Part of Me Blog


Easy Easter Baskets

HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglinComment

I’m definitely an Amazon Prime type of mom, and that includes Easter basket goodies. I love filling the kids’ baskets with a few fun (and functional items), a little candy, and lots of things we ‘ll be able to use over and over. So, I’m sharing my Easter Baskets Amazon List today- just in case you’re in need of some new ideas- just click Add To Cart and you’re DONE!

Click on any item below and it will take you straight to Amazon- easy peasy!

I love giving my kids the fun stuff, but I’m also practical and take every opportunity I have to throw in some practical items. This includes a few different categories of items:

Outdoor items: sidewalk chalk, and bubbles (this Fubbles bubble holder is a NO-SPILL container- I don’t know about you, but we have spilled many brand-new bottles of bubbles).

Artsy-crafty things that double for use in the car: I love the Melissa and Doug products like Scissor Skills, Scratch Art, and Bingo Markers are all entertaining and portable. We also LOVE Monkey String (also called Wikki Stix) and I keep a package of it in my purse, my car, and the girls’ backpacks (really) because it is a great non-messy activity to have at restaurants and other places kids may be waiting. Model Magic is not for the car, but an easy-to-clean alternative to play dough that dries and can be displayed.

Bath items: I’m dying to try out these water flutes and bath bombs with fun surprises inside are always a hit!

Books that are also great in the car: I spy books for different ages, and a book on coding for our son who is the best kind of nerd. :)

A little Candy: White Rabbit candy can be found in China and so I thought it would be a special edition this year. We always need chocolate carrots and I KNOW the kids will think the Bunny Farts are hilarious.

Games: This colorful Jenga set is too cute, and Knox has recently had an obsession with Uno. I know he will love this emoji edition! Also- how genius is this $5 card holder for kids?!

Practical: We love these silicone shoelaces. They make any shoe a slip-on and are so convenient! The Contigo brand cups are also a favorite and the ONLY kind that we have found that do not leak. I like to buy a few every now and then to keep our collection fresh.

I hope you’ve found at least a couple of things you can add for some fun! After making this graphic, I thought of even more fun things and added them to my list on Amazon, which you can check out here:

ALSO- if you are an Amazon Prime user (or shop online at all) you need to install the Honey Plugin!

It automatically checks for coupons and the same product at lower prices and gives you the option to swap them in your shopping cart. It saves me almost every time I check out! You also earn points which you can redeem for gift cards. I just redeemed some for a Target gift card, so I can vouch that it actually works!


DIY Scribble Floral Mural

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This is an idea I've had brewing in my head for well over a year now. It all started when my sister put in this gorgeous wallpaper in her daughter's nursery. THEN I started crushing on this Hygge & West wallpaper and just KNEW I had to put it in the girls' room (I'm actually really excited about the wallpaper resurgence- so many modern and colorful designs!).  

However, after doing all the calculations, I decided that it simply wasn’t in the budget. And, after seeing the oversized florals in Hayden's nursery I thought that might be a little more do-able. I also figured I could paint over it if I hated it! 

So, I decided to give the floral thing a shot. This method I used is really so forgiving- I will describe it in detail as best I can! And it was actually a quick project – the planning took a lot longer than the actual painting.

The first thing I did was sketch the composition on my iPad so I knew so I could get my ideas out "on paper", and play with color palettes. I pulled the composition off of a few bouquet photos I liked and traced certain parts of it to get me started. After that it was a matter of filling in the gaps, and repeating some of those same florals in different spots. I knew wanted to keep in the color scheme I have been prepping for their room anyway- pink, orange, mustard yellow, and black and white. I wanted the flowers to have more of an illustrative feel as opposed to a realistic look, which I knew would be a lot easier for me to achieve. I like to call these my "scribble flowers". 

Thanks to my iPad and Procreate, it's actually really easy to share that process with you here:

The room also has a chair rail on all the walls (when we moved in there was a really uh, interesting frog border sandwiched in-between the molding)-  and I wanted to make sure that everything would look right with the chair rail– so I knew I needed to do something to add interest there to keep the flow throughout the room. So, I also drew up a mock up of how it would look in the room. 

My room mock up with the floral design and border.

My room mock up with the floral design and border.

This woman actually swore she would never paint a room pink...famous last words!

This woman actually swore she would never paint a room pink...famous last words!

Once I had come up with a design I was happy with, it was time to paint!

