself taking your spouse for granted, read this. // Daring Greatly – Concepts in this book changed my life for the very best. // East of Eden – A classic and a must. I think of this story and characters within often. // A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – A peek into 1900’s Brooklyn and family life then. // Peace Like A River – 1960s Minnesota all about miracles and the bonds of family and siblings. Beautiful! // The God Who Weeps – This has a Mormonism tilt but it covers how all religions define God and what to make of His true nature based on all of this information. Super fascinating. // David and Goliath. I LOVE Malcolm Gladwell’s style. He is such a craftsman and weaving stories together and finding meaning and thinking in a new way. This will change the way you think about power and advantage.

And more thoughts:

Why do I read?

My mom and dad instilled a love of reading in me. Both of them are ALWAYS reading something. Growing up my dad took long baths each night and read in the tub. He had a book light by his bed and a stack of thick suspense novels. Most nights I’d come in after being with friends and he’d be rolled on his side with the book light illuminating his face. No matter what time I came home. His scriptures for our church look like a crazy person’s because they’re colorful and there’s notes in every margin and lines drawing connections. My mom is constantly taking in new info. Whether its talk radio, articles, magazines, books, seminars, retreats, classes. She is a huge example to me of never being done learning. I admire that so much. We had an entire office of wall to wall books and it’s just a part of my entire life that I cherish and have happy memories at every turn.

When did I begin to love it?

I was really small, probably first grade when I read Matilda by Roald Dahl. It was the first book I remember being engrossed by. When it is revealed that the Trunchbull is Miss Honey’s Aunt I remember audibly gasping. Such a real emotional and physical response that hooked me ever since.

Now I read mostly historical fiction, memoirs, self-help/parenting and novels because it provides me with understanding and insight into life and worlds and situations I would otherwise know nothing about. TV and Movies can do the same (if done well), but reading is the only thing that truly captivates my anxious mind. I can watch a great show and still be running through my to-do list or working on a project while I watch. When I read I am all in. It’s sort of meditative for me in the sense that I am fully present and my mind is quieted from the rest of the world.

I asked my mom why she liked to read a long time ago and she said “There are a million things I do each day that get undone. The house gets messy, the clean laundry gets worn and needs rewashing. I can sweep the same room three times. But when I read it doesn’t get undone.” I totally agree with that now being a mom: progress you get to keep forever!

If you are on Goodreads, you can add me there. It’s a system I started using 10+ years ago and so it has pretty much everything (I can remember) I’ve ever read. I trust the reviews and have friends with similar tastes that give me lots of recommendations. I of course am not reading books without a good review (who has time for that!) but I am in a book club that someone new picks a book each month so I am reading things and genres I wouldn’t normally. Anyway, Goodreads works for me so I keep it up and I am glad I have a reference somewhere! I rate things like this:

5 Stars – Loved it, changed my life. Changed my perspective, paradigm shift, inspired long term change because of reading it. I realize that’s not a very unbias way to rate but I had to have a way to keep track of these types of books!

4 Stars – Amazing story and well written. So many good 4 star books on my list!

3 Stars – Good book. Whether it be the story or the writing.

2 Stars – Didn’t like the story and or couldn’t connect to the writing style.

1 Star – Usually when I feel the book is socially irresponsible, uncalled for content, poorly written, or a waste of my time.



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