Friday, November 20, 2020

Stomach Cancer Awareness Month

 How is it already the end of November? I feel like time is flying. I started my blog as a way to bring awareness to stomach cancer and also talk about our journey. If you have read my blog in the past you know I usually give stats, warning signs, etc. when doing my stomach cancer awareness posts. This year I want to highlight some of the pages that have helped me/us over the years with information, bringing awareness, and also doing research. 

I remember when Ray was diagnosed I scoured the internet for any and all information and it just wasn't as readily available as it is now. I remember looking for and buying any and all books for information about cancer, caregiving, what to expect as a young patient, and further along in the journey and after he died as a widow. That type of information was so hard to find and come by. Now I seem to find so many willing to share their journey or others'. 

Some of the sites that I have found the most useful are: (also have an Instagram and Facebook page)


CDH1 Mutation Gene





There are plenty of others and by following these pages I have found a lot of others. 

It is great to have a community to talk with and also to share stories. I originally didn't want to be around or talk about cancer because it was too hard and painful. I didn't want to think about it. Now I feel like it is so helpful to spread the word and also to share what I know and learn from others. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Quarantine Project--Kitchen Reveal




Well, I wish I would have taken "before pictures" but this was a spur of the moment project that just keeping turning into doing more and more work. If you don't know me I am a very on the go person and can't just sit. Quarantine was killing me just sitting around. 

Back when I did the work on the laundry room I repainted the trim and doors in that area white so during quarantine I decided to continue the job and do the trim and doors in the kitchen. After the doors and trim were done I decided to do the ceiling. I have painted the kitchen multiple times over the years (always the same color Valspar London Coach) but the ceiling was never done. I decided to just go ahead and paint the ceiling and put a fresh coat of paint on the walls when I was done. 

Once that was all finished and everything was nice and white my floor looked even worse than it had looked. I regularly push my kitchen table across the linoleum floor for photoshoots and it was so scuffed and worn. I started looking at flooring options similar to what I put in my laundry room. I wanted something that I could do myself and that was affordable. I came across this TrafficMaster Carrara Marble Peel and Stick Tile from Home Depot and read every single review about it. It is a peel and stick floor that you can also grout. I decided to just go for it. I mean what was the worse that could happen!? I used the spacers and just kept moving along the floor. I also used the same trick as in my laundry room which was to use a paper cutter to cut the edges along the walls. It saved so much time and work. This flooring is thicker than what is in my laundry room and a different material. It seems durable and well made. Once the flooring was in I grouted using the grout the manufacture recommended in the comments on the product page. As someone that has never grouted I was very worried about messing it up. It actually came out really good! There are a few places that aren't perfect but unless you are laying on my floor looking at it I doubt anyone would notice. My Dad came and helped me put back on all my shoe moldings and that I lightly caulked around them all which gave it a nice finished look. 

Once the floor was in I changed all my window coverings to pure white since they were all off white like my moldings before I painted them. I also changed all the light fixtures, faucet, and door handles/hinges. I decided to put wallpaper on the one wall that is constantly getting banged into to hopefully camouflage all the marks always on it. 

My next project was a huge fail. If anything had to fail I am glad this one did because I would never have bought a new kitchen table (I was trying to do this as inexpensively as I could with the stimulus money). I tried to paint my kitchen table just to freshen it up. I had an all black kitchen table that I was planning to reuse with just new chairs and a new rug underneath it. The table just wasn't looking good. I kept sanding it and repainting and the finish was not smooth. Finally I decided to "shop" for a new table. Of course being during quarantine I couldn't go look for a table so I started looking for one online. I thought I would have to go with another black table since my cabinets are a different color and hard to match. I looked at every store online I could think of and then this table popped up from IKEA as an ad on my Facebook (thanks Facebook for looking at my searches). I measured it out and decided to go for it. I ordered it and it was delivered the next day by the local IKEA. It is the most perfect match for my kitchen and I LOVE it. I am so glad my table project failed because I think this made my kitchen. 

Once the table was in I was able to reuse all the stuff that was already hung in my kitchen or there (bar cart, vases on the wall, and wall art). I only added two new pieces on the walls. 

This job was a lot of work but every time I walk into the room I am so proud of myself for accomplishing it mainly on my own. I never thought I would lay and grout a floor on my own. 

