hello erin »

Lex turns SIX next weekend- but due to schedules etc, we celebrated her sweet soul this weekend instead. When we were in the early planning stages- we just stalked the minted website until we stumbled across the perfect invitation and theme. rainbow art party for my child who keeps telling me she’s going to be an artist when she grows up. boom. perfect. I will admit I was expecting to be able to do the whole party outside- because we live in so cal- and the weather is usually highly predictable. but alas- rain was scheduled so we bought a giant tarp, and set it all up inside- and not one single surface got paint on it (which is good, because I wasn’t looking to add a statement wall to our living room).

okay lets talk decor.

I got all my supplies from shop sweet lulu. they literally have a tab for different themes (like rainbows). I got the cake from a local delicious bakery (susie cakes) but added the sugar rainbows to give it a touch more pizazz (they’re also from shop sweet Lulu). And this gorgeous tassel banner is from my new favorite glam fete! It matched the colors PERFECTLY (and you can use the code HELLOERIN15 for 15% off!!). so yeah, find it HERE.

ok. so at the party I had the girls make aprons with fabric markers, and then they all got to paint canvases to take home. they had a BLAST. it was easy- and kept them entertained for an hour!

I got everything off amazon- because its the best ever.



^ heres k. painting with her favorite color. BLACK.

seriously. thats it. easiest party EVER. and I think every party we host from now on will be rainbow themed.

one of the dads at dance before lex’s party asked if everyone should wear overalls since it was a painting party. . . and that fully solved my dilemma of what lex should wear. but I also kinda want her to wear these overalls every single day of her life.

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  • March 5, 2018 - 2:44 pm

    Courtney N Spena - I was literally thinking this morning, “I miss Erin’s blog posts” and then BOOM right there in my feed is a blog post from you! Awesome.

  • March 5, 2018 - 6:41 pm

    Lauren - That girl with her poses!! She is awesome! Can I be friends with her?

  • March 7, 2018 - 5:41 am

    Sara - As always… amazing party. You did a fantastic job. I hope that garland stays foreverrrrrr because it’s basically the happiest thing ever. <3

  • March 8, 2018 - 3:44 pm

    Mayumi Shimose Poe - YAY, A NEW POST! —Love, one of your earliest but EVER readers

  • March 12, 2018 - 6:54 pm

    Jane - I love this so much i’m stealing some ideas. thank you sharing!!! Any tips on where to get the glitter or.gems on the table??

Each and every year my New Years resolution seems to be the same. . . “floss more”. and I swear one of these years I’ll wisen up and actually do it (really hoping its this year. my SIL is a dentist, so its just plain embarrassing to let her down).

Sure there are lots of little things I want to accomplish, but in all reality this time last year I was getting my port in, and then next week marks one year since I was admitted to the hospital for round one of chemo. So yeah, this year is already looking waaaaaaay up in that department.

So far the major drama of this year has been limited to us losing one of k’s class pets, my computer hard drive crashing (but I have a shiny fancy new one- so thats a happy ending), and my trainer challenging me to give up candy for a month (he’s possibly the worst human alive).

Lets start with New Years. We hosted NYE for a few of our friends. Eight kids & eight adults and we all celebrated with bubbles (even if my friend forgot her chambong and the kids were drinking martenilli’s), some of those confetti poppers, and we kept it classy and served lasagna (of the stouffers variety).

next we should probably talk about k’s class pet. she has (had?) two of them. Lizzie & Dash- two sweet, easy birds who’s favorite song was the ABC’s and guarded the kids shoes in the classroom (yeah, I don’t get that one either). let me start by saying that mike grew up with birds. . . he has a major soft spot for feathered & winged creatures. So when we learned that the birds were going to be alone for the entirety of winter break (with the teachers just stopping into see them a few times), I took major pity on them and volunteered to take them home. They were excellent house guests. They lived in the girls room, went to bed before they did, woke up after they did, and were just easy.

Their two week stint at our house came to a close, and it was time to take them back to school. I loaded them into the car and realized that their bird bath (attached to their cage) was still full of water and I didn’t want it splashing them on the car ride – so we decided to empty it out.

by opening the cage in the driveway.

mike had barely gotten his hand in there to loosen the bath so I could empty it when BOOM one (dash) flew the coop. Literally FLEW AWAY. when I say that panic ensued i mean TOTAL AND COMPLETE PANIC. I think we were hysterical. I couldn’t believe we let a CLASS PET fly away. not even OUR OWN PET . . . a bird that 10 three year olds are attached to. I started researching new preschools to send k to (because I didn’t want to show my face at hers ever again), and made mike go in with me to deliver the news.

