Friday Favorites


Definitely on my bucket list (not the elopement part - it's too late for that! Just the picnic on a beautiful mountain/hill top a la The Sound of Music).

Such a sweet and simple birthday party.

I've been obsessed with her artwork for a long time, but now I'm also obsessed with her hair.

And definitely trying out this hair tutorial (as soon as I get a curling iron lol!)

On my wish list (although I so wish it was still available in the emerald green!)

In love with these adorable handmade dolls - every detail spot on is  right down to the adorable little bear purse.

Dollhouse nerd alert - freaking out over this dollhouse. This would totally be my Barbie's dream house.

DIY play kitchen perfection.

The cutest kids' tee ever.

And the happiest print.

Happy happy Friday! xo, Lauren

Handmade Love - Woven Wall Hangings

I've been loving the current trend of woven wall hangings a la Maryanne Moodie and  - they can bring so much color, texture, and whimsy to a space! Here are a few of my favorite handmade offerings currently on Etsy. Some of them can be a bit pricey (understandably so considering that they take a ton of time, effort, and creativity), but if you search hard you can find some that are budget friendly (one of these is only $40! Can you guess which one?!) Or you could even go the route of some of my favorite bloggers like Rachel or Jen and create one yourself.

Here are a few shops that I've discovered on Etsy (whose work you can see above) if you're not feeling super creative today:

Hazel & Hunter
Wall and Woven
Maija Eliz
Jennifer Lesley Design
Jeannie Helzer

xo, Lauren

Share and Share Alike (Plus a Giveaway!) with Bunch & Rosa

The lovely Tampathia of Bunch & Rosa sent over this gorgeous handmade quilt for Lucy a while back, and we love it SO much that I asked if we could have a giveaway for all of you. The colors are completely perfect, I love the design, and it's beautifully made. It was really an inspiration piece that made me want to add more color to Lucy's nursery. It also inspired this shared kids' space - it was a great jumping off point for the color palette. I also love that their quilts are made here in the USA and that they use organic cotton for all of the quilts.

In addition to this particular quilt, there are a ton of other gorgeous designs - some more traditional, some with lots of color, and others with a more subdued color palette. And the best news is that you get your choice of any quilt in the shop!

You can enter via the Rafflecopter below by liking Bunch & Rosa on Facebook or following them on Pinterest. (Sorry, this one is open to U.S. Residents only) Good luck! xo, Lauren

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Design Board Sources:
Navy Crib Sheets
Don't Give Up the Ship Print
No Jumping on the Bed Print
Lion Cub Twins Print
Abstract Quilt
Map Print
Mushroom Shadowbox
Fox Night Light
Knit Ball
Cross Crib Sheets
Dinosaur Planter
Storage Basket
Table Lamp
Chunky Braided Wool Rug
Knit Bear Hat
Twin Bed

Sister Love

I love how well these two have been playing together lately. I mean, of course they have their moments like anything other set of siblings - Violet can be a little bit smothering with all of her hugs and squeezes and kisses and Lucy loves to steal and toy that Violet is playing with, knock over her towers, and occasionally give Violet's hair a good yank, but overall they really truly make each other so happy. Violet can be a true grump when she wakes up in the morning or from a nap, but if I bring Lucy into the room with me, Violet's face instantly lights up. Violet knows just what to do to make Lucy giggle and laugh, even if she's in the middle of an epic meltdown, and all I have to do if Violet is upset is say, "Lucy told me that she's really worried about you and wants to give you a hug," and it makes all of the difference in the world.

Violet loves to read Lucy books, sing her songs, and push her around in the doll stroller (and lately Lucy has been trying to push Violet in the stroller as well!), and they make the silliest sounds together in the back of the car. Lucy is even joining in on Violet's couch dance performances and it's probably the cutest thing I've ever seen. Just the other day Violet gave me a huge hug and said, "Mommy, I love you!" But then quickly added, "But I love Lucy the best, you know." And it didn't hurt my feelings in the least. I can't wait to see how their relationship grows as they get older. I hope they're always as close as they are now, in this moment.

