A lot can happen in a week. Especially a week like last week. It all started on Friday. What was supposed to be a quick installation at a client's office turned out to be way longer than we thought because of some unrelated delays. I'd been having irregular contractions all day and didn't really think anything of it because unlike my last pregnancy, I'd been having Braxton Hicks contractions for months. 

As we finished up some things at my client's office, contractions started getting really bad, but still not regular so I thought if I kept going, they'd go away like they did in the past. But on the way back home I really got the feeling that this was probably the real thing. 

And I have to brag on Brendan for a minute because after hours of being my free labor, he sweetly put on some old school tunes (my jam), held my hand, and made the ride back home as comfortable as possible. 

I snapped this picture going over Shem Creek because I wanted to remember what a beautiful evening it was the night our new baby would come. 

So everything was all nice, and then as we were pulling into our neighborhood, I made Brendan turn around and head for the hospital because although they were still irregular, my contractions were so bad, there was no way I wanted to spend all night at home laboring like that. 

Turns out I was dehydrated and was sent home. Long story short, I went back an hour later and three hours after that ta da!

Meet our newest little love, Felicity Harper Mendenhall, born at 3:15 am on September 19, 2015. 

Sweet girl came one day early so we can have our own birthdays. Sidenote: I turned 30 on the 20th, but have had no time for that to sink in because in addition to all the new baby cuddles and sweet sister time, we've packed up our house for the move!

This man is seriously my hero. He's been super dad to our girls (I didn't have to change one diaper in our three days in the hospital), packed our house, and left nothing for me to worry about as we get into the new house. 

As crazy as it has been, I think the timing is a blessing because I haven't really had time to get all hormonal and sad over leaving the house that we added two little girls to our family in. Ok, I'm gonna stop with that now, because I've been holding it together pretty well and I'm not going to get all weepy now. 

Our last night the house was one to remember as we were frantically awoken by the emergency weather alerts on our phones telling us that a tornado touched down only a few miles from us. So me, Brendan, the girls, and my mom all huddled in the downstairs bathroom for about twenty minutes waiting for it to pass. In all our years in Charleston, we've never really had any serious weather threats and we couldn't help but laugh at the timing. 

Houses all down our street had trees and gutters down, but somehow we came out unscathed, as did the new house, which I'm super thankful for. 

Have you heard After the Storm by Mumford and Sons? Basically the folksy dramatic song version of my life right now. 

Anyway, now we're out at Kiawah for the week while the new house gets a little love before moving in with the girls. 

Not the worst place to snuggle with a new baby. 

I think Eva thinks this is the new house. Sorry girl, I wish. 

So a lot can happen in a week. I had a baby, turned the big 3-0, packed a house, and now am kind of on vacay. 

I'm thinking a week-long nap is next on the schedule. 



A "powder room SOS"could mean a lot of things. And as I think about it, you may wonder from where am I blogging and what is it exactly that has me asking for urgent assistance. Well, don't worry people (and don't let your imagination run too far). We like to keep it light around here. 

The kind of help I need in the powder room has nothing to do with a toilet paper shortage or worse. No, no. We're down to crunch time with the new house and trying to finalize and organize our renovations plans. As I may have mentioned, there's really not a room in the new house that won't need some work; not the least of them  being the first floor powder room. And while the hubby and I tend to be on the same page and pretty decisive about most of these things, we're a little torn with this one. 

So I thought I'd put it to vote! Or at least get some thoughts. Which do you like better??

Behind door number one we have (queue dun dunna daaa kazoo noise):

Obviously this is the more timeless of the two in my opinion. The blue + white floral elements will be carried out in different little bits here and there throughout the house. I love this classic pattern and color combo and feel like it's both timely and timeless. It holds it's own in a modern mix and feels sophisticated without feeling stuffy or too grandma (although, please note my Grandmas both have great style). Inevitably, there will also be an "Old Man and the Sea" element strung throughout and I feel like this concept includes both feminine softness and masculine linear/ruggedness that works with what will be the general flow of the house. 