Everything I can link is linked below:

Floor: TrafficMaster Carrera Peel and Stick Floor

Table: Skogsta

Friday, October 16, 2020

Dyslexia Awareness month


October is dyslexia awareness month and it is something that is important to me to discuss and share information about. As most of you know both the girls have been diagnosed with dyslexia and school has not come easy for either of them, or for me as their parent. It has been a non-stop struggle and fight to make sure they are receiving the appropriate accommodations and remediation. 

Learning what dyslexia is and how it affects a person is the first step to identifying if you or someone you love could potentially have it. Statistics show, 1 in 5 are said to have it, and most don't know or have received any type of help. It affects everyone differently so different accommodations and remediation are needed for each individual (hence, why an IEP is an important part of this process). 

I was told so many times not to worry and that they would catch up, they weren't that behind, and they aren't failing so why was I concerned? When you watch your child in 4th grade struggling to read a one sentence easy reader you know that isn't right or how it should be. Every time she would read a page she would read the same words differently and lack fluency. My heart ached for my sweet girl that hated to go to school and was always complaining she felt sick. She spent hours doing extra work, studying, tutoring, etc. with no improvement. Her writing was just as bad as her reading. Everything was always misspelled, lacking punctuation, and just not making sense. Finally in 4th grade she was diagnosed with dyslexia and with the help of both an amazing teacher and resource room teacher she began to flourish. 

Fast forward to now being in 7th grade she is almost reading at grade level and no longer hates school (well she still claims to but hasn't faked being sick in quite a while). She will read to me in the car and the kid who I couldn't bear to listen to even read me a one sentence on a page easy reader is fluently reading chapter books. I now have to ask her if she actually wrote something or she copied it from a board because even her writing is starting to show what she actually knows (still misspelled but everything else has improved). 

They say a lot of people with dyslexia excel at other things and are usually some sort of creative. They are out of the box thinkers as well as learners. My little dyslexic may "read at her own pace" (thank you Walmart for having the perfect shirt for all of our little dyslexic kiddos) but her brain definitely works differently and creates things I could only dream of making with such ease. She created this dress for a photo challenge in a few short hours. To her, books can be used for much more than just learning. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Long overdue Laundry room reveal!!


Last fall my washer was leaking all over my laundry room floor. I had had issues with this washer and dryer since day one. They were ripping clothes, dying clothes other colors, etc. Every issue I had the company had an excuse and they were never fixed. I was told at one point I needed to run empty loads between my loads to clear the water so they didn't stain the next load. How does that even make sense!? Besides all the "extra issues" they also had the issues that all front loaders seem to have with smell and mold. 

I wasn't really planning to share this, so when I did the before pictures, I had already cleared a lot out of the room. When we moved in we never painted it and it still had the original builder's paint. I had also dropped the iron on the floor and melted the linoleum floor. This room was a catchall for everything in our house. Winter boots lined the wall and clothes hung, packed, across the wire racks on the "empty" wall. You could barely move in this room it was so full of junk. 

Once we removed the washer and dryer I decided I might as well paint the room to freshen it up. I like to paint and knew that wouldn't be an issue and I could do it myself. I knew it wouldn't be empty again for a long time to be able to do it. Once the paint was done I couldn't stop and ended up putting in a new floor. When I decided to do the floor I didn't want to spend a lot and wanted to do it myself. I am a single mom on a budget so I needed to make sure it was affordable. I had never installed a floor myself. 

I started researching floors and decided on a peel and stick flooring. I had found this flooring on Amazon and decided to give it a try. I had to order it multiple times because it kept getting lost before delivery. When I bought this flooring last year it was about half the price that you find it now. Apparently, in the last year, it was made very popular and it is hard to come by. The flooring is thick with a padded bottom. I read multiple reviews on the flooring and the one constant was that this floor doesn't match up in pattern, even if you buy the same lot and try to match them. I took every single tile out and tried to match them and they still didn't match up for me. The reviews did say that you can't notice it though once it is in and I have to agree. Unless I tell someone that the floor doesn't match they never notice. 

