Author Archive

Amy’s Notebook 02.08.17

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

lobster linguine source

This lobster linguine looks like a great Valentine’s Day dinner. Lobster not in the budget? Try it this way instead (and still wow your man!)

I am just completely floored by this routine. GORGEOUS!

I need to work on my listening skills and this post had a lot of great advice.

I’ve been craving Indian so this recipe looks like a perfect (and healthy) ticket to my favorite flavors.

Oof. So I read this article with a lump in my throat. As a dinosaur in the industry, it has been a difficult shift. Also, know I feel a little vulnerable posting this, but I just want you to know I see it too.

Which reminds me, you are never too old to make a career switch.

Adding this supplement to my beauty routine. Have you heard of it? Check out this article that explains how it can improve your skin and protect you from the sun! Speaking of skin, here are three items we should add to our skincare routines.

We have an ice cream maker and I never knew that this one-ingredient trick yields a creamier ice cream.

I’ve been wanting to try this out for a fun night out.

Trying to up your Scrabble game? This was such a fun piece!

Something no one talks about, but might be helpful information (for you, totally not for me…nope!)

14 ways to make journaling the best thing you do in 2018.

buzzed about authors in 2018 source

Trying to stay on top of the latest stream of authors? This is a great post on the next round of literary buzz. Thrilled to spy a MomAdvice Book Club pick on here (woot, woot!)

Here are 25 must-read classics women should be reading. I’m hoping to tackle a few this year!

Can’t even? CANCEL IT.

Bookmarking these money-saving apps to dig into later. I need to tighten the reins over here!

Looking to tackle a long book this year? This reading strategy looks like a great way to make that happen.

Speaking of books, so excited to dive into this one this week.

A secret to a happy marriage.

better sleep routines source

Head to this article ASAP for sleep tips and a downloadable sleep tracker. Yay!

I’m working on my evening routines so these bedtime rituals from successful people is really inspiring.

Also, I am so inspired by this encouragement to put your phones away. I actually ditched bringing it in our room at night and got this instead. All the bells and whistles and no distractions!

Now that you got your tips for bedtime down pat, these tips for a great morning routine are also great.

Here’s what beauty editors get asked the most (lots of these are questions I would ask myself!).

I know no one on here gets hangovers so I’ll just bookmark these natural hangover cures for myself.

Not sure how to style tiny scarves? I love these styling tips.

Homemade chocolate pudding made in the microwave? YASSSS!

What to say when you meet the angel of death at a party. This same advice is great too for talking with friends about a chronic illness.

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

Small-Budget Crushes 02.06.17

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

small-budget crushes

This week’s faves! xoxo
big top tees big top tees – Use coupon code BOLD29 and it will make the price of each tee $16.95 with FREE SHIPPING. The code is valid 2/7 through 2/10!! utility shirt dress utility shirt dress (use coupon code SWEET for an additional 20% off)

modern-art-print roses modern art print

photive speaker photive speaker

ruffled stripes ruffled stripes (only $8!!)

gingham-drop-earrings gingham drop earrings (less than $6!!)

tan basic ballet flat tan basic ballet flat

goldfinch print goldfinch print

pioneer woman drawer organizer floral expandable drawer organizers

hanging-branch-clothing-rack hanging branch clothing rack

black lace swing dress black lace swing dress

commitment card commitment card

cut-out bootie cut-out bootie

food print food print

open front sweater blazer sweater blazer (this is my FAVORITE piece & they have new colors- comfy & polished!!)

puffin in bloom set puffin in bloom book set

mother daughter mugs mother daughter mugs

anorak jacket anorak jacket (several hues- love the details!)

convertible cardigan convertible cardigan (love all the ways you can wear this one piece!)

yell ding-dong doormat yell ding-dong doormat

wrapped peplum blouse wrapped peplum blouse

tote bag two-toned tote bag (goes with everything!)

patch pocket vest patch pocket vest

double dipper dip clip double dipper dip clip

wrap dress wrap dress (several gorgeous prints & hues)

lace-up sneaker lace-up sneaker

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 

January 2018 Must-Reads

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

January 2018 Must-Reads from

I’ve got big plans to tackle another 100 books again and can’t wait to hear what your reading goals are this year too!

