32 Things about Me on My Birthday

32 things about me on my birthday

This weekend I turned thirty two years old. These thirty two things about me will help you get to know me a little better!


Outfit Details:

Floral Maxi Dress | Leopard Flats

It’s my birthday and let’s talk about being in your thirties

Over the weekend I turned 32.

I never knew how much I would enjoy my thirties, but it’s amazing how different they feel than my twenties. I feel more confident, sure of myself, happy with who I am, and connected with myself than ever before.

I feel less critical of myself, less concerned about what others think, and overall at peace with myself.

This year has been a pretty tumultuous one, with a move and a new job for Philip, selling our house in California, and building a new house in Texas. New schools and friends for the boys, new church, living in a rental house for five months, and now living in a hotel for a month, all while starting a new business.

There’s been a lot going on.

But I feel grateful and hopeful for a little more smooth sailing in my thirty third year!



Today I wanted to share 32 things about me, just for fun.

birthday maxi dress
birthday girl
32 things about me on my birthday
birthday 32
thirty second birthday

If you have any other questions, leave a comment! Here we go.

1. Where were you born?

I was born in Wisconsin and lived there until I was four. After that we moved to Las Vegas and I lived there until I graduated high school and moved away for college.

2. Have you always been into fashion?

I was never into fashion growing up, and we still laugh about how grungy I was for many years of my life, ahem, high school.

3. What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was little, I don’t remember having a specific idea of a future job. I knew I wanted to be a mom, but I don’t think I had a specific career picked out. When I became involved in art in high school and college, I decided on that career path, but then sewing and fashion snuck in and took me in a completely different direction. But if you’d asked me this six or seven years ago, I would have for sure said I wanted to be a painter.

4. What is your favorite color?

I used to always struggle with this question. I love pretty much all colors. But now whenever anyone asks I say “white.” It’s my last name, it’s my most worn color, it’s the color I use the most in decorating… My kids hate it and tell me that white isn’t even a color, but I’m sticking to it! I also love gray and pink 😉

5. What was your childhood like?

This is an interesting question I’ve gotten a lot of times! I grew up in a family of five kids — one older sister, one younger sister, and two younger brothers. My littlest brother passed away from brain cancer when I was 12, so a lot of my memories are of just the four of us. My mom homeschooled us until we went into high school, so I spent a lot of my childhood at home with my siblings. We had a low key home, and although my siblings and I were involved in a some things like piano, dance, gymnastics, soccer, and ice skating over the years, our home felt really simple and happy. Also my mom read to us a lot. A lot of what I do with my boys is modeled after my childhood, but I don’t ever plan to homeschool them (I get that question a lot too!)

6. Do you want to have more kids?

I get this question so often, and no, we do not. We went back and forth for the last few years about it, and although I felt like I always wanted four, three boys has felt so right for our family. So we feel done!

7. What do you do to keep your hair healthy?

I get questions about my hair all the time, and honestly my hair has not always been good. A few years ago I was at my wit’s end about it, and started investing in better hair products. I shared MY FAVORITE SHAMPOO IN THIS POST, and having a high quality shampoo has made a huge difference.

I also wrote THIS POST about 5 Secrets to Long, Healthy Hair.

8. What’s your favorite food?

It totally depends on the day, but I really love tacos. And chocolate chip cookies (my favorite recipe HERE!). And a really good ribeye steak.

9. Least favorite food?

I’m not a picky eater at all, but I cannot stand olives. Any variety, by themselves or mixed into things. They’re all disgusting. That’s basically the only thing I absolutely won’t eat.

10. Are you allergic to anything?

Yes! I’m allergic to sugar cubes, of all random things. Well, actually I’m allergic to the edible “glue” that holds them together. It’s also the same as gel capped meds, cause I’m allergic to those too. But the allergy was first discovered during a school project making pyramids with sugar cubes.

11. What is your dream vacation?

My husband and I both love to travel, and have a huge list of places we want to go. Last year Philip and I went to Japan (I wrote a whole post about it RIGHT HERE!), and we went on a Mediterranean Cruise the year before (I wrote about that RIGHT HERE).

But as for future vacations, one of my dream vacations is an African Safari with my boys. And I’d also love to go to China, do a service trip with our family somewhere in South America, and would really love to do a summer long vacation in Europe. Lofty dreams!

12. Have you ever been to Europe?

Yes! I lived in London for a semester during college (which was amazing),  I traveled to Amsterdam a few years ago for work (also amazing – I shared posts about it here, here, here, and here)! And we visited Spain, France, and Italy on our Mediterranean cruise. But there’s so much more I want to see!

13. If you had a work/kid free day, what would you do?

Nap. Sleep. Rest. Lay on the floor. I’m tired. Also probably watch Netflix. I recommend The Blacklist.

