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Let me just start by saying: I never EVER thought twins were in my future. The thought was not even a blip on my radar. The thought wasn’t a blip on anyone’s radar – fraternal twins don’t run on either side of the family. But here I am, a genetic mutant, with b/g twins.

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And I must admit, I never wanted twins. It took me many months of an ever growing belly to warm up to the idea. And only now, 9 weeks postpartum, have I accepted and grown to love the idea. But now, it’s not just an idea, it is my reality, and one that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

It isn’t easy though (and I definitely never expected it to be!). Every day I wake up and immediately remind myself that I am only one person. With the twins, I feel so guilty when I am holding one and not the other. Or when one gets more breast milk than the other (I’ve had to supplement more and more), or when both are crying when I have to tend to the toddler. Or when I have to tend to the twins and not the toddler. Or when I put the toddler in front of the TV (Daniel Tiger is my saving grace) just to get a moment of peace. The list goes on and on. But I am not Super Mom, as much as I want or try to be, and the best I can do is know that I am doing my best. So when panic creeps in as I try to prepare and sit my toddler down for lunch as the babies are screaming for their own, I have to take a deep breath and realize that I am not destroying my child’s chance at Life by allowing them to cry a little.



Every day is a feat and at the end of it, I feel like I have conquered the world because I have kept 3 kids and myself alive, and throughout the day we all even managed to smile more than once. The house is never quiet or clean. I am rarely showered or clean. But I always manage to get dressed, put on a little makeup, eat breakfast (lunch is still up in the air), and enjoy a sometimes semi-warm cup of coffee. And on good days (like today) I even manage to get a little work done. It’s hectic and exhausting and beautiful.

I read a blog post recently that really struck a chord with me. In fact, I cried. Because this stage of life IS hard. I mean, really, really hard. And it’s not just a twin thing, it’s a motherhood thing. We all find ourselves in the trenches at some point – many points – throughout this journey. Sometimes it’s hard not to wish away this phase or that phase (I can’t wait until they have better neck control, I can’t wait until they can hold their own bottle, I can’t wait until they start sleeping though the night, I can’t wait until they become more aware of the world, I can’t wait until they are all old enough to play together, etc. etc.). But at the same time, we have to constantly remind ourselves that this is ONLY a phase – when Life becomes so overwhelming with a laundry list of to-do’s and don’t do’s and monotonous routines and constant chaos and a bombardment of questions and demands and screams and cries and screams and cries…it’s hard to remember that this too shall pass. And when it does, you will miss it. Tremendously.

It’s the stage where your kids love you more than they are ever going to love you again, for the whole rest of your life. It’s the stage where they can fit their entire selves into your lap to snuggle…and they want to. It’s the stage where their biggest problems are ear infections and teething and stomach viruses, and you’re not having to deal yet with things like broken hearts or addiction or bullying…

So yeah, right now, in this moment, Life is hard. Like, really, really hard. But it’s also so simple and so beautiful and so right.


So to all you amazing, beautiful, hard-working, and imperfect mothers out there – you have the hardest job in the world, and you’re doing great. But when you’re having a shitty day, a shitty week, or even a shitty month, just remember that this too shall pass, and as hard as it may be to think outside of the moment, one day this moment (vomit, poopy diapers, ear-piercing shrieks, and all) will be missed. So enjoy as best you can, and HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY!!


So let’s talk shop for a minute.

If you’ve read the few blog posts I’ve had over the years, you will quickly notice the shift that has occurred. I began this blog with a passion for DIY. Not the crafty DIY, but the get your hands dirty, pull out the sander and paint cans kind of DIY. I loved scouring the flea markets and junk shops, repurposing furniture, and breathing new life into old pieces. And I had an Etsy shop full of these finds. But as business picked up, passion began to wane. With my lack of photography skills, photographing and editing the product became overwhelming, packaging and shipping the product became a job in itself, and storing the product became too costly. As a one-man show, I simply couldn’t keep up with it all. So I decided to shut down my Etsy shop and go local. I found a space at an antique shop and with a thousand ideas in my head, dove into my niche.

