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!

New Adventures

I’ve always been a big supporter of trying new things — new food, new places, new activities — mostly everything except new games because (let’s be honest) learning a new game is the bane of my existence. I’m working on it.

It’s been a while since I’ve taken on a new adventure, the last one was moving to Arizona in the summer of 2013. People do crazy things for love! Some of us move to The Surface of the Sun and fail miserably at not complaining too much about the heat 🙂

Now that it’s 2016 the desert just isn’t cutting it anymore and it’s time for a new adventure! Or what sometimes lately feels like ALL of the adventures.


ADVENTURE #1 We’re expecting a baby this summer! We are absolutely thrilled and it’s been a blast telling everyone, seeing our baby on ultrasounds and using gender announcements as an excuse to support Gigi’s Cupcakes. Like you really need an excuse. I’ve been so lucky to feel great so far! 6 months down, 3 to go! Our little guy is due in June and we’ve decided to name him Calvin. Of course, it’s taken us three years to decide on one girl name and one boy name so if our next child isn’t a girl we’re in serious trouble.

ADVENTURE #2 Given that our first adventure is going to take a lot of my time I’ve transitioned to full-time freelance writing. This will allow me a few months to build a client base and prep for a schedule change when Calvin comes. Toss in the dreamy potential of teaching piano once we get settled (and get a piano) and color me excited!


ADVENTURE #3 We’re moving! Whaaaaattt??? I know. Believe it or not we are relocating to New Jersey, also on the list of places I never thought I’d live. But forget all your Jersey stereotypes and think hiking, adorable neighborhoods & one-hour train rides to NYC! Mr. Layland got a new job with Wyndham so we’re packing up and making the trek to the East Coast! I think he’s most excited about seeing shows on Broadway.

I’m most excited about not being 9 months pregnant during an Arizona summer 🙂

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!


Natural Egg Dye

I was being really productive the other day, sifting through Pinterest, when I came across this idea of using natural ingredients to dye easter eggs. I’ve been getting into a more ‘whole foods’ lifestyle (minus the pizza I had the other night) so this really appealed to me. I also hate the smell of vinegar so I figured if I could manage to dye eggs without that smell, why not give it a go?

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Of course instead of vinegar our kitchen smelled like beets, cabbage, and cumin for 30 minutes 🙂 And there I was at the store not wanting to get an onion to make orange because I didn’t want the kitchen to smell bad. Now i know! Go big or go home!

I absolutely LOVE how they turned out! They’re so pretty and natural looking like the chickens were fed beets, cabbage, cumin, and grape juice and then they just came out like this!


Creating the dye was simple – the grape juice is straight but the others you just boil 1 c of water for every cup of beets or cabbage. As for the cumin I boiled about a cup of water with a tablespoon of cumin. Boil for 30 minutes then strain out the chunks. Pour into cups with a capful of white vinegar, drop in an egg and let it sit!

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Next year I might try doing a greater variety like this post by Your Homebased Mom or even letting some dye overnight for a more vibrant natural color. This year I just figured ain’t nobody got time for that!

Happy Easter!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Love You

I went through a phase of doing just about everything you can to invent something with a frame and here’s one of them! I actually really love it and thought it turned out great.

Mr. Layland loves games so this idea with the Scrabble letters had a certain personal meaningfulness to it too.

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I sealed the frame to the paper inside with super glue then secured the Scrabble letters in place. The red heart is made out of felt – it took me a while to get the right size. Once everything is in place and dry I filled the frame with resin.

It made certain parts of the Scrabble letters darker in some spots…not sure why but other than that the end result was perfect! It’s like glass formed around the letters which is pretty awesome. It took several hours to dry but it was worth it! I love this decoration because it’s super cute without being too mushy 🙂 Who doesn’t love that?!

With Valentine’s Day coming up in a few weeks this might be a little DIY project to consider customizing for your loved one!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Mr & Mrs

We moved the week before Christmas but because of the holidays and family being in town we weren’t home much. I’m finally getting around to all the final touches and this project is one of my favorites.

I saw something like this on Pinterest and absolutely loved it. I wanted a creative way to display our wedding pictures and thought the block letters added just the right touch!

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I got the block letters at Hobby Lobby and spray painted them black. We actually used them as decorations at our wedding reception so it’s fun to have it as a permanent part of our home.

There’s honestly not much to tell with this little project, just that there are a few more holes in the wall than there are pictures 🙂 One recommendation from Young House Love that makes hanging pictures a lot easier is to tape paper to the wall to mimic the arrangement you want. That way you can move the “pictures” around and play with it until you find the right set up. When your papers are in the right place you put the nail through the paper, tear it off, and hang the picture!

Genius idea. Sadly, I was a little too excited this morning and a little too lazy to actually do that. Maybe next time I’ll be more exact but for now it works for me!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Gold Dot Swaddle Blanket

Mr. Layland is from Arizona and because I love him so dearly – we live on the surface of the sun 🙂 Luckily, even the surface of the sun has it’s “cooler” times and I am very please to announce that those days are getting closer!

Despite the heat subsiding a little bit I wanted to try my hand at making this blanket that is designed for those not-so-cuddly times. This swaddle blanket is designed to be light and airy so it’s ideal for use as a cover-up, a swaddling blanket, or just to cover the stroller from the sun. If you’re looking for a thick, cozy quilt – this isn’t it.

