Happy New Year!



In the last few weeks of 2017 I excitedly pondered what goals I would set for the coming year. For the first time in my life I felt thrilled by the idea of setting goals to change my life and make it what I want. Don’t get me wrong – I love my life – and my goals are nothing drastic but the overall mindset and momentum behind my goal setting was unprecedented.

Here’s what did it for me: The Compound Effect and The Minimalists.

If you haven’t read The Compound Effect, you really should. Long story short: picture the life you’ve always dreamed of and set goals today that will get you there. This idea isn’t revolutionary but the details in the book guide you to make the most effective physical and mental changes so that those dreams can become a reality much sooner!

Keep in mind, that dream life is probably not hiding right around the corner – it will take a lot of work. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy while we pursue that dream.

“The happy life is not ushered in at any age to the sound of drums and trumpets. It grows upon us year by year, little by little, until at last we realize that we have it. It is achieved in individuals not by flights to the moon or Mars, but by a body of work done so well that we can lift our heads with assurance and look the world in the eye. Of this be sure: You do not find the happy life…you make it.”

Thomas S. Monson

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The less we negatively compare our lives to the lives of other people, the happier we’ll be! And believe it or not – the less we HAVE the happier we’ll be. If you have Netflix check out The Minimalists documentary, it’s life-changing. While I don’t think all of my belongings will ever fit into one suitcase, the idea behind it is what I’m working towards.

If you limit what clothes and household items you have, you limit the choices you have to make and the mess you have to clean. Instead of having five $10 shirts you sort of like you can have one $50 shirt that you love, looks amazing on you, and will last. And who doesn’t want to easily get dressed in the morning, always look fabulous, and have less to clean?! Less laundry and less clutter = more time and more of what you love with the ones you love.

Nothing makes me happier than being a mother and the entire package of life that comes with it. Now, that’s not to say that it isn’t hard – it is – but each day is a chance to start fresh and do better than the day before! And who would not love to be kissing this little face instead of doing laundry and cleaning?!




I have several goals set for each aspect of my life but they all come together for the one goal of making the happy life I want with the ones I love. I hope yours do too!

Happy New Year!



PC: LW Photography

Kitchen-Aid + Desk Makeover

If you’re anything like me you like a little change here and there, especially if it’s something fun to spruce up your home. Every once in a while I get the urge to switch things up and for whatever reason, there’s nothing like the pressure of company coming to light the fire of urgency! We had family come stay for a few weeks to celebrate Calvin’s 1st birthday and I wanted to have these two projects done before then – which I did!

I’ve had my Kitchen-Aid mixer for almost 4 years but I honestly haven’t used it that much. Until I found this recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies it really just looked impressive on my kitchen counter. Since the recipe calls for cold butter and several minutes of mixing I decided to break out the Kitchen-Aid and put it to good use. Ever since then I probably use it once a week!


A couple of months ago I noticed the new line of colors Kitchen-Aid came out with and just about died over the Ice Blue color but when you have a perfectly functioning mixer you can’t drop $430 on a new one just because it’s pretty.

Or so my head told me 🙂

Mr. Layland, being the helpful genius that he is, found this Apartment Therapy tutorial on painting a Kitchen-Aid and I was sold! It’s really quite easy, and so much cheaper than buying a new mixer, so if you’re interested I’d say go for it! I used Ocean Mist spray paint from Home Depot and LOVE how it turned out! You have to take the gloss coat off the original color – mine was red – which really wasn’t bad so don’t let that stop you. After that, it’s just a matter of taking off as many metal parts as you can and covering those you can’t before painting. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!

The second project was to freshen up my workspace. A little while ago we decided to get rid of our TV which freed up some space in our living room so I brought my desk out to give myself a little more space while I work. That’s when I realized my $20 Walmart desk I’d had for a few years didn’t add much to the look of the living room. I contemplated a few methods and (after a fight with Mr. Layland in Home Depot about fabric and epoxy) eventually landed on the idea of using faux marble contact paper.


I ordered a 6ft roll on Amazon and thanks to 2-day shipping I was able to get it done the night before company arrived! And I LOVE it! It’s a glossy plastic-like paper so it was stiffer than I was expecting but it makes it much more durable. The desk was black so switching things up for a white marble really brightened up the entire living room and gave my workspace a much needed makeover.


I ordered the computer back in the fall through the surplus warehouse at BYU-Idaho which sells the school’s computers after they’ve been used for three years. Starting price is $400 — which for a gently used iMac, is amazing! This one came from Spori 114 where I used to work on the school paper! So that was a sweet bit of nostalgia.


As you can see, it’s amazing I ever get anything done!

We swapped out the black HP keyboard it came with for a new Apple keyboard and I decided it was time to part ways with the chair I reupholstered back in Arizona. The white one I’m using now is one of our kitchen chairs that doesn’t fit around our table with Calvin’s high chair.