And heck, it was fun! I loved the satisfaction of knowing that something I created, something that I designed and painted with my own hands (and sometimes blood, sweat, and tears…) was getting used and loved and cherished on a daily basis. That’s an awesome feeling guys.

However, when I got pregnant, working with paints and stains and spirits somehow became a little less appealing. So after about 9 months of sales, I closed up shop once again and hunkered down with baby. Over the next year, I would still collect ideas and work on products, but what I found myself more and more drawn to was the design rather than the process. I loved imagining the end product. I loved picturing it in a home, and then I would imagine how I would decorate around it.

I always loved decorating. Even as a little girl, I would spend hours styling and restyling a single bookshelf. When I purchased my first home, it became my canvas (and half of my product went into my home instead of my shop. Not usually the best way to run a business…) and as friends and family came through, I began to build a reputation. They would come to me for advice, ask me to decorate a room, and ever so slowly I realized this is it. This is what I want to do. I want to help people live in a more comfortable and happy environment.

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A little piece of my own happy environment!

So again, with a dream and a more intentional goal, I took the plunge and opened up my eDesign shop.

I didn’t really know what to expect. I expected very little actually, but it just felt right, and I got my first client within the month. Things took off from there. With each new client and each new room, I gained more confidence, but with no formal training, I still had that doubt in my head – who do you think you are? Do you really think you can get away with playing the decorator?

It wasn’t until I went to sell my home that I gained that boost I really needed. Within the week, without going on the market, the house sold. The agents involved spoke highly of the décor and I finally felt like it was time to give myself a little pat on the back. It felt good. And it gave me the courage to market myself locally. Which is how I now find myself designing a spa.

Halo Salt Spa 1

Halo Salt Spa 2

And a sneak peak into my most recent project…

I say all of this to you 1.) to inform you in a very long and round-about way that going forward, this blog is going to focus much more on design than DIY (although there will be DIY thrown in there!), and 2.) to give YOU the confidence and the encouragement to find your passion and follow your own dream. Taking the plunge doesn’t have to be all or nothing, but it can be the stepping stone that leads to bigger and bigger things. I’m standing on that stepping stone as we speak (and frankly, it scares the hell out of me) and while I will probably wobble a bit and take my time moving on to the next one, I can see the outline of it ahead of me, and that is pretty amazing. So be scared, my friends, but do make that jump onto the first stone. And feel free to follow along as I embark on my own wobbly path!

LIFE LATELY (4.26.16)

You guys. It has been a LONG time. I know, I have been terrible but Life came at me quickly and I couldn’t quite keep my head above water. Not that I currently have my head above water, but I have so, so much to share that I just couldn’t stay away any longer!

First, if you are reading this – thank you for sticking with me. Things are about to change big time on this lil’ ole blog, and life in general, so hopefully you will stick around a little longer to see what’s happening.

Second…these guys:

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Yeah, that one is a bit of a doozy – TWINS! And words I never, EVER expected to come out of my mouth. I mean, it was never a thought in my head until I saw that second little blip on the sonogram. And since then, life has been a whirlwind. We bought a new car (a minivan…), we sold a house, bought a new one, moved, and somehow decided to birth two babies somewhere along the way.

2016-04-05 12.03.44 1-01(I must mention – I would never recommend or even wish on my worst enemy moving with a toddler in tow while (very) pregnant with twins. Throw in there a husband with a broken arm and you just may find yourself in complete meltdown mode. I’m just saying, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.)

Needless to say, my life has been a bit chaotic the last few months, and I’m tired, so very tired, but it has all been worth it. During particularly trying days (and there are many…), I have to remind myself of this, but then I get to snuggle these two little bugs and realize just how lucky I am.

