Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Political Revolution Isn't Completely Up To Bernie Sanders

by Sarah Davis Temple

Hillary might be running for president and this election might seem like a big fucking joke, but at least because of Bernie Sanders, a lot of issues that directly affect you have been brought to light.  Whether it be the fact that you are working two jobs and are still broke, or why pot is illegal (and prescription painkillers aren't...while half of the country is struggling with an opiate addiction), or who is actually abusing welfare in this country (hint: it's not the poor folks), if you're in the bottom 99%, you now know you're living in a country who hasn't exactly been looking out for you. 

We live in a nation of lies, prescriptions, and money probz (for us, not the top 1%). The American media outlets (owned by a handful of powerful corporations) are no longer brokers of the truth.  They are willing partners who are complicit in the corrupt political system in which bribery is legal.  They continue to spew out propaganda which divides people and obfuscates the truth.  What is the "Truth" you ask, its simple, that our politicians are bought and paid for by billionaires and corporations and do the bidding of their donors while abhorrently failing to address the problems of mainstream America.  

But...if you turn on a television, you'd never know any of this was happening. Whether you're watching FOX News, MSNBC, CNN or E!, you're being fed stories that comically refuse to admit the reality of this corruption and obfuscate its damages at every turn. 

They want you to feel confused and helpless about the economy. They would rather you focus on anything...even Kylie Jenner's lips, rather than truly questioning issues like why the wages of ordinary people haven't gone up over the last 30 years in the richest county in the history of planet Earth. This country wants you to be distracted by the media instead of really thinking about how fucked you are as a millenial-- a generation left devastated by student loan debt and no jobs available to adequately pay it all off.  

I'm not sure if anyone expected someone like Bernie Sanders to pop up and gain such a following. I don't think anyone expected so many ordinary people, like you and I, to become more informed and feel confident enough to ask questions and gosh...begin to want a political revolution. This country needs change. We all knew that beforehand, but Bernie Sanders really pushed everyone to believe that the change we need could actually happen if we all unite and demand it. 

It was a sad sight to see Sanders endorse Hillary this past week, but you have to give him credit in that he would rather endorse a "Democrat" than see Trump win this election. And who can blame him for that? Ehh. 

I am forever grateful for the work that Bernie Sanders did and I want to commend him for choosing to not sell himself to corporations along the way.  

Key points--

-Stop trusting the American media. Unless you want to continue to have the truth about the economy obfuscated by multinational conglomerates & billionaires who are willing to destroy American democracy to pad their bottom line.  (Wondering who to watch? Try The Young Turks)

-The government is willing to bail out Wall Street but not the American people.  This fact and others brought to light by Bernie make it clear that our "democracy" has been massively corrupted by the adulterating influence of the mega wealthy and corporations.   

-Its time for the american people to fight back and demand a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics and take our democracy back.  Visit

-Inform yourself. Do your own research. Share what you learn and start conversations about these issues with your friends and coworkers. Even if you don't feel that you are completely knowledgeable in politics, you should always feel confident enough to speak up and learn about the things that directly affect you.  

Friday, May 6, 2016

Interior Design Envy: Modern Farmhouse

See what our Editor-in-Chief has been pinning this week on our Interior Design boards. 
by Sarah Davis Temple

I woke up early this morning and found myself unable to fall back to sleep. I woke up with Noah after he crawled into bed with Dan and I only to ask for a cup of warm milk and for me to tuck him back into his own bed. Sometimes he will crawl into bed with us and fall asleep in between us...or on top of our legs at the bottom of the bed. But, this morning, he just needed me to tuck him back in.

When I wake up at night and can't fall back asleep, I normally do one thing: look at home decor inspiration blogs or Instagram accounts. Does anyone else do this? I have grown, throughout the years, to absolutely love interior design. 

This is something that I am not sure if I've ever mentioned on the blog. And, as I've said time and time again on here, I have been trying to redesign it to better represent the things I am currently interested in. As a mother, as a wife, and as a stay at home mom who constantly wants to redecorate: I am OBSESSED with decorating my home and looking around the internet and magazines for inspiration. Also, have I ever mentioned my absolute favorite store to shop in? It's Homegoods. 