So there you have it! A little painting here, a little contact paper there and voila!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!



Father’s Day Favorites

Yesterday included celebrating Father’s Day, along with everyone else, and loving the chance to celebrate how much we love Mr. Layland! He is such a loving father to little Calvin and all the fun our little guy deserves. When I’m exhausted – he can take over with his Energizer Bunny personality and Calvin loves it. From Day #1 Mr. Layland has been a great Dad and since then he’s only gotten better!

IMG_1856 Becoming parents has been quite the adventure and I’ve loved having him by my side through everything. I wanted to get him something special but I’m the worst at buying gifts! I racked my brain for a few weeks and shopped around online until I finally came across what I thought would be the perfect Father’s Day gift – engraved collar stays.

They’re essentially the bobby pin equivalent for men. You own 5,000 but can only ever find 3. I figured getting nice metal ones would somehow make them easier to keep track of. We’ll see!

I mulled over a few clever phrases to have engraved but in the end I decided to stick with a classic monogram. Thank you to Jane.com for continuing my online shopping addiction and to NameJewelrySpot.com for coming up with this genius idea!

After going to church in the morning and getting in our post-church naps (because going to church for 3 hours with a 1-year old is exhausting) we whipped up a batch of Mr.Layland’s favorite cookies from Modern Honey. She’s come up with copycat cookie recipes for Levain Bakery – which are some of our all-time favorite cookies in NYC! This way when we can’t make it into the city for a sweet treat we can get pretty close right in our own kitchen.

If you’re more into chocolate, have no fear, she has an amazing Levain Bakery Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip recipe!

I’ve had my Kitchen-Aid mixer for almost 4 years but I honestly haven’t used it that much. When I came across this recipe I decided to use it since it calls for cold butter and have been hooked ever since! I love using my Kitchen-Aid!

A couple of months ago I noticed the new line of colors Kitchen-Aid came out with and just about died over the Ice Blue color but when you have a perfectly functioning mixer you can’t drop $430 on a new one just because it’s pretty.

Mr. Layland, being the helpful genius he is, found this Apartment Therapy tutorial on painting a Kitchen-Aid and I was sold! It’s really quite easy, and so much cheaper than buying a new mixer, so if you’re interested I’d say go for it! I used Ocean Mist spray paint from Home Depot and LOVE how it turned out!

We finished off the day by calling our fathers and playing with little Mr. C and by all accounts, had a really great day! Happy Father’s Day!

Fall in the Northeast

I should be folding laundry right now but decided to write a quick update instead. I’ve been so busy with freelancing, taking care of the house, and soaking up every minute with Calvin while he’s awake – it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day! Despite all the insanity, I really love my life.

Fall in the Northeast is absolutely gorgeous. I’m loving the cooler weather and watching the leaves change has been so amazing! We practically live in the city on the weekends and I have to say I really prefer this time of year in NYC.


This past weekend we took the Staten Island ferry across the bay to Manhattan and counted that as visiting the Statue of Liberty. Neither of us have a strong desire to actually go to the island right now so floating right by it was perfect!

The Statue of Liberty really is just a statue on a pedestal. You think it’s going to be so much bigger – like the size of a skyscraper bigger – but it’s not. We were going to check out Governor’s Island but on our way there we realized it’s only open during the summer. I guess we’ll just have to add it to the list for next year!

Two weekends ago we switched things up a bit and instead of going into the city we actually drove out to Connecticut for the Hartford temple open house.


If you live out this way you should definitely go! It’s open to the public and tours are free. The New England theme makes it feel like it has always been there.

My friend Aubree (who trained me on my mission) lives in CT and invited us to stay with them for the weekend. We had the best time going through the temple, apple picking & just getting to hang out with their cute family. Calvin loved licking the apple I gave him…we might start trying solids soon!


Aubree has a photography business and takes amazing pictures. After she took a few pictures of Calvin it made me want to buy my own camera & set up camp in that orchard! Needless to say, it was a fun weekend for all of us!


We ended up liking Stayman and Empire apples the best so we bought a few pounds along with some fudge and apple cider doughnuts from the market. When we got home Mr. Layland made an apple pie and I used this recipe to make apple sauce. I think we might have a new fall tradition!

Calvin is 4 months old and so close to sitting up on his own, it’s really exciting. He learns new tricks all the time — his latest thing is growling. Yes, growling. It’s so hilarious! The pediatrician said he’s discovering that he can make different sounds. She also said he might start to make an eagle screeching sound soon. That should be fun.

I hit the jackpot last week when it comes to baby toys. Check it out.

All for free! My friend Shawna texted me one morning saying someone down the road had a bunch of baby stuff out in front of their house. I was just about to leave for the store so I took a detour and ended up taking all of this home! Everything was in almost perfect condition so after a gentle wash everything was good to go.