But there's this little part of me that also really likes something more modern/balmy-feeling like this...

I really, really like this. And I know I will love it for a few years, but I'm trying to figure out if it can go the distance. First and foremost I absolutely love the art. It's not everyone's thing, so you don't see it in all my work, but if you've seen any little glimpse of my house (well, I guess my old house...it's currently all boxed up <kinda sad face>), you know that I'm majorly hung up on midcentury-early 1970s watercolors and oils. And this piece is no exception. While I'm not exactly sure what's going on in the painting, I'm not sure I really care either. I love the colors and the inkiness and will probably try to find somewhere for it regardless of which powder room concept we choose. I guess what I'm stuck on with this one is: will we love it for now, but ultimately will it feel a little too beachy for our subtly coastal home? 

I always say that a powder room is place to have a little fun (design-wise, people!!), so I'm wondering if I should take my own advice and go with the second or if I should stay interesting but timeless, which is a little bit more cohesive with the rest of the house. 

PS- It hasn't been until this very moment that I am having the epiphany that this is actually a conflict caused by deep-rooted family aesthetic influence that involves two equally as motivating styles. What this really comes down to is Grandma (and Grandpa) style!! 

Speaking of Grandmas (re: first concept comment about blue + white floral), the first is totally my grandparents in Maryland...my Grandpa literally is an old man by the sea who makes his own sail boats and kayaks and spent a good part of his life around Baltimore's inner harbor and on aircraft carriers. My Grandma (his wife) is a southern belle who grew up on the gulf coast and for a long time had blue + white chinoiserie all over her kitchen and I'm still reeling from it!!

And then there's my other Grandma who has gold-foil bamboo wallpaper in a bunch of rooms in her house and who is totally into tropical vacations, travel, and has given me many pieces of midcentury oils/watercolors. 

So now you know why this is so daunting to me! It's like picking a favorite Grandma! Who can do that?? Why am I thinking so hard? Why am I so crazy? 


Help. Me. Please. 



It's Friday!! Yay!! Which, in addition to meaning the week is over, you're free of your cubical, and all bad things come to a halt, also means it's time for our weekly 1-2-3 WEEKEND group cheer!

Aaaand, break!

All via J.Crew

Yes, the perfect time to buy swimsuits is when you're nine months pregnant and the pool is about to close. Wait, wait! It's not as crazy at it sounds! 1) Everything's on sale! 2) Perhaps if I buy the middle one now, I'll be extra motivated to get my butt into gear during the most trying dietary season of the year- Halloween + Thanksgiving + Christmas. Maybe I will just wear it around the house all the time in an effort to curb holiday snacking/calorie content denial. 


Yasss!! Mama's getting her hair done before reclusing to yogapantsville in a little more than a week when this baby gets here! At least I hope I am. This kid is such a tease...you would not believe. I will spare the details as this is the internet and I'm just not sure you, whoever you are, you fabulous person, want to know the specifics. But weird things were happening and I was thinking her arrival was surely eminent and now she has totally retreated and we're still just waiting. So baby, if you're going to wait, please wait until I can see my friend Lacy at Lordis Loft. She really is the best in Charleston and I'm so excited to NOT make this go-around of highlights DIY. 

via (such a sucker for graph paper!)

So, if you don't know already, we've picked the very best, most sensible time to buy a new house. Actually, some of the timing was a little out of our control. But either way, you know I'm a list person, and you better believe I'm living and dying by the to-do lists as we get prepared to manage the actual moving, the week that we'll be staying in a rental house, and all of the renovations that will happen both before and after we move in. 

And while the viability of a bikini next summer or even the arrival of our new baby before my hair appointment (priorities) may be in question, one thing is for certain: I will be making lists, possibly some nonsensical ones, to keep my sanity during this wonderful weekend. Even if I'm pushing out a baby, I will probably be making a related to-do list to abide by. 

Happy weekend, friends! 