My mom came over and helped me paint the three different colors on the walls – and this is definitely the hardest part! We ended up having to paint the ceiling after we realized it wasn’t actually white, but a very light blue which wouldn’t complement the new colors. I'm so thankful I had my mom to help me pick out the grey color (really more of a greige than grey) on the bottom- previously it was a really blue grey which made it feel cold and sterile to me. Since I knew we'd be adding warmer colors, it was really important to pick a grey with a warm undertone- otherwise it would have made the original grey look very blue.


Pink background color: Valspar Arctic Ice 

White: Valspar Downy

Grey on bottom and in mural: Valspar Requisite Grey

We used Satin sheen with every paint- I have found it is very scrubbable without being too shiny.

If you watch my Insta stories (follow me @lissaanglin), you’ll remember that I recommended using an angled brush as opposed to a square one. I hate messing with painter's tape and have found that an angled brush gives me as good or better results. The key with the angled brushes to not overloaded with too much paint and go slow.

Once my base coats were ready, it was time to sketch out the composition. I’d like to do my outlines with chalk, since it wipes off easily. At first I tried drawing with white chalk, but it just wasn’t enough of a contrast on the pink, so I ended up using a light purple chalk. It did end up mixing with the paint somewhat, but it just wasn’t that big of a deal for me – so be warned if you choose to use a darker color of chalk – you might see it a bit!

Next I mixed all of my additional colors for the mural. To keep everything really consistent, I chose to use the same white paint that was on our trim and chair rail, so that all of the paint would have the same base color. Not all white paints are created equal – some have a blue base, some have a green base, some red, some yellow – you get the idea. I mixed the paint in my fancy Solo cups- adding about half a cup of white paint and then tinting the white with these paints from Michaels by adding just a bit at of color at a time and stirring well.

I am a messy painter!

I am a messy painter!

Keep in mind that your paint will dry darker than it looks when wet. It might be a good idea to paint yourself a test on a piece of paper and let it dry so that you can see the actual colors. I would also suggest using a more limited color palette – three or four colors max – it will keep it much more consistent and professional looking.

Once I had the composition sketched out and paints ready, it was time for the paint bottom layer which I'm calling the "blobs". This is a really fun part of the process. Using a square brush like these, I began to apply my blobs of paint using my outlines guides- but I wasn't too precious about it. ;)

 I wanted to make the color bleed outside of the outline in the end, so I purposely made the color blobs a bit larger than they needed to be. For simplicity sake, I decided to make all of the same types of flowers the same color – so peonies were pink, chrysanthemums were orange, etc. I attempted to do a time-lapse video of myself painting, but didn't quite make it to the outlining stage before my iPad died. However, hopefully this video will give a good idea of how I painted my blobs:

Once the blobs were finished, I let the paint dry fully and then it was time for the outline! I recommend using a round brush (these are great) for the outlines. Keep in mind you will likely need a smaller brush than you think, because when you put pressure on the brush, it’s going to get bigger. So, it’s better to lean on the smaller side so that your outlines don’t become too big.

Can't wait till there are two sweet girls playing in this room!

Can't wait till there are two sweet girls playing in this room!

Looking at my original sketch, I began to paint the outlines over my colored paint blobs. I didn’t worry too much about staying inside or outside of the lines – and purposely went outside the lines frequently. I used only 1 round brush for all of the outline, so that it was consistent throughout.

Once I was finished, I added some random colored dots/blobs of all the colors I used around the entire piece.

That’s it! I needed up having quite a bit of extra paint that I had mixed, and I didn’t want to throw it out because I’m a paint hoarder, so I went to the dollar store and bought some cheap plastic containers that worked perfectly for storage. Now if anything ever happens to the flowers (likely in our household), I have handy touch up paint.

After I was done I was hesitant to hang the curtains on top of the flowers, but that had been my intention from the beginning, and I love the way the flowers peek out from behind. Also, this room has a ways to go but let's be real- the toys are usually on the floor anyway. :)

After I was done I was hesitant to hang the curtains on top of the flowers, but that had been my intention from the beginning, and I love the way the flowers peek out from behind. Also, this room has a ways to go but let's be real- the toys are usually on the floor anyway. :)

There you have it! If you made it through this far, thanks for reading and I hope you attempt some scribble florals yourself!

12 lessons from 12 years together

HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglin2 Comments

The last week of 2017 Shawn and I celebrated 12 years of marriage. We have now been together longer than we haven't.


