Category / House + Home

Inspired: Project Faceless

A few things have been happening lately, and they’re inspiring some changes in how I approach sharing our life online.

A few months back, I woke to a friend’s comment tagging me in the Instagram post by a baby food brand. A major, household, parent-centric brand. There in the post was my child staring back at me. The photo was: taken from my blog without my permission (strike 1), photoshopped (strike 2), of my minor child – again no permission (MAJOR strike 3), and even if I could have seen past all of that, I wasn’t so much as credited in the caption or a comment. My mama blood boiled, I worked to get the post removed from their feed (and an apology was issued — but seriously, WHO is running their social media that they think is acceptable?). I ultimately got around to being frustrated with MYSELF that the content was out there in the first place to be misused.

I won’t pretend for a second that I’m any “big” blogger, but over the years, I’ve experienced strangers asking me if I’m “Life in Yellow” (much more common than my actual name ha). I always kind of laughed it off and figured it’s par for the course when you put so much of your life online. Then we had our son, and as babies do, he changed rapidly from month to month these early years. He now has hit that stretch where he still looks quite similar now as he did a full year ago, and thus he’s easier to recognize. Something we’ve learned as we’ve had a couple encounters where people who’ve never met him (innocently enough) remark that they know him, and even call him by name. While we KNOW these people mean nothing but good, this recognition coupled with our son’s instant bestie status with EVERYONE, for lack of a better term, freaked me out.

I was moved by this podcast by some of my faves, Young House Love, on protecting their children’s privacy. Once sharing on the same level I have (birth stories, monthly updates, etc) they no longer use names or show faces of their kids. Their children, while older than our own, are that much more in need of their own space and privacy, and as John points out at one point, it’s up to THEM to decide who, if anyone, they want to be online.

This moved me, big time.

Privacy, safety, exploitation (even if the “innocent” kind, by a brand trying to sell toddler snacks) – MORE than enough reason for me to make this call. I shared my thoughts with Page and he was quick to agree it made sense. The photographer in me (and of course the proud mom) longs to share every little bit, but I’ve always tried to find a balance, and now more than ever. There is plenty to share, in creative ways, that allows me to blog about motherhood (hello, cute room decor, outfits, stocking stuffers and party planning!), and still protect my son. I’ve been further inspired by the work of #projectfaceless photographers, like this one, who are beautifully and authentically capturing childhood in creatively anonymous ways. Challenge accepted!

I know there’s no perfect way to do this. Yes, he will still show up in our private social media. Yes, he may still show up in my blog instastories (that don’t get saved) and no, I’m not going to work backward and delete every picture I’ve posted. Yes, I realize he was just on national news for his love of garbage trucks, and there’s no net I can cast to reign that in. So I’m just making the conscious decision now, going forward, to be more aware and share less here and on the blog’s social media. I LOVE following along with the littles of bloggers and others who share their lives publicly, but this is simply the right choice, right now, for US. Thanks for the support as we go faceless! <3

5 Boy Outfits for Summer

Hat by Joules | Tee by Tailor Vintage | Shoes by Children’s Place | Shorts by Target

I had so much fun digging through Crew’s closet for Spring Outfits, that I had to do it again for summer. We’ve been hit HARD by the heat lately, so the layers are fewer and the outfits much simpler this round, but we also have our sunnies on serious repeat, which has been a fun new accessory to incorporate. (Read: Mom is buying ALL the cute little boy sunglasses!) And of course, we get to do some cute SWIM outfits as well. Bring it on, heat wave!

Hat by Under Armour  | Shirt by Rockets of Awesome | Shoes by Native | Shorts by Target

Rash Guard by Hanna Andersson | Sunglasses by Target | Swim Boardies by Zara Kids

Button-down and Tie by Janie & Jack | Shorts by Gap | Sandals by OshKosh

Tee by CrewCuts | Sunglasses by Gap | Shorts by Monica & Andy | Boots by Hunter

Basement Update: Into the Home Stretch

I last posted some updates about our basement bar/living room here, and the guest bedroom / bathroom here, earlier this winter.

Since then, it’s been flooring glory!

Basement Progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

Beginning in the bar, we put down a “luxury vinyl” (that term kills me) at the recommendation of a couple different flooring experts, because of the fact this is basement level. It’s still dusty in this pic, but we love the variation in the color, and the texture that looks like real scraped wood.