I am so excited to be sharing my first month of reviews for 2018.  This month ended up being a slower reading month for me, thanks to tackling some of the bigger books that I have had on my reading agenda. It slowed my roll a bit, but a couple of these larger books ended up being my favorites this month so I’m really glad I invested my time in them.

If you want to see more of what I am reading,  please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there!

In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.

MomAdvice 2018 Reading Challenge Printable download our free reading challenge worksheet!

Looking to add some variety to your stack? Feel free to join our book club! I can’t believe we have over 1,500 bookworms in this group. Our discussion this month was AMAZING and it is so much fun to have so many participating (and enjoying) the books that I selected to share. I announced our selections (here is what we will be reading in February) and you can find them pinned at the top of the group page. These will be added in a blog entry for January, but book club participants get the list a little earlier. It’s just one more perk to enjoy with this free club!

Need another challenge to push you out of your reading comfort zone? Be sure to download this year’s Reading Challenge Worksheet.

Before we chat about books, this month’s Book of the Month selections are AWESOME this month and I have to share about them with you!

book of the month

The Book of Month Club Selections Are Out!!

This month’s special:

Get your first month of BOTM free with code YESPLZ

February Selections

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (I already had this as an advanced reader- everyone is raving about this!)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (this is the one I got!)

The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller (this is the other one I got)

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James—a BOTM exclusive!


Here are 6 must-read books that I tackled in January!

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Fierce Kingdom shares the terrifying story of a mother and child that are visiting the zoo, as it nears closing time, when a shooting occurs and they must hide their to remain safe. Phillips builds the tension quickly as the book opens almost immediately with the shooting. You then follow the two as they try to find safety in the zoo and the story then begins to unfold with other points of views from other people who find themselves trapped there too.

The plot on this one was a bit thin and had a few loose ends with some characters that made this a quick read, but not necessarily a favorite. Had Phillips lead in with a bit more backstory and then moved to the shooting, I think I would have connected with it more with the story. She does craft believable characters and the struggle is real when her son is hungry and tired, but still has to remain quiet.

This wasn’t a thriller favorite, but it was an easily digestible literary escape for the week.

3 Out Of 5 Stars

The Last Mrs. Parrish

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

The Last Mrs. Parrish has been on my radar, after a few glowing reviews, and I couldn’t wait to dig into this fun thriller as my first book for January.  Constantine pens the story of a woman, Amber Patterson, who feels slighted by society and thinks she deserves more recognition than she is receiving in the world. Daphne Parrish has the life she always wanted and she begins to plan how she can steal this glamorous life from Daphne because she deserves it more than she does. #YOLO

Pretending to be her friend, she works her way into Daphne’s home and heart, all while pursuing her husband in some really conniving ways. A predictable Single White Female plot begins to unfold, but there is more to the plot than meets the eye.

Wait for it…PLOT SWITCH.

I’ll admit that the writing felt a bit juvenile in the beginning and I did not love Amber Patterson (or her viewpoint) when the book began.  I had thought about abandoning it, but Constantine develops a really well-crafted twist as I dove deeper into this one. I think you would enjoy this one a lot!

4 Out Of 5 Stars


Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

So many of my readers said that this book made their top ten and I can see why! This book was beautiful from start to finish and told the sweeping story of several generations of a Korean family in Japan and the cultural struggles that they face over the years.

The book begins in the early 1900’s with the unplanned pregnancy of a Korean girl, named Sunja. Sunja faces a lot of humiliation when she discovers she isn’t the only one who has captured her lover’s eye. When her path crosses with a tubercular minister, he offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life as thanks for helping him through his difficult illness.

The story then unfolds as generation after generation deal with their own cultural challenges, the discrimination they must face, and the poverty that threatens to take everything away from them.

This story is RICH in beauty and detail. Lee’s writing is just gorgeous and she weaves this tapestry of characters so very well.  At almost 500 pages, this one is a bit of a commitment, but I finished it in just a few short days because I had to know what would happen to these characters. I highly recommend adding this one to your stack!

