Its that time again for some of my favorite fall etsy finds…the october edition.

1. Swallows Return Top: no words needed here. okay one. perfection.

2. the OHV: this suede skirt.

3. Sanadora In Love: Ruby has this beaded wall art piece hanging in her room but we are completely and totally in the tank obsessed with each and every piece.

4. inbalmishan:  i really want this ring in my stocking this year.

5. Belinda Marshall Art: this wall art on cotton and linen would be so beautiful on any wall but i really love it for a tween’s room.

6. Latitude 59: these copper pencil cups


hello. i am super excited to share this hair post today! i know how you love hair style ideas for your little girls and i have been dying to show a few of our new favorites. here is our easter hair post i did with some of ruby’s dear friends and this year the girls all came back with their mama to try out some new styles for this easter.

oh and did you notice her new bangs? she got bangs and they are everything.

at least once a week ruby will ask me if i have figured out how to fishtail braid yet. nope. haven’t but this is so cute i wish i would! after brittney created the fishtail she used her fingers and the comb to mess up the look just a stitch more, giving it more texture and interest.

i have been dying to make ruby a real flower headband but it just hasn’t happened yet. we found this one at nordstrom and it works great. we have also seen fabulous flower headbands at Tilly’s.



missy girl has a problem. an i am not scared of scissors problem. also an i am not scared of what my mom will do when she sees what i have done with the scissors problem. this would be the fourth time we have been faced with the scissor issue. we hid them and kept them out of reach for about a year and we had no incidents. we were feeling like she was ready to have them again. coupled with the fact that she has set up her own craft station in her room it seemed impossible to imagine  a craft station without scissors, we brought the scissors back out.

within a week i started finding whisps of blonde hair at her craft station. upon a head examination we discovered ground zero. damage done.

“but mawwwm, they were in my eyes”

“well now they are shooting up in the air sooo…”

forever 21 aztec sweatshirt, we bought two sizes too big and cut to a boyfriend tee / gap skinny jeans



when i heard about the company juniorbeads, i was so intrigued. jewlery that is super safe for kids and since it is made of 100% silicone even my boys won’t break it.

they even have jewlery for moms that is safe for their babies to chew on. say what?  not only are their necklaces great for a teething baby they have a break away clasp and the colors are worthy of any mama’s wardrobe. can’t tell you how many necklaces i have lost because i took them off in the middle of a drooly teething session with my bebes.

and the colors? oh the colors are so so good.

here she is headed out the door for school…as soon as she is done coloring. which is never. ever.

blazer (old from baby gap boys dept) / tank / shorts / backpack (old from pbkids but similar here) / necklace  c/o/ shoes (old from crew cuts but similar here)

please note, if you purchase items by linking through my site, I may earn a small fee. nothing to pay for a college, more like enough to buy more diet coke to keep me up late  at night, creating more posts I hope you love.  I will always link to products that I really truly love or that I really truly would love to have.


i am loving the 90′s revival we are having right now. in all the “smells like teen spirit” types of ways. cardigans, overalls,  tiny florals printed on black and doc martins. remember the floral printed shoes in thispost?

i love that shay borrowed this shirt from her brother. you know how i feel about the boys section, dreamy.

how i wish i could swoosh back to the days of overall appropriateness and nestle my body right in between those two brass buckles.

ahhh, so comfy.

they never failed.

big pockets you keep your keys and frosty lipgloss in.

so happy for you girls of 2013. so happy. enjoy. soon you cannot wear them, like past the age of 24.

check your closets for the shirt or try here or here / overalls from gap kids, not available online / boots


this week for tween style my mind has been on printed denim…

try pattern jeans with a bright solid sweater pullover, denim shirt or stripe t-shirt, or layer all three or  go for a really really tight striped purple and orange cardigan like the missy did here.

its official this cardigan is too small for her, but she was gonna squeeeze her cute little arms in there if it killed her. but can you blame her? i mean purple and orange stripes? but farewell favorite cardigan. you went with so many many things. we will miss you but we have to move on now. RIP.

