Smith-Style Spring

G-Style, Me, Our Family Style, Parenting Style, S-Style, Smith Style

Hey everybody!

I know I haven’t written a whole lot lately, but here’s the thing, spring has sprung! I absolutely love the beginning of new seasons. Well, except winter. That shit sucks. But maybe that is what makes the transition to spring so great. Days are longer, warmer, brighter. People, streets and towns are peppier. I adore the first time each year when a really nice day comes along. The day when people are still pasty-white but they bust out tank tops, maxi dresses and sandals – even if it’s a little premature. They walk or drive around windows down, music up. Those days have arrived here in my home. It has been getting up in the 70s.

Much to my daughter’s dismay that is not actually swimming weather, but it is warm enough to get Grandma to turn down the hot tub and take a little dip. That is exactly what we did today. All four Smiths got together with Grandpa and Grandma Smith, Auntie, 3 cousins and even Great-Grandpa and spent some time soaking up spring sunshine. The littles played, the grown-ups gossiped and my Miss S climbed a tree all on her own for the very first time.



040She truly couldn’t be happier than when she is in the water.

069G’s “Twin Cousin” Leila. They are only 8 days apart.







032Family Patriarch, Great-Grandpa 


And the Winner Is…

Sweet Scores

Rock the Shoot: Family Edition. A blogging collaboration with LifeStyled by Elle and Fairy Wings and DinosaursSo we had the grand finale of the Fairy Wings and Dinosaurs and Life Styled by Elle collaboration. I guess that makes this the GRAND grand finale. We get to announce the winner of the family photo session with the fabulous Tami Rene. If you didn’t win, check out the awesome offers from our other photog partners. Get the full list here. And the winner is…


Kamie Kaltenbaugh! Congratulations, Kamie!



Happy Birthday, Ruthie!

Fun Events, Stylin' Printables

Oh jeeze. Too many special girls with birthdays all crammed together is making me extra forgetful.

April 1st was my bestie Laura’s 30th (big Gatsby fling tomorrow!), yesterday was my dear co-worker Kristina’s 29th (Starbuck’s and pedis!) and today is Ruthie’s 29th. With all that going on, I forgot to wish Ruthie of Fairy Wings and Dinosaurs a delightful day on our final blog post together. I don’t know Ruthie really well, nor have I known her terribly long, but i like that girl. She is smart and stylish, kind, beautiful and funny. What could be better than that?? And as today was the final day of our rockin’ photo prep collaboration, I couldn’t let the day go by without mention. I vote that everyone who reads this should go enter our sweet raffle for a FREE photo session with Tami Rene. Then to get the extra entries for commenting on the blog post, wish her a super awesome birthday.

So to Ruthie and Kristina and Laura and all the other cool April babies out there,

Happy Birthday


Rock the Shoot, Part VIII: Wrap Up

Body Image, Clothing Style, G-Style, Great Products, Hair Style, Love Style, Me, Our Family Style, S-Style, Sweet Scores

Welcome back! This is it. The grand finale and it’s about to get crazy fun up in here.

Rock the Shoot: Family Edition. A blogging collaboration with LifeStyled by Elle and Fairy Wings and Dinosaurs

Today Ruthie of Fairy Wings and Dinosaurs and I get to raffle off a FREE family photo session with Tami Rene of Lewiston, ID. Yes. Incredible. Here’s the deal:raffle

Check out Tami’s work on her website and get in on the raffle! I am super jealous of you that you get to try for this and I don’t. Tami is so talented and so cool. I do love a nerdy-artistic gal in glasses. :) It ends in SIX days. So go enter. Like now. I mean, only if you wanna win great family photos. PS Tami wants Ruthie and me to help style the shoot!

So yeah, only one person can win that sweet set-up, but guess what. We have some knock-your-socks-off deals for everyone else else too. We have worked with some of the very best photographers in the quad cities to bring you incredible deals to get your family some great photos this year. Check. It. Out.

life prints design

tami rene

amy mccall


(yes. totally the talented team who did my family’s photos last summer. I think we even appear in her website portfolio.)



stellar styles



So what about styling? Looking great is kinda a big deal in photos. No worries, I’ve got some deals for you there too!

 Gilby’s by Alannah is offering 15% off to our readers with code SHOPGILBYS15

 Wild Ones Baby Boutique is offering 25% off with code boy25

 Blake’s Beanies is offering 15% off with code 15OFF

And just in case you are still a little panicky about pulling your who look together, I have found some great family pics that showcase all of our good tips.

street family


This is a natural pose. The outfits are layered, fun, not matchy and totally wearable.

fence family

Again. Really relaxed and natural. The kids are not paying attention or silly. That’s cool. Kids are kids.

silly family

And this. I love this. Bright color pops, but not crazy. Fun. Cool clothes, real and doable.