Reading Challenge Completed- A book about refugees or immigrants

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Alias Grace

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Last year I read and loved, The Handmaid’s Tale and couldn’t wait to dive into another Atwood book this year. Our first MomAdvice Book Club selection happened to be Alias Grace and lead to one of our best discussions we have had in the group.

This book is based upon the actual case of Grace Mark, a woman convicted of murdering her employer and his housekeeper, in 1843. Atwood tells this story effectively through sessions with an up-and-coming expert in the field of mental illness, as many believe she is deserving of a pardon, as he tries to uncover the truth. Told from alternating points of view, from the doctor and from Grace, Atwood builds this story and leaves readers on shaky ground on Grace’s innocence.

This was a slow starter for me and didn’t pick up pace until about halfway through. Once it did though, I felt a bit more vested in the story and spent a lot of time reading about the actual case that inspired Atwood.

Since this has book has become a Netflix series, it would be a fun one to read before catching the series. I’m looking forward to diving into this series soon- I hear it is quite binge-worthy!

Reading Challenge Completed- A MomAdvice Book Club Selection

3 Out Of 5 Stars

Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon has been on my radar for a long time, but I had a feeling that this true-crime story would be a difficult one to swallow. If you are unfamiliar of what this story is about, this book explores the murders that happened in the Osage Indian Reservation in the 1920s. The Osage people ended up being very wealthy when the land their reservation was located on happened to be rich with oil.

Basically the Osage people ended up rich and lived happily ever after.



You can’t imagine the corruption that occurred to try and rob these people of their land and money. From execution-style shootings to poisonings to exploding homes…it is unreal the amount of suffering these people endured.

The book explores the details behind these murders and the birth of the F.B.I. as they scoured the territory for clues and J. Edgar Hoover’s role in launching this bureau and the prestige and power he gained from this case.

This story reads like fiction, but it is anything BUT fiction. Fans of true-crime thrillers will love this one and won’t be able to put it down.

Reading Challenge Completed- A book based on a true story

5 Out Of 5 Stars

The Year of Less

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

If you are looking for a how-to book on how to live on less, then this would not be the book for you. If you are looking for a surprisingly poignant, raw, and honest account of one woman’s challenge to not spend money for a year and the parallels she began to see in her life to her need for acquisition, you will LOVE this book.

This memoir really showcases our deeply rooted attachments and the emotional reasons why we buy the things we do. As she whittles away at her belongings, she has time to reflect on everything from her childhood to her struggles with her alcohol addiction and see how these purchases intertwine with her habits and items she has acquired.

Fans of The Happiness Project will really love this one- it was deeply honest and highly motivating to rethink your spending mindset this year. I highly recommend this one!

Reading Challenge Completed- A memoir from someone you never heard of

5 Out Of 5 Stars

  alias grace follow me on IG

What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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No Big Deal… Just a $1,200 Stitch Fix Gift Card Giveaway!!

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Stitch Fix Giveaway

I am SO excited to share with you the chance to win a $1,200 Stitch Fix gift card to help you really invest in some beautiful wardrobe staple pieces. Spring will be just around the corner and what could be more fun than a FREE shopping spree?

I’ll TRY to contain my jealousy, but no guarantees!

How awesome would winning this be for establishing a beautiful capsule wardrobe?

To enter to win, please follow the instructions in today’s Rafflecopter. The more people you follow, the more chances to win this incredible prize!

Bonus… You get to follow some REALLY amazing bloggers that are sure to inspire you this year!

Best of luck, friends!

Stitch Fix Giveaway

Sponsored By:

Sweet Pea | Kim’s Cravings | Pearls and Sports Bras | The Eyes of a Boy | Still Being Molly | Mom Spark | Crazy Together | TheBoxQueen | Take Time for Style | Emily Enchanted | Passion for Savings | What’s Working Here | Every Little Thing She Does is Meh | kiddoandsoul | Sweet Purple Tulips | The Mom Creative | Mom Advice | Hispana Global | Jo-Lynne Shane | Kitty’s Boxes | Pearls and Pantsuits | This Girl Can Blog | Lipgloss and Crayons

Enter to Win HERE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post contains affiliate links! 

