16 Peeps to Follow on Instagram.

I overheard two girls talking about Instagram at a coffee shop the other day. One clearly had mad Insta Game and the other didn’t have an account. Other Girl lamented to Insta Girl that she really should join Instgram, but then she laughed and said, “But you’d be like the only person I would follow!” There was much chuckling about this and the conversation ended. I kind of wanted to run over to her and gush about all the amazing people you can follow on Instagram and demand she set up her account immediately, but that would seriously violate all the rules of people watching.

If I had gone over, I would have told her about how cool Instagram is because unlike Facebook where we really only follow the people we know and we sometimes get stuck in that trap of “I don’t really want to follow this person on social media but they follow me and I’d feel guilty for being a jerk like that…” This isn’t a thing on Instagram. I feel no pressure to follow people whose Instagram feeds aren’t filling me with joy – and the majority of the people that I follow I’ve never met. There are so many amazing people – dig deep enough and your feed starts to look pretty amazing.

Here are some of the majorly cool accounts I’m following:

Artsy Accounts To Make You Ohhhhhh and Ahhhhhhh


There are so many beautiful pics by artists of every medium:

@aishaaaaah shares her gorgeous Disney inspired illustrations.

@uggoff is a hair stylist sharing her customer’s beautiful after pics.

@cocolavine posts pictures of her life as a prima ballerina.

@houselarsbuilt shares gorg pics that may give you life envy.

#Bookstagram or #Bujolife For The Glory!


I get majorly sucked into the worlds of bookstagram and bujolife:

@myriadinklings will give you shelfie envy for sure!

@twirlingpages is awesome! I want her pink camera!

@nicoles.journal brings her bujo to a new level.

@itslahe makes my flower doodles look like preschool.

People Much Funnier Than You


Sometimes you need a good LOL:

@gemmacorrell shares illustrations all girls can relate to.

@averageparentproblems is meme-tastic (by Mommy Shorts).

@obviousplant likes to leave pretend signs in real places.

@briankesinger illustrates for Marvel and posts hilarious mashups.

People Watching Upgraded


Follow all the celebs and hear all the funny things:

@kristenanniebell is one of my fave celebs on and off Instagram

@michelleobama makes you want to be a better person.

@hotdudesreading proves a picture really does last longer.

@overheardla never ceases to be funny in a face palm kinda way.

Bonus For People Who Read The Whole Post!


You seriously rock! If you are feeling that Kindred Spirit connection, check me out at @thingsmommaloves!

It’s a seriously mashed up assortment of bookstagram, cute kids, travel pics and more.

Are you on Instagram? Leave your user name in the comments so we can check it out!




Mama’s Losin’ It





Currently (08.16.16).

22840421Reading several books tbh but the one I’m picking up most frequently these days is My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. It’s sort of historical fiction and sort of young adult fantasy and totally awesome. The writing is fresh and snappy and I love basically everyone in the book. Hysterical and thoroughly enjoyable. Featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

Eating this end of summer pasta dish tonight. We haven’t had it in awhile but it’s one of my favorite things to cook. Cherry tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, eggplant and garlic all get together to top whatever pasta you have on hand. Easy to cook and so delicious.

Watching The OC on CW Seed. How have I never watched this? I’m obsessed with this kind of soapy teen drama that has such fun blast from the past cameos and a surprisingly meaty story line. Also hooked on The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. You can also watch online at pbs.com if you are ready to move onto other seasons.

Listening to whatever is on my phone’s playlist like Lost Boy by Ruth B which is my kids’ current fave song.

Thinking about getting rid of cable. I’ve been making spreadsheets and having lengthy convos with the hubs at night. We’re also trying to really up our diet and exercise game this fall.

Looking forward to school starting on Monday. I know a lot of my friends are ambivalent about the coming school year but I’m stoked to get back to a real schedule and looking forward to all the thing the new school year will bring. MM has a new teacher, I’m totally ready to start volunteering at the school again and getting into a regular exercise routine. We’ve had an awesome summer but it’s been long enough for me and I am ready for fall!

