The Emerald Girl

The Emerald Girl

life in seattle

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Celebrate All the Days

It seems like every day is a different "National Day". Yes, these national days seem rather silly but they also give me something to do. Staying at home with two littles is rather challenging but today I have realized these national days can give us something to do. A couple of weeks ago it was National Blueberry Muffin Day. I decided immediately that we would make muffins together. Making food in the kitchen is a great, hands-on activity that my 4 year old loves. It takes extra time when cooking with a small child but that doesn't bother me because I have all the time in the world (or at least the day). We just take our time and then let the muffins bake and then enjoy.

For these muffins we followed this recipe from Real Simple.

Today is national daiquiri day. Pretty sure we won't be celebrating that one together but tomorrow is national moon day or national lollipop day. We could go to the library and read books about the moon, color pictures of the moon or make moon shaped sugar cookies (a circle, haha).

If you find yourself with extra time on your hands and looking for something to do, check out the National Day Calendar and #celebrateeveryday.

Note: this post is not sponsored I thought it was a good and wanted to share!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Our Family Fourth

This is almost the most important part of the 4th of July for me. I want all the cousins in flag shirts from Old Navy and I want my picture. Of course, I can never really get a good one of all of them. Getting six kids to smile or look pleasant and look at you at the same time is a near impossibility. The unhappy girl in the middle was sick and not enthusiastic about me giving her a hard time about the sour face. I mean, c'mon though, can't everyone just smile for Auntie Jen for 1 picture?!

My ideal day would be spent outside in the warm sun, BBQing, red white and blue everything, a perfectly displayed buffet of food and treats, decorating 4th of July bicycles, festive non-alcoholic drinks, white adirondack chairs and lots of family and friends.

The reality is that my sister and I were sick so we laid on couches wrapped in blankets passing the kleenex box back and fourth. But whatev. It was still a great day and the kids had an absolute blast!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Hearing that small voice

I want to write a movie. I want to write a movie about the broken families in America and the next generation that vows to make a different life for their kids.  And I've always wanted to write a movie about overcoming my drug addiction. A lot of people can relate to drug use and abuse. It's brokenness in my own life and it's God as my strength that has taken away my addiction. I want to write a story of hope. And a story that explains the mental disease of addiction in a meaningful way that makes a difference in the next generation. 

I've been watching Million Dollar Listing New York as I do and I love Luis. His genuine optimism and zest for life is infectious. I will be sad to see him leave the show. But that egging feeling he has expressed throughout this season, that something is not right, not being able to put a finger on it. I've felt that. I've felt that for years. 

Since graduating college seven years ago and entering the workforce - It never felt complete. I was awarded for my hardworking achievement and, while it always feels nice to be recognized, I kind of felt like, yeah ok I can do this but it's not challenging. It's not pushing me. I'm not providing value in a way that is deeply meaningful to me and that's never been enough for myself. 

I tried pursuing photography. And I have loved it. It has definitely challenged me in ways I've never been challenged before. I went from knowing nothing about photography to shooting over 20 weddings and countless family sessions. 

I've always loved writing. 

Or making crafty things. Using scissors to make collages. 

I don't know. I sit here still and wonder what it is. Can I do something great like that? Can I write the story?

I often wonder maybe I'm just supposed to learn to be content. That God wants me to be happy no matter what. Which is true but He also gives us desires and dreams and He doesn't want those to be ignored. I've wanted to tell my story for a decade. I've started and stopped because I don't want to face into that ugly person I was. God tells me I'm a new creation in Christ. I have been washed clean. I am not that person. I am not the person I was when I was 18. I need to be able to tell this story to help others. Why else do we go through hard times if not to be able to relate?

So I dunno, Luis D. Ortiz. I don't know, kid. I'm feeling inspired to keep going after whatever it is inside of me. Go for it. Because why not? Go for it because I am not living to please others or live in fear of what others may think or live small because I don't want to make others feel bad about who they are. I've got to step out of my own way. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Day trip to Whidbey Island

The East Coast instagrammers have really inspired me to get out to the beach towns here in the Pacific Northwest. Washington state is an interesting shape that allows for the Pacific Ocean to come around the top tip of the state through the Straight of Juan de Fuca and down through the middle of the state into the Puget Sound with a smattering of islands in between. With mountain ranges on both sides of the Puget Sound and evergreens everywhere, it's hard not to feel just completely relaxed. 

If you've read this blog in the past, it's probably apparent that I am struggling with having so much time at home with my two kids. I decided that I need to just get out and do stuff. With my expectations shifted I could easily take a ferry and spend the whole day outside of the house on an island and with no pressure to do things by a certain time, the clock was nothing but a function of the phone. No schedule and no agenda set the perfect tempo for our little day away. 

The only real bummer is that it's not so easy to prioritize picture taking when I've got two small human beings to look after but I still got some great shots. We all know how much I love Instagram and it's fun to share different areas in and around Seattle. 

The very next day I took the kids strawberry picking which I'll be sharing in a blog post coming soon!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top 10 Blogs to Follow

A long time ago, ok not really but about 6 years ago, this blogger recommended only following 10 blogs. In an attempt to clear the clutter in your life and your head and keep it clear. To not waste away looking at what other people are doing rather than getting up and doing yourself. I've never been able to find 10 blogs that I thought I absolutely, without a doubt, could not miss a new post from but I now have 9 which is the most I've had.

