I'm Domestic

Keep it Clean by Kate Brightbill

Oh the chaos of this family of five.

I'm an organization person. I love systems and methodical cleanliness, color coordination and immaculate folds. Junk drawers and cabinets make me slightly crazy, and I have more now than I ever thought possible. I love lists and beds made with sheets tucked nicely. I love clean, and I can't physically get to everything....

Or can I?

IMG_0811 from Kate on Vimeo.

My floors have been declaring that I CAN stay on top of the cleaning. I received a bObi Pet by bObSweep in a box one dreamy day in September, and MY FLOORS ARE SWEPT CLEAN. Not just today, but almost every day


I have to say- before the bObi Pet came, my floors have suffered the most from having little Jack in our life. His eyes twinkle as he picks up his plate and turns it over on his head, scattering his lunch all over himself and our floors. The girls are close behind Jack- the master floor mess creator- with their knack for paper projects. Taking scissors to make Valentines in October, and allowing all the paper scraps to flutter to the ground below them is not an unusual after-school activity. 

"bObi," as the my kids call it, is a robot vacuum that whirls and twirls around our floors, becoming more programed to make the correct turns every day. It's best for maintaining the cleanliness, as opposed to doing deep cleans, but that's exactly what I need. I find that a good vacuum makes the home look put-together, and it is just such a time-saver. We have a staircase, and I assumed I would have to use the remote control to steer away... not necessary. The sensors recognize ledges and don't allow the bObi to fall down. After breakfast & lunch, the bObi makes a few rounds in our dining room, and it's not too loud to run all over the house while Jack naps like a normal vacuum would be.

This has honestly been a game changer around here. Jack loves using the remote control and pushing allll the buttons. I love letting the machine go free and do all the work while I spend my precious time working other places or helping my kids with their homework and playing games with them. As it all should be. ;)


bObSweep sent the bObi Pet for review (so thankful!!), and all opinions are my own... and Brian's. We love having our floors swept without us even picking up a broom. 

The Making of Macarons by Kate Brightbill

StyleSmaller #thesugarstudio


There's a hype, yes. When it comes to macarons created perfectly by The Sugar Studio, the hype is 100% justified. I've been eating Hilary's macarons for ages {and even had her sweets grace the tables on Sophie & Maggie's most recent birthday parties!!}, and it was high time for a macaron making lesson. Brian made my dream come true a couple months ago when we took an evening macaron making class... it was worth every penny. 

StyleSmaller #thesugarstudio
StyleSmaller #thesugarstudio

We arrived at The Sugar Studio around dinnertime, and though I probably would have thought it acceptable to have eaten macarons AS my dinner, Hilary had thoughtfully provided a spread of delicious for us all. Watermelon, mint, onion feta salad {similar recipe here} was incredible and I want to make it for everything now. She also had cheeses and bread like any perfect hostess. We mingled and sat in her pretty lounging area, and then got to work.

Macarons are delicate and following the recipe requires precision. I have a little OCD, and so does Hilary, so we're a good match. She made sure I mixed perfectly, and I made sure my circles were exactly the right size for the cookie sheet. We picked our own colors for the shells and filled them one of three flavors she offered. While the shells baked, we went back for seconds on the cheeses and watermelon. YES.

StyleSmaller #thesugarstudio
Macaron Classes | San Francisco #macarons
StyleSmaller #macarons #thesugarstudio


We only took about 100 home with us. Don't even ask how long it took for us to finish eating them... it was embarrassingly fast.

DO take the class, though. As a date, with friends, private parties, etc. It's the BEST. 



The Sugar Studio: 308 Alida Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080. 

Healthy Eating by Kate Brightbill

Eight Healthy Recipes | StyleSmaller

I went to the grocery store the other day, and stocked up on veggies. The store was packed and the cashier told me that people have had their carts full of similar products all day long. It's the January health, cleanse, live-fresh mindset. 

It's a good thing to start the year right! What is hard for me is maintaining it. I mean, when I buy those fresh veggies and bright fruit, I am happy! I am pleased with myself. I am excited. I am ready to prepare every meal with love and full of vitamins.

Then today happens. I read something about nachos and can't stop thinking about them. I got a sweet tooth and went in search for leftover Christmas treats. I drank double the volume of coffee as I did water. Just being real here. I didn't want to be healthy anymore. 

