10.14.2016

my bucket list: high point market

i am a lucky girl. for a lot of reasons. i have an amazing family, friends, support system, great health, a job i love, and just overall feel really, really blessed. 

i also have two bucket lists. 

a sporting event one (yes, i'm not kidding with this one). and a general one. 

the general one is kind of random. travel to italy. see spain. someday live in north carolina. someday go to the high point furniture market in high point, north carolina. 

yeah, you read that last one right. 

the high point market instagram page. check it out.
seriously. it's gorgeous.
high point, north carolina is generally known as one of the major furniture capitals of the world. and, the high point market is like an overdose of all things home, furniture, and decor for a home-obsessed fanatic like me. it's seriously six days of home overload (from what i've heard.) 

so, you see, getting to high point as just someone who loves home decor isn't easy. from what i understand, you can't just go on their website, get tickets, and all is great. there's rules for who can attend.

this is where the greatness + more of what a lucky girl i am comes in. i happen to work for a pretty amazing marketing + advertising agency, and i manage a lot of social media for our clients. one of those clients happens to be a locally owned furniture store. and during a recent meeting with them, the market came up, i happened to mention that going to high point is on my bucket list (to which my boss looked at me and said, "seriously?"), and then he proceeded to offer to send me along with our great client to help them along with some of their social media efforts. 

needless to say, i took him up on that offer. 

i'm stoked. like, seriously. i'm going to have four days of getting to see the market with my client, gathering awesome new trends for their marketing and social media, and checking off one very big item on my bucket list. did i mention that i'm a lucky girl?

one week from today, i'll be checking out the latest trends, colors, textures, styles + more at the high point market! and, i'll be working on a little post post-market to bring a little bit o' high point to you!


p.s. if you want a peek into all things high point, be sure to follow them over on instagram

10.01.2016

renest life // are you there God? it's me, ashley

***warning: this is post all about potty training, i won't get gross (because deep down, i am a lady filled with decorum), but if you haven't dealt with the drama that is potty training yet, proceed with caution. and, if you continue to read, i'm so glad you are here! oh, and i've written this over the course of a week....forgive me. i've been potty training. and, as i write this, i feel like i might need a little divine intervention.

phase 1: friday


the close of day #1. enough said.
i'm starting this post two glasses into a bottle of champagne on a friday night. a friday which the
mr. and i took off of work to embark on what is known as the "three day potty training boot camp." first, if you aren't yet a parent, or a parent to a child who hasn't reached potty training age, i believe there are about 1% of children who can be fully potty trained (meaning no accidents day or night) in three days. but, with total focus on this child over a three-day period, i think you can get about 70% of the way there by the end of the weekend. (what do i know? i'm only twelve hours into this.)

so, to say that i feel like we are so far behind the 8-ball with potty training little mr. re-nest #2 would be the largest understatement of the year. like, we can't even see the ball at this point. he'll be 3-1/2 in november, and we're just now starting this. (gasp.) but i have a whole basket of excuses (there wasn't a good weekend during the summer when we could do it, there's just not enough vacay days to do it, and my fave: he'll figure it out on his own) - but now, it was time. he desperately wants to go to preschool (who can deny that kind of ambition?), and frankly, he was telling us when he was going in his diaper. so, mr. re-nest + i dove in head first and started on a gorgeous friday morning.

in all honestly, we're currently batting at about 75% for the day between accidents + successes. not too shabby. and, about five hours in, i was feeling energetic. now, fifteen hours in, i can see my immediate future is going to be filled with carpet cleaners, lots of laundry, and making + re-making beds. don't get me wrong: it's all a part of the wonderful process. (in all honesty, we're totally ready for this stage for our little guy.)

phase 2: saturday

little man woke us up at 2am, i ran into his room, and he told me he had to go potty! it was like the heavens opened up and the angels were singing. no joke. i was completely floored. he went. and, then gloriously, he went back to bed. then, he woke up dry. (y'all think i'm making this up, don't you?)

saturday, we ended up at about a 90% for success vs. accidents. not a bad day at all. and, i mean, can you beat it when they wake up dry???