What have you been up to lately?


9 Things I’d Rather Be Doing Today.

MM’s 5th Grade teacher is coming to our house tonight for a home visit (this is a normal end of summer thing that the teachers at our school do to get to know the kids coming into their classroom for the first time – sounded weird to me two years ago, but tbh it’s awesome and helpful). MM is really excited about the meeting and I am looking forward to it, but now when I look around at my house it looks like a tornado hit it. Literally. Partly because we just got back to town after a vacation and partly because I’m a terrible excuse for a housewife. So today we’re deep cleaning or at least pretending to. I’ve got dinner cooking in the crock pot and my kids are playing “Dust Busters” like Ghostbusters but with dust. I can think of about 37 million things that sound more fun than this.

Here are 9.

  1. The Ghostbusters Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), Erin (Kristen Wiig) and Patty (Leslie Jones) in Columbia Pictures' GHOSTBUSTERS.

    Inventing a transportinator that can just suck up all the clutter in my house and transport it somewhere else. Like Michigan maybe. How much of our stuff would I never notice was gone afterwards?

  2. Taking a long walk in a bookstore. I don’t even need to buy anything, I just want to caress the book spines and play, “Own it, own it, read it, ohhhh haven’t read this one yet!” and I mean if some of the books want to fall into my arms and never let me go… I get that. I’m there for them.
  3. Back in our Vegas hotel suite where all of our messes are magically swept away by housekeeping and nobody is asking me for anything. Maybe I’ll walk over to the Paris Baguette later and get a latte and a pastry and watch whoever is performing in St. Mark’s Square. Maybe I’ll watch the Beverly Hillbillies on tv again while nibbling on chocolates from a shop in the Grand Canal area.
  4. Netflix and actually chill. There are a ton of shows on Netflix that I’ve been meaning to check out. The kids will be totally busy doing something in their rooms that is not noisy or disruptive and they’ll feed themselves while I spend the whole day surfing Netflix. At lunchtime, they’ll bring me something to eat and my husband will bring home dinner from my favorite place and after the kids go to bed, wine will be served and I’ll stay up as late as I want but still get plenty of sleep so I won’t be too tired tomorrow.
  5. an exotic beauty

    Taking a long walk in a botanical garden. It won’t be raining but it won’t be too hot either. It will be slightly cloudy so that the lighting will be utter perfection. All the flowers will be in bloom and there will be no wind so my camera won’t struggle to focus. I’ll take stunning pictures of the kids who won’t be impatient when I want to take a picture of every single flower we walk by.

  6. Movie marathon! I’d take the kids to see all the movies left in theater that are age appropriate, then I’d drop the kids off with a babysitter who won’t charge me anything for leaving them with him or her while I go see all the other movies in theater. There will be unlimited nachos and free drinks (not just soda either, I’m talking martinis and wine and beer if my husband wants one) and twizzlers and the calories will be imaginary and I won’t gain any weight.
  7. 1395358_10100254810375176_1410428486_nMeticulously going through the books on my bookshelves and deciding which ones I think I’ll actually read and which ones might be ready to find a new home. Then I’ll organize all the books that are left by color and take shelfies to post on Instagram. I won’t get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of books and I won’t have to stop so I can make someone lunch or answer questions about whether or not anyone can play Minecraft or put on dress up dresses. Nobody will ask me later why nothing got done today or be totally unimpressed with my bookshelves. Everyone will ohhh and ahh over my bookshelves and pose for pictures with them and then we’ll all grab a book and sit and read together and dinner will make itself.
  8. Going to a spa to get a food massage and pedicure and then a 2 hour massage and then going to the salon to get my hair dyed some super cool color that won’t leave weird stains on my pillows and will never fade so I won’t need to get it touched up later and the stylist will be so proud of her work that she’ll refuse to charge me (don’t worry, I’ll still leave a tip) and afterwards I’ll go to a coffee shop and spend at least three hours just drinking a latte, reading a book and writing in my journal while listening to relaxing Indie music by that one band I really like.
  9. Going on a surprise trip to Europe! The plane will allow us to check all of our luggage for free and the TSA will be like, “You look totes harmless, don’t worry about going through these long lines, have a great trip!” The plane seats will be super comfortable and there will be free meals and snacks and drinks and comfy neck pillows so I ca nap and that awesome movie I’ve been wanting to see will be playing and then we’ll stay in an adorable bed and breakfast and tour super historic old towns and go to museums and walk all day but never have sore feet and everything will be free and the kids will love it and we’ll be able to go to all the countries we want and still get back with plenty of time before school starts and when we get home the luggage will unpack itself and my house will have been deep cleaned by someone else who never leaves and cooks me dinner.