Basement Progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

I’m totally psyched about how the cabinet color turned out (“Cascade” by Sherwin William), and it was all in all a piece-of-cake job. The bar will have some copper accents, including this cabinet hardware. After weighing a TON of counter options, we’ve decided to stain some butcher block for the counters to match tones in the floor, and keep some woodsy depth going — it was starting to feel like a light of “light” between the carpet, paint color, and white trim.

Basement Progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

In the bathroom, we went several rounds of plumbing WTF moments — the super short version of a very long story is that our basement was originally plumbed for a tub/shower combo — not what we wanted. And because the builder had already been in here once to jack up our foundation and move the pipe once before (it was originally placed in our storage closet on the other side of the wall — face palm), we didn’t want to do that yet again. So we settled for an above rough-in “special” (read: expensive and must be custom ordered — budget increase/timeline delay GRR!) shower pan insert. To make it feel as little contractor grade as possible, we opted to surround it with subway tile up to the ceiling, and hopefully draw eyes away from it altogether. I love the contrast of the dark grout on the white tile, and grounding it all with the dark floor tile and light grout that makes it pop.

Basement Progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

A standard shower door won’t fit the space and while we looked at some alternative options, we are MORE than happy to put in one of the many cool rod options I’ve seen popping up, along with an extra long curtain and call it a day down here. This portion of the project ended up way over budget, both in time and money, and I’m okay that a curtain tucked to the side still shows off the tile. A toilet, some trim, and a vanity that Page would like to build himself will finish up this bad boy.

Basement Progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

The basement is just one of many projects in the works right now, but as soon as there’s more to show (hopefully just a final “DONE” tour!), I’ll be back!

Mothers Day Gift Ideas (and they’re all Prime!)

A set of ESSENTIAL OILS. At the very least, they just smell good and can be added to the bathtub. But truly, the uses for these fab little bottles are literally endless, from cleaning to sleep support to stress relief and so much more.

The perfect BEACH TOTE (and the option to customize it with her initials or your family last name) just in time for pool season. I love the shape and bold stripe on this bag. Those poms, though!

Yes, it’s all about the POM TASSEL CHARM to clip on a purse or straw tote for the summer. Love all the color options for this one and she can move it from one favorite bag to another.

The cutest YOGA MAT BAG. If downward dog is her thing, she probably already has the mat. This is the perfect accessory and regardless of her style, you can’t miss with black and white.

This MUD MASK is well worth the splurge and she’ll get several pampering sessions from it.

Post contains affiliate links.

Crew Age 3: Q1

And just like that, we’re a quarter of the way through three already.

So many sound effects, super powers, gruff lower-octave tough-guy talking. “I can do ANYTHING!” attitude and frequent mention of “protecting” people and “saving the day”. Lots of live action pretending to be the PJ Masks, the ghostbusters, and a T-Rex. You are ALL. IN. when it comes to the world of imagination. And you have BIG reactions to things right now, often with catch phrases you’ve memorized from characters you love.

All letters. All the time. You want to read so badly — you insist on “reading” (memorized) books and you stop at every sign, shirt, etc. to spell out the letters. You ask what signs say or make up what they say, speaking in a dialect that suggests you are sounding out whatever the (made up) text reads. You are starting to connect letters and the sounds they make, and words with the same sound. Several times when reading a book with you, you will go through a whole page of text and name each letter. You’re trying to tell time and you can correctly count up to thirty and are so much better at tracking items that you’re counting (you rarely skip or double-count something anymore).

Your eating habits are slowly loosening up. Several times you’ve tried a bite of something new without so much as a second ask by us (or something even a first!) and while I’d still absolutely categorize you as a picky eater, we can find something on just about any menu that you will happily eat now. Phew. (Although noodles of any kind are still a hard pass!) We continue to get the reports from school that you are a “really good eater” now (?!) and will try just about anything they put in front of you. I chalk it up to peer pressure from your friends!

You are mastering the scooter you got from the Easter Bunny. It wipes you out, but you can rotate swimming freestyling and rolling to your back for a break when needed, back and forth until you swim the width of the pool at swim lessons. You have just enough confidence that you can get around in water, that I’m a little nervous for pool season ha! You continue to play soccer through a school program and I was impressed how much better you were when we got the net out recently, after a few months of snow.

