Confident + Kind

October 12, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 7.40.16 AMAs Ainsley gets older I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want her to be. Not about the vocation she chooses or the activities she participates in as the grows, but the important things that make the core of her being. We pray over Ainsley daily, but we always pray for her out loud before bed together as a family. The words that keep coming back to me are “confident & kind.” My prayer for you, sweet Ainsley, is that you’re confident in who God created you to be and kind to people from every walk of life.

Joe says that each one of us is best at practicing that which we struggle most with. I’m positive that’s true. Now that I’m a mom, I’ve become more reflective. I’ve thought about times when I haven’t been confident enough to be the person I feel called to be, or when I haven’t had the confidence to go sit with someone who is alone because I’ve been too preocupied with my own insecurities.

I see kiddos who have differences, both minor and major, and I think about the heartbreak that parents experience when other kids use those differences to make fun of another kid or tear them down. Guys? It breaks my heart. Perhaps it’s because I got a little glimpse already into having a baby that’s “different” with her little skin tags by her ears and her tiny gap that we repaired in the corner of her lip. She was just an infant, oblivious to those differences, and she’ll never remember that as part of her story. But I pray every day that when she encounters children who are different than she is that she is includes them, brings them into the game or group, and can see past the differences to find common ground.

I’m also realizing that this parenting business is weighty stuff, isn’t it? If I want Ainsley to be confident and kind, to include and affirm others, then I need to do a better job of modeling that behavior in my own life. I feel SO convicted of all the times that I’ve fallen short, and so inspired to continue to ask God for the strength and capacity to model these things to my baby girl.

I’ve been thinking of taking these words and using them as artwork in Ainsley’s new room, both as a reminder to her and to me + Joe that we should strive to model true confidence in the form of humility and kindness to everyone we come in contact with.

On that note, does anyone have any great parenting books to recommend? I’m talking less about tactical books and more about general concepts, faith-based parenting and the like? I’m all ears!



Half Braid Hair

October 8, 2015


Good morning, friends! Although I’m working from home and coffee shops these days rather than an office filled with other well-dressed professionals, I’m still making an effort to do my hair, wear nicer clothes and put a little makeup on in order to feel more productive.

My post-baby hair regrowth is out of control. As pictured below, I’ve got a lot of little baby hairs growing back where I lost all my hair earlier this year. It’s an unfortunate situation, for sure. Maybe I need to take a cue from my friend Natalie and start wearing hats?!

I’ve been loving the half-bun look that’s come into style and most days you can find me rocking one because it saves time since I only have to curl half my hair. This little tutorial from Gal Meets Glam was a nice way to mix things up. I decided to use less hair for the braid because my locks aren’t quick as thick as hers, but it worked just the same. The key, I found, was her tip about pulling the first pieces back with a couple bobbie pins. That way, when you loosen the braid a little bit at the end, the hair around your face still stays in place and doesn’t come loose.

Find the full tutorial HERE.




Shop Small: Hill Collection Designs

October 2, 2015

HillCollection_4Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve developed a HUGE passion for supporting other moms and women entreprenuers. I know that for me, after having Ainsley I was looking for a way to take my passion for writing, social media and recipe development and transfer that into a career that allowed me a bit more flexibility and allowed me to spend a little more time with Ainsley during the week. It’s a dream to be able to develop recipes at home, work for FLYJOY remotely and continue to develop Espresso and Cream as a brand.

And so now, with the holiday season approaching, I want to showcase ways that we can spend with purpose this season. Why buy from the big-name stores when so many women and moms are producing beautiful, handmade jewelry, clothing and other artisan items? Why buy make-up at the department store when you can purchase through someone selling beauty products as a business? Why buy from Minted when people like my friend Astleigh are creating beautiful holiday cards? You get the idea. I’m hoping to make all of my purchase this holiday season from small, local and/or artisan retailers, and I’m going to be highlighting them along the way!

First up, my friend Astleigh’s business, Hill Collection Designs. Astleigh is a soon-to-be momma and fellow miscarriage momma. I’m so thankful we’ve gotten to know one another via the internet and hope we can sit down over a cup of coffee in real life some day. She’s incredibly talented and makes the most beautiful cards. She mocked up a few birth announcements, holiday cards and the like for me to share with you, and I can tell you now that we’ll be using her for our Christmas cards this year. Although I was so in love with the Thanksgiving card she made that I’m tempted to switch things up and send something in November instead!




Thanks, Astleigh, for sharing these cards with me and allowing me to highlight your business! If you want to check out all her designs, bop on over to Hill Collection Designs!