My list of top favorites have changed over the years but I'm so close to actually having 10 that I wanted to share. In alphabetical order, here they are:

A Country Farmhouse | Catherine
She and her husband, Mike, have restored and decorated the most stunningly, jaw dropping out of this world farmhouse in Oregon, moved to the East coast and are now in the process of completing another home renovation. It's educational and inspiring. Her blog makes me feel all warm, cozy and Martha Stewart inside.

She lives in New York and works for Gap in social media. I love her creative eye for photography and her cool curation of home and fashion goods. She's laid back and refined. Her Instagram feed is my fav, making me crave a Nantucket summer.

Back to SF | Sarah
Sarah is my friend in real life. We worked together before she moved, as you might have guessed, San Francisco. Her and her husband, Brandon, recently purchased a home in need of some love and I can't wait to see the finished product.

Her look is well put together with all the trimmings you'd expect on a well dressed lady. I love the lifestyle photography the KJP team creates every time they pull out the camera. Each photograph is perfectly composed with the finest details. What I loved about this blog in the beginning was that Sarah seemingly wore clothes that you could find in the average girl's closet, of course as her blog has bloomed so has her closet but I still love seeing how she pieces outfits together.

She lives in charming North Carolina, is the editor in chief of Southern Weddings magazine, writes books, encourages people daily along with a slew of other things on her resume. I love her. She makes things happen and helps other people to do the same. She is one of the first of many online Christian creative people that have encouraged me to pick up that good ol' book a whole heck of a lot more. She reminds me to live intentionally, choose what matters and follow God.

Her blog is so much more than a fashion blog. I love her creative aesthetic and the photographers she works with. Margo and Me is filled with beautiful light and pretty details. Feminine and delicate details define her style. She chooses the such a variety of places to photograph in and makes everywhere she visits seem full of beauty and whim. I'm reminded to embrace the girly-girl inside because it's so enchanting.

This is one of the first lifestyle (DIY, entertaining, decorating) blogs I started following in 2009 or 2010. Another blog that makes me wish I had a house so I could do all the things that Martha Stewart does. Morgan now has 3 kids and I love seeing her ideas for small space living, entertaining and balancing life in general.

Sinclair & Moore | Steve and Jamie
The ultimate wedding designing and planning duo based in Seattle. They don't blog often but when they do it's gold! My love of photographing flowers is tantalized by Steve's floral creations. Again, (I'm sensing a pattern here), people who make me dream of that Martha Stewart life. These two makes things pretty for a living and strive to make life just as beautiful. From the food, to the birthday parties to family photos, I'm so inspired to put more attention into details to make other people feel beautiful as well.

Last but certainly not least, my friend in real life, Kaley. We met while working at a hotel (that shall remain unnamed). She is kind, genuine and likes to laugh a lot. Her smiling face is magnetic; it immediately draws you in and makes you want to be friends with her. Her blog is about traveling  near and far. The photos alone will make you want to buy a plane ticket stat. I'm excited to see where this new venture takes her!

(Each image above is a link to that specific bloggers blog post).

To be honest I never actually deleted my whole following on Bloglovin. I like to keep the list of neato cheeto blogs I've found over the years so I can go back to them later if I'm looking for some specific inspiration. I definitely do not look at them daily or even weekly but on occasion or a lazy Saturday I like to scroll through the list.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

National Donut Day

If Instagram has taught me anything it's that every day is a national day. You absolutely do NOT miss National Donut Day and you do NOT miss out on a fun little photoshoot with cute props. These delectible donuts are from Frost. My new favorite place for chocolate Bavarian creme filled donuts. I have not found another worthy contender. It's more than just a donut. 

Cute plates courtesy of my big sis, courtesy of our late grandmother. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Venice Beach

Following our trip to Palm Desert, we drove over to the coast and stayed at a really great AirBNB in Venice Beach. We wanted to visit Venice because we wanted to be near the ocean and we like laid back vibes though we did venture East and visit Los Feliz (the happy!) to see some friends for breakfast and see the Griffith Observatory and Hollywood sign. I really wish Seattle had a big park with an awesome view of the surrounding cities. Discovery Park is great but just not the same.

Abbot Kinney Boulevard is the main street with restaurants and shops. So many good places to eat, treats to devour and other stuff to buy. We also visited the Venice Canals because Valentine's Day was filmed there and I'm obsessed and watch it every year.

Our AirBNB was a cozy little one bedroom Spanish style bungalow. It was my first experience using the site and I'm now super excited about traveling with kids. The price was comparable (better) to a hotel because it had a full kitchen, a bathroom, separate dining room and a large closet in the bedroom which fit a pack-n-play perfectly for the baby to have her own little hideaway. Less stressful, more relaxing.

I was still sick from Palm Desert but mustered up the energy to actually get up and out and partake in the days activities with my family. I loved being in California and I hated coming back home. Sunshine and warmth makes me happy and it's hard to be back here in Seattle where the skies are dark and we've still been turning the heaters on.