IMG_20160408_112629-01 (1)Anyhow, I’ve also been focusing on the design business as much as possible in what free time I do have. I am still hashing out some e-designs and in other big news, I have picked up a local project designing a salt spa soon to open on the Downtown Mall here in Charlottesville, VA. Once their website goes live, I’ll definitely get into more detail, but I can’t wait to share more with you! So business has been going really, really well and I can only hope to maintain some kind of reasonable pace – not an easy feat with 3 kids under 3…

So in a nutshell, that’s life lately!

Despite the craziness that is and will be my life for a long time, I hope to bring some of that craziness to the blog and plan to post much more frequently. How frequently? To be honest, I’m not quite sure yet. With the arrival of the twins, I’m not sure what to expect (I’ve set my expectations pretty low, actually), but I know in order to keep my sanity, I will need an outlet and I would like that outlet to be here, in this space, with you. So bare with while I find my footing and stay tuned for a lot of design, a bit of baby talk, some fashion and fitness chatter (as I try to find my way back to fitting into my clothes!), and general lifestyle meanderings.

And again, thanks for checking in!



social media

Image via Amilight Creative

I have a love/hate relationship with social media, and I think this is also a huge weakness of mine. I love browsing through Pinterest and Instagram for amazing inspiration, but for me, it also creates a bit of envy and insecurity. I tend to browse and follow much more than I lead and post. However, in order to enjoy the benefits of the amazing blogging community out there (and staying optimized in the process), you have to participate! But participating in social media is seriously a job in itself. Unless you have a lot of time to kill or an extra pair of hands, instead of spreading yourself too thin across every manner of media you can find, try focusing on a handful that you truly enjoy because you will be doing it a lot! For example, I’m obsessed with Pinterest, I love Instagram, and I’m able to tolerate Facebook, so these are the mediums that I will focus on (“will” being the key word. I’m working in real time here folks, so it’s all still a work in progress! You’re learning as I’m learning). I’m on Google+ and I do have a Twitter account so I will occasionally throw out a post or a tweet, but these are mediums that will take the back burner.

You can also take advantage of sites like Co-Schedule and Hootsuite to schedule posts on your media of choice at times that are the most conducive to repins and shares. Yes folks, WHEN you post has as much importance and what you post. Crazy, right?

In the past, when I published a blog post, I automated WordPress to also publish a link to the post onto Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Turns out, this is most definitely NOT the right move (it’s basically equivalent to spam)! Your plan here is to reach as wide of an audience as possible and posting everything all at once isn’t going to do that for you. Plus, for those that may follow you on multiple platforms, it’s just kind of annoying! So take time out of your day to schedule your social media posts and pins separately.

There are also times throughout the day in which users are more active. When are you most likely to check social media? Perhaps in the morning over breakfast, during your lunch break, during that 3pm brain fry, and sometime before hitting the hay. So consider the audience you want to reach and post during those times.

Luckily, instead of putting way too much time and effort into posting to each site separately, there are sites out there that will help you schedule these posts/pins to be published at designated times. Phew! For example:

  • Hootsuite – I just signed up for this site myself. It’s a little primitive to me, but it will get the job done. And it’s free! Unfortunately, in order to get the most out of this site, such as analytics, you need to upgrade to Pro.
  • Co-Schedule – Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for the platform, but if you blog on a different platform and are willing to pay the $9-$10/month then it’s totally worthwhile.
  • Tailwind – This is another site that I recently signed up for. It allows me to schedule pins at times that I can set (or they can set for you). Again, to get the most of out of the site you will need to upgrade. With the free subscription, you can’t see your analytics and you can only schedule a certain number of pins.
  • Iconosquare – this is one I just learned about, but it’s something that I will use consistently going forward! This is for Instagram only, but it allows you to break down analytics by category. One of these categories called “Optimization” is where you can figure out the best time to post based on your audience. And going back to SEO, this site can also help you determine what is trending by showing you your most liked and most commented on posts.

I think the biggest thing I am learning through all of this is don’t be afraid to promote yourself, but promote wisely.

