Category Archives: notes

Shop Small Holiday Series

Thank you to all of the small shops that helped create this post, part of Bahorich Abode’s Shop Small Holiday series. I was selected for this opportunity by each individual small shop; however, the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Shop Small Spring Series

One of my favorite things each year is to be able to partner with small shops throughout the country, and honestly the world, to showcase their artwork, talents, passions, and designs. I cannot express to you my love for small shops. As a blogger, I like to think of this space as my own “small shop”, but truthfully, I know that none of my work compares to some of these entrepreneurs that I am going to share with you this season.

Their joy and passion and pursuit for their love labor and more importantly, the “why” behind their shop brings me to tears. Some shops are just made of working moms struggling to stay home with their little ones during the years that they can never get back. Others are retirees working for a little travel money or helping out medical bills of a loved one. Another shop may be somebody saving for their wedding, or supporting their entire family!!

Each small shop has such a personal story, and starting tomorrow, I will start sharing with you some of my new favorite entrepreneurs and allowing you to enter their stories about their shops, their journey and tips for success, and how they manage to balance a small business with family, friends, and everyday life.

The best part? You can also help support them as we explore their great products together by purchasing one of their items for all of these great gift giving events this holiday season! Most shops that will be highlighted over the next few weeks have offered up a special code or giveaway just for you!

Are you ready?! Stay tuned!!

Want to check out the shops from last year’s Shop Small series? Click here to see other small shops that you can start supporting today with your holiday shopping!

Fall Inspirations from Kanndid Kreations

Thank you, Kanndid Kreations, for sponsoring this post, Fall Inspirations from Kanndid Kreations. I was selected for this opportunity by Kanndid Kreations; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Fall Inspirations from Kanndid Kreations

We are headed to Disney this week! Hallelujah for some vacationing in our lives. The only part that I am bummed about is spending my limited fall days away from fall weather. I feel like it honestly has taken forever to get here and now we are jumping on a plane this morning to add more heat to our lives. Nevertheless, I am excited for some sunshine, relaxation, and all of the Disney feels.

Thankfully, we have been able to welcome fall with these adorable wooden block signs from Kanndid Kreations’ Etsy shop. You all know how much I love small shops and although it seems ages away from the Christmas season, I am already on the hunt for some good shop to support this upcoming gift giving time. These precious wooden blocks were my favorite from her shop and you can choose from seven different designs or mix and match. All of the blocks are stained in walnut, then handpainted in an array of acrylic paint. They are baby-sized, measuring at approximately 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″, which I love! I have been looking for something to add to our mantle all season, but it seems as if everything has been too big. These were perfect! They can sit up on their own too which allows me to really place them anywhere in the home.

Kaitlyn’s shop is filled with adorable simple decor items for fall this season and beyond into the holidays. I adore these three pieces below. I am thinking of an upcoming wedding we have this winter and a few holiday gifts for myself. The best part about it all is that you have a chance to win these blocks from her shop for your home as well! Head on over to our Instagram in the next 48 hours to find out more. Keep it for yourself or gift it to a neighbor that needs a bit of happiness in their life. You will definitely enjoy it either way!

Fall Inspirations from Kanndid Kreations

Fall Inspirations from Kanndid Kreations

Fall Inspirations from Kanndid Kreations

Here is a little bit more about Kaitlyn, the owner of Kanndid Kreations:

How did you get your shop started?
I began by making items to decorate my own home on a budget. I was then sought out by friends and family to make pieces for them or gave them as gifts and before long was selling on Etsy and at craft shows around Florida.

What is the hardest part of owning a shop?
The most challenging thing about owning a shop is balancing it along with a full time day job and home life. I try to have a schedule and/or set days to work on each thing but unfortunately life sometimes throws you curve balls. I am still working to get the perfect balance and give enough attention to every area.

What is one thing unique about you?
All of my pieces are created free hand. I have always enjoyed handwriting and pride myself on being able to write neatly in a variety of styles. I have never used any stencils for any of my pieces and plan to keep it that way!

What is the best part of owning a shop?
The best part of owning a shop/small business is being able to create works of art for others special occasions. I have made a variety of signs for big events in others lives like birthdays, weddings, new babies, etc. I love the feedback and photos from others when they receive my signs!

How did you get your shop name?
I get asked this quite often, it’s a combination of my name Kaitlyn Ann and a nickname from my mom, Katydid. And then I changed out the c on creations.