What I’m Loving: Fall Edition

October 1, 2015

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1. One Love Organics: Vitamin B Cleansing Oil + Makeup Remover 
This has been my go-to face wash for a while, but I especially love it in the winter when my skin is prone to dryness. It doesn’t

2. Dead Sea Mud Mask by Pure Body Naturals 
This mud mask is gentle on my skin but leaves it feeling smooth, refreshed and clear. I use it about once a week.

3. The Lounge Bralette by Victoria’s Secret
Seriously the most comfortable bra on the face of the planet. I find myself wearing it all the time because it has just the right amount of support but is pretty and comfortable. Win-win!

4. 21 Day Fix At-Home Workouts
I’m not following the eating plan, but lately 30 minutes at home is about all the time I have to workout. My sister-in-law turned me onto these workouts (She’s a Beachbody coach) and I’ve been so impressed. They’re easy, effective and don’t take a ton of time.

5. Booties from 14th and Union – Nordstrom Rack
I have them in the lighter color and am planning on buying them in the black as well. They’re SO super comfortable, and for tall girls like myself, the lack of heel is really nice. I forsee myself wearing them all fall and well into the winter.

6. Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter
Seriously the most wonderful, luxurious body butter. It smells SO good, goes on without leaving a greasy residue and makes your skin feel amazing.

7. Frye Paige Tall Riding Boots
Totally a splurge item, but they were a Christmas gift from last year and I couldn’t love them any more. I think I wear my brown boots 5 days out of the week during the colder months, so investing in a great pair just made sense.

*Affiliate links used as appropriate.


Twin Cities Health Care Guide

September 30, 2015


This post is for all you Minneapolis-St. Paul residents! I get a LOT of e-mails asking for recommendations on doctors, acupunturists, etc. I thought it would be helpful to have all my recommendations in one place to help others looking for specific doctors, therapists and the like. Of course, I don’t mind getting e-mails. In fact, I love them! But this round-up will do the amazing people I’ve worked with much more justice than a quick e-mail could do. Feel free to e-mail if you have any further questions and I’ll be happy to answer!

Dr. Kristine Sanow at Diamon Women’s Center (I’ve also seen Dr. Daniel Chow and really liked him as well)
I saw Dr. Sanow for close to 2 1/2 years while I was going through miscarriages and our pregnancy with Ainsley. She is a great doctor who truly gives you the time of day and really listens to her patients, which is hard to come by. She was calm, reassuring and didn’t dismiss my concerns even once through our journey to have Ainsley.

Kristin Blake at Family Tree Acupuncture
I get SO many questions about where I went for acupuncture while in MSP. Kristin is wonderful. Seriously, I can’t sing her praises enough. She is understanding, supportive and skilled and helping women get and stay pregnant. I’m not saying acupuncture is the miracle cure, but I do think it’s a great compliment to traditional medicine, and Kristin is great at working with your OB’s guidance and orders as well.

Dr. Sarah Brandt at Southdale Peds
Dr. Brandt was an absolute blessing to our family in every way. She is intelligent, competent and professional but brings a lot of heart to the work she does with families. Truly, I can’t recommend her enough! I’m so thankful we found her and was so crushed to leave her care.

Therapist (Christian-based)
Todd Monger at CrossVision LLC
Finding a skilled therapist is no small task. Unless you have a good personal recommendation? It’s almost impossible! A lot of Christian therapists are big on fluff and not all that skilled at actual therapy (well, that’s been my experience) but Todd manages to balance practical, tangible skills with a faith-based background and approach.

Dermatology Specialists Edina
I get a yearly skin cancer screen since skin cancer runs in my family. Everyone I’ve seen here has been great! The building looks a little dated and ugly on the outside, but I can assure you it’s great inside. They offer a lot of advanced cosmetic procedures as well as facials in addition to more basic dermatology.

Children’s Specialty Care
Dr. Timothy Lander and Dr. James Sidman – Children’s ENT and Facial Plastic Surgery
Geniuses! I am so thankful for the skilled team at Children’s. They have been wonderful to us and have done an amazing job with Ainsley. I can’t believe how well they repaired her lip gap and how beautifully it’s healing. I wouldn’t trust Ainsley’s care to anyone else for all things ENT and facial surgery. We see Dr. Lander, but we’ve consulted with Dr. Sidman as well. Both are wonderful.

Pediatric Opthamologist 
Dr. P at Northwest Eye Clinic 
We only saw her once, but everyone says she is the best! She’s great with kiddos and parents and not at all alarmist. Always appreciated when you find a calm, reassuring specialist to oversee your child’s care.


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