Of course, even if you’re breaking your back promoting yourself, the results will be minimal if you don’t actively communicate with your audience. If someone takes the time to comment on your post, whether on Instagram, Facebook, or your blog, have the courtesy to comment back. And don’t just leave it at that – seek out like-minded (and like-sized) blogs and feeds and write your own comments. Be authentic and build yourself a sense of community (because really, isn’t that why most of us amateur bloggers blog to begin with?). Again, sites such as Hootsuite can help you manage this, but you may also want to consider building in time throughout the day specifically for this purpose. Schedule in 30 minutes – 1 hour to schedule your posts (promote) and another 20 – 30 multiple times a day to actively engage.

Which is the perfect segway to my next post in this series! Up next: Creating your Editorial Calendar.

What social media platforms do you like to use?  Are there certain sites/apps that you prefer to manage these accounts?



via Amy L. Cummins

While I was in Mexico, I had nothing but time. Time to sleep in, time to lounge, time to sit back with a drink in hand and think about Life. And that’s exactly what I did. I thought.

I thought about heading home after vacation and falling right back into the daily grind. Cleaning, cooking, changing diapers, chasing dogs, and struggling to maintain some sense of peace as the chaos keeps building and building.

So I made a promise to myself upon my return that I would declutter. I would let go of all that baggage that was – IS – weighing me down, physically and spiritually. I will finally tackle the guest room that has also become my home office / storage for miscellaneous items. I will clean out my closet and toss anything that doesn’t fit my body or state of mind. I will organize the pantry. I will restart my daily journaling. I will set aside time to decompress. I will revive old friendships. I will rediscover love. And I will build my confidence up by tearing preconceived misconceptions and anxieties down.

Picking Peonies  via James Fitzgerald III

via Flickr

Because Life is too short to hold on to all that negative energy – in the end, that is exactly what holds you back. The fears, the insecurities, the excuses. They eat away at your better self and breed more fear, insecurity, and excuses. A vicious cycle. So why not stop it?

Instead of harping on the weight of the world, find ways to relieve it. Let go of that negative energy. Perhaps that means liberating yourself from a bad relationship. Or finally dropping that last 15 lbs. Or maybe it simply means cleaning out your garage. Start small if you must. Organize your spice rack, then move on to your bookshelves, then tackle your closet. Toss or donate anything that is too tight / too big / too short / too whatever and keep only those pieces that make you feel good, damn good, and wear them frequently. Perhaps then you will find the energy and gain the confidence to hit the gym. As your body grows stronger, so will your confidence, and perhaps then, and only then, will you find the strength to leave behind a toxic relationship. Keep the end goal in mind, and take as many steps as you need to get there.

 White Free People Dress

via Frank Vinyl

It only makes sense that the less negativity we hold on to, the less negative we will feel, right? So I created what I like to call the Declutter Checklist as a kind of big picture affirmation that I am responsible for my own happiness. It’s not your typical to-do, check off as you go kind of list, but a reminder to eliminate the negativity and chaos by creating and embracing positivity.


And finally, if you need a little more positive motivation, head on over to this lovely and newly discovered blog: Amy L. Cummins. Or, if you prefer to just sit and contemplate Life, you may want to have this little treat in hand while you do so.

Happy Friday!



YOU ARE A BADASS (or so I keep telling myself)


With thoughts of Mexican sunshine, palm trees, and salty air still swirling in my head, I am SO ready to spend the remaining Summer outdoors. Which means I really need to get to work on the mess that has become my backyard. I suppose I’m exaggerating a bit – it really isn’t all that terrible, but it could definitely use a little personality. A trellis with grape vines in the back corner, some lavender and wild flowers, a small privacy trellis along the patio with some flowering vines creeping up…yes, that would do quite nicely. But the pergola, dear Lord, that’s a whole different story! It needs work.

Backyard Pergola Dining Chippy Side Table on Pergola

Currently, it consists of a hand-built table that my husband threw together out of old pallets found behind our house, cheap plastic chairs gladly passed along by my father, a glass-topped bistro table I had in my old apartment, an awkwardly sized vintage table I bought for a dime simply because I liked the chippy turquoise, and some decorative wall piece I found at Home Goods many moons ago. The chairs at either end of the table are actually lovely chairs purchased on a whim at Arhaus – a definite splurge considering we had no actual plan or space for them. I don’t even think they were meant to be outdoors, but there they reside nevertheless.

