our version of natural living

Over the past few years, I’ve been trying extra hard to live a healthier life, in terms of chemicals in products that I use/eat/wear. This has come in part from new health awareness in my family, as well as the general amount of knowledge floating around on the internet. (Visiting super eco-friendly Portland didn’t hurt either) The more I research, the more I understand that there are chemicals EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING. To be 100% clean of man made toxic chemicals, you’d probably drive yourself nuts after about an hour of venturing out of your home. It really does take some serious dedication and time to figure out what is worth the effort to avoid, and after doing a bunch of research, I think I’ve found a happy middle ground for myself.

In general, I’ve focused mostly on foods and products that touch or go in my body, including shampoos, soaps, food storage containers, clothing, lotions, etc. You could go so far as to monitor the way these items are manufactured, how far they travel to reach you, the companies behind them, etc… but at this point in my life, I want to start with something more manageable. Maybe in the future I’ll dig a little deeper, but for now this is enough.

I’ve found that a lot of informational websites tend to focus very specifically on one brand, or product, or chemical, so you need to visit lots of sites to get a wide range of info. It’s easier to me if I can keep all my info in one place, so this is going to be a REALLY long article encompassing all of those things. If you don’t feel like diving into this all at once, I totally understand, and this would be a good time to click over to Pinterest or whatever. If I’ve peaked your curiosity, I hope I can provide a good base of knowledge to kickstart your healthy living.

In general, there are a few important key ideas… Continue reading

stuff i lust. (feb)

I think the blogging term for this type of post is “lately loving”… but that’s too cliche for me, so I’m going with “stuff I lust.” Books, websites, companies, blogs, places, food, and anything else that currently holds my attention.


gunnerandlux.com – found these guys on instagram via @mintkarla (who has the cutest little family and daughter and i just really love seeing her life through her eyes). She’s friends with the creator of Gunner and Lux… a father and daughter who make the most adorable handmade necklaces. I mean, tassels and plastic zebras…. dying. They have both adult and “little lux” and to be honest, I almost want the kids stuff more. anyway, love.



katebaer.com – a blog written by (yep) Kate Baer. She’s a great writer, has my kind of sense of humor, and is super skilled at writing about the hard parts of life without sounding like she’s complaining. I look up to her as both a writer and a person.

portland – just pretty much everything about portland. The weather, the people, the succulents, the houses, the hills, the bike infrastructure, the bikers, the donuts, the coffee, LARDO, the forest, the beach, the smells, THE ROSES, the REALLY DELICIOUS CHEAP BEER, the uppers and downers from excessive coffee and beer, the wishing tree, Ladd’s Addition, the trees, the misty not-really-rain-but-wetness-falling-from-the-sky, the way my hair gets humid and curly around my face, the way our calves burned that second day from walking 25+miles on hills like we’ve never seen before, how life just seemed easy and perfect there… everything.


hearts! – Valentine’s Day is my hands down absolute very very very very favorite holiday EVER… but I’ve done a terrible job at proving that on the blog. I’ve been working on a few valentines and decorations the past few weeks, but I never remember to take pictures or write about them. Here’s some of my inspiration from my valentine Pinterest board this year!

Watercolor rose sugar cookies – I feel like the picture says everything I need to say about how incredibly beautiful these cookies are, how delicious rose frosting is, and how I’m totally going to make these this weekend.

Watercolor floral hearts – I’ve been working on my brush lettering, and watercolors are the easiest and cheapest way to work with color. I want to start making some watercolor backgrounds for my lettering, and I am in LOVE with these beautiful floral designs!

Hedgehugs – my family loves their puns… this one made me giggle

Felt heart garland – Garlands are my weakness, especially when they involve hearts. I made my own version this year and it was so easy and quick that I’m considering making a bunch more in different colors.

OMG THESE FLOWERS – I hate valentine cliche’s, like boxes of chocolates, roses, balloons, jewelry… stuff like that. But oh man when it’s done well, it can be the most beautiful thing. Case in point, these flowers. Show up to my door with red roses, and we’re done. Show up with this bouquet and I’m yours forever.



queen of the tearling


Queen of the Tearling – I just devoured the first two books in this series, and I’m anxiously awaiting the third that is expected in Novemberish of this year. I’m a sucker for good fantasy/magic books (think Eragon, Harry Potter, Name of the Wind, Game of Thrones, etc.) so this was right up my alley. It only got better when I found out that Emma Watson has signed on to play the lead character in the movie! It really doesn’t get much better. Go read it!



Brush lettering – I stumbled across an instagram account a few months ago that had just beautiful brush lettering, and I was intrigued. It was one of those things where you see it and think hmmm, I could totally do that. So I pulled out a couple of Tombow brush pens I had laying around and with a little practice, I was happy with my result. I’ve been trying new water pens, inks, and watercolors and I’m absolutely loving it. It’s really relaxing to me, I could go through an entire pad of paper with no problem. The hardest part is figuring out what to write, but the other day I lettered all the lyrics to the Beatles White Album while it was playing in the background, so that worked pretty well.

soma carafe

At any given time, I usually have four or five things in the back of my mind that I’m interested in buying, but haven’t quite decided on. They’re usually products that aren’t totally necessary for us, but would be nice to have. Most recently, my list was…

  • Revolights (finally bought them! yay!)
  • Essential Oil Diffuser (coming in the mail today!)
  • Water Pitcher (keep reading)
  • Pendleton/Faribault/Woolrich wool blanket
  • Studded Tires
  • Steamer pot

I finally decided to buy the first two items, and I found them both at cheaper prices than I expected, so that helped with the decision. Most recently I’ve really wanted a filtered water pitcher for the kitchen. We use tap water fairly often, and Brian uses it for coffee every morning, so I know a pitcher would get a lot of love from us. I had planned on getting a Brita, but then after a simple google search, I learned about Soma, and my life has literally changed.

First of all, the pitchers are GORGEOUS.

I had a hard time deciding which style I loved most since they were both so pretty, but I decided to go with the carafe since it’s glass, and it’s the smaller of the two. I’m not a fan of cold water, so I’m glad this one looks nice enough that we can keep it sitting out on the counter.

Second, the company is great, and they donate a huge amount of their profit to charities that provide clean water to people in need. That fact alone sold me on this pitcher.

The kids helped me put it together and were super excited about “testing” the clean water. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t my best idea to let them drink four cups of water before bed, but that’s one of the benefits of babysitting. You give them back to their mom before it becomes your problem that they’re up all night going to the bathroom 😉

I’ll add more pictures once we have more time to test this beauty out! Definitely one of our new favorite things, and one of the best designs I’ve seen.