if you are having trouble mixing prints try varied scales of pattern like a small flower with wide stripes.

and this is my little animal rights activist, checking on one of her three rescued desert tortoises.

aka best pets ever.

things i love about printed denim…

there is a pattern for everyone from sweet polka dots to grunge floral.

its a great way to mix up her plain old denim routine.

they come in every price range.

polka dot jean ( similar under $30) / mocassin bootie / denim shirt / pink hi-tops/  yellow sweater / burgandy boots (these are a women’s size, starting at 5, for a similar option in smaller sizes check hereand here and here ) /  striped floral t-shirt

you can find similar leopard print jeans here and here and here.
the green swiss dot comes in many more colors
i love the idea of unicorns to whimsify the whole horse trend.
how does your girl wear the printed denim?


ruby tuesdays is finding her style in the the boys department…

photo courtesy of madison avenue photography

oxford baby gap

try here for a similar look under $20

and here for under $15

so my daughter ended up with the mom who is not pink’s number one fan. i don’t think i hate pink,  no no i don’t. i just have a strained relationship with the color. many times when i enter a store in search of something for my little miss, i cringe at all the glitter and pink and purple and frankly brightness of it all. it makes me nervous the way tj maxx does (more on that later). many times i take a quick leap across the aisle that divides the boys from the girls and breathe out a deep sigh of relief at the sight of all blacks, grays and neutrals lying in the boys section. i am home among my neutrals.

i never underestimate the versatility of the boys section. for the last several years i have acquired some amazing chunky black grandfather cardigans for the missy straight from the boys department. the boys department tends to use more interesting button options (think wood and brass) and knit detailing because it does not rely as much on color as a design statement but rather focuses on design details like texture and fabric.

gap is my favorite place to shop for boys items for ruby because they always have the classics; blazers, cable knit sweaters, brown belts, oxford shirts, flannels and striped sweaters.

below are some of my faves this season.

all items can be found at babyGap
so do i dress my daughter like a boy? i think not but if she is really wanting a pop of girlyness, which sometimes she does, i can always add a neon pink skinny jean, glitter Toms or her favorite purple tank to layer underneath sweaters and let it peek out of the bottom of her boy sweater for her pop of color.


this ruby tuesdays is an easter/ holiday / wedding hair tutorial: twisted crown / ballerina bun for little girls.

this year i wanted to do something special for ruby’s hair for easter. generally  the little missy girl is the focal point of any family outfitting concept i may have. this easter she is taking a back seat to her brothers that got matching easter suits (more to come on those gems this week). since my entire “easter dress budget” was spent on the boys i had little left for my little love.

her easter outfit consists of this h&m lace top $17.99, she already owned and this target pleated skirt$14.99 and her old zara ankle cowboy boots, featured here.

as you know from this hair tutorial, i am lacking in hair doing skills. again i called my dear friend brittney over for support and she came up with this simple, pretty, feminine style.

i love that this will look cuter and cuter as the day goes on. i love the idea of whispy pieces hanging out and the looseness of the twist.

we felt inspired by the popular period pieces (insert downton abbey and game of thrones) we have been watching on tv and are thinking sticking flowers in this look would just be amazing.

okay lets get started…

this is britney’s girl H. she has fine hair about to her shoulders. britney had just taken it out of two tight buns on top of her head so it happens to be wavy here. note, waviness is not needed for this look.

1. Part hair at desired part. Take a section that is about 1 inch by 3 inches.

2. Split into 2 even sections and then cross the piece closest to her face over back piece. No twisting needed.

3. Grab about a half inch section of hair from the hair line and add it to the current front piece (used to be back peice) and cross over back peice.

4. Continue adding hair to whichever section is closest to hair line and crossing over back piece past the ear.

5. Continue around the back of head, allowing more space from hair line and keeping the hair tight. Across the back of head the twist should sit just below the occipital bone.