So one of the projects I have in store for the summer is a complete overhaul of said pergola. I know I just gave myself the challenge of spending less in order to travel more, but 1. this is already a project in the works, and 2. it’s kind of like creating a travel destination within the home, yes?

Seriously, I could make excuses all day, but there is nothing better than sitting outside with a beer in hand, watching your dogs and child play, all while being slightly protected from the blaring sun. Am I right?! So while we don’t have plans to enclose the pergola, we do have the thought to roof it. Honestly, I’m still a little torn on the idea, but this is what is currently in my head:

 Bohemian Styled Pergola

via Country Living

Still minimal, but with a boho (almost Mexican) vibe. Which means lots of greenery! Unfortunately, I don’t have the greenest thumb in the world, but I’m working really hard to remedy this.

I was also thinking about adding outdoors curtains to soften the space a little, like this, but with a more lightweight, airy fabric (maybe mosquito netting?):

Make Your Own Outdoor Pergola Curtains! (click through for tutorial)

Image via A Beautiful Mess

And string lights are most definitely in order. But other than that, I’m kind of at a loss / totally open to wherever the wind shall take me. Should I build a corner bar in the far right corner or should I build extra seating? Should I hang some kind of fun, quirky seating in the left corner…?

Outdoor Hanging Chair Options

Images via The Merrythought and Broste Copenhagen

Or should I simply dedicate that space for all things green? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

ps…how about this for a little backyard inspiration!


I’ve been thinking about getting a little more serious with my blog. Not a money-making, leave my day job kind of serious, but I’d like to have more consistency and actually treat this blog as if it were my job instead of just a sporadic hobby. Because when you get down to the nitty gritty, I actually do put a lot of work into my posts, but posting so sporadically kind of undermines all of that.

So, I’ve been doing a little research about things like what makes a blog successful, how to increase traffic, how to keep up with an editorial calendar, etc., etc. and I’m actually learning quite a lot! I’m also learning that keeping up with it all really IS a full time job and if your blog hits any amount of success, you really do need a team of people to stay on top of it all.

My biggest weakness is my want to do it all on my own. Not that I have any amount of success at this point, but I have ZERO tech skills and I’ve been attempting to manage my website and design on my own, which takes away from the time I need to edit photos and actually write a quality post, and that basically makes me feel unenthused about the whole thing in general. So I’ve decided to go back to for a bit – it requires so much less maintenance and knowledge of CSS. That way, I can stay motivated and focused on the things that matter most to me. It also has a great community of people that I really missed during my stint with! There are a couple of pitfalls in going back to the .com version though, mainly: it doesn’t allow Google Analytics and a few other plug-ins that I like, and it doesn’t allow sponsored ads (which I’ve been leaning away from anyhow).

My first tip: be patient! Have big ideas, but start small and don’t get ahead of yourself.

(Although, if you do choose to go with from the start, there are some great Etsy sellers that have premade WordPress templates that you can tweak to make it a little more unique to you.)

Okay, so back to my research. When I started blogging, I had absolutely NO IDEA what I was doing. I still don’t, really, but I’m learning, ever so slowly (but surely!). I’ve come across so many blog posts that offer tips and tricks, but many of these are either common sense (write a post, hit publish) or complete bull (how to make six figures in six months!), or catered to people that already have a good grasp on what they are doing and blogs that already have a following. So, as I make my mistakes, learn from said mistakes, and piece together information that is actually relevant to me and this blog, I figure there are other amateur bloggers out there that could find this information pretty darn useful.