Amy’s Notebook 01.31.17

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

DIY Pom Pom Clock source

This pom-pom clock. I DIE. SO PERFECT!

This simple perspective change is such a great reminder, even for those mundane tasks.

I had no idea that this was a good way to store my steel wool scrubbies.

Ohhhh… I just love this casting!

Cuted up my computer with these free wallpapers.

If you are trying to develop a great skin routine this year, this post offers a great cleansing 101 lesson.

Here’s a two week clean eating plan that looks doable.

Love, love, love this extension for price tracking and coupon deals. It helped with all of my holiday shopping this year!

This has been a pretty hot button topic in the blogging community. I’ll be honest, I feel conflicted.

Trying to nail crispy tofu? I’m going to have to try this cooking tip!

Bookmarking this list of places to stream the 2018 Oscar nominees.

I love this idea for adding a little sparkle to a boring blanket.

I love these comfortable booties so much that I’m dreaming of getting a few other colors.

curried quinoa salad


Doesn’t this curried quinoa salad look like a delicious idea for lunch?

Do you need a hormone reset? This is a really interesting article to explain things we may be doing that can cause havoc on our hormones.

5 easy pork marinades to mix up and freeze for a quick make-ahead meal. Not a pork fan? Here’s her round-up of chicken marinades too.

I loved this house tour so much.

I’m having so much fun filling out this printable with what I’m reading. Check out what I read this month tomorrow on the site!

Here’s a shot you can try that won’t leave you with a hangover and that will help reduce inflammation.

After a birthday shellac mani, I need to read this article on strengthening your nails.

I’m reading (and adoring) this book this week.

Great building blocks for your spring wardrobe. Anyone else dreaming of spring?

Speaking of spring, this light is helping me SO MUCH with winter mornings. Can’t recommend it enough!

Since I’ve just been playing around with stories this year, I love these 5 tips to make your Instagram stories more awesome.

donut bath bombs source

I would have never thought to use my doughnut pan to make bath bombs. How fun is this?

I’d like to up my smoothie game and these 5 make-ahead smoothie packets look like just the ticket!

I can admit it, we are obsessed with these new board games.

A simple phrase to help you stop buying things you don’t need. I am going to have to remember this one!

Bookmarking these cleaning challenges for my home- they have been full of great advice!

This bone broth tutorial is great for understanding the benefits and tips for preparation.

I sprung for this pillow to calm down my reflux and to not put pressure on my joints. I’ll let you know how it goes! #adulting #thisis40

How gorgeous is this house tour? I just love their style!

23 creative homemade signs from the 2018 Women’s March.

pantry labels source

Pretty up your pantry with these free printable pantry labels. Don’t forget, you can grab free spice printables on our site too!

This post on making your own clothes is so inspiring.

15 vegan recipes that I can get behind.

You guys have some great taste- this was your top purchase this month.

Switch up your mayo game with this diy condiment! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

Did you know our sugar consumption is now linked to Alzheimer’s?

You had me at the word taco.

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo


The MomAdvice Make-Ahead 01.30.17

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

the momadvice make-ahead

My resolution to eat more at home had me prepping some dishes ahead this week. I shared a picture on my IG feed and got a lot of questions about this week’s prep so I thought I’d move that convo over to the blog.

Here were my plans for eating and prepping this week!

Menu Plan

Roast Chicken in Bulk Roast Chicken Wraps (flour or gluten-free tortillas, roast chicken, shredded cheese, spinach, & a drizzle of ranch) with carrot sticks & tortilla chips

Balsamic Pork Loin Recipe from Balsamic Pork Loin Sheet Pan Meal

Make-Ahead Brown Rice Taco Bowls (Taco Meat Recipe & Make-Ahead Rice)

homemade tomato soup

toasted cheese sandwiches homemade tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches

Creamy Coconut Oatmeal breakfast (or lunch!)- slow cooker creamy coconut steel cut oatmeal

IMG_3357 snack- pumpkin bread (to make gluten-free, I sub with this cup-for-cup flour)

make-ahead january

What To Prep Ahead

1. Prepare oatmeal the night before prep day and turn on low heat as directed. Try this water bath technique for best results. Extra prep credit if you put together baggies of your favorite dried fruits and nuts for topping.

