Traveling to Newport

I’ve been so scared to say anything the last week because I feel like every time I do, I jinx it & then everything goes crazy. Presley is doing amazing. After 2 semi-rough days of sleep training, Presley has been sleeping through the night. She has been sleeping from around 8pm to 7am – 7 out of the last 9 nights. She occasionally wakes up, but puts herself back to sleep after crying 2-3 minutes. Its so refreshing putting her to sleep, knowing that I can be productive for a few hours & then get a good nights rest. I keep telling myself, ‘maybe this is it!’ – Maybe she really is past her sleep issues, maybe we know we can put her to sleep & have the night to ourselves. Maybe this is it. Maybe 18 months was the golden age. She’s sleeping better, so she’s happier during the day. She’s taking only 1 nap so she goes to bed quick & early. It’s just all working out perfectly. I don’t want to blink. 

This last weekend, our rental home got hardwood flooring & we decided to spend the weekend in Newport to get out of the house so the work could be done. I am so thankful that Presley is older & easier to travel with. She only threw a few small fits & the 6 hour drive, only turned out to be about 7 hours start to finish. She watched movies on the iPad, played games & even took a small nap. It was heavenly being able to be in the car for that long, with no huge tantrums or stressing about her throwing up from screaming so much.

I just don’t like babies. They are hard. They cry too much. I’m all for the Toddler.
And check out this devilish grin. Oh how I love this big girl.
IMG_2799IMG_2804So, confession. I eat every single second during a road trip. We stop to use a restroom, or get a meal & I HAVE to get more food or a drink from the gas station. It’s just sort of my thing. I’m a road trip constant snacker. I’m using the excuse that I have to constantly eat to stay awake because car rides also make me soooo tired. I’m like a baby in the car, after 15 minutes of driving, I’m ready for bed. (And by babies, I mean, every baby BUT my baby – the car rarely put her to sleep).

Anyways – as soon as we got to Newport and unloaded our packed car (traveling with a kid for the weekend = a full car) at Kari’s house, we changed into warm clothes & headed to the beach! We were there every single day this weekend!
IMG_2830newportday1-1IMG_2867IMG_2886newportday1I am so excited to be home & to get our house put back together (we had to move everything out of the living room into the kitchen) over the next few days. And even more excited to share some fun pictures from our mini-vacation to Newport.

Anybody catch the Bachelorette finale last night? I only saw bits & pieces – but I’m going to Hulu that crap tonight! Happy Tuesday y’all!

Q&A sesh with Nora – The Petite Mrs.

I have a very nosey personality (which is probably why blogging is so fun for me!) so I thought I’d quiz Nora this month & get to know her a little better. Enjoy. This will be much more entertaining then the car ride I am on currently. 6+ hours in the car with Presley……Yep. Read on.
1. I changed my name is High School to Skye (the change of states during high school made me crazy!) Have you ever thought about changing your name? What would it be?
That’s funny, I also changed my name for two years during summer mainly and my sophmore year of High School. Same story: lots of changes, moving, new schools- ya know all that jazz…. Isn’t high school so much fun (not)?! I changed my name to Renee I always liked the name, I didn’t know anyone who was named that and I wanted to feel like my name was more common than my old fashioned name, Nora. But it was from my great great grandmother so I cherish it a little more now.
2. I know your a Pretty Little Liars fan – don’t you spoil it! – Which character do you think you are most like? Annnnnd just because I have to know: Would you rather date Ezra or Toby? (I’m an Ezra girl!)
I would have to say little bits and pieces of everyone. I have the wit and perserverence AKA crime fighting like Spencer;I can never let any hunch go. I have a fear of confrontation and well, some athleticism like Emily, I have a powerrful heart and curiousity like Aria and aren’t we all like Hanna? Shoppers at heart! [although I pay for everything!] She is boy crazy and before I married I was very much like her. If I had to choose, Aria Montgomery. Plus I also love that name!
I would totally be an Ezra girl! Older, brooding, troubled, misunderstood in an adult sort of way… Uh, yeah just like me.

3. On the topic of TV series, what are your top 5 TV series to watch?
Right now, I’m loving Chasing Life (ABCFamily), About A Boy (NBC-season 2 coming Oct 14th), Greys Anatomy (coming back also in the Fall), Tanked (Animal Planet), Sister Wives (TLC). I also love a good throwback like Friends, Full House or Step by Step.I have been enjoying these all for different reasons so if you haven’t seen Chasing Life or Tanked yet maybe-check them out!

