WHAT I WORE: Summer Uniform

linen shift dress

When we packed up most of our clothes to prepare to sell our little house, I choose a few wardrobe staples I knew I wouldn’t mind wearing every day. I’m so glad I guessed correctly, because let me tell ya, I’m actually really enjoying wearing the same few things every day, and I haven’t grown bored or felt drab— not even a little! Maybe this capsule wardrobe thing can be a new lifestyle for me? In any case, it’s definitely working for me now.

If you ever run into me when I’m out and about, most likely I’ll be wearing a linen shift dress from Linenfox on Etsy. Maybe it’ll be white, or maybe it will be black. But that’s about all I’ve been wearing out of the house these days! Not even ashamed.

Part of the reason for my limited wardrobe (now that we’re beginning to unpack our clothes) is the extra padding I’ve added to my frame during the past few months of home upheavel. I’ll be the first to admit I stress eat, and eating healthy for me is such a mental battle when I literally don’t have a kitchen to cook in. Not to mention the lack of any extra free time to keep up my exercise habits during this renovation. I don’t have to worry too much about a little extra cushion on my bod when my summer wardrobe is so forgiving! But is the opposite of what you might think of when you’re thinking about summer staples, but ah well! This is my life, I might as well feel good about what I wear every day. In the fall I’ll get back to my old habits. I keep promising myself that. And for now— there are these comfortable shift dresses!

summer uniform

linen shift dress

In addition to these super easy to wear linen shift dresses, I purchased a black cami and white sleeveless blouse from Linenfox. This post isn’t sponsored or anything (though it does contain affiliate links), I just really wanted to share how comfortable and cute these dresses are! I’ve been so satisfied to slip one on over a slip and get on with my day. So easy, literally breezy, and quite chic.

Also— quick shout out to my new A Beautiful Mess for Kelly Moore camera bag! As a former photographer turned blogger, this bag is a dream come true. My old camera bag was so ugly, but I used it because it had padded sections for my lenses and camera body, and a padded strap for my shoulders. But this bag is much prettier and still includes all the features I need. Lately it’s been my main tote when I leave the house, and I’ve been stashing camera lenses in the compartments alongside diapers and toys! Love it.

linen basics

O U T F I T   D E T A I L S :

dresses: Linenfox on Etsy
shoes: Via Spiga
hat: ASOS
bag: A Beautiful Mess for Kelly Moore

a beautiful mess camera bag

Living Room Plans

mandimakes new house

You guys! We’ve been living in this destroyed house for only a week, and it already feels like home. I think it’s probably not normal to feel this way when living with subfloors, exposed wiring (breakers are turned off— no worries), holes in the wall, and doors missing, and no kitchen to speak of. But, hey! I’ll take the warm fuzzies whenever they come my way.

Lately I’ve been very excited about some decisions and progress we’ve made in the living room. Here’s what it looked like when we moved in.

mandimakes new house

mandimakes new house

Okay, so actually there was a big red plaid cornice board and blinds on that window, so this isn’t quiiite a true before. I had to rip out the cornice immediately (nothing against cornice boards, but this one was SO early ’90s.), so it didn’t quite make it into my before pictures. The next thing I did was rip out the carpet, remove the mantle and cabinet from the fireplace area, and attempt to rip out the platform that was below the cabinet. That was very frustrating. Below the platform was a cinderblock wall that went right up to the subfloor of the platform, as well as the vent for the basement bathroom shower, the vacuflo system (which I will probably never even use!), wiring, ductwork, and ceiling beams/floor beams. It would’ve been a HUGE undertaking to remove that platform, so we decided to keep it, and I sat around  feeling sad about it and frustrating with this whole corner of the room. I literally laid awake at night pondering how to not hate that corner of what was otherwise a very cool room.

So I came up with a solution! Hooray! Below you can see my plans drawn overtop of the space as it was before. It required embracing the platform we couldn’t remove, and doing a little drywall work around the nook beside the fireplace. (The walls in the corner column don’t match up with the walls above it, and it was driving me BONKERS.)

fireplace before

fireplace after

And just to verify that I was on the right track with my plans, I drew up what the space would look like, using Photoshop overtop of a photo of this area as it currently stands. I wanted this space to feel fresh and modern, adding sleek built-in shelving around a big screen tv (no shame), but also adding mid century flair with the stone veneer and hearth expansion. I can already envision friends perched on the long hearth during game nights— cushions a plenty beneath the tooshies, of course!