When we moved into the home we currently live in about two years ago, we had free reign to paint and decorate however we wanted for the first time. Initially, I had no clue what I was doing. I have no idea why, being that I have an art background, but choosing paint colors and decorating had me stumped when we first moved in. When you're young and you're renting and you don't have a lot of extra money to play around with, it's a little easier to put your apartment together. Your paint colors are picked out by your landlord and most of your furniture pieces are hand-me-downs. 

I was so stumped in the beginning that I debated painting my living room burgundy! AHH! A few years later, I can proudly say that I am in love with light gray walls. Everywhere and anywhere: gray paint works. 

Along with gray walls, I can easily admit that my style is farmhouse chic. I love neutral walls with pops of purple or navy here and there. I love white furniture, (clean) hardwood floors, green wreaths, lanterns with white candles, framed photos of our family mixed into collage walls, throw pillows, and cozy white throw blankets.  Although the throw pillows and cozy throw blankets often get stolen--and most definitely knocked out of place--by my kids, which I have to admit, warms my heart a little. Oh, and lately, I've being loving marble. 

The reason why I have really taken to the farmhouse home decor style is because it is cozy and looks like someone lives in a home. I hate when people design their homes to look like no one is home. With two small children--one of them being a little boy-- I love the idea of my home being lived in. 

...and if you haven't figured it out by everything listed, I'm sort of obsessed with Fixer Upper and Joanna Gaines--who just might be my "spirit animal", LOL. (I saw that on a coffee mug on Etsy-- I didn't come up with it myself.)

Anyways, enough of me rambling...I thought it could be a fun idea to share with you all a few of the images that I have looked to on Pinterest for inspiration when designing and shopping for my sweet little home lately.  

Image Credits: All original photos, along with their owners, can be found on Pinterest.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

How We Potty-Trained Our Toddler

by Sarah

This isn't going to be a very glamorous post, but I wanted to take a minute to share a few tips on potty training for any parents out there who are either planning to start or currently in the process of training their toddlers. 

We began potty-training Noah when he started to give us signs that he was ready, which started to happen right around the time that he turned two. Truthfully, this might be the most important tip I can give you-- do not get serious until you know your child is ready. If your child isn't starting to show signs and they aren't ready, you will just end up frustrating yourself. 

We didn't do any crazy "potty training boot camps" or "potty train your toddler in one week!" routines. I see pins floating around on Pinterest for similar potty-training techniques all the time and I don't buy it. I had a breastfeeding infant to throw into the mix, after all. My son is also extremely stubborn.

In the beginning, we started off by simply letting Noah hang out in the bathroom with us (which isn't that crazy because if you aren't familiar with toddlers, they come into the bathroom with you every time that you go to the bathroom, ever.) Letting them see you is the only real introduction to using the potty. 

1. Wait until they show you signs that they are ready-- As I mentioned above, right around the time that Noah turned two, he began doing things like hiding in his closet to poop (in his diaper.) Being that he is my first child, I didn't really pick up on this meaning anything. However, I randomly brought it up with his pediatrician and apparently, it meant something really important: that he was able to hold it in until he could hide. This is a huge sign that your toddler is ready to be potty-trained because if they know how to hold it, they know how to hold it until they can make it to a toilet. 

2. Make a sticker chart-- When we were first beginning to brainstorm how we would go about potty training Noah, a few of our friends recommended rewarding him with chocolate every time he used his toilet. While it did work a little, a sticker chart, surprisingly, proved to be way more effective. I think Noah loved it because he was able to see his progress. I keep a variety of stickers in a small basket in the bathroom and every time he used the potty, he could pick one out for his chart. (I still keep the basket of stickers in the bathroom because we are currently using the sticker chart technique to motivate him to brush his teeth twice a day.) It makes Noah so happy to be able to pick out a sticker and place it on the chart himself. 