phase 3: sunday


our big kid.
once again, we are thinking this little guy is a potty training angel. and, by this third day, he totally
had it down. (well, mostly. no accidents, but every three minutes he "thinks he has to go.")

overall, the weekend was a success. except for the fact that i can honestly say i had varying degrees of cramps in my back, hips + legs from contorting myself like a pretzel on the floor of our very small powder room for most of the weekend. that's just showed me that i need more yoga in my life. or a bigger first floor bathroom. 

oh, yeah and i should also mention that with the potty training thing, we also thought it might be a good idea to move on over to the toddler bed....so, we added that on too. again, he's handled all of this like a boss. 

phase 4: back to day care

he's killing it. and, by this i mean, our day care provider + i are having to remind ourselves that he's in the midst of potty training because this is seems too shockingly easy. the other (not-so) glorious addition to all of this is that he now insists on attending potty sessions with the whole family so he can then cheer for us. i mean, who can't use a little extra encouragement throughout the day. even if it comes in the potty. 

in closing, i'll leave this lil' bit o' preciousness for you....mr. re-nest happened to catch this adorable 
moment of our little (big) boy saying "bye, bye" to diapers for good. seeing this, i almost felt badly for making him give them up. but by now, i haven't changed a diaper in a whole weekend, so i don't feel that badly. 

9.16.2016

ten steps to an easy DIY birthday party

who has a birthday party coming up? or, maybe has a very forward-thinking child in your house, who's birthday isn't for another eight months, but is already planning for it? (if you can't tell, my hand is raised.)

so, i've been on this birthday party planning circuit for a couple of years now, and i do honest-to-goodness love to plan my boys' birthday parties. some years have been easier than others, but all-in-all, it's a great time where we can get a little creative together, support other handmade artists, and make some great memories (and great photo ops!)

in case you're sitting around, thinking about how you want to plan your little one's next birthday + make it a little DIY affair, here's some of my top ten tips + tricks to pulling together an easy birthday party!

1. first up: decide on a theme. and, don't feel pressure to decide on one that party city or amazon has party supplies for. this is always helpful, of course, but if your child decides on something that just isn't mainstream enough yet (can anyone say "pj masks?"), it's totally cool. it's possible to make it all come together!

2. decide on your location. this has been my very outspoken rule for our parties: anything under the age of four, we could have at our house. four and above, we took the festivities elsewhere. i will caveat and say that if you're having a sweet sleepover with a couple of girls, stay at home. but what i saw when we had little mr. re-nest #1's fourth birthday party at home, was that around that age, there was a lot more rambunctiousness, so we took it elsewhere! look locally for outdoor parks, indoor play/sports facilities, the ymca, local pools, or children's museums to see if they do parties. we've had the last two of little mr. re-nest #1's at our local indoor gymnastics facility, which has been fabulous - the kids get to run and play, and then eat! and, we don't have to clean up the mess!

3. figure out your logistics: the number of invitees and time of the party! when it comes to invitees, think about family, close friends, neighbors, kids from day care or school, kids from extracurriculars, or from church. as for the time for your party, this can vary greatly depending on the age of the children. if your little still naps, think about this (and their temperament, if they don't get their nap! a grumpy birthday boy/girl is never a happy thing!)

4. now it's time to explore the creative stuff! my first step is to always, always, always set up a pinterest board, dedicated to the party. then, i start searching for ideas - i find it's best to just search for "pj masks party" and then let all of the ideas come up, versus searching for invitations, party supplies, etc. separately. and, here's where i encourage you to save anything + everything that you remotely think you like...because you never know when you are ready to start making or stocking up on supplies where inspiration might come from! (need some examples? check out this and this!) 

5. let's talk invitations. no matter what your party theme, the hands-down best place i have found for invites is on etsy. there are so many graphic designers with online shops, who make digital, personalized files of invitations. once you have the file, it's as easy as sending it to walgreens or any other printer to be printed, and mail them out in envelopes. i've had printing done at wal-mart, walgreens, shutterfly, and with a local printer - all of which were great! or, if you really want to get your hands messy, you can always design your own invitation! (confession: i did this for the first five years of parties. now, i turn to etsy!) i always recommend getting the invitations out around 3-4 weeks ahead of the party date. (i don't know about you, but families around here are b-u-s-y!)


