Ode to 2003 + a playlist

I recently saw on Facebook that my college Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois is planning a major renovation which includes demolishing Hessler Hall where I lived for one glorious semester in 2003.¬†So I started looking back…

ode to 2003

I’m open about the fact that I ended up at Millikin because I pathetically followed my High School boyfriend to college. He got a scholarship and went to play football there and when I went on a campus visit with him I just¬†loved it. I already had a roommate assignment at a different college but somehow I got out of it and into the Freshman Honors Program at Millikin. Ironically, my husband also went on a visit to Millikin University to check out their football team but we didn’t run into eachother because at that time I was in Junior High. This is why, when he brings up¬†his college days, I like to shout, “tell us a story, Grandpa!” It’s hilarious and adorable¬†every time. (To me.)

Anyway, it didn’t work out with the freshman year boyfriend but that year I did actually meet not one, but TWO loves of my life…these little biscuits right here, aka Lauren and Jess. Aren’t they pretty? The stories I could tell. Gosh I love them so much.


I’ll do a brief, self-indulgent synopsis. Lauren and I met where a lot of blonde sorority girls meet…in remedial math class. I had gotten up early to hot roll my hair and pick out my “Millikin Blue” sweater which I wore with majorly tight, verging on bell-bottom¬†pants and sandals. She was wearing overalls with a black T-shirt and Tommy Hilfiger socks. ¬†And since it was an early class she was really grumpy. Also she may have been hungover. I thought she was the coolest person in the world. I still do.

I met Jessica when we both pledged Tri Delta. I didn’t know her well at all when she came up to me one day in the cafeteria and announced that she thought I should break up with my boyfriend. She said she could just tell from her observations that it wasn’t really working out. I thought she was slightly crazy and a little rude. I was also completely amused and couldn’t wait to find out what she was going to say out loud next. To this day, I still feel that way about her.

Back to Hessler…

There were 8 of us girls from my pledge class who lived there in 2003, including Lauren and Jess. If you put my funny stories in a pie chart I think like 20% would be from those 4 months in Hessler Hall.

So for a very special #TBT Tribute to Hessler Hall, here is my 2003 Nostalgia Play List. May it take you back to a simpler time. A time when Nick and Jessica were Newlyweds. A time when Tina and Amy were still on SNL. A time when we wore logos on butts.

Happy #TBT 2003 Playlist:

Get Low¬†by Lil’ Jon

In Da Club by 50 Cent

Ignition by R. Kelly

Picture by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crowe

Shake Ya Tailfeather by Nelly

Cry Me A River by Justin Timberlake

The Remedy by Jason Mraz


Pinterest DJ Enzyme





Happy Home: My Office Makeover


When I first started creating my Pinterest boards to get ideas for my new house (doesn’t everyone do this nowadays?) I envisioned our home office in the style of Ron Burgundy with many leather-bound books and smelling of rich mahogany. Then I realized that I am the one who works from home so why not make my office space a reflection of the things I love to do with my non-mommy time like writing for my blog and Stella and Dot (and Pinterest and Facebook).


I regret not taking more detailed BEFORE pictures of the house, because sadly this is the only one I got of the office. This was taken when we first toured the home. They actually had it staged with two full-size desks which gives you an idea how large the room is. Making a room this size feel cozy without using a lot of furniture was a bit of a challenge but I resorted to filling the walls with art in order to make the space feel lively.


photo 1 (29)



photo 4




The Keane print of the Girl in the Yellow Dress¬†was purchased by my Mom’s mother¬†on a trip to New York City back in the day, I’m assuming the 60’s. She bought one for herself and one for her mother, my Mema.¬†Mema lived until one week before her 99th birthday and toward the end she insisted it was a portrait of her when she was a little girl. I always think of Mema when I see it.

photo 3


I have had this Parasol since I was a child. I can’t believe it has held up through so many years and so many moves!