3. Themed Underwear (and lots and lots of laundry detergent)- I'm not really a fan of buying Disney merchandise but boy, Noah gets so excited about it. He loves Mickey Mouse, Mater from Cars and Star Wars. If you aren't familiar with potty training at all, it pretty much is simply putting underwear on your toddler instead of a diaper and encouraging them to make it to the toilet when the feel the urge to go. Since it is all pretty new to them, seeing characters they love to watch on tv will make it more exciting for them. You spend most of your time at home in the beginning because it is the easiest. You go through a lot of underwear because they have tons of accidents at first so buy at least 5 packs of underwear and make sure you are stocked up on laundry detergent. 

4. Toddler Potty (and a step stool)- The night before I gave birth to Meadow, Dan and I went to Target to walk around because I was having mild labor pains. In full nesting mode, I bought two styles of toddler potties-- an actual one that sits on the floor and one that sits on the regular toilet--to make it easier for a tiny toddler bum to use it and not fall in. He actually likes to use both and the one that sits on the regular toilet has proven to be great for traveling. When I go to work, my mom or my sister will watch him so I send the toilet seat over with him! The step stool, as I will get into more in a minute, is necessary for potty training a boy because they eventually pee standing up. 

5. Patience and persistence Potty training does take time. At first, it seemed like there was no hope. In the beginning, I remember being on my knees scrubbing my carpets every day thinking that my son would never get the hang of making it to the potty to go to the bathroom. Every kid eventually gets the hang of it. You just have to give them the time they need and remember: if you don't put the work in, they won't either! 

6. Dark chocolate- for you. 

To all of the parents out there who are potty-training: you will get through it, I promise! I would also love to know- how did you potty-train your child (or children)? Any tips or tricks?

Image Credit: Essential Baby, AU

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Our Wedding

by Sarah Davis Temple

When Daniel and I initially began to plan our wedding, it made sense to just sneak down to the Allegheny County courthouse and make our love and the relationship that we've built official. For many couples, their weddings become a huge production, but for us, we wanted something simple. I don't have a large family and I'm a textbook introvert. I wanted something very sophisticated, but very intimate.

As time went on and with the encouragement of my Mother-in-Law, I began to realize how important it is to plan a wedding, not for show, but rather to celebrate something that we are extremely proud of: our love. It didn't need to be over the top. It didn't need to have swans and hashtags and a band. But the fact that I found a handsome man with a beautiful soul who was willing to marry me needed to be celebrated. It is so, so comforting to marry your best friend. It's almost as though your soul has finally found another soul to cozy up next to and float through life with. It's nothing short of remarkable and if anything in this life should be celebrated, it should be love. 

It also seemed comforting knowing that only our closest friends and family would be there to witness the actual ceremony and then eat a meal afterward. So, we had everyone come down to the Allegheny County Building, walk over to the old Court House for photographs to be taken, and then we ended the night by eating a fantastic meal at the Grand Concourse. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Some Love For The Overwhelmed Mama

by Sarah

I take a lot of beautiful photos of my kids, but I usually have to take a lot of photos to get one good one. Here's to keeping the photos that aren't "perfect" and admiring your kids just being themselves for a moment, which sometimes includes a todzilla tantrum. This is real life, folks.  :)

I always promise to write more mommy blogs and I actually have a whole list of things I am working on--including what to pack in your hospital bag, breastfeeding, postpartum care (down there!) and much more. I thought I would start with something that all mamas-- and fathers- can relate to-- those days that just get to be overwhelming because your kids are being crazy!
When you're a mother, you can sometimes feel like your hard work is going completely unnoticed. From the time that you wake up in the morning to the time that your little ones go to bed, it can be non-stop craziness. Now that I have two babies (one infant, one toddler) it can get overwhelming to show them both affection, find activities for them to do, make them wholesome meals, clean the house, work on laundry, manage to get makeup on, have dinner ready before 5pm, work on my writing...AND spend time with Dan after he gets home with work. All of this happens on my days off from work! These days usually go somewhat smoothly if the kids are happy, but some days, it can be mayhem if someone is grumpy or didn't get a good night's sleep.

I'm not writing this blog to complain, because I really truly love being a mother and I love the life we are building for them. But, these "Mommy Mayhem" days do sneak their way in every once in a while. They usually happen when the kids refuse to take naps, throw tantrums, make messes and after I clean it up, make the same mess over again, etc. I am one of those people who likes to have a clean house and stick to a routine so as much as I would like to admit that I can go with the flow, these off days really throw me for a loop.

