Created to Create

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. — Sophia Loren
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. Sophia Loren
Read more at:
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. Sophia Loren
Read more at:

I have this desire to create. It is innate in me — it's who I am. As long as I can remember, I've created.

As a small child, I played hours with play-doh and colored every time I could get my hands on crayons and markers.

In middle school I scrapbooked.

In high school I made all my own jewelry.

When I graduated high school early, I landed a design position at a small company.

In college I studied art, was the curator for my University's art gallery, then graduated with a Bachelors in Photography.


At the beginning of my college career, the professors gathered the new art students in the small prayer chapel for a moment I'll never forget. The professors spoke words that permeated my heart and impacted the entire way I viewed the creative profession — to this day. Their words reminded me that I was made in God's image, the original Creator. As an image bearer, I have been given the gift of creativity and have been called to continue the creation story. Each student in the prayer chapel that day was gathered to have their hands blessed. I won't forget as my hands were anointed and prayed over — I have been commissioned to create.


On my last summer break of college, I showed a collection of my photographs in a Chicago Arts District gallery — and even sold a few pieces.

After being proposed to, I planned every detail our wedding and handmade hundreds of detailed paper flowers for the big event — held in an art gallery.

After we were married I decorated our first apartment.

Those early years of marriage, I carried my camera everywhere, blogged and fell deeply and madly in love of the art of food.

Enter now: wife, mama, and career. I've viewed my life the last few years as simply full. Too full to have any time for creativity — and just plain tired. But perhaps I am worn out because my creative heartbeat is being muffled. Creative endeavors energize me and in 2017 I am going to carve out the time and space to dip my toes back into my creative roots. Because creativity is the constant thread that is woven throughout my life, how could I simply abandon that now?

I was born with a hunger to experience and create beauty — this is not a coincidence. Throughout my growing-up years I created without thought, unrestricted — it was simply what I did. And I know that gift is still inside me. So give me a shovel 2017, I need to start digging back to my creative place. I want find my creative spark in everyday activities again. I want more than a functional life, I want to be fully aware of this beautiful life. So I'm finding my way back to do my job and keep showing up even when it is hard, and even when I am tired.

Inaugural Mom Moment

Post incident — You'd never know anything even happened. Ha!

I've had a few moments where I've thought, "this is it, my true welcome to motherhood moment," but this past weekend's incident tops all the rest!


"Owie, owie, owie!" rings from the backseat of the car as I pull into the Trader Joe's parking lot. I find the spot closest to the cart corral and put the car into park. I walk around to retrieve my son from his apparent jaws of life car seat situation. He seems fine — I don't see any owies.

It is a frigid cold, midwest December morning. The plaza is busy, everyone is out checking off their Saturday morning errand list. As we head toward the grocery entrance, halfway through the parking lot, I hear the horrifying noise...The owie is his tummy. Standing in the middle of public, my son and I are now both covered in vomit.

We hurry back to the car, grab the beloved fuzzy blue blanket and quickly wipe as much of the puke off as possible. My son tells me he is alright, so I decide that this is undoubtedly my inaugural mom moment. I bite the bullet, lose my dignity, covered in puke, we head inside to finish our errands.

I plop my son into the cart and we stroll quickly past the flowers and are standing by the produce. All I can smell is the putrid stench we are both wearing. My arm reaches over to my back and it is all wet. I turn my back to my son, "Is there something on my back?" Turning forward, I look as he nods and smiles. Ugh!

We push through the other shoppers as quickly as possible and head to the restroom. I take off my coat to find my son's vomit streaming down the back — from my shoulder all the way to my knees. All I have on underneath the coat is a pair of leggings and a thin t-shirt. I was totally not prepared, and didn't have another option than to wear my stained and foul-smelling coat. I run to the paper towel dispenser and pull out wads to rub on our coats. This was as good as we were going to get.


Sorry to the lady in the freezer section who I had to reach over to grab the frozen mangoes. Sorry to the checkout lady — we had an entire cart full of groceries to scan as we just stood there stinking up the air. And finally, sorry to all those in the parking lot who saw me in my grandest mothering moment to date — wiping off the puke, yet still heading in to do our shopping.

Welcome to motherhood!

2017 - The Year of Slow

How can one year feel so long, yet so fast all at the same time? We moved into the Herrick home only a little over a year ago, so how is it already mid-December? As I reflect on 2016, this year has been so painfully full. Achingly abounding in a good-heart-bursting sort of way, and so jammed in the manner that our schedules overflowed (not what I'd like to do again). As I gaze toward the new year, it will all be different. 2017 is going to be slower, and I am going to make sure of it — this is my goal. One of the hardest things to learn in life is to create boundaries and simply say "no." Why is it so goodness, gracious hard?

When we say "no" to one thing, we are allowing ourselves to say "yes" to something else. The busyness of life has removed me from this well loved writing space and I refuse to allow the busyness to take me further away from the things that fill me up. For me, 2017 will be the year I chase the slow life. It will be the year I try to catch my breath and savor the simple things, like family dinners.

See this beautiful family I have? This is why my focus is all about the slower life in 2017. I don't want to miss a moment with these loves. Life is short, yet oh so very sweet. I cannot even come close to believing how blessed we are. I am going to live next year fully with joy and celebration. I am going to love and be thankful. 2017, you are going to be beautiful!

52 Memories in 52 Weeks

First off, happy new year!

I don't know about you, but for me, 2016 quietly snuck in. 2015 ended with a lot packed in and it made the last few months blur together. In the last few months we unexpectedly found our (fixer upper) dream home — sold our townhouse — moved in — my entire department at work was put on furlough — and now here I am...sitting at my computer typing and wondering where the last few months have gone.

Many of you aren't aware of the furlough situation and at the beginning I was completely stressed and overwhelmed by it, and didn't want to even talk about it. But, what I've come to discover is that it was such a blessing in disguise because I've got to spend the last six weeks at home with Husband and Valor. We've had family time, time to do projects, time to settle into the #herrickhome, and the best of all...I got to be home while Valor has been learning to walk! I'm heading back to work on Monday with very mixed emotions. I'm excited and thankful to have my position to go back to but sad that this precious time at home with Valor is coming to a close.

Time is a thief and I want to make some seriously great memories in 2016. As we walk into a very unknown year, which is sure to have lots of adventure, I want to create 52 memories in 52 weeks. Thanks to Chatbooks for such a great idea as we kick off a new trip around the sun.

Wait, hold you know about Chatbooks? Oh my, it is only the most amazing subscription service! It is the greatest way for busy mamas (not exclusively for mamas) to have photo albums without any work — literally. Super-easy and super-affordable. Chatbooks make the cutest little bound books of your social media and phone pictures into a done-for-you photo book series.

Ever since Valor was born I wanted to documented his life story and just couldn't find a way to manage such a large project. It was just too much work with the mass amount of photos I was taking on a daily basis. I wanted a photo album of my images but also wanted to make notes and date each one. And that was just too time consuming of a task for this working mama...until I discovered Chatbooks. It truly is a set it and forget it automated service! Each time I have 60 photos a new book is printed and mailed right to our doorstop. No sweat. Would you like to try  Chatbooks out for yourself? Subscribe and use discount code PNUHLFPN to get your first book free.

So now that you know about Chatbooks, back to the most fun New Year's resolution I'll ever make...#52Memories. Every Monday, Chatbooks will be sending out an email with an activity or experience we can do that week. The weekly challenges will include everything from whipping up a new smoothie to pulling out board games or even impromptu parties. 2016 is going to be the year of new experiences — whether big or small — and super memorable.

To sign-up, just go to Who's in?

This is not a sponsored post, and all opinions are my own.

Introducing the Herrick Home

If you would have told me a year ago that it would be nearly 12 months until my next blog post, I would never have believed it. But as other mamas know, life gets busier when you add a kiddo into the mix. Especially once they start cruising through the house like they own it all. Anyway, let's see...where did we leave off? Valor's six month birthday. Since then here is what's been going on:

  • Valor got his DOC band and wore it for three months
  • Celebrated our six year wedding anniversary
  • Nick and I both stood up in my sister's wedding
  • Valor was dedicated at church
  • Valor's got his first (and second) haircut and now desperately needs a third!
  • Had a big huge 1st birthday party
  • Valor was discharged from feeding therapy — but still continues his weekly aquatic, occupational and physical therapies
  • Found our (fixer upper) dream house unexpectedly
  • Decided to put our townhouse up on the market to see if it would sell...and it did within one weekend — so we bought our dream house
  • And that about brings you up-to-date, in a very brief sense!

So here we in a major project. Our #herrickhome (follow our hashtag on Instagram!) was built in 1957 and is an all original quad-level home sitting on a half-acre lot. We live across the street from an awesome park with a pond for wintertime iceskating, our backyard backs up to the elementary school's soccer field, and literally around the corner from my parents. The couple who sold us the house are in their 90's and needed to downsize. The husband was a photographer and purchased this house in his 20's for $15,000... too bad we couldn't have purchased it for that price! Haha. Anyway, I wish the walls could talk because I know this house was always full since the couple then raised their family of five daughters here. I know the history is fascinating, but let's get to the good! Agreed?

I know the house isn't much to look at now, but I have a big vision for this place. And I will share as we go along.

Eventually we will say adios to the (not my favorite) brown siding.

I love the roof line of this house.

Space for our dining room and formal living room.

All I have to say about this kitchen is...I can't wait until we start swinging a sledge hammer!

This wall and the kitchen peninsula are both going to be taken out during the kitchen renovation. Currently, only the bottom half of the oven heats up.

This is the breakfast nook that we will be eliminating to increase the kitchen space.

Casual family room. Since moving in, we have replaced the carpet (we found asbestos tile underneath!), and Nick and my dad have worked long hours painting all the trim and paneling. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen how good it looks now!

Stairway to heaven bathroom, off of the family room. 

Upstairs landing that is quite spacious! Any suggestions with what should be done with this space? Or should we just leave it open? I'm leaning towards just open and maybe put our gallery wall up there on the left.

Retro green and pink bathroom. When we renovate this space, I want to keep the vanity — it's angled and I love it!

The lighting in this bathroom gets all the heart eyes!

Bedroom/Office — Since moving in, this room has been painted and the carpet has been removed to reveal wood flooring.

Valor's Room — This room has also been painted and Nick removed the carpet.

Master bedroom and the entryway into the fourth bedroom.

Fourth Bedroom — Eventually we would like to knock out the wall between the master and this fourth bedroom. During that renovation we will also construct a master bath and walk-in closet. Currently, the closet is less than desirable. 

Utility Room

We are currently using this space for storage and house project central, but in the next year we hope to replace the flooring, give this room a nice paint job and turn this into a huge playroom for Valor.

Upper deck

Lower patio. I can't wait for backyard dinners and parties this summer!

So there you have it...the grand tour of the #herrickhome. Stay tuned in as we make progress on our fixer upper.