photo 5

In My Office

The collage on the wall here was originally ¬†made for Savannah’s nursery in our old house. It includes strong, inspiring women from Jackie O to Eloise to my mom’s passport picture from the ’70s. The ‘portrait’ of me¬†was done by a street artist in Paris when I was 15, on a school show choir trip (jazz hands). Funny story, on the way back to the hotel¬†I ended up getting lost with two other students and we landed smack in the middle of the Paris Red Light District at night. The¬†walk¬†to the Pigalle train station was probably the longest, most educational walk of my 15 year old life up to that point. The portrait looks nothing like me but it reminds me of that trip, which makes it priceless.

photo 1

This pink fabric¬†is from one of the first shirts Kevin ever bought me. The shirt would be totally out of style now but I always loved the print so I stapled it to a canvas I had and now it’s a bright spot in the room and reminds me of my hubby.

photo 2

August 2014 office 002


So that’s the quirky little space where I sit and write to you all. Thanks for reading and commenting. I never planned to have a blog like this, but it’s been such a creative outlet and bright spot in my days to hear from you guys. As one of my high school besties and I always say: Love you, love your show!



Sunshine when skies are gray

To say the sky looks gray to me today is an understatement. When I get a moment to myself, I cry. This is why.

Leave it to my kids to make me laugh when I feel like sobbing. This morning I was in the basement¬†watching The Mindy Project on Hulu and drinking my coffee (with no less than 6 different interruptions) when I saw my 1 year old Savannah toddle over to her 3 year old big sister Avery in their play area and hand her an ever-so-coveted doll. In response Avery non-chalantly said, “Thanks B*tch.”

I wish I could say I was shocked, but¬†this is not the first time that has happened. Playing it cool,¬†I said, “Oops, AJ, that’s an adult word.” Sweetly she¬†said “Sorry, Momma,¬†is that a bad word?” My (self-serving) philosophy is that we¬†don’t have “good words” and “bad words” because frankly I don’t think cussing is really that bad as far as vices go. Also my taste in music is questionable for the toddler set and we have Sirius radio so nothing is censored. Again, I explained to Avery that there are kid words and adult words…

Me: Kid words are words like ‘owie’ and ‘boo boo’. If Daddy got hurt¬†and announced¬†he got a boo boo that would be weird because he’s an adult and it wouldn’t sound appropriate. He would just say he got hurt. Just like it’s not appropriate for you to say¬†the other word.

Avery: So only Britney Spears can say B*tch?

Me: Um, yes, Britney Spears can say whatever she wants. Because she’s an adult. And because “it’s Britney, b*tch.” (Okay I didn’t say the last part but it was tempting.)


Silly Avery

My sunshine when skies are gray.



Cocktails and Chemo 2014: A Cardboard Cut Out and a Crotch Shot (But not the kind you’re thinking.)

Sometimes I post about this topic and I get reflective because I want so badly to help. This is not one of those posts. It ends in a bar crawl with a giant cardboard cut out.

Last weekend I flew to Indy for the 2nd annual Cocktails and Chemo Fundraiser/Silent Auction for my college friends Joe and Amanda (read their blog HERE). Since they have a new baby and Joe is currently undergoing treatment in Florida they couldn’t make it to the event, but my two besties Lauren and Jessica both met me in Indy along with their husbands and some other friends from college.

I LOVE Indianapolis. I love the whole vibe of it. I love that it’s kind of rustic and cowboyish and urban at the same time. I love that it’s a hip city full of midwestern values. I love that somehow it seems really old but still really clean. I just feel inspired when I’m there. I took myself on a little walk and snapped a few of the beautiful little quirks I saw. Then I stopped to take a picture of a gorgeous old abandoned church and SCREAMED when I noticed a homeless man sleeping 2 feet away from me on the front step. Reeeeal cool, Emily. So cosmopolitan! He was probably like, that girl is a total A-hole. Anyway, I walked away without getting the shot. It strikes me that it probably would have been a really cool photo if an actual photographer had taken it, but when it’s just me and my iPhone I guess I’m more of a tourist than an artist.¬†

We all stayed at Lauren’s parents condo in downtown Indianapolis. Lauren’s mom has a knack for decorating, as you can see from a couple of these pictures of the condo living area. Tres chic!

