friday favorites: organizing my 2015


I'm linking up with AndreaNarci and Erika for our Friday Favorites this week!

If you are like me, you realized that this week marked the first week of the last month of the year.  Repeat after me, "Oh My Goodness!"  That means, yes, New Years' resolutions are Right.Around.The.Corner.

What is my resolution almost every year?  To get organized.

This is a "relative" term in my world as I tend to be a creative type personality so while on the outside we appear scattered and chaotic, on the inside, I am actually pretty put together.  Still, I do love me a good planner and colored pens to help keep some resemblance of order.

This Friday Favorites is dedicated to my new organizer and accessories.

snow is cold or the tale of being more vulnerable

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting my best friend from high school and her lovely family who were visiting from Texas.  It was the first time I opened up my new home to real guests - not just my mom and dad who stay from time to time.

The experience was different for me.  Opening my house and inviting people to see me at all times of the day - from the moment I wake up to the time I go to bed.  It was strange.  I was vulnerable.

But an amazing thing happened during this vulnerability.  I became more open.  I stayed up late to just talk to my friend - a late night talk that was like long overdue therapy for both of us.  And I opened myself up to let someone in.

For so long, I've put barriers up around myself and tell others, "no, I don't need your help.  I've got this."  And yes, maybe at times I do have it together.  But oftentimes, I don't have it altogether.  And truthfully, most of us don't have it all together, all the time. And that's ok.

That's where friends come in.

They open their arms and offer help and support.  They lift you up when you are falling down.  And they just hug you when you need a hug.

This weekend, I needed a little help.  Silly as it sounds, I was purchasing a car for Kevin 3.5 hours away and asked my parents to give me a ride.  (No problem there - they are always there for me).

Instead, my best friend changed her departure plans to stay one more day and take me to go pick up Kevin's new car and to spend one more day with me.  I didn't ask her to do this, she just offered.  And instead of my usual, "oh no, I got this" attitude, I stopped a second and said, "ok - that would be great!"

So Saturday morning, we packed up 3 adults, 3 kiddos for a 3.5 hour ride (one-way) up the mountains to go pick up a car for my husband who (mind you) lives 1200 miles away.  Strange?  Of course it is, but that's our life!

On our way up the canyon, we stopped in Vail and got the kiddos out so these Texas kids (and my Colorado one) could play in the snow.  And what do you know - its cold!

By the time the kiddos got back in the car, they were freezing, but had a ton of fun getting stuck in the snow banks.

I couldn't ask for better friends who offer to help me with a very odd request.  We were gone for almost 12 hours to pick up a car for a guy who lives far away and won't even have access to it for several months.  But nothing in my life sounds normal anymore and my friends have likely figured that out.

Just like the snow banks we played in, I have built up barriers around me to help protect myself.  But I am working on breaking them down to be a better friend and accept help from my friends.  Besides, its more fun, don't you think?

Do you find it hard to open up and be vulnerable, even to your closest friends?  How have you broken through your barriers and accepted help from others?

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5 alternatives to the dreaded white elephant exchange

It's that time of year! The dreaded white elephant gift exchange mayhem is about to begin. Whether you are planning a corporate holiday party or a friendly shindig at your own abode, your guests will likely leave the soirée disappointed with the selected gift in hand.

So how do you avoid disappointing your guests, but still provide a fun gift exchange?  Try these five alternatives to the traditional white elephant exchange that will sure please everyone who leaves your party.

what she wore.

Avery loves curating her outfits.  She puts on clothes in the morning and runs into my room at 6:30am and says, "how do I look?"

this holiday: skip gifts, buy experiences

A few years ago, my husband and I stopped buying gifts for each other during the holidays.  We realized, that if there were items or products we wanted, we ended up buying it throughout the year.  So finding something our partner wanted under the tree became difficult, if not stressful.

Our solution?  We started buying experiences for each other instead of gifts. Now, we not only buy experiences for each other, we buy experiences for others on our list as well.

What does an experience look like?

favorites under $10

This week, I am sharing my home with my best friend from high school.  She and her family live in Texas and I am so excited to open my home up for the first time to out of town guests (parents don't count).  There was a lot of stress to get ready combined with deadlines at work right before the holidays, but I'm excited to start off the holidays with "Friendsgiving." 

Friday Favorites: Cozy Edition


I'm linking up with AndreaNarci and Erika for our Friday Favorites this week!  If you are visiting from the linkup - welcome to my crazy neck of the woods (or suburbia - that's more like it!)   I'd love for you to say hello in the comments!  And if you are wondering who I am, take a peek at my About Me.  If you REALLY like me, go ahead and add me to your Bloglovin account or Google Friend on the side there - yep, right there on the left side.

