Today’s my thirty third birthday. These thirty three things about me will help you get to know me a little better!
It’s my birthday and let’s talk about being in your thirties
Today I turn 33.
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.
I’m wear sunscreen everyday, eat a lot more vegetables, talk to my mom more often, and I feel like I’m better at prioritizing the important things. Is my life perfect? Not by a long shot. But I feel more confident and happy than ever.
Today I wanted to share 33 things about me, just for fun.
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. But as soon as I joined Pinterest and began sewing, my love of fashion and style skyrocketed. I also watched seasons and seasons of What Not To Wear and learned tons about fashion there.
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 ten years ago, I would have for sure said I wanted to be a painter. I spent years learning to paint and draw, and this blog started as a place to document that (thus the name, Merrick’s Art).
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 until COVID, I never planned to homeschool them!
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. A few years ago 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, 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 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.” 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?
I’ve cooked dinner basically every night since we got married, but my interest levels have varied from year to year. But in the last few months with COVID, I’ve been really into cooking (and baking).
I don’t know what my favorite thing to cook is, but lately I’ve been making more stuff from scratch — homemade flour tortillas have been one of my favorites lately! I’m sharing my weekly menus for the last few months. Find them all right here!
I also 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 also love to cook with them! They’ve become pretty good at baking and it’s so fun to do together.
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. They don’t sell them in any Texas stores that I’ve seen…so sad. I haven’t had them in a few years!
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.
Also Texas has so many bugs. I hate bugs.
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 4 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. Last year I got super into crime podcasts. I loved Gangster Capitalism, The Dropout, Dr. Death, Serial and Missing Richard Simmons.
Now I’m on a bit of a religious podcast kick and loving the Brooke Snow podcast.
I also shared other favorite podcasts RIGHT HERE.
32. Where did you get inspo for your kids’ names?
Philip actually came up with all three of our boys names. Benson was a last name that we loved. No big story — just liked the name!
Foster’s name actually came from a crazy experience — my husband was on a business trip and went to a a meeting at a client’s home with his business partner. Her little boy’s name was Foster, and he kept interrupting their meeting to ask for chicken nuggets for lunch. He finally took matters into his own hand and ended up cutting himself really badly with a knife, and my husband and his business partner had to rush this little boy and his mom to the ER during their meeting. It was a pretty traumatic experience (thankfully he ended up being fine!), but we got a really good baby name out of it.
Sanford was originally Stanford (when I was still pregnant), but I felt like Stanford would get shortened to Stan and I didn’t like that. So we eliminated the T and love the nickname “Sanny” for him.
33. 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!
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