The second I saw all of these people I’ve known since college I was instantly transported back to that fun, warm, nostalgic place and all the memories came flooding back. We spent the afternoon setting up the silent auction at the church gym where the fundraiser was held. Amanda’s friends from High School had pitched in to coordinate different restaurants bringing small bites, the whole place was decorated so joyfully, and Amanda’s dad’s band set up. It felt so good to hug Amanda’s mom and grandma and just be there to show our love and support.

Lauren was in charge of the silent auction and I was completely in awe of how many amazing prize packages and one of a kind items she pulled together. She is a business woman, mommy, wife, and basically a rockstar and one of the most generous people I know. My favorite thing was this painting of Mira’s Tree that Joe replicated for the silent auction. I tried to get it for Avery’s room but I was outbid at the very end!

Someone made this awesome step and repeat where people could pose with a cardboard cut out of Joe, Amanda and Mira. It was half comforting and half creepy to “see” them there as you glanced across the room, but everyone had a blast taking pictures with them!

The party started and it was a huge success. I worked the check in table for a while and then danced the rest of the night away as Amanda’s Dad’s band played classic party music (think Earth Wind and Fire!) We were having so much fun being silly that during a particularly snazzy dance move, I threw my hands up in the air, then straight back down behind me (kind of like Flashdance…but not at all sexy) however at that precise moment a man was walking by and my jazz hand made contact with his jazz crotch. I don’t know who was more shocked, but Jessica’s husband Tim saw it happen and he and I stood there, speechless, as the man hobbled by while grabbing his crotch protectively and maintaining eye contact with me the entire time. His wife trailed behind, also glaring at me. The only place I should ever dance is alone in front of a used-car lot, because I look like this:

When all was said and done, someone had the brilliant idea to put the cardboard cut out in the car and take it back to the condo, where it then ended up going on a bar crawl down Mass Ave. I think the next set of pictures speaks for itself. What I will say is that it’s nice to know that no matter how old we get, how much life goes by, we can still be us. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard or felt so nostalgic for my 20 year old self. However, as I said to Tommy before we left, we are 30 years old and we are STILL doing this. Still having fun. Still being ridiculous. And still waking up on Lauren’s parents’ couches. It doesn’t matter how many years go by, when you find people who really get you and love you for who you are, time stands still when you are together.




The only thing that could have made this night better is to have the REAL Clark family with us! Baby Mira included, if there’s one thing I’m sure of, that girl knows how to work a room!


Related posts:



Happy Home: Tuesday Morning

I figured out a way to kick a nasty case of the Mondays yesterday when I discovered a new happy place. It’s a store called Tuesday Morning. The best way I can describe it is a mix between Home Goods and the Dollar Store. I walked in skeptical and instantly fell in love. I left with a few gorgeous things and a really long wishlist!

Here are some of my fun finds! (And flower arrangements! I recently took a class on this lost art form at Pepperologie with Emmy Ray. If you want more tips from the pro, see her blog Handmaker of Things)

Last week I tried my hand at flower-arranging using the skills I learned at the Pepperologie class.

Technique I learned at Pepperologie: Start around the edges and work your way in.

Added four roses, a sprig of babies breath and voila!


I specifically used only the pink roses to make a small, monochromatic arrangement.

Then I trimmed and rearranged the rest of the flowers to look like this.

At Tuesday Morning, I found this white ceramic pineapple statue (a symbol of hospitality) and fresh citrus candle to go on this bright, beautiful tray. I have it on my island as a little eye candy that will hopefully deter us from cluttering it up with junk mail!