For the last year or so, we've been working with a really fun client who's aesthetic has been such a great stretch for me personally. Sometimes when you get in a certain zone, you start to feel like a one trick pony and honestly, it can make you a little...lazy (for lack of a better word). Not like work ethic lazy, but just sort of putting you on auto-pilot aesthetically.

Don't get me wrong, a designer should absolutely have a signature aesthetic, a common thread throughout their work that makes it identifiable and authentic to that designer. But it's also imperative to take on work that forces you to get a little uncomfortable sometimes. It makes you appreciate certain materials, colors, or vibes that you might not always take the time to savor. It strengthens your skill and ultimately makes you more well-versed. 

Case in point: My appreciation for pink has grown tremendously since working in this space. 

All that to say, I've thoroughly enjoyed getting a little more glam than my usual laid-back, eclectic work with this client. Recently we did some styling in her formal sitting room. An avid collector of antiques of all kind, she already had the space furnished and accessorized to a point, it just needed a little rearranging and some final touches.

Creamy caramel lacquer walls, european antique furniture + accessories and art where already there, we just added a little oomph. Also, I'm laughing at the parakeet shadow that I just noticed (no, there is not a bird of prey perched on the side table).

One of the things there were a lot of in the space were books; mostly academic and few travel-related. Not that there's anything wrong with them, but to me, I saw a missed aesthetic opportunity. So we used the existing books as a means to build a little volume and topped our styled book stacks with some swanky hardcovers that add interest and personality to this European-inspired chic little sitting room. 

After a bit of research, these ended up being four of our favorite haute hardcovers for this or any oh-so-chic space. 

We ordered all of these pretties from Amazon. I just love the thought of a glass wine or cocktail, a deliciously scented candle burning, and flipping through one of these at the end of the day. 

Cheers to these seriously haute hardcovers! 


1-2-3 WEEKEND!

Doesn't it kind of sound like something you'd get in a huddle for, put your hands in a big sweaty pile, and chant all together?? 1...2...3...WEEKEND! Yeah! 

Listen, it may not be the most original, but I am all about team weekend, so as we kick off this three-dayer, it's a perfect start for a new series: 1-2-3 WEEKEND, entailing three simple things I plan on doing this weekend, suggest you might want to do this weekend, or wish I could do this weekend if my life had no limitations of children, husband, money or time. But mostly I'll stick in the real world because sometimes letting myself drift into la-la land ends badly. 

Here goes! 

Today is the official launch of the PSL. For those of you who aren't up on the basic white girl lingo, that's short for Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice latte. I'll admit when the PSL first came out, I was down. But that was shortly after I graduated high school (I'm old), and now that I like my coffee like I like most of my fancy clothes (black), I just cannot get all excited about it. 

In fact, I'm frankly nauseated by the influx of "pumpkin spice" things that have no business, now or ever, being intruded upon by this overdone, artificial flavor. This includes but is not limited to Oreos, M&Ms, doughnuts, pizza, salad dressing, water, etc. 

Before you get all crazy and think I hate the fall because I'm not down with the PSL, know that I do have every intension of welcoming fall fare with open arms. I'm super excited to try out this pumpkin bread with toasted coconut this weekend c/o of bon app├ętit. And I fully plan on enjoying it with a cup of hot, black coffee, thank you.

Last weekend some super sweet lady friends threw me + Felicity a lovely little baby shower. And although I know some people hate getting thank you cards (you know who you are!), cards and paper and cool pens are something I spend entirely too much money on and I don't even care because I just love it all too much. So put it on my list! Thank you cards, like these cuties from Charleston locals Mac & Murphy are going out! 

And while I have serious feelings on the PSL and pretty paper, this is really much more legit. If you are even a little conscious of world events, you know that there is a major refugee crisis happening  in Europe. It's being called the most major population shift of our time and is a huge, huge humanitarian crisis. 

People are risking everything to give their families and children a better, more peaceful life. And stories like the truck of bodies found in Austria and the image of the drowned little boy washed up on the beach in Greece are too much to bare. Listen, if you haven't seen the image, which I applaud many news agencies for actually showing, you really need to let it sink in. It's disturbing, but it's reality. And you should look.