One morning at breakfast- side note, I loooooove vacation breakfast. It's my favorite thing to do while we are away- Lots of coffee, no rush...and croissants! YES. Anyway, we started talking about some of the things we've learned over the years. Most were lessons we'd learned the hard way- and continue to learn. Some things could be their own book. 

But for the sake of self-actualization, and in hopes that they might benefit you, dear reader, I wanted to list out Top 12 (one for every year- get it?!). Let’s dive in:

  1. When you’re at life’s crossroads (major life changes), be together. This is more fully (and more eloquently) explained in Ann Swindell's book "Still Waiting". I love the concept of still being "together"- with God and each other- as you face new challenges (which WILL happen).
  2. All feelings are valid and are often indicators of deeper heart issues. Listen to your spouse- their feelings deserve respect even if they don’t make sense to you.
  3. Dream together. Finances, careers, family, giving. Share your BHAGs often (big, hairy, audacious goals). Most of the time, our best tools to execute those BHAGs are our bank accounts and calendars. The way we manage them determines how our life is run.
  4. Margin is important- time for kids, health, finances, alone time. Again, this has to be part of the calendar to happen.
  5. Kids have been the most wonderful, joyful "interruption" we’ve encountered in marriage. Before we had kids, we would consider all the things that we’d no longer be able to do once they were here- but the truth is, once we had them, we just wanted to do those things WITH our kids.
  6. Praying together really matters. I posted about how we use focus words to pray for our kids- well, we do this for each other too and it has massively helped us encourage and establish identity in Christ for each other.
  7. Sex gets better. Just in case you were worried. :)
  8. You’re on the same team. Support each other publicly and privately. Show up for their stuff. Respect them with your words and actions (especially in public). I struggle with this as sarcasm is one of the many languages I am fluent in. 
  9. Your spouse is going to change just like you will. Always referring to the “good old days” can be damaging and dishonoring to the person your spouse has become. They’ve likely worked hard to improve certain areas of life. Evaluate and change expectations as needed- of your spouse and of yourself
  10. Counseling is a good idea. Even if you don’t have “issues”. Do it regularly and without shame.
  11. Infidelity can take different forms- financial, physical, emotional. Don’t let those seeds grow, much less get planted. Establish mental, emotional, and physical boundaries that are agreed upon by both spouses (this means you have to talk about it together). Some of our boundaries are: no time alone with a person of the other sex, all-access to each other's phones & computers (this includes knowing passwords and checking social media messages and activity) and using outside internet monitoring services and filters. Set up trustworthy accountability partners of the same sex and use them. This means be intentional with another man/woman in biblical, honest, soul-bearing vulnerability. It’s awkward sometimes, but it’s worth it.
  12. Marriage takes priority over care for our children. The BEST thing we can do for our children is to keep our marriage intact. I believe that our generation's biggest challenge as parents will be to raise children that aren't entitled. Teaching them that they are loved and important but that your marriage comes first is essential to their understanding of where they fit. When we were first married, someone advised us to date monthly, retreat quarterly, and vacation yearly. So far, we've done pretty well. It hasn't always been easy and many times I leave with a heavy amount of mom guilt, but that soon fades after a full night of sleep with no tiny feet jumping on me at 7 am. :)

I must say- these lessons are not hard and fast. We are not professional counselors or ministers- but thank goodness for those who are- we rely on them heavily! We’ve seen them help godly people overcome addiction, infidelity, major disrespect and broken trust. We also lean hard on Jesus.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
— Ecclesiastes 4:12

Here's to braiding well, Shawn. You, me, and Jesus.


These images are all from a fast trip to NYC we took for our 10 year anniversary. 

my big 2017 book review

HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglin1 Comment
You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.
— Charlie "Tremendous" Jones

Last year on January 16, I posted this image:


Books I'd completed were on the left, and books to finish were on the right. I was pretty disappointed that in an entire year I'd only managed to finish 4 books (albeit great ones). 

Here are my stacks from this year:


The BAD news is, several of the books I *meant* to read just sat on the shelf. (Sorry Brené, I know you are so amazing and I watch all your Ted Talks!) Annnnnnd, I've already read both Ordering Your Private World and The Connected Child- so I was just hoping for refreshers on those. 

The GOOD news is, I mixed up the sides in my newer image and my completed books are actually on the RIGHT this time! 

I thought I would do a quick review/recommendation on all of the books I was able to finish in 2017. So, if you are so enticed, READ on!



Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother, Xinran

This book is complied of interviews of real Chinese birth mothers- meaning, they either chose to give up their babies shortly after birth or were forced to give them up because of China's one-child policy that was in place from 1979 to 2015. The author is a Chinese radio journalist who asks the mothers to not only tell their stories but also asks them what message they wish to tell their daughters. 

Of course, I cried during the majority of the time I read this book. All of the stories are different circumstantially, but the vast majority of the mothers Xinran speaks with are wrecked with heartbreak and guilt. I felt that the book helped me understand some Chinese cultural perspectives better, especially those regarding birthing/pregnancy and attitudes toward family and legacy. It's an emotional read for sure. 

Quotable: "She's so small, poor little thing, and sending her to an orphanage would upset even the spirits of her dead parents!"


Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst

I read Uninvited as part of a women's bible study and loved it. It was perfect for discussion amongst a group of women because though we can seem very "together", we still ALL deal with feelings of not belonging and not being enough. This book centers a lot on the mind-wars we have waging as women and our tendencies to fall into comparison traps, idolatry and critical spirits. I LOVE Lysa's honest and vulnerable position she takes as the author- using scenarios from her life that make the reader realize that "yes, other women actually DO deal with that type of thinking". She offers a lot of truth and hope, and there were many "ouch" moments for me, like the quotable I'm selecting:

Quotable: "If we become enamored with something in this world we think offers better fullness than God, we will make room for it."


The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins

I think I stumbled upon this book via a viral Ted Talk of Mel's. In it, she was describing her very simple method of getting anything done- the 5 Second Rule. This book came at the perfect time for me because I had just started working out on the regular and was really committed to finally losing the baby weight I'd been having on to for a couple of years. I realized I was already using a version of her 5 second rule in my workouts to get through the really un-fun parts, and after reading the book, it was amazing to be educated on exactly why it works. 

I enjoyed reading this book (there are a TON of great quotables) as a business owner and mom who always has a full plate, but I kept wishing there were a little more Jesus in it. Meaning, there is a big opportunity here make "I can do all things" the mantra and forget the "through Christ" part. However, it is definitely worth a read and completely applicable to many areas of everyday life. 

I also decided to download this one on Audible so I could listen during a plane ride and it was almost better than the book because Mel reads it so you are able to hear the emotion in her voice, as well as some off-script commentary. 

Quotable: "Forget motivation; it's a myth. I don't know when we all bought into the idea that in order to change you must 'feel' eager or 'feel' motivated to act. It's complete garbage. The moment it's time to assert yourself, you will not feel motivated. In fact, you won't feel like doing anything at all."


China's Hidden Children, Kay Ann Johnson

So this book is not for the leisure reader. It is literally a 200 page research paper on China's one-child policy. About the time l realized that it wasn't going to be an easy read, I was too far in- and just HAD to finish it, just so I could say I did. So this is sort of my "extra credit" book that I'm just glad I was able to finish, haha.

I DID gain some very insightful knowledge into the effects that the one-child policy had on real people, as the author did very thorough real-life investigation into what actually happened vs. what the government may have been saying about their policies. It WILL be very helpful for us in the future, I think, though...because we are adopting a girl and the one-child policy is bound to be brought up, even though she would be born years after the policy was removed.

Quotable: "Thus in a little more than a decade the ground had shifted from an abundance of 'unwanted' healthy baby girls flowing into government institutions in central south China, an area that had pioneered international adoption in the 1990s, to a dearth of healthy babies available for any kid of adoption both inside and outside the orphanages."


Still Waiting, Ann Swindell

This book, during this year of my life, was salve on my heart. It was not what I expected- in the best way possible. Ann vulnerably shares the story of her personal wait in correlation with the story of the bleeding woman in the Bible recorded in the book of Mark. I (wrongly) assumed that this book would deal heavily with infertility and the struggles related to wanting children, and though that is mentioned, it is not the sold focus of the book- which I love for the fact that it conveys the significance of any type of "waiting"- for healing, for provision, for anything, really. It did appeal to my adoptive momma heart as this year has been tougher than others for me emotionally. I have already recommended this book to about a dozen friends.

The very best thing about this book is the various ways Ann injects importance into the waiting process. She communicates all the ways God loves us in and through a wait. She gives hope as to why we may be waiting, and all the while she is forgiving, human, and understanding of the unique struggles a "waiter" experiences. 

Quotable: "That was how I started to understand how people become bitter, how the seeds of anger turn into deep roots of dismissal when it comes to trusting God."