6. When you reach the mid point in the back, twist the two sections aroud each other. (noting that you still do not need to twist before twisting.. sounds confusing but basically just keep it very simple)

7. Then secure with a rubber band close to the scalp temporarily.

8. Repeat the process starting on the other side.

9. When you get to the mid point in back twist the section as you did on the other side (#6).Then cross with the other side while twisting to keep it tight.

10. Secure with rubber band. (clear is preferable) this is a cute stopping point for a less formal day.

11. use traditional twist technique. Two sections of hair, twist both the same direction, then wrap them around one another in the opposite direction.

12. Then wrap this into a bun and secure with bobby pins.

here is ruby. her hair is pretty thick and hangs down to her waist. notice how we finish this differently then the bun. the hair wraps all the way around like a crown.

The technique for this one is very similar. You still start with two sections the same size, beginning at the part and adding hair in the same manner.

Because Ruby has so much hair and it is so long, she is a great candidate to continue the twist all the way around the head and back across the top to create a halo or crown effect. In order to have the twist look right when you get to the end where you are not adding hair, you must use the technique described in #11 the whole time.

from the beginning, twist both sections to the right and then cross them to the left. Add hair and twist to the right, and cross to the left and repeat all the way around head, through the end of the twist and secure with rubber band.

Wrap the end across top of head and hide ends using bobby pins.

If sections across the back seem loose or heavy, you can secure them by lifting them a bit and securing them with bobby pin.

If the tail of your twist isn’t as thick as this one pictured and it looks too thin, you can pull at it, lossening the hair after it has been secured so that the width of it looks even across the top of the head.

left dress here / center top here/ j crew necklace (old), similar here / right dress here


in a pinch for a cute hair accessory? run to your local mall, you might be surprised!


my girlie turned five recently. i wanted to talk to her about her life so i started with this birthday interview. i want to put her voice in a little time capsule. i want to remember her sounds. i want to remember how darling she says “gulls” for “girls”.  last year i filmed her saying “titty tat” for “kitty cat” one hundred times and love to show it to her.

with iPhones it makes it just so easy to flip open your phone and film. i try to film each of my kids at least a couple times a month.  i tell myself i will be so happy about this one day. i tell myself i won’t be totally overwhelmed by digital video in addition to the over 100,000 pictures i have of my kids just sitting on my computers and hard drives. yes, i am that mom. So i read this interview to my baby girl and recorded her on my phone.

it was cruel sick twist of fate that my sweet girl ended up with an ‘R’ name when she can’t say her r’s. the shameless mom in me secretly loves it and takes every opportunity to exploit her speech on film.

so here is my little time capsule. this film is not perfect, it was my first stab at iMovie, but i am so so happy i did it! i will love it forever. her hand movements, her silliness and of course her answers. wish i would have started younger.

hopefully this will inspire you to start younger then i did and really capture their speech developing. no matter what your film looks like. its fine. you will be happy you did it. don’t worry about the format. don’t worry about fading in and out. don’t worry about fancy fonts. just do it. just pick up your phone and film.

can’t wait to do this with baby ello in july.

below is the interview i used.


If you are like me you spend A LOT of time prepping for holiday pictures. Can I just congratulate you on booking a photographer? Half the battle right there people. I spent a few short years taking photos of families,  including several for their holiday cards.  I have been on both sides of the camera. I know what it looks like. You made it to your location without ketchup on anyone’s clothing or faces and she hasn’t ripped the bow off her head yet… you should feel like a million bucks! Here are a couple of tips you may NOT have considered yet.

1. Consider the Time.  If you are using a natural light photographer the time of day to shoot will be key. Generally the lighting is best an hour or two after the sun comes up and the hour or two before the sun goes down. Are your kids morning people? Are you? Would the afternoon be better or is it during nap time? Consider travel time.