2. Prepare and bake pumpkin bread loaves as directed. Wrap and freeze one loaf (for later) and slice the other loaf and store in an airtight container for the week.

3. Prepare your brown rice in your rice cooker while the loaves are baking. Once it beeps, store cooked rice in an airtight container.

4. Chop veggies for pork loin sheet meal. I did a combo of Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes this time.  Store Brussels Sprouts separately in an airtight container. Store diced sweet potatoes covered in cold water for 24-48 hours.

5. Prepare the rosemary marinade and store in a separate container. I highly recommend this purchase for quick marinade preparation.

6. Prepare your tomato soup and store in an airtight container. I highly recommend one of these so you don’t have to dirty extra pots.

7. Prepare the taco meat as directed in the recipe. Store in an airtight container.

Once you are done, put those feet up for the rest of the dang week!

This post contains affiliate links! 




5 Pop Culture Parenting Goals for 2018

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

5 Pop Culture Parenting Goals for 2018

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

Though I noticed weeks ago that this new year began on a Monday, I didn’t take advantage of it. Which is a real bummer, because it’s exciting enough for this type-A planner when a new month starts on a Monday. But the first day of a new year?! Starting on the first day of a new week?!

Well, that’s like a perfect storm…or the holy grail…or a magical unicorn!

But because I’m a mom as well as a list-maker and goal-setter, that so-called special day passed in a blur of puzzles and leftovers and pajamas and Netflix. And it was a solid week before I even opened my brand-new planner or organized my thoughts into resolutions. Luckily for my sanity, I decided years ago that if I can set some goals and take down holiday decorations before February 1, I’m doing okay.

When I finally did sit down to make some plans and set some goals for this year, I realized that not only did I have a list of things I wanted to change or improve, but I also had a list of experiences I want to have with my kids. And while several items on that list were the usual road trips and field trips and cooking lessons and finally sticking to a chore chart and allowance system, several others were related to pop culture.

This is no surprise, since books and movies and music and TV shows are pretty much my favorite things. Of course I’d want to share those things with my favorite people!

Do any of your parenting goals for this year involve pop culture? Here are 5 of mine:

1. Read the book before the movie. Last year my daughter read Wonder three times. She asked me to read it, too, and I said I would, and I wanted to – but I didn’t. That didn’t stop me from taking her to seeing the movie as soon as it came out (and sobbing for two hours straight), but it did mean a missed opportunity to bond even more with my daughter.

This year we’re both going to read A Wrinkle in Time before the movie comes out. I read it when I was younger, but decades later my memory of the storyline and characters is pretty faint. So I’ll re-read it while my daughter reads it for the first time, and we’ll discover the magic of this story together.

If you’ve already read this one or aren’t interested in it, plenty of children’s books have been and will be made into movies! You could choose an older one, like Bridge to Terabithia, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or How to Train Your Dragon. Or you could get caught up on the Maze Runner series before the third movie comes out later this year. No matter what story you choose, enjoy meeting new characters and entering a new world with your child on both the page and the screen!

2. Attend a live concert or play. Our city has tons of free musical performances, especially in the summer. Everything from barbershop quartet to a string quartet can be found playing on one stage or another. Festivals, library programs, carnivals, Friday night shopping promotions – they all have a soundtrack, and frequently, it’s live. When my girls get a bit older, I’d love to take them to not-so-free concerts to hear their favorite artists, but for now, the free shows featuring talented musicians in all genres work just fine.

We also love watching children’s theater and try to get in at least one show at year. That’s not free (and not always fun with squirmy little ones), but I love creating the tradition of making art a priority for our family.

3. Introduce my kids to old movies or TV shows. Between Netflix and Hulu and On Demand and DVDs and YouTube, my kids have hundreds of options for entertainment. This is great and fun (and scary – but that’s a conversation for another day!), but it means they haven’t been exposed to some of the quintessential children’s programming I consider classics. When I realized a while ago my kids didn’t know who Popeye or Bugs Bunny or the Flintstones were? I was shocked – and determined to remedy the situation.