I washed the linoleum floor with normal floor soap and then again with TSP. I then started to lay the floor. I didn't remove the baseboards and caulked after along the edge. If I did it again I would have removed them. My cousin lent me a paper cutter and told me it is a huge time saver to do the edges. This saved me so much time and work. I linked one similar at the bottom of this post. I didn't have any issues with the floor sticking and it is still down good. 

Once the floor was in I decided to change the hardware to black and put in a new utility tub. This room has taken me quite a while to complete. I put in the new light to match the room since it was a builder's grade light in there before. If I had changed the hardware to black before I put in the light I probably would have put in a black one. The light I have also came in that option but I put the light in before deciding to change the hardware. 

I also had off-white moldings and doors (my whole house is that way) and they drive me crazy! They always look dirty and not bright. With the bright white ceiling and floor I decided to paint all the moldings. This led to a huge project of having to do everything on that end of the house to match. With the newly white moldings and door I also switched my blinds out to a pure white blind to match. 

I am so happy with how this room has turned out. Everything is so nice and clean and neat. It no longer holds all of our junk. I spend a lot of time in this room so it was important to me to clean it up and make it less cluttered. 


Paint is Behr paint from Home Depot, I can't remember the color name. I usually always have extra paint on hand in case of touch up and don't see any in my basement. I think it had silver in the name. 

Everything that could be linked is below, click product to shop.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Nordstrom Sale 2020

Nordy Club cardmember Early Access dates.

Cardmember Early Access

Nordstrom anniversary sale is here and if you follow my stories or read my blog last year you know I have mixed feelings about this sale. I used to LOVE this sale. I would get the catalog and circle the items I loved and anxiously await when I could purchase them. The last few years I have felt the items offered aren't great and the quality is subpar to normal Nordstrom items. 

Last year Lily got a pair of UGGs and after wearing them twice they started unraveling along the top of the boot. We took them back to the store and the salesperson told us that Nordstrom buys large quantities of items from the different brands, they make them for cheaper, but at a cheaper quality. Luckily, Nordstrom is good about returns/exchanges and we were able to put the purchase amount toward a new pair. 

In the past I have picked up new UGGs for the girls, Hunters, Nikes, and other items that they like that don't normally go on sale. Zella is also a brand I have bought in the past as well as North Face and Patagonia. I have found though that the Zella quality is on par with the same ones offered at Nordstrom Rack and are a similar price point. Denim I also have found the same. 

During the sale I have also found other retailers offering good deals to compete. Make sure to check similar stores (ex: Bloomingdales) for price matching and deals. Nordstrom Rack also gets anything that doesn't seem to sell at the sale. We have found a lot of the merchandise before school even starts at the Rack. So if it isn't something "you have to have" just wait. Last year I found very similar items at other retailers similarly priced or even cheaper and did a blog post on it. 

The girls and I went to Somerset today and browsed to see how they had. The anniversary sale was setup throughout the store and unlike in years past, no curtains up around it. They had a ton of shoes, but not a ton of anything else. Maybe they will set more up tonight since the sale starts tomorrow based on status. 

I did link a few things that I have bought in the past of we happened to see today that we liked. The girls spotted the leopard Hunter boots immediately and both asked for a pair.  I saw a bunch of P448 brand sneakers, which I personally love are part of the sale. The normal Zella leggings, as well as Spanx for kids we added to our wish list. 

What are your thoughts on this sale? Will you be shopping? What are you shopping for?

All items linked below or click here to shop!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

LTK Day 2020

Today is the LTK Day 2020! There are 18 participating brands, but these are the ones that I typically shop! Sales are good through the app only. To access the sales download the LIKETOKNOWIT. app and search for me: youngwidowedstylishmama, After you are on my profile click the item to the store you wish to shop at and it will directly link you to the page and apply the savings! Happy shopping!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

40 years

40 years old....

I don't know how I thought I would feel when I was 40 or look, but I know this isn't where I expected to be in life. As I look back at the last 40 years I have grown and changed so many times. I am thankfully and grateful for the life I have lived. I have the best family and friends, even though it has taken some hard decisions to let go of people that weren't meant to be in my life and let others in. I have become stronger and even though it is a challenge to put myself first I am learning how to do it.

I have grown a hobby into a business and met some of the best people through it. I absolutely love that I can do what I love. I love that I can be creative and help others capture their own memories.

