a magical forest

“Stop looking for the magic. You are in it.”

Whether you’re a little girl in the foggy woods, I mean, a “magical forest”, in Minnesota on a 47 degree November day, or the mommy to that little girl, take a look around — stop looking for the magic, because you are in it! Not every day with a toddler seems magical, especially the days when she tugs at your leg every minute and wants “uppia”, but only if you are standing, or when she fights a diaper change for ten minutes right before you were walking out the door in the morning for work, or when she demands “fishies” the entire 30 minute car ride, but you don’t have any left and can’t make her understand that. Just when you think you are at your wit’s end, you are overwhelmed with happiness when you go into her room in the morning and she greets you with a smile and sweetly says “in! in!” until you get into her crib with her for two minutes until “all done!” and she kicks you out, or when she points to the card on the fridge with a fox on the front and proudly blurts out her newly-learned word, except it doesn’t exactly sound like “fox”, but sounds more like the F-bomb, or when she answers with “Owwh-kayyyyy” (in a British accent) instead of “yes”, and what may be the sweetest thing to every mommy’s ears; hearing her say “lah-youuu, mommy” and puckering up her sweet little toddler lips for a kiss!

That is the magic.

This “forest” was pretty magical too, but I think that’s because she was in it… ❤


national geographic | please vote!

Today my photo was selected as one of National Geographic’s Daily Dozen and the photo with the most votes (by midnight) may be published in an edition of National Geographic! I would love your support and if you would vote for my photo!! Thank you thank you thank you!! 🙂 Just click the photo to be taken to the site to vote..


happy halloween!

Halloween costumes these days just aren’t what they used to be. Anybody agree?! Now kids can go into a store or online and choose from hundreds of expensive, yet cheaply-made costumes. Never once did I (we) go into a store as a kid to choose a costume. Either it was handmade by my talented, seamstress mom or it was thought-up and created ourselves. Here’s a glimpse of what Halloween looked like growing up in the eighties…  Happy Halloween!


pumpkin (& Rainbow Bright!)


pumpkin | year two


scary witch


suuuper scary witch


legit firefighters


devils (& witches!) = halloween




Every time I blog, I wish that I had [more] time to do it. Truth is, I have so much to do on a daily basis that I have no choice but to eliminate something in order to a.) get the other things done.; and b.) keep my sanity. Ugh, priorities. The blog always causes anxiety when I think about what [I think] I want it to be. So much planning, so much dedication, and the pressure to be consistent in order to make it worthwhile. But you know what, screw that. For the last week, I’ve been in Los Angeles attending the Adobe Max (design) conference. And doing one small thing there made me realize that I can’t – and I don’t – want to stop playing. And if part of “playing” means blogging randomly about anything I want, with no pressure, then that is what I will do. 🙂 So, with that, I’m going to blog random art projects or photos or whatever I feel would be fun to share — with no pressure and without making content planning a part time job in itself. After all, all it takes is a blank canvas and some paints, a coloring book, or a big bed to have a little fun…


adventures of finley+lucy | days 16-30

I wrapped up my 30-day series on Instagram the other day, but my followers loved it so much, I decided I’d keep it going! So now, instead of sharing little glimpses of all areas of my life through instagram, I am  just sharing all the moments of my two favorites in the whole entire world — Finley & Lucy. I think I love doing this more than my followers like the photos! I’ve been defeated by the duo a few times  during all this, but am going to give those shots another… shot… again soon. 🙂 Here are the photos from days 16-30! Follow me on instagram ——->
















life as a mommy | selfless love


photo by Stacy Kron Photography

That’s what I always tell Finley. And it’s so true, isn’t it!? No matter how much I knew my mom loved me all of my 31 years (and counting), the love she [must] have for me all came into perspective when I had Finley. In light of Mother’s Day this Sunday, here’s just a glimpse of the kind of love that comes with a daughter..

To Finley…

When I insisted we keep our lights on dim the first night we brought you home so that I would be able to see you the minute I opened my eyes. How you slept by my side of the bed for the first eight months of your life and even when you slept through the night, I didn’t. How I held it together the entire time I got ready for my first day back at work, the day after my first Mother’s Day, but lost it the minute I pulled out of the driveway with you in the back seat to bring you to daycare. And listening to “A Comet Appears” by The Shins and “Transatlanticism” by Death Cab for Cutie with tears rolling down my cheeks the entire drive there. “Still to come, the worst part and you know it.” Yep, dropping you off at daycare was the worst part to come that morning. And “I need you so much closer…” I knew sitting at my desk at work while you were at daycare wouldn’t be close enough. How it was all I could do to not text Heidi every hour to see how you were doing for the first six months you were there.