In addition to introducing them to my favorite old-school cartoons, I also decided to show them some of my favorite movies. So last summer, we watched Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Princess Bride, and Flight of the Navigator. On my list for this year? Mrs. Doubtfire, Sandlot, Hook, Mighty Ducks, and Karate Kid (the original one, not the new one!).

4. Go to the drive-in. I’ve never seen a movie at the drive-in. So, obviously, my kids haven’t either. I’m determined to visit our city’s one drive-in theater this year, eat all the popcorn and candy we can handle, and sing, “Stranded at the Drive-In,” from Grease to them at the top of my lungs.

(“Embarrass my kids” is ALWAYS on my to-do list.)

5. Try something new. – Something new slides into my Facebook feed or inbox or actual mailbox every single day. Nobody can possibly keep up with all of it! But when I see a new magazine for kids or article about geocaching or a creative subscription box or local art show, I take note and try to fit it into our budget and schedule. It doesn’t always work out, but if we can try one or two new things this year, I think we’ll be doing all right!

What are your parenting goals for 2018?

Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons, but she lives because of God’s grace. Mary writes with humor and honesty about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places on her blog, She is the author of Fast Talk & Faith: A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls and co-author of Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts. She is also a regular contributor to and Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 

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Small-Budget Crushes 01.29.17

Monday, January 29th, 2018

small-budget crushes

moto leggings moto leggings (several fun colors!!)- use coupon code MOTOSTEAL and it will make each pair of moto jeggings $24.95 with FREE Shipping! 

love you like chip loves jo jo mug love you like chip loves jo jo mug

ooh la la tee ooh la la tee (HUGE FLASH SALE!!)

eat and dance napkins eat and dance napkins (just $2.99!)

bell sleeve empire waist dress bell sleeve empire waist dress (extra 20% off making it around $10!!)

blue hued necklace blue hued necklace (additional 25% off sale!!)

vintage laundry signs vintage laundry signs (only $3.97!!)

the infallible tippy gordon print the infallible tippy gordon print

self-watering plant stake peace self-watering plant stake (genius!)

caffeinated as a mother tee caffeinated as a mother tee

pajama pants pajama pants (so many colors!)

striped bell cuff top striped bell cuff top (HUGE FLASH SALE!!)

library print library print

passport holder fringed passport holder (additional 25% off!!) 

woven throws woven throws ($24.99!!, free ship code BESTDAY)

you asleep yet? canvas you asleep yet? canvas

helpful magnets baby is sleeping door magnet (so smart!)

ballet flats ballet flats

classic boatneck tees classic boatneck tees (several styles, extra 20% off making these under $10)

bookish prints bookish prints

iconic jean jacket iconic jean jacket (marked down to $44 with coupon code FRESHSTYLE)

fringe earrings fringe earrings (HUGE FLASH SALE)

ruffled sweatshirt ruffled sweatshirt

dishwasher magnet clean/dirty dishwasher magnet

big books mug big books mug

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 


It’s the 3 Little Things: Amazing Expandable Table, 40th Birthday Fun, & Fiddle Leafing

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Birthday Cupcake

I know these lists typically happen on Fridays, but today I am scooting out to Nashville for a girl’s trip so I thought I’d bring the happy early. Thank you to so many of you for celebrating with me and the generous gifts to the Ehlers-Foundation! I raised $910 and the campaign is open for two more weeks, if you feel inclined to share a small donation in excuse of this special day. It has been such a great way to raise funds for a cause that is dear to our family. Thank you for all the generous gifts and birthday messages! I can admit that I was a weepy mess this week- just so thankful for my people and what God has given us.

Before I start with the happy list, I thought I would share this post with you today (in case you didn’t see it). One thing I’m working on is being more honest about my own journey and that means owning some of the shame that I have struggled with in my life. The response to this (publicly and privately) made me realize how important it is for EVERYONE to hear this.