With all that said, welcome to my new weekly “Starting a Blog” series in which I will share my thoughts about starting a blog and the tips and tricks I have learned/am learning in the process. First up…

There are two big factors that I keep coming across:


You may be thinking Woah! What? I thought SEO was for the tech gurus and big time blogs. Yeah, me too. But I am quickly learning that it’s important for any online presence to have some manner of optimization because if you don’t, you pretty much don’t exist. The lower down on that Google list you are, the less likely you are to be found. Fortunately, you don’t need to hire said tech guru to give your blog an overhaul. Here are a few tricks you can use to give your site a little SEO boost:

Starting a Blog: SEO Tips and Tricks

  • The #1 thing you can do is create killer content and photos that users will want to read. I know, so cliché (and kind of common sense)! But the better the quality (and originality), the more likely users are to pin, link to, and otherwise share.
  • On that same note, do your research. Write about current events, find out what topics are trending within your industry, and use them as inspiration. Head over to Google Keyword Planner, Twubs or Google Trends to discover in-demand keywords and if they have relevance to your topic, include 1 in your header, include that same keyword in your post, as well as another 1 – 2 relevant keywords (don’t go crazy with this one! Otherwise, your post will be considered as spam by search engines and you will have quite the opposite effect than intended.) You can also go to to find out what and how often a pin has been pinned from your blog or do a case study of other blogs to see what is trending.
  • Use Alt Text. This one totally surprised me. I see the option all the time as I’m uploading an image into WordPress and always disregard it. Never again! Apparently, search engines don’t “read” images like they do text, so it is your/my job to create that text for better optimization. First, when saving an image, use a logical file name – name the image according to what is actually in the image, and try to insert one of your keywords if relevant to the image. And instead of inserting spaces between words, use dashes (search engines tend to read spaces as %20). When you upload this image into your blog, you have the option of inserting ALT Text (alternate text) – this is where you use a short phrase or 5-6 keywords to describe your image in order for search engines to better understand it. ALT Text also becomes the default caption when pinning an image to Pinterest so use it and use it wisely!
  • Install a SEO plug-in such as Yoast (for to help you enter your SEO information.
  • Use your keyword(s) in your permalink. I didn’t entirely realize that your permalink title could be different than your post title, but yes! So you can still have a creative and interesting post title to draw in your audience, but have a strategic permalink for better optimization.
  • Stay actively engaged. It’s kind of a no-brainer, but you need to stay active in order to stay optimized. The more buzz you can create, the more links you will get, and the more optimized you will be. Plugins like Engageya and LinkWithin can help you create relevant links within your own posts and pages to help readers stick and stay engaged (unfortunately, these widgets don’t work for, but you can use the widget “recent posts” on your sidebar to help you create more internal links to your posts). And then there is the matter of social media…

But alas! This post is already getting far too long, so I’ll save that for the next post in the series: Starting a Blog: Managing Your Social Media.

What plug-ins and/or widgets do you use to boost your SEO? Do you have any other tricks for optimization?


Tomorrow I will be jetsetting off to Mexico sans child – a first in 19 months of motherhood. I’m excited to let go of the responsibilities of life for a few days and enjoy some much needed R&R with the girls, but I have to admit, it’s also a little heart-wrenching! I’ve never spent a night away from my kid, let alone an entire weekend. My arms will be aching to snuggle him to sleep, and mornings will feel empty without waking up to his cries and cute conversations, but Dear Lord, the thought of sleeping in….!

Travel Ready

With this upcoming travel, and a few more planned trips throughout the Summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about the experiences and beautiful memories gained through travel vs. my homebody tendencies to splurge on the home. Unfortunately, most people – myself included – don’t have the financial ability for both. So one tends to trump the other and for me, that tends to be the home. When it comes down to it, coming home every day to a warm and inviting environment means more to me than a brief stint in a warm and inviting environment.

But lately, I can feel my tendencies shifting. Maybe it’s motherhood – I want my child to be able to experience the world and feel inspired by its cultures. Or maybe I’ve just been TOO much of a homebody over the years and my body is now craving a shock to the system! Whatever it is, I find myself wanting a little less for the home and a little more for the soul (minimal design, maximum travel!).

