Monday, August 31, 2015

Real life

House guests.
Ear infection.
Followed by allergic reaction to antibiotics.
Followed by more house guests.
Turned 33. (insert: horror face)
Followed by mounting chores and tasks
while general "working mama-ing it up"....


So yeeeaaaah, that's where I've been the last 2 weeks.
Hope to see y'all again real soon! 

~ image via ~

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Friday Five

Happy Friday, y'all!
Here's what's happenin' this week...

Loving this little oldie but goodie ala Aimee Mann & Michael Penn.
It screams summer roadtrip, with the windows down and hair blowing, no?

"You say tom-a-to, I say tom-ah-to..."
Just give me them to me in any way.
From fresh pastas and Caprese salads to BLT's,
or just topped on a crusty piece of bread with a little bit of good mayo and S&P...

Now if only the damn deer would stop eating all of mine...

Columbia Crest H3 Sauvignon Blanc
You know what pairs well with tomatoes and other light summer fare?
A crispy white wine, that's what.
And here's another tasty one that won't break the bank!

white sundress + straw tote
Only a couple more weeks to wear white, peeps.
Get it in!  (Before you're a fashion faux paux.)

Stop saying, "It could be worse."
Amen, sister.
This article really touched home this week.
Hang in there on those tough days, mama!  Your struggle is real.

And a few more fun things...

This grieving husband is just about the sweetest ever.

Mini Boden is having a sale!  Perfect timing for "back to school."

How to send an email so people actually respond.

A list of 25 places to take your kids before they graduate from high school.

What's on my reading radar, after reading this earlier this summer.

Fashionista best purchases.  #moretrouble

Have a fantastic end-of-summer weekend, m'loves!!

~ photos by bits of breezy / images via & ~

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Summer nights

What to wear when it's hot by day and cool by night?

Here's what.

Shorts + long cardigans

P.S. Anywhere that involves an al fresco beer and pretzel is a place I want to be.  Cheers to you, summer nights!

~ images via,, & ~

Monday, August 17, 2015

Man Crush Monday

The huzz convinced me to watch Divergent recently.

"It's kind of like 'The Hunger Games'," he said.

Sounds like a sci-fi snore, I thought.

What he forgot to mention is that the character "Four", played by Theo James, is like a gazillion times hotter, braver, more bad ass, (did I mention hotter?) than poor, dudly little Peeta.


The second movie in the series, Insurgent, just came out on DVD.
a.k.a. you can binge watch and thank me later. 

(Oh, and the movies are actually pretty good, too!)


Have a great week!

~ images via (from Vanity Fair),,, & ~

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Friday Five

It's been awhile since a "Friday Five"
(You know, life and all.)
But alas, here are five things that are good this week!

French Jazz
Inspired by a recent date night at Lake Park Bistro, this romantic genre of music (think: Edith Piaf ala Le Vie en Rose) has become a weekend thing for me and the huzz.  Not only does it remind us of our honeymoon in the south of France, but when paired with a chilled glass of rose and/or an herb-y cocktail and some snuggles in the sun porch hammock under the soft glow of twinkle lights?!
I'd call that end of summer perfection.

Homemade kale chips.
I watched the Barefoot Contessa make {THESE} with Jennifer Garner the other day and they are amaze balls.  Salty, crunchy, and freakin' addicting.  ~$2 for a large bunch of kale will not only allow you to make this delicious, (and healthy!) recipe, but it will also fill about a half dozen (or so) smoothie packets for your freezer.  Win-win!


P.S.  I used regular old kale (but the lacinato / flat variety she recommends is also delish!

Farmer's markets.
'Tis the time of year where they're all just killin' it, no?
Village Market in adorable downtown Thiensville, WI is especially noteworthy.
From $5 bouquets to super sweet corn, I'll take it all!

H&M for toddler boys.
So hip, so cute.  And pretty gosh darn affordable!
Here's our summer wedding wear (aside from the ties), courtesy of H&M.
And with some good sales, I also just stocked up on some fall/back-to-school adorableness!

Oh, and anthropologie for hip moms is also pretty rad, no?



Speaking of motherhood, this article was such a good reminder to savor every moment, as you never know when will be the "last time".

(Grab a Kleenex, then proceed.)

And a few more fun things, just because I can...

Loving this stack arrow pendant necklace!

