Things I'm loving this Fall, and some prayer requests

Thursday, October 27

Hi lovely ladies,

I hope your Autumn is brilliant with all the leaves changing colors before our eyes. Now that i'm back in Northern California, Fall actually feels like Fall, and leaves actually change color. We live right next to a massive park that runs all through our city, with huge oak trees and a creek that winds it's way through town, and i'm always astounded at how much natural beauty there is…especially when the reds and yellows and oranges start bursting forth!

A few things i'm loving…
1) Banana Nut Muffins. Ok…so I try a lot of gluten/dairy free Pinterest recipes. And for every few fails I have, I generally find something I love. These muffins are SO good! I just use the gluten free Trader Joes All Purpose Flour (the one in the pink bag) and they are divine! I also sub almonds for walnuts cause I prefer almonds, but you could do whatever. I also skip the chocolate chips, but by all means add them if you love some gooey chocolate! They are so easy to make and I almost always have all the ingredients on hand. YUM!!

2) Chunky sweaters. This one I have worn about 3x a week, and I can't get enough. I love how cozy sweaters are…like wearing a blanket throughout your day. It's finally getting chilly enough to wear these on the daily…and it is happening over here:)

3) Walks in the crisp air. Last Sunday (before it rained) Kev and I took a walk through the park. Of course, I had on the chunky sweater from above which made me feel cozy as we tromped through the gorgeous Fall colors and held hands, and dreamed about our baby. As a total side note, i've been dying to talk about names our whole marriage, and Kev's always wanted to wait until we get pregnant to do so. Because he asks so little of me in matters like this, I conceded. And now that we are having a baby, all I want to do is chat names haha. On one adventure in the park, we played a game where we went through the entire alphabet and both had to throw out a name for each letter. It was fun!

4) Paleo Chicken Pot Pie- speaking of Pinterest wins, I made this chicken pot pie last night, and it was delicious. Kevin loved it, which is saying a lot as he isn't gluten and dairy free like me. I now tend to only try recipes if people in the comments have written that they made it and it was good. This recipe had like 83 comments with a 99% LOVE rate of people who tried it. So I figured it had to be somewhat delicious, right? And let me tell you, it didn't disappoint. If you have allergies, or just want to be more healthy, then this is such a good recipe! And partially because I honestly had almost all the ingredients on hand and didn't have to pick anything up for it! I used EarthBalance dairy free butter in place of the palm shortening (because I have no idea what that is, haha), and it turned out great! I also added celery and peas and took out the broccoli!

5) Red clothes- I don't know, but the holidays make me want to wear all shades of red! But finding sweet and tasteful red clothing can sometimes be an art. Especially now that i'm pregnant, the last thing I want to do is look like a watermelon!! This shirt above was a perfect blend of sweetness and holiday spirit! I anticipate it being a December staple:) (there's another pic down below where you can see the shirt in more detail!)

6) Tea-Less Chai Latte- Ok, so i'm kind of on a food kick right now, so sorry if i'm overwhelming you with recipes, but this one had to be included!! I don't typically drink caffeine, and now that i'm pregnant I definitely stay away from caffeine, but I LOVE a good chai latte. And a traditional Chai Latte has a base of black tea, and black tea has caffeine. So, I've been on the hunt for a delicious recipe to make myself that tastes on par with a well done tea latte, but doesn't have the caffeine. And this is the one, with a base of cocoa powder, spices, and almond milk! I had a few friends over a last week and whipped this up real quick, and everyone agreed it was so delish (I times the recipe by 5, which was easy to do!)! I dare you to try it! So easy!! (I chose to use raw cocao powder instead of cacao because cacao has caffeine, and I didn't have any on hand!)

7) The Life Giving Home, by Sally and Sarah Clarkson- Sally Clarkson has become one of my favorite authors, and i'm currently savoring her book The Life Giving Home that she wrote with her daughter Sarah. They take turns talking all about family traditions and creating a place of belonging and becoming. It's beautiful, teeming with great ideas, and so warm and welcoming. Every few nights I make some tea, light a candle, and curl up into my chair to enjoy it!

8) A Heavenly Welcome Podcast- So, one of my dear friends Kierra created a Kingdom Childbirth Class that she sells at her website called A Heavenly Welcome. I'm gearing up to take the class, as i've heard such amazing things…but in the meantime, while I cook, I listen to the free podcasts of women who share their story of breaking free from fear and experiencing God in their birth. I have been so encouraged that everyone's birth story is SO different, and there is no one blue print! The one where Nicole shares about her infertility struggle brought me to tears…so so amazing!!