14. If you’re going to the zoo, what are you looking to see?

I really had to think about this question! Probably the cats. I love watching lions, tigers, jaguars, etc. Also I really like giraffes and elephants. The Fort Worth Zoo lets you feed the giraffes lettuce and it’s so fun!

15. Are you an introvert or extrovert?

I actually don’t really know. I feel like I’m a total mix — is that possible? Could I be an introverted extrovert? I really need friends and outside interaction, but I don’t need it every day, and I don’t like large quantities. I do best in smaller groups, like 10 people and under. More than that and I feel overwhelmed. Which am I?

16. Where did your name come from?

I asked my mom the story once when I was in college because I get this question a lot. And now I can’t remember the specifics, but I think it was the last name of someone in one of my dad’s medical books when he was in dental school. Also it means “Strong Ruler” or “Ruler of the Sea.” If my mom tells me a different story after she reads this post, I’ll share the right answer 😉 But my parents loved last names for first names, and my siblings all of those — Janssen, Landen, Crawford, and Shepard.

17. How did you and your husband meet?

I shared the story of that in this post right here!

18. What is your favorite part about having a blog or being a blogger?

Probably the best part for me is having a creative outlet. I’m so grateful for a place that gives me a reason to sew, write, take pictures, and share ideas. It’s so good for my mind and my soul to do those things — without them I’d probably go insane! And an equally as good part is the community. I’ve met the most amazing women, both bloggers and readers. So thank you for being part of my community!

19. Why did we move to Texas?

My husband’s job moved us out here. He previously worked in Salt Lake City, Utah, and then Southern California for six years, and then got a promotion that moved him to Dallas.

20. Do we plan to live in Texas forever?

We don’t know for sure, but we really love it here. We moved into a little bedroom community about 20 miles north of Dallas and it’s filled with the most wonderful, hospitable, kind, inviting people. We’ve made instant friends, love our church group, love the boys school, and could see ourselves living here forever.

21. How do I manage my time?

This is one of my most frequently asked questions. That is the most difficult thing as a working mom, and I’ve found that the more things I add to my plate, the more necessary it is to outsource things. That allows me to spend the maximum non-work time with my family. The biggest helps are my babysitter who works part time, and my house cleaners who come twice a month (which we actually haven’t had since we moved to Texas, but they were life savers when we lived in California).

Up until about two years ago, I was a major night owl and would stay up late into the night and work. Usually til at least 1am, sometimes as late as 3am. I felt like I got my best work done in the middle of the night because the house was quiet and I had no distractions. But about two years ago I started going to bed before 11pm and waking up early to exercise and do my scripture study. It has made a world of difference, and I feel like I have more energy and focus than ever before. I still stay up late occasionally if necessary, but it’s now the exception, not the norm.

As far as my work schedule, I have an editorial calendar that I always keep updated with upcoming blog content so I can keep track and plan ahead. It’s always booked out about three weeks, even though things usually get moved around as dates move closer. I also have a standing weekly appointment with my photographer, so I have to plan ahead to be prepared for each of those.

22.  What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

This is a hard one! While we’ve been living in our hotel for the last three and a half weeks, I’ve done less cooking. The hotel has a happy hour with food almost every night, so we eat down there a few times a week.

But I really do love to cook dinner for my family, and I like to cook a variety of things. I shared 15 of our favorite kid-friend meals RIGHT HERE.

23. What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?

Read! As I mentioned above, my mom read aloud to us a lot growing up. It was one of my favorite things we did together, and I love doing it with my boys. I’m not a big “play” mom — I rarely sit down to do LEGO’s with them or play make believe. I leave that for them to do together. But reading and playing games is so fun for me.

I shared our favorite READ ALOUD BOOKS RIGHT HERE, and our favorite FAMILY GAMES RIGHT HERE.

24. How did I learn to sew?

My mom and both of my grandmothers are seamstresses, so it was important to my mom that we learned this skill. I started sewing lessons when I was twelve, and took them for about two years until I went into high school and things got too busy. After my first baby was born, I was staying home with him and had a lot of spare time, so my mom gave me her old sewing machine and I started learning again. I knew most of the basics from my sewing lessons, but I spent a lot of time practicing and studying my own clothes to learn how to construction real clothing, so most of my sewing skills are completely self taught through trial and error and a lot of ripped out seams.

I now have an online sewing class, Modern Girl Sewing, if you’re interested in learning to sew!

25. What was your biggest challenge as a first time mom?

The thing I struggled with the most was feeling isolated. With nap schedules and the demands of a baby, I was stuck inside the house by myself a lot of the time. I didn’t realize how much I needed friends and a community until I forced myself to start a little playgroup with some neighborhood friends and realized how great it was to have that companionship. It’s so important to have mom friends who are going through the same things as you, and feeling the same things as you!