P.S. A Year of Sisterly Love + You can find us on Instagram @alovelylark

Mom Style Vol. 2: Spring


I haven't updated my spring and summer wardrobe in quite some time. I think it's because as a teacher I tend to put most of my (small) clothing budget into work clothing, which mostly means Fall and Winter pieces (especially since our being has air conditioning and is run by men in suits, so it basically feels like Siberia year-round). We had our first real warm-weather spell this past week and I realized that I'm going to have to bite the bullet and buy a few new things. A lot of my tops have holes, tears, and stains in them (I think having kids dramatically reduces the life of one's clothing), and my shorts are all super basic and casual. Being home for a year has been great, but I really do miss having a reason to take the time to look nice, so I'm going to try to make time for that whenever possible, even if it means waking up at 6AM a couple of days a week to shower and do my hair before the girls wake up (it's SO easy just to sleep that extra hour though, isn't it?) So anyway, I've been trying to look for pieces that are cute but still practical for a mama of two tiny ones. Here are my current top picks:

1. Solid tees: I love that they are comfortable and can be dressed up with a blazer or cute pair of patterned shorts.

2. Post earrings: I've stopped wearing jewelry because Lucy would always just try to yank it off of me, but I think she's getting to an age where I may be able to try a couple of simple pieces. Post earrings will be a lot less tempting for her to rip out of my ear lobes than the dangly type, so I'm going to start there.

3. Nail polish: While a professional mani/pedi isn't in the budget for us, I know that I can and should make time once every week or two to splash on a coat of nail polish to make myself feel a little bit more put-together.

4. High-waisted shorts: One complaint I have about my current shorts is that they're all low-rise. With kids you do a LOT of bending over and sitting on the ground and all kinds of other crazy stuff, so a high-waisted pair of shorts seems more practical.

5. Simple-but-pretty sandals: I love the simple look and pretty blush color of this pair. I know a lot of moms wear heels and wedges on a regular basis, but flats are a must for me personally as a mom.

6. Sparkly hair clips: An easy way to dress up my hair in a pinch. It's those little details that make the difference between me feeling like a haggard, dark-circles-under-my-eyes frumpy mom and an actual "normal" person.

7. A girly floral blouse: Dress it down with jeans or up with a pretty skirt, and for any breastfeeding mamas out there a button-down is essential.

8. A sweet and simple necklace: I love statement necklaces on other women, but I just don't think they're "me". I'm much more drawn to simple dainty pieces like this gold triangle necklace.

9. An infinite scarf: Instantly dress up any outfit - you could be wearing a basic white t-shirt and jeans and instantly make yourself feel more put together with one of these. No tying involved (or untying by your children for that matter!)

10. A cute and comfy pair of flats: I love this simple nude pair that would go with pretty much everything.

11. A cute head wrap: For those bad hair days when you don't wake up at 6AM before your kids.

12 Stylish sunnies: Considering that we'll be outside pretty much every chance we get, this is a must.

13. A pair of pretty, patterned shorts: An easy way to dress up a simple tee.

13. Midi skirts like this or this: I love something that is light, airy, and again - practical for all of that bending over that you do as a mom.

14. A comfortable dress: I'd love one with pockets because I always need them these days, and definitely something with a forgiving cut.

What about you? What are your Spring/Summer staples? Am I forgetting anything important? I'd love any suggestions before I take the plunge! xo, Lauren

P.S. Mom Style Vol. 1 + My Mom Uniform

I am the Mother of a Four-Year-Old!


I'm not sure how it happened, but on Saturday I became the mother of a four-year-old in all her crazy, sweet, hilarious, whiney-yet-adorable glory. She is four going on fourteen, already chasing the boys at playgroup (literally - I don't know how she can run for so long!), wanting to drive the car, being super-particular about her clothing, and changing her mind constantly from one second to the next. And yet, she NEVER wants to grow up. In fact, four is the oldest she will ever be. Next year she wants a party, but it will not be a birthday party because she not aging another year. If only we could freeze ourselves at our perfect age! I'm not sure which I would choose. I'm actually pretty happy at 32!

Anyway, considering that her party was the previous weekend, on the actual day of her birthday I still wanted to do something special. I considered some ideas that I came across on Pinterest like filling her room with balloons while she slept or taping balloons or streamers at her door for a wake-up surprise, but considering that she often wakes up in terror in the middle of the night after dreaming that wolves are eating her feet and runs to our room, I thought that might not work out so well. So instead I woke up early, whipped up a batch of good ol' Bisquick pancakes, and decorating the dining room with some simple classic party decorations in her favorite colors (she likes blue again!). She was absolutely thrilled when she came down in all of her bedhead glory and blew out the candles.