Horrible things happen in the world every day. But after seeing that picture, I can't get the thought out of my head that these parents are so desperate for a better life for their children that they're doing anything to escape. 

If not for the grace of God, that could be me. I have a three-year-old. And another one coming. Thank you JESUS that I don't have to make the decision to float across a perilous ocean on basically a raft; that when I look at the ocean here at home, it's fun and sweet and a wonderful place for my daughters to grow up. Not a watery graveyard path to escaping violence and oppression, risking my life and my childrens' lives just for a sliver of hope that we'd actually make it to something better. 

I'm not trying to get all preachy, but this is something that matters far more than coffee and pumpkin crap and decorating the houses people would literally die to live in. 

Please, please, please put this on your to-do list this weekend (or better yet, now!): 

While you may not be a Greek vacationer who could literally get hands on and help like this lady, we can still pull together with the world and show love to our global family by donating to these causes:

I'm sorry that last one was so heavy, but please, let's all pitch in and let's all be thankful that we can talk about such light-hearted things relative to what so many other brothers and sisters are going through in the world. 

Let's be giving and thankful and enjoy our extra day off work, our pumpkin bread, and (gasp) our PSLs (if that's your kinda thing). 

Happy Labor Day, and happy weekend! 



Well friends, August was a super eventful month for us at the Mendenhall household. I mentioned a few posts back that we'd put our house on the market. Naturally, when having a baby the following month and sending your first child to their first year of school, still working, etc., this is the perfect time to move, right??

Of course it is! Crazy as it all sounds, we know it's totally meant to be. In the short period of time that our home was on the market, more crazy things have happened than I could ever imagine. The short version of the story is this:

We weren't really planning on buying, and always said that we'd move when we found something we loved. We're happy in our townhouse and while the plan was never to stay here forever, the layout is super conducive to our lives and to my work. 

The first story of three has served as our design studio for the last three years; something that's been a huge blessing to me with Eva and obviously just super convenient. 

Honestly, this is the space I will most sad to leave as the new house won't have a designated working/office space right off the bat. But I'm not too sad because this means new work space is coming soon!

So  anyway, before I get all sentimental, let's talk about the new house! Like I said, we hadn't planned on moving unless we found something that really excited us. The wheels started turning in July when Brendan found a house with a really fantastic yard and some cool potential. This particular house didn't end up working out and it was for the best. I was excited about a new endeavor, but not super pumped about the vibe of the neighborhood. Not bad by any means, just not very interesting. 

This started the conversation with our realtor though, and before we knew it, we couldn't stop ourselves from combing the market. It's weird how easily you can get sucked in. Shortly after, we found a house that we fell in love with. 

It needed a ton of work, and I imagine to the average person, it's nothing too exciting. But the more we looked at listing pictures and saw it in person, the more we couldn't stop ourselves from planning it's renovation. I'll show you a few pics in second but first let me say something...

DO NOT DO THIS!!! If you're looking for a new home, DO NOT allow yourself to completely fall in love with something, making plans and Pinterest boards and design mock-ups until you know it can be yours. I had many painstaking conversations with a good friend who's been through the same thing with many houses. While it's hard to do this because you have to be able to picture the space's potential and imagine your family living there, you have to somehow put a barrier up. Because what happened to us (at first) could happen to you.

We were sold on this house. But sadly, the seller wasn't sold on our contingent offer. At that point, our house wasn't on the market because it all happened so fast. So in effort to show him how serious we were, we put the house up for sale in record time hoping to quickly get our house under contract and resubmit our offer on the new house. The only thing was that the night before our house was officially for sale, the house we'd done all of this for had accepted another offer. 

Whaaaaaat. It felt like getting punched in the gut. We were both so sad.

But we continued to look for houses and found some, but they were going so fast, we didn't even have a chance to put offers in. It was crazy. The whole time I was just praying for a text or call from our agent saying that the original house was by some miracle back on the market. 