Brrrrr!  It's super cold here in Colorado!  I was just getting used to the fall days here - ok - so maybe it was like A fall day and then turned back to summer for a little while. But still, all of a sudden winter came out of NOWHERE and froze our entire state.  Elsa? Is that you? Did you decide to move from Arendelle and take over Colorado instead?  Seriously, this isn't funny!

In honor of the extreme weather fluctuation here, I bring to you my Friday Favorites:  Cozy Edition!

what she wore.

"Happiest Girls Are the Prettiest" - Audrey Hepburn

make new friends, but keep the old

"Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver.  The other gold."

Sitting around a friendship circle in Girl Scouts at age eight taught me a very good lesson, never forget your friends along the way.


I picked up these blog prompts from a blogger I follow religiously:  Meagan at Because of Jackie.  I love that these make you stop and take a moment to savor what life has to offer.

what she wore.

It's tough being a tween in middle school.  Keeping up with all the latest fashion trends can certainly be difficult.  Even worse, my own pocketbook can take a big hit if I were to take every trend, fad, and "must have" seriously.

So how do I keep my daughter looking trendy and "in" without killing my bank account?

Whats Your Secret Weapon?

I was at an event recently, and after introducing myself, I was asked what the secret weapon for my success was. Taken aback, I gave a really lame answer that was cute at the time, but not indicative of what it really is.

Happy Veteran's Day

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."  - John F. Kennedy

On this Veteran's Day, I thank all who have served, and who have given their lives to this great nation so that we may remain free.

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Sometimes You Just Need To Wear A Tiara

Growing up as a only child sometimes there were days I would play dress up and pretend I was a queen. In those moments of putting on a crown and walking around with my scepter, I felt powerful like I was completely in control.

Friday Favorites - Movin and Groovin!


I'm linking up with AndreaNarci and Erika for our Friday Favorites this week!  If you are visiting from the linkup - welcome to my crazy neck of the woods (or suburbia - that's more like it!)   I'd love for you to say hello in the comments!  And if you are wondering who I am, take a peek at my About Me.  If you REALLY like me, go ahead and add me to your Bloglovin account or Google Friend on the side there - yep, right there on the left side.

The Search for an Appropriate Costume

No longer are the days when my daughter twirls around in a puffy princess costume or as a fairy.  It's a shame.  It was so easy to pick out a costume off the rack, select the size and know it will fit.

We have now hit the "tween" stage.  Avery now fits adult sized clothes.  And if you haven't noticed, most adult halloween costumes for women show too much skin, too much leg, and are completely inappropriate for an 11-year-old.  It's incredibly frustrating as a mom - I don't want to send my daughter out on the streets looking like a street walker.

I have learned to get creative with the costumes, and turn to Pinterest and online shopping to create a good, age-appropriate look.

Our plan of attack to find the PERFECT tween costume?

1. Decide on a few themes.  Because it can be hard to find exactly the right fit, style, etc for my daughter, I don't let her get her heart set on one theme.  If she can give me, say 2-3 themes, it helps us keep our eyes peeled during the big search.

2. Take to the Interwebs.  I hit Pinterest with the themes in mind and see if others before us have recreated the themes.

This worked particularly well last year when Avery wanted to be "Luna Lovegood" from the Harry Potter series:

Sample 1 source //  Sample 2 source

We were able to purchase the wig and glasses on Amazon and picked up the skirt and stockings at Forever 21.  The jacket happened to be in her closet (crazy - I know).  

If that doesn't work, or we are lacking in the creativity department, I take to Google Shopping to search many sites all at once.  Pair it with Amazon and you have a pretty deep search engine.  I used  Amazon to provide quality feedback on any and all costumes I could find.  This was incredibly important in terms of fit, wear-ability, fabric (not itchy) and quality. 

3. Be patient.  Finding the perfect, appropriate costume takes time.  Even if you go to Walmart, Target or Amazon to shop, sifting through the numerous costumes takes time.  Stick to the themes, and work with your daughter so she'll be happy. 

I sent my daughter about 25+ suggestions over the course of several evenings and weekends.  We started early September, but didn't decide upon the costume until mid-October.  I had to realize that she's a different age.  She has opinions and so do I.  I want to make sure she will be warm on a cool Colorado evening.  She wanted to make sure it hit the "cool" factor that middle schoolers want.

4. Compromise.  As parents, we have to understand that what we want isn't always what our children want.  This is especially true for Halloween.  My daughter originally wanted to be a Greek Goddess.  The first thing to cross my mind was TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!  Yep, not the best example for sensible costumes.  But, I kept an open mind and worked with my daughter to find appropriate options.  Unfortunately, what we really liked sold out.

That's ok - at least I was open to compromise.

5.  Enjoy.  Once you select the right costume that meets your criteria and your daughter's, enjoy.  She may not be a princess anymore, but she's still a beautiful sight (even if she chose to be a zombie princess).  