I can't wait to see what this year brings! We love you our sweet, special one-of-a-kind little four-year-old girl :) They broke the mold when they made you! xo, Lauren

P.S. Violet and Lucy's shared birthday party and Violet's birthday pancakes at age two (my how she's grown!)

A Girly Glamping Nursery

I came across this print on Pinterest and loved the campy look in the fresh blush, navy, and orange color palette. It inspired this girly camping (glamping?) themed space. I love that it has rustic and camp-themed elements, but still looks very girly and a little bit glamorous at the same time. You can find all of the sources in my article for Houzz.comxo, Lauren

P.S. After getting a lot of requests, I added sources to my Spring Fling Cool Berry and Sky Blue idea boards - you can check them out here!

8 of My Favorite Sources for Toddler Bedding


Cute toddler bedding isn't an easy thing to find - although most crib sheets work for toddler beds, it can be difficult to find a comforter or duvet for your little guy or gal to snuggle up in. Here are eight of my favorite sources:

1. Stars Toddler Bedding
2. Polka Dot Toddler Bedding
3. Striped Toddler Bedding
4. Rabbit Patch Toddler Bedding
5. Miller Toddler Duvet Set
6. Clouds Toddler Bedding
7. Marine Queen Toddler Bedding
8. Chevron Toddler Bedding Set

Then and Now


We've taken a picture around the same time every year since 2010 when I was pregnant with Violet. I was worried that it might not happen this year because either we were busy during the daylight hours, Kevin was working, or it was rainy. We almost missed the blooms of our weeping cherry tree, but we squeezed the photo in in the nick of time.

Violet wasn't interested in cooperating as usual - it's funny, sometimes she can be such a camera ham - even asking me to take a photo or video of her, but if she can tell that I really want to take a photo of her she likes to be stubborn. Usually I'll just drop it if she's not into having her picture taken, but in this case it's really important to me. I told her she could keep making mud pies in her bucket of dirt for the photo if she liked or play with Lucy under the tree, but she mostly either turned her face away from the camera or played behind me, little devil.

I try not to get too worked up about it and figure it just helps to illustrate her personality all the more. She's a strong willed and opinionated little girl, and that's just the way we like her, because, well - it's her. I think she gets it from Kevin's side of the family ;)

And then there's our sweet little Lucy - she's so happy-go-lucky I probably could've dumped a bucket of cold water over her head and she'd still be smiling. She loves to be outside and is usually very content to pick dandelions, eat dirt, and ride around in the wagon. I hope that she starts walking soon so that she isn't so filthy dirty all of the time and so that I can put shorts on her. The poor kid still has to wear pants even on very warm days because otherwise her wee little knees would be torn to shreds.

Five years worth of April photos in my trusty green hand-me-down maternity dress:

Five years of growing and raising babies. Five years of being a mama. I love both of my girls so much and I can't wait to see how much they'll have grown by next year. Don't grow up too fast, my girls. xo, Lauren

1. April 2010 - 36 weeks, 2 days pregnant with Violet
2. April 2011 - Violet is 11 months old
3. March 2012 - Violet is 1 year, 10 months old.

4. April 2013 - Violet is 2 years, 11 months old. I am 39 weeks, 6 days pregnant with Lucy
5. April 2014 - Violet is 3 years, 11 months old and Lucy is 1 year old.

Favorite Parenting Links Lately


Wow, it's been a crazy few weeks! Croup, ear infections, sinus infections, and stomach bugs should never occur simultaneously in one family. We're looking forward to warm weekend weather, birthday pancakes, Mother's Day brunch, and a week back in our normal routine!

Here are a few of my favorite parenting links for your weekend reading pleasure:

1. This is pretty much how I feel every day as a parent - you're darned if you do and darned if you don't. Sometimes I wish I was a mother before the internet so that we didn't have so much information on hand. Information can be power, but it can also be information overload!

2. I wondered this myself pretty much every time I used a breast pump.

3. Love Emily - she's so real and down to Earth. (And funny!) And I love this interview that Design Mom did with her - especially the part about empowering your husband when it comes to parenting. It's something I wish that I was better at and that I'm definitely working on.

