Silver Lining

August 26, 2015


A few days ago, my husband and I were cleaning the kitchen together. Okay fine, he was cleaning and I was sitting at the table eating otter pops. (No regrets.) He asked me what was up with the way I had been dressing lately.

"The way I've been dressing lately? What do you mean?"

"Why are you trying to be all business casual every day? You're like always wearing skirts and stuff."

The truth is, I've been wearing a lot of skirts lately. And dresses. I wish I could say that I'm trying to, you know, look nice and stuff. But the truth is way far from that. The real reason I'm wearing skirts and dresses lately is that IT'S JUST TOO HOT TO WEAR PANTS. I just can't. I literally can't even. It's too hot!

So for this month's outfit, I changed the shorts out for a skirt that had the same textured look as Julia's top. (Although her shorts do look pretty breathable and cool. I think if I had shorts like that I'd wear them all the time.) I loved all the neutral colors in this outfit though, and the mix between fancy and laid-back, so I tried to channel that in my take on it. 

THE ORIGINAL (via the lovely Gal Meets Glam)


 ^^Necklace c/o Happiness Boutique. I'm generally not a necklace person, but I have to say I love this one. It wasn't too expensive, it's gorgeous, and it automatically makes any outfit that much more classy.
 ^^A little break to see the cutest fashion accessory around.

You guys, can I just say that I am so much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it? I think that's why I love this monthly challenge so much. It makes me step outside my comfort zone. Also, I get to pretend like I know anything about fashion once a month, and nobody can stop me! :)

Please please go show some love to all the fabulous ladies who joined me this month! It's so fun to see everyone's different styles and how different all these awesome outfits are even though they came from the same starter picture. 

Brooke at Silver Lining
Deidre at Deidre Emme
Jana at Bouvardian
Alexa at He and I
Aubrey at Aubrey Zaruba
Brooklyn at A Little Too Jolley
Ashley at Absolutely Ashley
Danica at Danakin Skywalker
Rachel at Rachel Sayumi
Sharlee at My New Lines
Kyla at FordOlogy
Kalyn at Geez Louise
Bonnie at Life of Bon

Interested in doing How We Wore It next month? 

Here's a little overview: If you sign up, I'll send you an email with an inspiration picture (next month's theme is back to school, and it's probably the easiest outfit I've ever chosen). Then, you use what's already in your closet to showcase your personal take on the outfit. Snap some pictures and then share them all on the same day (the last Wednesday of the month). It's easy and so fun to connect with new people.

I wish I could take everyone, but for now the best way to keep accountability and interaction optimized is to take 20 bloggers a month. So hurry and sign up, or you might have to wait until next month!

August 25, 2015

DIY Tissue Paper Stained Glass for Kids

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions, and my love for Scotch™ Laminating products, are mine alone. #SchoolYearReady #CollectiveBias

Claire's new favorite activity is unrolling toilet paper and ripping it up. It's the best thing that's happened to her since she figured out how to steal my keys from my purse and set off the car alarm through the window. :) One day last week, I was cleaning up tiny toilet paper shreds from the bathroom floor, and I figured it was about time I give her some actual paper to rip up!

And thus this craft was born. I'm actually really excited about how this turned out. I'm going to show you how to laminate tissue paper to make paper stained glass art for your windows.


Scotch™ Thermal Laminator and Scotch™ Laminating Pouches (I got mine at Walmart in the school supply section right at the front, but it's also back by the stationary. I want to try those fancy no-heat self-laminating pouches too.)

Tissue paper, various colors

Dry erase marker


That's it!


1. Decide on your scene. Scroll down a bit further for lots of scene ideas! When I decided on my desert scene, I made a few stencils out of construction paper to make it easier.

2. Rip your tissue paper into small pieces (mine were about a quarter inch square). This is the fun - and dare I say therapeutic? - part. Kids will love this step!