This post was made possible by viewers like you and Mama Kat’s World Famous Writer’s Workshop, in response to the prompt “List 9 things you’d rather be doing today.” What would YOU rather be doing today?

The Las Vegas Vaycay: Best and Worst


Friends, we drove from Wisconsin to Massachusetts, visited family for two days, flew to Las Vegas without the kids (who were left safely in the care of Grammy & Papa) where we stayed for four days, flew back to Massachusetts and then two days later we drove back to Wisconsin again.

This trip was amazing and stressful and exciting and nostalgic and too long and too short and just all of the things. I’m not really sure where to begin or if you want to be bored to death with all the minutia of a vacation recap so I’ll stick with how I’ve been recapping vacations lately and give you a Best / Worst list rather than attempt to give you a minute by minute recap.


6 Best Moments

Vegas Best

  1. 13876359_1270172276361340_9151433683835147605_nFOR THE WIN I was on a mission to find a slot machine where you actually pull a lever to play – most of the slot machines have transitioned to buttons or touch screen. Several of the machines have levers that do literally nothing, but I somehow found one in the middle of Treasure Island Casino while we were waiting to see Cirque du Soleil, so I put in a dollar and pulled the lever and won TEN dollars. I’m not a high stakes kind of girl so I took my winnings and never touched another machine. Dan tried my machine and one other and lost both times so out of the three dollars that we willingly sacrificed, we lost 2/3 of the time, but…. I won ten dollars in Vegas, so.
  2. 13668875_1265022976876270_3984995559212191329_oOMG FOOD NOM NOM Dan had an amazing Japanese breakfast in room service one morning, we ate some seriously delicious Italian food the first night. There were little coffee shops everywhere with lattes that would make Starbucks ashamed of itself and pastries that just completed me. We went to a buffet at Treasure Island before seeing Cirque du Soleil and I had chicken fried steak with stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn bread and collard greens while Dan had chinese food and then we checked out the dessert buffet and it was like oh my god, where do I even begin? I could go on. The food was good.
  3. 13882151_1270419336336634_7205266471503527247_n

    CIRQUE Like I said, we saw Cirque du Soleil and yeah it was all the things. It bordered on overwhelming with so many amazing acrobatic stunts being pulled off, often at the same time, and it just never stopped for two hours. It had comedic moments and ohhhh and ahhhh moments and was literally breathtaking. I could go on, but I don’t want this to be a whole review of the show.