4. Having taught many children on the spectrum, this was such an interesting and heartwarming read.

Hope you have a lovely, warm, and healthy weekend, and happy Mother's Day to all of the moms and moms-to-be out there!

P.S. Ramblings on motherhood and my Mother's Day last year.

An Update on the Nursery

I really wanted to update the nursery for Lucy, but kind of got stuck when it came to decision making. I very much wanted to brighten up the space by painting the walls white and bringing in some fun colorful accessories, but I was also really attached to the tree that I had painted on the wall for Violet.  I finally had a lightning bolt moment when I realized that I could trace the tree with a large roll of tracing paper that I had from another project so that it wouldn't be permanently gone. If I regretted painting over it or wanted to use the design again in a new home I'd be able to put up the tracing paper and transfer the design onto the walls really easily. It felt a lot less permanent and made me feel a lot better about changing the room color.

When the new paint color was up, the room was pretty much a completely blank slate, and I was really excited about the possibilities that opened up with the change.

It's far from finished, but I brought in a few colorful accessories that have been on my wish list and the space feels so fun already. It definitely reflects Lucy's personality more - she's such a happy, bubbly little girl and she is in love with the dots. Every morning she wakes up and points at them with a huge grin on her face.

I'm definitely moving at a snail's pace when it comes to finishing the space - it feels like everything takes a ridiculous amount of time to complete these days. Two kids means no time for mama's projects unless they happen to nap at the same time. And with Violet being very anti-nap or room time these days, that doesn't happen often. For now I've taken the attitude that the most important thing is to fill up our days playing princesses, digging in the dirt, and visiting the library, and the decorating will get done when it gets done. I'm excited to share updates as I sloooowly make progress on the space! xo, Lauren

P.S. The last update on the nursery waaaay back when I was pregnant with Lucy and an update on Violet's room.

11 of the Cutest Nightlights


Violet has been having bad dreams (about wolves eating her feet - yikes!) and has become afraid of the dark lately - poor kid, so I've been on the hunt for some cute nightlight solutions to make her feel more at ease as she falls asleep. Here are eleven of my favorites:

1. Gold Mushroom Lamp
2. Hedgehog Lamp
3. Fox Lamp
4. Sheep Nightlight
5. Giraffe Lamp
6. "Love You" Nightlight
7. Fawn Lamp
8. Moon Nightlight
9. Lion Nightlight
10. Constellation Globe Lamp 
11. Bunny Lamp

bObles Winner!


I know I owe you all a winner to the bObles giveaway! The plague that overtook our household has thrown me completely for a loop! So without further ado, the winner is...Patricia! Thanks to everyone for playing. You can check out the rest of the adorable bObles right here on Modernmini. xo, Lauren

Violet & Lucy's Birthday


We celebrated the girls' first and fourth birthdays this past weekend - with Lucy's birthday being in April and Violet's being in May it just made sense to celebrate their birthdays together. When they get a little older, they can each have their own little party with friends, but for now one party is perfect. When I asked Violet what kind of birthday party she wanted this year, the only information I could get out of her was that she wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate icing with her name on it in chocolate and that Lucy should have a pink cake. She also requested pin the tail on the donkey. I was completely expecting her to ask for a princess party, Dora party, or Hello Kitty party, and I even suggested those things to her, but she was set on her chocolate cake.

So with those simple requests, I decided to use a lot of party supplies that we already had stored from previous years to save a little money. We reused our DIY fringe banner, "YAY" plates, cupcake toppers, and honeycomb decorations and bought just a few new things. I love Joy's new line of party decor for Targett, so we picked up a few plates and napkins, ordered some fun tasseled balloons and mini balloons from Shop Sweet Lulu, and bought some gold foil balloons and cupcake wrappers. I made a scalloped table cover out of brown kraft paper from our Christmas wrapping and used some leftover gold paper to make a "Happy Birthday" sign on the wall inspired by Angela's. I baked all of the cakes myself, and they're certainly no professional job by any means, but Violet was happy with them. She loved all of the fun, bright colors but was mostly thrilled with the candy. She definitely made up for being sick on Easter, that's for sure! Here are a few pics from my trusty iPhone:

A Lovely Lark Violet and Lucy's Birthday Party
Happy birthday to my dear, sweet little girls! xo, Lauren

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