What is one way that you keep organized?
I have always been very organized and I love to make lists. I do keep a day planner now and lists with all my orders, events and home activities.

How do you balance family life and work life?
Like I mentioned before its something I am still working on. I try to set specific days or time periods aside for working on orders or events and utilize time during the day like my lunch break to catch up on social media or update my shop.

Fall Inspirations from Kanndid Kreations

Fall Inspirations from Kanndid Kreations

Fall Inspirations from Kanndid Kreations

Fall Inspirations from Kanndid Kreations

Bump Date :: 16 weeks

I have been getting so many texts and messages around our pregnancy lately. We cannot wait to experience our newest addition to our family in the spring. Two years ago, I started snapping away our week by week updates with baby Ollie. We could not wait for him to grow and join our family.

These past few weeks have been more bitter sweet. Although we still have the anticipation of meeting the newest family member, we also are attempting to savor every last minute alone with our little man. We are also sitting along side those in our local community who are either struggling with pregnancy, or trying to make sense of pregnancy loss. After dealing with a miscarriage a few years ago ourselves, we have truly grieved with those around us as of late.

With that being said, we are still overjoyed with our upcoming babe. We will probably squeeze that little nugget even more so when the baby arrives knowing the sadness that so many have and will endure. On a final note, some folks have asked about what fruit/veggie I am this week, and although I have no desire to scour the countryside for fruits and veggies over the next few months, we will be doing updates throughout! I enjoy the moments and memories from our last pregnancy and cannot wait to do the same.

Week 16 Bumpdate

size of the baby :: Avocado

total weight gain :: 1 pound

gender :: Uh, we may know. I’m not going to 100% lie about that. Do not worry. You’ll know soon.

maternity clothes :: Just hanging out in my maternity jeans. I can still stretch into some of my old jeans as well, but I feel like I look more fat than pregnant so maternity jeans it is.

movement :: Nope.

sleep :: It’s so-so. Dusty has been doing a lot of the nighttime feedings with Ollie these days but I am still having trouble sleeping. Either it is crazy weird dreams or not being able to get comfortable. My hip issues have returned in full force from last pregnancy and by the end of the night, I am really sore even laying down.

missing :: Nothing really.

craving :: Donuts. Pumpkin things. Nothing beyond a standard basic white girl in the fall time…

symptoms :: Like I said, my hips and ligaments are not the greatest. I ended up with 8 months of physical therapy post-birth last time, so I am up-ing my chiropractic visits and walking early on to help minimize the damage and rotating that happened last time. I am also starting Tone It Up’s 21 Day series today (yay!) in hopes to help my soreness.

duston is :: busy. We have taken on the basement as a side project this fall. He’s looking into grad school… oh, and we have a full blown toddler. That’s pretty much enough right now.

looking forward to :: We are headed to Disney next week! It will be Ollie’s first trip and I cannot wait for all of the excitement and rest that this vacation will bring.

best moments :: This past weekend we had such a fun-filled time. We had our annual yard sale in the morning on Saturday which brings out the entire community. We finished the day with a food truck festival and rounded off our weekend with church and housework. Dusty even finished a great storage area in the basement for me. It is amazing.

5 Podcasts Playin’ on Repeat

5 Podcasts Playin' on Repeat

I am a podcast junkie. It’s really quite an issue. I sat at home working from my office… to my dining room… to the middle of my kitchen on a daily basis. The location may change (and that’s a true benefit of having a work-from-home gig) but my podcast obsession remains the same. I feel like it can 10am and I have an inbox full of emails, but I already feel productivity because I have either have coffee with my gals from Coffee and Crumbs or learned something new about my lovely essential oils.

I download them on my iPhone so I’ll always have access to them when I’m driving around, commuting to a meeting, working out, tidying up or cooking dinner. I love listening to all sorts from history to business, but here are my favorite 5 podcasts to ensure your Friday is inspirational and you find a new best friend or two to connect with this weekend through a new podcast!

The Shauna Niequist Podcast

I love me some Shauna. She writes and speaks to my soul. She is a best-selling author and speaker that hosts this interview-style podcast featuring personal conversations with leading writers, thinkers and leaders about life, relationships, purpose, family and faith. Authoring popular books like Present Over Perfect, Savor, and Bread & Wine has given Shauna a passionate fanbase, especially among millennial and Gen X women. She frequently headlines national conferences with her insight about living a life of faith and purpose.

