They Are All the Reason I Need...


"All Natural" "Organic" "Chemical Free" are just a few of the crazy buzz words that are being thrown around these days with absolutely no weight behind them, or facts to back them up. Just about anything these days can claim "all natural" on their packaging and people will buy that stuff up without even batting an eye. But when you really sit down and do your research, you start to realize that these companies are selling you lies, wrapped in beautiful slogans and packaging. 

So let's break this down. In 2014, I was seven months pregnant, suffering from a nasty chest cold. I was looking for anything safe to use while pregnant, to take away the nasty symptoms of my cold. A friend recommended essential oils, so I bought a premium starter kit, a few months later I had a baby, got busy and there it sat. The most expensive paperweight I ever bought. It wasn't until Jonathan was 10 months old, where I started to see the benefits of these magic little bottles. 

After being plagued with a few ailments (hello ears, head, rash), and taking a few rounds of antibiotics, Jonathan developed what I thought was the worst diaper rash I've ever seen. After some digging, I realized that antibiotics (although wonderful) can cause yeast infections in babies, and no amount of rash cream or wipe was going to cure it. I vowed that the next time he got sick, I would try a more natural approach first, because the side effects of antibiotics are frustrating! And suddenly my obsession with essential oils was born. 


I got lucky & started with a wonderful & reputable company right off the bat. Young Living offers a Seed to Seal Promise, that is their set of standards that helps ensure that with every pure essential oil and Young Living product our family uses, we're enjoying the benefits of global resources, industry leadership, and over two decades of innovation. Young Living will never knowingly compromise by adding synthetics, contaminants, or cheap fillers, or by using unethical production practices.  Can Johnson & Johnson say that? Even with their "130 years of Caring" slogan, it doesn't excuse the fact that they were putting harmful, cancer-causing, fertility destroying chemicals into their products for YEARS. 

So let's fast forward to now. Almost 60% of my household and personal hygeniene products have been swapped out for healthy, safer alternatives. I'm making smarter choices when it comes to my diet, skincare, & overall wellness. The products I use on my children are safe. The products I use to clean my home are plant-based and safe. And I'm sleeping better knowing I'm making better choices for our family.

This isn’t just an expensive hobby, it’s a change of lifestyle!
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By making these smarter choices NOW, we are giving our children a chance at a healthier future! And that right there is all the reason I needed to start this journey. Don't be fooled by cheaper companies who offer "The Same" products at a WAY WAY cheaper price. NOT ALL OILS ARE CREATED EQUAL. But I will get into that in another post! If you have any questions, PLEASE PLEASE leave me a comment or message me! Or Click the link below and get a membership!! 

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Verona Marie: A Birth Story

I have sat down to write this blog post so many times over the past 3 months, and I just knew that I needed a video to help better express our excitement and joy for this new addition. She was the promise that God told me about late at night, as tears soaked my pillow. She is worth every second of those 20 months of waiting, every second of heart ache and pain. She is a sign of redemption. She is my rainbow after the flood. “Rona” means “my joy” in Hebrew and “covenant or oath” in Gaelic. And that is exactly what she is to us. Our sweet rainbow baby.

If you want to hear the most laid-back, stress-free birth story, well I have one for you! Friday, June 30th, I went in for a prenatal massage, told the masseuse to do her worst and send me into labor. Contractions started as soon as I left the room. I began timing them, and for the next 5 hours, I had 30 second contractions every 2 minutes. It was bizarre, but consistent. After a quick call to the on-call doctor, they had me come in to be monitored. We walked around the maternity floor for about an hour, with just a little progress in dilation, they decided to admit me. 

I had a decent night sleep, with the contractions slowly intensifying. But when they checked me at 10:30am, I was still only around 3.5 cm. The doctor called an audible and without a minute to think about it, she broke my water and BOOM. We were moving. My contractions stayed at about 2 minutes apart, but quickly became extremely intense. I labored for almost 2 hours, and then received my epidural. 

After the epidural, I expected my labor to slow down, like it did when I had Jonathan. I washed my face, brushed my teeth and then took a nap. Thirty minutes later, I woke up with the urge to push. The nurse checked my progress and with wide eyes told me, “don’t push, your baby’s head is right there.” At that point my mom and sister in law arrived. I asked if I could quickly put some makeup on because I wasn’t prepared to do this just yet. I got my foundation on, the doctor walked in at 1pm, the lights came on and with 3 contractions, 7 minutes and a few pushes, Verona Marie was here. 