6. the next piece i go to is the cake. i kind of view the birthday cake as the centerpiece of the party. and, here again i turn to pinterest for inspiration and ideas. (of course, there's also dietary considerations to take into account too....so if you have a little who can't do cake, start thinking about other special treats that you can incorporate. no cake, but they can do candy? why not do a candy bar where the kids can make their own goodie bags? check out my how-to on this over at invironments magazine!) once you have that cake, start looking into local places to see who can make what you're looking for and getting quotes. (creative tip: think outside of the box for cake toppers. i generally never buy a cake topper anymore, or have the bakery worry about doing a topper for the cake. i have started really turning to our very own toy closet for ideas for the topper! having a "cars" themed party? pull lightning mcqueen and mater out of the toy stash and place them on the cake! it's super fun, and it's repurposing things you already have on hand.)

7. DIY decor is the next best place to go. if you're feeling crafty, i totally encourage you to think about what banners, signs, centerpieces, balloon creations, you can make! or, if the whole idea of making something gives you the shudders, never fear....this is why etsy exists! there are so many wonderfully talented shops who can help you with everything for your party, including banners, printable cupcake toppers, signs, candles, you name it, and etsy has it. here is another great opportunity to use pinterest to your advantage (because let's face it, etsy can be a little overwheming!). pin the items you love, and then go back and see what makes sense for your party needs and budget.

8. food is fun! i always like to try to make food work with the overall theme of the party. for example, this past april, we had an indiana university basketball birthday for little mr. re-nest #1. the food all centered around a concession stand theme with hot dogs, small bags of chips, bottled water, and then a box of candy as a take away treat. it was easy to make, relatively inexpensive to pull off, and easy clean up! 

9. think about where you'll set up. this can be a major decision. if you have a lot of littles coming to the party, you might want to think about having the food, cake, and drinks in a higher place where little hands can't reach. based on our home's set up, our kitchen and breakfast area are always party central. we have most of the food set up between the kitchen table and our island, so adults can have plenty of room to wonder about + talk, and the kids can get food + drinks easily!

10. games + activities. honestly, this is always the last thing i think of. and, really i only think of this if we're having the party at home. but, in the past, i have set up a coloring station with crayons + printed coloring sheets for the kids, a velcro bullseye game + an outdoor bubbles station. we usually keep our parties to two hours, so there's not really enough time to work in a lot of structured games. we did just go to another little's outdoor birthday party where there was a water table (great for littles!), diy facepainting (with help from the parents), and a sand bag toss. the whole point is there are so many easy ways to entertain the kiddos during a party, and they don't have to be over-the-top!

one last tip: take lots o' pictures! trust me, you'll love looking back on these one day!

tell me: are you ready to tackle a diy party for your little? have you? what are your best tips? 

9.10.2016

my day out @ hobnob market

i did something yesterday that i rarely do. 

i took an entire day just for me. let that sink in, friends. mr. re-nest knew i needed a day to myself, a day where i could fill my bucket, and come back a better mama. and i did it. it didn't come without some guilt, and even an offer to take one of the boys with me right before i left, but i didn't do it. i went on. my. own. 

i drove almost four hours (one way) by myself to a market mecca that has been on my market bucket list for over a year. yesterday, i headed to hobnob market in altamont, illinois. and, it was everything i had imagined, and so much more! 

so, i'm just gonna get to it, because i have so much to share about my day! seriously, if you can plan on it, i so recommend getting there. (p.s. they have at least three shows a year, so get it on your calendar now!)

• lois pearl designs •


lois pearl designs is owned by my friend erin, who i've known since i was about three years old. she is ah-mazing! seriously, her talent with clothing is incredible. her boutique in yorktown, indiana is adorable, and she's seriously such an inspiration to me! it was erin who introduced me to hobnob, and it was such a treat to get to see her yesterday! 

what i picked up: erin's super cute flannel infinity scarf (in grey + black buffalo plaid....a fall fave!) and a vintage red + black flannel. both are going to be pure perfection to wear this fall and winter!

