Three Fab Laundry Rooms + a Giveaway!

So the Home Depot is offering another great giveaway ($50 Gift Card + Tide Samples) to one of A Lovely Lark's readers - woohoo! To enter, use the Rafflecopter below and follow A Lovely Lark on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.

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The giveaway is part of the kick off of their #BrilliantHEClean campaign, and to celebrate even further they'll be offering a $100 gift card with the purchase of a Maytag Powerwash machine and 150 oz. Tide. PLUS on top of that they're running an even bigger giveaway with Maytag and Tide where the winner will get a $5,000+ laundry room makeover plus an e-design consultation with the lovely and talented Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook!

Here are a few of Jenny's favorite tips to redesign and organize your laundry room (mixed with a few photos of my favorite laundry rooms on the interwebz):

Tip #1: 
Dealing with a dark, cave-like laundry room is a chore in and of itself! By taking off the doors on a few of your upper cabinets, you'll open up the space and create a place to store baskets. In this laundry room, we assigned baskets for every member of the house, which makes sorting a breeze! 

Tip #2: 
Why not decoupage or paint insides of cabinets for a fun pop of color? It's a guaranteed smile each and every time you reach for your detergent.

Don't like the cabinets, floors and countertops in your laundry room? Every surface can be painted or resurfaced! For less than $30 in materials, the outdated linoleum, brick pavers and old, dark cabinets were updated in this laundry room with paint and with a concrete overlay product.

Tip #4
A rolling laundry butler can be your best friend, doing triple duty with a hanging bar, a rolling basket and a drying rack. It's the perfect choice for a laundry room with limited space that hasn't been updated in a few decades.

Image Source:

Tip #5: 
Don't neglect your laundry room walls! Hanging interesting art and mirrors will elevate your room and make it feel less utilitarian and more “homey”. Suddenly those 400 loads of laundry most of us will do this year might actually be enjoyable!

Tip #6: 
Use a slab of stone or a simple piece of painted MDF on top of the washer/dryer units to create a folding station and to prevent socks from slipping in between the appliances.

Image Source: View Along the Way

Thanks to the Home Depot, Maytag, Tide, and Jenny for the awesome tips and giveaway, and good luck to everyone who enters!

xo, Lauren

Kitchen Update

We waited until last to update one of the most important rooms in the house - the kitchen. Probably because it's going to be such a big undertaking. (That we're kind of dreading, especially with kids) We're currently working on painting the cabinets white, and eventually we're going to replace the tired laminate with hardwood. Not sure what we're going to replace the countertops with. Right now they're a beige laminate - so far I'm liking Formica's Soapstone Sequoia, actual soapstone, or butcher block. While I really love the warmth of butcher block, I'm not sure how it would go over with buyers if we were to sell the house in the future.

I also would like to repaint the walls a light gray, like our back room, and add some pretty things into the space. Right now it's just bare basics. Here's what I'm thinking:

Clockwise from top left: cutting board, egg tray, wooden spoon, winter squash poster, landscape painting, market bag, ceramic utensil jar, measuring cups, ceramic owl, pitcher, scrub brush, recipe box, orchard basket, wire baskets, honeycomb planter, salt and pepper shakers

So I'm thinking the flooring and counters may take some serious time, (hello, three year old and three month old) but here's hoping we can at least get the cabinets painting and spruce things up a bit for now! Wish me luck :) xo, Lauren


I often get asked how I come up with color palettes for the idea boards that I create. Often, I'll find a piece of artwork that I love like this print from Society6:

Then I pull colors from it to create an idea board like this one. But sometimes I use multiple images, often found via Pinterest and create a mood board:

It's so easy - I love using Pages to make them because it's really simple, but sometimes I use Photoshop too. You could also make them in Word. Creature Comforts is a favorite site for color inspiration as well. I love Ez's color inspiration daily series. (Be careful though, because her site can become addictive - I could get lost for hours!) xo, Lauren

P.S. You can find me on Pinterest (and sources for the above images) here.

Handmade Love

How much fun are these handmade fabric letters from Forest Girl Design?! They'd be super cute in a nursery or kid's room. Check out these and more here.

