Monday, October 22, 2012

style your life: noonday collection

PhotobucketYours truly is guest posting over at Style Your Life today... sharing my passion for Noonday Collection and how advocating for dignified job creation in impoverished communities is also helping us raise money for our adoption. Go check out Jennifer's blog and check out Noonday. <3 nbsp="nbsp">

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hi "Hillside Home" readers!!! It has been such a long time since I checked in here at THH. So much has happened over the past year... 

First of all, look at these two. It goes by so quickly, y'all.

It looks like I will be moving my little show over to our new ADOPTION blog. Ryan and I have begun the process to adopt our third son or daughter from Ethiopia. If you'd be interested in following along this journey with us... and take a little leap from home decor to adoption & faith, then come visit us at


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Wishing you the very merriest Christmas... from our family to yours.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our experience at the Everybody Plays photo shoot

You guys might remember in October I shared that our little Finny girl was chosen in a casting call to have her photo taken by "thee" Kelle Hampton for a new campaign for Infantino. The campaign is called "Everybody Plays" and it's a simply wonderful initiative to have babies and children of all colors and abilities represented and celebrated in their marketing.

I have to say, I thought that it was a nice idea from the moment I read about it, but it was really amazing to see it in action once we were on "set." The photo shoot was held at a private residence in San Diego. The staff could not have been more nice or more welcoming. I am seriously an even bigger fan of Infantino products now that I have met the incredibly sweet and sincere people behind the brand. And it was something else to see so many babies playing together and interacting... different shades and abilities... each shining in their own way... parents visiting and proud of their little ones. It was really a neat day.

Finley was an angel. We got there super early and were even invited to eat lunch with the staff (seriously, they were really nice, I'm tellin' ya), and she was all smiles and being her happy self. As we waited for her "call time" I knew that sister had to be getting tired. And sure enough after I changed her into her outifit for pictures, girlfriend put that little thumb in her mouth and was out like a light.

So I offered to let someone else go before us and let her sleep for a bit.

When she woke up about 20 minutes later it was her turn. After a last minute costume change (geez, what a diva), we headed inside to have her photos taken. She was pretty straight-faced the whole time... not all the way awake from her nap and probably wondering who in the world all these people were, but I figure a serious baby post-nap is better than a cranky one without a nap. Yes? Yes. But seriously, she did great. Cute as can be.

And as for Kelle? She could not have been sweeter. She was super professional, but still so charasmatic with the kids. You can tell she has a serious heart for children and it shows in her work. It was such a pleasure to meet her after reading her blog for so long... I'm a fan, what can I say? (Kelle and I called each other that morning to see what we were going to wear... we wanted to be twinsies.)

Okay, so part 2 of this little story goes like this: it was a "wrap" on Finley, we were on our way out, and I said something like, "Hey, if you need an extra toddler for tomorrow's shoot, I have a super cute 2 year old at home (ha ha)." And then they said, "Really? Oh my gosh, yes, we need a 2 year old! Would you mind coming back tomorrow?"

Fast forward to the next morning: Here's Liam strapped in the car and watching Marmaduke on the way down to SD.

We were old pros this time around. Knew where we were going and knew everyone's name. It was a fast shoot. Liam was great. Our only hiccup was when it was time to change him into swim trunks for the water table pictures and he was not havin' it. It was a little chilly that day and brother thought I had lost my mind telling him that it was time to play in the water. But after seeing the other kiddos get in on the action, he warmed up to the idea.

It was a fun day, just me and my boy.

The house was GOOOOORGEOUS. Liam loved the elaborate Halloween decorations out front.

And since the shoot was so quick and we had a bit of a drive ahead of us, we made a stop at the playground where Mommy had a little photo shoot of her own...

My handsome little man.

Overall, it was a great experience. Something fun and unexpected. Met some really nice people and got to see how things like this go behind-the-scenes. Oh, and the first picture of one of my kiddos popped up on the Infantino homepage. So if you just happen to pop over to you might see her sweet little face.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Everybody Plays Campaign

This little lady was chosen to photographed by the AMAZING Kelle Hampton for Infantino and Step 2's new "Everybody Plays" campaign! To say that I am stoked would be the understatement of the year. I am dorking out in a big way. Of course I am proud of my little girl (I gush over her sweet smile and baby blues every chance I get), but I am also thrilled to be part of such an awesome movement that's celebrating all of the wonderful things that make our little ones so beautifully unique. And yet, in the midst of their differences, kids are kids... and everybody plays. I am just down for celebrating babies... babies of any shape, size and color. Oh, and the little ol' chance to have my all time favorite blogger take pics of my baby girl? That ain't half bad either. I have to tell you, sometimes it is just amazing to sit back and see what life throws your way.

So, I promise to take as many pictures as I can and to come back later this week and share all the deets. Tonight, I am packing the diaper bag and laying out the clothes and mapquesting the address... getting ready for our girls' day in San Diego.