I love blogging and the creative outlet this is for me. It is therapeutic, as well as a source of income. I again do something I love and share with others and hopefully they take something away from it.

I had many goals for my 30's, as I had just turned 30 when my husband died. I am happy that I was able to achieve so many of them, while still being the best mom I can be. I have learned that I can do things on my own and stand on my own two feet, and quite well, but I can still accept help when I need it.

As I look toward my next decade I hope to continue to grow and let go of things that are holding me back and move forward with the ones that are meant to be a part of my journey. I hope to continue to put effort and my heart into things that I want to continue to grow and achieve.

Linked outfit details below, my dress sold out (currently on backorder) shortly after I bought it so linked a similar:

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Master Bathroom Update: Boho Bathroom

Before (I had thought about doing "before" pictures after I started working, so it is really a mess):

After (So clean and bright!):

I am finally ready to share one of the projects I have been working on. Anyone else feel like projects take forever to be completed because you have a vision and can't find what you are looking for to complete it? Whenever I do a room it takes me a while to piece things together. I am not someone that walks into a store and immediately knows what I want. It seems I find one thing and it builds off that.

If you would have asked me a few months ago which room I would want to gut and totally redo I would have said my master. When we moved in I hated the high ceiling in there and how large and cold it made the room feel. I had the painter paint the room all one dark color to close it in. At the time I had a spa like theme in mind and it worked for years, but now it was starting to wear on me. It felt dark and dirty. I had a break when the girls went back to school after the holidays with no photo shoots or wreaths to work on and a few cans of extra paint in the basement. I decided to just paint and it kind of went from there. I used paint that we had had down there from my basement bathroom and it looks completely different in my upstairs bathroom. Since the room is brighter (windows and large) it is a much lighter color than in the basement. I changed the ceilings to a bright white and once that was done decided I wanted something bold on the one wall.

I had been intrigued by the wallpaper at Target and felt this was a good place to try it out. I have always loved palm print and it went well with the coral walls. I decided to try the peel and stick wallpaper. It was actually easier to apply than I had expected. I rolled the wallpaper out on my kitchen floor, measured the length of the wall and then cut the pieces. I then lined up the wallpaper pattern to make the next cut. I left extra on the bottom of each one I cut and trimmed it off once the paper was on the wall. I was able to do all of this on my own, no help was necessary. The wallpaper is removable which made putting it on a little easier. If it wasn't quite lining up you just pull it off and redo.

Once the wall was done I felt it needed something to break up the pattern and began my search for something on the wall. I found the basket to hang and originally ordered it in the small size but it was too small so I exchanged it for the large one. Once that was on the wall, the wall next to the tub looked way too plain. I found the hanging plants first and then happened to walk into Hobby Lobby during a 50% off wall art sale and found the perfect prints to put between the plants.

My hardest challenge in this room was probably the rugs. I must have bought and returned 10 different rugs. My vanity is an odd size with the wall next to it, so I had to have something 5ft in length and most are 4 or 6. I also didn't want a plain rug, they just didn't look right when I tried them. Finally, after a long search, I came upon this one and it was better than I could have imagined. It is made of a washable material and super absorbent, as well as thick and soft.

A room that I had once wanted to completely gut because I hated everything about, even the tile, I now love everything about. I was able to keep a lot of the stuff that was in that room in there after it was done because it still matched. This was a fairly inexpensive update for me. If I would have done what I originally had wanted to do it would have been very expensive.

I am linking all the products that I can below
Wall color is Comical Coral from Sherwin Williams
Most of the art and mirror are Hobby Lobby, the rest linked below
The towel holder and hamper are both very old IKEA

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Must haves for a ski vacation or day on the slopes!

My girls have been going to ski club with the school and I was talking with some parents about why I dress the way I do on the hills and also the kids. I was stopped multiple times and told my ski suit was cute, but more so than that it is noticeable. That is tip #1 wear something that stands out and put your kids in something that stands out. I had a ski instructor stop and tell me I was right about him always seeing me after I pointed out my reasoning for my snowsuit. Both of my daughters also wear outfits that I can spot. When you look out onto the hill normally you see a sea of black on black snowsuits and everyone has on a helmet and looks identical. If you aren't about the snowsuit even a helmet that is noticeable will help.