Last week, I had a particularly difficult day with my toddler. I woke up and thought I would make a trip to Target and maybe...stop into Homegoods. (Target is one of the few places I can go to with my kids because they have Wi-Fi, it is never too crowded, and we can get Starbucks while we're in there. Homegoods is a different story. Homegoods is an anti-toddler zone.) However, as soon as we made our way into Target, Noah insisted on throwing a tantrum because I forgot to charge up our ipad so that he could watch an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while I shopped. He wouldn't sit in the cart. He screamed and threw himself on the floor and kicked his legs if I tried to pick him up... I just couldn't get him to calm down so we all had to leave the store.

When I was leaving, I felt so overwhelmed and defeated because I hear so many other mothers say things like, "Toddlers live in our world. We don't live in their world, so they need to suck it up while I finish my shopping." I began to compare myself to other mothers who in my head, appear to have a better handle on their toddlers.

Noah is usually a peach in Target and even enjoys it usually, but on this day, he just insisted on throwing a tantrum and it took so much out of me. Out of all of us.

As a mother of two kids only 20 months apart, sometimes I feel like I have it all together and other days, I feel like a total failure. I collapse into bed after I get both of my kids to sleep and wonder how I made it through the day. I'm nursing a 6 month old and I'm trying to navigate my way through Noah's "Terrible Two's" and potty train him.

And there are other days when everything works out. Everyone has on cute outfits that stay clean, I manage to do my makeup, clean the house, make a dinner, give them both a bath and get them to bed. I just always try to remind myself that "it's their day, too" (a quote that I saw on Pinterest one day) and that even when I'm feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, that I need to remind myself that these are the days that I will look back on when I'm much older than I am now and wish I could revisit.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed today, pack up your kids and go to a drive thru Starbucks, take a deep breath, relax today, and try again tomorrow. I need reminded daily that things do not need to be perfect because I have TWO BABIES so if you are reading this and need that reminder, soak it in. When you put your kids down for a nap, watch an episode of Scandal instead of vigorously mopping all of your hardwood floors. Have your husband watch the kids for an hour when he gets home and go to Target to "buy diapers" (i.e. get lost in the Christmas section.) Take a little break whenever you can for just a moment and recharge your soul.

**And here's a shoutout to the fathers of these little ones. It's not just the mamas who go through this.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Easy DIY Kids Bookshelf!

by Sarah

For Noah's second birthday, one of the things we did for him was transition him out of his crib and into a toddler bed.  While it still makes me a little sad to think that he is already out of his crib, it isn't as bad because Meadow will be in his old crib in about a month. So, I don't have to deal with the sadness that is going to come from packing up the crib just yet! I went for a very dark shade of blue-- Revel Blue by Sherwin Williams-- because the theme of his room is outer space.  I am still looking for curtains and curtain rods so I am not going to share the entire room just yet, but I did want to share a few photos of the parts I love--including this DIY bookshelf I made for him!
I have been wanting to put up shelves like this for Noah since I was pregnant and planning his nursery. Maybe it was because we were renting from a strict landlord or maybe it was because I just didn't have the home-decorating bug yet, but I never did it.  However, I recently went ahead and finally accomplished a book shelf made out of picture ledges from IKEA! Of course, you guys know where I got the idea from-- Pinterest--so head over there if you need more inspiration for putting up one of your own. It's literally one of the easiest DIY projects I've done around the house (unlike the toddler bed below which needs to be fixed at some point...) so I'm sure why I didn't do it sooner.
The picture ledges come in a smaller size (which is what I used) for only $6 and a larger size that is only $10. Totally affordable!
{N's solar system wall decal from good old Target.}