Suitcase packed and ready to travel

I think there is a point in which a home just has too much stuff anyhow. Don’t get me wrong, I have a whole portion of my brain dedicated to all the stuff that I want! But there is nothing I really need and in my old age (of 33!), I’m realizing more and more that family and friends and a bit of fun is more important than any stuff that I have or want. Sometimes I have to convince my brain of this, of course. Like I said, there is a lot of stuff that I want! And browsing through all the amazingly beautiful blogs and home tours and product shout-outs out there really make me want to empty my wallet. IMMEDIATELY. But I don’t. Or try not to to the best of my ability, because traveling really can enrich the soul so much more than any tangible product or beautiful home can. You (and I) just have to curtail that little green monster sometimes…

So for the remaining Summer, I give myself – and you – a challenge: other than the projects that you may already have in the works, give yourself a break. Embrace minimal design, curb your spending, and maximize your travel budget.

Do you have the soul of a jetsetter or a homebody? How do you plan to save and what places would you like to travel to?


With a year and a half of motherhood now under my belt, I have learned to appreciate my own mother so much more than I ever have. Not that I didn’t appreciate her, I always have, but I am quickly realizing how much a mother loves, worries, and is willing to sacrifice for a child – and she had 3! In this day and age, it’s hard NOT to worry. With the media constantly barraging us with horror stories of the every day death trap, fear mongering has become the accepted norm. I’ve read a dozen articles about mothers getting arrested for allowing their own children to walk alone to the park (free-range parenting). I’ve heard mothers judging other mothers for not hovering enough – what if he falls and scrapes a knee! I’ve seen parents stressing over which side of the car is the safest to (properly!) install a car seat (ahem, that would be ME). I’ve even had terrible thoughts about some kind of freak accident happening to my own son while he’s running around with my keys or a stick or a crayon. But there is a point in which we all need to take a step back and ask ourselves “what would mom do?” Because 50 years ago, parents were so much more likely to let their children be, well, children.


My mother loves telling me stories about when she was little. Her car seat consisted of a metal bar and more often than not, her and her siblings were rolling around in the back of the car playing “I spy” – or wrestling. An older friend of mine recently told me that when she was young, her parents took out the middle seats of their VW and stuck in a playpen for the kids to roll around in on long drives. Not that I’m advocating these things  – I am perfectly happy with my properly installed, rear-facing car seat – but such stories can teach us an important lesson: to fear less and live more.

Even when I was young, at 7 or 8, I would take off on my bike and let the wind take me wherever it would go. I would leave the house in the morning, pop back in for an afternoon lunch, and head back out until dusk. I would play in creeks, catch frogs, build forts, climb trees, knock down wasps nests, make dandelion salads (that I sometimes actually ate), run amok in the woods, and feel alive all the while. I was told not to cross highways or play on train tracks or go too deep into the woods or climb too high a tree, and I was given the freedom to play within those boundaries. Allowing your child to have some semblance of independence and responsibility isn’t a bad thing – it teaches them to be independent and responsible. And sometimes someone did get hurt. A broken arm or leg, a stubbed toe, stitches, a black eye, a wasp sting. It would hurt, sometimes we would pay the price for our independence, and it taught us about consequence.


I fear every minute of every day that something terrible may happen to my son – I think that’s simply a part of being a mother. But I shouldn’t allow my fears to get in the way of my child having a fun and carefree childhood. Like I did. Like my mother did. I’m not going to stop him from chasing my dogs with a stick because “it could poke his eye out.” I’m not going to stop letting him explore the garden because he could trip over a stone, or play in the dirt because a bug could bite him. I’m going to let him climb and play and run and explore because that what a kid should do and I don’t want him to fear the world.


That’s my job.

I know all too well the dangers that are out there. I’m going to fear and hold his hand and hover. And then I am going to ask myself, “what would mom do?” And, after a few minutes of an epic internal battle, I’m going to let him go.