When you get your next photos done, send some faves my way. I would love to feature them as a little follow up. Thanks for reading and stay lovely!




floral skinnies

Trend Watch: Black Floral

Clothing Style, Fashion & Style, Me
Happy April! I am not one to really get into April Fool’s Day, but this day is also my dear friend’s birthday. Happy 30th, Laura Schu! To kick of spring and to honor a gal who loves the fash world, here is my favorite spring trend for 2014, black-based florals.
Florals are looking great all over the place. Pastels and whites are really lovely, they just aren’t my favorite. Maybe for a twitter background or a more proper kind of gal they’d work beautifully, but my dark-coffee-slurpin’, red-wine-chugging, clutz-of-a-self needs something with a little deeper tint. As a bonus I find that the black serves as more of a neutral and has a little more edge to it thatnthe  tea-party appropriate florals. Here is a peak at what I am all amped about:
trendwatch black floral
Thanks to Ruthie at Jamberry Nails, I got these EXACT nail wraps in the mail yesterday and cannot wait to get ‘em on my fingers.  The print is called “Reminisce” and comes in both a gloss and matte finish. If you are not sold on my black base florals, they have tons more floral choices. Just look under the “Garden Party” line and I promise you will find something great.
So what is better than a great floral print? Ummm… floral print & stripes. I love mixing florals with stripes. And I love the dummy-proof pieces that are floral and stripes already. You can’t go wrong. This little outfit I made up keeps it nice and safe by adding in other neutrals and using some stripes in the floral scarf.
florals and stripes for spring

I love this look from Obsessed with That that’s a little bolder:

floral and stripes


This look from Beauty and Bows is funkier still but is totally charming:

stripes and floral

And yes, I am also super excited to have a really fun pair of DARK skinnies. White, mint, peach… all adorable, but they sure don’t last long through my day.



In the words of the almost-obsolete, Paris Hilton, that’s hot.

Floral Tattoo Sleeve. Check!

Body Image, Clothing Style, Great Products, Hair Style, Me, Things I Love

Hello Again!

As you may remember from my 30 Before 30 goals, I had big plans to get/start a floral tattoo sleeve. And when I say “sleeve,” let’s be clear. I actually mean something more like half sleeve. But not even that. Maybe a cap sleeve/shoulder piece. Come on. I still work for the man. While the standards are ever changing (yea!), they still exist and I don’t wanna spend the rest of my career in blazers and pea coats.

I spent the weekend in Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con. Seattle was awesome, as per usual. I freaking LOVE Seattle.

pikes place marketMy love chillin’ in front of Pike’s Place in plenty of Hawks gear.

Space Needle FunYup. That’s me sporting a Hunger Games tee and holding up the Space Needle.

And Comic Con was pretty great too. Here is me and my firend Allison with Andrea Libman. She voices for Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy of My Little Pony as well as on Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears and Dragontales. All of those are big hits with S, so it was kind of a big deal. Thanks to Allison, I also got Andrea’s autograph on a Pinkie/Shutterfly poster for S. Yes. I am totally wearing the pony ears I bought for S that day.

Andrea Libman

Shortly after we decided to make the trip over for Emerald City Comic Con I came across an article about vegan tattoos. it listed out great shops that practiced vegan tattooing with vegan after care. This is how I found Damask Tattoo. I went to their website and facebook page and knew immediately that I simply adored it. After about 15 emails back and forth between myself and different artists there, I managed to score and appointment. My tattoo artist, Angela Grace had a few family emergencies and got a touch behind schedule. I did not see the artwork she drew up until the day before my appointment. Thank god I went ahead and trusted her because it was perfect. It still is.

Here are some of the images I was inspired by and send to Angela Grace.