Monday, September 7, 2015

Two Years Old

For Noah--we made it to 2.
Sometimes I think back to the days when I sat on a yoga mat in Shining Light Prenatal Education here in Pittsburgh before I had my first baby. I had swollen feet and a belly so big that I could barely stand up at the end. I absorbed the information like my life depended on it and while it did, I smile back at the girl who I was while sitting in that class and I wish I could tell her that it would be hard, but it would all be okay.  Because with your first baby, it is hard. You're learning what motherhood is. You're learning how to breastfeed for the first time. You're learning what it's like to care for a newborn for the first time. You're learning what it's like to heal from childbirth for the first time. (Because they never seem to mention that in childbirth classes.) Even if you've seen other people do it or you've taken classes, nothing prepares you for the first weeks of being a mom. It's a time period that you will only get once with one baby, because all babies after your first are pretty much a breeze.
It's funny how much changes after you meet a baby you've carried for 9 months. The work you put into birth. The anxiety. The fear. The high of getting through it all. And then... you realize you're in charge of raising a little person. It's not just about buying cute baby outfits or making a stylish nursery anymore, it's about all of the hard stuff, too. It's about holding someone who you love more than life itself down while they get shots or bloodwork. It's about disciplining them even when they look devastated because you know it's good for them in the long run. It's about the guilt you experience when you leave your baby to go to work. It's about setting an example in every day life, even in the boring moments, about making good decisions. 
I literally spent the first year of Noah's life feeling on edge because I wanted to hold him constantly and protect him from everything. I didn't ease up on myself until I found out I was pregnant with his little sister, right before his first birthday. I feel so calm when I'm pregnant that it helped me to just go with the flow and focus on myself a little more. Now, I try to go with the motto that anything that us mothers go through is normal. It's all normal.
I know that this post seems to be more about my journey as a mother but it truly amazes me that it isn't just Noah who is growing every single day- it's me, too. From the early days of childbirth classes to the sleepless nights with a newborn (and stitches) to the world of sippy cups and tantrums... To having a little friend who was always up for laying around as I experienced morning sickness for the second time around and came with Dan & I as we had our first ultrasound of Meadow... To standing on a stepstool to help me mix his eggs in the morning before scrambling them... To witnessing him learn all of the things that adults forget were magical once-- like the colors-- and from the days when he thought pulling my hair was a good idea to today, when he crawled on top on me and asked for a kiss on his head, and then said, "Love You, Mommy" (for the first time). There isn't a day that goes by that I don't go to bed completely in love with him (and Meadow, too) and so deeply grateful to be his mommy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday

When I decided to "remodel" my blog, I knew I wanted to include a "What I Ate Wednesday" post. I have wanted to make a blog post like this for over a year now but I was always hesitant because I thought it could potentially be too boring. However, when I'm bored, I love watching "What I Ate Wednesday" videos on Youtube.  I don't know why, but I just love them. I am always interested to see what other mamas make their families for lunch and dinner because I am always looking for new ideas. Since I eat with my toddler, I thought it would be fun to include what make for Noah, as well!    
Breakfast: So, since I have two kids under age 2, it took me a little bit of time to establish a routine for breakfast that works for everyone.  I usually make coffee first and then I fix Noah's breakfast. Today, I made him 2 pieces of whole wheat French toast with a little bit of syrup and powdered sugar with half of a banana.  He doesn't always get meals like this (sugary breakfasts, I mean), but he has been sick this week and hasn't been eating like his usual self so I wanted to make him something special.  Then, once he is set up, I fix myself something that I can eat while breastfeeding Meadow.  Today, it was cereal with organic whole milk, strawberries, and coffee in my favorite Anthro mug! I also polished off the other half of Noah's banana.
Lunch- We decided to pick up some Chipotle! Every time I order from Chipotle, I debate if I want the salad or the burrito bowl and I always end up ordering the burrito bowl because I love rice too much to miss out on it.  We brought it home and I ate mine while Noah took his nap and then he ate his when he woke up. (He always eats his "munch" after he wakes up from his nap.) When we eat at Chipotle, I usually give him some of my burrito bowl because it is usually too much for me but today we got him two chicken tacos.