K’s teacher just started and us and started laughing. hysterically laughing.

turns out the last family to take the birds home last year let BOTH of them fly away (these were their replacements). so she considered us a success story. and has big plans on training Lizzy now that she’s solo.

Guys I STILL feel horrible. days later and I’m still looking for a blue parakeet in our yard because I can’t believe it happened.

thursdays have started to become the best day of our week for adventuring. instead of forcing the girls into kids club we take them on “adventures”. like forcing them to walk around our local resort and getting avocado toast.

they don’t seem to mind.

We’ve had THREE whole weeks off dance. and while I’m not ready to get back to the grind. . . lex certainly is. especially since I promised her she could add hip hop to her line up (current line up- jazz, acro, ballet, mini competition team & now hip hop). I truly feel like this is going to be a make-or-break year for lex & dance. she’s either going to burn out or figure out she’s passionate about it (so far its straight passion since she’s also now begging to add lyrical next year).

meanwhile I just want her abs.


so. cheers to the first week of the new year. maybe (just maybe) I’ll blog more.

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  • January 5, 2018 - 9:08 am

    Sara - I want her abs, too. Also, more time at the resort? I’m in for that but you totally ruined my merry everything surprise that was going to show up in a couple weeks… so I’m going to have to come up with another idea. HM. In the interim, I’m totally craving lasagna now, which is a bit of a problem. Thanks for nothing.

  • January 9, 2018 - 8:16 am

    Blair - Oh yay! I love when your blog pops up with a new post! I’d say even with losing a bird aka beloved class pet 2018 is off to a way better start. Lasagna (Stouffer style) is the way to go when hosting … no prep, less mess and good eats… plus always champs! Here’s to having a fantastic year (and I hope I get to read/see/stalk you more this year)

  • January 9, 2018 - 11:30 am

    Abbi Hearne - Omg the birds hahahaha. When I was in fourth grade I was responsible for my class’s two hamsters over spring break and get this – the mom hamster legit ate the daughter. Like one literally murdered and ate the other one. I was MORTIFIED. I’m pretty sure I begged my mom to let me drop out or transfer schools every day for the rest of the break. It was scarring.

  • January 9, 2018 - 12:05 pm

    Laura - Can I have Lex’s abs too?! Still dying over the bird escaping. And wishing you a super healthy 2018!!!

Going back to school has kicked out butts.

I kid you not we’ve had exactly two weeks of all activities and full school and I’m ready to wave the white flag. I’m pretty sure it was my mini van talking when i signed up to do things like be room parent, make soccer bows for the whole team, and enroll lex in like 100 activities. Pair that with the girls being sad on school drop-off and i’m ready for summer vacation.

Oh yes. The ladies are full of tears and/or sad faces at school drop off. Lex doesn’t understand why she has to go to school every day while her sister doesn’t (valid), and k doesn’t understand why i cant stay with her at school (this mom bod isn’t going to work itself out). I know we’ll all find our groove- i’m just really hoping that groove comes sooner rather than later.

But we’re all so damn tired at the end of every day that we all pass the f out and i swear everyone’s been getting the best sleep of their lives. K even took a nap IN HER OWN BED this week (which hasn’t happened in months)- she got a whopping 15 minutes in before it was time to go pick up lex from school.

Whew. This post took a turn for the whiny. Let’s see if we can turn that frown upside down.

Lex started soccer and its adorable. Her team is filled with the cutest non-aggressive girls who are all friends. And amazing parents. What her team is lacking is drive to actually score a goal. I think they just genuinely love hanging out with each other too much to even look at a soccer ball. But they have cute soccer ribbons, pink jerseys, and rainbow shoe laces. GOOOO RAINBOW UNICORNS!

Lex also started jazz and acro. And i’m pretty sure the outfits are the best past of class for her. Jazz tops, patterned pants, and sweatbands ensure that she might win best dressed at life.

K and i have deemed Thursday’s “adventure days”—it’s my one morning a week where we don’t have a damn thing to do. So we went to Disneyland for a hot second. Come to find out LA county had the day off (WHHHHHHY?!) so everyone and their mother was there on a random rainy Thursday. But k got a taste of her very first churro, so we’re chalking the trip up to a total W even if we only got to go on two rides.

Instead of letting lex stew in jealousy we also did disney as an entire family on Sunday. It was magical. We got there for park opening at 8 and did like 100 things before leaving. Including learning that the park sucks and like 0 food is open before 10:30. And on the ONE DAY i decide to leave the snacks at home. The four of us were sooo hangry. . . So so hangry. So word to the wise. Pack some damn snacks.

And check out lex’s school picture. They could have done me a solid and made her look a smidge younger instead of way way way older.