4. If you could have any super power, which would it be & why? And you can totally make up a super power. Would you have a costume? 
I would love to fly and also read minds, because I’m always so nosey and wanting to know everything everyone around me is thinking and what they are up to.  I would probably have the ugliest costume to most people but I love teal and lavendar so a combination of those. A teal body suit wirth a lavendar cape maybe or a skirt.. someone draw me my supersuit! That would be awesome!

5. Whats your absolute favorite blog post? Why?If you’re asking about my favorite blog post of my own on my blog then I’d direct you  where I talk about the time I found out I had a adoptee sister. She found us as a family (my grandpa to be specific) and the secret was out. There’s a Part One and Part Two- so be sure to check both out! :) But if you asked what is my favorite blog post of someone else’s I’m very fond of this one about saying yes to yourself and about fitting in and giving yourself a break…by Hello Nature

They are both so inspirational and uplifting!

6. Mayo or Miracle whip? Mayonaise. I like it mostly on sandwiches and sometimes on burgers but a light amount. My husband DESPISES mayonaise or most spreads of any kind- will not eat it. I think it’s weird. Does anyone else HATE mayonaise or condiments like that?

7. If you could find out the exact date you were going to die, would you?
Yes I would and the only reason is so I could live every single moment to the fullest and stop being so scared of everything. I have not taken enough risks in my life-ever, so I would change that. I have a long list of things I want to do before I die-Do you? What’s on your list? I’d love to know and compare Bucket Lists! I would strive to do every single one!

8. What would be the first thing you do with a million dollars?

Pay off debt.Set up our life. Period.I’m in a life lesson, right now.We are starting to live within our means. Not outside of it and living extravagently and suffering later on. Maybe it’s easy for most people but for me and my husband it’s not so simple.We are not good budgeters. So that would be first, then downgradig bills, our apartment, getting our health care plans back and taking care of our car- in addition to gathering a lot of savings and setting up some accounts for our future (401k, savings, CDs, kids college etc). I would also like to think in a perfect situation I would be able to donate a lot of it. For me personally, mental health is very close to my heart as well as Suicide Awareness and Prevention. Then we’d take a good week vacay and I’d be happy for a long while..

So, there ya have it. Hope on over to check out Nora’s blog – The Petite Mrs – and come back here to comment and give her more questions!

Closet to Office – PROGRESS (and a giveaway!)

AH! I can’t believe it is Friday already! We packed up the car late last night and we are headed to Newport today. Pray for us – spending 6+ hours in the car with Presley isn’t my idea of an enjoyable Friday. However, we have lots of fun plans for this weekend. Like visiting Alissa at the Printed Palette Saturday morning, Breakfast with Nay on Sunday & lots of beach time with my best friend Kari. It’s going to be a busy weekend, and I am so excited to come back home to a NEW living room. Our rental home carpet is getting replaced with tile & I am so excited to see how it looks! The carpet was in reallllllly sad shape when we moved in, so we have been counting down for the last year to this summer replacement.

So, I will be back next week with lots of fun pictures, but for today – here is an update on the Closet to Office makeover WITH a giveaway!
I refinished the desk (Tutorial HERE) & started cleaning out and putting together the set up. It still needs LOTS of work. I need to find/refinish a chair – put together my gallery wall & decorate the shelf with supplies & flowers. I can’t decide if I like that modern white shelf next to the desk…. I need to organize everything into the desk & get rid of half the stuff I won’t use. Did you see the Before picture? I have so much stuff, I’m a craft, ‘i need this for a project’, ‘i could use this for something’ hoarder.
I’ve been trying to shop primarily for accessories off of Etsy because I love supporting handmade shops & other individuals who are trying to supplement income. I have a small Etsy shop that’s on vacation for the summer while I tackle all of these home projects – so I understand the importance of networking, sales & traffic.

Oh how I found a shop that makes my heart just flutter. (And makes me jealous I’m not talented). Stop whatever you are doing & check out: TheAndSo Collection - Emily is the incredibly talented gal behind all that gorgeous work & she is stopping by today to tell you a little about herself & her shop AND to giveaway a print from her shop!


I am Emily VanHoff, the owner and designer behind the brand new etsy shop The & SO Collection. I graduated in 2011 with a BA in graphic design and I’ve been a freelance designer in beautiful Chicago since then. I work from my little apartment / studio with my crazy cat, Laszlo.

