Still looking for a mom-appropriate swimsuit? Try one of these

Finding a good swimsuit that fits well, is flattering and mom-appropriate can be a little tricky.

Here’s the thing: I don’t know many women (or any at all?) who feel awesome in a swimsuit. We all have our insecurities. We all have our perceived flaws. We all wish we ate fewer donuts and spent more time working out months ago to prepare for baring so much skin in the summertime.

And yet, here we are with the sun out and the beach/pool/patio calling our swimsuit-clad names.

We have a choice: stay comfortably covered and out of the water or put on a swimsuit and just go with it. I’m picking the latter.

P.S. have you seen this hilarious swimsuit video? So funny and so true.

For this summer, I found two new swimsuits that are surprisingly flattering, comfortable and modest (no cheeky bums or cutout waists for this pale-skinned, soft-tummied mama … I feel best in more coverage).

Perhaps you’ve already found your suits for this summer, but if you’re still hunting for a mom-appropriate swimsuit, may I suggest one of these:


I know, it looks a little maternity in this flat photo, but look how cute it is on the model:

It’s a fun change from the typical tankini top and perfect if you have a little extra fluff in your middle that you’d rather not reveal. I paired mine with the shirred shorts, and I’ll mix and match with other regular swim bottoms I have to switch it up.


I have this suit in blue that I bought from Anthropologie two years ago (see it in this post) but I love this version from Jessica Rey Swimwear so much more. The material is thicker (which holds everything in better) and the cups are lined (a definite plus for me). The suit comes in a few different colors/patterns – I just happen to adore this emerald green.

Look how pretty the model looks in it:

To top off the swimsuit look, I love a lightweight linen coverup to throw on (this one is perfect – and on sale!) and a big hat to keep shade on my face.

Swimsuit shopping can be not-so-fun, but hopefully these suggestions will help!

Have you found a suit this summer that you’re loving? Please share …

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Easy Poppyseed Bread recipe + free illustrated recipe card

This poppy seed bread has been a favorite from first bite.

Vivian, my best friend’s mom (and mentor in every sense of the word) makes this every christmas to give to neighbors, teachers and friends. Years ago she graciously passed on the recipe to me and it is one of my go-to’s for sharable treats as well.

On Father’s day, all four of our kids were baptized and we celebrated afterward with brunch at our house. I do love a good brunch and appreciate homemade breads, scones, muffins and pastries just about as much as anything. I made a few loaves of this poppy seed bread for our family brunch. It was a hit!.

This week, I baked a few more mini loaves for the kids (and because sometimes I just want to bake).  The bread is so simple to make and delicious to eat that I though I’d share Vivian’s recipe with you, too.


4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1 boxed white cake mix
1 box coconut pudding
1 cup hot water
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix eggs and oil. Add cake mix and pudding. Stir to combined. Slowly add in hot water. Add coconut, nuts and poppy seeds.
Bake in loaf pan for 45-55 minutes or 4-5 mini loaf pans for 40-50 minutes.

I have a little series of recipe illustrations I’ve been creating and did a new one for this poppy seed bread (I’m pretty smitten with that cake mix box!).

You can find this recipe and the others (blueberry muffins, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bread) from THE ARCHIVE, our library of all the best free prints, templates, fonts and more. There are two 5×7 cards per sheet, so print them out, trim around the dotted lines and share with a friend (maybe with a batch of freshly baked bread?!).


If you are curious about how I make these illustrations, I created this video showing the process. Also, if you want to learn how to illustrate like this on your own, take my graphic design classes! I love teaching and you’ll be so proud of what you can create.



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A quick photo tour of the yard + porch

We have now been in our house for all four seasons. As we have been working on the inside of the house, we have done very little to the exterior. I think part of us wanted to wait until we experienced the house in each season – to see how the sun comes through the trees before we thin them, to find out what plants pop up before we move things around, to live in the yard and front porch and back patio before we decide how to update them.

Now that summer is here, the plants have grown in, trees are fully leafed out and the weather is perfect for outdoor living, we’re getting excited to spend more time outside and make a few changes.