  4. 13880215_10100959495545446_7383965259143166571_nTHE DAM TOUR We took a tour of the Hoover Dam on our third day which was a much needed break from the constant buzz of the Vegas Strip. Our tour guide, Memel, was amazing and funny and we had a great group of people on the bus with us. It was also nerdily fascinating to see the other side of Vegas and learn more about the history of the town and about Hoover Dam. Memel was really knowledgeable about the area and we learned a lot and saw a lot and laughed a lot. And perspired a lot, but that’s par for the course when you go to Nevada in August.
  5. 13908874_1270165979695303_3960829138618240090_o

    THE SWEET SUITE The King Bed in our hotel room was all the things. We stayed at The Venetian which is massive and beautiful and kind of like being on another planet compared to some of the other Vegas hotels. And when we weren’t wandering casinos or peeking at people taking Gondola rides or listening to entertainment in Saint Mark’s Square while sipping lattes and eating gelato, we were hiding in our amazing hotel suite. The whole room was really phenomenal with the huge bathroom and comfy bed and whole separate living room area with tvs in like every room. Also it wasn’t my job to clean the room, do the laundry or entertain small people for like four blissful days. I was sufficiently pampered.

Overall Best

  1. FRIENDS AND FAM We got to catch up with friends and family, too, for the few days we spent in Massachusetts. Somehow we managed to catch up with a ton of people, celebrate a few birthdays, eat at all the local nostalgia places that make it feel like home, and drive those old streets of our childhood. Our kids got an extra dose of family time while we were in Vegas – they had an amazing vacation of their own as both of our families whisked them around to see and do all the things and I’m so grateful for their enthusiasm and care and time that they put into making it a great week for the kids.

And in an effort to keep it real, folks…

5 Worst Moments

Vegas Worst

  1. CASINO CROWDS The whole casino environment really is not my scene and I’m pretty sure hubby would agree with me on this one. After two days I think we were both done living inside a Casino, dodging crowds and dealing with the constant flashing lights atmosphere. Why did we take a trip to Las Vegas when we are not gambling night life folks? We have never been and we really wanted to experience it – and see some shows, stay at a nice hotel and eat great food. Las Vegas gave us all of that, so mission accomplished.
  2. 13882422_1270168349695066_3845605412622649863_nPUSHY SELLERS Our hotel has this whole section called the Grand Canal Shoppes with all these major label stores that are too expensive to buy anything but so pretty so we spent a lot of time window shopping and just peeking at all the things. It was beautiful and seriously where we spent a good 1/3 of our trip. But while walking through this area, you are constantly bombarded with people trying to sell you tickets to shows. Not scalpers, but like legitimate employees of the hotel jumping in front of you to ask if you want to buy any show tickets. Constantly. These folks make the mall kiosk employees at your local mall seem passive by comparison.

Overall Worst

  1. NOT ENOUGH TIME For a ten day vacation, it felt like we were always running from one place to the next. Trying to squeeze in a proper visit with friends and family in Massachusetts was nearly impossible but we tried anyway. I wanted more time with everyone – but I probably say this even when we get there with plenty of time to catch up. Still, it bears repeating : There wasn’t enough time.
  2. UH AIRPORTS There is a reason we drove to Massachusetts, we really hate airports, especially with the kids. Waiting in line at security for the first flight to Vegas took literally hours. The planes were tiny and cramped like always and we had six hours of flying plus layovers to deal with. The flight back lasted literally all day after factoring in the time zone changes.
  3. HIGHWAY TO HELL Driving 1,500 miles is bound to be stressful so I’m surprised I don’t have more stories of bad moments on the road, but the truth is that most of it was pretty par for the course. Until the last day of driving when a tractor trailer literally swerved across four lanes of highway right in front of us after the driver inexplicably lost control of the truck. We still have no idea what happened – if he had a heart attack or fell asleep or what – because the highway was pretty empty and amazingly there was no one in front of him really or next to him in any of the lanes. He hit nothing but the jersey barrier (which he hit hard) and I’m grateful that we were somehow not harmed, but we were all seriously shaken by it. After calling 911 to make sure someone got to him ASAP we made a serious bee line for the next rest stop so we could shake off the trauma before finishing our trip home.

And now we’re back to the grind of swim lessons and karate classes and why isn’t my house being magically cleaned by housekeeping? I should have smuggled some of them back in our luggage.