More Family Photos (From Our First Time Homeowners Photoshoot)!

Last week I blogged about our First Home Photoshoot with SwakPhotography. I am so obsessed with her photos and I only shared a handful of the DOZENS of golden images she gave us… So it’s not surprising that I am posting a follow up with more images!! In particular, of my sweet sweet baby girl & our little family in her new nursery. My only regret is not pulling the cats in!
Nolie was so funny during our session. Carrie arrived for our shoot around three, seconds after little Miss woke up from her nap… so her facial expressions range from wildly surprised to extremely confused then on to giggling then bored. She also looked SO concerned in a few outdoor photos when several loud trucks went by. She was so distracted! Even though I had envisioned her just laughing non stop for our entire shoot (yeah I know, totally realistic expectations of a five and a half month old), I am actually so much happier that we caught so many of her adorable expressions. She is such a curious and intelligent baby. I love watching her explore the world and try to understand everything around her. It’s really humbling in a way. Her genuine astonishment makes me appreciate everything so much more.
Anyways, I hope y’all enjoy these precious images. Also, Carrie is so much fun to work with and one of my favorite photographers! I love her style- it’s unique and elegant. Definitely check out her Instagram to see what I’m talking about !(: Also stay tuned, one of my other favorite photographers (Soph) has offered to do a little lifestyle shoot of the fam bam! It’s going to be so sentimental to look back on after we have done some of the more serious house renovations we have planned!

Clothing Details:

Me- Shirt: Banana Republic // Jeans: Lucky // Boots: Lucky // Cardigan: The Limited // Ring: Tiffany & Co

Michael- Shirt: J.Crew // Jeans: Lucky // Shoes: Sperry // Watch: Fossil // Belt: Fossil

Nolie- Shirt: Janie & Jack // Jeans: Old Navy // Shoes: Baby Gap // Bow: Janie & Jack

Rug: Target


First Time Homeowners

October 27, 2017 Michael and I bought our very first house together! It is beyond adorable. I feel so blessed! We now own 1800 sq ft of blank canvas to build our lives on. (Plus Michael’s workshop. He’s very very excited about that). I love the backyard, the location, and the giant windows! It is such an amazing house. We have had a roller coaster of a ride. We started casually looking several months ago, but every time we thought we found the perfect house we either got outbid or inspections revealed massive issues. One house needed easily $30,000 in basic repairs before we even touched aesthetic remodeling! It started to become very disheartening. However, two of my girlfriends, Sophie & Brittany, kept saying the same thing. “God has the perfect house for you”. Even though I knew it was true, it was still frustrating spending hours and hours looking up and visiting houses.

However, now looking back I can definitely say it was worth the wait. In today’s market buying house is tough! We were so lucky to have the experience we had. The sellers of our house chose our bid because of a letter we attached talking about who we are. They actually asked to meet us at one of our inspections. We had a great time walking around the property as they explained how to care for the pear & fig trees, where their boys liked to play, and other personal details. The wife even knitted our baby girl a pink blanket! It was such a relief to have people so friendly. They even supplied us with boxes to move in! As we were getting to know them I couldn’t help but think about how right my friends were! It felt like this house was meant to be. Especially when we got a call from our real-estate agent, my momma. The mortgage company had called to ask her if we wanted to go down to their office in Hendersonville, or if we wanted to meet in Mount Juliet. The agent said that he usually went to a local cafe. He asked my mom if we thought we would be able to find a Billy Goat Cafe… He was totally unaware that Michael and I had met there when I was 15 years old. What a perfect place to sign our names on this new stage in life! I thought that was unbelievably cool.
After we got our new keys we picked up seven gallons of paint (I can’t wait to do before and after pictures) and headed to the new house. That afternoon our friend Carrie, of SwakPhotography , (you may remember her from our style shoot) came over to document our first afternoon in our first home. We had so much fun taking pictures and laughing at Nolie’s many expressions.
I am so grateful for everyone who helped us make this happen! We had a great team and I would totally recommend using them. We used Josh from US Bank (Mount Juliet branch) and Heidi Nanto, my mom, as a real-estate agent. I would love to connect you if you would like! Enjoy some of these precious photos of our family and new home!
Clothing Details:
Me- Shirt: Banana Republic // Jeans: Lucky // Boots: Lucky // Cardigan: The Limited // Ring: Tiffany & Co
Michael- Shirt: J.Crew // Jeans: Lucky // Shoes: Sperry // Watch: Fossil // Belt: Fossil
Nolie- Shirt: Janie & Jack // Jeans: Old Navy // Shoes: Baby Gap // Bow: Janie & Jack
Rug: Target