I wanted something that looked complete event though it would really just be line work. I still wanted to have the option to color or add shading. I wanted the flowers to be meaningful. Roses: First flower my husband ever gave me and featured in my wedding bouquet. Plus, if I ever do color it, one could be a yellow rose of  Texas. Violets: The February birth month flower for Husband and S. Waterlily: For July and G. Poppies: Because they are wild and beautiful and my favorite. The mix seemed a little crazy to me. I guess that is what makes some forms of art really unique. As lovely as it would be, you really couldn’t have a bouquet of these flowers. The poppies would wilt in about 7 seconds with the violets not far behind. I don’t think water lilies would work either. A roses and wilted random flowers wouldn’t really be very cute. But in a tattoo, the can stay forever and look totally gorgeous together. I was truly blown away when she sent me the sketch. It was honestly exactly what I wanted.floral tattoo artIf you happen to ever want to be tattooed in Seattle, you need to go to  Damask. Between my husband and our friends, Kyle and Allison, who traveled with us, we have about 18 tattoos. (What a bunch on inked up freaks, huh?!) All three of them went with me to check in and get started. Kyle (a fella) said he had never been into a shop with such a gentle and beautiful atmosphere. I think he also called it “loving.” The art was beautiful, but so what the whole place. Just a perfect mix of elegant and edgy. My longest tattoo session to date was maybe an hour or a little bit more. This piece was a solid 2.5+ hours with not so much as a potty break. Even though I totally needed one for the last half hour. But honestly, truly, I was falling asleep it was that nice. And after my acupuncture my finished product was even nicer. Thank you, Ms. Adorable Angela Grace. Psst. If you wanna check out more of her work, you can go here.

Floral Tattoo Sleeve



grown ups

Rock the Shoot, Part VII: Styling the Grownups

Body Image, Clothing Style, Great Products, Hair Style, Me, Our Family Style, Things I Love

First I have to apologize, sorry forth delay on my post here, but I thought it was all set up to auto post at the appropriate time. I spent the morning enjoying Seattle and then journeyed back home to my home and babies and couldn’t really check on this. I am happily home now with a little girl snuggled up beside me and now without further ado, here is my next post for the Fairy Wings and Dinosaurs family photography collaboration.

Rock the Shoot: Family Edition. A blogging collaboration with LifeStyled by Elle and Fairy Wings and Dinosaurs

Today we are both focusing on styling the parents. To check out what Ruthie recommends, go here.

After all that time and effort getting all your littles looking as cute as can be, please do not toss in the towel. While the small ones often steal the spotlight, the adults need to look great too. They ground the whole photo and make it all work together. I have a few simple suggestions to make yourself shine in your next photo session. Most of these I learned the hard way, so take from them what you will.

  1. You must feel great. even if you can only buy yourself one great piece that make you feel photo-ready, do it. You simply must feel great to summon up your confidence and natural beauty. If you feel awkward, you will in inevitably look awkward. If you need to splurge on having a salon do your hair/make up. If that isn’t an option, you can probably find someone who will do a pretty good job right from your friends.
  2. Details matter. I find that looking back on photos little things like cute nails make quite an impact. Don’t go all Jersey-gaudy, but add in accessories and other details.
  3. Select “Easy” Accessories. If you have a bra size upwards of a C, don’t try to do long necklaces. If you must, pin them in place. Long necklace wiggle and drape any way the please. In photos, that means they often end up “embracing” one side or the other and just look funny. Super long earring snag or get tangled in long hair. No Stilettos if you will be outside. Or at least buy the little plastic heel stoppers. It’s no fun to spend your whole session trying to pull your heel out of the grass.  Be wary of your accessories and select carefully.
  4. Mix and match all sorts of neutrals. Denim/Chambray, black, brown, navy, white, etc.
  5. Balance and complement the adult outfits. If one is wearing jeans and a button up, no jeans and a button up for the other. If both are going to wear jeans, select two completely different washes and don’t be scared to use colored denims and chinos. No white on top, khaki on bottom. No all sweaters and jeans.
  6. COLOR. Colors not only add interest to the photos but can make or break how you look  in the shots. Find your colors and play them up. Maybe you don’t care for purple, but if all your coworker complement your plum office wear blouse, you should at least consider those colors.

And as you have come to know by this point, I love to mix layers, patterns and textures. I also like to mix formality levels and for this look I selected heels (comfy wedges!) with denim for the women’s look and a tie with relaxed jeans for the men’s look. I just LOVE stuff like this for guys:

man outfit


I think I just love chambray. Men, women, kids, babies. Everyone can rock it. Here are two of my favorite mommy fashion bloggers looking brilliant in chambray. The photos link to their sites where you can find outfit upon outfit of inspiration.

Curvy Mama with StyleFor my curvy mamas. Or curly-girls.Or brunettes. Or makeup enthusiasts. Or any woman with a love for fashion.

 Mom FashionFor my more petite mamas. Although she has fun, wearable style and anyone can pull from! PS She is totally wearing Color by Amber Skinny Bangles in this photo. I love that. :)

And finally, here are my grownup styles:

grown upsFor the mom-wear: A Zara Floral Print Blouse, Color by Amber Earrings, Dark Wash MICHAEL by Michael Kors Skinny Jeans from Macy’s, and a color pop of green wedges from ModCloth.