I’ve been part of the etsy community for a several years. My other shop is at, and features printable wedding stationary. That has been a very exciting adventure and has done quite well over the past 2 years. I love working with brides and being a small part of so many very special days.


But, I also missed making physical objects instead of just sending out pdf files. The & SO Collection was born out of that desire to create tactile objects, along with a love of pretty things and a semi new obsession with hand lettering.

I’m a typography nerd and I’ve been dabbling in hand lettering since college, but it’s been a major focus of my life after taking a class with Molly Jacques last fall. You can scroll through my learning process and progression in my instagram feed, @emilyvanhoff. I have a long way to go yet, but it’s been such a fun journey and makes me completely loose track of time in a way that very few other things do.

I’m not really a motivational quote kind of girl, so the phrases I’ve been attracted to are all pretty ambiguous and leave the meaning up for interpretation. I love the way this make my prints suitable for just about any occasion.


My clutches are my pride and joy at the moment. I had been looking for the perfect clutch / wristlet for months, but I’m far too picky about such things, so I made my own. I’ve gone through many many iterations to get a perfectly constructed, high quality and usable clutch with lovely shiny gold findings and a touch of the prettiest leather. Adding my hand lettering makes them totally unique but not over-the-top obnoxious.

I’m so excited to see where this shop takes me! I’ll be adding new designs and new products as I go, so be sure to favorite my shop and follow me on instragram.


So, there you have it. I pretty much want to be Emily & I will take her office space for sure. I mean, look at all that gorgeous natural light & fun colors. It’s got me rethinking my plans. Darn you Emily! Enter in the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win either TWO 5×7′s or ONE 8×10. Open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New family pictures courtesy of LetMeSeeYouSparkle Photography

I’ve known fellow blogger Chrissy for awhile & was seriously so excited when I won a PhotoSession from a Facebook giveaway she was doing. We waited until Presley hit 18 months so our session could count as her 18 month pictures. I’ve tried taking pictures at each of Presley’s milestones & was so excited to have a professional take them (instead of me pulling my hair out in my kitchen with my ghetto backdrop & streamers. Ha). Chrissy rocked it, if you are in Arizona, I definitely recommend her. She is amazing, quick & is great with children. Thank you Chrissy for capturing such amazing pictures of us…..I mean, check out these shots. GAH. How the crap do I decide what to print? I think I’ll go with all.of.them.

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chrissyView More:

View More: More: I’m not kidding when I say that isn’t even half of the pictures that I got back from her. Oh, and we had our session with Chrissy & the next morning I had the pictures. CRAZY fast. So, check her out. Everybody needs updated family pictures, selfies, head shots, baby pictures. You won’t regret it. I mean, look at what she captured with us. (And Presley isn’t the easiest toddler to work with!)

You can find Chrissy:
FACEBOOK // INSTAGRAM // BLOG // BUSINESS // PINTEREST // TWITTER    (<—-Chrissy and I share a social media addiction)

So, seriously. What do I print huge?

*please keep in mind these pictures are property of Let Me See You Sparkle Photography. Any use of them needs to be linked back to Chrissy as she deserves credit for her work. *

Our Breastfeeding Story

Before I became pregnant with Presley, I always viewed Breastfeeding as a ‘crunchy, granola person’ thing to do. I thought Mothers who breastfed their children were all vegetarian, and only used cloth diapers and homemade cleaning supplies. Then I got pregnant and took the Hospital tour & breastfeeding class & finally decided it was something I would try to do. It all felt much more normal, and much more me.  I remember being in the Hospital and after Presley was put on my chest, I knew I would breastfeed her. I knew it would be perfect.
presley bornI remember sending a picture message to my mom when she latched, “Look Mom, I’m doing it!”. It felt normal, and natural & I was proud to be Presley’s breastfeeding mother. She pretty much was attached to my boobs for those first few days in the hospital. We either cuddled & nursed or we slept.  My milk came in a day after we got home (Day 4) and I remember taking a picture of these huge engorged boobs & sending it to Chad, “Look at these babies, best boob job ever!!”. I was ecstatic, not only because I had huge knockers – but because my milk had come in. I had a breast augmentation in August 2010 and I was always worried that I would never be able to breastfeed. (Such a selfish decision I made!). So I cried when my milk came in.

But then it got ugly, really quick. 