So Calvin basically had Christmas this week 🙂

I recently became a Level 2 Seller on Fiverr.com which was a personal triumph I’m really proud of. But it means I have been busier than normal. I typically have one or two projects at a time but at one point last week I had 12! Luckily, I can work while Calvin naps and get a good amount done.

The drive to church this week was especially relaxing and beautiful. I love that you can drive from the city and within an hour be passing fields with hay bails and cows. Moving to New Jersey has been one of the best adventures of my life.


Happy Fall everyone! Here’s to hoping your weather is just as gorgeous and that your baby sleeps for 9 hours straight like mine did last night. No idea how that happened so I’m just going with it.


So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!


New Mom = Busy Mom

“Mr. Layland & Me” has gotten a new look and new plans for more posts, which I’m super excited about. Not to jinx anything but I think Calvin has a fairly predictable napping schedule now which will allow me more time to blog about our adventures!



I’ve been working from home since we moved to New Jersey but between having a baby and hosting a ton of company this summer there hasn’t been a lot of downtime to move beyond the basics. Somehow I’ve still managed get a little work done on the side!

One of the most enjoyable ways I’ve been working is by proofreading content and reviewing resumes on Fiverr.com which has gone surprisingly well! It gives me a lot of flexibility to work while Calvin naps or when I get these crazy urges to get some work done after getting up with him at 2 am. I don’t know where I get it.

I’ve also been writing for KSL.com — I love that it’s even a possibility to write for a publication headquartered over 2,000 miles away. My most recent article is about Hannah, originally from Tennessee, who is starting her own line of children’s books to increase childhood literacy rates in underprivileged areas around the world. The first book features a story about life in New York City!

I’ve also written about plans for a women’s healthcare unit in Iraq and an amazing engineering project at BYU. When there is so much negativity in the world I feel so lucky to be writing about these wonderful people and the good they’re trying to accomplish!

Now for the most creative way I’ve been using my downtime — my Etsy shop, Peter & Alice. I’m designing custom watercolor decor using themes from classic children’s stories like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland…hence the name. Mr. Layland is always so supportive of my dreams and goes above and beyond to help me make them happen. This shop wouldn’t have opened without his help!

Calvin sure keeps me busy and some days I don’t even shower (welcome to reality) but he is so happy and sweet I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.


Yes, adding in these work-from-home outlets means even my “breaks” are busy but don’t worry, Mr. Layland and I still manage to get some relaxing time together.

So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Mr. Layland & Me + C

After six months of insanity (and not posting) I’ve finally found time to sit down and write a quick update about our lives and all the amazing things we’ve been up to! My life has drastically changed since February and while our date nights now include a third wheel all the changes have been for the better.

Meet the cutest date night stowaway in the world: Calvin.


Yes, he is always an angel. Just kidding. While he is super happy and has a smile that could melt the coldest heart he is still a baby and does cry and poop. There’s just no getting around those things. But somehow he still manages to look cute when he cries!


I fell in love with him the moment he was born.

He’s been a solid sleeper and eater since the start and now (8 weeks old) he sleeps 6-7 hours at night! I’m one well-rested Mom…and yet still feel the need for a nap every once in a while. I was nervous about feeling overwhelmed after having him but more often than not when I cry it’s because he’s too cute.

You can’t make this stuff up.


Mini Birth Story: JUNE 8, 2016: Early that morning Mr. Layland and I went for a walk (after I had been having contractions for 4 hours) and after about 30 minutes my water broke! We got checked in at the hospital around 7:30 am and I’ll tell you right now it’s nothing like the movies. At that point I was dilated to 4 cm and by midday had only made it to 5cm after getting an epidural so they started me on Pitocin. Over the next 8 hours I did what I could to rest and Mr. Layland did his best to not freak out and instead performed card tricks for me. That was a first.

Around 8 o’clock I was (finally) fully dilated and the doctor suggested a practice push to see where I was at. With that first push they could see little Calvin’s head so they called in my doctor, got all the equipment set up, half of my bed disappeared and next thing I know I was having a baby! Thirty minutes later Calvin James Layland was born and he’s been a bundle of smiling cuteness ever since.


Mr. Layland has been singing to and playing with Calvin from the start. It melts my heart to see them together. I know Calvin is in for some great times with his Dad! The votes on who he looks like seem to be pretty evenly divided but we can see characteristics of both of us in him so for the most part we think he just looks like himself 🙂


The other big change in our lives was our move to New Jersey which has been an amazing adventure full of new hobbies and new friends. The people here are so warm and everyone at church has offered help and friendship since day one. I’ve started up a new Etsy shop Peter & Alice and now that Calvin has more of a regular schedule I can dedicate more time to designing which makes me really excited.

Posts about date nights, recipes, and nursery decor to come!

So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me + C