But because this is not lala land, that didn't happen. And after lots of prayer, we decided we just needed to stay put. With all of the other stuff going on in our lives, God was clearly closing the door and we had to be ok with that. 

We'd made peace with it and were like an hour away from (finally) repainting the nursery when an unbelievable thing happened. The buyers for the house we loved had backed out. It was more work than they wanted to do, and we were being asked by the seller if we still wanted it. 

Wait. WHAT. 

YES!! WE DO!!! What in the world!?!?!?!?!?

For now, I can show you this picture of the living room, which I can't wait to work on. Can you see at the very top of the pic the crazy awful popcorn ceilings? Yeah. Step one: bye bye popcorn. 

What we're aiming for in this space is something along these lines. I was working on this mock-up when we got the news that the house was under contract with someone else. Imagine how thrilled I was. But I'm glad I finished it because trala! Miracles happen, y'all. 

So that wasn't really the short version (although there are a ton more crazy details that I won't bore you with). But either way, we are moving! And there's a chance I might be in pre-labor right now, so that's pretty awesome too. 

If you don't hear from me for a couple days, it might be because I'm pushing out a baby. (Or packing, or crying over the fact that Eva is in school now and there's no going back). 

Hooray, life! 



In just a few short weeks I'll be in post-baby belly world (thank ya Jesus!). All you mamas know what I mean when I saw I'm so ready to have my regular body back. But all you mamas also know that this doesn't happen right away. And usually the journey back is long and frustrating and sometimes you never actually get there 100%. 

This is something I've totally grown to accept, but especially since I'm also only a few weeks away from 30, I'm determined to buckle down and give getting back to my "normal," or ever better than normal self a shot. 

But there's this thing that not everyone's heard of. It's called the fourth trimester. In itself, it's a contradiction. Fourth...trimester....anyway. It's a weird time. A time of leaky boobs, mushy body parts, and high emotional variance. For me personally, it's a time where all of my baby weight, which generally stays put in the midsection during pregnancy, lets loose and distributes all over the place, while also somehow leaving what appears to be a four-month baby bump for a solid several months. 

Oh, motherhood. What a blessing. 

So because I'm know I'm not alone in this bazar twilight zone that is the fourth trimester, I wanted to share some thoughts on dressing after baby. I started a Post-Baby Pinterest board the other day while shopping online at H&M, and subsequently all of the clothes in this post are theirs (no sponsorship though, I promise. Although if they want to throw some cash my way....heyyyyy H&M!). 

The other great thing about H&M is that they're inexpensive, so a lot of pieces that may transitional will just be a little bonus if they happen to last for more than eight months or so. 

Here's the first thing you just gotta say nah too: high-wasted jeans. Sure, we all want to be at least a little bit trendy moms, but this is one trend you should probably stay away from post-partum. Honestly, I'll probably avoid it altogether since I don't ever see this working out for me. 

Ohhhh but that girl looks so good in her reformed mom-jeans! Listen sisters, while there's some major irony in the fact that minus the pleats and the tapered leg, the cut of these pants are essentially derived from moms in the 80s/90s trying to pull off the high-wasted hippy-chic of the 70s, it's just not for new moms. Unless you're one of those anomalies who looks like a 19-year-old weeks after giving birth, you should probably avoid these (and also me cause I hate you...not really, but...).

Here's why:

As things are getting back to normal(ish), the last place you want to put a ton of emphasis on is your lower tummy. And while these may feel like they're holding you all in, they're actually just accentuating the pooch that made the original mom-jeans such a tragedy. Yes, it's cruel that the sexy mom jean is really meant for teenagers/college girls who have no way of knowing how much they should appreciate their metabolisms and in-tact situations. But the truth is cold. 

And so are these jeans. 

Before you get too depressed, know that there are plenty of slimming jeans + pants that you can feel awesome in. 

Here are some of my faves:

First, let me acknowledge that I realize this one is kind of confusing because it seems like the same look that we just said nah to. But it's actually not because they're not as high and how they're being worn. Layers are everything in giving structure and shape when your body's feeling a little out of it's normal form. So with a loose top that gives a little grace around the waist and a structured blazer that's got trim, clean lines, this look will actually work. 