Pasta Salad Recipe 

I am a pretty picky eater. However, I love really simple pasta salads! Last week I decided to make a big batch Sunday evening so that we could have a quick lunch option for the week. Even though it was simple, Michael liked it too! It didn’t take long at all. Here’s what you need: 

  • One box of noodles (I always get farfalle because I think they are the happiest noodle) 
  • One bottle of Italian dressing (I just bought what was on sale) 
  • One snack size bag of carrots 
  • One stem of broccoli (look for a larger stem) 
  • One block of Montaray Jack cheese
  • Optional: any other veggie or meat you want to toss in! 

First, I boiled the noodles.  While they boiled I chopped up the block of cheese.  I used 3/4 of the block, but use as much as you would want.  I also washed the broccoli and carrots. 

Next, I left the carrots and broccoli in  strainer in the sink. When the noodles were done boiling I emptied them into a strainer over the veggies.  The hot water blanched them! So easy.  

While the noodles cooled I took the carrots and broccoli (after they cooled for a minute) and chopped them into small pieces.  When everything is completely cool (you don’t want to melt the cheese) you throw it into a giant Tupperware or mixing bowl.  

Last of all, I then dumped about 3/4 the bottle of dressing over the cooled salad.  You toss it and it’s done! Seriously so easy.  

I hope you enjoy it! We loved it, and it seemed to get better every day.  Let me know what other veggies you think to put in it! 

Things to Toss to Make Room for Life

 Okay I can admit it, I can sometimes be a bit of a collector (nice word for hoarder). Every now and then I have a desire to clean some of it out, but I never know where to start! So I have compiled a list of items you can toss to start uncluttering you life! These are all things I have been guilty in the last of holding on to for too long. 

  • Expired makeup
  • Old perfume samples
  • Old and forgotten makeup bags
  • The hotel soaps you kept
  • Scratched DVDs
  • Scratched CDs (or all CDs if you’ve gone to the cloud)
  • Old mementos from your past significant other
  • Scraps of wrapping/tissue paper
  • Stained/chipped coffee cups
  • Tacky picture frames
  • Old letters with no huge sentimental value
  • Old receipts
  • Old shopping bags
  • Expired coupons
  • Used and gross sponges 
  • Stained clothing & under garments
  • Accidentally ripped clothing
  • Tacky T shirts you decorated in high school
  • Vitamins you bought to be “healthy” that expired unused
  • Unmatched socks
  • Shoes that haven’t been worn in over two years
  • Worn out belts with obvious tears
  • Old school spiral notebooks with irrelevant notes
  • Failed Pinterest crafts
  • Expired batteries 
  • Unneeded business cards
  • Unmatched earrings
  • Broken jewelry (that isn’t worth more than the cost to repair it)
  • Used gift cards
  • Expired canned goods
  • The 50 leftover wedding/graduation/baby announcements 
  • Charging chords with no device
  • Old TV remotes 
  • Pet toys that have seen better days
  • Junky plastic hangers from Target
  • Chipped dishes 
  • Lame promotional mugs and cups 
  • Stained or “lid less ” Tupperware 
  • Scratched glasses and sun glasses 
  • Fast food condiment packets 
  • Dried flowers you thought you needed, but you never did anything with 


So get started! Declutter a little and breathe easier. Let me know if you stumble upon something that I should add to the list.

DIY Gold Frames 

I really wanted some gold frames to match the accenting on our ADORABLE target lamp. It was surprisingly hard to find a matching shade of gold though! I didn’t want anything too shiny.  So we decided to try spray painting some IKEA frames we had bought a few years ago.