And these silk t-shirt dresses - gorgeous and practical for these scorching days.

I think a pair of these zodiac prints would be so pretty in a master BR.

More amazing (and affordable!) art.

Some girl power inspiration.

Watermelon mint sangria?!  I'll take two, please.

Beauty philosophies of French women.  So fascinating!

And one funny for the road.

Have a fantastic weekend, m'loves!
(And stay cool!)

~ photos by bits of breezy ~

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wood beams

There is no shortage of wood beams  (and wood paneling) in our mid-century ranch.  Some days, I adore all the wood.
Other days, I wish everything were a little more bright and crisp.
(And, well, white.)
But these stunning photos have me feeling all sorts of happy...

While perhaps a little on the cabin-y side, the natural light in this living space certainly lends enough brightness and the fireplace stone contrasts nicely against all the wood.

Neutrally stained (or painted, perhaps?) wood beams even work well in this bedroom sanctuary.  Paired with those steel French doors and that glam Ochre chandelier, this room feels clean and sophisticated without at all feeling too sterile and cold.

Wood beams also work well in this white, modern kitchen!
And that little sky light above the island is perfection.

And last, but not least, this one is the most true to our home - wood beams on the ceiling with big picture windows and a stone fireplace.  Maybe we just need a good deep clean and an update on the lighting fixtures?  Oh, and some magical, giant modern credenza to store all things baby/toddler at the end of each day. 

Regardless, these rooms give me hope that wood beams can be fresh and modern as well as warm and cozy.  And that, I can dig.

~ images via Apartment Therapy,,, & ~

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A day I've been dreading

Today is my due date.
You didn't know I was expecting? I don't look pregnant, you say?
That's because I am no longer.

It's been nearly 6 months since that blustery February day.
My OB office called to ask if I could switch a 16.5 week, routine appointment and come in early that day.  "I'll have my 1 year old with me, but since it's just a quick tummy check, sure!", I cheerfully agreed.

Hours later in a small exam room, they were having trouble finding the fetal heart tones with a hand-held Doppler, and suggested I move into another room for a "quick ultrasound."  A lump formed in my throat, but I wasn't too worried as my previous babes were known to occasionally "hide".

But then, minutes passed, which felt like an eternity.
There I lay, half-naked on a hard exam table with cold ultrasound jelly on my abdomen while the OB quietly, yet frantically, searched.
I wanted to grab his hand and stop the exam.
I wanted him to quit prolonging the blow...the life-altering moment...
which was so obviously coming my way.

When I couldn't take the deafening silence anymore,
I finally managed to choke out,
"so there's no heartbeat..."

It felt like a scene being played out in slow motion.

"I'm so sorry, Brianna.  There is no heartbeat."

No heartbeat.
No heartbeat.
No. Heart. Beat.

The words echoed in my head,
the words no mother ever wants to hear.

I was in utter shock.
I was 4 months along!  This wasn't supposed to happen!  I did everything right! Four weeks prior, there had been a strong heart beat, and prior to that, a seemingly normal ultrasound!  How could this happen at over 16 weeks?! 

I glanced over at my youngest son.  I almost forgot he was with me.  He was happily munching away on Goldfish crackers and smiling at me from across the room, completely oblivious to the fact that a part of his mother's heart had just been shattered.

Yet, his presence during this difficult time snapped me back into reality.

I have two, healthy, beautiful boys.
I am blessed.
Other people are not so lucky.

-- Repeat. --

And, as it turned out, I wouldn't have time to be sad for my unborn baby just yet.  Not when there was a plot twist to my story.  After hearing the dreaded "there's no heartbeat," the next words out of the OB's mouth were to inform me that there was something "very wrong with my uterus."  There was concern for a rare placental tumor - a partial molar pregnancy - that he felt was the cause of miscarriage.  He quickly sent me for more labs which corroborated his concerns, and the next day, I was being referred to an oncologist and then to a tertiary medical center for second and third opinions.

Days later, I was in the hospital for my D&E.  After they'd put me under and scraped my poor baby out of my body, I remember waking up with my hand on my belly and just crying.  The nurse asked if I was in pain.  I was indeed in terrible pain, but not the kind that she was referring to and certainly not the kind that she could fix.