SO. No, I did not eat the candy {yet}, and no I will not eat the nachos. What I did instead was make a list of some stunningly picturesque meals from Pinterest that are both healthy AND tempting {and not too involved... because who has time to go gourmet on the regular, really?}

Consider me back on the nutrition wagon, friends. Also, consider making any and all of these beautiful recipes:

  1. Tilapia: I love to have fish at least once per week. It adds variety, freshness, and isn't as heavy as meats.
  2. Kale Salad: I'm not big on salads with basic lettuce, but kale I actually do like, and the inclusion of nuts, cheese, and avocados make it hearty enough to qualify as a meal. 
  3. Burrito Bowl: This is my favorite kind of healthy eating... where you just take something you love and substitute ingredients for healthier options to create something nutritious that you truly love eating.
  4. Soup Recipe 1 & Recipe 2: We eat a lot of soup around here... I've always been big on soup, and these two are in the regular rotation for a good reason.
  5. Spicy Chicken Stir-fry with Peanuts: Saying no to takeout is way easier when you have some asian flavors and spices in your home-cooked meal that took 15 minutes to make... {plus or minus 5 minutes for management of children at your feet doing the food-begging routine... is that just me?}.
  6. Lime, Shrimp, and Avocado Salad: I would like this for a meal any day of the week. I love everything in this salad, and right about now, it sounds 10x better than nachos.
  7. Coco-nutty Cookies: Next, because we all need snacks... why  not make them whole grain and healthy? Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or snack time!
  8. Avocado Stuffed with Tuna Salad: Another great snack {or lunch, if you're a light eater} that's a little more involved to make, but looks amazing.

Special thanks to the Internet for keeping me endlessly supplied with meal-planning recipes. 

...also, hey! Follow me on Pinterest!

This is the  kale salad  I mentioned above. I mean, if a salad looks like that, how can it not be good??

This is the kale salad I mentioned above. I mean, if a salad looks like that, how can it not be good??

Make it: Finger Puppets by Kate Brightbill


These little finger puppets are so easy, it's almost silly to have a tutorial- which is totally my kind of DIY post. 

These came about because Maggie was having a birthday, she loves puppets, and well- who knew? Finger puppets can cost a pretty penny. I had all this felt from making bows {for Maggie's birthday a year ago!}, and it was time to put it to good use. So I did: 


Really, all you need to be pushed to do is create a whole stack of colored finger covers. It's soo easy, and once you have those, you can be as creative or NOT creative as you want! The hippo took about one minute flat to cut the face shape, hot glue to the finger cover, and use permanent marker to draw the face- simple. The sun took me a little while to cut... all those ridges, of course, but Sophie couldn't stop telling me how much she loved it best. Basically just freehand, or do a google search of some of the extra nice ones on Etsy {these and these were my favorites! So fancy!}, and try to replicate them with your own scissors. I used white paint on the dots + black marker for the eyes, but you can also use white-out if you have that in the house. 

Basically, get those scissors and hot glue gun busy, and have fun! This is too simple NOT to try for your preschoolers, and they'll have hours of fun with them!  


(ps. felt rectangles are only like 33 cents each, and make probably 8 puppets)

Make it: Tortilla Soup by Kate Brightbill

tortilla soup.jpg

Because it's been chilly here lately, I made some soup today. It felt right. Hoping that good ol' sunshine returns soon to SF, but until it does... here's a go-to recipe. I give credit to my aunt, who gave the recipe to my mom, who gave it to me. It's simple and gooood. Ours is allllll gone, and I'm sure any parent understands: that that's a big deal.  

Tortilla Soup: 

 (Fill one pot with everything... keep the other dishes clean. ;)

  • 1 lb. Chicken, cooked & shredded
  • Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 2 Cans Tomatoes
  • 1 Sm. Can Chili Peppers (NOT jalapenos)
  • 1/2 Bunch Cilantro
  • 2T lime juice
  • 1/2 t Cumin
  • Pepper
  • Frozen Corn

Serve with chips, cheese, and avocado!  

It is SO simple. We're big fans because it's hearty, but it's broth, so it's not too heavy. Just right! If you're missing an ingredient, it's still great, so enjoy! 



Oooh, I made a... by Kate Brightbill


SO, last weekend I attended a shower for two of my favorite people in the world. I had already gotten gifts for them, but I still wanted to do something for them that was sweet, because I love them so much. I got it in my head that I'd make a diaper cake.

Now this isn't something I'm very experienced doing, especially for baby BOYS, so it was a ton of trial and error.

First off, the Honest diapers get you off to a good start- they're crazy adorable even without all the bells and whistles. I went with the dinosaurs here, because- again- it was for a baby boy (tempting though it was to use pink strawberries). I tried wrapping them with this ribbon, then that one, then crepe paper, then landed on a mix: one stripey ribbon and one yellow crepe paper. Still it lacked brightness, and if you know me, you know I like things to be bright. 

The gamechanger? Puppets! Everyone loves finger puppets, and Ikea has the most adorable options for a nice little price. Add one full sized puppet on the bottom tier and voila! Instant brightness, and cheer. 

Make your own! It's simple! If I didn't change my mind on ribbons and such so much, it would have taken me 30 minutes, start to finish. And every new parent needs plenty of diapers!! 

Have fun!


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