I put it off for a few weeks because I was extremely nervous about it. I have never spray painted anything before! But eventually we went down to Joanne’s and bought Design Master Color Tool spray paint in Antique Gold. We also picked up some sandpaper.

Michael was the true MVP of this product. He did most of the manual labor. First we opened the frames and took the matting and glass out. Then Michael sanded the frames down. I was worried because I thought they were plastic. It turns out they were wood with just a weird plastic paint on top! Perfect for spray painting after we finished sanding.

We then spread out newspaper and Michael sprayed the frames. (I tried and it ended up a little globby… ) They sat out to dry for literally twenty minutes. Then we put the glass back in, “windex”-ed it and then hung! It took like an hour, and they are perfect! I am so pleased with how they turned out. It was a great way to incorporate more gold into the living room without doing anything drastic.

Special shout out to my super talented husband who pretty much did all the work on this. I  love you!! Also, photos framed are by SwakPhotography.

Hey Good Lookin’!

One of my guilty pleasure is online shopping, especially at West Elm. I know that the prices of literally almost everything on their website is higher then my budget should allow… But somehow I can’t help myself!! Usually I can resist the urge to buy things.

However, I also am a pro at justifying why I absolutely can’t live my life without (fill in product here). Which is why I couldn’t resist the temptation of this super adorable door mat. It’s so cute and it makes me feel good about myself when I come through my door! I hope it makes you as happy as it makes me !!(: Also, please note my healthy succulent in the corner!


DIY Coffee Station

A year or two ago I saw the cutest pin of a coffee station on Pinterest. I pinned it and totally forgot about it until this recent move! I decided I wanted to make one. It’s ended up looking completely different than the one I originally liked, but it is catered to our style and I love it. I started with a rough sketch and went from there… I knew I wanted to hang my cups, incorporate a chalkboard, and to make the station a focal point. I honestly love how it turned out! The counter/table the Kuireg is standing on was ordered from Wayfair. (we ordered the coffee station table and our coffee table from the same collection!) However, the wall hangings are what I am most proud of. I made them!!

First, I sketched out the general idea and guessed the measurements. Then I took painters tape and taped it off like I was actually hanging it. The tape outlines gave me a much better idea of what I wanted the spacing and measurements to be. Here is what I ended up putting on the shopping list.


3 1×4 cut at 52 inches long

2 1×4 cut at 22 inches long

one slab of wood cut at 28×16 inches

Minwax Wood Finish (Dark Walnut 2716)

Blue Hawk Oil Based paint brush

220 fine sandpaper block

one box 5/8 wire nails

one box picture hangers

20 Gatehouse One Prong Robe Hook


** old rags, old sheet, masking tape, and a hammer **

 Saturday morning I ran to Lowes to pick everything up. When I got home I started by sanding every inch of wood that would be exposed. It really didn’t take as long as I thought it would! After each piece was done I took a damp cloth and wiped away any dust. Then I let it dry in the sun.

Next, I spread out the boards on top of my old painting sheet and applied a coat of stain to each board (generously) and in long strokes. I let it sit for fifteen minutes before wiping it off. (Make sure you wipe with the grain of the wood.) I absolutely adore the color. It turned out so perfect!!

After the stain had dried I used a pencil to mark off where each hook belonged. I placed hooks on both 22in and two of the 52 inch 1×4 boards. (Leaving on 52 inch board alone.) I placed three hooks on the shorter ones and seven hooks on the longer planks.After marking the placement of the hooks we pre-drilled holes. Then I had Michael screw the hooks in for me. (He’s much handier than I am.) The spacing stands as follows:

52 inch board with seven hooks: Five inches between the board edges and the first/last hook. Seven inches between each hook.

22 inch board with three hooks: Four inches between the boards edges and the first/last hook. Seven inches between each hook.

Now that I had my coffee mug racks I needed to fill in with my two decoration pieces. The stained 52 inch 1×4 was waiting to be lettered for a saying. The other piece was for a chalkboard! After this post I will start to work on my super easy, DIY chalkboard tutorial! All that was left was to hang it up in the new home. I am so excited to share this with you! 

Hopefully it inspires you to try your own DIY craft!

(Shout out to Soph for the picture of my station.  You rock!!)