3. Turn on your Scotch™ Thermal Laminator so it has time to heat up. Open your lamination pouch and sprinkle water over the area that will be used. This step really helps the tissue paper to stick to the pouch so the tissue scraps don't blow away when you exhale :)

4. Pile your tissue paper shreds onto the area that will be used. One layer creates a nice transparent look, while about 3-4 layers makes a bright opaque color.

5. Carefully close the lamination pouch and laminate it! Make sure you put the sealed side in first!

6. Let it cool for a second, and then use the dry erase marker to draw your outline on the lamination pouch. Older kids would love drawing their own outlines! And since they're drawn with dry erase markers, you can easily erase mistakes along the way.

7. Cut out your shapes! Buff away any dry erase marks around the edges and use Scotch® Brand Tape to display in them in a window!


For teachers: How awesome would it be for every student in your class to make a fall leaf for back to school! They can each write their name on it in permanent marker, and then you can tape them to the window for a colorful, personalized decoration.

The Four Seasons: When you're teaching your preschooler or toddler about seasons, it would be awesome to represent the four different seasons with art. Think snowflakes for winter, a flower or two for spring, a big sunshine for the summer, and colorful leaves for the fall.

Other Scene Ideas: I really loved my desert scene with two different types of cactuses, a sunshine, and a snake. In the winter, how could would it be to make a snowman, some snowflakes, and a Christmas tree! How about a spider, a pumpkin, and Frankenstein's head for Halloween?!


We hung our desert scene in a window, and our little toddler goes over and looks at them about a million times a day. I don't feel like these pictures really do it justice, but they really do look so colorful and pretty with the light coming through the window. One time, when we were touching our little laminated paper desert, I told her that cactuses are sharp. "Cactus, ow!" I said, and pulled my hand away. And now every time she touches them she pulls her hand away like I did and says, "Ow!" It cracks me up.

Let me know if you're making anything cool with these products!
Have any other scene ideas?
I'd love to add them to this post!
Happy crafting! 

August 24, 2015

on moving to Arizona

Historically, when I move somewhere new, it's a rough transition. The first week is new and scary and filled with homesickness: I miss the familiarity of old friends and family, the certainty of knowing the good grocery stores near me, the comfort of knowing all my possessions are in their place and not piled in boxes.

I was prepared to feel like that when we first arrived in Arizona. But the weird thing is, it never felt like that. It felt... like home. Right away. And every day since we moved, it has felt like this is the exact right place we need to be. Sam and I feel really good about why we're here and what we're doing. I'm assuming the magic of looking outside and seeing palm trees and cacti everywhere will wear off eventually, but for now, we can't get enough of our new place. Sometimes it scares me how smoothly the transition is going, and how much we love it here. Are we missing something? Or is it actually possible to move to a new place and fall in love immediately?

The short version: it's ridiculous here, and I love it.

The longer version:

I feel like we need to talk about the weather first. The weather is the first thing anybody asks about, and for good reason. This is inarguably the worst time of the year in Arizona. It's 115 degrees some days, it's the middle of summer, and there are monsoons every week. However, although I complained pretty badly about the heat in this post - dare I say it hasn't been too bad? 

The middle of summer in Arizona is like the middle of winter in a northern climate. You mostly stay inside. It's worth the extreme temperatures because the rest of the year has gorgeous temperate weather. And it's a super dry heat, which makes everything more manageable. I think I really will miss defined seasons though. 

Our interior house temperature is set to 79. SEVENTY-NINE. This is how I know we're insane. 79 is so hot. But weirdly, it doesn't feel hot? It feels so nice to walk into a 79-degree home when the outside temperature is thirty degrees warmer. (To my Canada friends: You better still come visit after this post! We'll turn down the temperature just for you!)

We're learning how to survive in such a crazy hot place. When we go somewhere, we always look for a shade spot in the parking lot. The second week I moved in, I had the washer, the dryer, the dishwasher, and the oven going - all at the same time, when it was 116 out, at the warmest part of the afternoon. Rookie mistake! It was terrible! Now we do our laundry and run our dishwasher late at night or early in the morning to save on our already ridiculously expensive energy bill. I'm even starting to learn how to precook things in the morning so our house stays even cooler.