26. What is your guilty (sugary) pleasure?

Frozen chocolate chips. And not just any chocolate chips…these chocolate chips. They’re the best in the entire world. Also I’d choose a really good cookie over pretty much any other dessert any day.

27. How do you have energy with three boys and being a WAHM?

I inherited a lot of things from my dad, and one of them is being a bit of an energizer bunny. I can run off of very little sleep and be fully functional. I don’t drink caffeine because I’m afraid I’d rely on it, and after one energy drink a few years ago I was so buzzed and jittery that I never wanted to do it again. So I just trust my body and let it do its thing.

Also I’ve found that the more sleep I get, the more my body wants it and then I’m overly exhausted, so I stick to about 7 hours a night and I’m good.

Oh, and 20 minute power naps are the best thing ever. I don’t always remember to do them, but when I do they’re amazing. I set my timer for 25 minutes so I have a few minutes to fall asleep, and then force myself to wake up no matter what when the alarm goes off. I’m a little groggy when I wake up, but in a few minutes I feel 100x better.

28. If you had to pick one, would you pick Texas or California?

This is so hard. Honestly, our six years in California were some of my very happiest. I made wonderful friends, I felt so content, the weather was amazing…we just had a very happy life.

But Texas feels so right for us right now, and despite our rocky beginning, I really feel a sense of belonging here. But I miss my California friends fiercely, and would give just about anything to have a beach close by in Texas.

29. What are you most proud of?

The obvious answer is my three beautiful boys. They’re my life and my happiness. I love my business and I love creating content and clothing, but when things get hectic or stressful with work I always turn to my family. Spending time with them drives all my worries away. It’s cheesy, but it’s so true. I’m so proud to be their mama, and to be able to raise them with my wonderful Philip.

30. What’s your favorite book?

Truthfully, I have very little time to read for myself. I used to listen to audiobooks while I sewed, but I’ve become obsessed with podcasts in the last few years. So besides reading to my kids, I haven’t read a book for myself in a long time. BUT I read a few of Kate Morton’s books a few years ago and loved them. So clever and such incredible unexpected twists at the end. The Secret Keeper was my very favorite. I also love everything by Malcolm Gladwell — his books are so interesting! Oh, and I’m a true Harry Potter fan for life. We’ve started reading them with the boys (we start book 3 next month!) and it’s so fun to relive them through my boys.

31. What’s your favorite podcast?

This is super tough. I got into podcasts about 2 years ago and have listened to hundreds of episodes since then.

I’ve written a few posts about my favorite self improvement podcasts – you can see them all HERE. But lately I’ve gotten into crime podcasts and I’m hooked. I loved Gangster Capitalism, The Dropout, Dr. Death, and now I’m currently listening to Serial and Missing Richard Simmons.

32. What do you do to stay happy? Do you ever feel lonely?

I wrote a post a long time ago about some advice that my mom gave me when I got married. She told me that if I wanted to be happy, I needed to make my own sunshine. As a kid, there are so many people working to make your life happy and fun, but as an adult you don’t have that. So if you want your life to have those happy fun things, you need to make it happen.

I think all of us fall into a comparison rut with social media — I certainly do! But if I’m ever feeling down on myself or lonely, which I do sometimes, I force myself to do something about it. I schedule a date night with my husband, or I unplug for the night and just spent uninterrupted time with my family. Or I text my friends and set up a girls night. Or do a group text to catch up with a bunch of friends at once. One of my favorite things to do  my friends in California was to throw a fancy dinner party (you can see some of them RIGHT HERE!). Everyone loves an invite to a party and a chance to dress up and hang out with friends!

Don’t rely on other people to make your life happy — you are in charge of your happiness, so make the effort to make your life happy! And chances are if you’re feeling lonely, other people are too, so be the one to help make everyone feel a little happier!

. . . . . .


I hope you enjoyed reading through those questions! And if you have any additional questions, leave a comment!


  1. Anne says:

    Hi Merrick!

    Happy belated birThday! I am so happy that i stuMbled onto your blog a few months ago. I Am a hugE fan. I enjoy each & every post so far!

    I would Really appreciate it if you Would consider an uPdated sKin care products post And any time saving beAuty tips.

    Thank you!

    P.s. i AM standing on a train commuting from work so please excuse the all caps message. I can’t fIgure our how to fix it!!

  2. Alison says:

    Hi! I Started following you a few months ago and really enjoy your content and style. It was nice tonget to know a bit about you. I can totally relate to #23 – i rarely sit wiTh my kids and pLay which is funny because i liTerally play with kids for work, but it turns out its better for them. I also loVe the advice your mom gave you in #32 and wish I had that sooner in life. Happy Belated birthday from boston!

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