Lastly, i'd love to share a few prayer requests with you. The last few days have been challenging (among other things). But long story short, I was diagnosed with having some pretty severe poison oak. I woke up this morning with my eyes swollen shut, and my entire body covered in the most itchy rash. The doctors wanted to prescribe me some pretty intense steroids, and I'm a very natural person, so this seemed scary to me. However, we have company coming to stay with us for 3 weeks starting Saturday, so i'm wanting to recover fast…with eyes that open and open sores closing up…ya feels me? I'm a pretty sad sight to see right now. So I started the round of steroids today, and while I prayed about the decision to take them, it's scary thinking how they may affect our sweet baby. I'm needing extra trust in the Lord right now, that He will hold our little one in His loving hand, and protect her from any toxins or harm that could occur.

On top of poison oak, the guys are still not done harvesting (My dad, brother, husband, and uncles and cousins all have a family rice farm). Typically they are done the 3rd week of October, but we are getting so much rain (that is not typical) that we keep getting pushed back! They are about 100 acres short of being done (which is nothing) but the rain just keeps coming and coming. This means that Kevin may not be done by the time our company arrives, which is a bummer.

There are other things too that I have not mentioned, but all that to say, I feel a little overwhelmed by it all. I'd love your prayers in this time!! You guys are so wonderful!! xoxo Thank you!!

Brevite- my new favorite way to carry a camera

Tuesday, October 25

Kevin and I are always looking for the most efficient way to carry our camera when we travel. Typically, i've carried a bag that looks like a purse, but Kevin's never super excited to carry it haha! 

Recently, I found out about Brevite which makes the most amazing backpacks that are uniquely created to carry your camera in style, but also in a way where you can grab your camera in a moment's notice. Honestly, I usually steered away from backpacks because it took so long to reach my hand in the top and grab any lenses or camera out of it. But Brevite provides an insert that goes in the bottom that divides all your gear, and you can open up the bottom pocket and grab them out super quick! 

Kevin and I recently went on a hike, and this backpack was a dream. It was comfy to wear, fit both Kevin and I (and he's quite a bit taller than me!), and most importantly, kept our camera safe and at the ready when we wanted to grab a shot! It was SO easy to grab our camera in a second! 

Brevite offers 3 different styles of backpacks, and they are all super stylish! We picked the Rucksack model.  I had a hard time picking! If you are an adventurer and want to carry your camera in style, then this is the perfect brand for you! 

And also, as a side-note, you can even take the camera insert out and just use this as a backpack for general books, laptop, overnight bag, etc. It's a great investment!


Hey Mamas…I need your advice- What do I really need as a new mom?

Thursday, October 20

I am almost half way through my pregnancy, which is crazy! Just this week i've started to actually feel our little apple dumpling inside me, which is something special. I've started a journal to document my prayers for our sweet girl, and it's been fun to write down quotes from some of the mothering books i'm reading, and ask God specific things for our baby.

I also just started a baby registry, as I figured I will have next to no time to work on that once the holidays hit! And once I started my registry, I realized…I have no idea what to register for, haha!

That's where YOU come in Oh wise one! If you're a mama (or even if you just take care of babies a lot!) i'm sure you have your opinions on what the best baby gear is and what's been most helpful!

Because i'm trying really hard not to just accumulate "stuff", I'd love for you to share the items that you actually REALLY needed and came in clutch!

Any tips on strollers, carseats, baby carriers, bottles, pumping stuff, etc. would be SOOO wonderful!! I probably don't even know half the stuff I need, so fill me in!! Know any awesome brands I should be aware of? Send them my way!

I'm all ears on this one friends, and can't wait to read your recommendations!!

Have a sweet weekend, and if you didn't get in on the Sari Bari give-away from Tuesday, make sure to jump in on that here:) Both these pics feature a Sari Bari baby blanket that i'm giving away!

PS- If you need some encouragement and want to watch a super inspiring video, I'd recommend this one by Sally Clarkson. I listened to it last night while making dinner and honestly was so moved by her honesty and words about moving forward when life gets hard! You can watch it here. 

Huge Sari Bari Give-Away

Tuesday, October 18

You may remember that in January, Kevin and I were hired by an incredible company to fly to India and document their work in Calcutta. It was a crazy, fun, and meaningful trip to share some time with the staff and employees at Sari Bari, you can see pictures and read about it here and here. 