• caravan classes •

okay, forgive me while i rave. just be ready, because y'all might hear me talk about caravan classes for the rest of time. here's what they do: mobile art classes + projects. but you know what seals the deal? their fantastically adorable shasta camper that they take on-the-road. seriously, you guys. this is one of the most adorable and brilliant ideas i have ever seen. oh, and did i mention that erin + deanna are from indianapolis?!?!? i'm just going to say it: i think i kind of have a creative girl boss crush on this whole concept. 

oh, so the best part: i had pre-registered to do one of the adorable projects they brought along that were their make-and-takes. whatcha think of my new canvas tote?? (see below for more super cute photos of caravan classes' shasta camper!)

• the lotion company •

my own mama introduced me to the lotion company + then i got to meet them at hobnob, which was awesome! this fantastic lotion is made in my very own hometown of muncie, indiana, and they even jar their largest ones in ball jars. (i mean, of course! love it!) i grabbed their citrus tea scent (in the ball jar + a mini one) and can't wait to try it out! 

besides my new faves, here's a couple of fun pics of the market to help encourage you to mark your calendar for the next hobnob market in november! 

caravan classes' shasta camper!

fun, food, music + cocktails!
so much fun with make-and-takes

today's #wip: my create canvas tote

it shouldn't be a shock that i went with teal, grey + white!
loved this! this is a mobile clothing boutique - such fun!

i saw this. i bought it. 

pretty certain this was an accidental photo. but don't i look
totally serious + like i'm on the hunt?

just more vendor awesomeness!

it's fall, y'all
and, last but not least (i told you i am going to talk about
this until the end of time)....my finished bag + the shasta!

8.30.2016

re-nest life \\ not my usual monday night dinner

okay, i kind of feel like i talk a good game about cooking. do i like it? most days. do i like trying new things? sure. am i always on the lookout for an easy-to-make, school night meal that is healthy + quick to make? emphatically, yes!

monday night's dinner kind of qualified for the last requirement. but not really. (mind you, the way i gauge whether a dinner was easy is based on two things: 1. does it take me less than thirty minutes to prep and make, and 2. how many pots and pans and cooking gadgets must i use and get dirty to make the dinner. last night's dinner barely qualified for number one, and definitely didn't hit #2. but, it was so dang good and hit so many of my healthy must-haves, that i had to share!

(quick sidebar: i've re-committed to my journey of health and wellness and have re-started the 21 day fix. and, if you read this post a while back, you'll understand how much i believe that food and nutrients can help our health.)

last night, i had some salmon that needed to be cooked, and i had decided to pair it with a dried cherry and pistachio quinoa. (disclaimer: i love quinoa. like, love it. my family? not so much.) i checked out my trusty favorite clean eating recipe source, skinnytaste, for an idea for seasoning the salmon....and i quickly found this great idea which i also happened to have the ingredients for in my pantry! the salmon was on the grill and getting ready in no time!

the quinoa was a little more labor intensive. and, let's face it, messy. but after rinsing the quinoa, the cooking process was actually pretty fast and easy! this was a recipe i've done before, which mr. re-nest will eat, and also i think is pretty yummy!

and, here's the finale! i added a little bed of spinach in and had a pretty awesome little power protein dinner! and, the best part: there were leftovers that i got to enjoy at lunch today!

8.20.2016

re-nest life \\ and, we're back to school

like so many others, this week was back-to-school for us. which meant the past ten days or so have been kind of a hot mess, consisting of:

• finishing up day camp

• washing uniforms

• washing backpacks

• endless trips to target

• planning for packed lunches (let's face it, this is a crap shoot.)