Obviously, the legging takes a spot here. But please ladies, for the love of all, spare us the Lulu Lemon and t-shirts. We all know you're too tired right now to go to the gym and I have never ever understood the appeal of running errands in skin-tight workout clothes that are generally mismatched unflattering. 

Instead, spray some dry shampoo in that hair, make sure your butt's covered with a real shirt that's got some weight, slip on some casual, cute shoes and a few accessories that tell the world (and yourself) that you didn't just roll out of bed. And listen, this is not because what other people think matters. It's because how you feel matters and all of us who've been there know:  when you feel even just a little bit pulled together, you feel like you can conquer the world. And for new moms, that's worth a million bucks. 

Patterend leggings are great additions to your wardrobe too:

And speaking of tighter pants, you can totally rock the skinny jeans, just be mindful of where the top hits. For a little while tunics and longer tops will work well. And if you can add a little heal, you'll really be rockin' it. 

If you're not feeling the skinnies, you always opt for the super-comfy boyfriend pant, relaxed-fit slacks or jogger (which can actually be pretty fancy, despite the name). I love the silhouettes of all of these. I  do think you really need to take into account your height and make sure that the length and fit on your hip is right for you (ie- not too long). These pants are also great and super forgiving with a loose top, but because they're not the most trim pants, you want make sure that your top is comfortably loose, but not super, super slouchy. Otherwise things start to look sloppy.

If you're getting back to the office soon, these next two might be for you.

At least for a time, we've got to stay away from another high-wasted trend: the twiggy skirt. I don't know if that's what they're really called, but this look just has that vibe to me. And while I love it, this is why it might not go very well right now:

Same pooch offense as the high-wasted jeans with the added bonus of extra skin showing. Plus this particular get-up, as appealing as it is, is pretty tight in the boobs and we all know that those girls can go from B to a DD in a day if you're nursing. Not to mention that you might need nursing pads which are about as consealable under a tight top as a 13-year-old's acne. In other words: awkward.

But not to worry! I actually find that showing a little leg in a tighter-fitting skirt is a great way to feel femine and a little sexy while getting things back together. The keys are length: making sure you've got enough, and top: wearing something blousey and easy-going. This effortless look is chic, classic, and comfy. Plus gives the girls a little breathing room! 

Finally, my last suggested avoidance is dresses (or tops) that are synched at your natural waist. 

Generally, this is touted as a super flattering look, but from my experience, this not the best place to emphasize right now for the simple fact that there's a lot shifting around at your waist right now. 

If you're like me, you may be experiencing a transition from a concave to convex midsection. And from my own happy times in this lovely stage of motherhood, I know that putting a small piece of elastic directly around this particular body part is about as awesome as having that dang "I think I found myself a cheerleader" song stuck in your head. Sorry for that.

Dresses are still the jam though, since you're basically wearing a publicly acceptable nightgown. Just go for something with a little bit of a dropped waste in a looser fit that forgivingly skims over certain areas without feeling totally shapeless. This is apposed to an empire or higher waist that might, right now, have more of a maternity dress look.

And if you feel like a tunic dress is a little shapeless, don't! Give yourself the right length (you can go a little shorter here) and a hot shoe, and you'll be one sexy, comfy mama.

You can also go pretty casual with this. I love this in a low-key knit paired with cute tennies. 

And now just for grits + giggles (omg I'm such a mom), here are a few other random faves:

Layers, layers, layers! 

Not-too-tight stripes:

The dolman. Dolman forever. 

So I'm actually a little excited to wobble sleeplessly through the fourth trimester now. And I hope you are too! You can check out more post-baby getups on the Pinterest board that inspired this post.

And just remember, the bottom line is this: you just grew and gave birth to a whole human in your own freakin' body. That is amazing. Be kind to yourself and don't get down on your "new" body as it recovers. You're beautiful. Your baby loves you. And you're gonna rock it.