paint picks.


I’m usually pretty decisive and don’t hem and haw when it comes to paint choices. I grab a couple chips, hold them up in the room I want to paint, and pull the trigger. I typically just know what I want when I see it and go from there.

Picking colors for a whole house at one time (and when said house does not yet EXIST to walk through and think through), is a bit of a different story.

I would guess all in all I started with a stack of about 100 paint chips. Yes, that’s a lot, but at the same time, I knew I wanted a palette of a few different colors so it was more like 20 or so options for a handful of hues. Page helped the narrowing down process by adding his preferences, and in the end, I was going back and forth between the final 20 or so picks, trying to get just the right combination that would all flow together, and each serve the purpose I wanted them to.

Voila, the backbone colors of Casa de Smith:

  1. SW Anonymous 7046
  2. SW Requisite Gray 7023
  3. SW Sea Salt 6204
  4. SW Extra White 7006housepalette

I feel like swatches never do a color true justice, and definitely not online, where every computer screen sees the color differently. As soon as I uploaded the above image, I felt like the greys look more brown than in real life, and sea salt looks almost sage-ish. So I went after images of the colors on walls in actual rooms to get a better feel.



This deeper grey shown above (“Anonymous”) will be the wall color in the main living area of our first floor – with high ceilings, lots of window light, and white/light trim, cabinets, counters, and doors, we wanted a wall color with some drama to add contrast. Page has also opted to put this in one of the upstairs bedrooms that will serve as his office. He did a similarly dark grey in our last house and we loved the man cave vibe it created.



This lighter grey (“Requisite Gray”) is very similar in intensity, but a hair warmer, than the Mindful Grey we did throughout our last house and loved. If you asked me to walk into the room and tell you which was which, I likely couldn’t, but when I see the two next to each other with Anonymous, I like the way this one feels just a hint warmer/earthier. This lighter grey will run throughout hallways, the upstairs landing, powder room, laundry room, and our master bedroom, as these are areas that either are small with fewer or no windows, or feel a bit darker because of carpeted floors.



Page is not a fan of “baby blue” and I have to agree — I’m not a BLUE person, either. But I love the seaglass part of the color wheel, and a good, greeny aqua hue. I wanted this zen color in our master bath/closet to give a spa vibe, and also in the nursery, playing off the bolder aquas and navy that will go in there, as opposed to going with neutral grey walls (We already had two large grey pieces — a dresser and glider to work with, so grey walls felt like overkill).

I sort of agonized over this color because it’s so hard to find a “light aqua” that isn’t somehow TOO juvenile or babyish feeling, and leans more green than blue without going MINT. While I originally passed over the swatch of it, when I see Sea Salt in real rooms (and when I randomly learned it was the wall color at my chiropractor’s office!) I loved it so much more and saw how it takes on the blue/green/gray of what’s around it, and is vibrant yet subtle — the true “seaglass” kind of feel I had been looking for.



The final areas that I want to incorporate a fourth and final paint color are the front flex room (which will serve as photo studio space) and the fourth bedroom that will serve as our guest room. I had to stay pretty light and neutral for photo reasons, and after circling around the PALEST of pink hues for a while, I came back to wanting to try the look of pure white walls (“Extra White”). Especially against the richness of wood floors, I’m excited to bring in elements of colors through accessories that won’t cast color on my subjects like a wall color would. I also have a lot of colorful pieces planned to use in the guest room, so a neutral white will hopefully make a great backdrop.

Neutrals are tough for me, but I didn’t want to commit to some overly dominant wall colors and then change my mind after actually moving in and seeing it on the walls. The pops of color will come in through accessories and things I can change out easily as I change my mind. I’m really happy to have the final choices decided…so I can start thinking about how to layer some more COLOR on top of them!


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october updates…framing!


We are anticipating that framing will be wrapped up by the end of this week/early next at latest! These first couple shots are from our builder at the start of the month.


And this one of me and the babe was taken last weekend. That’s the future breakfast area I’m standing in. Woot!


It was so helpful to see an album from our builder of another build in a town nearby, with a floor plan very similar to ours. Yes, the finishes will of course all be different, and a few things are moved around, but the nuts and bolts of the overall flow are quite similar. It’s hard to gauge scale and size when you can see right through the walls, so comparing some “before and after” pics has been fun.

If you were to look at the above shot of the breakfast area, and then pan to the right, eventually the kitchen will be there, looking similar in layout to this:


The front “flex room”…



…will eventually look a lot like this.