This year, I ended up ordering a costume online.  The one we chose specifically had comments in the reviews that made both of us happy:  the outfit was comfortable, it covered well, I could easily add layers underneath it if it were cold, and it fit well with most. 

We just got the costume in this week and did a trial run.  We took a few pics and sent them to daddy.  He absolutely loved the costume - just as much as we did.  Our search for an appropriate costume was a success. 

Now we have to wait until October 31st to reveal it!

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I Hate Communication

I hate communicating.  Such strong words from someone whose whole job relies on communicating - verbally and non-verbally.  But when you are communicating 1200 miles away, it sucks.  I know - I shouldn't use that word, but it does!

Every Girl Wants to be Pretty

I was the quintessential girly girl growing up.  The one who enjoyed dresses that twirled around and loved to dance around my living room.  Like many young ones, it was my dream to grow up to be pretty.  To have the admiration of those around me.

This will sound vain, but I felt my self esteem was based on others' opinions of me.

What I didn't know, was that self esteem was based on what I thought of myself instead.   Instead, I cared so much about what others thought of me.

Mom Guilt

Mom Guilt.

We all have it.  We all feel it - every day of our lives.  Whether we are SAHM or Working Moms, we play these mind games with ourselves.  Here's my mom guilt for the week:

Friday Favorites - Things To Help My Mood


I'm linking up with AndreaNarci and Erika for our Friday Favorites this week!  If you are visiting from the linkup - hola, bienvenue, welcome!  I'd love for you to say hello in the comments!  And if you are wondering who I am, take a peek at my About Me.  If you REALLY like me, go ahead and add me to your Bloglovin account or Google Friend on the side there - yep, right there on the left side.

How $1.50 Saved My Hair!

So this past month, my hair has become unrecognizable.  No, it wasn't just the color.  The texture changed drastically on me.  It became dry, cracked, and looked like it would shrivel up and die on me.  I wish I was kidding, even just a tad, but it just kept getting worse.

First Middle School Dance - My Nordstrom Shopping Experience

6th grade is full of all new experiences.  One of them, we are taking on this week for the first time:  the first middle school dance.  Every parent's mind is filled with images of the gymnasium - boys on one side, girls on the other, punch bowl in the middle.  Everyone is too scared to dance with each other, so they just dance with their friends.  I am really hoping its going to be like that for my daughter's first dance.

My Favorite Things - September 2014

Hi everyone!  Today, I am linking up with two of my favorite bloggers:  Erika and Andrea.  These Texas gals are just a true delight to follow!!

Here are my favorite things for this month that I just can't seem to live without.  They will seem so random, but hey, its like me!

A New Appreciation

I have been so lucky to spend the last few days with Kevin.  Lucky, because I've been able to cross off things on my "honey do" list.  I found, though, that when he was gone, I realized just how much he did to keep our family going.

New Collaboration: Big City Moms

I'm so excited to announce a new collaboration with this amazing website:  Big City Moms.  Big City Moms is the most trusted destination for moms, moms-to-be and families.  What I love about this website, is they got their start by hosting weekly events for working moms.

I will be writing weekly articles on different parenting topics:  working moms, being a tween mom, and just general parenting topics that appeal to new and experienced parents.  So check out my first article: "Sometimes Mom Needs a Time-Out, Too" and let me know what you think.

If there are any parenting articles, topics, or concepts you think I should take on, post a comment below.  Ya'll know me - I am honest, open and real.  I really strive to share my stories with a little bit of humor and humility.

I hope you will enjoy this collaboration!

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Striped Hydrangea Wreath

Fall is a great time of year to break out the wreaths and celebrate the turning leaves.  I have been wanting a new wreath for my front door for some time, and have been window shopping craft stores, Home Goods, Marshalls and even Etsy for months.  It got to the point that I knew exactly what I wanted in my head and the price I wanted to pay, but I couldn't get the two to marry.

7 Things NOT to Say To A Parent of an Only Child

Let's face it, being a parent now days is tough.  It's tough if you have one child or nineteen.  But why must other parents make us feel bad for our decisions?

So I have one child.  People don't always know the entire circumstances why I have "just one child," but they certainly have an opinion.  Here are some statements I've heard, repeatedly and the comments I would just love to say in return, instead of my more P.C. versions I usually say.

Birchbox - September 2014 Review

I was so excited to get my second Birchbox subscription box in the mail last Thursday.  I was stalking the mailbox waiting for it to arrive.  I had so much fun with my August 2014 box, that waiting 2 weeks for this one (on its regular schedule) was just BRUTAL.

So brutal, that Avery trekked to the neighborhood mailboxes, in the bitter rain, to retrieve this box.  And then tried to claim is as her own (finders keepers anyone?)