This was the first time I realized that I was rather alone in my grief.  I had become a member of this "secret club" that no one wants to be a part of.  Miscarriages happen to 1 in 4 women, yet no one ever talks about them.  It's almost taboo.  In fact, they don't even advise pregnant woman to announce they're expecting until they've successfully reached the 12-week mark.  (As if the loss of a baby before that time would be any less sad or easy to just shrug off.)

A week later, the pathology results confirmed that I was indeed the unfortunate 1 out of 2,000 women to experience a partial molar pregnancy, which was not only the cause of fetal demise, but also meant that I was at risk for an even more rare, potentially rapidly growing, cancer.  Again, I felt like I had to put aside grieving the loss of my baby, to focusing all of my energy on staying optimistic and strong for my husband, my two boys, and my family.  The past 6 months have been filled with frequent lab draws and doctor visits.  Thankfully, things continue to move in the right direction in terms of my own health.  And as they do, I've noticed the feelings of grief over my miscarriage return more frequently, especially as the due date drew near.

So, I am sad now.  I am especially sad today.

Today, I will cry for him or her, on what could have been their birthday.
I will cry for my husband, as he grieves in his own way.
I will cry for the younger sibling Alex and Vinny do not get to have.
I will cry for the fact that some babies get born and some babies don't,
and for every single woman out there who has felt the agony of  an "almost".

So often we try to make people feel better by minimizing their pain,
by telling them that
"it will get better" (because it will), that
"it wasn't meant to be" (because that is obvious), that
"it was for the best" (because that is simply just not true), and that
"there are worse things in the world" (because there certainly are),
but that's not what I actually needed.

What I actually needed was for someone to tell me that it was/is okay to hurt, because it mattered.
My baby mattered.
Because that, m'loves, is the underlying fact -
I had a baby, and my baby died.

And there are no words in any human language to adequately describe how that feels.

Miscarrying, for me, is a unique kind of sadness.  Not the kind where you immediately start crying and feel like you may never stop (though those sensations come and go), but more like a sadness that stuns and instantly overwhelms the entire body, leaving your heart aching and insides hollow.  It's a feeling of guilt.  A feeling of uncertainty, unsure of which pain is worse - what had just happened or all that never will?  It's trying to navigate from the feelings of elation in finding out you're expecting (and all the planning and dreaming that ensues) to the pains of despair of suddenly having it all taken away.  Miscarriage is a sadness that leaves you exhausted, and to this day, has the ability to permeate the mind... the "what if's" sometimes preventing me from sleeping soundly at night.

Most days, I feel like a buoy,
bobbing up and down...
Sometimes floating strong against the wind and current,
other times dipping beneath the surface of the water.
But, no one sees me struggle.
...Because it is taboo - no one asks and I, like so many others, don't speak of it.

Yet, while sad, I assure you that I am not broken.
I am lucky to have a strong faith and an army of wonderful people in my life.
I am recovering, one day at a time...
finding the beauty in the pain, and weaving it into my life.
And mostly, because of my amazing husband and two beautiful boys, I am able to keep my chin up, my heart hopeful, and carry on.

Whether it be miscarriage(s), infertility, or the unfathomable stillborn or loss of an infant,
I know that there is a woman out there reading this,
with tears streaming down her face,
because she is a part of this same stupid "club."

So, while it may feel like it at times,
please know, my fellow "angel mama,"
you are not alone.

 ~ xoxo

~images via, skakieborgunwall.tumblr, @pregnancyandinfantloss on instagram ~

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Summer space

Leave it to swimwear fashion designer, Marysia Reeves, to come up with this Bohemian-inspired (yet modern), blissful, summery space.

From her crisp, bright LR...
(I personally own this exact Moroccan shag rug and adore it!) this fun, beachy print by Stephane Dessaint...

...and all the delightful, green house plants in between.

Um, hi.  Have we met?
I love it all!

Catch the full cozy, chic home tour {HERE}.

~ images via Lonny ~

Monday, August 3, 2015

Hello, August.

And suddenly, it's August.
I've been away from cyberspace, 
busy doing very August-like things...

....pool days, beach days, gorgeous orange sunsets,
and soaking up as much of that sweet summer fun as we can
before it fades into fall.

Can't wait to be "off " of work so I can fully enjoy these
hot, muggy days with m'loves!

~ image via / photo by bits of breezy ~