And our master…



…will look something like this:



The latest we’ve heard is to “hope for Christmas, plan for January” as far as our close/move-in time frame. Not far from what we’ve been planning on all along so we’re locking down a month to month agreement in our apartment (at a rate that will make our house payment look like a walk in the park — GULP!)  … and just hoping our little guy wants to stay nice and cozy in his current digs until we are in ours!



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fall cider mocktail

fall cider mocktail | life in yellow

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe. In part, because the first weeks of this pregnancy left me wanting to do anything but deal with food, and in part because the “kitchenette” in our temporary digs houses about 10% of my normal dishes and tools. It’s hard to be inspired to whip much up when there’s not a lot to work with. All that said, one area I HAVE been diving into lately is the world of mocktails!

A couple weeks ago, a fellow mama-to-be friend and I curled up on the couch for some chat time and a mocktail. I decided to embrace the cool temp and go with something hot. This drink was super easy to prepare, and it would be great for a tailgate, with or without some added rum!

Recipe adapted from Running to the Kitchen

fall cider mocktail | life in yellow

  • 3 cups apple cider
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon orange extract
  • ⅓ cup dark rum (if you want to make this an “adult” bevvie!)
  • extra cinnamon + turbinado sugar for rimming

Simmer all but the cinn-sugar garnish over the stove, and strain out the cloves. I poured mine into a stainless carafe for easy serving and to keep it piping hot.

Use a slice of orange to rim glasses or mugs, and dip them in the cinn-sugar garnish. I used some peel from the same orange for a little extra somethin’-somethin’.

Sip, sigh, enjoy! :)


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the key west run-down


I didn’t take my camera along for this trip, so bear with me and my Instagram and phone pics!

We landed in Key West on a Friday afternoon. Aside from a crazy-rough landing (the runway there is SHORT so you come in fast/hard!), this was the easiest airport experience of my life. Both coming and going were less than fifteen-minute adventures…and you can’t beat hanging at the only airport beach bar in the country!


The entire island of Key West is around 2 x 4 miles, so in a hot minute, we were at our hotel, Ocean Key Resort & Spa. We were between this and the Westin, and while I can’t speak for staying there, we were very happy with this choice. The staff was very efficient and friendly (they even ran out to track us down some super glue when an earring emergency happened right before maternity pictures!), the food was delicious, and everything from the room to the gym to the pool was very comfortable (and well-decorated — it was fun to take a little island inspiration back to the midwest!).


We had to laugh at the shower set-up (apparently if you really want to put on a show for someone in the bedroom as you get clean, you sure can!). I was a little obsessed with the claw foot double sink in here…hmm…ideas for the house….


And even if it was overcast when we first checked in, you couldn’t beat the blue water view from our balcony.



We got right down to business, heading to nearby Sunset Pier for a mocktail/cocktail overlooking the water, (they make a pretty delicious burger, too!).


And we wasted no time making our way to the hotel pool…where we ended up camping out for much of each day we were here. I was surprised at how little BEACH there is on this island, but that was okay — poolside drink service (with nearby restrooms) is much more my speed anyway. ;)


Page isn’t much of a sweets guy, and I’m not all that big on ice cream, but we made REPEAT trips to Duetto Pizza & Gelato while we were here. There are tons of gelato spots around the island but this one stood head and shoulders above all the others recommended on Yelp. The slices were great…but the gelato was Peanut butter for him and chocolate hazelnut for me…and we didn’t dare switch it up and try anything else. Don’t fix it if it’s not broken…and already epic.


We were actively trying to NOT over-schedule ourselves, so aside from a massage appointment and a couple dinner reservations, our days were open for exploring and sun-soaking. Just walking to the local CVS for a couple items was an adventure…when the streets are lined with exhibits like this:


There is some great boutique shopping along Duval Street…mixed in with just as many tourist junk stores (it’s ridiculous what people will buy!). They weren’t exactly serving up many maternity options, but Page found some cool stuff at the mens and womens’ boutique, Evolution, and I couldn’t resist some purchases at Naples Soap Company — you could smell the amazing scents from outside the store. I can’t wait to have a tub in the new house — I loaded up on their famous bath bombs in anticipation!


Our favorite dinner was actually at our hotel’s Hot Tin Roof. We had a gorgeous sunset view on the deck, and we would have licked the plate the Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese arrived on, if appropriate.

You’ll have to forgive all the food focus but keep in mind this preggo spent her first trimester not eating and still thinks she should be making up for it. ;) We had an amazing breakfast at La Creperie — I’m a crepe FANATIC, but even if you aren’t interested in that part of the menu, Page had an omelette that was to die for. I should mention at this point, we didn’t bother to rent a car, as all these shops and restaurants are easily within a mile’s walking distance. (Bonus…you can burn off a little of everything you indulge in!)