If this is your struggle, please know that it was mine too. I get SO many emails from people wanting to start things and living in the fear that they don’t have anything to share, the fear of failure, and the fear that their voice doesn’t matter. This post I shared yesterday made me think about the labels we give ourselves, or maybe our family or friends have given us, and the importance of not owning that and creating an identity around it.  That doesn’t have to be your label. It just DOESN’T.

If you are carrying around that weight and shame or paralyzed with a fear of failure, please, please consider counseling! I was anti-counseling for a long time and then I went and I realized the reason I didn’t want to go is because I didn’t want to work on me. It has transformed my path so much to hear some of my own words echoed back to me and to contemplate the why in the labels I carry around.

For those of you that trusted me to share what you are struggling with- thank you! The things I post aren’t because I am so awesome at life, they are because I need to be reminded of these things just as much as you.

Let’s move on…how about some happy?

P.S.- See what made me happy this year and my word for 2018!

Janet Hill Lady Luck Painting

Unreal Birthday Happiness

My husband is definitely upping the game for his gifts for his 40th after his birthday surprises yesterday. The love and thought that went into the gifts was so sweet that I had to share it with you.

40th birthday surprise


40th-birthday-gift (5 of 7)

40th-birthday-gift (4 of 7)

40th-birthday-gift (3 of 7)

40th birthday gifts

Did I mention he’s an incredible web designer and we are art junkies? Since we do the want-need-wear-read gifts for the holidays, he wanted to do 4 gifts for my 40th with the same themes. The need was a laptop since mine was on its last leg and a girl has to have that if she wants to write a blog. The wear was the cute necklace that you can sort of see peeking out in the first picture.

The real surprises though just blew me away.


It’s no secret that I am obsessed with Mary Poppins. In fact, when we went to Disney and met Mary Poppins, I started bawling.

I know this isn’t the real Mary Poppins, but I love her so much.

I was kind of like this, but a lot less adorable.

That’s why the Read gift was so special…

40th birthday gifts

This is my Mary Poppins book. A first edition that he had been working to secure this year. Not only did he do that, but he watched a ton of YouTube to figure out how to clean it and had it wrapped in the appropriate paper and a box so it won’t fade from the sun. Isn’t this the coolest thing EVER?

Also, this guy. I mean it, he is the real deal. I know I brag about him a lot, but only because it is true.

But, wait, there’s more.

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I am OBSESSED with Janet Hill. We have seven of her prints in our house and I never get tired of looking at them.

I subscribe to her notifications for original work, but as soon as it is listed, it is gone in about five minutes flat. This is no exaggeration, she is that good and coveted.

This guy actually snagged one of her originals, called Lady Luck, and gifted it to me as my Want.

I repeat, he got one of her paintings before anyone got to it (a nearly impossible feat). 

There is something so different about seeing a real painting versus the prints. I am madly in love with this and that the message around it is about hope and luck for the future. Who could use a little of that this year?

A birthday card from Janet Hill (I mean SERIOUSLY?) was the icing on the cake.

And now I am sweating about his birthday next year because who the heck could top this?

Truly, the most special day ever.

transforming x coffee table review


transforming x coffee table

My Transformation Table

I am SO excited to show you my incredibly cool coffee table that I got. First I just want to say that I plan to spray paint the legs when it is warmer because the finish doesn’t match our house, but it will when the paint can actually dry.

I found this table and it is SO amazing that I had to share it with you because it is a small space lover’s dream!
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This table can be a coffee table, like I have shown you above, but it is has a handy lever that allows the table to move up and down so it is height adjustable. You can adjust it to any height and then swivel the lever to lock it in place.  The adjustments can all be done one-handed and the lever moves easily.

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Here I have pulled it up to show you how it can narrow and adjust to a table for my laptop or, let’s be more honest, a good old-fashioned TV tray.

But that’s not all…

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transforming x table transforming x table review

It turns into a DINING TABLE FOR SIX.

We keep a stack of these metal chairs in the corner of our living room for the kids and their friends to play video games. These chairs fit comfortably around the table and now we have two tables for our lower level, giving us seating for ten people in our little space in our family room (!!!). I do a lot of entertaining and love hosting our Thanksgiving meal so now we will have a place for everyone without the hassle of hauling folding tables up and down the steps.

