March Loves

March is coming to an end, and so ends one of the best months in Phoenix. The weather is perfect, everybody is outside all the time, neighbors are trading parsley and rosemary from their herb gardens. It's idyllic. Here's some things I loved from March 2016.

Loyal is only 7 months, but already started pulling up to stand up in his bed. WHAT!? How did it happen so fast? I seem to remember it taking Imogen a year to get to that point! We just moved him to a big crib one month ago and already we've had to lower it. Crazy. Also I'm noticing more similarities in Loyal and IQ in photos and it's blowing my mind, because I think they look so different. Kids, man!

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Dave Bazan just released his first single "The Trouble With Boys" from the upcoming album Blanco and I'm completely obsessed with it / ripped apart by it. Hear the single on Paste HERE. I hope he knows what an incredible songwriter he is.

In true Sarah Rhodes form, I am 17 years tardy to the West Wing party and I can't stop watching it. I started it out of boredom one night, and it's all I can think about... especially when contrasted with the current presidential candidate campaigns. BARTLET AMERICA NEEDS U.

Josh and I just started a pretty big lifestyle change with a pretty big goal - we want to lose 100 lbs between the two of us. We took "before" photos. It was.... horrible. But good and necessary.

This is the month I started working for my dad managing his social media, and we are also beginning to rebuild his website! I'm so excited for him (he's a doctor that runs a medically supervised weight loss program in NC) and Josh and I will be sharing our own personal weight loss journeys on his blog once we get that up and running! I feel VERY insecure about doing this, but it's a great challenge to do this so publicly. We've been on the program for almost a week now and already seeing differences and significant changes in our energy levels. Feel free to message me if you live in NC and want to know more.

We have also ramped up the serious conversation about buying an investment house to use as an Airbnb! I shared more about that with my friends, but I'm okay starting to talk about it here, too. I can't help but have big dreams, and as a visionary it's hard to take those tedious baby steps to get to that point to do everything wisely (money-wise, mostly)! But even if it takes another year, I know it will be worth it! Who wants to come stay in our future super-cool desert Airbnb home!?

I just released a huge shop update that I've worked very hard on! I think there's 12-14 new prints, as well as five from Josh from his exploding food series! (My favorite one is the pancakes, but I also love the bloody mary one too.) Please go have a look and tell me your fav! Today only all of the prints are 30% off with the code BARTLET, but if you miss it, you'll still be able to have 20% off the rest of the weekend with the code WESTWING. (Do you see what happens to me when I get invested in a show!?)

This month my friend Chelsea completely rebranded her site (Chelsea-bird.com - it's beautiful!!) and it inspired me to pick back up my back-burner project of rebranding mine, as well. It might seem like kind of a pointless thing to do, but for me, my logo is the last thing that ties me to shooting weddings, which I got very burned out on. (It wasn't the people! I don't know what it was. My clients/friends were the best in the world! I think it was that I got so busy, I didn't get to make time for my own creativity, and it only got worse. Just wanted to clarify because I truly loved ALL of my couples, the weddings themselves were SO FUN, and I was honored to have been chosen for that role in each wedding!). Anyway! I chose my current logo font with brides in mind. It seems romantic, fun, a little creative. But it's not ME. Know what I mean? It was for weddings. For attracting couples planning weddings. So off I go weeding through thousands of fonts trying to find myself. Let me tell you, looking at the words ARROW AND APPLE in a million different typefaces for hours can make a woman batty. You start wondering if you spelled "arrow" wrong or if that's even a real word and did you mean to type ELBOW instead? Hah!

FYI: elbowandapple.com is available. Maybe that's my new thing?

Hope your March was wonderful and I hope your April rules harder. <3

 

The things that give us purpose

It's a warm breezy day. All the windows in our house are open. I sat in the chair by the window in Loyal's room this morning as he fell asleep in my arms, his chubby hands wrapped around a bottle. In that moment I felt like I was fulfilling a deep purpose. Feeding a child, and bringing him rest and safety in my arms, these are things that are so important. 

But on the other hand, some moments I'll be holding him, feeding him in that same chair, and feel like I'd rather be doing something more "worthwhile" with my time. I'll feel like I'm tethered to that chair and I just want to escape. Why is that? It's probably because there's no breeze. I'm kidding.

Maybe we are all fighting that same battle of finding purpose and contentment.

After Imogen was born, I would say it took about three months for me to find my new normal, and to start feeling like myself again. After Loyal, we are going on 7 months and I'm still not quite there.

I don't have answers, but what I can tell you is this - I've added two things to my daily routine: I've started accepting more sponsors, and I've started working for my dad's company doing some social media managing. Suddenly, I find myself busier, and happier.

I find that at night after the kids go to bed, I still have something to work on that's just for me. It's something that brings me back to my old identity before being a mom (though I don't resent being a mom! If you're a parent, you understand). It's something keeping me busy and allowing me to bring in a little more money. We're not old-fashioned over here; we don't think it's MY JOB to cook every meal and mop while Josh goes and makes all the money. I actually really like making money too, and Josh likes cooking more than I do. So finding our family balance has felt tricky but I think we are doing better! And we're enjoying our days more, which leads to enjoying the simple moments more like just feeding a baby while the warm breeze hits us.

I'm not sure where I was going with this, but it's just something I wanted to pen (key?) as long as it's on my mind. And if any of you people have social media managing tips, I'm all ears!! I'm learning as I go, but I'm really enjoying it!!

Anyway, I have a baby to feed! Hope you're all having a great week. My dad is coming to visit this weekend and we are so excited!

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Spring Break Packing Tips with OshKosh!

*This post is sponsored by OshKosh B'Gosh; but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own! Thanks for supporting the people that support us!*

Not to brag, but Josh and I are kind of road trip professionals. If we ever have to choose between flying and taking a road trip, we will choose a road trip like every time. Let me ask you something: have YOU ever taken a photo with the world's largest pistachio WHILE FLYING? I DIDN'T THINK SO.

But you know, enter children.

Babies bring a whole new set of challenges on road trips and like a million more stops. But we've managed to make a few of them, so if any of you are planning on hitting the road with little ones for spring break, here are my little tips!

1. For toddlers: I don't know about your little one, but Imogen always has to be doing something. So while in the car seat, if she's not napping, she is in her own personal hell. (And incidentally, we are too.) My favorite trick for her is to bring along clementines or some kind of fruit that involves working on. She carefully peels them and puts the little peel pieces in a container, and she'll play with that for a good hour. AMEN.

2. Books! Loyal's finally getting to the age where he likes to curl up with a good book and decompress. Well not really, but he likes gumming on them, so.... same thing. But Imogen is lost without her books, bless her!

3. This little toy camera is my gal's BFF. Imogen likes to see me take photos and pretend to take photos too! (It's an old film camera but we don't put film in it.) I love getting the conversation started about what we like to take photos of, and she's fascinated by it.

4. SNAXXXX. Kind of a no-brainer but I like picking snacks that both Loyal can eat and Imogen likes to eat, so it makes things less complicated. You know? Ain't nobody got time for packing TWO SETS OF SNACKS.

5. Comfy clothes!! Comfy clothes are EVERYTHING on a road trip. Loyal's little jogger pants and pizza shirt (from OshKosh) are an outfit I would totally wear, PS. I mean, it's a shirt that says PIZZA on it so I had to get it, right? The slub knit shirt above - I keep telling Josh I wish it came in my size. And Imogen's light, breezy top is perfect for long car rides. Choose loose, soft clothing that will also look cute when you're stopping to take photos with giant dinosaurs, because you KNOW that crap is going up on Instagram!

6. It's not pictured, but for some reason, the Vampire Weekend "Modern Vampires of the City" album is like, audible voodoo. It's our road trip Ace card, because as SOON AS WE PUT THAT ALBUM ON, crying ceases, babies fall into a gentle sleep, angels sing, parents high-five. I truly don't know why it is, but it's worked pretty much every time.

7. And of course for the baby, little colorful toys that are easy to handle are the best. I like little toy chains, because they are fun for Loyal to play with, but they also can clip onto the seatbelt or shirt, and you can attach a toy to it so that he always has a toy in arm's reach. :)

If you guys haven't popped into an OshKosh store lately, you should - everything right now is killer (find your closest one HERE). And you can get 25% off until April 30 online with the code SPRING16, or print off this coupon to use in stores!

Okay- your turn, road trip veterans! What are your keys to sanity during your long car rides with little ones? Where are you going on Spring Break?

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*I am a member of the Everywhere Society, who has provided me compensation for this post! But as always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are completely my own.