To be completely fair, the original owners of the house passed on a pretty beautiful place. The house is darling and landscape is really nice. Most of the plants and trees are 15-20 years old, which means they are full and substantial and fill the gardens nicely. So far, we have done nothing more than trim up a few branches and remove the back pergola (which was blocking light into the house).

It has probably been a few years since any major pruning and mulching have taken place in the yard, so that is what I’m looking forward to doing in the next few weeks. There are a couple of bare spots where I’ll fill in with low shrubs around the front walk and the poor soil is quite compact. Adding nutrient-rich mulch will give those pretty plants a boost.

The boxwoods leading to the front porch are big and a bit misshapen. We couldn’t figure out what happened to that middle one with the big sink-hole in the center until we watched a video the boys were making and saw one of them fall right into it. I’m not sure if it is salvageable – we may need to cut it way back? Boxwoods take forever to grow, so I’m hesitant to mess anything up.

The front porch hasn’t had much use, but now that the summer weather is here, it is proving to be a lovely space to sit. The kids like to swing on the porch swing and for Father’s Day, we bought Ryan two rocking chairs (here’s the link).

We have some work to do on the front porch: new front door, fix the wrapped posts, add a railing, repaint the decking, update the exterior lighting. At some point, we’ll remove the top arched windows and push the rectangular windows up, fix the siding and paint the house white.

One of my favorite views of the house is of the garage with dormers. The previous owners left window boxes with miniature boxwoods and I’ve added to them this summer with some of my favorites: sweet potato vine, creeping jenny and white bacopa.

Beyond the garage is the little chicken coop, set back in the woods.

Each morning, we let the chickens out and they roam the yard all day. They are funny birds who stay together in a little pack and wander about.

They haven’t started laying eggs yet, but should any day now.

Last week, Ryan hung a hammock out under a canopy of trees. It has been the coveted spot around here.

Every day, I catch myself feeling so grateful for this gorgeous retreat. We are surrounded by lush green, with plenty of room to explore, run around, throw the ball for the dog, lay out in the sun. What a treat to look out our windows at such a pretty yard and have such privacy.

Sure, there is a list of projects that must be done, and an even longer one with things we’d like to do, but we truly do love it here!

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Seven favorite outfits for the summer

Summer fashion means light-weight, fresh, easy and casual. I’m a Pacific Northwest girl and our summer temperatures typically max out around the high 80’s, so I switch between jeans (forever my favorite), shorts (not my fave, but I’m learning to embrace them), basic dresses (always an easy go-to) and a few simple tees + tanks to round things out.

Since we can all use a few new outfit ideas, I’ve put together 7 favorite outfits for summer.

Big shocker: the pieces fit nicely into my go-to color palette of neutrals + blues.

My go-to outfits are always casual, comfortable and I try to keep things cute. I do my best to fill my closet with classic, basic pieces that are easy to wear and can be mixed and matched again and again. Most of the items in this collection of outfits are currently available online, so I’ve linked them all below to make shopping easier.

It always feels so silly taking pictures of myself for these posts, but I do it for you. I know how helpful it is to see how others put outfits together – especially casual, everyday outfits. My hope is that you can use this as a great shopping list for basics and layering pieces, and maybe a few outfits will spark some ideas of how you can mix items you already have in your closet.

Let’s get started!


Friends. Before we get any further, can I just acknowledge that my knees are weird? They are strangely turned in (I blame ballet!) and bumpy. And carrying my four children caused unsightly veins to pop out on my already pale legs. Perhaps this is why I am not a fan of shorts, but as I mentioned above, I’m learning to embrace them. We all have our insecurities, right? I’m putting my funky legs out there for all the internet to see. Enjoy.

Okay, let’s talk instead about the cute chambray cami and easy shorts (with an elastic waistband!). This combo is super comfortable and still looks pulled together. If you’re in need of a new strapless bra, give this one a try. It is smooth and works great under a top like this.

chambray tank | linen shorts | sandals (similar)


I’m a fan of anything gingham/buffalo check and these shorts caught my eye. They fit a little large, so I recommend ordering a size down. And this shirt is the best. It is a linen blend, so it’s lightweight and has a nice, flattering fit. It is currently on major clearance, so grab one before they are gone.

