Wednesday, December 4, 2013

master bedroom inspiration in photos

after spending a lot of time on pinterest, looking for visual inspiration, i realized that i'm drawn to mostly neutral color combinations for the master bedroom. there's just something calm and relaxing to these rooms, nothing bright or startling. i imagine walking into these rooms would feel soothing and peaceful, and as a busy stay at home mom, that's just the kind of place i need to retreat to at the end of the day! 

our headboard is almost black, but our dresser is a rich chestnut color. i like the idea of mix matching the woods.

i've been attracted to black doors lately too. i think i want to paint all the doors in the house black! but starting with the master bedroom might ease my husband into it a little better. maybe.

along with soothing colors, i really want soothing textures. i'm loving how linen and faux fur look together. the softer the better. i just want to be able to cozy up in my bed.

 i love the idea of mixing frames as well.

and maybe a little self for my milk glass collection next to the bed.

hopefully my husband will think these are all good things too!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

documenting our current home: master bedroom

coming up with a plan for my new master bedroom has been kind of tough. we originally wanted to do a pallet wall, and now we don't. after that, i thought it would be fun to do dark walls, but now i don't. i'm currently playing with the idea of wallpaper. but that will probably fade as well. i don't know what my problem is! i have a strange suspicion that i am going through color anxiety. i don't know if that is a real thing, but it should be. as a first time home owner, i was initially excited to do fun, bold, eccentric things to the walls... but now i'm totally freaking out about it and feel like white is really safe. ugh. 

anyway. that has nothing to do with today's post. ok, maybe a little. i'm going to be sharing about our current master bedroom. i did a room tour 2 years ago and it seriously has not changed at all so i'm just going to re post the same pictures. so here you go. 

we bought the bed years and years ago at a furniture store down in San Diego and i'm not sure if it's still there. i loved it the minute i laid my eyes on it and i love it still. it's just classic and timeless. best money we ever spent. the nightstands are IKEA, as well as the lamps. and the curtains. and sheets. (none of which i can find to link.)

and the bookcase. we must like IKEA or something. heh. the quilt is Dwell Studio for Target from several years ago. i still love it but no longer want it to be the focal point of the room. 

i made some random "art" for the ridiculously huge walls, to try to fill them up or something, but the walls just look bigger and the canvases look really small. it might be good to take an interior design class on SCALE. for reals. 

the mirror is a yard sale score, a friend bought it for me for $5. i spray painted it yellow. it will not make the transfer to our new room, but it will get a nice shiny coat of white and be passed down to Little A's room. the floating vases are from Pottery Barn, from like an eternity ago. the dresser was a craigslist purchase that got a fresh coat of paint and new hardware. i already sold it and now my clothes are currently in boxes and laundry baskets on the floor. just the way i like it. kidding. sort of. 

we bought a mid-century dresser set from craigslist that will be our new bedroom set, but it is in the garage until it gets a little face lift. my husband doesn't want to move it up the stairs and then down again in a month, so my clothes will be getting packed up early! don't mind me if you see me in the same outfit for the next month!

and for reals. i said month. WE ARE MOVING IN A LITTLE MORE THAN A MONTH. i seriously can't wait. i've almost sold all i can of the things we aren't taking to the new house, and now it's time for serious business packing to happen. and in true to me fashion, all i want to do is sew. 

someone intervene. i'm so so excited to move but paralyzed at the laundry list of tasks that lie ahead. i have a problem. this happens every time. 

maybe i'll just sell it all and then i won't have to pack!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

coconut butter snack bites

since i've been primarily focusing on the house and it's been so long since i've posted a recipe, i figured it was high time i remedy that situation. 

i've been feeling the pressure to up the anti in the snack department since Big A snuck behind my back and convinced some poor kid to give him his Lunchables for almost a WHOLE WEEK at school (don't get me started...) i figured i needed to make something he could get excited about when he opened his lunch box. 

now, don't get me wrong, these lunch snacks are good and everything. but they aren't as exciting as anything that would have Red #40 in it, or comes in brightly colored packages with animals dressed like rappers on them, but i'm doing my best. and i'm super happy that big A is not hard to please. he loves these. but i am still on a mission to make paleo lunches fun! i think i need to whip up a batch of my favorite chicken nuggets and do another round of homemade gummies


1 c coconut butter
3/4 c chopped pecans
3/4 c chopped raisins
1 tsp vanilla
dash of cinnamon

pulse all ingredients in the food processor. scoop spoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheet. allow to chill until firm, no more than 30 minutes. store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. 

so, paleo mamas, what do you do to make your kid's school lunch fun! i need some ideas.

xo, tara

Friday, November 15, 2013

girl room inspiration: the cat's meow


i'm totally flipping out over this inspiration board. i want to move in right. now. and get started making this space so special for my sweet girl. i showed it to her and she immediately started telling me which prints should go next to each other. ha! 

i'm calling this room, "the cat's meow". i really wanted to do a cat theme for her room because, like i mentioned before, she is seriously the cat whisperer. anytime we go on a walk all the cats in the neighborhood come crawling out under garage doors and over fences and just lay at her feet. it's the craziest thing. 

unfortunately, we discovered that i am allergic to cats after getting one. i endured it for 6 months and could not handle the daily stuffy nose, itchy skin, and watery eyes. we gave our sweet kitty boy to my mother-in-law so we can still visit him and know he's well loved (she's a cat whisperer too, it's genetic). 

so, visualize this... the room is painted a lovely shade of pale pink. i'm thinking maybe doing a chair rail with black chalk board paint below, with the pink above? or just all pink? what do you think? chalk board would be fun, but messy with all the chalk dust. the color scheme will be white, black, pale pink, gray, and gold. anyway, i want it to have sort of a french cafe feel, i'm thinking the sophisticated mom cat from aristocats goes to grab a latte in Paris... ha!