The Candle, Pineapple and Tray were all a STEAL at Tuesday Morning.

My next purchase was a pair of table lamps to add a little bit of drama to my dining room. 

I found a similar style online (which I don’t even like as much) HERE. It is listed as a “hot deal” at the low price of $262.¬†

These gorgeous lamps were a whopping $29 bucks each at Tuesday Morning! 

I’ve always loved walking into a big fancy hotel and seeing a table with a huge, gorgeous arrangement of fresh flowers. Even though I have a normal-sized house in Kansas, I think this sweet little flower arrangement on my entryway table makes just as delightful of an impact! These were also taken from the deconstructed larger flower arrangement I did last week.

Since I’m having a party this week, I used some of the leftover flowers from the larger arrangement to make a bright little bouquet for the powder room. I hope these little details make guests feel happy and welcome!

To make these smaller arrangements, I used ¬†these gorgeous crystal orb vases…

¬†Just kidding! They’re just from the Dollar Tree! Love that store!

Hope your home feels happy today!


Literary Review: FBI.gov

If you grew up in Oklahoma in the 1990s (as I did) you automatically have a little internal alarm bell that goes off when you see the date April 19th. It’s almost 3am and I can’t sleep, because for some reason my brain was like, hey, wake up, it’s April 19th and the world is a scary place. I’m not going to reflect on anything sad here because I already feel sad enough.¬†

I was looking at articles online and I stumbled across this¬†on FBI.gov. I thought, hey, that’s a reputable site, surely they will outline the historical details accurately. Then I read it. Let me be clear, I am in no way criticizing the individuals who devote their lives to service in the FBI or any branch of the government/military. I am however, really just puzzled that this article is for real…

It starts off alright, 

“On the morning of April 19, 1995, an ex-Army soldier and security guard named Timothy McVeigh parked a rented Ryder truck in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City.”

Then it previews the rest of the article with this line:

“He was about to commit mass murder.”

This tone struck me as odd. It sounds like something before a commercial break on Investigation Discovery. 

It continues,

“Within moments, the surrounding area looked like a war zone. A third of the building had been reduced to rubble, with many floors flattened like pancakes.”

Pancakes? This is the imagery you choose to describe the effects of a terrorist attack?

Then this,

“The FBI, meanwhile, quickly arrived at the scene and began supporting rescue efforts and investigating the facts. Beneath the pile of concrete and twisted steel were clues. And the FBI was determined to find them.”

This wouldn’t be so weird if it was someone else saying it, but this is literally filed under “About Us.”¬†It’s like, isn’t that what you¬†do? Who else would be doing that?¬†Like if you went to my About Me page and I had written, “Despite the rest of the world doing absolutely nothing about the fact that Savannah’s diaper needed to be changed, Emily swiftly took action. She was determined not to let her child get a rash.”¬†

I will summarize the next part: Timothy McVeigh happened to be pulled over for not having a license plate and arrested for having a concealed weapon. This was fortunate because when the FBI tied him to the attack and tracked him down he was already in custody. 

Then comes this,

“Agents found traces of the chemicals used in the explosion on McVeigh‚Äôs clothes and a business card on which McVeigh had suspiciously scribbled, ‘TNT @ $5/stick, need more.'”

First, thanks for telling us that he scribbled it “suspiciously” because otherwise it seems totally legit. But was that detail really so vital, such a legally sound piece of evidence, that it could not be spared from inclusion? Is this¬†an historical account or¬†a Darwin Awards nomination?

Here’s the wrap up:

“In the end, the government that McVeigh hated and hoped to topple swiftly captured him and convincingly convicted both him and his co-conspirators.”

Couple things. This whole article is the kind of thing I imagine projected over the radio waves at bedtime in North Korea.¬†I love politics, but I’m not being political here. I am truly puzzled as to whose job it was to write this and why they made those choices in tone. I’m actually¬†grateful to this mystery author because they got me thinking about something other than tragedy.