Favorite Parenting Links Lately

1. My new parenting mantra: CTFD.

2. I have this kind of child too :) Our walks consist of walking a few feet then stopping to ask a question or examine a bit of flora. She puts on her own seatbelt, and even though I can do it faster, I love to watch her intense concentration while she clicks the buckles into place. (And luckily, I usually have the time to indulge her).

3. Love me an honest mama. Honesty makes us all feel a little more human, a little less guilty I think.

4. Excited to follow this series - how interesting!

5. A parenting book I'd actually like to read.

P.S. You can follow us on Instagram @alovelylark

Xavier's First Birthday

My super adorable nephew just had his first birthday! I couldn't be at his party because he lives in Australia, but luckily my sister hired a photographer so that I could live vicariously through the gorgeous photos:

A-Lovely-Lark-Xavier's-First-Birthday Love him sooo much! He is the sweetest, happiest little guy, and I only wish he lived closer so I could just squeeze him all of the time. My sister planned the party and designed/printed the invitations herself - didn't she do a great job?!

And I totally just noticed that I don't have a photo of his smash cake pre-smash, and it's super cute (my sister made the cake herself as well!), so here is an extra photo:

Happy birthday little guy! We love you so much and can't wait til the next time we see you again in person!!! xo, Auntie Lauren, Uncle Kevin, Violet, and Lucy

Photos: Candice Van Moolenbroek

Also, Violet's first birthday party, Ruby's rainbow party, and a DIY fringed banner

Invitations: Designed by my sister

Lucy Vivian: Three Months Old


Sweet baby girl, we love you more and more each day. You give the biggest smiles, make the softest coos, and have such wide, take-it-all-in, sparkling eyes. Your sister is still completely head-over-heels for you as well, and gives you about ten thousand kisses, hugs, and snuggles daily. She even had to jump into your crib during our photoshoot because the distance between you was too great.

Your fussy evening times are getting less and less, although unfortunately you are still having some tummy trouble. It's been keeping you up a bit more at night, so neither of us has been getting quite as much sleep. You did sleep through one night (one glorious, amazing, magical night), so hurray for that! Your mama is trying to eliminate dairy from her diet in the hopes that it will make your tummy happier. Although you're a bit restless at night, you take great naps during day time. And  in spite of your tummy pain you are a very happy and healthy little girl, and we feel so very blessed to have you in our lives.

Your favorite noises this month have been "ah-goo and ah-gee" and closer to the end of the month you started to coo like a dove, which just melts your mama's heart. You've been practicing your rolls and finally rolled from your back to your belly for the first time just the other day! You've also been a champion bubble blower this month. The Ergo carrier is your current favorite way to fall asleep - we just pop you in, turn on some white noise, and off to dreamland you go. Your rattle, chatter monkey, and pink elephant are your favorite toys, and if we help you to wrap your tiny fingers around them you love to shake them around and try to put them in your mouth. Your mama and papa had a couple of date nights this past month and you were a good little girl for your Nonny and Poppy. They had a little trouble getting you to take a bottle of mama's milk, but we discovered that if we warm it that you'll drink it right down!

 I can't wait to see what next month brings, my sweet baby girl - we love you to pieces! xo, Mommy, Daddy, and Violet

Lucy's headband: Little Hip Squeaks, Lucy's romper: Carter's, Violet's dress: c/o Emerald August, blanket c/o American Blanket Co.

P.S. Lucy at one month & at two months

Beach with a Babe

We're thinking of taking a day trip to the beach (I wanted to go longer, but Kevin thinks it will be a big hassle with the baby). Plus we are trying to save money with me being off work, so I guess a day trip is better than nothing! We've taken Violet to the beach as a toddler but I've never been to the beach with an infant. I've been trying to think of everything we might need...

1. I'm thinking some sort of sun shade is in order. Although there are some really amazing sunscreens out there, I've read that you shouldn't use sunscreen on babies younger than six months. So an umbrella or tent/cabana is going to be necessary to keep the rays off that baby-fresh skin. I love that this cabana is made using UPF 50 fabric and folds up for easy transport. (These sunscreen wipes look really convenient - might have to snag a pack for Violet!)

2. Something to carry the babe in. I don't think pushing a stroller over the sand sounds like much fun to me, so I'd probably bring our Ergobaby carrier, and a beach-y bag to carry all of those teeny weeny baby things.