At Home in the World, Tsh Oxenreider

You guys, if you read ONE book on this list, read this one. Immediately after finishing I felt the need to recommend it to several specific people I thought would enjoy it and proceeded to over-emotionally explain to them all the reasons I thought that they, specifically, would love it too. Not creepy or weird at all.

This book chronicles the real-life around-the-world trip author Tsh and her family (husband and 3 small children) take on a year long journey. Shawn and I have always discussed how important it is for us to give our children a great worldview- that is, we want them to understand who they are in regard to the rest of the world, and at the same time be able to appreciate the different. I love the bravery and the honesty in this book, along with the way Tsh appeals to your every sense as they experience a new culture. It's a lesson in minimalism, living with intention, making room for the spontaneous, and in the end- a true appreciation of home.

I also listened to this on Audible as it is read by Tsh, and it was wonderful there too!

Quotable: "Travel has taught me the blessing of ordinariness, of rootedness and stability. It can be found anywhere on the globe. It's courageous to walk out the front door and embrace earth's great adventures, but the real act of courage is to return to that door, turn the knob, walk through, unpack the bags, and start the kettle for a cup of tea."


Of Mess And Moxie, Jen Hatmaker

Of course, Jen is a fave. This was the new book she came out with this year and it did not disappoint. Jen makes lots of great arguments about what it really looks like to be a decent mom and wife (the chapter on exercise is hilarious)- but mostly she makes you feel better about all of your life efforts, be they Pinterest-fail-y, or not.

My mom and I listened to this book on our way to Round Top (via Audible) and it was fun to not only laugh together but also get some great conversation out of the deeper messages in the book (like dealing when you feel rejection from the church). The chapter on Bonus Moms has given me a new adjective to add to the names of my closest girlfriends.

Quotable: "How To Find A Missing Child: 1) Prepare to take a shower or go to the bathroom. 2) Shut door.  Programming Note: The missing child should barge in immediately, but should this method fail, silently open a candy bar or start a very important phone call. Look down: there is your kid."



Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life, Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush

This was a great memoir by the Bush twins if you followed their "growing up" years, have Texas roots, or want to hear some fun behind-the-scenes accounts of what life is like when your Dad is the President. Read by the authors.

Capital Gaines: The Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff, Chip Gaines

This one was a little meh- possibly because I'm more Joanna that Chip, but I did recommend it to Shawn. Easy listen.

The Whole Brain Child: Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind, Daniel J. Siegel

Listening to this on Audible was difficult because it is very clinical. This is literally a book on how your child's brain works, and how you can use that information to help nurture your child. There are some great techniques and information here, but I kept wishing I had the physical copy so I could refer back to it in the future.

The Magnolia Story, Chip and Joanna Gaines

Not a new book anymore, but I did enjoy hearing their story from the very beginning. The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep and so that part of me was revved up once I'd finished.

Talking as Fast As I Can, Lauren Graham

Probably only for Gilmore/Parenthood/Lauren Graham fans. Her insights and memoirs are fun and wonderful. Easy, enjoyable listen- especially because Lauren reads. 



There is No Good Card For This: What to Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love, Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell

I love Emily's illustration and that was the primary reason I was drawn to this book- but empathy and showing up when others are hurting is something I'd like to be better at.

A Million Little Ways, Emily P. Freeman

I was given this book by Alexandra, and I'm about 3/4 through. Emily Freeman is another favorite author of mine and there are so many gems of truth in this book. Amazing read if you are a creative who is also a believer in Jesus.

Wild and Free, Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgon

Why haven't I finished this yet? Maybe I just want to be boring and shut in? I don't know. Completion will happen.

Gracelaced, Ruth Simons

This is the most gorgeous devotional, you guys! It features the artwork of Ruth Simons as well as some perfectly-timed words of wisdom and scripture references to dwell on. I am excited to pick this up from time to time throughout the year.


And that's it! My hope is that some of you might pick up one of these and read them yourself. If you do, please let me know- I always love impromptu book club discussions. 

I also didn't expect to be talking about Audible so much, but if you are teetering on getting a membership, you can get 2 free audiobooks and 30 days free with this link!

a mini-tour of the mcentyre bunker house

HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglin1 Comment

I FINALLY got to visit my sister and brother-in-law's new home in Waco last weekend. They have already poured a lot of love into this unique home and I could not wait to see it,'s underground!

That's right. You literally can not see the house from the street. In order to enter, you must drive down the winding driveway, where the façade is finally revealed. This actually allows the home a gorgeous view of the bamboo trees and flower beds as opposed to asphalt. 