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  • September 24, 2017 - 8:54 pm

    Sara - Lex is 100% going to thank you for being such a great photographer when she gets older… because when you put your school picture next to hers… no one is going to be able to tell the difference. 😉 And yes… she definitely looks WAY OLDER HERE.

    Where is time going?! Crop tops and school pictures??? I don’t approve.

  • September 26, 2017 - 4:01 pm

    Laura - That pic of K in the yellow romper is my favorite ever. And making soccer bows…?! That is the stuff of boy moms dreams!

Welcome to the third installment of The Mom Blog Collective: Tips for Better Photography & a Cohesive Instagram Feed. 

If you’re new here, here’s the scoop. Every other week, a group of amazing and inspiring mamas will answer the same set of questions to do with blogging, Instagram, photography, collaborations, sponsored posts, balancing it all with motherhood, and more. This week they invited me to join in!

We each have different perspectives and different opinions, so this is a fun way to learn from one another. We hope you’ll join along! Check out the hashtag #themomblogcollective to see everyone on Instagram, and I will also link you to all of the amazing blog posts here at the bottom of my post!

Lex has started asking why we take so many pictures. I mean, I can’t exactly blame her- my girls are no strangers to having a camera shoved in their face. But my answer is simple – I want to remember them exactly how they are. I want to remember their personalities, and I really want them to look back at their outfits and wonder what the f I was thinking.

I get a lot of questions about photography. I want to start by saying I’m no expert- but it is something I enjoy a lot, and I’m passionate about everyone having a camera roll (or instagram feed) full of pictures they can be proud of. So here are my deepest and darkest secrets to getting good pictures.


Let’s talk equipment. I have three cameras. iPhone 7+, a fujifilm x100f, and a canon 5d Mark ii. All three have their place, and I truly think you can take amazing photos on just about anything. My phone is the most handy, its always with me, and i can usually count on it. My Fuji is small enough to toss in a bag- but powerful enough when i was something more than my phone. And my canon (with a 35mm 1.4 lens) is a beast that’s best for times when all we’re doing in taking photos.

I think the trick is to prepare the best you can and just roll with it. If we’re going someplace (like to disneyland) i’ll just use my fuji or my iPhone. If we go on an adventure with the sole purpose of getting photos i’ll bring my Canon (like getting our christmas tree!). If I know lighting will be tricky- I’ll pull out all the stops and definitely use my Canon because it has the best low-light capabilities (Christmas morning is the perfect example).

Always shoot on manual. Know your camera inside and out. Be able to manipulate it to best suit your style. There are so many cameras out there (like the fuji!) that will show you exactly how you photo will turn out (technology rocks!).

(taken with my fuji)


I edit in two places. My phone and in photoshop.

There are a few apps I’m extremely loyal to.

  • FACETUNE– this is the one all the kids are using. ever wonder how some people have the smoothest skin you’ve ever seen and then BAM in person (or in their instagram stories) you’re horrified to find the truth? Yeah, its alllll the “smooth” feature in facetune. BUT i’m straight up obsessed with “lighter” filter to brighten any photo. Its the hands down BEST lightening tool in all the land.
  • PICTAPGO– I have a special place in my heart for this app because i also use totally rad actions in photoshop- so i can edit my photos using the same filters on my phone OR computer. and i really do love having cohesive photos.
  • RETOUCH– this app is so damn handy for taking distracting things out of pictures. like pipes, or other beach go-ers in the ocean.
  • LIGHTROOM– I just can’t quit this app. it has some of the features i LOVE in photoshop (like curves) but on my phone in much much much simpler form.


Here’s the part where i’m supposed to talk about when to post photos and which ones do the best. But let me tell you. Who the hell knows. I honestly can’t decipher what the masses want and when they want it. My engagement is all over the place, and i truly think there are too many other factors at play to know what and when something will do well (but its almost guaranteed that posting on the weekend will NOT get you likes- but posting a photo of yourself bald will).

Instead i want to tell you this about your feed & being successful. DO YOU. That’s it. It’s that easy! Know your style & audience and roll with it. People can tell when you’re being fake, when your captions don’t match your photo, or when you’re trying too hard. Its like how guys can smell a desperate girl. The media masses can smell desperation from a mile away and just won’t engage if you’re fake. Draw inspiration from feeds and people you admire- but put your own spin on it. Be confident enough in yourself to think for yourself and outside the box. I promise your followers will thank you!