Tip #2 is set a meeting spot with times. Even with outfits you can see I still make sure they check in from time to time and have an exact meeting place.

Tip #3 warmers. Don't forget the hand and feet warmers! This speaks for itself! Another tip is to wear mittens and not gloves. It is easier to put hand warmers in and your hands stay warmer. Also they make ski mittens that have wrist holders attached so you can take them off and they hang without you losing them.

Tip #4 buy boot and ski bags. Boot and ski bags help transporting the equipment. It also keeps them from getting all scratched up and ruined.

Tip #5 If traveling with equipment pack heavy things together and put in a carry-on. When we traveled to France during Christmas I packed our carry-on suitcases full of boots. I usually just ski with a base layer on which makes the suitcase lighter. I packed both girls helmets in the luggage and filled them with their gloves, etc. It also helps to have a face cover for days when it is really cold.

Tip #6 check out yearly rentals if your child is still growing. A lot of ski stores near me have a yearly rental program. You pay a one-time fee at the beginning of the year and pick up your skis. Then at the end of the season you return them. This is great if your child is still growing and you don't want to have to keep spending money on new equipment.

Tip #7 if you are buying equipment check out sells kid's systems that are used. I purchased my daughter brand new skis in the summer (tip #8- buy off-season) and used boots. The boots were a huge deal and looked barely worn. I also purchased myself used skis and boots and neither looked worn at all. I had been skiing on skis that I gotten when I was in middle school, the last time I had grown, and it was time to upgrade. Due to my height and weight, I was also able to buy youth skis, saving a ton of money.

I am sure some of these tips are pretty common-sense and might not be looked at as tips, but hopefully some are helpful!

Below I will link some of the items that we have!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

2020 Goals

I know it is halfway through January already and I am just making goals, but that is what happens sometimes. Last year my goal was to build my blog and establish it more, that didn't happen. I sporadically posted and had great gaps in posts. At the end of this year I re-evaluated the blogging and Instagram posts/time spent. I love doing both but it takes a lot of time and I was leaving other things undone.

I also have to have someone shoot the looks I post and posting to my Instagram pictures that the kids take or I do in a mirror aren't always the best. This year I want to get back to a more regular schedule of posting, but I had to get some stuff done at the house first. In the next month or so, I hope to reveal some of the home projects I have undertaken and accomplished. Everything takes me twice as long doing them by myself and around our schedules. One of my projects I still have to complete is an area to do try-ons and ootd posts.

When I started this blog I tried to rehash what it was like to go through Ray's journey but in-between I would do random posts on Wednesdays. I never kept track of what I was posting and just wrote from the heart and what was on my mind. Since this blog has been going over a year now I want to make sure my topics aren't overlapping all the time. I want to make a map of where I want this to go.

So even though last year I thought I would make my building year, I hope this will be it for me. I want to get back to a more normal posting schedule and not just random posts. I hope to use my time better and get everything I need to do accomplished and have time for the blog too. Right now my biggest goal is getting my home in order and then it will be back to the blog.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A New Decade

10 years ago I didn't make any plans and my only thoughts on the future were all so uncertain. New Years was spent calling an ambulance because Ray was so sick and needed to go back to the hospital. While most people look at the New Year as a time for new beginnings and to wipe the slate clean I was not so positive. Everything I had known and I knew, all my hopes and dreams, were slowly dying.

Every year since I think, Is this my year? Will I finally be more certain about what my future holds. The past 10 years I lost some of the most important people in my life. I had heard your 30's are supposed to be some of the best and for me I felt more and more anxious every year just floating through life. What am I supposed to be doing? The girls continue to get older and closer to that fateful age of 18 when they will be tested for the gene. Both having learning disabilities has pushed me to be even more anxious of what the future holds for both and continuing to push for them to receive the help they so need and deserve.

I have learned over the past 10 years I am stronger and can achieve much more than I ever thought possible. I can do things on my own, but the help and support of everyone around me is much needed and I need to learn it is ok to accept it.

I have grown a hobby into something more with my photography. My blog which I intended as a place to write down my feelings has given me a source of income and reached, and hopefully helped, a lot of people. I have made connections I never would have through my blogging.

I hope in the next 10 years I reach a place of contentment and stability. I hope to become less anxious and continue to grow personally and professionally.