• many, many, many orders on amazon

• purging a lot of moola

• addressing a few little nerves about starting second grade

the mudroom bench. backpack + shoes
all ready for the first day of second grade.
i finally sat back on wednesday night + realized that in all of my grand taskmastering (is that a word? i say it is), i hadn't had a real opportunity to really be emotional about my oldest heading off to second grade. i am such a doer, and i totally get bogged down by the to-do list, so once the backpack was packed, the uniform was laid out, and the lunch was packed, it kind of hit me: this little boy who is thoughtful and kind and smart and funny and inquisitive was going to second grade. already. and, i had a little mama moment where i cried thinking about how fast he is growing up. but at the same time, i love watching what he's going to do next + how he's going to grow and change!

so, after i had my moment, i kept doing what i know to do: try my best to make things great for him. i knew he was nervous (we went through something similar last year), and having come from something similar when i was his age, i wanted nothing more than to take it from him....but at the same time knowing, how important it is for him to learn how to manage those feelings. while it might seem silly, we tried to re-focus: talked about teachers who couldn't wait to see him, his new classroom (and the class pets they'll have!), what he wanted to take for snack + lunch, and what he was looking forward to. and, after day #2, i'm so proud to say that we're doing well! we're excited + amped + loving school. and, i know many of you mamas + daddies out there know the relief that's felt when your kids come home from school with a smile on their face!

so, we made it through the emotional part of the week, and along the way, i came across some fantastic resources + tools that might help some other mamas + daddies get through another school year!

my fave lunch packing tools:

YUMBOX leakproof bento lunch box. okay, i have not been on the bento box wagon. i'd see those adorably packed lunches in their perfectly segmented boxes, and i just felt stressed. ninety percent of the year, i pack little mr. re-nest #1's lunch in a rushed panic in the morning. there's no time for dino-shaped anything. but, this year, we needed a new lunch solution. so, i started searching for ideas + for healthy lunch options....and, the bento kept showing up. i went for it. and, two days in.....we love it! isn't it adorable?

alright, isn't the inside the cutest? it's space-themed! and, tells me
what to put where....score!

first day of school lunch! make-your-own pizza crackers,
strawberries + red peppers with hummus
mackenzie navy pottery barn kids lunch box (in space theme!). this is our second pbk lunchbox. kindergarten + first grade featured a superman themed box, and after two years, it was time to retire him. it's a great size, well-insulated, and comes in so many adorable patterns + colors! plus, you can get it monogrammed (seriously, it doesn't get much better than that for this mama!)

my fave pre-prep breakfast for kids:

banana oatmeal chocolate chip muffins from debbie riechert fitness. i'm seriously obsessed with this recipe. and, my boys love them! and they include healthy stuff like bananas and flaxseed, and i mean, when would you ever get your kids to eat flaxseed without them knowing? 

my new go-to packed snack:
we love annie's! and, the clif kids z bars are amazing!

• i admit: at the end of last school year, i was pretty much tapped out in the snack idea department. i just couldn't anymore. so, i got a little motivated before school started and searched for some new and great ideas for the oldest's daily snack for school. and, i think i found it: annie's organic bunny pretzels, clif kids z bar, raisins, and a few m&ms thrown in. day #1 taste test: i got two thumbs up for this one! i mixed up a batch to keep in a container for a week, then just filled up our little snack bags each day to make this step super simple + easy. 

tell me: how was your first day back at school in your family? what are your tips + tricks for making back-to-school a little more sane? 

8.07.2016

a happy pink + gold first birthday!

pink. gold. glitter. a first birthday cake smash.

do i really need to say more?

seriously, when i was asked by a friend to help make her daughter's upcoming first birthday celebration a little more pink + a little more sparkly, i was on board (to say the least!) if i've said it once, i've said it a million times....when i get to do anything girly, i love, love, love bringing out the sparkle!

and, of course, i love bringing in the personalization too! this super special + sweet mama wanted to have a customized "one" highchair banner + a first year photo banner to highlight at her little one's first birthday party. we got to work - she shared some ideas + inspiration with me, and i went to it, making sure that we had a perfect highchair banner and a fab way to share twelve months worth of sweet photos of her darling daughter!

for the high chair banner, we went with a custom light pink, white + hot pink look, highlighted with handmade vellum circle fans and some hot pink glitter paper. the letter circles were layered with pink dot paper, a hot pink scallop border + finished with some spacers for dimension.

and, the twelve month photo banner was such a treat to make! not only did i get to see this little one's sweet face but it was just so fun to design + create something so special for this family! and, what made it a little extra special, we did a layered look with the first year banner with one 8' tulle + ribbon banner overlayed with the gold glitter frames featuring the monthly photos!


do you know a little one with a birthday coming up? i love, love, love doing custom party decor + helping make parties personalized + unique! 