3. And, of course, cute swimwear, water-friendly footwear, a floppy hat for some extra sun shade, stylin' sunnies, and some colorful toys to entertain the babe and the toddler. These cloth swim diapers are super cute too, and UPF 50 fabric for that little bum!

4. Speaking of baby bums, I've heard that a little baby powder helps take the sand right off of your skin. Is that true? Anyone know from experience? If so I'm definitely stocking up on some before we go.

Anyone have any advice? Like I said, we're babe-at-the-beach novices here. Thanks so much! xo, Lauren

Making Hotels Feel More Like Home


Posting some travel tips for kids over on Apartment Therapy today! These things were lifesavers for us when we traveled to Australia withViolet. What would you add to the list? xo, Lauren

Get Outdoors!

Lots of fun outdoorsy toys and things for kids on Zulily today. Trying to figure out how to spend my credit! What would you choose?

True Love.


Happy Friday everyone! xo, Lauren

P.S. You can follow me on Instagram @alovelylark

Violet Says Vol. 8


1. Violet isn't much of a lunchmeat sandwich eater - she's a pb&j girl all the way. Lately she's been asking for bites of my sandwiches, so I tried to be encouraging and told her, "Wow - you're getting to be a really good sandwich eater!" To which she replied, "I have a weally big mouth!"

2. She likes to randomly walk around the house singing, "Doon kost, doon keest" ??? And when asked what she's doing, she'll often reply, "Anysing" (meaning nothing, or not anything I suppose?)

3. Kevin was watching soccer on TV and Violet sat down and started watching with him. He asked her, "Do you know what sport this is?" She studied the television intently and answered, "Ball racin'!"

4. I had the baby bathtub in the bathroom drying out after giving Lucy her bath. Violet went in with Kev to go potty, and she randomly said, "I won't pee in Lucy's bathtub Daddy, because she wouldn't like that. It would be all dirty and stinky!"

5. The other day Violet was talking about how she's getting bigger and bigger, and someday she'll be a mommy like me! I said,"That's right! And when you're a mommy I'll be a grandmother" She replied, "Then I'll be a gwandmuzza like you!" And I said, "And when you're a grandmother I'll be a great-grandmother." And she burst into tears, wailing, "But I want to be just like yooooouuuuu!!!!"

Violet's dress: American Apparel, beads c/o Chewbeads

Nature Inspired Nursery

I fell in love with this botanical wallpaper that I came across on Pinterest (for those of you who aren't into wallpaper - it's also a fabric!) and knew I had to design a nature-inspired nursery around it. (Who am I kidding - put a bed in place of the crib and I would totally sleep in this space :))

Clockwise from top left: botanical wallpaper/fabric, butterflies print, linen curtains, origami pendant, baby camel photograph, stump side table, crib sheets, pillow, flokati rug, agate bookend, giraffe plushie, crib, vase, mocassins, glider, chalkboard tree slice

More Handmade Love

Speaking of play kitchens, how about these handmade beauties from NoaCakes:

Thinking of painting the inside of Violet's play kitchen mint green now...

Handmade Love

I came across the loveliest felt food the other day on Etsy. It's made by Nina of Mummy Made It Me, and I wanted to buy all of the food in the shop! You can check it out here.

Favorite Parenting Links Lately


1. Our children have their own mind, own soul, and own heart - a lovely piece on motherhood.
2. It's a good thing our minds do work this way. Mine never quite erased the difficulty of Violet's infancy, but it did help to dull it enough for me to have a second!
3. What do you want your children to learn from you? A piece on more thoughtful parenting.
4. And if you need a good laugh (who doesn't?!)

P.S. Five more favorite parenting links you may have missed.

Photo via my Instagram feed. You can follow along here if you'd like :) xo, Lauren

Sparklers and Sprinklers, Parades and Picnics



We had a lovely Fourth of July with family this year. First we went to a parade - it was a little far from our parking space, and we don't have a double stroller, so Kev pushed Violet in the stroller and I carried Lucy in the Ergo carrier. We found a nice shady spot to sit and settled in, unsure of how things would go with Lucy. She was a champ! She dozed or just sat there super relaxed in the carrier for most of the parade. I kept her in the carrier and kept the white noise on, so that probably help to dull some of the surprise with the cymbal crashes and firetruck sirens! Violet got restless after a bit, so Kevin took her down the street for a snow cone and she was happy as a clam. I brought the camera, but ended up taking pretty much all of our photos but one with the camera phone, so sorry if some of the shots aren't the greatest quality. It's just too difficult at the moment with an infant and a toddler to use the camera when we're on the go.

