Holiday Gift Guide Beautiful neutral play kitchens that will fit in your home

Gorgeous grey kitchen | Simple kitchen | Deluxe espresso and silver kitchen
Bright white and clean kitchen | Small fun kitchen
Budget friendly kitchen | Espresso modern kitchen | White retro kitchen

I know it’s early, but with Thanksgiving happening Thursday, I have my mind on kitchens. While we cook, our boys play with their kitchen. Bodhi and Ezra love their simple affordable IKEA play kitchen (bottom left). We love the price and the fact that it’s design is simple and it blends in to our family room where we like to keep it.

While it’s great, there are definitely other kitchens with more bells and whistles we’d love. Today in our first holiday gift guide, I’m sharing eight beautiful play kitchens that are perfect for any home and children. Play kitchens make great holiday gifts and these eight fairly neutral play kitchens would all be fantastic for children.

Most are under $200, some are under $100 and one is in a pretty high price point, but it’s more beautiful than our actual kitchen. Our play kitchen has provided hours and hours of fun, imagination and creativity for our two boys. I’m hoping these will make great gifts for the children in your lives too! Read More »


Thanksgiving celebration with Cold Stone Ice Cream Pie

Today’s post is sponsored by Cold Stone Creamery. 

There is nothing like Fall. The scents. The flavors. The coziness of the season. I love everything about this season and Thanksgiving is what brings it all together for me.

Thanksgiving celebration with Cold Stone Ice Cream Pie (7 of 7)

We always spend the first half of the day at my uncle’s home with family and we host the second meal on Thanksgiving evening with my husband’s family and my grandmother. My grandma always stays with us for a week or more around Thanksgiving and we spend Black Friday shopping together. After she had a heart attack a few weeks back, I’m extra thankful for the opportunity to have her with us and to carry on our tradition of Christmas shopping together. I digress. :)

Thanksgiving celebration with Cold Stone Ice Cream Pie (2 of 7)

This year for our Thanksgiving evening meal, I’m doing something a bit different for dessert and already had a dry run. We are enjoying Cold Stone Creamery’s Sugar & Spice inspired creations, specifically the pumpkin ice cream pie which is a heap of fresh pumpkin ice cream, a graham cracker pie crust and it’s topped with cinnamon frosting and delicious chocolate leaves. It’s perfection.  Read More »


This blog has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FallWithATwist #CollectiveBias

Easy one-pot vegetarian chili

With a bridal shower, Thanksgiving, a bachelorette party, holiday prep and a big family wedding, I’m already feeling the rush of the season. I want to take the time to savor this season though, because it’s important and I enjoy it. Life just gets busy before Thanksgiving.

One way I try to slow down is with a simple, nutritious meal and a sit-down family dinner every single night. I love making easy meals all the time, but especially before Thanksgiving and other busy times to give myself and our little family a break.

MorningStar Farms products are a huge favorite in our house. We use MorningStar Farms products a few times a week at minimum to make easy meals that are manageable to put together while keeping our 1-year-old and 4-year-old entertained.

Easy one-pot vegetarian chili

While we happen to be vegetarian, these meatless products are fantastic for anyone as a change of pace. My grandma loves visiting us and enjoys MorningStar products so much that we always send her home with a few boxes of frozen goodness. :) We shop at Target and they have a great selection of MorningStar Farms products. Read More »


Be the Light

When innocent people are murdered all across the world.

When you turn on the news and all you see is death and torture and sadness.

When your Facebook feed is full of hatred.

When all anyone shares are their “opinions” and anger and us vs. them mentality.

When it feels like compassion for other human beings is gone.

When it feels like we’re all out for ourselves.

When the weight of the world feels so so heavy.

When it’s all too much…

Can we all spread some love?

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I know that I’m incredibly lucky to have the experience to take a vacation alone with my husband, leaving behind our 16-month-old toddler and 4-year-old. We traveled to Hawaii three weeks ago and I wrote this post as I was experiencing it. This was our first time leaving Ezra with someone other than my husband and I. While traveling without children is SO much easier, the experience has it’s challenges. This is my experience taking a much-needed and amazing vacation with my husband.

You spend countless hours cleaning, organizing, labeling everything for caregivers. From Advil to emergency information to making sure the laundry is 100% caught up, preparation takes hours and a significant amount of brain capacity. You are Type A, so the “Hawaii trip kid info” document was very very long and detailed, something your caregivers found a bit overwhelming. Leaving the kids feels so wrong in every way, so preparing feels like it somehow helps make it ok.


