Excuse me while I ball my eyes out…

one year pics project

I no longer have an infant…I have a toddler. A walking, dancing, jibber-jabbering toddler.

It’s funny. I can remember every detail about the day my daughter was born, every emotion, every feeling, every nurse, every doctor,  every detail of the hospital rooms I was in. But when I look at my, now one year old, I find it so hard to picture how tiny and helpless and…quiet she used to be. Thank God for photos.

Hollis has changed so much in a year, yet she is so much the same. Her clever, funny, curious, determined personality is still so apparent. Now she has an impressive list of skills to add to her resume. She grows more and more independent and I cherish every cuddle and hug I can get out of her because I know how quickly these days go by.

I don’t know if she truly understands what a birthday is, but she undoubtedly enjoyed time with family, opening presents, balloons, and of course cake.

Thanks for making our lives a whole lot brighter, my darling girl. Happy first birthday!








Well Hello Fall, You Beautiful Thing, You.

I love Summer as much as the next gal, but Fall, Fall is my favorite. The weather is perfection. Cool crisp air is so refreshing after this super hot Summer. I get to pull out deliciously scented candles, bake pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING, wrap myself in a cozy throw and drink hot apple cider.

Fall also has two of my favorite holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving! Holidays that encourage you to eat candy and pumpkin pie?…sign me up. I also get to celebrate Hollis’ birthday (this week! eek!) and my birthday (thanksgiving!).

So goodbye Summer. Goodbye hot, muggy weather. Goodbye mosquitos. Goodbye getting into a stifling hot car. Goodbye swimsuit shopping….you will missed least of all.

Not a whole lot changes at our house as far as décor goes when Fall arrives. I try to make subtle changes and take cues and inspiration from the colors of Fall when it comes to decorating our house this time of year. I don’t like to store a lot of season specific décor. It’s not that I don’t like some of it, I just don’t have room to store it the rest of the year. But I do like to trade out a few pieces for more of a “Fall” look and to keep things fresh. For me, I prefer to change out little things, like placements, napkins, throw pillows, hand towels, vases, etc. Here are few things I would love to incorporate this Fall.

fall decor^^Clockwise from top: Ombre throw, Decanter with wood stopper, Embroidered Kosala Pillow, Glazed Terracotta bakeware, Geo Salt & Pepper shakers, Riad Wool Rug, Gold Facet Vase, Tatiana Napkin set of 4

Feelin’ Crafty: Coat Rack

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI’m loving this early Fall weather we are having! I’ve had the windows open to air out this old, stuffy house. My apple crisp scented candles are burning away. I already pulled out my favorite hoodies and cozy sweatshirts. I am in no way ready for Winter, but Fall, bring it on!

The only bad thing about this cooler weather is the mess it creates in my house.  Hoodies and jackets everywhere except where they are supposed to be….the coat closet. A closet dedicated to specifically hold coats, yet no one in this house is capable of putting their coat there. We had this same problem in our last house so I can only blame this problem on ourselves. I don’t know why it’s so hard for us to open the door and hang our coats on a hanger, but it is.

So instead of making myself crazy picking up hoodies and jackets all day, I decided to make myself a nice little coat rack. Something to hang right in the entry way that we could just throw our coats on instead of them ending up on the floor or kitchen table (why is the kitchen table a magnet for random clutter?). Could I buy a coat rack at the store? Of course, but what fun is that? I actually looked for a coat rack at many stores, but I just couldn’t find what I was picturing in my head. I wanted one that was the same length as the bench in our entry way and I wanted it to be sort of rustic. Nothing I found really fit the bill and I figured I could make one easily and save myself from having to look anymore.

I started with a 1″ x 6″ 3′ pine board. My bench is 3′ long so this was perfect and saved me from having to cut it down. (Although cutting it down would’ve been super easy too). I think it was about $3 at Menards.
DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI found a recipe for coffee stain online and decided to give it a try. I just used one part coffee grounds and one part white vinegar and mixed them in a glass container. Then I dropped a piece of steel wool down inside, closed up the container, and let it sit for about a day. Then I just pulled out the steel wool (while wearing gloves b/c it’s very icky) and started applying it to my untreated board. The steel wool leaves a little bit of a gray tint to the mixture which was perfect for the rustic look I was after. I’m sure if you didn’t leave the steel wool in as long, you would get less of a gray tint. Warning: this mixture is STINKY! It smells like hot garbage. You may need a mask.

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI applied one coat and then let it dry. It only took about 15 min to dry in the sun and then I was able to apply another coat. I only needed two coats for my rustic finish, but you could keep applying until you get the color you want.

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI wanted my board to look like an old piece of wood. So after both coats were dry, I started to sand down the edges. Then I lightly sanded the rest of the board. I sanded more vigorously in some spots to give it more of an aged look. The vinegar/coffee smell went away after I sanded everything down. (thank God!)

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comAfter I got my board the right color and roughed it up a bit, I added some hooks. I had room for 5 large hooks. I also got them at Menard’s for about $4 a piece. I spaced them out evenly and just drilled them into the board.

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI used wall anchors and 2 screws on each side of my board to hang it so it would be nice and sturdy. I want it to be able to hold jackets and heavy coats as well as my super heavy diaper bag. I pre-drilled my holes for my anchors and made sure it was all level, then put my screws in.

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comThis was such an easy project. I am already looking for other things I can stain with coffee…besides my teeth ;). The whole thing cost me $23 which is way less than what I would’ve spent if I had found what I was looking for in the first place.

Ikea is coming! Ikea is coming!