I'm waiting until it's a touch greener to photograph the exterior of the home (if you watch my Insta-stories I did a little preview there), but for now I have a mini-tour of their living areas and guest bedroom!

I was extremely curious to see how the space would work, seeing as 3/4 of the house has no access to natural light. Thankfully, my sister has all the talent anyone could ever need to furnish and decorate the space :). 

Our guest room was so cozy and much brighter than I expected seeing as it has no windows! I love the way Lauren decorated it- I would describe her style as speakeasy chic. ;)

Even the hallway had some sass and substance. I love how she used this large lamp to fill and brighten the space. The antique telephone is from her husband's family.


The main living area is home to most of the window space and underwent major renovation when they moved in. I am totally impressed by their vision for the space and commitment to keep the original characteristics of the house, like the Saltillo tile and arched bookshelves.

Last up on this mini-tour is the dining area. While we were there, she had it decorated for Christmas with vintage ornaments. She and Corey installed the mural behind the table and it beautifully compliments the dark blues and oranges featured in the rest of the main room. 

Their bunker home is such a cool space- and this is only a small portion of it! I will have to get back to photograph more as they are able to work on it. Currently, they have plenty on their plates as Milo All Day is set to open this spring! (Pun completely intended ;)

christmas cranberry moscow mules

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That's right...I've got jokes :)

My go-to drink on a night out is a moscow mule, and my go-to drink while running errands with the kids is a water with cranberry and lime! So, when we had the murder mystery party I thought it would be fun to do a holiday mix-up of the two- a cranberry moscow mule.


The recipe is quite simple- all you need to do is make up some cranberry simple syrup and add it to your favorite moscow mule recipe. I like my mules a little sweet, so check out the recipe below for how I achieve that!  


Cranberry Moscow Mules

1 oz. cranberry simple syrup (I used this easy recipe- you just need cranberries, sugar and water!)

2 oz. vodka

3 oz. ginger beer

3 oz. Sprite

1-2 lime wedges

Ice cubes

In a copper mug, pour vodka, ginger beer, and Sprite. Add ice cubes and stir. Pour cranberry simple syrup over the ice, and squeeze a wedge or two of lime into the mixture. Enjoy! It's so refreshing!

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that time we had an 80's prom murder mystery party!

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One of the things I love about my husband is he is FUN. He is spontaneous, always up for something new, and can just about handle any situation with a smile on his face. But he's never been one to keep a secret (I don't hate this about him, haha). However, this time, he succeeded BIG TIME. He'd heard me say I'd love to have a murder mystery party before, and so this year for my birthday, he planned one! 


I share a birthday with my friend Kuhrt, and so Shawn got his wife, Lindsey, on board to help him plan and pull it off. I knew nothing until about a week before! I am a planner, and am typically all over that kind of thing but in this case it was wonderful to just show up and go with the flow! He did let me in on a few details ahead of time just so I could get a costume together. 

I did not know anything about location, dinner, or the other guests though! You guys- it was SO MUCH FUN! I loved the theme and everyone went all-out for their outfits. My character was the school counselor, and Shawn's was the baseball coach.


I found my top on Etsy- and it was originally a dress...but once I tried to get that skirt on, well...let's just say it was NOT happening, haha. So, I cut off the skirt and every other item was already in my closet!  

I have had several people ask if I was wearing a wig- the answer is NOPE- that is actually my real hair! I followed this tutorial and it worked SO well. Like a little too well, haha! I loved getting to see everyone else's outfits and of course we had to do a makeshift photo booth. 


Shawn knew I'd appreciate a catered, sit-down dinner and it was delicious. We had bacon-wrapped jalapeno chicken with mashed potatoes and asparagus. My friend Joan catered- message me if you would like her details- she is amazing!


Shawn purchased the party plan from Night of Mystery- and the kit literally had everything in it down to the decorations (80's movie posters). So, everything ran really smoothly, even for us rookies! I was amazed at how well the whole thing flowed- from meeting all the "characters", to the murder, to finding out whodunnit. Seriously, it was so much fun and after a while, everyone was really into their characters which made it so entertaining! You could really go all out with the decorations, etc.- but you definitely don't have to.