Now I was a little bummed out - I missed getting to select 1 item for my box (missed it by a couple of hours), so I was praying to the beauty gods that I received good products and not duds.  Did my praying pay off?

Lead.... Like a Girl

I am proud to say that I am a Woman and a Leader.  While I wish these two words were synonymous, I work really hard to be a good example for my daughter so that she grows up to see that woman can have a seat at the table, whichever table they choose to be at.

My Nails Are "In Transition"

It's starting to feel like fall here in Colorado (it was 64 degrees and rainy on Tuesday), so my nails took a turn for the fall too.  But they couldn't quite commit either.  So I went for a mix of summer (with the khaki color) and fall (with the burgundy).

I Get By With A Little Help

I have a hard time asking for help.  Call it my Type A personality. Call it issues with being vulnerable.  But nonetheless, its tough for me to call up someone and say, "hey, can you babysit for me on Friday?"

But when you find yourself with a husband 1200 Miles Away, you just have to be more open to this vulnerable part of yourself.

I hear people tell me, "Hey Kim, if you need me to watch Avery, let me know!  I'm always happy to." But really, I'm thinking "They are just being nice and cordial.  Its out of obligation."  But that's the skeptical part of my brain speaking.

But through this process, I'm also learning to lean on some people, trust people a bit more, and accept help from my friends.

As a mom, we think we have to do everything ourselves.  And yes, that is an expectation we set upon ourselves.  But let's stop doing that, and let's help each other out.  And listen to John Lennon a bit more.

Because we all can Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends.

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2 Week Recap -or- Where Have I Been?

Yes, I have been missing.  But listen, I have a really good excuse (and a doctor's note!).

Kevin came into town for 10 days (yes, that's like longer than most people's vacations).  So our family put it into high gear and we did as much as we could in a short amount of time.  Let me try to recap for you:

Birchbox - August 2014 Review

I'm so excited!  My first Birchbox arrived Tuesday!  I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this subscription box. Several of my coworkers receive these and I've been curious to try them.  I receive other subscription services [see my Stitch Fix post] so I'm familiar with how they work, but I haven't received a beauty one yet.

Recipe: Cinnamon Sugar Croissants

I'm linking up again for the Momfessionals Recipe Club.  

Last Saturday, Avery had a friend spend the night.  Whenever she has friends stay the night, I make breakfast the next morning for them.  Note: I'm not the kind of mom who makes a full blown breakfast every morning for my kid, so this is also very special to Avery, to get a fresh breakfast.

I really enjoy getting in the kitchen with my daughter, and when her friends are over, I don't worry about the mess they'll make, I just enjoy the fun they're having making stuff.  It brings me back to cooking in the kitchen with my mom, and sitting on top of the counter, stirring bowls and licking spoons.

Five Fancy Favorite Things - All Under $10!

I love my Friday Favorites blogs, appearing every Friday.  But this time, I'm linking up with Andrea and Erika to bring you:

Friday Favorites: Back to School Favorites


I'm linking up with AndreaNarci and Erika for our Friday Favorites this week!  If you are visiting from the linkup - HI THERE!  I'd love for you to say hello in the comments!  And if you are wondering who I am, take a peek at my About Me.

This is our first week of middle school (and back to school for many of you) so all us moms and dads have school on the brain this week!  I'm sharing my Back to School Favorites this week for busy moms and dads!

Get Fixed! My First Stitch Fix Review

It finally came!  My first Stitch Fix box!  Have you heard about this subscription service?  If you haven't, don't worry - I hadn't until about a month and a half ago on other blogs.  And I finally took the plunge.

So what is Stitch Fix?  It is a personal styling subscription service.  Plain and simple - you fill out a lengthy survey about your style choices, likes and dislikes, sizes, shapes and colors, and even give them access to a Pinterest board (if you like).  And a personal stylist sends you this happy box with 5 specially picked items based on your style profile.  You pay the stylist a $20 fee, BUT it applies as a credit to any piece you keep. (More on that later).  Each piece is individually priced and sent to you based on your preferences.  I requested they keep things in the $25-100 range (and frankly, I'm a bit uncomfortable spending $100 unless its a fancy dress).

Advice for My Tween Daughter

As I send my daughter to her first week of middle school, I think back on my own middle school years like it was yesterday.  I would love to give my own middle schooler a few pieces of advice as she starts her journey from my own experiences.

Many Firsts - Today was Another One

As parents, we watch our kids take many firsts in their lives. It is always bittersweet as it commemorates time passing by, and them growing up. Today, my daughter Avery took one more big step and entered middle school. 6 years ago, I was walking her to school, hand in hand, to her kindergarten class, 900 miles away. 

Today, I dropped her off on the curb and watched the back of her head walk into school

To my daughter, on her first day of middle school: Buckle up.  It's going to be a bumpy ride!

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