The other great thing I discovered is that FBI.gov has a section for kids and teens that is literally titled, “Fun & Games” as in, it’s all ‘fun & games’ until you get busted in a sting operation, kids.

Also,¬†I am pretty sure I just got flagged in a keyword search by the NSA (hi guys!) so if my blog is suspiciously down, you’ll know why. Writers can be very sensitive to critique.

That being said, to my new government readers, make sure you check out my most recent post on Mommy Midsections. I swear I normally write about my kids and vacations so please don’t shut down my site. I loved you in West Wing.


MommyStyle: Black and Red

Last weekend was one of my favorite events of the year, the Junior League of Kansas City Take 5 Party! They always have the best silent auction packages, live music, food, drinks, and fabulous Junior Leaguers dressed to kill. Last year I was 5 months pregnant at the Take 5 event so I wore my signature go-to leopard print dress that I’ve worn a million times:

March 2013

This year I was feeling a little sassy so I decided to be bold and wear one of my all time favorite statement dresses. The day of the event, I texted a picture to my friend Amie and she texted me back that apparently there was an email that went out saying we were supposed to wear black and red in honor of our JLKC 100th year anniversary. I was like, “whah??” Could you IMAGINE??

I would have been like:

Anyway, luckily black and red is pretty doable so I made a last minute switch and promised to give my next-born child to Amie as a thank you for saving me from that humiliation.

 My FAVORITE place to get makeup tips and inspiration is a blog called Maskcara.com. I use almost all of her product recommendations. See my favorite post from her HERE.

Here’s specifically what I used for my hair and makeup for Take 5:

1. Marilyn Teasing Comb (Salon)

2. Sassy (Real) Hair Extensions (Sally Beauty Supply)

3. Conair Curling Iron (Target)

4. Kenra Hot Spray (Beauty Brands)

5. Loreal Lumi Foundation (CVS)

6. Milani Bronzer in “Fake Tan” (CVS)

7. Dream Bouncy Blush in “Fresh Pink” (CVS)

8. ELF Baked eyeshadow in “Bark” (Target)

9. Loreal Black Eyeliner (CVS)

10. Lumi Concealer (CVS) 

11. Kiss eyelash adhesive (THE BEST OUT THERE!) and eyelashes (CVS)

12. Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara in Black (CVS)


I have a weird Kermit the Frog thing going on in this picture but you can see the make up really well so I’m just gonna go with it.

It’s not easy being green.


Dress: Coldwater Creek

Necklace: My Stella and Dot Sardinia Pendant

Bag: My Stella and Dot Tia in Midnight Black

Belt: Ann Taylor

Shoes: Lela Rose


Model for a Day

This week I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot with the amazing photographer Shea Swinford who is launching her new line of high end, eco-friendly, socially conscious accessories at Lions in Four. I have long admired her work so when she asked me if I would like to model for her I was beyond flattered and jumped at the chance. Of course I brought my Stella and Dot wardrobe to the shoot and let me just say…it was so nice to be back in the land of GLAM, where I have not set foot since my pageant days. Shea is as genuine and fun as she is talented and we just had a blast. My reality check came when I put my regular clothes back on and realized I had one of Savannah’s cereal puffs stuck to my shirt like a tiny, but obvious ‘statement brooch’ that screamed “I’m not really a model, I just play one in your studio.”



Channeling Lydia

Until recently, I don’t think I have worn a headband since about 4th grade, however, I have a new favorite Housewife, Lydia, who wears them like they are going out of style. Which maybe they are. I have waited like a year to finally jump on this bandwagon. However, I am loving the extra sparkle for fall! I also love this look for when I don’t have time to wash and dry my hair. I just use a little dry shampoo¬†(this one smells amazing),¬†put on my headband and have an instant cute bohemian mommy look to wear to storytime at the library. Yay-Uh!

Inspiration: Lydia McLaughlin from RHOC

Day-Later hair