I can't wait to do it again- at the end of the evening, I was so full of love for my awesome friends and hubby. It was wonderful to have a night without kids that was also really carefree and fun. If you've ever been interested in a murder mystery party- DO IT! 


autumn touches & how I handle decorating for the seasons

HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglinComment

Confession, ya'll...while I love the fall and winter holidays, I've never been a huge fan of seasonal decorating. It has always just seemed too fussy- too much work to get out and put up, and all the while pieces are breaking off and getting lost (#kids). I did a major purge of our Christmas decor a few years ago and condensed it down to two Rubbermaid bins. Some of you may be laughing, but that is "minimal" for our family. 

But just like always, October makes its entrance and that crispness fills the air...and all of a sudden I. NEED. PUMPKINS!!!


Yes, I AM that lady that forgets about the pumpkins I spent so much time carving and leaves them to rot on the porch. GUILTY. Sorry everyone who comes to our home in the month of November. You will be greeted by the saddest bunch of post-Halloween carved pumpkins you will ever see. 

This year, though, I have yet to visit the pumpkin patch (which is a MUST)- but I've already made peace with some very minimal autumn-izing at home. 

Because I know my kids will, inevitably, play with whatever decor I put out, it HAS to be durable. It also needs to be not too special- as in, it need to be cheap. But on the other side, I don't like to buy new things every year, so it also needs to last. 

So, this is what I've decided to do this year- I'm keeping our fall decor limited to one table- which my kids are calling "pumpkin city" (haha, love them!). On it, I pulled a few orange-y things from around our house (it's one of my favorite accent colors, though I've never been super crazy about Halloween). 


I knitted several pumpkins a few years ago that have been lightweight and durable, and mixed them with these velvet pumpkins my mom gave me. She found them at the local TJMaxx but here are similar. And to realllllllly personalize, we added in the crazy decorated fake pumpkins that the kids decorated with my mom (bless her for busting out the glitter! Of course Liv's pumpkin is coovvvvverrrrreeddd in it). 


I threw one of my favorite Mexican blankets down on the bottom just to add a bit of warmth and interest, and pulled a few vintage Reader's Digest books (these are so handy for decorating and there are so many colors of them!) to create some levels. I was so happy with the result.

This table is viewable from nearly every spot in our kitchen, office, living and dining area so it really is enough to remind us that it's autumn (even when the Texas heat wants us to believe otherwise). 

And that is literally ALL I'm going to do (with the exception of maybe a few real ones on our porch after our pumpkin patch visit). I do get a little crazier for Christmas, but that post is for another day. :) 

I'd love to hear how you keep seasonal decorating simple! 

okc/tulsa & that time we went to a wedding as GUESTS!

HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglinComment

It’s a rare occasion that Shawn and I are actually guests at a wedding- so when we were invited to Pierce + Annique’s wedding, we were a GO. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE shooting weddings- but it sure was fun to take my time eating that delicious piece of wedding cake and then getting to dance with Shawn. 

I’m the nerd that enjoys reading reviews and doing the research on the best local spots when we travel- and Oklahoma City/Tulsa really surprised us with all there is to do! So I thought I’d share here- since we had so many great experiences. 

We rented an Air BnB in the Gatewood neighborhood, which was within walking distance of the very cool Plaza District. The Plaza hosts a great collection of local boutiques, bars and restaurants- even a pop-up shaved ice stand made from a shipping container (Sasquatch).

Here’s a list of the places we visited in that area this trip:

Saints Pub- jazz band + yummy cocktails


Aurora- excellent breakfast in the coolest space! I went a little photo crazy here- but I loved the design SO MUCH.


Oak & Ore- 36 kinds of beers on tap- Shawn was sold! They also had a great banh mi sandwich.


RetrOKC- I picked up some vintage paint by numbers pieces forthe girls’ room here- $5! 


We didn’t get to visit The Mule, Goro Ramen, Empire Slice House or any of the other interesting restaurants but will definitely be doing so in future trips. 

We did make our way to Bricktown for dinner one night, and walked the river with ice cream, which was fun. It was a bit more “touristy” but we still enjoyed the whole Bricktown area.

We met up with friends who live on OKC for breakfast one morning, we actually visited two great spots:

Clarity Coffee- sorry, no pictures here- I was enjoying our company so much I forgot! The baristas were super nice and the space is very well designed, though- so just go see for yourself!


Okay Yeah- ya’ll. I could have eaten the whole menu and purchased every plant there. That’s right- they have delicious food AND the cutest little plant shop all in one space. We had some sweet and savory hand tarts (think home made pop tarts) that were soo delicious. 

We also made our way over to Tulsa for a day to visit some good friends and there were a ton of cool spots there!