7.30.2016

a teepee, some books + a gentlemanly reminder

we have a million + one children's books. like, they are oozing out from everywhere in our house. and, just when i thought i had them under control, i paid a little extra attention one day when i walked into little mr. re-nest #2's closet, and there it was. a giant, rubbermaid tub filled to the brim with more books.

and, i started to panic. (just a little, not a lot.)

what in the world was i going to do with them? and, i had massive guilt that there were all of these fab children's books that our little guy had been missing out on.

so, i made a plan. and, it included ikea. and, some decor i had been picking up along the way from land of nod + hobby lobby. 

we already had the super cute orange-and-white striped teepee from land of nod + the navy-and-white rug from there too. but i wanted to create a space for the boys to read, relax + have fun, and selfishly, have somewhere to store the mountains of books!

last weekend, i packed up the boys (solo!) and we headed to ikea. i had my list: nine mosslanda white wall ledges, and one of the white two-by-two kallax shelves. i figured with that much, we could get control over the book situation.

and, then i got out my tools + put some holes in the walls. (that's what mr. re-nest calls it when i start hanging things....especially in walls he's built!)

and, i'm so, so, so happy with how it looks, and how the boys love it, and how it creates this little corner for reading + learning for our boys! (p.s. there's more book storage happening up in little mr. re-nest #2's room too....with pics to come!)

here's the space! i brought in pieces we
already had with some new decor that
finally have their new home!

my very fave piece: ladies love a gentleman. when i saw this,
we had to have it!

isn't that elephant so adorable?

i am so in love with how the books add
so much awesome color to the space!

this was a total unexpected addition: we had
this cool mobile hanging around, not being used
and little mr. re-nest #1 + i brainstormed....
and decided to hang it, and add colorful cut shapes!

the teepee all ready for our boys!

7.24.2016

maximizing the mud room

confession: when mr. re-nest heads out of town for work, that tends to be the time when i really want to make some decor changes around the house. nothing major, but just little things....moving something from here to there, or like this weekend, putting up some repositionable wallpaper. 

so, let's talk about the state of our mud room. about a year ago i did some updates. new flor squares. some wall decals. and a cute dragonfly hook from young house love. here's how the wall looked:



i was never sure how i felt about the wall decals. i was looking for something, anything to add when i put them up. so, they've been up for about a year, and i was kinda keeping my options open.

and, then i saw this at target....



and, i couldn't stop thinking about it. or, visualizing it on the wall with the decals. 

and, yesterday i found myself on one of *those* target trips....where you just need a few things, and then you get pulled to all of the other sections of the store that you typically try to avoid (in order to protect your budget!) mr. re-nest is out of town on business, so i thought "why not?" the instructions looked easy, and i had a saturday night with some time to fill. 

so, here's how it went: 

1. first i had to take down the circle decals. that was super easy + the wall was totally unharmed by the decals!

2. next, we measured. twice. the space i wanted to fill was about 64" w x 41" h, which meant i was going to have to cut four panels and match them up on the wall. 

3. we cut the panels. the instructions recommended adding 3-4" to the length needed to allow for plenty of trim space. 

the first panel. i promise i only said a few bad words
when trying to get it lined up!
4. next up was the hardest part of this whole diy project....getting the first panel positioned on the wall, to hit the upper left-hand corner and wall edge. it took a few tries, but i finally got it. ***install tip: the instructions recommended having two tools: an x-acto knife and a squeegee to help smooth out bumps. for me, the squeegee was totally unnecessary - i just smoothed everything out with my hands. 

5. once that first panel was up, the others went so much faster....and the pattern i chose was super easy to kind of fudge the matching up for the seams. 

6. and, once it was all up, i just added back in our clocks + tags to finish the look!




i'm so, so happy with how different this makes this space look + feel! the platinum color with some sheen just adds the right amount of contrast in the space....not to mention, it was a pretty inexpensive diy fix! 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...