Coffee + Crumbs

The Coffee + Crumbs Podcast is your companion for kitchen cleanups, stroller walks, or the daily carpool hustle. Join hosts Lesley Miller, Ashlee Gadd and April Hoss as they chat about the beautifully hard work of raising children.

The Simple Show

Say YES to the things that matter most to us and NO to the rest. It’s a great philosophy …but what does this look like in real life? Making time for our favorites—travel, creative work, loving our people, and good self-care—means saying no to the good and YES! to the great. Tsh Oxenreider chats with co-hosts Kendra Adachi, Stephanie Langford, Erin Loechner, and Haley Stewart about how to make this work in the day-to-day.

Disney Every Week with the PassPorter Moms

Grab your mug and listen to Disney travel tips, advice, and chat from PassPorter’s Jennifer and Sara about Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and general travel. We are the PassPorter Moms!

Drops of Inspiration

Sharing Young Living has never been easier with the help of their education tools. This year they are committed to providing the best tools and resources for you, resources that are specifically designed with your sharing needs in mind! Join us we share leadership lessons, conversations with Young Living influencers, and an inside perspective on our company.

Bonus! Looking for something more business oriented?

Check out Creating Disney Magic: Lessons in Leadership, Management, and Customer Service. Lee Cockerell shares his wisdom and experience from his time as the Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World. Lee discusses how you can apply lessons in leadership, management, and customer service to create magic in your organization.

A Letter to My Little Boy

His one year old photos are so adorable. #olliehayes

Little Mister Oliver Hayes,

I’ll never forget the day you were born; we had no clue what we were getting ourselves into. We waited and waited for you and you very much decided to come late… and honestly, you’ve been running us late since you got here. You came in the world with a bang, making sure that you were the center of attention. You took extra care to make sure you arrived safely and a few extra days to make sure you were healthy. Those were such long days and all we wanted you to do was come home.

The day we got to bring you home was amazing. We felt such an empowerment from being parenting. You immediately fit right into our lives as if you were always there. You quickly became the heartbeat of our home. You cried a lot at the beginning as you were trying to figure out this crazy world, but day by day you grew into the most perfect happy, healthy, and easy baby. We could not have pictured it any better.

I spent countless hours nursing you, playing with you, taking you on walking, and just holding you. We had the best quiet time together in the middle of the night each night were it was just you and me as the rest of the world slept. It honestly was my favorite time.

We found the most perfect babysitter for you who loved you like her own and you quickly became the center of her world as well. You grew, became a world traveler, and became incredibly fun. You became my little sidekick. My favorite Target co-shopper. My little buddy. I have learned so much from watching you learn about the world. You have taught me how to savor moments more. You keep me on my toes and inspire me. You make me better.

I will never forget the first time you took your first steps and how it made my heart smile. Or the time you stood at the front door, repeating “dada” over and over while your dad mowed the yard. I will never forget the days we spent in the hospital just hours before Christmas morning hoping and praying that they had fixed your intestines and you would no longer bleed. How helpless you looked in that hospital gown and in your little bed… or how quickly you bounced back and learned how to crawl all in one swing.

We made it through your first year, baby Ollie, and you are such an incredible joy. I cannot wait to see what you are going to do for this world and what an adventure you will create.

I love you.

Mommy

Shop Small Spring Series is Here!

Shop Small Spring Series

I’ve been hinting on social media for a bit around my Shop Small Spring series for a few weeks… and it is finally here! I cannot wait to share with you each and every one of these wonderful shops over the next few weeks. Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. Although I am a summer girl at heart, the world waking up through blooming, blossoming, and warming weather makes me so excited about life. Everything is new and growing and the earth just whispers that summer is near.

Spring also comes with a season of busy. Weddings, showers, holidays, and a lot of family birthdays. Throw the start of baseball season, graduations, and summer vacation in there, and I always just feel as if the weeks fly by! During this Shop Small Spring series, I hope to make some things a bit easier with giving you some great ideas for all of these springtime events. Easter baskets, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, wedding showers, baby showers, and more, there is a lot of gifting opportunities and I have partnered with some of the BEST shops!

Starting tomorrow I will start sharing with you some of my new favorite entrepreneurs and allowing you to enter their stories about their shops, their journey and tips for success, and how they manage to balance a small business with family, friends, and everyday life. The best part? You can also help support them as we explore their great products together by purchasing one of their items for all of these great gift giving events this spring!

Are you ready?!