2. Choose an Authentic Location. Think of your family’s favorite places to be. Everyone will be more relaxed in an environment they loved. Are you choosing to shoot at the beach just because it is beautiful,  which is  fine, or does your family really spend a lot of time there?  Think outside the beaches and fields box. Although I love both of these locations and have shot my family there many times, consider something that may be more authentic and reflective of who you are as a family. Your family will know what to expect and be more relaxed and natural in a familiar environment. Two years ago we had our photographer come out to our campground where we were camping. Last year our photographer captured us just getting ready for school, pancakes and all, in our home. Both of these locations worked great because the kids were busy doing what they do in coordinated outfits. Make it real. Make it you. There is nothing wrong with the beach or a field but if you know your family is going to struggle through the pictures taken there think of something they may enjoy more.  I have seen amazing pictures taken at the county fair, the zoo, an ice cream shop or donut store or out riding horses.  The more comfortable they are the better and the better luck you will have getting them to cooperate next year.

3. Embrace Lifestyle Photography. The great thing about the digital photography boom of 2004 was that a new kind of photography emerged from talents like tara whitney. Lifestyle photography. It is a mom’s best friend. we have all killed ourselves trying to get that perfect shot of everyone looking right at the camera and smiling with ease. but why, i say? why? instead of yelling at your kids to look at the camera and smile actually make them smile. have fun. that is when true, sincere moments emerge. moments that will last you much longer then your frozen smiling faces. Remember the more positive you make this photo shoot experience, the better the next one will be, so have fun. be yourselves. relax. To me there is so much more interest and depth to a family photo of the family doing what the family does. Teasing, laughing, balancing on a wall, singing, jumping, playing, walking on tippy toes, reading, drawing, eating, making cookies together, swimming, building legos, wrestling, picnicking… All of these are fun activities that will help everyone stay happy, smiling and engaged.

4. Layer Lightly, but Layer. Layers add a great deal of interest to photos, but layer too bulky and you are going to look bulky. If you layer too many pieces your kids will get frustrated and start stripping off clothes. Oh is that just my family?  I always have two layers on top with my kids. If they decide to start ripping their sweater off there is a collared shirt underneath. It is also a great bargaining tool. ” I hate this sweater mom!”

“Oh okay, do you like the shirt underneath better? Take off the sweater the collared shirt is fine. Its up to you, sweater or collared shirt?”

My husband is in a constant state of overheating and mildly simmering. I want him to wear that wool jacket, I really really do, but if I force him to he will be red, sweating and completely bugged with me. Not going to do it.

A few of my favorite go to layering pieces for pictures are:  henleys, cardigans, scarves, collared shirts with undershirts, thin knits, leggings and vests.

5. Add Texture. Use knit scarves, leather boots, heathered sleeves, leather trim, fur accents, crinkled khakis, nubby beach blankets,  anything that has an interesting but subtle texture.

6. Bring Fruit Snacks. Crackers crumble. Lollipops turn smiles blue. Chocolate melts. Although we are not a big fruit snack family I have some on hand for pictures. They are easy to hide in the mouth, disappear quickly, don’t make a mess when they spill, are easily hid in my pocket  and make my kids happy.

7. Share the Love. Tell your photographer a couple things about each kid in your family. Often times before a shoot I would print up images of the child’s favorite characters. Instead of holding a stuffed animal on my head I would hold the characters picture just under my lens and ask the kids if they could find it. It makes for great close ups and sparkling eyes. Or if your little one is in the middle of a melt down the photographer can distract them with chit chat about some of their favorite things.  Some of our best shots of Ello are of him roaring like a lion and racing like a motorcycle. For the older kids the photographer can make them comfortable by asking them what they are painting in art, what their horses’ name is, what kind of skateboard they have, where their favorite place to surf is or what color their soccer jersey is. When your photographer has a little knowledge they can quickly distract or interact with your children without needing you to chime in all the time.

You know how it goes with a teen or tween. mom, trying to get the teen to look like she is enjoying herself and actually likes their family says “honey, tell our photographer how you made the dance team.”  this is met by rolled eyes and annoyance. Instead, let the photographer take the lead, ” I hear you dance at TBC, who is your instructor?” or ” What song are you working on for your holiday performance?” or “What high school did you play in Friday’s game?”