You’re up over 3 pounds from your well check in January, and at least another inch in height. Most of your pants are suddenly too short — yet another reason we need shorts season to just start already! You’re in 2T bottoms for the most part with a few 3s mixed in, and firmly size 3T in tops. We recently had to replace all shoes in the next size up as well. All that growing is helping you sleep better — the phase that lasted ALL of fall and through the holidays where you’d come into our bed most nights somewhere after midnight, has nearly vanished. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve woken you in our bed. You’re an easy one to bunk with, but I’m okay that we have our space again. 🙂 You’ve skipped a nap a few days here and there, in particular if it’s a day you slept in that morning, but other days you can easily snooze for a couple of hours. We play it by ear anymore and I’m just grateful we’re into age three without really ever “fighting” naps when they’re needed.

You continue to love to cook (in the kitchen for real and as the chef in a restaurant in your play kitchen). You’ve branched out significantly in the toys you want to play with, but garbage trucks still have your heart, and the local news station even recently stopped by to film a segment about the love affair. When we read, you gravitate heavily toward the alphabet-based books. You are turning into quite the entertainer and like to try and make us laugh. “Guys! Watch THIS!” is also a repeat phrase right now.

You show SO much of both your dad and me in that we want to be experts in something and correction is sometimes hard to take. 🙂 But when it comes to language and learning new words, we’ve both remarked how amazed we are with how you process. We see examples like the following nearly daily: you were making a comment about the grid design in our doors and said something like “look, there are five windows in this door” and your dad said “yeah, there are five panels”. “Panels? Did you say panels, dad?” “Yes buddy, panels.” “Panels. Yeah there are five PANELS.” You are just unbelievably thirsty to learn all the words, you’re determined to get them right, and it’s the one thing you will let us correct you on.

We love watching you learn and grown and figure the world out, one step at a time. I love seeing big boy traits like compassion and protection coming out more and more, and of course your unwavering enthusiasm and positive attitude about everything, just makes the day brighter. You can of course test us like any three year old can, but we’re grateful nothing seems to bum you out for very long, and you bounce back quickly. Looking forward to more of this fun year we call three.

5 Little Things I’m Doing to Improve My (and My Family’s) Health

Between the start of the year (resolution/goals mindset) and the coming of Spring (well, someday! we are due more SNOW this week!), I’ve been more health/goal minded and craving some changes and healthier habits in my (and my family’s) day-to-day routines. I’ve found I have more success implementing smaller changes, a couple at a time, than trying to overhaul, getting overwhelmed (or distracted) and undoing any good I’ve done, altogether.

I’m no expert, and I don’t sell or represent any brands mentioned, but I’m feeling really good about these five little things I’m making the rule instead of the exception in my everyday:

1. packing my lunches
I’ve been trying to be more intentional about including more fruits and veggies and proteins, and not buying my lunches out (which adds up quickly) on workdays. It truly is easier to dedicate a half hour or so on Sunday nights to portion out some lunches for the next three days. I find it easiest to just eat the same thing, times three, and change it up from week to week rather than daily. I quickly realized I was burning through ziploc bags, so I ordered myself one of the Lunchbots tins (mine is the “trio large”) and I LOVE how easy it is to pack, rinse, and re-use from one day to the next. (Also — if you follow the Lunchbots instagram account, it’s full of fresh snack/meal ideas for packing adult and kid lunches, alike!)

2. switching to natural deodorant
Over Christmas, a friend mentioned loving this brand of natural deodorant and I made a mental note. Then, after another friend’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, she mentioned making the switch to a natural deodorant, and I was inspired to do the same. Ursa Major happened to be the first brand I tried and I’ve been VERY pleased. I haven’t had much in the way of “detox symptoms” that some people talk about, but I think it’s also probably easier to make the switch now before the heat season comes. I also just think this particular brand is THAT good and worth the money. I’m kind of  obsessed with it and love the smell and tingly sensation. It feels so fresh and I love knowing everything in it is SAFE. (Also — if your skin is sensitive to baking soda — common in natural deodorants — they also make a “no B.S.” version here.)

3. throwing out our vegetable oil (and peanut oil and canola oil)
A friend of mine is a nutritionist and I’ve been stalking – er, following – all her delicious recipes and posts here. When she mentioned getting vegetable oils out of your life, I was intrigued and googled a bit further. This article is a great read on why to make the switch, if you need further convincing! And this change was SO easy to do. I simply tossed what we had, bought an olive oil spray in place of Pam for nonstick uses, and the mega jar of Coconut Oil home from Costco for anything else that would normally call for oil. I find myself checking labels a bit more for instances of these oils, but I’m not overly crazy about it. Again, it’s about small steps and implementing changes at reasonable rates.