You’ll may notice I wear the same sandals again and again. These are a year old, which replaced a pair almost identical that I wore for a few years before. I just like a cognac leather shoe with almost any outfit. The sandals I linked to are the most current version.

gingham shorts | linen capsleeve tee | sandals (similar) | sunglasses


This outfit is my ‘going to the beach’ look. Cuffed denim shorts that are not super short because I just can’t, a super soft tank, the perfect flip flops and a cute hat. Throw it all on over a swim suit and you’re ready to go.

tank | denim shorts | flip flops | hat


This is for sure my most go-to look for this time of year. I know, all you ladies who live anywhere but up here are thinking I’m crazy for wearing jeans in the summer, but we have a lovely temperate climate where jeans are still comfortable on the average 70’s summer day. I kept seeing frayed hem jeans and so I bought this pair. They are not expensive and fit great.

jeans | shirt (I can not find it online. Bought it last week at Target) | sandals


All last summer while traveling around the country, I reached for breezy dresses. I like an a-line, with pockets, please. I just picked this one up at Target last week and it will be regularly worn this summer.

dress | sandals (similar) | sunglasses


I know, it’s a funny pose. But I wanted you to see how cute the back of this tank is! It’s a little shorter in the front and has those fun tiers in the back. Ryan told me once that he loves me in this blue color and so I keep adding more to my wardrobe.

tank | jeans | shoes (these would be a cute alternative)


A good white tshirt goes with everything. This one has a fun twist detail in the front. It runs a little big (I’m wearing a small and it’s very roomy). The scallop shorts feel nautical and sweet.

twist front shirt | scallop shorts | sandals

So there you go. Seven favorite outfits to wear this summer. I hope these outfits help inspire you to try new combinations of things you already own and maybe add in a few new pieces that you love!

Do you have a favorite?

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Coffee Chat Episode 20

You know the drill … grab a cup of coffee, press play, and let’s chat!


  • THIS IS CORI – a super cute fashion blogger who wears great mom-appropriate outfits and was the inspiration for my haircut. Here she is with long hair, and here with medium. Mine does not do what hers does.
  • THIS IS KATE – my go-to for hair and makeup tutorials. She’s just so pretty and approachable and knowledgeable.
  • Looking for a good daily Bible reading/devotional/community for the summer? Try the ROMANS plan from SHE READS TRUTH. You don’t need the book, although it is lovely, and you can either follow along on the website for free or through the app. Here’s a link to the Kids Read Truth book Audrey is doing with me. There’s also He Reads Truth site and app.
  • We’ve used HELLO FRESH for our weekly meals for the past three years and it has been a lifesaver. We’re thiiiis close to outgrowing the proportions and I’ll let you know what we do when/if we stop doing Hello Fresh. If you try it, use this link to get $40 off your first box.
  • Now that I’m looking back at the question I answered about the shorts, I’m wondering if Monica was asking where to get shorts for HER 7 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER that don’t look like underwear instead of where to get ADULT shorts that don’t look like 7 year old underwear?! I’m not sure. But whatever. Here are the shorts I showed:
  • GINGHAM CUFFED SHORTS from Loft. They are currently on sale for $49.99 and an additional 40% off with code NEWNOW.
  • CUFFED DENIM SHORTS from The Gap. They are $49.95 and 40% off with code HAPPY.
  • SCALLOP SHORTS from J.Crew Factory. On sale for $24.95.
  • PULL ON SHORTS from J.Crew Factory. On sale for $16.95!
  • Current favorite podcasts: THAT SOUNDS FUN with Annie F. Downs, DAIS by Rachel Hollis and WOW IN THE WORLD for the kids.
  • SIMPLIFIED PENMANSHIP is 20% off until MONDAY NIGHT! This is the online class I teach about how to make your handwriting look pretty. It’s super fun, easy to work on and fun for kids to join in on as well. JOIN HERE.
  • Everything in the HOUSE + HOME shop is on sale, too! Take 15% off with code YESPLEASE. Sale ends Monday. Click here to see my favorites and why I love them so.

Happy Friday, Happy Father’s Day, HAPPY WEEKEND!



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