For the dad-wear: A gray chambray Gap shirt, Gap jeans, Mustard Skinny Tie from Etsy, and American Eagle sneakers.

These prices meet my BLT Budget standards but the looks are easy and flexible enough to get the look on any budget. Select comfortable basics, add a print or two to set your palette, and add a color pop or two.  Now you are almost ready to rock that shoot! Check back on Thursday for the final installment of this series!



Rock the Shoot: Styling Big Girls


It’s Thursday again. By now you should know what that means… super awesome, totally cool-kid status, collaboration day with Ruthie of Fairy Wings and Dinosaurs.

Rock the Shoot: Family Edition. A blogging collaboration with LifeStyled by Elle and Fairy Wings and Dinosaurs

We started with styling the babies (‘cuz who doesn’t love that?!), moved on to the littles, (which, after much discussion with my friend Brooke, ends at roughly 7), and today we get to share our style and suggestions for the big kids. (7ish to 13ish?) IDK, I am not really there yet with my little ducks.

Even though this is not a group that I am dressing or shopping for regularly, I was once a 10 year old myself. Not a very stylish one by any means, but who needs to know that? I also just happen to have 5 younger sisters. And though the oldest of those five is now 20, there are still a 12 and a 14 year old in the mix. I see them struggle with finding their own style, swapping back and forth between stolen styles from their teenage sisters’ closets to looking more like little girls, to abandoning it all for jeans and solid tees. While mall stops like Old Navy/Gap do a lovely job of carrying plenty of staples that transcend age, Justice makes me gag. That is not to say that you should never, ever buy a single piece there, just maybe forego ever buying a full outfit there. Crazy bright skinny jeans are one thing, but crazy bright skinny jeans with a shirt with crazy bright screen printing, a matching vest, a vivid tangerine fedora and rainbow-bedazzled kicks are a whole other story.

On a that note here a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Mix some feminine pieces with playful options to keep the look age appropriate and fun. Think sweatshirts and a youthful pearl necklace, sneakers with skirts,  or ruffles with rain boots.
  2. Girls of this age have developed their own interests and sense of style. Let it show.
  3. Avoid things too glittery or chaotic. It just ends up looking cheap and tacky.
  4. As always, blend colors, textures and patterns to give outfits more interest.

cool kid

(see, ruffles with boots and a beanie, lots of unique details, ONE skinny little glitter belt, and lots of layers and texture.)

My girl style pinterest board (come on, you know I have one!) is a targeted more towards smaller girls, but the outfits could still apply and some are “tweenish.” If you wanna check it out, here is the link. I am loving Wunway for all girls baby to preteen. Cool Mom Picks recently(ish) did a whole post where her nine year old selected all her faves from the Wunway website. It shows some great ideas and the price point stays right around my BLT budget. If that is spendy for you, you can still achieve similar outfits by mimicking their looks books. here is the post and a preview of their style:tutu and sweater style


Last but not least by any means, if you don’t already, follow Fairy Wings and Dinosaurs, if for no other reason than to catch WthWW. Ruthie’s oldest daughter is 9 and the girl has style for days. Ruthie always lists where the pieces are from too, so it make it super easy to get the look.

pbj girl

For the pb&j look I used an anchor print dress from Old Navy, navy striped leggings also from Old Navy, a funky head wrap from Etsy shop, BowFantasy, and H&M shoes.
blt budget girl

This look features Wunway Sandals, a Gap Romper, an organic sugar skull scarf from Etsy shop, LoveMoo, a Children’s Place Denim Jacket, and skinny bangle bracelets from Color by Amber. Here is a close up of the bracelet:


big girl style


This look features a sleeveless Tucker and Tate top from Nordstrom’s (which I would really like in my size!), flower printed skinny jeans from Tea Collection, a cream cardigan from Gap, the star and tassel necklace from Wunway, and the super-awesome beautifully bedazzled shoes from J.Crew.

In regards to the necklace and shoes, I am quite certain I can DIM. (Uh, do it myself.) I love those little shoes and I am thinking a trip to Joann’s, $15-$20 and I can totally have a pair like ‘em for my girl. Heck one I buy all the supplies, I may just make some for myself! The necklace I feel certain could happen for less than $2. Check back later. I think those can be my next copycat projects!


mc wunway necklace MC  crewcuts girl shoessignoff