4. experimenting with natural household products 
I’ve admittedly found it a bit “hippie” in the past, but after so many new options on the market and constant new research to support them, I’ve taken a new interest in the products I bring into my home. I recently played around on the Think Dirty app to score some items we’re already using. Some passed with flying colors…and others failed miserably. So I feel like I have a good list of places to start using up and replacing sooner than later. I’ve always been rather intentional about choosing natural products when it comes to Crew, but even in that arena, as we’ve moved away from the “baby phase” it gets easier to slip up. I’ve recently purchased this body wash for his bathtime and love it (we did the lavender scent, but they’re all delicious). We also switched to Trader Joes all natural laundry detergent (loooove the smell). Easy swaps, little changes.

I’ve also been playing more and more with essential oils (I’m not loyal to any one brand, but do your research to make sure you are buying 100% pure, therapeutic grade and no filler stuff). I ditched dryer sheets long ago and now add a few oil drops to my wool dryer balls and incorporating them into rollerballs (I’m using these) and a couple DIY cleaners, linen sprays, and more (in these bottles). I’m still learning and experimenting, but I’m particularly interested in using them for allergy relief as that season approaches.

5. drinking apple cider vinegar 
This is not a new one for me, but I fall out of the habit and am being intentional about reincorporating it. I’ve been trying to cut back on alcohol, so instead of taking a glass of wine to my nightly Netflix wind-down, I pour a big glass of ice water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. A run-down of the many benefits of incorporating this (easy peasy) habit into water you are already drinking can be found here.

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The “Crew”Neck — Personalized Patch Kid Sweatshirt

You don’t have to look far to see the patch trend is everywhere — and particularly big in kid’s clothing. One piece of  this trend goes a long way for me, but I thought it would be such a fun way to capture everything that makes Crew, CREW right now, at age 3.

He LOVES to spot the letter C everywhere, and 3 is his current favorite number, so those were easy places to start. But it was when I was able to find a garbage truck patch on Etsy,  that I knew this project was a must-do.

 

 

I pinned a few example pieces to get a feel for arrangement and relative sizes of patches. I ended up ordering this  sweatshirt, as Crew isn’t super big on zip-ups right now (he thinks anything with a zipper is for going outside only, he has yet to understand the heavenly-ness of a hoodie!) and I didn’t want this piece to be limited to outerwear.

The C patch and the 3 patch came from Amazon, everything else was from a variety of sellers on Etsy, although Ebay is a great resource as well if you’re looking for something super-specific. For a 4T sweatshirt, I’d keep the patches smaller, around 1-1/2″ average size. I actually started with a much bigger slice of pizza (admittedly, I wasn’t paying close attention to  the size description) and ended up swapping for something smaller.

When you’re shopping for your patches, I’d recommend varying the sizes and colors and shapes of the patches — I opted to start with a focal point (I knew I wanted the letter jacket “C” to be prominent) — and then built everything else around that. It SEEMS random to throw them all on there, but it took me a few minutes of arranging to get everything to “work” on here and keep it balanced.

Yes, this was a project for my enjoyment, but I’m happy my model is thrilled with it, too.

The Latest in the Basement: The Living Room, Bar, and Golf Simulator

I’ll let the photos do most of the talking here, but as you can see, more progress has been made (and there is still a lot to do!). I’m LOVING the carpet in our living room area, and while I know it serves a technical purpose, I’m really feeling that black ceiling in the golf simulator area!

Picture turf flooring in that space, and behind it in the bar area, this plank vinyl flooring in “Weathered Wood”.

We are doing a few base cabinets (gray by default, but getting painted our exterior color, Cyberspace)…

(and yes…we will set the trash cabinet right side up) 😉 

…and we’ll be adding a couple appliances to the arrangement to include a dishwasher and fridge. I’m excited to do black stainless down here to further differentiate the look from our kitchen, upstairs. With the light flooring and walls, I like the deep colors that will fill up this space.

We’re still debating a couple options for the counters in here, one which will run on top of the cabinets, and the other, facing into the simulator, at bar height.

A couple more peeks into the finish living room area, that lacks furniture until the traffic of construction is done, (but Crew is loving the space to run, and it has me thinking twice about adding any!).

The final touches will be stone around the column you see framed at the bottom of the stairs, and wrapped around the back of the bar counter facing the simulator. Then, it’s time to decorate 😉

As for our overall timeline, I mentioned we hit a plumbing snag. We had to custom-order (read: cha-ching and also more waiting) a shower pan around which to tile, and I’m happy to report it was delivered today! I’ll be back with an update after bathroom tiling and bar flooring get checked off the list!