8. Bring Non Distracting Props: Feeling like you can venture out of the home for this shoot?  Try bringing a couple photo friendly props with you to distract little hands while not distracting from the picture. Think wooden building blocks or  cars, plush animals or  dolls and tents or teepees.

9. If you can, play music. Music fills awkward silences. It loosens people up. It makes people happy.


i have some exciting things coming up this week that you are NOT going to want to miss. i am getting together with one of my favorite blogs to bring you something real special. i will be announcing the news on Wednesday and lets just say… we might be helping you get your stockings stuffed early this year.  today, tomorrow and tuesday i will be posting some hints as to what is coming up so stay tuned for this great event from one of our FAVORITE brands.

Speaking of stuffing stockings (and a small hint wink wink) here are my stocking stuffer picks from crew cuts all UNDER $20 and just as adorable as we expect from crew cuts.

1 so cute and bright to open up christmas morning/ 2/ 3/ 4 & heart composition book/ 5/ 6/ 7/ 8/ 9 NEON GLITTER nail polish pens… bam two trends in one tiny tube/ 10 temporary wrist watch tattoo and the friendship bracelet version are just as darling/ 11/ 12 mocs for baby under $20 bucks! get out./ 13/ 14 / 15 okay so technically this isn’t under $20, it is $20 but i can’t help but share such a versatile piece. we love a pouch in our house.  use this handy little guy to store pencils, rainbow loom bracelets, teck decks, matchbox cars, art supplies, chapstick, nail polish or head phones and chargers.


i have teamed up with the lovely girls over on lunch pails and lipstick to give you a leg up on your holiday shopping.  i am sponsoring a $100 giveaway to crew cuts!

if you are a regular here, weeding through our closets, you know that crew cuts is one of our favorite brands. we want to make it one of your favorites too. so head on over to lunch pails and lipstick for a chance to win $100 to crewcuts! yay!

if you are new here, can i just say “welcome”! so glad you are stopping by. take a look around at some of our blue closet readers’ favorites, monday “rad deals” is a big deal and “ruby tuesdays” are also a favorite but be sure not to miss fridays when the blog is dedicated to mama’s style and beauty. we love to dig through the trenches of beauty madness and bring it to you real simple and straight forward.

ruby is wearing one of our favorite sweatshirts from crew cuts, three ways. the second we sprung for this sweatshirt it has been hard to get her to take it off. literally, she has tried to wear it three days in a row. (i was able to squeeze one laundry day in before she swooped it up again) it is that perfect balance of sporty/comfy and special.

sweatshirt $66/ cord shorts $42.50 / glitter desert boots (old from crew cuts but similar here for $118 or old navy has a cute pair on sale for about $9.99 in their sale section) / sequin skirt (old hand me down but very similar here) / hat (borrowed from mama, anthropologie last year)/ leggings $32/ zara boots $59

need inspiration on how to spend the $100? check out my favorite holiday picks this year for girls…

1 this is the ultimate jacket i dream of my little girl wearing, except we live in southern california where i could not possibly justify this coat, however i think if you live somewhere that dips below 60 degrees this is a classic and i want to see pictures of your little girl in this. preferably with t-strap mary jane shoes, but thats just me./2/3/4/5/6/7 ruby’s faves/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15/16 ruby lives and dies by crew cuts leggings. they take a beating and never fade, tear or get the dreaded baggy elephant knees. true staples in our house./17 this lightweight windbreaker is much more appropriate for our climate and at $55 it is even more darling./18

check back tomorrow for picks for the little fellas in your life.

and look here for great stocking stuffer ideas from crew cuts all under $20!


i have a major weakness for bathing suits. my kids’ drawers are overflowing with them.  we are so excited the sun is back and need swimwear that can hold up to our constant adventures to the beach, pool, traveling and spraying each other on the trampoline with the hose (super safe and not at all white trash). we get plenty of use from our suits so it is important that they are good quality. we have found that our jcrew and billabong suits last the longest for girls while for boys we swear by rvca, volcom, billabong and oneill.

here are some of my faves this season…