Find your style and run with it. Do you love pictures where your kids are looking at the camera smiling? Do you love blurry backgrounds? Do you love color? Candids? Dark and moody? Find what YOU love and do it! When we’re out on an adventure i look for spots to take pictures of my girls. I know i love color (and white walls), and typically don’t do well with busy backgrounds. I know what lighting works (direct sunlight is always a recipe for failure). I try to get a most posed photos “out of the way” first before everyone is tired and moody and the kids will cooperate. Does it always work? nope! Do i sometimes get frustrated with k because she REFUSES to take direction? You betcha! But heres my secret with getting the girls to participate. . . lex LOVES the camera. She takes direction wonderfully and i direct her– “whisper something in k’s ear! try to put the hat on her!” Getting the girls to interact with each other is key to me! it keeps k entertained enough to not realize what she’s doing and run straight for me, and makes the photos more candid. oh, and bribes work if all else fails. I’ve found that getting angry and stomping my feet when they don’t participate doesn’t ever go over well. So learn when to give up.

And that’s it! I truly think it comes down to just knowing your style and getting down with your bad self!

Here are this weeks contributors:

occasionallyperfectstyle.com | @occasionally_perfect

mrsseacannon.com | @mrsseacannon

britthavens.com | @britthavens

koleimpressions.com | @steph__pollock

cultivatemotherhood.com | @cultivatemotherhood

www.ashleynoel.life | @_ashley_noel_

hellobabybrown.com | @hellobabybrown

darlingnightingale.com | @darlingnightingale

www.a-blessed-nest.com | @blessednestblog

thelovedesignedlife.com | @thelovedesignedlife


thebajas.blogspot.com | @hopefeathers

 psimfromthemidwest.com |  @hollynbaron


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  • September 6, 2017 - 12:52 pm

    Rosie Parsons - Great tips and totally gorgeous photography! Loving it and will be sharing! xx

  • September 24, 2017 - 4:23 pm

    Sara - Lightroom on my phone. There’s something I haven’t considered yet.

  • October 16, 2017 - 8:55 am

    Karli Bell - can you start doing like to know it so i can shop your instagram? thaaaaanks.

Our summer rapidly came to a close last week when lex launched herself into kindergarten. If there’s one thing lex seems to do well it’s big life transitions (except getting a sister. that one rocked her world for a solid 10 months) – and she seems to be handling kindergarten flawlessly.

I even have a major crush on her teacher because lex comes home saying things like “if you don’t have anything nice to say- just don’t say it”, and “ms brown told us if we don’t like what someone’s eating for lunch we should just keep it inside. So when I saw Chloe had cheese dippers and they looked bad I didn’t tell her. I kept it inside”, and “Angie told me there’s a teacher at school named Mr. Chin- but we aren’t allowed to make fun of him”… such words of wisdom from a 5 year old.

I feel like the lady in the back to school video everyone’s been watching. “You’re going to help me teach my kid not to be an ass hole? I’ll be room mom! And I’ll be the best damn room mom ever”.

Oh yes. Mike thinks he “maybe accidentally checked that box” on the online paperwork. But I have been looking for a new challenge since chemo ended. So bring it on K5.

Now k. Dear sweet k. Who starts preschool this week and isn’t going to know what hit her for three hours, three times a week. I mean the girl needs a crash course in 1. Time away from me and 2. Playing with kids her age. I have a feeling it’s going to be a rough transition for her (I mean she’s been going to kids club at the gym for a year and still managed to cry for 30 minutes last week after I dropped her off. They watch iPads and built forts- I assure you she’s not hard done by).

I’m off to the hotter than hell land of Palm Springs this week for a little girls trip. One involving lots of power influencers and hopefully a lot of rose and avocado toast. It’s weird spending four days with nine girls you’ve “met” online. But alas every single Instagram relationship I’ve had turning IRL relationship hasn’t been awkward. So here’s hoping these aren’t either. And there’s nothing I love more than getting to know a group of girls in my swimsuit (barf).

and now for pictures totally unrelated to anything in this post. . . but the girls are cute soooo.

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  • September 4, 2017 - 5:16 pm

    Sara - OOOH. You changed your blog! Lex is a natural at kindergarten… can’t wait to see how K does with pre-school. I bet she’ll love it in no time… I mean, how can she not?! Well… except for the whole getting dirty part. Have fun in Palm Springs… don’t replace me! 🙂

  • September 5, 2017 - 7:47 am

    Courtney Spena - New blog design!! LOVE IT!

    I can’t wait to see your Palm Springs trip!

  • September 5, 2017 - 9:02 am

    Heidi - The girls are adorable. Lex looks just like you, as you already. You look fabulous and so glad things are going well.
    Take care.
    Hugs and Kisses to you all

  • September 5, 2017 - 1:02 pm

    Rosie - Rosie Parsons Photography - Her teacher sounds really awesome. My kids started school today and I am beyond grateful for free education – it’s amazing really when you think about it! I’m very relieved it’s not all down to me, lol!

  • September 5, 2017 - 1:43 pm

    Joseph Gray - Congrats on your negative PET scan.

    Peace be with you.