“Wait, did that really just happen?! That was so easy” i couldn’t believe she was here! So fast! So easily! It all felt like a dream. There was this moment that I will never forget though, as she was crowning and the doctor said “oh she’s going to be blonde.” I felt this instant flood of emotion, and couldn’t contain my joy, my excitement, the culmination of all my prayers & dreams, she was going to be blonde, just like God told me she would be. This was HIS story of Rescue and Redemption. His plans for our family, He knew them all along, He just needed me to surrender and allow Him to work. And man did He deliver. She is more perfect than anything I could have imagined for us. She truly is our joy. 

She feels like the piece that was missing, and Ryan, Jonathan and I couldn’t be happier. Welcome Verona Marie, we are so glad to have you here! 

All photos taken by Alyssa Fallon of Grace & Goodness Photo

Teach-It Tuesday : Thankful Pennant Banner


"Thankful" Banner

I am so excited to teach you guys how to make an adorable banner just in time for the holiday season!! And with easy to find supplies!

The Supplies:

4 Coordinating colors of cardstock (cut down to 6x10)
2 sheets of white cardstock (cut down to 8.5x5)
Tombow Dual Brush Pens (& blender) (Any colors you like)
Tombow Twin Permanent Marker 
Tombow Mono Drawing Pen 01
Bakers Twin
Gold Glitter (I used Martha Stewarts brand from Michaels)
Tombow Extreme Adhesive Roller
Mono Multi XL Liquid Glue
Two safety pins (to hang it)


First off, cut the white card stock at a diagonal, from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. Then putting it back together and repeating it, cutting from the top right corner to the bottom left corner. 

This will give you two perfect triangles that should measure 5 inches on each side, and then two long triangles (that you will discard). You will want to cut as many white triangles as you will need. I wrote out "Thankful" so I made 8 white triangles.

You will repeat this step with the colored cardstock as well. 

Once all your cardstock is cute to size, you should have 8 triangles of various colors, and 8 triangles that are white.


Next, poke to holes at the top of the colored paper, and start string the bakers twine through. Before you cut the twine, make sure that you have spaced out all your triangles to their desired distance. 


Now, take your white triangles and start writing your letters. You can do whatever style you prefer. I start with the lighter color, then add in the darker marker at the top and bottom of the letter. Then using the Tombow blending marker, I just simply blend the two colors together. 

Using the Tombow Permanent marker, I create a border around the letter, and then add a shadow. And using the Mono drawing pen 01, I create some small hash marks inside the shadow box giving it dimension. 


Next, using the extreme adhesive, attach the white triangles to the colored triangles, making sure they are centered with the white edge at the top of the triangle. Then, using the liquid glue, run a thin line all the way around the white triangle. Sprinkle on the gold glitter, and shake off the excess, using a small paint brush if needed after it dries. Then using the two safety pins, make a loop on both ends of the twine, & attach with the safety pins! Enjoy! 


I believe that a project isn't fun unless you end up covered in glitter some how, so make sure to have fun!! Also, I was lucky enough to get chose to be a finalist for the 2018 Tombow Design Team, and we were asked to create something using their products. With fall in full force, it was a no-brainer for me to create something to go along with all my fall themed decor in the house!! Hope you guys have fun creating! <3 

Can I Bite You? Please...

I often get this crazy urge to bite my children. I just want to nibble on their cheeks, bite their toes or just completely consume them whole. Apparently, this is scientifically deemed a normal reaction. Here I was thinking I was crazy, and it turns out that scientists have actually done studies on people where this is extremely common. Not to be confused with the biological primal urge to eat your young, the term "cute aggression" coined in 2013 by a research team at Yale, refers to the almost-overwhelming urge to do violence to an object that we find incredibly adorable. 


I know I'm extremely biased when it comes to my kids, but has anyone else ever felt cute aggression? It could be when looking at pictures of puppies, kittens, babies, really anything we find adorable! Mine really only comes out when I'm looking at adorable babies. 

I can't help but want to squeeze these sweet chubby cheeks. I found these pictures a few weeks ago, from back when Jonathan turned one and I wish I could jump in this photo and squeeze him tight! 


Obviously, I try to resist the urge to bite my kids, because that would only teach them bad habits and then make them an undesirable play date, friend, human... because let's be real, who wants to be around someone who bites! (full disclosure, Jonathan has done this once or twice out of anger, obviously, we are working on it)

Ribbons & Bows: Being a Girl-Mom

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If you would have told me five years ago that I would suddenly love all things floral, bows & pink, I would have said you were crazy! I enjoy my fair share of "girly" things, but it wasn't until I found out that our newest baby was going to be a girl, did I start to dream about sparkles, unicorns & different shades of pink.

There was this moment a few years ago, God placed it on my heart that I would one day have a little girl. I knew I always wanted a daughter, and was afraid that because I wanted it so badly that, like a lot of things in my life, God would make me wait. I'm on this constant struggle with the Big Guy as He is always working on my patience. I was starting to get scared thinking that this voice that I heard, telling me I would one day have a daughter, was just my own brain trying to convince myself it would happen. 

I kept praying/pleading with God, telling Him, "If you just give me a daughter, I'll stop begging you for more babies." We were so excited when we found out it was a girl, but it never really hit me until it came time to give birth. In my heart, I prayed for a blonde hair, blue-eyed little beauty, just like her brother, I had this vision of what she would look like, what she would act like. It all felt like a dream, and like I was being greedy for making demands.


Then as she was crowning, and the doctor said she had blonde hair, I lost it. No way was this dream becoming a reality. Tears of joy streamed down my cheeks, God is so good for giving me those specific dreams of what my daughter was going to look like. I truly believe those visions were from Him. Late at night, I would plead with him to give us another baby, and he would respond with visions of a little girl, in sun dresses and a sun hat, with long medium blonde hair and tan skin. Visions of her beautiful smile, her big beautiful eyes and I could hear her sweet giggle. God deals in specifics. 


Do you ever wonder, Chicken or the egg? What came first? Did I pray for those specifics because God made me want those? Or did I pray for those specifics and God answered my prayers? I know that He knows us even before He perfectly knits us together in the womb, and these two precious little blessings are more amazing than anything I could have dreamed up! 

I'm the luckiest mama in the whole world! I've been blessed with two beautiful children, and I couldn't love them more! Being a boy mom is AMAZING, and just as equally amazing to be a girl mom! 

My Favorite PENS: Tombow Dual Brush Pens


I remember when I ordered my first Tombow markers, over two years ago now. I was hearing a lot of great things about these dual brush pens, and I just had to get my hands on a few. So I ordered my three favorite colors, (Aqua, Green & Grey) and of course a basic black. When the package arrived, I ripped open the box, grabbed the pen and started writing. Realizing that my handlettering skills were really not that great, I immediately felt intimidated by these wonderful pens! At the time, brush lettering was not my forte and I knew I needed A LOT of practice. So I wrote that I was exhausted, and then promised myself that I would get better at using these beautiful pens. 


I don't claim to be the best at using them, and I feel like I'm learning new things every day, but I sure do love experimenting with them, their blending abilities, and just all around their versatility! 

I really enjoy creating with them and I would encourage everyone who is interested in getting into brush lettering to give them a shot! If you've never used brush pens, they definitely take some getting used to, but I LOVE THEM!  

You can get yours HERE! 


The Classic Black & White: Tombow Mono Drawing Pens


I have spent many years searching for the perfect drawing pen. Back in college, I had an obsession with illustration and would spend countless hours drawing and trying to create perfect images to scan and digitize, but the pens I would use would always bleed, feather & fray. I could never find a tip small enough that I could get the perfect amount of detail. Now, here I am, almost 10 years later, still in love with illustrating and I finally found the perfect set of pens! 

What is it Like to be Normal?

Sometimes I wonder what it is like to be a NORMAL person. By normal, I mean someone who doesn't try to do it all and knows that realistically there are people who specialize in certain fields for a reason and they are more equipped to complete a task better than they are. I know that I'm not educated in the medical field, so I don't try to pretend that I'm a doctor, nurse, dentist, chiropractor, etc, so I will seek the help of medical professionals when it comes to my health & well being. But I do have a Bachelors of Art & Graphic Design, so in terms of all things Artsy & CREATIVE, I say, "Oh I could do that." And then forget or procrastinate when it comes to doing that thing. Are you wondering what I'm talking about? Let me explain. 


I'm a professional photographer & graphic designer, so for example, when I have a baby, I find the need to take my own newborn photos and never edit them, forget to schedule a session for family pictures so I can have photos of us all together, say I will design & order birth announcements but really just take forever, and then kick myself months later for not just hiring or outsourcing someone to do all of this for me. 


I have to still sort through the photos from Verona's birth, Verona's newborn session, her one month & two month sessions, and order & send out birth announcements. In the meantime, I see on social media NORMAL people who have had babies after me have already done all these things. It's hard to have a brain that constantly is telling me that it would be completely normal to add one more thing to my plate. As if Mom, wife, photographer, designer, handletterer, illustrator & now blogger are not enough. 

Being an entrepreneur can be exciting, but some days, the thought of having a normal 9-5 or being a barista at Starbucks sounds like a dream. By no means am I trying to say that those jobs are easy, just probably less tiring than my 24/7 job of being a creative entrepreneur. I promise you, my brain never turns off. Maybe it all stems from my inability to relinquish control over things I know I can do myself. In which case, I don't have enough time to talk about those issues, and they might be best suited for a professional with a comfy couch, rather than me trying to figure out how to cure my control freak mentality. 

Maybe one day I'll order birth announcements, edit my personal photos and possibly design & order albums for myself! But for right now, I'm just going to keep trying to keep my head above water with all this motherhood stuff, and hope I take enough pictures to last me a lifetime! 

Teach-It Tuesday [Fall Decor]


Fall Decor is popping up everywhere right now, and it has me in the mood to make some projects with my two hands! I bought these wood blocks from Michaels and the come in all different sizes! I had no idea what I wanted to do with them, I just knew that I liked them. So decided to paint it and make some hand lettered fall art! Now, if you've been following along on my instagram, you have noticed that I've been doing video tutorials on how to get started in handlettering! Pencil is the best place to start, followed by using some great fine tip pens! 

This project will put all those skills to work.


Supplies: (all available at Michaels)
Wood Block
Sharpie Metallic (Silver & Gold)
Black (or white) Acrylic Paint
Paint Brush

1. Paint wood block
2. With the pencil, lightly layout the design for your block.
3. Ink in the design with Sharpies
4. Erase pencil lines
5. Style in your home

Here Goes Nothing...

A few years back, I had this crazy urge to start a lifestyle blog. I thought, we are kind of interesting, right? But at that time, we were photographing 20+ weddings a year, I was trying to do it all with wedding invitations, teaching myself calligraphy, photography and trying to break into the world of illustrating kids books. I was overloaded and could barely find the time to breathe, let alone start ANOTHER venture with a lifestyle blog! 


After a few car ride conversations with Ryan this summer, I (we) have decided that we should give it a go! I've never been afraid to share my life and my story with anyone who is willing to listen. Take my LiveJournal for example, this might be foreign to some of you, but back when I was in high school, it was hip for kids to share their deep dark tortured thoughts on their LiveJournal, listen to Taking Back Sunday, and lean ironically up against brick walls just because. I was THAT kid, the moody tortured artist. I wore berets, turtlenecks, followed indie bands and listened to music that most kids weren't listening to. When I look back on the pages of that LiveJournal, I can't help but laugh, and thank God (and my english teacher) that I finally learned the difference between Your & you're and how to use proper punctuation. 


And now, 13 years later, I'm back at it, with this same desire to share my thoughts on the internet and hope that someone, anyone might find it interesting, helpful or therapeutic. Heck, I doubt my own mother will actually read this, but if one post makes one person feel a little less alone in this perfectly curated world of Pinterest moms and flawless families, then I'd chalk it up as a success. 

We believe in laughing loudly, loving fiercely, Sunday couch cuddles, bold & bright colors, silly face selfies and everything in between.

Life is funny, I would say, anytime I have a preconceived notion on a way something should go (Birthdays, holidays, special occasions, motherhood), it usually goes the complete opposite. I wanted to make this mom thing look easy, effortless. I wanted to "do it all"... grocery shopping, keep the house clean, laundry done, kids alive and also run a successful business. Turns out all that is good in theory, and probably possible for someone else, someone more organized but not for me. Which is why last year we made the decision to close our wedding photography business and only take on a few photo sessions each year, being sure not to overload our schedules. And also why I decided to start selling Young Living products, because it's a wonderful business I can do from my home with my babies in tow. I knew I wanted a few small side projects to keep me slightly busy, because as if being a mom to two little kids isn't busy enough! 

Our family is far from perfect, and we have come to realize that our views are slightly less common, but we try hard to be a modern day Pollyanna and choose to find the good in all of life's twists and turns. We would much rather enjoy home-scooped ice cream cones with our kids, as we take a late night stroll around our quiet neighborhood than do anything else. Which is why we wanted to start this blog. We wanted to share our quiet, simple life with anyone that would read to give them permission to also live a simplified life & enjoy the small world around them! So, will you follow along? We'd love to have you!