1 // it ALL started with these wall decals. i follow Urban Walls on instagram and they posted a picture of these ridiculously cute cat decals and i immediately knew they would be the focal point of Little A's new room. i'm dying over how cute they are.

i know there are a lot of prints, but i just couldn't choose. they are all so cute. since there are so many you can click on the numbers below to find them all:

2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 9 // 10

8 // i saw these gold cafe string lights on pinterest, and even though they are way out of my budget i love them. i bet i could jimmy-rig my own with a can of gold spray paint. 

11 // pretty little mirror

12 // i've always wanted to give her a chandelier, and this one has the right price!

13 // i kind of want this clip-on desk lamp to be my bedside lamp. it's amazing.

14 // simple but graphic rug adds just the right mix of pattern.

15 // um, how adorable are these pink children's tabouret chairs? 

16 // playful but sophisticated jewelry box 

17 // i love this side table

18 // CAT PILLOW!!!! 

19 // this sequined pillow add a touch of glamor and texture

i'm so excited! i love this, it makes me so happy. it fills my heart with joy to make my things specific to my kids personality that i think will bring them joy too! 

xo, tara

Thursday, November 14, 2013

documenting our current home: daughter's room

we are nearing the end of my series about documenting our current home. i'm glad i took these pictures a while ago because things are slowly being sold and pretty soon i will start packing. after this room tour i will share our master bedroom, and then that's it. i will, of course, keep you updated on the rooms in progress after we move and how i decorate them. i just bought a vintage mid-century dresser for the master bedroom and i'm super excited about it. it's needs a little TLC, but it's in great condition and i snagged it for a super low price! i'll share about it later. let's get down to business, on to Little A's room!

my sweet baby girl's room gets the most light out of every room in the whole house, so these pictures show everything being very bright and vibrant... just like her little personality. the original inspiration for her room can be seen here. the paint color is Valspar Aqua Glow, and is WAY brighter than i thought it would be based on the pictures... but i still like it. unfortunately, this room remained unfinished. it is in desperate need of shelving and art, and just general decorations.

i think it has good pieces, most of which we will be taking to the new house. she had an identical children's school desk that Big A had, but i sold them both as a set to a homeschooling mom, so i feel like they went to a good home.

this is what you see as you enter her room. the beautiful play kitchen was a score from craigslist. i bought it from a french woman who said she brought it with her from France and it's solid wood. it sadly is not making the cut. my daughter didn't want to part with it, but she NEVER played with it and it took up precious wall space. i convinced her to part with it after i promised to replace it with a table for coloring. Little A loves to color and does so ALL DAY LONG. so i think it was a good negotiation.

i found her bed from craigslist as well, and sanded and painted the whole thing in one day. it was in the dead of summer on a super hot and dry day so the paint dried really fast. i'm pretty sure my sheer determination kept me from passing out from the heat! i had a vision and nothing was going to stop me. (i wonder where Little A's strong-willed personality comes from? huh...) the quilt is handmade and the sheets are from Target. i'm keeping both for her new room. i wouldn't mind grabbing another set of the sheets because she currently only has one. her bed also needs a box spring cover. there is also a mattress shoved under her bed with a navy blue sheet over it, and it's totally getting the cut. not cute at all. 

i love these little wooden boxes (i have no idea what they're called). they are garage sale finds. my favorite is the little house. i'm going to put the lighter one in Big A's room once we move, to keep all his Lego men in. the handkerchiefs we bought at a garage sale and i just tied them together to make a banner. it's cute but not making the cut for the new house. 

i'm on the fence about her dresser. i purchased it from Goodwill. i do love it's overall look, but was disappointed when i bought it and brought it home. i started sanding it to repaint it and discovered that it was not wood, but particle board. i get the feeling that it will not last as long as i hoped. but i put the time and love into it and it's hard to part with. 

the 6 framed tea towels are so cute, i bought them at the same yard sale as the handkerchiefs. i think i'm going with a totally different look for her room, so these will not be in her new room either. i think i paid $2 for the whole lot, so i don't feel that sad about it. 

when i asked Little A what color she wanted me to paint her new walls, she said pink and purple. my heart cringed a little, but i really want to give her a room she'll love... so i think we can compromise by just picking one. and as far as "non-theme" goes, i have a few ideas up my sleeve that may or may not involve cats (my daughter is the cat-whisperer, she gets it from her Nana!) ... you'll just have to see. 

xo, tara

other room tours can be found here:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

boy room inspiration: neutral & native

you guys. i'm pretty excited about this inspiration board. but before i can get into a long list of material objects i wish i owned... i want to just get some things straight. first off, i am a dreamer. i love to get lost in my own thoughts in the peace and quiet of my home and literally dream about all the what-ifs that make life so fun. i have big dreams, grand dreams, dreams that at times can be unattainable, but i also try to dream in practical ways so i don't get frustrated because they are too out of reach. i'm not afraid to dream. but there are times that i can get carried away by my dreaming. like the times i scour the internet for ideas on how to arrange my living room and it turns into a comparison-fest and covetousness over other people's things. and there are times when i lose my joy over the fact that, compared to those people, i have less. but the most important thing i want you all to know is that in my heart of hearts i am grateful. almost everything we own was given to us, and we are blessed. my house is full of beautiful things. but they are just things. nothing i ever put on my inspiration board will put me in financial debt because i HAVE to have it so badly. and i do keep my heart in check if i sense myself going to a dark place. i don't want to be caught up in consumerism, and that is something that i am trying to be so careful of, especially since we just bought a new house. i want to make sure i stay grateful, save my pennies, choose joy, and praise Jesus for all He has chosen to bless me with. so, sorry for the rant. it has just been on my heart. onto the fun stuff.

i know i said that i needed to pick something "theme-less" for Big A's new room, but he IS only 7. i can't give him a grown up man's room. i still want it to be fun and inspiring for him. i was really inspired by this inspiration board and it's color palette, also this room with bunk beds, and this one too! so i did my own spin on kind of a native american/adventure/exploring vibe. there's a lot going on because there are so many cute things out there on the interwebs and i couldn't really narrow it down. i love it all! 

the paint color is called Shenendoah Taupe by Benjamin Moore. 

1 // this bookshelf is my favorite, and it's totally on clearance right now. but it's on clearance because it's discontinued. World Market's stores do not speak to each other so i cannot have it shipped between stores. i would have to call every World Market in the US to track it down and then ask if they could ship it to me. aint nobody got time for that! so, i think i will attempt to make my own. (*insert nervous emoji face here.)

2 // arrows are totally a thing right now and i'm into it

3 // how cute is this Sasquatch print from Land of Nod?? it's always a possibility to run into Bigfoot if you're out on an adventure!

4 // an ode to my husband and his love for VW buses. i know he would love to explore the world in one!

5 // rustic inspired pendant light

6 // these orange graphic print sheets from Target will transition well over time as Big A grows

7 // love this EXPLORE print

8 // the inspiration for the quilt(s) i made.

9 // pillow lust

10 // i feel like i could make this pillow with canvas, feathers, and fabric paint, no? 

11 // two of these sconces, one for each bed on the bunks. 

12 // this medicine cabinet doesn't really tie in with the theme, unless you want to argue that safety comes first when you're exploring. also, i think it would make Big A flip his lid. having one on each bed would be a cute detail and also feed into his love-of-all-containers-with-compartments-that-lock. is that a thing? it needs to be.

13 //  buffalo's are totally in the wild. 

14 // RUG. it's pricey, and amazing. it makes me want to withdrawal funds from his college account just to buy it. KIDDING.

15 // cute little circular mirror to offset all the sharp corners. 

16 // woven wall hanging, inspired by this PIN.

17 // how cute is this little wall hanging planter? great way to add live plants to the room but not worry about them knocking over!

18 // Land of Nod is the best place for storage baskets. so many cute options, like this canvas bin. but i think i'm gonna try to make it cause i already have the fabric and it can't be too hard. 

19 // this one, however, i want to buy. because i love it and wasn't blessed with the gift of basket weaving. shoot.

so, what do you think? still too theme-ie? i just love looking for fun stuff for my kids room's, it's my fav. 

xo, tara

p.s. GRANDPARENTS: if you want to know what Big A needs/wants for Christmas, look no further. *wink

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

documenting our current home: our son's room

two things: 1) my house is a deep dark dungeon with awful lighting. which leads me to believe that the horrible pictures might not be ALL my fault! because 2) these pictures are horrible, again. 

on to the next edition of "documenting our current home". this time i'll be sharing my son's room. while we were able to give it a little more love and attention this last year by painting the walls, getting two pieces of art, and finishing one quilt; i still feel like it's in the "unfinished" stage. first of all, can we just recognize that the top bunk STILL does not have a quilt. that's right. it has officially taken me OVER A YEAR to finish that dang quilt. it's almost done, too! all i have to do is finish the quilting part, which i'm half way through, and sew the binding on. i mean, i am so close! i have got to get it done. 

and because these quilts have been such a major undertaking for me in the project department, i am basing his new room design around them. these bad-billies are here to stay, forever! Big A better have twins or something because they are never leaving the family! (do you like how i'm attached to everything in my house? geez. so much for building up your treasures in heaven. CONVICTED.) ha!

he currently has "The Avengers" sheet sets on both beds, but no longer loves them. he's moved on. he loves Star Wars now. well... i'm not falling for it buddy. kids change their mind on their current obsession more than i do about the furniture arrangement in my house. the two plaid blankets are vintage. the bunk beds are from IKEA and i still love them. they will be making the move to the new house. unfortunately, the cute school desk will not fit and i already sold it. the Thor and Captain America prints will sadly be retired as well. which is a huge bummer because i feel like i JUST got them. we need to go more neutral and "theme-less" in the next room. something that will transition easily over the years. 

these book bin/toy crates need to go too. they were one of my favorite DIY's after seeing them in a Serena & Lily catalog years ago. 

this dresser used to be my dad's when he was a little boy. i rescued it from his backyard and gave it new hardware before we moved to Fresno and i love it. i've considered stripping it and either repainting it or staining it. what do you think? or should i leave it as is? 

just some knick-knackies. the red suitcase holds his most treasured baby items. the jars are for his allowance; one to save, one to give, and one to spend. Big A's next room will be in desperate need of a better storage solution. we have a lot of decorations and smallish objects that need to be displayed, but no where to put them. this poor little dresser top is looking pretty cramped, and the only other surface is his desk, which is also pretty small and cramped. the desk ends up being a catch all for all his lego creations so they don't get broken in the toy box. i would love a large bookshelf or two to house his books, decorations, and which would also allow him to display all his finished lego works of art.

i was recently perusing ways to DIY your own bookshelf after the one i've been saving for was discontinued and i've been inspired by Ana White's website to make my own bookshelf for Big A's room. she makes it seem so easy! i love this one and this one. now, if anyone wants to get me a power drill for Christmas, i won't be mad at you! 

xo, tara

p.s. i haven't posted any recipes in a while, and i'm not sure if you care or not... but i just felt the need to tell you what i'm making for dinner. i'm adapting this chili recipe to be paleo by omitting the beans and then changing it up a little more by throwing it all into the crockpot. i'll let you know how it goes. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

coffee table round-up

hey everyone! happy halloween! i just sent the kids off to school and we are all excited to go trick-or-treating tonight. Big A is going to be a rockstar and little a is going to be Ariel on her wedding day. if you know my kids well, you know that these costumes suit them perfectly. 

and as excited as i am about the fun later tonight... today, my post has nothing to do with halloween. i've put together a round-up of coffee tables because there are so many great ones out there and i can't decide which one to pick. so i need your help. check them out!

ok, so as you are considering the options, keep in mind that i would like to eventually have a fauxdenza in the living room, under the TV... and also that my bar stools will be visible because the bar separates the living room from the kitchen and the stools will be on the living room side. let's continue:

1 // i love the modern and clean design of this round table and think it would pair well with the fauxdenza, but it's a little high in price for my budget.

2 // this would not be my first pick, but it could add a fun design element and spice things up a bit with it's worldly carvings. also more than i would want to spend on a table.

3 // i love this marble top, clean, and simple table. it is just so pretty and it could tie in with both the fauxdenza and stools. lots of $$$ though...

4 // this is MY number one pick. i am so inspired by the blog House Tweaking and how all her pieces flow so nicely together. i love her coffee table and this one is pretty close. and also it's the cheapest coffee table out of all of these.

5 // this one is my husbands number one pick because it's multifunctional. he likes how it looks, a little industrial, but also that it has a second shelf for storage. we could put some baskets under there. while i think it would look great with the stools, i'm worried about how it would look with the fauxdenza... what do you think? 

6 // this is my husband's second pick. it's a better price than #1 (more than $100 cheaper!) and has a similar look. i could get into it. 

7 // this one is closer to our budget, and would keep with the warm tones around the house. my husband thinks it looks too much like an accordion though. 

8 // ok, here's the deal. as is, i don't love this table. but this blog has a great DIY (hint: they whitewash the top!!) that WOULD make me love it. it's cheap and i think would look great with both the stools and fauxdenza (they have a fauxdenza, too! doesn't it look good next to it?). baskets underneath could help with extra storage and it would require minimal work to make it perfect. 

so, there you have it. my husband and i can't agree. some of them are perfect as is, but will it work with the overall look and tie all other pieces together? and some require a little extra help. then there's the issue of round vs. rectangular (my side tables are round... FYI)... 

which is your favorite?

xo, tara

p.s. sorry about all the times i wrote the word fauxdenza... it's a pretty obnoxious word, i was starting to annoy myself!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

documenting our current home: the living room & office

i have been a busy girl this week. i've got a fire under my seat to sell all the big ticket items that won't fit into the new house, and i have already sold a lot. i realized i hadn't taken pictures of the living room in it's current state before selling the coffee table and chaise lounge! oops! so you'll just have to visualize, and here is the link to my last living room update from almost two years ago. a few things have changed, but not much.

so let's get started in the entryway. 

this little cabinet is actually meant to be a changing table. i used it with both the kids. it was given to me by my sweet Uncle Bubba after my late Aunt Diana passed away. i'm not sure where she got it or how long she had it, or whether or not it is a family piece with any history, but my Aunt Diana was my dad's favorite sister and i grew up very close to her. i loved and adored spending time with her and my uncle when they would babysit us, they had all the Disney movies and a cabinet full of fun games. she gave the best hugs too! we lost her to cancer about 14 years ago. oh, how i miss her! so, needless to say, i am not getting rid of this piece. i don't have a place for it in the new house, but i think i'll squeeze it into my closet and try to use it as a vanity. i was also thinking it would be a great gift wrapping station, but i'm not sure where.

looking into the living room from the front door. i love my gallery wall. its about 95% finished. i never did trace the kids silhouettes onto those little oval wooden plaques... and i also made the geometric print as a filler for a much larger family print that was never printed and framed... but now that we're moving i don't think we will do another gallery wall. so sad. i'm just so nervous to put all those holes in the wall at our brand new house! (and i'm also kind of worried about what our landlord will think about all the holes we put into this rental! eek!) i have heard of 3M picture tape, so i'll give that a try. we're thinking of maybe doing a gallery wall in the stairway. we'll see. 

also, those two chairs are new to us! aren't they great? my dear friend Pam gave them to us, they were her mother's. they're the perfect shade of green to compliment all the aqua i have. and they're in perfect condition. i love them so much!

i'm on the hunt for a new coffee table. i'm saving up for it though, since i am spending all the money i made from selling furniture for my new dining room table. and those two little cubbies that hold the DVD storage boxes  on the right will not be coming into the new house with us. 

looking into the living room from the dining room. one of my biggest issues with the living room is all the wires hanging out and looking all messy. but it's been two years since we upgraded our TV to a flat screen and i still have yet to do anything about it. that's something i'm going to make sure to do in the new house, tame the wires!!! 

this sofa table is from IKEA. it stores all the kids craft supplies, puzzles, and games. this table will become the TV console in the new house. but not permanently. i have big plans to make a wall anchored fauxdenza like this one! i need to save my pennies first!

 also, i'm killing this plant. i think it hates me because i never water it. it's so sad. notice the chaise lounge is missing from the right corner. sold it. 

my little office area. i love it. and i love this desk. but sadly i am selling it. there's a little cut-out in the wall in a little lofty type area at the top of the stairs in the new house, but this desk is 2 inches too big to fit in it!!! WAHHH! we'll probably built simple built-ins into the little cut out for our computer at the new house.

also, more nasty wires. 

this house has a weird loft/ledge that serves no purpose... but looks funny with nothing on it, so i have been collecting filler decorations. its kind of nice now, draws your eye up and gives you something nice to look at. before i realized i was allergic to cats and had to give my sweet Ziggy kitty to my mother-in-law, he would go up there to escape the kids! haha!

looking toward the kitchen from the desk area. more lofty/ledge filler decor. a big chest and some vintage suitcases, a typewriter, a record box... i have no idea what i will do with all this stuff in the new house... but i'm not willing to part with it yet. it's what gives the house character. 

i again have to apologize for the bad pictures, i did my best! 

even though there is still a little over 2 months til we move, i am getting so excited! i'll be blogging about a coffee table round-up later this week. i have so many fun ideas in my head about paint colors, and possible doing a small pallet wall below the bar. i just can't contain myself. 

hope you're not sick of all my posts yet and all my crazy stories about my furniture. i love pieces with history.

xo, tara

Friday, October 25, 2013

a treasured table tall-tale

ok, it's not really a tall-tale, it's a true story. i just couldn't resist that alliteration. and it's also a confession. 

you guys. i found the second table of my dreams (the first being my current dining table). its a miraculous story of favor and delight. 

after making my inspiration board for the kitchen, i double checked with my husband (who was away for the weekend at the time so we couldn't discuss those items together) to make sure he liked all the things i picked out. and, for the most part, he did. his only concern was that the table was small, knowing how much i love to entertain. i assured him that i loved the table, it was in our price range, and i was ok with getting creative when we entertained... so he agreed. 

yesterday, we went on a field trip with little a's class and carpooled with my friend, Robin. while discussing our excitement for the new house, the issue of the small table was brought up. she is a totally Godly woman and was pushing back on my impractical love for the table. my husband was suggesting that i look for something that had the option of expanding, something with leaves. i felt my heart panic and get defensive. i mean, i loved the white tulip table i picked out, i had done a bunch of research finding one that was the color i wanted and in our price range. now i had to go BACK to work and look for something else... because there was NO WAY a white tulip table with leaves would ever be found, especially not in our price range. 

as we sat in the car discussing the need for a table with leaves, i found myself thinking, "are you going to submit? are you going to submit?".

i have to admit, i didn't want to. my heart was set on the white tulip table. i knew it would be impossible to find one with leaves. and i knew it definitely wouldn't be in our budget if we did. so i just promised to keep looking, but held on to my original plan in my heart. 


this morning i had some alone time in the car between parent/teacher conferences so i decided to call my best friend back home, Bekah. she updated me on the goings on in her life and i felt the need to confess. i've been feeling convicted by the amount of time searching for the perfect _________. (i have a long list of priorities & desires for the new house. plus, being such a dreamer i can get lost on the interwebs. i have the carpel tunnel to prove it.) i feel a conviction in my heart to not let this new house consume my heart. not let things consume my heart. not let people's opinion of my things consume my heart. i want to have a pure heart, a grateful heart, a heart that seeks the Lord first and above all things. to not let my Pinterest time replace my bible time. my heart is so easily swayed by all the pretty things! 


after parent/teacher conferences were over my husband gave me a little alone time to peruse some stores for a few items on our priority list without my children. it was wonderful. i decided to go to a local vintage thrift store that carries tons of retro furniture, looking mainly for bookshelves or a coffee table. i walked around the front part of the store and turned the corner to another section, and there it was. the heaven's parted and shone rays of sunshine down upon...


crazy. i know. but there was one problem. they would only sell it as a total set for $595.00. well, i don't have that kind of money and i really don't love the chairs. i asked several times if they would consider selling just the table and they said it was a firm set. well, this particular store has another rummage sale type store owned by the same owner. and he is usually at the rummage sale. so i decided to give it a shot. 

i show up at the rummage sale, and the owner is standing right behind the counter. i walked right up and got to business. i said, "i was just at your other store and i found the beautiful white tulip table with leaves and was wondering if you would be consider being flexible and selling me only the table?" we chatted back and forth, about why i didn't want the i love this's part of my vision... just bought a new home...i showed him my inspiration board...i'm crazy. 

so he said he to write down an offer on a piece of paper and he would consider it and tell me by tomorrow. i said great. 

then i proceeded to walk around the store, hunting for bookshelves and coffee tables. because i seriously did not believe he would sell me just the table. and especially not for the price i offered. 

then it happened. he found me in the store and said he would do it! i screamed and jumped and squealed! 

this baby will be mine by the end of the weekend! 

so i texted my friend Robin, who was in the car with us yesterday during the "great leaf debate" and told her, "the Lord hears all your prayers, even the silly ones about impossible tables to find in your budget". 

and the Lord told me, in the most loving and gentle way, even when i didn't deserve it, to trust in Him. 

thank you Jesus. 

xo, tara

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

documenting our current home: the kitchen & dining room

when i was little, i loved going to my Grandma Shirley's house and looking through the albums she kept of all the different houses she had and how she decorated them. i always thought it was peculiar that she took so many pictures of the same room all from different angles, but now i wish i had those albums. she passed away almost 10 years ago and i regret not snagging it when we divided up our most cherished possessions of hers. (i also regret not getting her album of Tom Selleck magazine clippings, but that's neither here nor there...) 

i've decided to take a cue from my grandma, who is greatly missed, and take pictures of our current home. after living in this rental for 3 years (the longest place my husband and i have ever lived in, and almost the longest house i've ever lived in my whole life!) i finally feel like it has a style and most of my to-do projects for it have been done. at least in the common areas, upstairs is a different story. but i digress. here are the pictures. i'll start with the kitchen & dining room. 

i do not claim to have any photography experience of any kind, so please forgive the crazy lighting, dark pictures, and blinding white spots! this is my beloved dining table. we purchased it at the Encinitas Street fair, and it is supposedly solid Rosewood imported from Africa. i knew it would be my forever table the moment i laid eyes on it. my desire is for it to be an heirloom, passed down to my kids and theirs. sadly, it will not fit in our new home, but i will be storing it in the garage for a few years until we are able to upgrade. the chairs are from IKEA (similar here). the map is a sheet of framed wrapping paper from Paper Source. (to see my future kitchen's inspiration board, click here.)

it's a little hard to see but that green picture on the wall is a chalkboard. it's where we keep our memory verse for the week. i'm always changing the design based on my current pinterest inspiration. i made the curtains from fabric purchased at a store here in Fresno called Home Fabrics. i just sewed all the way around the edges and clipped them with drapery clips. 

view into the kitchen. i'm not wildly in love with this kitchen by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a good size and has lots of counter space for all the cooking i do. we will still have a large bar area for stools and plenty of counter space in the new house, so i'm pretty excited about that. we'll also have granite counter tops, which makes me happy because i loath grout. 

i purchased the stools from Craigslist, but you can find similar ones here

i would love to spray paint them a fun bright color like these ones at The Butcher's Daughter in New York, but i have have a lot of bright "pops" of color all over the house and i fear it will soon look like a circus up in here. what do you think? what color would you paint them? i love them in this yellow!

last but not least, my favorite part of my kitchen, the bay window. i'm a plant murderer, so they all look sad and droopy, but i love having luscious green plants too look at while i'm doing dishes. and no, it doesn't always look like a dark dungeon in my kitchen, it's just this bad photographer's lack of lighting wisdom. 

so there you have it. it's been documented. in it's most clean state. it's nothing special, but it gets the job done and i've managed to add little personal touches here and there. now i can't wait to sell half of it and pack the other half! 

xo, tara

Saturday, October 19, 2013

kitchen inspiration

i have some really exciting news to share, and if you follow me on instagram, you already know what it is!

some of you may remember the almost house and all my dreams for it from two years ago... a few days away from closing escrow we backed out of our dream home. we wanted to make sure that our finances were in order before committing to home ownership. well, another opportunity to buy a home has come to us and we are taking it! we put the down payment and signed all the paperwork yesterday! i'm so excited! this new house will be a downsize for us, but we are excited about it. we're losing about 300 square feet and we will feel it most in the dining room area. in fact, there is no dining room. we will need a small 4 person round table to fit into the kitchen. until we can upgrade a few years from now i will be storing my beautiful 8 person table in the garage.

well, i'm back to dreaming and since i am such a high dreamer, an inspiration board was necessary. here is my vision for my smaller but still stylish and highly functional kitchen & dining space.

after seeing this inspiration board i completely fell in love and felt like it was just "ME". i call it modern rustic. what would you call it? so here is my own spin on it, i hope my husband feels the same! haha.

1//i just love the colors in this print, i think it will pick up some of the colors in the curtains for the living room, which is REALLY close by 
2//getting the most out of the drawer and cabinet space will be high priority, and i would love to also make it pretty with this bamboo drawer organizer
3//another print from the same designer, love it
4//i think 2 of these pendant lights would e pricey but also look amazing over the bar separating the living room and kitchen
5//and this pendant light would be just as amazing over the dining table
6//the turkish tea towels are all cotton and apparently super soft
7//these knit bags would make a fun twist on a fruit bowl
8//rustic cutlery with wood details ties in all the warm tones
9//4 faux sheep skin rugs at such a good price draped over the dining chairs would be so comfy
10//there really isn't anywhere to store our large plastic (read: ugly) trash cans, so i wouldn't mind this pretty tin one being in full view
11//i'm totally addicted to enamel cookware right now, and West Elm has such a pretty line right now
12//cabinet space will be pushed to it's limits so a little extra storage couldn't hurt
13//this cowhide rug would be a splurge, but i really good one!
14//more enamel ware, LOVE!
15//i have loved these chairs for a long time!
16//this is such a good price for a tulip table
17//this rifle paper print would look lovely with the other two

so what do you think? what color should the walls be? i love bold colors but i have a lot of bold accents (like aqua and emerald green)... so many things to consider when you can actually make big changes in your own home! i'm sure you'll being seeing more inspiration boards in the weeks to come. 

any since my birthday is coming up in less than two weeks (and Christmas!!) you can consider this my wish list. wink. 

xo, tara

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thanksgiving Inspired Chicken Salad

pumpkin spice latte has been out for several weeks. 

plaid throws and faux apple basket fillers line isles of target. 

Costco is now carrying Chamba Chai (at least the one in San Diego is). 

Christmas decorations are already popping up. wait, what? 

this means its fall. and even though the first day of fall isn't technically for 6 more days (September 22nd) and i'm still wearing cut off jean shorts because it's still in the high 90's here in Fresno... i am so excited!!!! 

i'm so ready for summer to be over and the air to get that sweet crisp to it. i can't wait to see the trees on my street turn all shades of orange and yellow. and most of all, i can't wait for Thanksgiving. it's my favorite holiday. i love everything about it. everything. 

i had some leftover roasted chicken that i wanted to make for lunch and i stumbled upon this yummy looking recipe, but didn't have some of the ingredients, so i thought i would experiment and ended up coming up with a Thanksgiving inspired chicken salad. it would be great with leftover turkey after the big day too! 

here it is:

{Thanksgiving Inspired Chicken Salad}

2 c chopped roasted chicken
1/4 c sugar free dried cranberries
1/4 c chopped green onions
1/4 c chopped pecans
1/4 c mayo or coconut cream (this creamy part at top of canned coconut milk)
salt & pepper to taste

mix it all up and enjoy! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

my Whole30 experience

hello everyone! i am so pumped up right now! my husband and i just finished our first Whole30, yesterday! i wanted to share our experience (mostly mine, since i don't want to speak too much for him). if you don't know what Whole30 is, i urge you to go to their website and devour it! it will change your life! we loved it so much we are going to move forward keeping most of the principles.

before starting Whole30 we ate a paleo diet for about 2 years. i'd say we stuck to an 80/20 clean eating system... 80% paleo 20% cheats. i will say that when we cheated, we cheated good (think fettuccine alfredo, doughnuts, rustic scones, sandwiches... we love our fluffy breaded goods.) we also ate a bunch of paleo baked goods. i keep them in the house for the kids and since they were "healthy" i didn't see a reason to resist. while feeling pretty good most of the time, at least compared to our eating habits pre-paleo, we still had crazy food addictions and really wanted to give ourselves an extra push to breaking those bad habits.

i also had some personal reasons/goals to work toward. back in the spring i developed a small patch of rosacea on my cheek. i really wanted to see if cutting out all possible food irritants would minimize the breakouts. i also have been wanting to tone up and slim down my stomach area. i've had bloating and was working on some good muffin top handles. (calm down haters, i may be thin but i wasn't in shape and toned up!)

so, we had a big vacation and celebrated our 10 year anniversary in San Fransisco... indulging in clam chowder and bread bowls, doughnuts from Peir 39, macarons, pasta!!!

then it was time to get started! i used these meal planning sheets to keep track of my weekly menu and what i needed from the store. most of the lunches i post here are meant for my kids lunch boxes (we kept them as close to whole30 as possible) and most of what my husband and i ate for lunch was protein leftovers from dinner, served over salad. here are my meals plan for the 30 days.

caveman custard
this was the week before school started so lunches were just thrown together with leftovers.
day 1: caveman custard w/ berries & sausage
fajita salad
pulled garlic chicken w/ red pepper sauce over spaghetti squash

day 2: bacon & sweet potato hash w/ fried eggs
grilled chicken salad w/ veggies
beef stir fry (recipe from Practical Paleo cookbook)

day 3: sweet potato pancakes & bacon
chicken salad w/ hard boiled egg
chicken adobo (sub rice vinegar for apple cider vinegar & sub soy sauce for coconut aminos) w/ cilantro cauli-rice (from Practical Paleo cookbook)

day 4: sausage spinach scramble
chicken over lettuce
carnitas "tacos" (use lettuce instead of tortillas)

day 5: crustless quiche
carnitas salad
italian sausage sauce (i sub italian sausage for beef and add chopped zucchini) over spaghetti squash

day 6: sausages with applesauce & slivered almonds
leftover spaghetti
beef koftas with cucumber salad & avo-ziki sauce (recipe in Practical Paleo cookbook)

day 7: crepes for the kids, fried eggs over green veggie saute
leftovers for lunch
grilled lemon chicken w/ roasted broccoli

overview: this first week was so rough. if i hadn't read all over the internet that it gets better, i would have seriously given up. the first day i had an excruciating headache (this was Sunday, the day my husband leads worship at 4 church services and is gone all day). there was no relief from that headache for the next 4 days. i experienced flu like symptoms... aching body all over, down to the bone. i couldn't sleep at night because my body was in so much pain. i couldn't sleep in the daytime because i was eating so well i had too much energy. i seriously felt like i was coming off of heroin. on the second day for my husband, he had a headache so bad he vomited all night long. it was so hard to keep going. but we made it through and by day 5 or 6 it all fell into place and i felt like a new person. tons of energy, sleeping better than i have in like 20 years, not dealing with blood sugar spikes or drops (i'm hypoglycemic), stabilized mood and hunger, no bloating.

for snacks, we mainly ate raw cut veggies & olives, handfuls of cashews with shredded unsweetened coconut, and applesauce.

this week school starts so lunches will be more kids focused. we still ate mostly leftovers and salads.
day 8: apple, sweet potato & pecan hash w/ eggs
meat rolls with cut raw veggies & olives
summer coq au vin (this recipe is similar to the one i've been making. sub the wine for broth and sub the flour for arrowroot flour)

day 9: crustless quiche w/ fruit salad
chicken nuggets w/ veggies & homemade jello
mustard chicken (the actual recipe is in the Practical Paleo cookbook, but this is close) w/ roasted acorn squash & coconut butter

day 10: leftover quiche & fruit
chicken salad w/ apple slices, veggies & brownie bites
homemade asian chicken soup

day 11: caveman custard w/ berries & sausage
pepperoni w/ olives, veggies, grapes,  & custard
italian sausage sauce (i sub italian sausage for beef and add chopped zucchini) w/ spaghetti squash

day 12: egg & bacon cups w/ fruit
paleo waffles w/ hard boiled egg & sausage, fruit
chicken cacciatore over spaghetti squash

day 13: scrambled eggs w/ veggies & sausage
meat rolls w/ avocado, olives, jello, & veggies

day 14: veggie omelets
leftovers for lunch
beef koftas with cucumber salad & avo-ziki sauce (recipe in Practical Paleo cookbook)

overview: you guys, i started doing crossfit and yoga or pilates during the first week of Whole30... and i have to warn you... by this point in the game i sharted myself twice #TMI #sorrynotsorry. hey, i'm just being honest with my personal experience... and some people will want to know what to expect. i'm pretty sure all the veggies is what did it... but it was not fun. i listened to this podcast and started seeing firmer stools after adding more cruciferous veggies to our meals. also, things start changing, i noticed my body responding faster to the workouts, and my recovery was a lot faster post work outs.

roasted sweet potato w/ coconut butter, cinnamon & raisins
also, my pre workout meal (every time, because i am a creature of habit) was a hard boiled egg and half an avocado. my post workout snack was a roasted sweet potato with coconut butter, cinnamon, & raisins. i also gave this to my kids before and after their long gymnastics workout.

fried egg over green veggie hash
day 15: paleo waffles for the kids, fried egg over green veggie hash for us
leftovers for lunch
carnitas "tacos" (sub lettuce for tortillas)

day 16: bacon spinach crustless quiche
meat rolls w/ fruit & veggies
thanksgiving meatballs w/ caulimash & salad

day 17: leftover quiche w/ fruit
leftover meatballs & veggie skewers w/ apple slices and sunflower seed butter
chicken & sausage gumbo (sub flour for arrowroot flour) w/ sweet potato mash

day 18: caveman custard w/ berries & sausage
omelet roll up w/ paleo waffle & fruit
chicken wings  (recipe in Practical Paleo cookbook) w/ roasted broccoli

day 19: sweet potato hash w/ eggs
leftover wings w/ veggies & dip
roast pork w/ apricots (sub flour for arrowroot flour & canola oil for clarified butter) & caulimash

day 20: veggie & sausage scramble
sunflower butter & jelly sandwich w/ veggies
guac burgers w/ sweet potato fries

day 21: veggie omelets w/ fruit salad
leftovers for lunch
spiced meatballs w/ fig compote (recipe in Practical Paleo cookbook) & roasted acorn squash w/ coconut butter & raisins

homemade fruit gummies
overview: we are feeling amazing by this point with discussions of never going back to dairy, caffeine, and even going for Whole90!!! haha! it is a lot of cooking (and cleaning... i've mentioned several times that i need a maid!) but we are hardly eating out at all so we're saving money there. you do have to be really prepared, so i spend one day on the weekend prepping a couple things. i roast a couple sweet potatoes for my post workout snack, i hard boil a dozen eggs, i make my clarified butter, homemade almond butter, a fun treat for the kids lunch like fruit gummies or homemade jello, homemade larabars, and about twice a week i make my own almond/cashew milk. this keeps the busy week running smoothly and i'm not caught without the necessities.

omelet roll up 
day 22: crepes for the kids, fried egg over green veggie hash for us
leftovers for lunch
mustard chicken over spaghetti squash

day 23: egg & bacon cups w/ fruit
omelet roll up w/ paleo waffle & fruit
guac burgers w/ sweet potato fries

day 24:  fried egg over green veggie hash
sausage & apple spears w/ cashew butter & veggies
summer coq au vin (this recipe is similar to the one i've been making. sub the wine for broth and sub the flour for arrowroot flour)

day 25: caveman custard w/ berries & sausage
chicken salad w/ ants off the log, custard
italian sausage sauce (i sub italian sausage with beef and add chopped zucchini) w/ spaghetti squash

day 26: leek & swiss chard crustless quiche w/ fruit
sunflower butter & banana sandwich w/ veggies
chicken cacciatore over spaghetti squash

day 27: leftover quiche w/ fruit
egg salad w/ olives & veggies
lemon & artichoke chicken (in Practical Paleo cookbook) w/ caulimash

day 28: veggie omelets w/ fruit
leftovers for lunch
broccoli chowder w/ savory chicken thighs

overview: two more days to go and feeling so good. we are seriously going to keep going. the only craving i'm having at this point are for a paleo treat (i really want to break my Whole30 with this!) and some wine. i think i'll try some hard apple cider though.

day 29: egg & bacon cups w/ fruit
omelet roll up w/ paleo waffle & fruit
beef koftas with cucumber salad & avo-ziki sauce (recipe in Practical Paleo cookbook)

day 30:  bacon & sweet potato hash w/ eggs
chicken nuggets w/ veggies & ants off the log
guac burgers w/ roasted broccoli & sweet potato fries

ok.... so here are my top 3 tips:

2. prep your meals or snacks for the week ahead.
3. don't give up, it gets better. you won't die.

ok, one more

4. don't be afraid to find your favorite recipes and put them into regular rotations. i obviously did this here. as fun as it is to experiment with new dishes, you don't want to risk a kitchen fail and be left with only cashews for dinner.

shootdang! i just cant emphasize enough how great we feel. sleep is so so good now. that is a HUGE deal. we've had bad sleep for years! we're on our 4th or 5th mattress in 10 years of marriage. my rosacea is not totally cleared up but its almost unnoticeable. i've read that it takes a while so i'm gonna be patient with that. i've only lost about 5 lbs., but my body shape has changed a lot and so has my husband's. my sides are smaller and my stomach is almost flat. TONS of energy all day, even with no caffeine. also, when all is said and done, i sharted a total of 4 times. i'm not proud of it. but it happened and i handled it. so. there's THAT. that's the one downside, besides 5 excruciating days of coming off caffeine/sugar/carbs.

guys, go do this, you will be so glad you did.