Sari Bari employs women coming out of trafficking and prostitution, and teaches them how to sew the most incredible bags, blankets and scarves out of used sari's. The women are also enrolled in a life skills training program, given meaningful employment and a new community.

Along with documenting their work in India, i've also done a few styled shoots for them as well which you can see here. 

Today, I want to give away 3 beautiful Sari Bari bags, and 1 gorgeous baby blanket.  There will be 4 winners, so you have a great chance at winning!!

All you have to do to enter is:
1) Leave a comment below with what product you like best
2) Like Sari Bari on IG, FB (if you don't use IG or FB, you can still enter!!)

That's it!!

Here are the exact products below. If you want to see them on the Sari Bari website, just click the actual picture…they are all linked! Good luck. I'll pick a winner next Monday, October 24th!


(and fyi, all the material to make the baby blankets are brand new sari's!) 




So…make sure to leave a comment with your favorite product, and you'll be entered to win that product! Good luck! xoxo 

Happy Fall…some super savor ways to decorate!

Friday, October 14

Hooray for Fall! It's been so fun this year having a house to decorate. We're on a pretty tight budget right now, so i've had to get creative in how I brighten up my home for the season. But one thing my mom always taught me is that you can do a lot with a little:) 

I've been having a lot of fun finding crafts on Pinterest and trying my hand with them. 

I made this leaf garland for my fireplace, which you can see below. I had a few coupons to Joanne's Fabric store, and got all my supplies there for next to nothing! A friend and I spent an afternoon cutting out these adorable leaves and stringing them up:) I also put a few of the fabric leaves on my table as decoration! 

Last Friday, some friends and I made soy candles (tutorial here). It was actually super duper easy and we had a blast! I adore candles but am super sensitive to most store-bought candles which have toxic fragrances. So making my own, scented with essential oils (I bought this one here called Christmas Spirit) was the perfect alternative. 

The cute Fall prints on my mantle are ALL free printables I found online! I know, I was so excited that they cost me nothing. I had the frames already, so just printed out the black and white prints at my house, and then printed out the watercolor wreath at Kinkos (as my printer wasn't big enough for the size of the frame). You can find the printables here, here and here. 

The real pumpkins I picked up at Trader Joes for 69 cents each, and the fake pumpkins I found at Joanne's for 50% off, so they were $3 each which I thought was quite the steal! 

So…moral of the story is that decorating can be both fun and economical!! 

And thank you ALL for the sweet and kind words you spoke to us about our sweet baby girl. It was so fun reading all your comments and connecting with you:) Love this community!! 

Happy Weekend, hope you're doing something Fallish to commemorate the season!! xoxo 
ps- if you missed it last year, you can see the Fall round-up I did last year of all my favorite Fallish links on the internet!! I recently revisited it and there's some fun stuff:) 

Our baby's gender reveal!

Tuesday, October 11

Last Friday Kevin and I went to an ultrasound place that can tell the gender of the baby from 16 weeks onward. I was so excited with butterflies in my stomach! Kevin and I really had no preference for the gender of our baby, so it was going to be exciting no matter what! 

I honestly have thought it was a girl my entire pregnancy. I've been super sick, girls run in my family, and all my food cravings were textbook girl cravings! Kevin and a few others thought it was a boy. So one of us was going to be right! 

Seeing our sweet baby at the ultrasound was amazing. We were there for almost an hour, and saw our baby in 2D and 3D imaging dancing around in my stomach! The tech told us the gender within minutes, and we both were delighted to finally know:) 

On Sunday morning we hosted my family at our house for a gender reveal. I wanted to do something low-key with just my family members, but something sweet and meaningful. Since we are super into our Swedish heritage, I asked my mom to make Swedish pancakes.

I then put a bowl of blueberries for people to top their pancake with if they thought it was a boy. 
And then a bowl of strawberries for people to top their pancake with if they thought it was a girl. 
Four people guessed girl, and two people guessed boy. 

And what did we top our crepe with? 

IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!

We are so delighted and over the moon for our sweet girl. The days since we've found out, I've just been praying over our little lady, talking with her, and delighting in the fact that I will have a daughter:) God is so good and gracious and we are pumped for the day when we get to hold her in our arms!! 

ps- the comfy yellow Fall sweater i'm wearing is from here. I've literally worn it SO often because it's both cozy and festive:)