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This fabric is bamboo cotton which is unbelievably soft. I’m so in love with it and the little boys I used to nanny love it too! I stamped on the gold dots using multi-purpose metallic paint and a unique circle stamp that I’m keeping a secret 🙂

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Typically my projects are for me but I don’t have a baby to swaddle – so if you have kids or want a unique baby shower gift you can buy them below. I’m selling the gold dot blankets for $15 and am open to suggestions for custom stamps and colors!

That’s life with Mr.Layland & Me!


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Mums the Word

Mums are also flowers 🙂 I bought SIX this weekend and I’m already in love with them. They’re such nice looking flowers and are easy to take care of, which is what I’m all about when it comes to plants.

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Look at them, don’t you feel happier already? They’re right outside my front door and I love looking at them when I leave for work – so much better than looking at my dead tomato plant. I also bought a rosemary plant!

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I love putting rosemary on anything Italian that I come up with in the kitchen so I’m super excited to grow my own! I failed with the tomatoes so I figured I try growing herbs – much easier. So far, so good! It’s been 4 days and I haven’t killed it yet!

My sister-in-law gave me this “Grow Your Own” kit for my birthday so I planted that as well and it’s coming along nicely. It’ll grow up to be a Grape Lily if I don’t kill it first 🙂 I only planted the one bulb so I hope this little green, leafy guy is what’s supposed to be growing in there.


I knew when I moved here that gardening wouldn’t be the same as it was when I was a kid but it’s been fun so far to figure out what works and what doesn’t work! I’ve also learned that it’s really important to pay attention to when certain plants should and shouldn’t be planted. Like tomatoes in July 🙂

Modern Dresser Makeover

Finally, our bedroom is box-free and even has a sense of style thanks to my new chair! I’ve been on the hunt for a solid, not-too-shabby dresser that I could re-do to complete the room and it’s been tough! After several weeks of shopping I finally found a dresser last week for $25 at Goodwill!


I wanted to get it all done in one day but I got home and realized that was crazy so I spaced it out over three days. The first day I bought the dresser and I went to Hobby Lobby to find drawer pulls. Hobby Lobby always has cute stuff so I figured picking out drawer pulls would be easy! Nope.


Even with all those options I wasn’t jazzed by any of them! I was so surprised – I thought for sure I would find something there! They were all cute but just…not quite right. I took a lap around the store and came back and still wasn’t in love with any of them so I ended up asking Mr. Layland for his feedback.

He had a completely different idea and I loved it so he actually picked out the drawer pulls 🙂 So glad he has opinions about little things like drawer pulls!


I have been under the impression that spray painting is a thousand times faster than painting by hand – it’s not. I got as far as the drawer fronts and the top of the dresser when I ran out of paint and ended up at Home Depot. Surprise, surprise I walked away with a can of fast-drying paint and a sponge brush!

The weirdest thing happened when I got home. I opened up my little can and it was blue! Yes – blue. For whatever reason I was beyond caring and slapped some of the blue paint on the side of the dresser to see what would happen. Amazingly enough it dried black! Not even kidding! Anyone know why?

I finished off my project a new believer in painting by hand 🙂 Our drawers are all organized and I love it!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Anthropologie Copy Cat Mug

Once upon a time when I lived in a land with normal weather I loved drinking hot chocolate and apple cider in the Fall 🙂 I have a thing for mugs so it all worked out perfectly. I’ve resisted doing this particular project because it’s still a thousand degrees outside and I’d rather do the Ice Bucket Challenge than drink hot chocolate.

But I finally gave in and made this mug.


I don’t know about you but sometimes when I’m shopping I come across a skirt or a painted rolling pin or a mug that I think “I could totally make this and save myself $100!” It happens a lot when I go to Anthropologie.

I went in there one time with Mr. Layland and we found these paper mache lemons meant to be arranged as a centerpiece. Not only could I do it but I bet our 5 year-old niece could have made those. So that’s when I finally thought, why not give it a go?


No, this is not a lovely lemon centerpiece — mostly because I don’t want a lemon centerpiece 🙂 I got the mug at Walmart for less than $2 and I got the Sharpies at Fry’s for $6.99. When your design is complete bake it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees and the color should withstand hand washing. This is the Arboretum set at Anthropologie…I’m considering completing my copy cat set so keep a look out for that in a couple of weeks.


Now I can put all my time and energy into making a million cheap and adorable mugs. If you get one for Christmas…just forget I put the price on here – it’s really from Anthropologie and it cost me a fortune!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Grey & Pink Owl

I made a snow monster a few weeks ago and decided she needed a friend. I love owls and wanted to make a cute big-head-little-body stuffed owl to send to my sister in Honduras. I posted about the teeny fox yesterday and realized I never posted about the grey & pink owl! So here we go 🙂


I think she is just the cutest little owl 🙂 I want to try another one with grey on the outside of the wings…I think that might look a little better. Again, I didn’t use a pattern for this so I just made it up as I went along.

I started from the top and worked my way down. I cut out all the felt for the head and face. I sewed little white circles on the eyes to add a little character then layered everything and sewed it together one step at a time! (I hot glued on the beak) I ended up leaving a hole in the neck so I could attach the body inside – I thought that would be a little more secure.

It ended up not working out so I closed it up and attached the body to the outside.

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With the head looking adorable, I moved on to make the little body. Same as the head – I cut out the shape, sewed it together and flipped it inside out. I filled it with stuffing and closed the top then sewed the body and neck together.

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I wanted the wings to be about as long as the body so when I cut them out I laid them next to the owl to make sure they were a  good length. I cut out little “v”s to add a feather look to the belly 🙂 And there you have it!

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I’d love to see other people try it out and do a few variations on the styling. If you give it a go – let me know! I’d love to see some pictures and get new ideas!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!