If you aren't familiar with Kelle's blog, get ready to have your world rocked and click here.
And make sure to check out this great campaign.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Front Yard Redo/Landscaping

I've never had a green thumb. Yellow maybe, but definitely not green. So when it came to replanting and landscaping our front "yard," I wasn't so sure how it was going to go. The trick was... slow and steady.

Before we get into details and tips, let's take a look at the front of the house before we moved in.

Real quick: look at little bitty Liam!!!! This was later summer 2010. He was just a little over a year old. Sniffle.

Okay, moving on. So there are the planters. Lots of green. Lots of succulents (which are easy to take care of, but not really my thing). And some serious hedge action going on.

And now (insert drumroll here), a picture of the front now...

Another break: look at Liam in this pic. It totally wasn't planned that he happened to be in each picture. But so awesome that it happened that way. My little man. Pushing 2 and 1/2. With his short haircut and McQueen backpack. Be still my heart--this kid kills me.

First things first: best thing we did in these planters was put down weed cloth and black bark. I wasn't so sure about this idea when my mom suggested it, because "bark" always brought to mind orange clay colored yards out in the desert. Anyone know what I'm talkin' about? But I trusted her and went with the black color and wa-la. I freakin' love it. It looks clean and like rich soil and really makes the colors of the plants and flowers pop.

It's really easy to do. You buy the weed cloth in rolls from a garden center (we got all of our supplies from Home Depot) and lay it down in your planters (working it around your already established plants). Then you put stakes down to hold it in place and dump your bark right on top of it. Easy peasy. Then, as you plants new plants, you just cut holes in your weed cloth with your shovel or whatever and dig and plant right in there. The weed cloth really does to a great job of keeping the weeds out. A few do pop up every now and then, but they are easy to spot.

So let me walk you through our little garden as best as I can using these pics. In the lower left hand corner we have ground cover which we kept from the previous owner's garden. But the little tree popping out is a Japanese Elm which we planted. Behind the Elm you can see some of our Mum plants which were also from before. They get huge and the stalks get heavy with blooms, but they are so pretty and yield soooo many flowers. Lots of blooms to bring inside. Love them. (On that side we also have a Judy Garland Rose bush, a Desert Hibiscus, and a Hawaiian Hibiscus.)

In the front planter (right hand side), we took everything out and planted a Birch Tree. We sprinkled in a handful of large rocks and small plants. This area gets lots of direct sun so it's been a task to find small plants that thrive in this planter. Peonies seem to be holding their own, and we also have a bright pink plant that is doing great in here but admittedly, I have NO idea what they are. I'll get back to you on that one.

In the back planter (at the top of the photo), we removed all of the hedges which, all by itself, was a HUGE improvement. Then we added 4 rose bushes (two white, one pink, and one Judy Garland), a red rose tree, vinkas, hydrangeas, jasmine, mini carnations, and a gardenia plant. We also have two azelea plants that we kept from the previous garden.

One of my favorite things we have goin' on is the climbing fig trailing up our chimeny. I L-O-V-E this look. It took forever to take off, but now that it's going, there's no stopping it. I can't wait until all of the brick is covered. Me gusta mucho.

At the top of the yard near the door we have a little courtyard. Let's take a look at the courtyard at move-in time.

Aww, there's the little peanut again.

So, as you can see, it was pretty plain jane. And you can also get a glimpse of that beauty of a hillside we had goin' on (AKA Weedtown, USA).

And here is our courtyard now...

Two potted Ficus trees on either side of our gate. We also have a small bistro table (you can see it peaking into stage right), another Ficus (not pictured) and some potted trellis plants as well (also MIA from this pic).

And perhaps the biggest change.... the hillside. You can get a little peak of our 3-tiered brick hillside and white wrought-iron gate. You can get a better look at this HUGE upgrade in Liam's birthday post and I am working on posting before and after pics. But as a quick spoiler alert, the first level is a deck with paving stones, a dining table, a sitting area, and 2 firepits (free-standing, not built-in, but that would be dope). The 2nd level is kind of a weed farm right now but someday it's going to be a fruit and vegetable garden, and the 3rd level is where we planted five trees (one Birch and 4 Ornamental Plums).

So that's that... the lowdown on our front-yard redo. It's amazing what landscaping can do for the front of a home. Major curb appeal. And gardens are so personal... you get to plant 'em exactly like you want 'em and then they just feel like "you." Hope you guys like it. Now to keep it all watered, trimmed, and weeded. That's what Gramma's are for, right? :)


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

half bath reveal

i'm pretty pumped to show you guys before and after pictures of our downstairs half bath. below is a picture of the bathroom right before we moved in. it was super clean, but also supa-dupa 70's. we gutted it. we took out the floors and the entire vanity...

...and here it is now!!!

new tile, new paint, wainscoting, pedastal sink and new lighting. it is really bright and roomy for being such an itty bitty space. i'd still like to hang a piece of art above the little "nightstand" table and add some new hardware to the drawers. but for the most part, it's finished and we love it.

here are some product sources:

sink and faucet - home depot
mirror - ikea
lighting - pottery barn
bouy - pottery barn
"nightstand" - goodwill (stripped and repainted it.)
frame - tj maxx
soap dispenser - target