I know, I know.  Ikea is not new by any means, but it is one of my favorite stores. I’ve driven many, many miles to get to one of their stores.  So, it’s just my luck that we get an Ikea in Kansas City as soon as we move to the middle of nowhere Kansas. BUT it gives me yet another reason to visit my family in KC! I will take the 3 1/2 hour drive over the 10 hour drive we previously had endure to get to the nearest Ikea.

The new store is set to open this week in Merriam, KS (although it keeps getting pushed back) just a few blocks from our old house. Really, our moving away is probably for the best…at least as far as my bank account is concerned. I will probably avoid it for a couple of months until some of the newness wears off. That place is going to be a zoo for a loooong time. Luckily we took a trip to Minneapolis this weekend for a friend’s wedding and I was able to pop into the Ikea there to get my fix to tide me over for a while.

Well…I thought it would tide me over, but in reality, I was just making a mental list of things I want to get later when the store near us opens. If our car wasn’t already full of luggage, I probably would’ve come home with a few more things.  Here are a few things I picked up on our trip and few things I’m patiently waiting to get. ikea homeIkea PS 2014 storage combination, LACK side table, PREMIÄR wall map, BESTÅ BURS console, RANARP work lamp, IKEA PS cabinet, VILMAR chair

I’m loving the Ikea PS storage units, they come in many different configurations and I LOVE the natural/mint green combo. We picked up the LACK side table for Hollis to use as a play table. It’s the perfect height for her to stand and play with her toys. I’d like to add some stools or chairs for her later on so she can eat a snack or color at it. We are looking for tv consoles right now and I love these two options. The Ikea PS cabinet has the ability to lock the doors which would be great for keeping out curious babies. I’m also daydreaming about my someday office and I NEED that VILMAR chair and RANARP work lamp.

textilesNÄVVIVA and KNAPPSÄV cushions, Ikea PS 2014 rug, and LJUDA striped place mat.

My favorite part of Ikea is the textiles. I am a textile junkie and they have some really fun prints for super cheap so I can afford to switch my place mats, tablecloths, pillows, etc. often. I grabbed some pillows for Hollis’ new room (which is slowly coming along). I can’t wait to go back for bedding and maybe a new rug…or two.

ikea kidsEKORRE rocking moose, MATA 4-piece dinnerware set, SMASKA 3pc flatware, SKYLTA children’s market, DUKTIG play kitchen, LÅTSAS 11pc shopping basket, MULA 24pc building block set

Another thing I’m super excited about is the kid’s stuff! Our daughter is at the age where she is really getting into toys and I want to encourage her playing and learning. One week she is obsessed with dolls, the next it’s trains, it gets expensive keeping up with her phases. Ikea has a lot of cute, affordable toys that are also pleasing to my eyes as well as hers. I really like that they are not noisy and full of buttons, they are good for helping kids  use their imaginations. They also have a lot of great toy storage options to keep all the clutter at bay.


Mom Jeans

So it happened.

I said I’d never let it happen…

I turned into a mom….Like a mom mom. Might as well get me some mom jeans to complete the transformation.



I’ve let myself go. From my split ends all the way down to my unmanicured toes. I looked at a picture of myself from my Hollis’ baptism and said, “OMG, that’s what I look like?!” Let’s just say I’ve put on a few unwanted pounds. It’s funny how you can be so careful about what goes into your child’s mouth, but not pay attention to what you’re putting into your own body.

I noticed it a while ago, but I kept telling myself, “you’re a new mom, this is what you’re supposed to look like”. Hair pulled back, dark circles under my eyes, no makeup, baggy clothes, baby attached to the hip. But my daughter is about to celebrate her first birthday this month (what?! how is that possible?!), and I feel like I no longer can use the ‘new mom’ excuse anymore. It’s time to make some changes.

Don’t worry, I’m not giving the baby away or anything like that! I’m just setting aside one hour a day for myself. One hour to be totally selfish and focus on me. I’m going to get back into workout mode. Put on my headphones and blast my music, something other than radio Disney or Baby Einstein for a change. This hour will of course, be when the baby needs me the least, and when Brian can help me out. I’d like to get up an hour before she does but that all depends on how well she sleeps the night before. It will most likely be after she goes to sleep for the night, or even during nap time some days (but I’ve learned not to rely too much on nap time for anything).

My hubby was kind enough to pull our treadmill out of storage and set it up in the playroom/gym. I even hung a t.v. in there and got the weights set up. So really, no more excuses. The real reason for writing this post is so that I have to hold myself accountable. I figure if I put it out there for the world to see, then I will be more likely follow through with it.

One hour a day may not seem like a big deal. As a stay-at-home mom I literally spend 24 hours a day with my daughter, seven days a week. There are no breaks, days off, or clocking out for the day. I LOVE every second of it. I would not change it for the world. I am extremely grateful for all of it, but it is wreaking havoc on my appearance. So to help motivate myself to get back into working out, I did some online window shopping for new workout attire. Nothing motivates me more than new clothes.


workout olioboard

Clockwise from Top Left: Old Navy Burnout Tee, Onzie Low Rise CapriPatagonia Glorya Wrap, Onzie Low Rise Capri, Powerhouse Tee, Hard Tail Low Rise Capri, Nike Flex Experience Run 3Zella Studio High/Low Tee, Juno Sports Bra by Moving Parts


There are SO MANY cute workout clothes these days! It makes me want to throw out all of my sweats and make room for cute active wear. I love that I can wear these pieces all day. They are perfect for chasing the baby and getting down on the floor to play with her. They are also cute enough to wear out to run errands without looking like a slob. It would easy to keep them on all day, ready to workout whenever I can squeeze in the time.