I have learned the beauty in buying really smart small space furniture over the years. This piece is a workhorse in our bathroom, these replaced mirrors on the walls (can’t believe that price because I paid a heck of a lot more!),  stackable chairs are my jam, this helps our small bedrooms gain more storage, and this foldable item is unreal awesome if you don’t want to overhaul your kitchen for an island (be sure to use your coupon!).

I have been wanting this table for a really long time and took the plunge when I saw this incredible price on it PLUS you can use your Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon on it. If you haven’t signed up for their coupons yet, it is worth it. If you use this link, it will help us pay for our table because I didn’t realize we were broke from my birthday (hahaha!)

I know it isn’t the prettiest piece in our house, but I have plans to do a little painting when the weather warms up. For now, it is just perfect as is and is already being used for date nights at home, board game nights, tackling work, and I look forward to entertaining my friends around it!

fiddle leaf fig

Unlocking Highest Hipster Levels (With Plants)

Say hello to my first Fiddle Leaf Fig. My girlfriend happened to find these at HOME DEPOT and sent me a picture to let me know that these were under $20!!

I feel like I have unlocked another hipster level in my game by owning one of these. I got some great advice on caring for this plant. Please pray for it while I’m on vacation. I am hoping to keep this plant alive for a long time. Not sure what the fuss is all about with the Fiddle Leaf Figs? You might enjoy this piece on how this plant became this year’s “it” plant!

I wish I could chat with you more, but I have some packing to do! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and thank you again for all the birthday love! It has been one for the books!


*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

Amy’s Notebook 01.17.17

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Kimchi Fried Rice source

This kimchi fried rice looks like a fun way to spice up a tired lunch routine.

The blow dry mistakes you might be making (and how to fix them).

This diy waterfall countertop made from $90 in supplies is a genius idea for your laundry room.

4 things you need to know about digital detox.

These blankets look perfect for these chilly days.

Wow, I learned so much from this interview with the bra whisperer.

How adorable is this vision board party! This looks like the perfect day with girlfriends.

Working on productivity? Here are 12 productivity books from 2017 to get you started on changing your mindset.

Be sure to say what you mean to say. A good reminder!

I donated my birthday this year on Facebook- it is such a fun way to give back to the organizations we care most about!

This financial advice is so, so good that I may have read it twice.

Observations from being a selfish mom for a week.

Ohhh, this beef stroganoff soup looks like a pressure cooker winner.

This technique for perfectly cooked chicken breasts is going to be tested in our house. Dealing with frozen chicken? I use this strategy weekly.

I’m all over this ramen recipe.

Do you have enough white space in your daily routines? I want to work on a well-designed day.

This might be a little *too* extra- hahaha!

organized pantry source

New strategies for home organization- I would have never thought to divide pantry shelves by meals- so smart!

This post also offers some smart and affordable pantry storage solutions.

Excited to dig into this book this week!

This has some great advice if you are parenting and in the creative industry.

I may have laughed until I cried when I saw these.

Not getting good sleep? This article might provide an answer for you about what’s going on.

This really moved me. I’m not ashamed to say it made me cry and acknowledge my own struggles with this role.

Since I’m crying, let’s just ugly cry about this.

While we are ugly crying together (right?!?), this display of compassion really moved me too. Could you do it?

DIY Clay Barrettes source

How cute are these DIY Clay Barrettes? This would be a fun craft to do with my girl!

I bought a houseplant (you can peek at her over here), and am loving seeing the plant trends for the upcoming year.

These dusting hacks are awesome for tidying up your home.

This idea for anti-resolutions is such a fun way to celebrate accomplishments instead of focusing on what you didn’t do.

Had no clue you can make your own vegetarian meat for recipes. I’m going to have to try this!

This detox chicken soup looks like a great way to get your diet back on track after a trip.

Some language in this, but this response to someone who wants to find out how to overcome their laziness is just everything.

I love oatmeal in the morning so I’ll have to try this oatmeal technique. Looking for a bigger batch? I LOVE this recipe!

How to nail a crispy chickpeas snack- love the spice ideas too.

Welcome to the age of abundance.

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo