The Shelf That Makes My Inner #joannagaines Smile

I have been a longtime and loyal customer of Minted – from their beautiful artistic cards and announcements to their colorful prints. When I saw that they were expanding to include their newest and long awaited art shelves I just had to get my hands on one for Greyson’s nursery. I personally love the concept of wall shelving because, as many of you know, my husband and I are still in a one bedroom apartment with a new baby. It’s important that we continue to live minimally while in this home and wall shelving helps us create purposeful and multi-use space on our walls. So, which one stole my little heart?

The Little Artist Shelf is a piece that Greyson can grow into as it not only serves as a shelf for frames to display, it is also designed to showcase your child’s art with an assortment of art clips that hang below. For our 4” shelf we have 14 clips in which to hang his future artwork. At the moment I have my Instagram prints of Philip and I hanging since Greyson loves to look at them while we change his diaper. Once this boy can put crayons to paper you’ll bet to see them up and hanging!

The other great thing about wall shelves is that you can use them for many things: to display art, books, or simply utilitarian by getting items off a counter space. I love using mine to display our favorite baby books and to keep his most used products within reach such as his baby lotion, diaper cream, and Orajel. Also, the white wash was a perfect color shelf for his nursery since we went with a woodland theme as it has a great earthy-white tone. I am also very happy with the quality of the shelf; it’s made of sturdy premium wood, is durable, and the white wash finish looked homemade. So if you’re looking for a rustic piece for your nursery or kids room I couldn’t recommend this shelf enough!

Although the Little Artist Shelf is my personal favorite, this shelf is one of many that Minted has just released. There are five other art shelves, The Artful Shelf series, that come in premium wood, herringbone or French farmhouse details, and even copper!

Image Source: Minted

Are you just in love with the Little Artist Shelf that includes art clips as much as I am? Which art shelf is your favorite?

For more nursery inspiration be sure to check out Minted’s children’s art prints for the perfect print to add to any of these wall shelves. I mean…my heart just skipped a beat with this one…

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and affiliate links are used. I was provided the Little Artist Shelf by Minted in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

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Open Letters August

Today I am out and about with my in-laws, but I am stopping by quickly to share with you all the open letters for August! I’m sad that this will be the last linkup that Julie will be hosting, but I am thankful for the opportunity to co-host with her this month and for the connections I’ve been able to make through the linkup!

Dear Teachers Pay Teachers,

I am grateful to you for helping me provide an income for my family through creating and sharing my teacher resources. Now that I’m staying home I find it important to still contribute, even though it may be in a small way, other than raising Greyson (even though it’s been a pretty great gig). I love expressing my creativity through these products and it’s a small way I can maintain my passions for teaching while out of the classroom.

Dear small business owners,

Women like Julie and my sister-in-law Jenny are an inspiration to watch as they entered into motherhood, decided to stay home to raise their families, and still managed to start something new for themselves. I am in awe of the hard work, determination, passion, and skill that drives their businesses and am excited for what the future holds for them. It can be scary to start something new, turn it into a business, and take that first leap and I am honored to watch it unfold and grow. Once I find myself with some disposable income I’m excited to purchase something from their respective Etsy shops!

Dear church community,

When we first moved here to CA and away from my home church and women’s small group I was nervous about having to start all over again with finding the right church and community in which to belong. Thankfully a dear friend and neighbor was carrying her Bible one morning tucked under her arm and I happened to notice. I asked her which church she attended and it was then she invited my husband and I for Easter services. I fell in love and we have been going ever since. I am grateful for the community Ventura Missionary Church has provided for me and my family, which now includes Greyson. I’m looking forward to getting him dedicated this Sunday and beginning the journey into raising him according to His teachings for our lives.

Thanks again, Julie for having me as a co-host and hosting this lovely linkup these last few months!

Open Letters June

Open Letters May

Now onto the linkup! Be sure to link up your very own letters!

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Foodie Finds | Aug 24

Strozzapreti with Oxtail Ragu and Horseradish Crumbs | Cottage Pie | Spaghetti Carbonara

Happy hump-day everyone and welcome to the second week of my new Foodie Finds series where I share with you my favorite food blogs that inspire my kitchen each week and the recipes you can find there! I just love food and over the years I’ve had a lot of fun honing my skills in the kitchen right along next to my husband (it’s kind of our thing). So, get comfy and I hope you find some inspiration from these great fellow foodies!


Bon Appetit Magazine – I love this magazine subscription because not only are there great recipe ideas, but some pretty great articles and featured restaurants. One of my favorite recipes from BA that we have tried more than once is this recipe for Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwiches and Strozzapreti with Oxtail Ragu and Horseradish Crumbs (photo above). The oxtail just falls off the bone and the savory broth will have you looking for french bread to soak it up with.

Gimme Some Oven – Ali is the food blog goddess over at Gimme Some Oven and you can pretty much find anything of hers all over Pinterest. You could seriously blindly click somewhere on her blog and find a new and delicious recipe to try. Some of my personal favorites include Baked Eggplant Parmesan, White Chicken Enchilada Casserole, and I just stumbled upon this Crab and Avocado Enchilada recipe that has me watering at the mouth.

Little Broken – Katya has a great food blog and if you’re looking for a delicious (and easy to prepare) weeknight fish recipe this Artichoke and Spinach Roasted Salmon is filling and the cream cheese with the artichokes and fresh spinach makes the topping so creamy and delicious. Salmon is an easy fish to cook and I am always looking for new ways to prepare it. Oh, and these Coconut Peach Muffins look absolutely divine and if you’re looking for a recap of her most popular recipes of 2015 check out her list here.

Dinner, Then Dessert – Sabrina is a private cook and fellow foodie who is behind the screen at Dinner, Then Dessert. Her Halal Cart Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice is perfect for scratching that middle eastern cuisine itch – especially since we don’t have a restaurant near us. It was surprisingly easy to do and I love a good sauce and the Greek yogurt based sauce is so yummy I could put it on anything. And before you leave her page you should check out her awesome index for copycat recipes. I’m most looking forward to try her Panda Express Shanghai Angus Steak.

Have you tried any recipes from these food blogs? Which are your favorite?

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Why I’m Not Voting This Year

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Every four years it is known as our American duty to vote. Since turning 18 I have participated by voting in three presidential elections, two of which the candidate that I voted for won the White House. I remember feeling pride in placing my votes because I felt like it was something that women and others have fought so hard for the right to do. I felt as though my vote really counted and I voted for someone who best represented my views, values, and could be the best representation not only for the people like myself, but of America on the global front.

One day while my boyfriend (then eventual husband) and I were walking around D.C. on our way to lunch I remember being shocked to hear that he didn’t vote – even as an active service member. It was the election year between Obama’s second term and Romney and I spouted the same judgmental phrases that any voter would say to non-voters, like ‘if you don’t vote you can’t complain’ or even ‘it’s your Constitutional right to vote!’ But, it took almost four years since that conversation for me to realize he was onto something.

This year I saw a much different side to our government.

This year I saw Congress fail the very people they’re supposed to represent. Gun regulation bills being shot down (no pun intended) even though we, the people, have made a very public declaration that it’s what we want and need. How many instances of mass shootings do we need to finally get this issue under control? How many lives lost? Or the fact that Republicans and Democrats can’t seem to work together to pass laws in Congress that are supposed to better our nation. Instead they spend a lot of time blocking each other and can’t seem to agree on anything. Agendas are being pushed, lobbyists are pumping money to buy votes, and there’s a reason House of Cards is such a great show – I mean, look at all of the inspiration the writers have!

This year I saw a reality TV host and rich businessman become the GOPs nominee for this years presidential election. I also saw a woman for the first time clinch the Democratic nomination, a historical milestone for our country (although decades behind many other countries), but overshadowed by her alleged Benghazi errors. I see a country divided and for the first time I can’t justify a vote for either one of the candidates in good conscience – so, this year I’ve decided that I’m not going to vote.

This decision is a very conscious and researched choice and by no means do I mean to offend others and their stances on this subject. However, here are a few of my opinions about the matter – in hopes that it stirs conversation rather than ignorance.

A little history on voting.
Our system has an Electoral College who decide who the president will be regardless of the popular vote in November. When you vote on election day you are actually voting for the candidate’s electors from your state who will in turn promise to vote for the candidate you selected. The system was put in place to be a checks and balances of sorts of both the government and the common people who are placing their votes. So, at the end of the day I know I’m not directly voting for the candidate of my choice; I’m voting for someone else I’ve never heard of to promise me that they’ll uphold my vote.

It’s my right to not vote.
Just as I have the right to vote, I also have the right to not vote. I shouldn’t be ostracized for making this personal decision to not participate in an election where I can’t wholeheartedly support the person I place my vote for.

I’m not disrespecting our military.
Again, service members are fighting for our freedoms, one of which include making the conscious choice to vote or to not vote.

I’m not voting for ‘a lesser of two evils’.
I’m sorry, but this whole idea about voting for someone who you think is a lesser of two evils still means evil wins. Instead, by opting out of this election I can at least know that I had no part in electing someone that most American’s despise and believe would fail them as their Commander In Chief.

I’m not active in politics.
I don’t watch endless hours of MSNBC, CNN, Fox News or any other news networks. I don’t even have cable. I don’t believe the news we see on the TV is a reliable source for what’s going on in the world let alone here on the home-front. So with this being said, how could I possibly make a truly informed decision about who our next president should be? It says something when the majority of our eligible voting population is getting their ‘news’ from Buzzfeed or late night talk shows attempting to inform, but sway, their audiences…*ahem, Chelsea Handler*.

*I actually love Chelsea’s new show on Netflix even though it’s very political heavy. But, even she says that this year it’s like voting for the lesser of two evils (see my stance above).

I don’t complain anyways.
Lastly, the ‘if you don’t vote you can’t complain’ phrase I’ve even muttered to my husband so many years ago is a common reoccurring notion. Too bad people are going to complain regardless of who is elected and I for one can at least know I had no part in it and walk away with a clear conscience. There’s no way to please everyone and despite who wins you will still see a division within our country.

Regardless of your political alliances, are you voting this year? What are your thoughts on our current election year?

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