Snacks- I try to make sure Noah and I eat a yogurt every day.  I don't usually eat Yoplait yogurt anymore because it has a lot of sugar in it, but I tried a sample of their whipped Greek yogurt at Sam's Club and ended up buying a bunch of these in bulk. They are so delicious! As for Noah, he eats Trader Joe's yogurt cups (they are pretty much always in our fridge). In the past, I bought YoToddler yogurt cups but these are way better (I've been known to eat them, too) and cheaper. Also, anyone who knows Mr. Noah knows he is the number 1 fan of "fishies" so he usually has some in his snack catcher cup by Munchkin.
Dinner- Yesterday, I felt like making beef stew. I usually get the urge to make something like this on a cold winter day, but Noah and I have had a bit of a cold this week and I had a craving for it. I made a big batch of it in our dutch oven full of potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, whole peeled tomatoes, and organic beef. It was so amazing and tonight, we had the stew that was left over with some yummy crusty bread.  Noah had the same exact thing, so I figured that it would be overkill to share a photo of what he ate!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Meadow's 3 Month Update

Meadow was officially 3 months old this past Thursday so I thought I would do an update on her. I've noticed that babies really calm down around 3 months and get into a routine that they follow every day. They seem to be a bit more adjusted to the world by this point. It's a really sweet time because they show more of their personality, too.
One of the big things that M is doing right now is smiling intentionally at people. Sometimes we even hear her chat and coo. She has one of the brightest smile I've ever seen. Noah's first smiles were some of my most cherished memories as a mother and somehow they both have very different smiles. Noah had a more relaxed and pleasant smile (oozing with charm) as an infant, whereas Meadow has more of a light-up-the-whole-room smile (oozing with sheer happiness). Some of the best moments of my entire life have been looking down at my two babies and seeing them smile at me like I'm the only person in the world. It's the best.

She had a little bit of colic when she was around a month old but it has all cleared up now. It definitely wasn't a horror story case of colic by any means, but every evening when we would put Noah to bed, she would begin crying uncontrollably and it would last for a few hours. Around 2 months old, however, it magically disappeared. According to her pediatrician, colic tends to do that. Now, she has established a bedtime and wakes up one time throughout the night to nurse.
The best thing about her hitting 3 months has been to hear her laughing for the first time. Of course, she was laughing at her big bro when they were in the bathtub together and he was playing with his bath toys. She just began to laugh at him uncontrollably and then Noah and I laughed because it was contagious. At first, it scared me a little because I had never heard her laugh before, especially an uncontrollable laugh!

Overall, she has always been an efficient baby. She does what she needs to do and then relaxes and takes it all in. She nurses like a pro (I will do a breastfeeding post soon about nursing the second time around), does tummy time like a pro, and loves to observe everyone's behavior. She has a calm demeanor but knows when to speak up when she needs something. With a toddler brother, she seems to know that she needs to speak up.
P.S. With your second baby, everything goes by so fast. Everything is just as amazing and just as special, it just flies by. I feel like I was pregnant just yesterday and now my sweet girl is 3 months!

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Best of Mindy Mae's Market

I've recently fallen in love with an online shop I follow on Instagram: Mindy Mae's Market. It seems as though there aren't many pieces offered, but the ones that are have been carefully selected. As I will be turning 30 at the end of the year, I have been taking steps to be more mindful of everything I purchase, whether it be food or clothing. Here are a few items from MMM I just adore and will hopefully incorporate into my wardrobe:
Image Credit: Mindy Mae's Market
1. Navy Double Hooded Sweatshirt- This is item that introduced me to MMM--so comfy. I was informed by a friend that this sweatshirt goes on sale every once in a while and it does. It is so comfy. I love how the site offers styling tips in their blog, which is linked to the photo above, and I just love how they have styled this hoodie with a pair of Birkenstocks.  
2. Cutest Stripe Comfs- I desperately need want these comfy pants! I picture myself staying at home, doing laundry, chasing after my babies with these pants on a cool Fall day.  
3. Lace Topped Tee- I am waiting to buy this because this is currently sold out, but I just love how simple this tee is. It reminds me of something a chic French woman would wear (even though I've never been to France.)
(Please note: I am not working with Mindy Mae's Market or being compensated in any way to write this post. As I said above, I am making an effort in every aspect of life to be more mindful of what I choose to purchase, eat, and write about.)

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