Other highlights of the trip were taking out a boat on the perfect blue water one morning…




…and taking a ferry to a nearby island for dinner at the Westin’s Latitudes restaurant for our final dinner, on our actual anniversary. The experience was fun and different — you don’t make a reservation for a specific time, they tell you when to be at the dock and you ride out with other people with the same reservation slot. (How appropriate — we left from Slip 29!)



The restaurant was something out of a Pottery-Barn-goes-Island scene, and I fought the urge to ask every member of the wait staff about the paint colors they used. Definitely brought back some house inspiration from there as well!

Overall, we had a wonderfully relaxing time, and while I feel like we covered a good bit of it all, there were a couple things we didn’t do that I’d be interested to, another time. We didn’t visit the SouthernMost Point, as we heard the lines to get a photo are always very long, and we didn’t hit up any of the numerous museums (there are a surprising number of them, for such a small town!).

Oh, and I’d come back not pregnant and able to indulge in the wine tastings and beach cocktails. :)


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wrapping up the second trimester.



We are home from Key West and while I wished I had a few days to undo all of my indulging before hitting the doctor’s office, so such luck ha — and I was headed to my monthly appointment:

How far along: 26 weeks and counting! (Baby’s the size of a head of lettuce)

Gender: BOY

Weight gain:   +9lbs…right on track (phew!) and trying to keep things steady between workouts and eating right (for the MOST part…vacation week NOT included!)

Maternity clothes: Almost everything now is maternity – or at least the basics, layered with some non-maternity pieces.

Stretch marks: No – lotioning up daily!

Belly button in or out: in, but definitely becoming more shallow…

Sleep: sleeping pretty well, but wake up at least once a night because of pain in my hips/tailbone area and have to readjust to find a position that’s comfortable

Best moment:  Certainly, our trip to Key West, and also welcoming our friends’ baby boy and both Page and me loving on him and not quite believing that in three short months, we’ll have our own! Another great moment was officially deciding on his name! It wasn’t the plan to do any more than narrow it down to a list of 2 or 3 and see what best fit him when he arrived…but when I wanted to order something personalized a couple weeks ago, Page offered that “I think we know the name don’t we?” and I quickly agreed. The same name has been floating to the top for a while now…and it’s fun to make it official and refer to him by it when we chat about him.

Worst moment: the rainy days that WOULD.NOT.STOP. through early September. We’d get one clear day, but not enough in a row to finally pour the garage floors and move on to framing, pushing back our timeline even further.

Miss anything: always red wine – especially at the news of adding months to our construction loan…a glass would really take the edge off ha! I’ve indulged in sips here and there at this point…but I’d love to just bust into a bottle with no reservations!

Movement: LOTS! I’m grateful for the kicks, of course, but Baby seems to think it’s funny to go full-on David Beckham at about 4am lately! Starting in another week, I use an app to officially begin counting them.

Cravings: Cereal, apple juice, bananas, and about once a week I MUST have a sprinkled donut — it’s non-negotiable :)

Queasy or sick: some heartburn but not awful, otherwise great!

Looking forward to: upcoming showers — my sister-in-law is hosting a family get-together the end of October, and two of my girlfriends are hosting one here in Des Moines in early November for our friends…can’t wait to celebrate this little guy with loved ones!


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home from key west.



We were blessed to take a very relaxing four nights in the Florida Keys and get away from it all — day jobs, second jobs, homebuilding, and apartment living. We love to be busy, and we truly enjoy working, but once we nearly forced ourselves to schedule a little time away, we realized just how much we needed it. Lots of sun (and humidity!), lots of laughs, lots of food (I may have eaten my weight in gelato!), and lots of quiet, smiley moments, as we focused on what’s to come as we start the third trimester in the coming days. _MG_0782-Edit

On the eve of our seventh wedding anniversary, we shot some maternity pictures. Little One stole the show of course and I’m beyond thrilled we have these rare, slowed-down, moments captured in photographs, as a way to remember this special time in our lives that is fleeting for sure. (Little One officially has his name by the way…it’s incorporated into a picture we took at this session that I’m dying to share later after he’s made his arrival.)



Big thank you hugs to the awesome Harmons duo for a photography session around the island that felt more like a double date with friends we’d known for years. I will treasure these photos for years to come.

I’m looking forward to writing another post more specifically about the trip and the sights we saw and places we ate and stayed that we’d definitely recommend. But for tonight, I’m just reliving this perfect past Sunday night with my main guy, and my little guy on the way.


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