Please note: This is NOT free-range parenting vs. helicopter parenting since I think most of us fall somewhere in-between. It’s important to be wise, set boundaries, and understand the limitations of your child (my kid, for example, is not yet 2 so “letting him go” is pretty limited) but it is also think it’s important to let a kid be a kid (I’m going to try to hover less at the playground as he makes his way across the bridge and down the slide, but I am not going to let him run into the construction zone next door to ogle at all the “big tucks!”).

What stories has your mother told you about her childhood? And do they make you think twice about how you raise your own child?


Well, I most definitely have not been a good blogger…but I have been a good designer! I’ve pulled in my first e-design clients ya’ll, and so far it’s been so much fun and quite a success. It began as a small project – a 6×6 project, to be exact. I was asked to liven up a very empty entryway into a semi-open concept, California home. After reading through the client’s completed questionnaire, I quickly realized how well-matched our vision and design style was. I probably couldn’t have hand-picked better clients myself! So I hit the ground running, full of ideas and excitement.

Entryways can be a little tricky though, for two reasons: 1. they’re kind of like the windows to the soul. It’s that important first impression – you want to let your personality shine, but you don’t want to tell your entire life story in one breath (entire life story = way too much clutter for a miniscule space!), and 2. storage. Yep, kind of boring, but totally necessary. You have to make your entryway functional. As much as you may want a pristine cowhide rug, a marbled console, and an oversized vase filled with cherry blossoms, that just ain’t gonna work if you have two dogs, a kid, and a husband that doesn’t understand the concept of style.

So you have to start with the basics. Review your lifestyle and the ensuing wear and tear your entryway will receive, and go from there. If you throw off your shoes the moment you walk into the house, designate a space for said shoes, and a small bench or stool to put them back on as you leave. If you’re always giving yourself a final onceover before heading out the door, hang a mirror above a console and gather a few lip glosses in a decorative bowl to have at the ready. If you have a big family, a lot of coats, and very little closet space, you just may want to throw in a coat rack and a few organizational, catch-all pieces. Catch my drift? Once you have your basics covered, you can start piecing in the fun, quirky stuff.

Hi Sugarplum | Layers of an Entrance Hall

(Over-sized mirror + console with catch-all bowl + personal touches and greenery = quirky elegance via Hi Sugarplum)

Loft Living Room Makeover

(Customized vintage storage + family organization + major greenery and quirky pendant light = major “modage” boho via Vintage Revivals)

So that’s what we did. They knew they wanted some kind of streamlined, modern storage. They have one, well-behaved dog so they knew they needed a place to hang the leash, and they knew they wanted a catch-all basket and some greenery. With that in mind, I pulled together this initial draft moodboard to make sure we were on the same page…

eDesign: Entryway Moodboard

Simple, yet colorful and eclectic. The dash wallpaper you see above is actually a light, cotton fabric that will be applied to the ceiling (the rest of the walls will be white). On a side note, I’m omitting the full design concept / layout to give my clients a little privacy, but luckily they loved  it! They were a little unsure about the semi-floating shelf, however, so I went with a variation on the design to give them a new perspective:

E Striebel Draft #2 Moodboard

Not a huge difference, eh? I swapped the hanging drawers with some floating, open shelving – perfect for draping some greenery! – but in order to better balance the open shelving, I went with a simple, DIY coat rack on the opposite wall for small accessories (totes, hats, scarves, leashes…).

In the end, we went with a lovely, modern floating console (just fyi: in the design layout, decorative hooks are included for the leash and other small accessories!) and I, and more importantly, my clients couldn’t be happier! Here is the final product board…

E Striebel Final Product Mood Board

Not too busy but still functional, fun, and full of personality! What do you think? Would you have gone with the floating console or the aluminum open shelving (totally a personal preference – I love both options, obviously)?

Like I said, I really think I got the Golden Goose of a first client, and I’m looking forward to future design projects. With our styles and communication so aligned, next in line will be their great room, dining room, and kitchen – so stay tuned!

If you’re interested in my e-design services, feel free to head on over to my shop on Etsy or just shoot me a message and I’ll be happy to help you as best I can!