Dilly Diner- this was a perfect family meal spot- the patio has 3 playhouses, and we ate breakfast for lunch.


The Boxyard- Really unique shopping center made out of shipping containers- my fave shops were East + West (menswear) and Dwelling Spaces.


Retro Den- I’ve followed this shop on Insta forever and couldn’t wait to scope out their space! It had so many great finds and I was heartbroken we couldn’t drive it all home, so I settled for some air plants (they're still alive!!!!).


Cirque Coffee- this was a great spot to sit, refuel, and answer some emails. Shawn had a coffee drink made with imperial stout beer that had been reduced with cinnamon sticks. It was delicious.

The wedding was at The Stone Barn at Blueberry Hill, and it was so lovely. The bride was absolutely radiant, the groom looked dapper- and we had the best time! Here are a few iPhone shots- you'll definitely want to check out the images from their awesome photographer


Till next time, OKC!

Always a project...Knox's Room Update

HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglinComment

I just can't ever sit still with house projects. Once I complete one, I have the urge to start something new, and much to Shawn's chagrin, that usually involves paint. :)

This project, however, my husband has actually volunteered himself for- so in order to keep my worker happy, I am doing the most planning ahead that I can.

What's the project, you ask?

Oh, just the one where we switch out the kids' bedrooms in the middle of our busiest work season.

Our house has 3 bedrooms, two of which are the EXACT same size, and located on the same side of the house- one nearer the front of the house, and one near the back. When we moved into this house, we only had 1 kiddo (Knox) and so we put him in the bedroom that was toward the back of the house, which worked perfectly- until we had another baby. 

Liv's nursery/room has inhabited the front bedroom, and there have been many times I wished I had switched their rooms. Namely, those times the doorbell rang and woke up the sleeping baby I had in the room right next to the front door. 

So, realizing that we will be welcoming another sweet girl sometime in the near future who will share a room with Liv has made me want to go ahead and do the switcheroo. So maybe you could call this nesting, in a way?

Regardless- it's time for Knox to get a little update. Here's a current view of his room:



Yeah, that's right- this is the way it USUALLY LOOKS. No prettying up real life for the internets here. 

I've made peace with the random socks and shoes on the floor, and we just aren't the people who make their beds every morning. But the books on the ground, the toys piled up on every piece of furniture, the sheer amount of toys that aren't actually played with anymore...those are the things that drive me bonkers. 


Here's what's working/what I'd like to keep for this room:

  • The full size bed
  • The vintage pennants and signs
  • The little mid-century bookshelf (I salvaged out of the alley many years ago)
  • The Ikea Poang chair and ottoman
  • The dog tail hooks that are holding up the art (not pictured)
  • The square storage shelves (functional, though I may want to update the fabric boxes)
Current mint wall color.

Current mint wall color.

Here's what I want to see gone/improved:

  • Hanging chair
  • Dresser (possibly)
  • Train table
  • Floating Shelves
  • Toys no longer played with (which is going to be a job in itself)

Another thing I am considering is that he will need to be able to "grow with" this room. He is just 6 right now, but I'm wanting to make it more of a "big boy" room he can really utilize in the coming years.

So, I'm wanting to add:

  • Desk
  • Upright storage or mirror over dresser
  • Nightstand

Liv's room (a.k.a. Knox's future room) is currently painted a happy, light mint color- and to save myself some time, I am hoping to keep that color, while adding an accent wall. 


Check out the mood board I put together:

I'm hoping to reuse several items we already have, plus add some must-haves for a "big boy" room, like a desk, reading light, and extra storage in an armoire. 

One of the things I am most excited about is creating an engineering print mural on one of the walls. This will be my third experience doing a mural like this- my first was in our retail store, Culture Clothing- look how tiny Knox was when I was putting it up! 

I'm having trouble deciding on whether I want to do an A) Constellation pattern or B) Mountain scene. Knox says he doesn't care and that he likes both. So, what do you guys think? Here are a couple of photos for inspo:





No matter what, it will be black and white print, though I do love the blue of the constellation wall- it's just much less expensive to do the black and white!

I'm also debating about curtains- hoping to keep them some sort of black and white pattern, but- how important is it that I get blackout curtains now that he is 6? Also, we will be raising those curtains allllll the way to the ceiling this time.

I also have not even thought about bedding yet- eesh! He does have a white down comforter inside the duvet he is currently using- so we will probably just stick with that. Simple. And BLEACHABLE. 

Any other input/thoughts/ideas/wish-you-hads for me?