The absolute joy and happiness I felt inside the first time you giggled. (The same exact feeling the first time you rolled over and said “puppy” and walked by yourself!) How my heart sank to my toes the day Lucy jumped over top of you when you were laying on the couch. Or the time the vacuum tipped over on top of you. And the first time you got shots and you had the mouth-wide-open-silence before the big cry. The compassion I felt for you the night I found you awake in your crib covered in puke; and the days that followed when you threw up multiple times looking so confused and innocent. That I felt worse for you being sick than I did for myself having to clean up someone else’s vomit at 3:00am.

How heartbroken I felt that week when you would cry when I picked you up at daycare. But how happy it would make me inside if you’d cry when I left you. Or when you’d repeat “mamamamamama” while you cried when we transitioned you to your crib. And even though hearing you call out to me made me smile, I’d tear up hearing your cries of sadness. All the countless times I would wake up in the middle of the night to lay you back down, give you your pacifier, and kiss your forehead. Or the nights you need to be held and rocked back to sleep. Knowing that no matter how exhausted or frustrated I am, I would be there in a heartbeat.

The look on your face and your joyful giggles when I push you in the swing or when you splash water in the bathtub and Lucy tries to catch it. How I’m totally ok with sitting in the back seat to keep you company during a long road trip. And my ritual of kissing you on the forehead when you are settled into your carseat, before I get into the driver’s seat. How I always am certain I can hear you crying when I’m in the middle of a shower or when we are miles apart.

How proud & giddy I feel with each of your milestones, big or small.

The excitement I feel when I think about the future with you, watching you learn and grow. But how much pressure I put on myself to do a good job of raising you to be a smart+kind little girl.

Now I get emotional during any commercials, TV shows, or movies that have sentimental interactions between a mom and child. And now, a perfect Friday night consists of regular weeknight routines with you, a glass of Apothic Red, Dateline & Shark Tank, and staying up just a little later than normal. Instead of sleeping in on Saturday, waking up with you to make you breakfast, listen & dance to music, and clean the house all before 10:00am. Eating dinner after you go to bed so that you can eat dinner, have a bath, and play first.

The days I feel defeated and have to be ok with not getting a thing done, but then remember that I certainly am being productive, because I am a mommy.

That making you laugh is a daily priority no matter how ridiculous I must look and sound.

Learning that no matter what I want to accomplish each day or how I might feel, being a mommy to you comes first. Like the day I was sick and had to put you down mid-bottle to run to the bathroom [to throw up], and then finish feeding you, wishing more than anything that I had my mom here to take care of me too. And knowing that she would be in a heartbeat if she could…


that’s just the kind of selfless+unconditional love you have for your child…

“You’ll never know how much I truly love you until you have your own baby someday.”


photo by Stacy Kron Photography

Happy Mother’s Day, fellow mommies!

// Amazing photography courtesy of the fabulous Stacy Kron!


In celebration of Mother’s Day, I invite all mommies to share a story about the love you have for your little ones, or why your mom is so special, or how she has made you feel so special! As part of the MOMery campaign Dropcam is doing, they will be sharing some of their favorite stories! For more information, contact Tiffany at — tpham(@)dropcam(.)com

mommy {grapefruit} margarita

Ok, fellow mommies… who need an alcoholic beverage after dealing with a teething baby or perhaps a crappy winter, or both. If you like margaritas, you may want to join me in making this your official summer drink of 2014! This is no regular margarita.. it’s a grapefruit margarita! Made entirely with freshly squeezed fruits. Well, that, and liquor. It’s been such a hellish winter here in Minnesnowta, that I decided it was time for a margarita in hopes of feeling one step closer to hot summer evenings, grilling on the deck and sipping an icy cold drink. Since making it, I think we’ve had like seventeen more snowstorms and temps in the 20s.

But it’s Friday and it’s suppose to be 60°… So this is totally necessary tonight.

Check out Pretty Plain Janes blog for the recipe! Happy Weekend!