Monday, July 2, 2012


Have you ever wondered where the hashtag came from? 

Or, played with your phone while sitting on the toilet?

Or, just love great and fun music?

Well, let me introduce you to my brother, Paul Nowell (Paul the Trombonist). I have always been a proud sister, but lately I feel like I am watching my brother slowly become famous. He is so dedicated and passionate about what he does. He is funny and talented and I feel like people can't help but watch his videos. 

Little do most viewers know that Paul is a trained musician that has studied with some of the world's best teachers. He graduated from the acclaimed Berklee College of Music, he has traveled the world with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, played with Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Heath, Conrad Herwig, Pete Christlieb, Don Braden, The Spinners, James Moody, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Fabian, The Temptations and many others. Along with playing gigs almost every night, writing dozens and dozens of songs, and doing his videos, he is a great music teacher and so good with kids.

All of his videos are produced by him. All instruments on the tracks are played by him. And, all the lyrics are written by him (except the covers). Although, he arranges them a little differently sometimes. 

Paul is 3-1/2 years younger than me and I can't really remember a time that music wasn't an important part of his life. Everything to Paul relates back to music. Every topic is a potential song. He learns something from everyone he meets and that makes him a stronger person. He has such a big heart, I just can't wait to see what good things come his way.

I know that my blog is not going to make me any money and doesn't bring a substantial amount of new business to my company so, I treat it as a personal log of my thoughts, my beautiful little family and a creative outlet. Paul being "almost famous" is just what I am thinking about tonight. I am watching the numbers grow on the "views" of Paul's new video. He calls to tell us about all of the amazing people he is meeting and networking with and the new opportunities that are popping up for him. After Ivan and I facetimed him (and the banana) this afternoon—I've just been thinking about him. 

Currently, Paul has 62 videos on his YouTube Channel as well as 20 videos on the YouTube channel that he shares with one of his writing partners, Leonard. His website is (which I am currently redesigning to better represent his personality).

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Homemade Paint!

When Ivan woke up this morning with a runny nose and I looked outside and saw that it was already 80 degrees, I thought we needed to do a project to perk everyone's mood. So . . . we made paint!

It was so easy. I got the recipe from Pinterest (let me mention again how addicted I am to Pinterest)

Anyway, here is the recipe:

3 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn starch
2 cups water

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and warm until the mixture thickens. Cool and pour in containers. Add food coloring to create desired colors.

Ivan had fun mixing the colors and deciding
which colors we should make

 I used old baby food jars and jelly jars 
to put the paint in

Ivan had a great time and the paint was
super easy to clean up

I wouldn't use this paint to create a life-long masterpiece (like this one) because the consistency is a little off, but it is fun for an everyday kind of project. Plus . . . if your toddler is a little taste tester you don't have to worry about them putting this paint in their mouth. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My little artist . . .

I have a blank wall above my desk that I stare at everyday and it needs some artwork. So . . . I have decided to commission Ivan to create something to fill the space. We picked up a giant canvas, put Ivan in his diaper, gave him some paint and brushes and let him go to town. It is still a work in progress, but this is a little sneak peak. I will reveal the final piece once it's hanging on our wall—can't wait to see what he comes up with :).

Emerson Allen

On April 17th, our sweet baby boy Emerson came into our lives. The day went so smoothly, the recovery was not-so-bad and the past 2 months have been pretty amazing. I am loving life with my 2 little boys and we have transitioned well to being a family of 4. Here are a couple of photos from the big day. . .

  Meeting little Emerson

  Ivan checking out his little brother

  My boys :)

Now fast forward 2 months and these are sweet little men that I get to spend my days with . . .

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pink Hydrangea Wedding Invites . . .

You may remember me posting this sneak peak of a wedding invitation that I was working on for Scott's cousin's wedding. 

Well . . . the invitations went out and the wedding is in a couple of weeks. Here are the finished invites . . .

with the matching reply cards . . .

wrap-around mailing labels for the envelopes . . . 

and thank you cards . . .

I changed the names to mine and Scott's and did not include the location—you never know if there is a crazy out there that loves these invites so much that they'd want to crash the wedding ;)

I am going to post the invites to my Etsy site soon (along with a few other wedding invite designs). So . . . I can just add your name and info into the template and ta-da . . . you have a beautiful hand-painted invitation for your wedding, shower, birthday party, afternoon tea party . . . 

This was such a fun project to work on and we can't wait for wedding! 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hanging Your Laundry Out to Dry . . .

Our house is 100% powered by electricity. We have an electric stove, electric baseboard heaters, electric washer and dryer, water heater, etc. Anyway, you get the idea. We also live a nice modest, 1700 square feet ranch house with a crawl space and an attic. Our house is not huge, but our electric bill is. In January our electric bill was $650 and in February it was close to $500. Of course, our bills in the warmer months are a lot lighter than that, but we are still searching for ways to keep the overall cost down. 

We are going to put a vapor barrier in the crawl space, better insulate the attic, use all energy efficient light bulbs, make sure to unplug things that are not being used, etc, etc. 

While driving in the car the other day, Scott asked me how I felt about drying our clothes on a clothesline during the warmer days of the year. My initial reaction was, "no." Then, I said "let me just think about it for a little bit." We have a big enough yard that we can make a space for it—I just have a hard time with how it looks. I feel like it's an eyesore. Is there a way to make an attractive clothesline? Can we build a structure that could easily be taken down when not using? Am I being shallow if I think it looks bad? Or, do you think this is the direction we should be going? I mean . . . solar panels are pretty ugly, but a "popular" thing to do. Clotheslines are actually restricted or banned in some communities.

Would I dread going outside to hang and take the clothes down (with a newborn and a toddler)? Or, would it be relaxing and fun to do that while the boys were playing outside? Would we have enough warm days to really make an impact in our overall electric bill? Would it teach my boys to conserve energy and take advantage of the fresh air? 

I'm a little curious to try it and track the impact that it is making. And . . . I am all for helping out the environment and cutting down on our bills. We are going to plant a garden with fruits and veggies and eventually have a couple of chickens that will lay eggs for us so. . . why is this any different?

I am curious to hear your thoughts. Do you line dry your clothes? Would you? Did your parents line dry clothes when you were growing up?

I found a "top ten" list of reason to hang your laundry, from the website Project Laundry List. These are all good and valid points:

10. Save Money: you can save more than $25/month off the monthly electric bill for the average household ($300/year). For us, we have a toddler, a newborn on the way, we work on the house and exercise regularly so . . . that's a lot of dirty clothing and a lot of laundry!

9. Your Clothes Will Last Longer (no lint!)

8. Pleasant Scent: clothes and linens smell better without adding possibly toxic chemicals to your body and the environment

7. Saves Energy, Preserves Environment, Reduces Pollution

6. Healthy Work: moderate physical activity to do outside

5. Get the Sunshine Treatment: sunlight bleaches and disinfects

4. Replace another appliance: indoor racks can humidify in dry winter weather

3. Avoid Fire: Clothes dryer and washing machine fires account for about 17,700 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 360 injuries annually. The yearly national fire loss for clothes dryer fires in structures is estimated at $194 million. See a diagram of the critical danger zones of the dryer.

2. It is fun: and can be an outdoor experience that is meditative and community-building

1. It is Patriotic: demonstrates that small steps can make a difference

Friday, March 23, 2012

What's Your Birth Story?

As my due date is quickly approaching, I am starting to run the day through my head. How will it go? Will everything run smoothly? What will he look like? Will Ivan adjust well? 

Do you have a crazy birth story? Did the birth of your child not happen like you had planned in your head? I am sure that no birth goes exactly how you plan it in your head. You wait and wait and wait for a sign that it's time to head to the hospital. Every ache and pain makes you question if he or she is getting ready. 

I had a birth plan all written out when I was pregnant with Ivan. "Dim the lights, just to have me, Scott, the nurse and doctor in the room and no one else, etc, etc." But, as soon as I got to the hospital, I pulled my birth plan out of my bag, set it down and never gave it to anyone.

My water broke early, early on a Saturday morning. A GUSH of water (like the movies) went all over out bedroom floor. We both scrambled around. We both walked through the mess (ugh), I think I hopped around a little and then got over it. I quickly called the doctor and asked if I could take a shower. I had this image in my head that I would be all ready with a shower, make-up, refreshed and ready to have a baby. Right?! She told me to just come straight to the hospital. No make-up, hair in a pony tail, a towel on my seat in the car, groggy, excited, nervous . . .

I called my mom, dad and brother in California (it must've been 2 or 3 in the morning for them) and my sister in Pittsburgh (who left shortly after I called to come out).

We waited at the hospital and they set me up in a room. I was only 2 centimeters dilated and was told that it was going to be a long day! They gave me some pitocin to move things along. The contractions started and I tried to toughen it out as long as possible, but finally requested an epidural. 

So . . . I got the epidural (thankfully) and started to relax a little. Scott left to grab some lunch. As soon as he came back, the monitor started beeping, alarms were going off, and we heard scrambling outside of our room. I asked, "is this for us?" I knew it was, but Scott calmly said "no." Then a rush of people (about a million), students, doctors, nurses all rushed in, checked me out, started unhooking me and said "we have to get this baby out!" Ivan was in distress and the cord was wrapped around him. I started crying (not in my birth plan, people!) and said okay. They RAN me down the hallway, into the OR and had Ivan out in about 5-10 minutes.

They pulled Ivan out and he started crying and I started crying. It was the best sound in the world! Finally, Scott was allowed in the room. Poor Scott was so strong and had to wait until they knew everything was okay. They cleaned Ivan, wrapped him up and put him next to my face, I said "Awwww . . . he's beautiful" and then they took him away to check on him further. I then spent some time in recovery (which seemed like forever!) and finally, finally, finally, I was taken to my room and they brought Ivan in. 

This time, I have a scheduled c-section for April 17th at 8:00 and I pray that everything goes smoothly.

A few days ago, my friend Mary, gave birth to her son in a parking lot gas station! They were on their way to the hospital and just didn't make it there. Can you imagine?! Read her story here.

Do you have a crazy birth story? I'd love to hear it. As long as mommy and baby are healthy, I guess it doesn't matter how he/she comes into the world. Can't wait for our second baby boy to get here. Can't wait to find out how his birth story will go.