After the parade we went back to my sister-in-law's house for a cookout - beer can chicken, pasta salad watermelon and a berry trifle - perfection! The kids played both inside and out because it was super hot and sunny - Lucy even ended up getting a little pink on her head and nose somehow, even though I felt like I was being really careful! Luckily it went away pretty quickly and didn't seem to bother her. Violet wasn't a big fan of the sprinkler this year - she didn't want to get water in her eyes... But she did enjoy the sparklers and catching lightning bugs, and when it was time to go home she didn't want to leave. I'll call that a successful day :) Hope you all had a lovely holiday too! Happy birthday America! xo, Lauren

Guest Posting Over on Buy Modern Baby

I shared a girlier version of my popsicle nursery over on Buy Modern Baby last week - pop over and check it out! xo, Lauren

Happy Birthday America!


Hope you all have a lovely holiday! xo, Lauren

P.S. Fourth of July 2011 and 2012

P.P.S. You can follow me on Instagram @ALovelyLark

Whitney Deal Baby


Super in love with these sweet little baby duds by the newly hatched Whitney Deal Baby. The chickens! Head on over to her shop to check them out. xo, Lauren

Like a Popsicle on the Fourth of July

Other than, of course, the obvious fireworks and red/white/blue, July makes me think of hot, glorious summer days filled with pools, lemonade, and popsicles. So when I came across this popsicle print on Etsy, I knew it would be the perfect jumping-off point for a summer nursery:

Clockwise from top right: popsicle print, baseball print, crib bedding, whale, pillow, baseball toy, beacon sconce, glider, dresser, rug, zinc letter, storage bin

xo, Lauren

Surviving the Fourth of July with an Infant


So we went to an early fireworks display the other night and it went surprisingly well! We were both a little nervous as Violet hadn't napped and was seeming a bit grumpy, and Lucy is, well, a two month old! But we figured the worst that could happen is a little crying and a trip back home. Well, I'm happy to say that there were no tears and we had a lovely time! Here's what helped in case anyone else is toting an infant along on the Fourth:

1. A big blanket - We got there a bit late, as we tend to do these days (still trying to get the hang of two!) and there wasn't a bench or seat in site. Luckily we did think ahead and brought a blanket, so we just spread out on the soft grass which ended up being perfect. Violet got to run around and catch fireflies and she snuggled with her papa during the show.

2. A floppy hat - To keep the sun off that wee little head

3. White Noise App - I can't say enough how much this app on my phone has come in handy. We purchased  (in the middle of the night!) it when we traveled to Australia with Violet. We were actually in a hotel room right by the elevators and could hear the dinging and people chatting as they got off all night long. None of us could sleep, so out of desperation I bought this app and we haven't looked back.

I use it all of the time to help Lucy fall asleep on the go. It calms her down in the car too (she's surprisingly not a fan of driving around). She does really great at parties and things of that nature with a lot of constant background noise, but for something intermittent like big booming fireworks, this is a life saver. It of course didn't block out the noise (what could?!), but it definitely made her feel more comfortable with it.

4. A breezy outfit - Something comfy and light for those hot summer days and evenings.

5. A light blanket - to swaddle baby for comfort, nursing in public, or to provide shade from the sun

6. Your favorite carrier - This was huge at the fireworks. Lucy felt safe and snuggled with her mama and slept through the entire show!

7. A pacifier - I know some prefer the thumb, but my babies have loved their paci's - instant soothing. We actually use the classic Nuk pacifiers, but this one is super cute.

I also kept my hand over Lucy's ear (the other ear was pressed against my chest) and swayed back and forth to keep her in motion. We had a great time and I'm really excited for the parade we'll be going to on the Fourth! Hope you all have a lovely holiday - kids or not! xo, Lauren


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