I couldn’t get Presley to latch right, my milk would spray everywhere, she wouldn’t empty my breast & my nipples looked like war zones. I was using lanolin cream, ice packs, nothing would help with the soreness. Then they cracked and bled, I had pieces of my nipples flaking off. I remember sitting with Presley on my breastfeeding pillow while I watched milk drop from my breasts & it was pink because it was mixed with blood. Every 3 hours it would be nursing time and I be terrified. I would clench my fists, curl my toes & just sob right into Presley’s face. I started hating her. She was hurting me. I knew it wasn’t her fault & that it was something we both needed to get used to, but I stopped breastfeeding. At that time, I had been gifted a single electric breast pump, so every hour I was pumping one side, then the other for 30-45 minutes round the clock. It still hurt, but not as bad. I would pump, feed Presley, pump again, take a nap, wake to pump, feed Presley. It was one of the hardest, most painful times of my life. To top that off, Presley literally screamed round the clock so Chad and I took turns so the other could rest. I remember being so glad when we had family come – but I was still pumping round the clock and absolutely miserable. I remember pumping in the computer chair in our tiny 1 bedroom apartment just sobbing my eyes out. My dad was visiting and after explaining the hassle of using a single pump (that was a cheap Walmart brand). He grabbed the car keys and went to Babies R Us & bought me a Medela double electric breast pump. My pumping time was cut in half & I was getting out almost twice as much milk as I was before. My supply finally was established and I had a schedule down. The pain had almost completely subsided and Presley would take a bottle from anyone (which was nice.) But I knew that I wouldn’t be able to continue being an exclusive pumping mother for much longer. It was so time consuming and I could never leave the house without my pump, ice packs & bottles all ready to go.

So when Presley was 5 weeks I decided to try and get her to nurse again. My breasts were ‘toughened up’ and I figured if she latched – great. If not, I would keep pumping for another month and then just be done. She latched. It felt great. I felt proud & happy and that I was free to go anywhere with her. I could feed her easily anywhere we went. It hurt, and we had to get used to it. But after about 2 weeks we were champs. I was so proud. I loved nursing in public (with a cover at that time) because I was so proud that I had a boobie baby. (When she was 9 months, I posted a bit of our story & some tips….)

Over the next year we went through many ups and downs. Presley would all of a sudden veto nursing & I would be forced to pump for a few days. She’s always been up at night so I would nurse her throughout the night & every 3 hours during the day until recently. Every time she is getting teeth she bites & hard. I’ve been hospitalized with mastitis, taken supplements to boost my supply – pumped in the middle of the night to try and boost my supply. I drink water constantly & have to watch what I am eating. I can’t go anywhere over night & most days feel trapped at home because Presley ALWAYS needs her boobie. She usually refuses to take a milk bottle unless I’m not around & it’s Chad giving it to her. And despite all of that, I just keep going. Presley has always been a hard baby, she finds such comfort and happiness when nursing – I can’t imagine taking that away from her.

It has been a long road. A long, long breastfeeding road. I had a 6 month goal. Then a year. Then 18 months & we’ve made it. I don’t see us quitting anytime soon either. We are at a really good place, Presley nurses on demand & I just cut out her night feedings. She nurses sitting up, standing, while I’m standing, and cuddling. It’s magical. I never, ever thought I’d be THAT mom that pops out a boob in public, but I don’t mind it at all now. I’m proud to be a breastfeeding mother, NOT because I think it’s better than formula – but because I know how many trials Presley and I have been through to get to THIS point. I was so thankful when we met with Chrissy this last week. She captured such beautiful moments between Presley and I am emotional looking back at our breastfeeding journey….I’m so excited to print some of these out to display in her room & in my office.
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So there is a bit of our story. I make it a personal goal to high five every Mom I see breastfeeding – because it is hard, hard work. Shame on any of you who scold or scoff at Moms who breastfeed without a cover (I could go on for awhile about this but I’ll spare you.) If you are a breastfeeding Mom, PROPS to you. Whether its 1 month, 3, 10, or a 100 months. YOU are incredible. And formula moms, PROPS to you for being so strong in a world thats covered with self righteous in your face breastfeeding mothers. YOU are feeding & nurturing your child – and THAT deserves just as much (if not more) applause. Breastfeeding is a hard journey, but I know the trials I had the first time I bought formula for Presley when I needed to supplement while boosting my supply. I applaud your courage & strength to not smack every (like me) ‘look at me breastfeeding mother’. Oh, and to the moms who exclusively pump – HUGE HUGE high five. I have a friend who exclusively pumped for an entire year! (GO HARMONY!)

So, basically just booyah to moms. Go spoil yourself today. And tomorrow & everyday after.

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