5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter

Thank you, Honeywell Top Fill Cool Mist Humidifier, for sponsoring this post, 5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter. I was selected for this opportunity by Honeywell through Influenster; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter

I don’t know about where you live, but Illinois is absolutely frigid. Terribly cold. Brr.

At heart, I am a summer girl. My hair, my skin, my health, my happiness are all better in the warmer weather with an abundance of sunshine and pool time, but living in the midwest, I get to enjoy all seasons at their fullest, including winter. One of the reason I have such a hard time in the winter months is due to the fact that my skin and hair become extremely dry during this time. It is so hard to feel good about my look when my hair is static clinging to everything and my face and legs feel like sandpaper. So when winter rolls around, the colder temperatures, dry air, and wind affect the look and feel of my skin and hair, I do everything I can to keep myself looking radiant all winter!

1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Drinking water isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I will grab a cold RC Cola over a glass of water anyway, but in winter, I have to drink plenty of water during the day to stay hydrated. Lack of hydration may cause dry and flaky skin during the winter months. I like to drink my first glass of water in the morning while I’m at my vanity while putting on my makeup. There’s something refreshing about drinking fresh water while getting ready for the day! I also drink water when I take breaks from working each day and when working out as well. I don’t go to bed without a glass of water next to my bed at night for those moments when I wake up feeling thirsty and during the early hours of nursing baby Ollie.

My Camelbak is something that has helped me out tremendously with this. If my water bottle is next to me and full, I’ll drink it. I do a thousand times better with staying hydrated with my Camelbak than I do with a plain glass of water. There has to be some sort of science behind this… but whatever it is, this has helped me keep my water intake up.

5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter

2. Exfoliate Once a Week
Exfoliating can help get rid of dead skin cells to reveal newer skin underneath. Use a gentle scrub during the winter months to remove dull skin cells. During the fall months, I have been using a simple charcoal and brown sugar scrub; however, for Christmas, I received my all time favorite scrub from Basin, their orange vanilla shea salt scrub. I “test” this scrub out each time we visit Disney Spring and it is the best! I cannot wait to add this product into my weekly routine.

3. Moisturize Twice a Day
Moisturizing is necessary for keeping my skin looking the very best during the winter months. I moisturize in the morning and at night. Moisturizing is one of my favorite routines of the day because I feel so much better after I give my skin the extra moisture it needs. Skin is best moisturized soon after bathing or showering. I have been sticking to the same moisturizer that I used during my pregnancy, Fruit of Earth Vitamin E Skin Care Cream. It is my cheapest skin care item I own, and my favorite hands down.

Your hand also could need moisturizing! I try and get at least two deep conditioning treatments over the winter months at the salon and boy, do they make a difference! I also deep condition my hair at home every other week as well. It is so helpful to keep my hair from being a static mess all winter.

4. Lukewarm Showers
I am super guilty of taking hot, hot showers in the winter time; however, the best type of shower during the winter months is lukewarm. Hot shower actually dry out your skin! It is hard to make the switch and cool down the temperature of my steamy showers, but I know it is so much better for my skin.

5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter

5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter

5. Use a Humidifier
This is my best kept dry skin and hair secret. The air gets dry in the winter and lack of moisture in the air may cause your skin to crack, leaving your skin feeling itchy, and my hair just a mess! Our home thankfully has a whole-home humidifier; however, we sleep with a room humidifier in our bedroom as well as in Ollie’s bedroom. You would not believe the difference it makes.

We have a thermometer in the house that tracks our humidity levels in our room. From the nights that we run on humidifier compared to the nights that we do not, there is a drastic difference. A healthy humidity level for your home should be in between 40% and 60%; however, the nights that we do not run our humidifier, our humidity levels in our house drops below 30%!

I am in love with our Honeywell Top Fill Cool Mist Humidifier because it is so easy to refill late at night as we are getting ready for bed. The top-fill feature means that you don’t have to disassemble the humidifier and hold the tank under a faucet which makes a bigger difference than you might think in terms of convenience and ease of use. The controls are simple, one knob that you turn cockwise to control output. It is super quiet when it is running and is easy to clean.

I cannot believe the amount of people that do not sleep with a humidifier every night and honestly, this has been the most helpful item that I have added to my list. It helps with my skin, hair, and overall health — keeping my throat less scratchy and sore, nose less dry, and more.

5 Skin & Hair Care Tips for Winter