Up until the moment you leave your children, it doesn’t seem like it could possibly be real. You plan and pack and clean and label and move about the house accomplishing things, but to actually leave your children for a week in the care of others just seems impossible

With that said, packing can be done in an hour or less if laundry is caught up. You constantly check your bags thinking you must have forgot something because it just feels so easy. Read More »


Fall Bridal Shower Inspiration

I’m the lucky Maid of Honor (along with the bride’s sister) in my cousin’s New Year’s Eve wedding. My cousin and I are extremely close. We grew up just three blocks apart. I’ve been waiting for this day my entire life. She’s like a sister to me and hosting her Autumn bridal shower with her sister as my cohost is such an honor and such a fun excuse to go all out! I’m so excited to share my Fall bridal shower inspiration board with you today. I received Minted product in exchange for this post.  Read More »



Hello friends! I wanted to swing by today and share some fun news. I’m the guest on this week’s episode of The Lively Show, one of my favorite Podcasts. I’m chatting about my values, specifically my family, and sharing my 10 truths that help me stay grounded and content in this season of my life. While I focus on parenting throughout the episode, these 10 truths could be just what anyone needs when they are struggling to find contentment in the current season of life. 


You can click here to listen. And if I may, I’d highly recommend looking through her past episodes as she has phenomenal guests who completely inspire me on a weekly basis.

Let me know what you think and feel free to ask any questions you have about the episode and my truths. I’m happy to share more with you.

Cheers and happy Thursday!


This post and room makeover are sponsored by Nautica At Home Paint at Menard’s. All opinions, photos and designs are my own. 

Live the Fancy Life home office, professional blogger home office

We just wrapped up the fastest room makeover in blog history and it’s a good one! My office has been a mess for years. We threw some dark bookshelves, a cheap desk and junk everywhere when we moved in. And while we did get some good photos of it one day, it rarely looked good. It was dark, dingy and not ideal. The office was our unofficial junk room for longer than I care to admit and unfortunately, it’s the first room you see when you walk into our home.

Office before, during, after

And yet, I somehow needed to work and be productive in this space. I avoided the room like the plague and chose to work at our dining room table for the past six months or so. That creates other challenges including a messy dining room table and having my work too close to the kids for comfort. Not having a true space to work has been a struggle and since my career requires creativity constantly, I yearned for a space that was inspiring.

Live the Fancy Life home office, professional blogger home office

Now I have just that.

The room was painted last Wednesday in a gorgeous soft Nautica At Home Paint color from Menard’s that is a mix between a creamy white and a soft soft grey.  The color is called Arctic Tern and is a part of their Sail Whites. So much beauty in this palette.

Read More »


This post is sponsored by U.S. Bank. All opinions, as always, are my own
Our formal living room and other #DIYFAILS (6 of 6)
Can we talk a bit about home decorating and DIY fails today friends? I recently shared about making house a home which showed a lot of our successes. While we’ve had some great successes in both DIY projects and decorating projects in our homes, we’ve had an equal number of complete fails!
Today is a bit different. I’m going to start you off with a furniture fail turned success in our current home with this before and after that might just blow your mind because of the price tag and how awful the “before” was. I have made many decorating mistakes in this home. But the biggest and most costly so far was our formal living room. I bought furniture that was WAY too small for our space and had to live with it for nearly three years until last week when I made a big change spending less than $200 thanks to some creativity and a few lucky finds on Craigslist and within our home. And, we didn’t opt for some of the architectural elements we truly wanted in this space when we built, so now we are left trying to figure out how to do that in the next year or so with contractors. Sometimes doing it right the first time is best. Here is our first attempt at making some changes in the space.

DIY Fails Before and After

Read More »


A soothing and peaceful guest room

Today is a pretty exciting day for me. I’ve been working with Sauder on a big change to our guest room and it’s been done for nearly two months. We built our guest room around three of their beautiful pieces of affordable furniture. You may remember that for a while we had our playroom and guest room combined. And while it looked fairly cute, it was not a great space to host guests. It was full of toys and was hard to keep clean for when we had people come by. We also added carpet to our basement last summer and made our basement into a giant kid zone. It no longer made sense for us to have two spaces like this (and two spaces to keep clean).

I finally get to share our new and quite improved guest room with you. It’s a bit of a different vibe for me than my typical room design style. I wanted this room to feel warm, cozy and comfortable for our guests. I wanted it to have a richer look than the rest of our home so I sprinkled in faux brown leather and a warm modern farmhouse wood piece. I still needed the room to be bright and crisp though, so I chose a soft tealish mintish blue color for the walls and included some white.

A pretty and cozy guest room planYou may remember my original design board. Things changed quite a bit after this. I decided I couldn’t pull off a pink or coral wall color and I’m so glad I made that change. The room is so calming and peaceful with the color we chose. For me, creating design boards really helps me finish a room and keep it looking polished and not random. For you, that might just mean a clean Pinterest board with your plan or that you draw up a plan by hand. Making a plan helps our rooms to end up looking truly finished.

Guest room mint

After the original design board, I put together this one. It’s the same with a blanket added and a mint wall color. I also included a rug we used to use in another space that no longer had a place in our home. This one felt closer to what we were going for.  Are you ready to see the finished product? Keep Reading!