Now I’m SO PSYCHED about this corner of the room. And my eyes won’t twitch when I look at the walls in the corner not matching up. Because in our future living room, they WILL match up.

living room mockup

I created a few mock-ups while planning furnishings and decor for our new living room. This isn’t the exact arrangement of the room, but I wanted to gather all of the elements together to see how they blend together. Making this simple mock-up on Photoshop really helped me determine big design choices, like— green sofa or yellow sofa? Dark floors or light floors? Wall sconce or table lamp? What style of fireplace stone? I had planned on using modern sixties-inspired shag rugs, but with a few clicks, I realized that more traditional rugs would balance out the space much more to my liking.

living room mockup

The furnishings I settled on are the ones in the first mock-up (with the yellow sofa), though I did fall in love the with bright background of the bottom mock-up, which convinced me to choose white washed bamboo flooring over the darker material.

Some of these items are things I already owned (the Jimmy Stewart poster and the vintage photobooth panel), but basically everything else is new to me— though quite a few are vintage. I’ve rounded them up for you below!

living room progress

And because I feel like it’s not fair to withhold progress photos from you all, here’s a snapshot of what the room looks like currently! The next steps are to paint the removed baseboards, build out the drywall as described above, and instal the stone veneer. Then it’s simply a matter of decorating! So excited that this room will be finished in August!

Kiddo-Approved Cheesy Mac Meals

mac and cheese mix-ins

So, what’s a mom to do when she has no kitchen, four mouths to feed, and no kitchen? Lately, as we’re in the thick of our kitchen renovation, I’ve been feeling a bit like a college student again. Our home isn’t too different from my old dorm, except we have a full-size refrigerator (thank God!), but just like nineteen-year-old me, we’re still making all of our meals in the microwave, when we’re not eating fresh foods straight from the grocery store or refrigerator. We don’t have a sink, oven, range, or dishwasher, and let me tell ya— we’re all getting tired of deli sandwiches.

But I remembered something from my past that I knew my kiddos would enjoy— microwavable mac and cheese! We lived on that stuff in college. These days I have a little bit higher nutritional standards, so I decided to use Horizon Organic Cheesy Mac and add some mix-ins to transform a cup of microwavable mac into a decent, kid-approved meal.

mac and cheese mix-ins

In the good ol’ days when we had a kitchen, mac and cheese was a decadent side dish to accompany a full, well balanced meal. Now mac and cheese is the main course, I told Lucy we were going to add some things to make it more nutritious. She told me, “I am not going to like any of them! I don’t like stuff in my mac and cheese.” And like a true mom, I said, “Well, I guess you’ll just be hungry then!” (Ha! The things our parents said that we now hate ourselves for saying.) Oh well. It didn’t matter anyway, because the kids couldn’t get enough of the mac meals.

I didn’t want to be too adventurous with our mix-ins, because this was the first time they’d had anything extra in Lucy and Juniper’s mac and cheese, and I didn’t want to blow the whole thing with one wrong move. So I played it save and mimicked the flavors from meals I knew the kiddos already enjoyed.

Because we don’t have a kitchen, I had to prepare these mix-ins at my mom’s house. I then portions out the prepped ingredients into freezer bags for easy reuse at our kitchenless house. Hanging out at mom’s gave me a great chance to catch up on laundry too. (6 loads done in one day, baby!)

After microwaving each bowl of Horizon Organic Cheesy mac, there was still plenty of room to add mix-ins. (No need to dirty another bowl! Hooray!) I stirred in the extras while the girls asked if it was time for lunch. I told them they’d have a chance to choose their favorite combination of mac and cheese as I began arranging them on the table to take pictures, but before I could finish, the girls commandeered the cups and began chowing down. Lucy’s plan to not eat “mac and cheese with stuff in it” didn’t go over so well. How easily her plan was foiled!

mac and cheese mix-ins

Now that I know they like mac and cheese with mix-ins, I’m going to add more veggies next time! Here’s what we did this time, and what I’ll add in the mix next time.

  • ITALIAN STYLE- Spicy Italian sausage with diced green peppers. I had meant to include red peppers too, but I forgot my pepper at home! Next time I’ll add chopped spinach too.
  • TACO STYLE- Seasoned ground beef with chopped tomatoes. Next time I’ll add black beans, or whatever beans I have around.
  • POT PIE STYLE- Shredded chicken with peas. Next time I’ll add cooked carrots.
  • VEGGIE STYLE- I added chopped broccoli and riced cauliflower when microwaving the pasta. The riced cauliflower was practically invisible when added, so I added a lot of it! Next time I’ll probably make this the exact same way.

mac and cheese mix-ins

mac and cheese mix-ins

Do you like adding mix-ins to your mac and cheese? Or are you a purist? I love thinking of new flavor combinations and discovered a new favorite today— the spicy sausage with peppers. So good! We’ll probably bring back this lunch routine long after our kitchen renovation is complete.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine. Get more snacking and meal ideas at Horizon’s Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram pages too!