A side note to all my local friends: I have a problem! When I was house hunting, people would list "north/south exposure" as a selling point, alongside granite countertops or a garage. I didn't get why anyone would bother to list that - until now. Claire's room faces due west, and it gets SO HOT in there every afternoon. The poor girl wakes up drenched in sweat from every single afternoon nap. We keep her blinds closed constantly, and put her down in nothing but her diaper, but are there any special blinds that work well to block the heat? 

So yes. It's hot here. But we're surviving. And there are awesome pools and splash pads everywhere.

People here drive fast fast fast. The highway speed limit is 65, but it feels like the minimum speed is 80. Lane changes take approximately 0.03 seconds, which freaks me out. But people are still courteous drivers. They use their blinkers, and if they see a merge sign, they merge right away. None of this sneaking up the lane and then nosing over at the last second nonsense. 

Our city, Tempe, is such a mixed bag. There are definitely good parts of town and bad parts of town. I ran into a Walmart once to grab something with Claire, and within two minutes, I turned around and walked out. I legitimately did not feel like my daughter was safe in that place. It was terrible. (The next week, I saw four cop cars with their lights on surrounding the two entrances as I drove past. It mollified me and made me feel like I wasn't just being a paranoid white girl.) Now, if I have to go to Walmart for any reason, I happily drive five extra minutes to the good one in the really nice part of town.

I guess I never realized how much I missed living in a more diverse place. I just got called to Young Women's at church, and myself and one other leader were the only white people in the room on Sunday. It's awesome even to just walk the grocery store aisles or go to the pool and hear people talking in different languages. There's a huge foreign foods section in the grocery stores here that I can't wait to try out. The produce here is amazing too - cheap, fresh, and so good. We have the most delicious fresh fruit with every meal. It almost makes up for how truly terrible the water tastes here. ;)

Sam's MBA program is going really well. I tell ya, they really hit the ground running in that program! Even during orientation, he was wearing business casual or business professional every single day, and going in on weeekends, and pulling late nights, and doing huge group projects. What happened to name games and campus tours during orientation?! So we hardly ever see him, but he's really liking his program so far. I'm so darn proud of that kid.

Before I moved down here, I heard such great things about the blogging community. And I'm happy to report that it's all true. I've been so fortunate to make awesome blogging friends down here, and live in a place where everyone encourages others and shares their success, instead of hoarding and comparing their success with others. Not to mention, it's nice to live in a market that's not incredibly oversaturated with blogs like Utah is! (That being said, I really really miss my Utah blogging friends. And all my friends and family in Utah.)

*Speaking of the awesome blogging community down here, all these pictures were taken as part of a shoot-out with two of my new friends, Cathy and Stephanie. It was so fun to talk blogs and photography mentors and get lots of pretty pictures while I'm at it!

I guess the bottom line is that we feel like the middle of this crazy hot desert, a place where only insane people voluntarily move to, is right where we're supposed to be, and that we're doing exactly what we're supposed to be doing. It's been a long while since I felt like that (since my last day of being a full-time teacher, if I'm being honest), and it feels so good to feel so good about everything.

Yesterday, we were driving to church, and I saw a huge cactus in someone's yard. 

"Sam!" I said. "Did you see that? Look how big that cactus is!"

"Cool," said Sam. So much flare and charisma.

"No seriously, look in your rear view mirror! It's gigantic!"

He glanced in the mirror. "Oh yeah, that is cool."

"When you graduate and we buy a home here, let's put a huge cactus like that in our yard."

"Deal," he said. And then we kind of looked at each other. Did we really just go there? Did we really just casually assume that we love it so much we'll stay here forever?

Who knows where we'll be or what we'll be doing a few years from now. All we know is that right now, this is the place for us, and we couldn't be happier. Unless the water started tasting good. :)
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